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Friday, September 22, 2023

Take the Next Step of Faith

In Mark 10:52 it say, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.” (NASB)

While I don’t know what step everyone needs to take next, I do know that we need to take it.

A next step may be to accept Jesus Christ into your life or to be baptized. Maybe join a church, show more gratitude, free yourself from debt, make wise spending choices, go on a mission trip, be generous with someone in need, take time to rest, or choose to rely on God instead of yourself.

While I may not know what your next step is, I know this: You have one. God will never be finished taking you deeper in faith. There is always a next step.

For me, If I don’t take the next step, I’m going to get stuck in a rut. And the only difference between a grave and a rut is the length. If I don’t move forward in faith, my heart will grow cold, and I’ll grow more distant from God. He isn’t going to help me with steps two, three, four, or five until I take step one.

If I’m asking God to help me with something, he may be asking, “Why haven’t you done what I’ve already told you to do?” For instance, I may have been planning to do something. Stop planning and just do it.

Bartimaeus was a blind man who called out to Jesus in faith, believing that Jesus could heal him. Before Bartimaeus met Jesus, he was sitting beside the road. After he received his sight from the Lord, hebegan following Him on the road” (Mark 10:52 NASB). 

Which of those two phrases describes our life right now: sitting beside the road or following Jesus on the road? Which of those two lifestyles would be more fulfilling? Which offers more joy, more meaning, and more satisfaction? Which one do we want to represent in our lives?

There’s only one way to follow Jesus on the road: Take the next step.

Faith is more than believing. Faith is more than thinking, talking, or having convictions about Jesus. Faith is action. It is movement; it is activity. Faith is something we do. In fact, the Bible says in James 2:14, “If people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing” (NCV).  

Where do we get the faith to make a fresh start? There’s only one source: Jesus Christ.

Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:30 MSG).

Bartimaeus had no idea that Jesus Christ was going to pass his way that day. To him, it was just another day. But God gave him an unexpected opportunity that offered him a fresh start.

God is giving us the same opportunity. So don’t delay. Take the next step of faith before the opportunity passes by. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Let Faith, Not Fear, Rule My Heart

In Mark 10:48 it says, “Many of the people scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (GNT)

If I’m to make a fresh start with my life, then I need to face my fears, and not let them control me! Fear has an incredible ability to paralyze potential and keep me from launching out and having faith in my life.

When I choose fear over faith, it makes me skeptical—afraid of trying anything new. It makes me selfishafraid to commit to God and to others. It makes me short-sightedfocusing on the past and not on the future.

A man named Bartimaeus faced a fear that is familiar to many of us: the fear of rejection. He was blind and wanted to be healed. He knew that to shout out to Jesus over the crowd wasn’t the right thing to do. He knew that people would look down on him for it, but he was desperate. And he knew that Jesus Christ was the only one who could help him.

So he got Jesus’ attention. The Bible says, “Many of the people scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Mark 10:48 GNT).

And look what happened: When he shouted out to Jesus, everyone around him told him, “Don’t do that. Be quiet. Don’t make a scene. Surely Jesus Christ isn’t interested in you. He has more important things to do.”

The devil whispers things like that to a lot of us. When an opportunity for faith comes into our hearts, thoughts like, “God surely wouldn’t be interested in me” or “Don’t make a scene” or “What would people think of me?” keep us from having faith. When I see an opportunity to change, there are all kinds of shouts from inside and around me that tell me not to rock the boat.

But God is asking me to do something greater than I’ve ever done before: He’s asking me to depend on him completely. This is going to feel a little bit scary.

When God asks something of me, I have a choice. Am I going to fall back on my fear and stay the way I am? Or am I going to tame my fear and step forward in faith?

I need to consider whose disapproval I fear the most. Why would I think that it seems easier to choose fear over faith? Proverbs 29:25 reminds me, “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that” (MSG). I need to ask God to help me trust in him to protect me from what other people think. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Don’t Put Off A Fresh Start

In Luke 9:62 it says, “Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.’” (MSG)

In Mark 10, a huge crowd was following Jesus as he left Jericho. A man named Bartimaeus was blind and begging by the roadside. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47 NIV).

When Bartimaeus had gotten up that morning, he had no idea that Jesus Christ was going to pass by him that day. He thought it was just another ordinary day: same place, same cry for help, same situation.

But suddenly Jesus was there. Bartimaeus had no time to prepare or think through his response. It was just an opportunity that dropped in his lap. And he chose to seize the moment. He decided not to delay or procrastinate. He was going to do itnow.

The key to any fresh start in life is: Whatever you’re going to do, do it now. Don’t say, “Next year I’m going to make a fresh start” or “Next month I’m going to make some changes” orTomorrow I’m going to make that a priority.” It’s now or never. Seize the moment

Every day, I’m given opportunities for a fresh start, but I don’t always take advantage of them. Why? Because I procrastinate.

Procrastination is a strange phenomenon. You think it will make your life easier when it actually does just the opposite. It’s a stress generator!

When you know the right thing to do, today is the time to do it. Don’t assume you can wait for tomorrow.

The Bible warns over and over about presuming upon tomorrow. I’m not guaranteed a tomorrow, and neither are you. Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day” (Luke 9:62 MSG). 

I have no guarantee that I will live tomorrow. Whatever I’m going to do, I’d better do it now

Is Jesus inviting you into a fresh start today? Don’t delay. Follow the example of Bartimaeus and seize the moment.

In summary, Jesus asks for total dedication, not a half hearted commitment. I must be willing to abandon everything that has given me security, without looking back. I should not allow anything to distract me from doing what I need to do. I need to stay focused. The enemy will find ways to distract me, to keep me from doing the right thing or God's work. I must consider today what are the most important things in my life. I can then ask God to help me remain focused on what's most important.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Asking God for Help With Finances

In Philippians 4:19 it says, “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.” (MSG)

Philippians 4:19 is an amazing and all-encompassing promise regarding God’s provision: “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus” (MSG).

Note these two words: “God will.” It doesn’t say, “God mightmeet my needs. It says, “God will” meet my needs. It’s written as a fact. God is staking his character and his reputation on it.

The verse continues, “God will take care of everything.” It doesn’t say, “God will take care of some needs.” It says he’s got them all covered.

Now, it doesn’t say, “God will meet all your greed.” There’s a big difference between needs and wants.

As a parent, I didn’t always give our daughter everything she wanted? I didn’t do that because I loved her—and my heavenly Father loves me. He’s not going to give me everything I want because if he did, I’d be spoiled to death—and he knows that some of the things I want wouldn’t be good for me.

He won’t give me everything I want, but he will give me everything I need.

The question might be, “Then why do I still have financial needs?” Did God fail? Did he lie? Did he exaggerate

No! With every promise, there is a premise; there are conditions and requirements. When God makes a promise, his expectation is often, “I’ll do my part, and you do your part.” God’s financial principles are clearly laid out for us in his Word. The Bible discusses many aspects of financial health, including principles of saving, spending, giving, investing, and stewardship. God has given me everything I need for financial stability.

I just need to ask for his help as I follow his principles. Jesus says, “Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy” (John 16:24 NLT).

Many people depend more on their credit card than on Jesus Christ. Here’s a good rule: Before you pay for it, pray for it. Give God a chance to provide before I go out and charge it. Ask him for wisdom to make a good financial decision

Why does God want me to ask? So he can give. Why does he want to give? So I can receive it.

Why does he want you to receive it? So I’ll be full of joy.

There is great joy in obeying God’s Word regarding your finances. God will take care of me. I Just need to ask him!

In summary, I can trust that God will always meet my needs. Whatever I need on earth he will always supply. I must remember the difference between my wants and my needs. While I want to feel good and avoid discomfort and pain, I may not always get what I want. By trusting in Christ, my attitude and appetite can change from wanting everything to accepting his provision and power to live for him.