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Friday, April 28, 2017

Wisdom Starts With Taking God Seriously

In review of Proverbs 9:10 it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Bottom Line:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of God results in good judgment.

What this means to me:
If I am to exercise wisdom I must first have reverence for the Lord and take Him seriously. When I do, I open to learning and having knowledge of Him. With this I gain understanding.

Today's verse comes from Proverbs 9 (wisdom and folly.) What I’m learning is that wisdom appeals first to the mind; Folly appeals to the senses. It is easier to excite the senses, but the pleasures of folly are temporary. By contrast, the satisfaction that Wisdom brings lasts forever. Wisdom begins with knowing God. He gives insight into living because he created life. To know God is not just to know the facts about him; we must stand in awe of him and have a relationship with him.

So would I like divine guidance so accurate that I could make decisions with the wisdom of Solomon? Decisions that would cause the prosperity of God to explode in all I do?  Would I like guidance from God that produces peace of mind, self-confidence, divine health, and joy unspeakable?  Would I like to reach my highest potential?

Scripture reveals that this is very easy to have right now. It’s not something I must wait to gain after entering the pearly gates. Today is the day to start gaining divine wisdom, and it’s much easier than I think.

I’m finding that God wants me to have a life without limit! All I need to do is begin to seek His face. I then saturate my life with His Holy Word, knowing He can guide me.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Success, Courage and Obedience

In review of Joshua 1:9 it says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Bottom Line:
Be bold, strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid; do not be discouraged. God will be with you.

What this means to me:
I am to be bold, strong and courageous. I should not be afraid or discouraged. God tells me that he will be with me wherever I go.

Many think that prosperity and success come from having power, influential personal contacts, and a relentless desire to get ahead. But what I’m learning is that the strategy for gaining prosperity that God taught Joshua goes against popular belief. He said that to succeed Joshua must, be strong and courageous - for the task ahead would not be easy, to obey God's law, and to constantly read and study the Book of Instruction - God's Word. Likewise for me to be successful, I too should follow God's words to Joshua. I may fail to succeed by the world's standards, but I’ll will be a success in God's eyes - and it his opinion that is most important.

It also seems strange to equate success with obedience. For many, success is controlling others; for Joshua it meant being controlled by God. God told Joshua that to succeed he must obey the rules for living found in God's law. Often I can't see what the results or future benefits of following God will be. When I’m not certain what to do, obedience to what God has revealed in the Scriptures is the only sure step I can take. I should resolve to set aside time each day to read and think about God's Word, to remind myself of God's words day and night and to Act today on what I know God has said. When I do God will assure my success in carrying out his purposes.

So where am I in the fight of life? No matter my place, there is great news and a recipe for total success! I am to be bold, be of good courage, be strong - for the Lord my God is with me!

Before I even knew there was a problem, the victory was already mine. His angels surround me, preparing my way. They are my rear guard. The power of the Holy Spirit is living within me. I can lift up my head and rejoice! Great things are on the way!

So I should not focus on what I see happening around me; instead focus on the One who surrounds me with His everlasting mercy and grace. If I concentrate on the raging waves that threaten to suck me under, I’ll surely drown. But when I concentrate on the One who commands, “Peace, be still!” I’ll walk hand-in-hand with my Savior right over your problem until I come to dry land on the other side of the shore.

So until the day of His return, Jesus will complete the good work He started in me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Learning More About Prayer

In review of Colossians 1:9 it says, "So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding."

Bottom Line:
Pray for others by asking God to to show them everything he wants them to do and know.

What this means to me:
I can learn to pray for others by continually asking God to to show them everything he wants them to do and they have all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

Today’s verse comes from Colossian 1. A gnostic may value the accumulation of knowledge, but in this book Paul points out that knowledge in itself is empty. To be worth anything, it must lead to a changed life and right living. So he prayed that they, might have complete knowledge of God's will and have spiritual wisdom and understanding. That their lives would produce every kind of good fruit, even as they learned to know God better and better. Knowledge should not be merely accumulated; it should give direction for living.

Like Paul, I need to learn more how to pray. Prayer is not getting God ready to do my will; it is getting me ready to do God’s will. It is the vehicle that gets me where I need to go, exactly when I need to be there, the door to wisdom and understanding.

All believers have these same basic needs. When I don't know how to pray for someone, I can use Paul's pattern for the Colossians:

1) understand God's will
2) gains spiritual wisdom
3) honor and please God
4) produce every kind of good fruit
5) learn to know God better and better
6) be strengthened with God's glorious power
7) have great endurance and patience
8) be filled with joy
9) give thanks always

What I’m learning is that prayer invites God to intervene on my behalf, binding in the supernatural realm what I bind on earth. I should learn to Get Him involved. I can ask my friends to pray too, and start moving heaven and earth until His perfect will is complete in my life. Also, I should not be afraid to think big either. For I serve a big God!

He is so big that I don’t just hope God heals; I know He does. I don’t just hope for a better tomorrow; I know a better tomorrow is coming. I don’t just wish for wisdom; I know He supplies it amply. I can learn to place my trust in God, knowing that He walks with me every step of the way.

So, I should never leave things to chance, rather I should leave them to God!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Promises, Problems and Provision

In review of Psalm 103:17 it says, “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's’ children.”

Bottom Line:
For those who honor the Lord, his love lasts forever, and his goodness endures for all generations

What this means to me:
The love, mercy and kindness of the Lord remains with me forever, because I fear and trust him.  I know that His goodness will endure for all generations.

Today's passage comes from Psalm 103 in which David praises God for who he is and what he has done in his life. God forgives, heals, redeems, and crowns us with love and tender mercies. He fills our lives with good things. In verse 17, he tells us of how the love of the Lord will remain forever with those who fear him. His salvation will extend to the children's children.

Hope for the Believer is based on the evidence found in the Word of God. If He has done it in the past, He will do it again. The Bible reminds us that He is the same from everlasting to everlasting, never changing. He is always the same.

I can easily think back, did He help me with financials issues? Did Help heal me several times? If He has done this in the past, why wouldn’t I believe that he would do the same again. God has not run out of miracles or mercy.

My hope should be anchored to the never-failing promises of God. When I find myself facing adversity, I can search the Word of God and He will give me a promise to fit my problem. This isn’t just simply placing my finger in the middle of the Bible when it flops open. What I’m learning is that It’s more about inviting God into my problem and asking for Divine wisdom. I can ask Him to give me His promise for my situation.

After all, there are three P’s: if you have a Problem, open up the Bible and find God’s Promise that will lead me to His Provision.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Good News Brings Salvation and the Help I Need

In review of Romans 1:16 it says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.”

Bottom Line:
Be proud of the Good News, it’s God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith.

What this means to me:
I should never be ashamed of the Good News about Christ, rather I should be proud having complete confidence in it’s ability to save all who believe no matter who they are.

Today's’ passage comes from the very first part of Romans 1. In it we see how Paul was not ashamed because his message was the Good News about Christ. It was a message of salvation, it had life-changing power, and it was for everyone. Whenever I'm tempted to be ashamed, I only need to remember what the Good News is all about. If I focus on God and on what God is doing in the world rather than on my own inadequacy, I won't be ashamed or embarrassed.

The Bible is the living, inspired Word of God; an anchor when inexplicable trouble is raining down on life like a relentless thunderstorm. Its message is the power of God unto salvation, the good news that we all need to hear on a daily basis.

So If I start my day with Bible reading or a word of prayer, I’ll be armed and ready to face that day, no matter what the enemy throws my way.

Moreover, In the world, it is absolutely necessary to face each and every day wearing the full armor of God. Spiritual warfare is a way of life for every Spirit-filled Believer.

The full armor should be as important to me as putting on physical shoes before I walk out the door to work. And a rich helping of prayer first thing in the morning should be like choosing a delicious plate of huevos rancheros over cold, sugary cereal-- it’s just the obvious inner to begin my day!

In summary, there is no substitute for a strong start, because you never know what the day will hold. God is my safety net--a very present help in times of trouble. When I begin my day with HIm, I can know that the two of us together can handle whatever comes my way. My God is able!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hope, Patience and Truly Loving Others

In review of Romans 12:12 it says, “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.”

Bottom Line:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

What this means to me:
I should let my hope keep me joyful, I should be patient in times of trouble, and pray at all times.

Todays verse comes from Romans 12, where Paul is telling about personal responsibility; making our lives a Living Sacrifice to God. He tells us to really love others. Genuine love like this requires real concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people. It demands time, money, and personal involvement. No individual has the capacity to express love to a whole community, but the body of Christ in my town does. We can look for people who need our love, and then look for ways we can love our community for Christ.

Paul tells us to honor others. I can honor others in one of two ways. One involves ulterior motives; so they will reward me, or work harder, contribute to our cause, or use their power for us and not against us. As a Christian, I should honor people because they have been created in God's image, because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and because they have a unique contribution to make to Christ's church. Simply, I should put others first, above my own interests.

I’m also learning that there is a difference between entertaining and hosting. Entertaining focuses on the host; home is spotless, food well prepared, and you appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality on the other hand, focuses on the guests. Their needs--whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance--are the primary concern. However hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup. It can happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together. I should never hesitate to offer hospitality just because I'm too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.

So I should expect the goodness of God to become a routine part of my life. Nothing about God is ordinary or routine, but knowing that His supernatural goodness is just waiting to rain down on my life should become the norm. He wants me to have His very, very best!

God has a specific plan that was tailor-made just for me--a divine destiny with boundless potential. His plan contains blessing that I cannot contain and the unlimited favor of God.

So I can rejoice in the hope that is Jesus Christ. I can rejoice knowing that all things work together for good. Just because I’m in the middle of my darkest day does not mean that God doesn’t see me. He knows exactly where I am and what I need. So I should continue praying; continue being patient, and know that heaven’s best will come my way in His timing.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It’s His Power At Work That Enables Me

In review of Ephesians 3:20-21 it says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Bottom Line:
It is His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

What this means to me:
It is His power at work within me, that enables me to do far more than I could do on my own or even dare to ask for.

As humans we were designed to crave the majesty that is Him, and there is nothing that can satisfy us like His presence.

In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul tells us that God's love is total. He tells us how It reaches every corner of our experience, and it reaches out not just to me, but to the whole world. God's love is long--it continues the length of my life. It is high--it rises to the heights of my celebration and elation. His love is deep--it reaches to the depths of discouragement, despair, and even death. God’s power is at work within us.  So when I’m feeling shut out or isolated, I can remember that you can never be lost to God's love. There is no greater power in heaven or on earth than that which comes directly from the throne.

If I find myself in need, I should reach out to Him and observe the great things he will do. We are told that we won’t even be able to contain the blessings that rain down on us for asking.

I have all the fullness of God available to me. But what I’m learning is that I must appropriate that fullness through faith and through prayer as I live daily for him. Paul's prayer for the Ephesians is also for me. I can ask the Holy Spirit to fill every aspect of my life to the fullest. Afterall, He is the God who cannot fail, and He will answer when I call.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Antidote for Depression

In review of Psalm 42:5 it says, Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God"

Bottom Line:
If you feel discouraged or sad, put your hope in God. Praise Him, for He is your Savior and your God.

What this means to me:
When I find myself discouraged or sad, I will learn to refocus my hope in God. I will praise Him for all the wonderful things He has already done. He is my Savior and my God.

This psalm reminds me that when I feel lonely or depressed, I can turn and meditate on God's kindness and love. This psalm also reminds me of the importance of longing and thirsting for God. Feeling separated from God, this psalmist wouldn't rest until he restored his relationship with God because he know that his very life depended on it. In this psalm the writer was discouraged because of his exile to a place far from Jerusalem, he could not worship in the Temple.

Seems depression is one of the most common emotional ailments we all face. One antidote for depression is to meditate on the record of God's goodness to his people. This will help me take my mind off the present situation and provide hope that it will improve. It will help me focus my thoughts on God's ability to help me, rather than on my inability to help myself.

So when I don’t know what to do, I should be still and place all hope in God. I should have faith to know that He is working behind the scenes on my behalf. What I see in front of me is just the very tip of the iceberg. I can lift up my head and heart, for Satan is a defeated foe, and the victory is already mine. I just need to reach out and take it!

Without hope life is bleak and joyless. Without hope life becomes meaningless. What I am learning is that this is not true for those trust in the Lord. Every believer has hope for tomorrow, hope for a supernatural breakthrough, and hope for divine healing for your body. Hope that is absolutely unlimited because we serve an awesome God who knows no bounds.

So when I find myself feeling depressed, I can take advantage of this psalms antidepressant. I can read the Bible's accounts of God's goodness, and meditate on them.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Letting God’s Word Shape My Life

In review of Hebrews 4:12 it says “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thought and intents of the heart.”

Bottom Line:
The word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit. It exposes and judges our innermost thoughts and desires.

What this means to me:
What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through my spirit and soul and through my joints and marrow, until it discovers the true desires and thoughts of my heart.

The "Word of God" is not simply just a collection of words from God, or a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in me. God's Word reveals who I am and what I am not. It penetrates the core of my moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within me, both good and evil. The demands of God's Word requires decisions. I must not only listen to the Word; I must also let it shape my life.

What I’m learning is that the Word of God is such a powerful weapon that, when spoken out loud, it makes demons run for cover. Therefore If I’m looking for victory in any area of life, I should be encouraged to start reading the Bible out loud. I can read the promises of God, and believe that He can and will deliver me in my day of trouble. No mountain is so high and no valley is so deep that the hand of God cannot reach down and snatch me out of harm’s way!

The Bible is God’s blueprint for life. I can have what this book says I can have. I can do what it says I can do. I actually have no limits as a child of God.

Whatever I’m looking for to fill a gaping hole, I can pray and ask Him to bring it pass. When I call upon the Lord I can have whatever I ask in His name. His Word promises that.

Lastly I can achieve the impossible when I’m holding God and and He is walking with me down the path toward my divine destiny. With Him, nothing is impossible.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Don’t Substitute What is Right For Traditions Sake

In review of Mark 7:13 it says, "And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”

Bottom Line:
Don’t cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition.

What this means to me:
I should not cancel the Word of God in order to accommodate my own tradition, habits or customs. Nor should I teach and enforce on others others my own rules, thus rejecting what God says.

The Pharisees had added hundreds of their own rules and regulations to God's holy laws, and then they tried to force people to follow them. These men claimed to know God's will in every detail of life. However what I’m learning is that It is idolatry to claim your interpretation of God's Word is as important as God's Word itself. It is especially dangerous to set up unbiblical standards for others to follow. It is better for me to look to Christ for guidance about my behavior and let him lead others in the details of their lives.

When Jesus healed the blind man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees appealed to their tradition, which stated that no one could heal on the Sabbath. Well, Jesus did it anyway! Mixing spit and dirt together he laid hands on the blind man regardless of his objections, seeking the Kingdom first.

There is trouble in doing things “because we have always done it that way.” Recently I read the story of a young wife who always cut her ham in half when preparing her annual Christmas dinner.  She would first cook one half in her gourmet oven, and then the other... just like the women in her family had done before her. One day her husband asked her why she did it this way, as it took twice as long. When the young lady asked her grandmother why this was their tradition, her grandmother said, “Honey, when I was your age, I only had a pot big enough to cook one half of the ham at a time.”

I guess I should never be afraid to do something because someone tells me not to. If what I’m doing lines up with the Word of God, I should “go for it” and not let anyone slow me down.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Refocusing My Goals And Interests

In review of Galatians 6:14 it says, “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Bottom Line:
Don’t brag about anything other than the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world is dead as far as I am concerned.

What this means to me:
May I never boast or brag about anything except the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of that cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned. Likewise, I am dead to the world.

This word is full of all kinds of enticements. How much do the interests of this world matter to me? Daily I’m confronted with subtle cultural pressures and overt propaganda. The only way to escape these destructive influences is to ask God to help crucify my interest in them, just as Paul did.

The Cross is the central theme of the Bible. Without it I have nothing. But the beauty of the cross is that it is an open invitation for “whosoever will.” Jesus died on the Cross as a scapegoat, to redeem me for my sins. He took on my filthy rags so that I could be afforded opportunities that only the grace of God can provide. All I had to do is accept this gift, accept His love, and accept Him as my Savior.

Once I meet Jesus at the foot of the cross, my sins were washed away and my name was written in His Book of Life. There is no symbol or theme more powerful in the life of a Believer than Calvary’s Cross. God loved me so very, very much that He sent His only Son to die in my place.

I am a designer original; so I shouldn’t live and act as like a cheap knockoff! Make today my best day! Give it my all in everything I say and do. Live a life full of confidence, knowing that the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is rooting for me every second of every day. I should not focus on or listen to the negative things the world has to offer; rather I should keep my eyes focused on the Cross.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Foundation To Build From

In review of Matthew 16:18 it says, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Bottom Line:
On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

What this means to me:
What God gives me is rock solid and foundation for me to build on. It is a foundation that can not be shaken by the powers of hell.

The rock on which Jesus would build his church was he himself, (through the work of his salvation by dying for us on the cross); and secondly through Peter (the first leader in the church at Jerusalem) and thirdly through the confession of faith that Peter gave and that all us as believers would give today. As christians we continue to help build the foundation started by Jesus and the prophets before us. All of us believers are joined into this church by faith in Jesus Christ as our savior. This is the same faith Peter expressed. It is faith like that of Peter’s that is the foundation of Christ’s kingdom.

The church is here for restoration, for lifting up those who have fallen. As part of it, I am to be merciful enough to help others in need with a spirit of meekness.

Loyalty says, "Let's restore him. Let's forgive him." Loyalty goes the extra mile even when no one is watching. It is the picture of the prodigal son as the father comes out with a robe in pursuit of a new life through forgiveness. I am not being righteous if I am not being loyal.

Many times I hold others to a higher standard than I do myself. But as a Christian, I should set the standard so high that the world wants to know how to have what I have. I should not be afraid to pour my love into someone else, regardless if I had been hurt in the past. Everyday is a new day, and God is on my side!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Blessings Come Without Sorrow

In review of Proverbs 10:22 it says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich and He adds no sorrow with it.”

Bottom Line:
When the Lord blesses you with riches, you’ll have nothing to regret.

What this means to me:
It is the Lord’s blessings that make me wealthy. He provides this without any regrets.

Today’s passage comes from Proverbs 10. In it we are told that when the Lord blesses us with riches, we’ll have nothing to regret. This verse is great. It indicates that God wants me to have great blessings, and with it - no sorrow. It clearly explains that there is no downside to being blessed of God, and I don’t need to apologize for having His blessing showered on me. He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

Many people who are wealthy by worldly standards are miserable. They have never come to understand the favor of the Lord. It’s important to note that favor doesn’t always mean that I’d have the most expensive home on the block; rather it means whatever house I do have is filled with the love and blessings of God Almighty. God’s favor will add immeasurable happiness because He is the one who commands the blessing.

The good news is that it only takes God a moment to move someone from the pit of despair to the pinnacle of success. No matter how tragic the circumstances are that surround you, He can take your life and turn it into a thing of beauty. I should learn to give any of my sorrows to Him, and then be ready for Him to overflow my cup.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Light That Provides Guidance

In review of Psalm 119:105 it says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path”

Bottom Line:
Your word is a lamp that gives light to where I walk.

What this means to me:
Your words are much like a lamp I would use to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.

Today’s passage comes from Psalm 119. In it the psalmist has learned and explained that God’s word is a lamp for his feet, and a light to his path. For me to walk safely in the woods at night I too would need some form of light so that I don't trip over tree roots or potentially fall into holes. In this life, I also walk through a similar dark forest of evil. God's Word can be my light to show me the way ahead so that I won't stumble as I walk. In essence it reveals the entangling roots of false values and philosophies. So as I study the Bible, I'm able to see my way clear enough to stay on the right path.

There’s no doubt that I am living in a world that needs the Word of God to help light the way. It is milk for babies and meat for men. A verse that spoke to me during a crises last year can also give me peace of mind in a current struggle.

Each verse of the Bible comes alive as I read it and it acts as a healing balm to my soul as I apply its sacred promises. It is the guidebook by which I should live my life and the best gift I can ever give any friend. It never returns void. Children who are taught early in life to read the Word understand that when circumstances slap them in the face, this is where they need to turn.

The Lord is my present source of help in times of struggle, but how would I know that unless I do as commanded and meditate on His Word day and night? In order to be able to be equipped for the battle when it comes, I must hide His precious words in my heart.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Learning to Surrender My Need

In review of Job 22:27 it says, “You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you.”

Bottom Line:
If you pray to Him, He will hear you.

What this means to me:
When I make my need know to Him in prayer, He will hear me.

Today's verse comes from Job 22. It is Job's friend Eliphaz's third response to Him regarding what Job is going through. While Eliphaz showed a partial knowledge of God's truth and character, he had trouble accurately applying this truth to life. Eliphaz gave a great summary of repentance. He was correct in saying that we must ask for God's forgiveness when we sin, but his statement did not apply to Job, who had already sought God's forgiveness and had lived closely in touch with God all along.

We were all created as free moral agents. This means that I was designed to make decisions (both good and bad) of my own volition. God does have a perfect plan for me, however my choices and lead me to it or royally blow it. However, what I’m learning is that God will never give up on me. His mercy endures fresh everyday and to all generations that follow me.

He has given me the amazing gift of prayer, a tool I can use to reach Him at any time, night, or day. The One who holds all power in heaven and on the earth has promised to hear me when I pray. What I’m coming to realize is that God will not answer until I ask. The initiative lies within me... not God.

The Lord will not get involved in my life until I start asking for HIs help in prayer. Does He want my very best? Yes, He does. Does He already know what you need? Yes, He Does. But He is waiting for me to surrender my need for Him. And there is no greater time to start than right now.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Happy are the Kind and Merciful

In review of Matthew 5:7 it says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Bottom Line:
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

What this means to me:
I can be happier by being kind and merciful in my interactions with others. If I do, God will show mercy to me.

Today's verse comes from Matthew 5 and is part of the beatitudes given by Jesus on the sermon on the mount. In it Jesus tells us the kinds of things that God blesses, one of which is mercy. For God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

God’s mercy is covenantal (an agreement, usually formal, to do something specific) loyalty in action. Throughout Scripture are promises that His mercy is renewed each morning. It seems God really loves mercy.

One translation of this verse tells me that my life will be happier by being kind and merciful in my interactions with others. This kind of loyalty and compassion begins at home and something that I should be encouraged to do within my oikos (close family and friends.) However it should just end there, I should then extend that same mercy out into the streets, into my job, my neighbors, and to those around who are hurting and in need of help.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Prayer brings God’s Blessings

In review of Matthew 6:6 it says, “You, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Bottom Line:
When you pray, be private about it and not a spectacle for all to see. Pray to the Father. He knows what is done in private and will reward you.

What this means to me:
When I pray, I should go away by myself, and shut the door, then pray to my Father in private. Then my Father, who sees everything, will reward me.

Today’s verse comes from Matthew 6 where Jesus is teaching about prayer and fasting. He says, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Also, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”

HIs Word promises that If I pray, God will not only hear and answer, but He will reward me openly. For this reason, I don’t need to pound my chest in order to broadcast how great my need is. I can simply leave my problems with the Master and let Him take care of me as He sees fit. Also, I don’t need to be elegant or the best speaker in the world in order to get my message across. One of the most powerful prayers can be “HELP!”

To be a strong follower, I need to develop a strong prayer life. Without it, I become a poster child for the prince of darkness, leaving myself open to fear, doubt, and all forms of calamity. More prayer, more power. Much prayer, much power.

If I want the power of heaven and earth to stand beside me night and day, I need to learn to develop a prayer life that is second to none. If I do, God will begin to open the heavens and pour out blessings that I can’t contain.