Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1
We all have certain fears in life. Some have simple fears such as the fear of spiders or snakes. Others have more serious fears such as the fear of death. One of my fears is the fear of certain medical procedures that I hope I never have to endure. At times, I will also have a fear of failure and a fear of confrontation. There is also the fear of saying the wrong thing or making a poor decision. Perhaps you can identify with some of these fears. Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.” Jesus is the light that helps us navigate through life. He is our salvation when we make a mistake. He guides us and He rescues us. There is no mistake or failure that He cannot deliver us from. There is no fearful circumstance that He cannot guide us through. The issue has to do with our focus. Are we focused on our fears or are we focused on Jesus? When we focus on our fears, we will most certainly fall. When we focus on Jesus, there is nothing to fear.
What is God saying to me: I know you have fears. But, you need to understand that there is nothing to fear as long as you trust Me. I will guide you. I will deliver you. Trust Me.
What should I do today: Focus on Jesus. Don’t allow my fears to overwhelm me.
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:27 ; James 5:16
James 5:16 teaches us to pray for one another. Romans 8:27 talks about the ministry of intercession and how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. In Upmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, he asks the question: are you helpful or heartless? Too often we tend to be heartless. We see someone who is hurting and we just pat them on the back and tell them its going to be okay. We shrug our shoulders and tell people to just get over it. To intercede for someone is to stand in the gap for them. It is stand up for them and support them and encourage them. It is to pray for them, not in a flippant way, but with passion. We will often pray for others in a general sense, but do we ever pray for them specifically? The church is a family. As a family we are to look out for one another. We are to protect each other. We are to provide for one another. We are to help each other. We are to serve one another. We are to pray for one another. Who is God leading you to intercede for? Ask God to lay someone on your heart today. Pray for the them. Give them a call and let them know you are praying for them. Help them by doing something tangible that will lighten their load. We should intercede for each other as the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
What is God saying to me? The Holy Spirit intercedes on your behalf. Now, I want you to intercede for others.
What should I do today? Find someone to pray for and offer to help them.
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18
2 Corinthians 3:5 says, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (NASB). Have you ever heard anyone say, “I’ve got this” or “I can handle it”? Paul seemed to be defending his ministry in 2 Corinthians 3. He talked about how that changed lives are the greatest evidence that the work he was doing was of the Lord. He then mentions that he was not adequate to do the work, rather, it was God that was working through Him. We cannot take the credit for successes in life and in ministry. Every success that we have would not be possible if it were not for the Lord. Without Him we are nothing. Without Him we are useless. We must make sure that in everything, we are giving God all the glory. We must recognize where our power comes from. We must acknowledge that it is not we who are doing the work, but it is God that is working in and through us. Understanding this will lift the burden of thinking that we have to make things happen or that our success and people’s view of us is dependent on what we do. It is God who does the work. We are simply instruments that He uses to accomplish the work. The question is: are you a willing instrument?
What is God saying to me? Without Me you can do nothing. All that you are comes from Me. I gave you abilities and talents. I placed you where you are for a reason. Now go and serve me. Allow Me to do a work in and through you.
What should I do today? Trust in the Lord and recognize that I am nothing apart from Him.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-34
From the Pastor’s Heart
There is a television commercial where a man is standing at his front door trying to keep the mailman from putting another bill in the mail slot. He is then seen sitting in the shower with his arms around his legs sobbing and crying. This comical commercial gives a picture of real life. Paying bills can be very depressing. Just like the typical American family, our family has its share of bills. I have all but given up on saving, because every time I think I have an opportunity to get ahead here comes the braces, tonsils removed, car repairs, broken appliances, and so on. As you read this article, no doubt you are smiling right now because you have either been there before or you are there now. The responsibilities and circumstances of life is something that we cannot run from. Life is life. I tell my children that they do not want to grow up too soon because, as you get older, the more responsibilities you are going to have. It is easy for us to get bogged down with life issues. It is easy for us to get stressed and worried. However, we must remind ourselves that all of this is temporary. As believers in Christ, we have a future. We have Heaven to look forward to. My friend, there is no pain in Heaven. There is no suffering in Heaven. Praise God, there are no bills in Heaven! Jesus teaches us a very valuable lesson in Matthew 6:19-34. We don’t need to concern ourselves with the cares of this world. Our goal in life should not be to make more money or to be financially secure. Our goal in life should be to be secure in Jesus. Invest in the Kingdom of God. Live your life for Jesus and don’t worry about how you are going to pay the bills or even if you are going to have enough food for the week. God has a way of providing for His children, especially those who put Him first. Don’t worry about today or tomorrow. God is in control and if you trust in Him, everything is going to be alright!
Scripture Reading: Galatians 2
When I focus primarily on my works rather than on grace, I bring shame to the cross of Christ. I am saved by God’s grace alone, therefore, I should live by God’s grace only. Grace living requires the understanding that I no longer live. It is Christ that lives in me and through me. This changes everything. It changes the way I live and the way I think. I pray that I would be like Jesus. Instead, I should pray that I would be Jesus. I should die to self in such a way that I no longer am living. It is Christ in me and Christ through me.
What is God saying to me: I died for you so that you would die. I rose again so that I would live in you. Put to death the deeds of the flesh and live in my grace.
What should I do today: Confess everything that self brings. Take up my cross and let Christ live in me and through me today.
Scripture Reading: Galatians 1
There are many today who preach ‘another gospel.’ There are many pastors who have compromised on the truth for the sake of being relevant. There are many believers who have fallen into the trap of false teachings. There are few who are still faithful to preach nothing but the Word of God. Lord, help me to not preach what is popular. Help me to preach the truth. Protect me from compromise. Keep me on the straight path. Give me tunnel vision. Help me to stay focused. Empower me by your spirit. I pray that your Word will accomplish much in the lives of those who hear. May your truth prevail!
What is God saying to me: I have called you to be an ambassador of my kingdom to this world. Stay close to me. Preach only that which I command. Represent me in truth. Do not compromise.
What should I do today: Commit to proclaiming nothing but the truth.
Scripture Reading: Luke 2
Luke 2:7 describes how there was no room in the inn for Jesus. The hotels of Bethlehem were located right in the middle of the main shopping district. With all the people going to Bethlehem in order to be counted in the census, the shops were full. It was very similar to what we see at Christmas time. Stores are full with people hurrying about finding last second gifts. There are also parties to attend and Christmas programs at church to prepare for. With all the busyness of life, I wonder, is their room for Jesus? We all have busy schedules. There are things that demand our attention. But, do we pay any attention to Jesus? Do you spend time with Him in His Word? Do you commune with Jesus in prayer? Are you listening to Him? Nothing is more important than spending time with Jesus. As a matter of fact, the more responsibilities we have, the more time with Jesus we should spend. Is there room for Jesus in your life?
What is God saying to me? If it were not for me, there would be no Christmas. Please, do not forget me. I am here.
What should I do today? Commit to spending more quality time with Jesus. Put Him first in all I do today.