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: 1 Corinthians 6:19
A lesson that we all need to learn is that God does not compartmentalize our lives. In other words, there is no distinction between the physical and the spiritual. This is why Paul said that we are to glorify God both in our body and in our spirit. The physical things we do has an affect on the spiritual. The spiritual things we do has an affect on the physical. If we live with this perspective, we will be well on our way to living a life that brings glory to God. Living with no distinctions will change both our attitudes and our actions.
What is God saying to me: You are a whole person. There is no distinction or compartments of your life. You are to serve me and love me with all of you, not just part of you.
What should I do today: Glorify God in my body and in my spirit.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:14-21
Hagar is an example of a modern day mother. She was a single mom who had the worry and stress of caring for her new born baby. After being poorly treated by her master, Sarah, she is sent away to make it on her own. She did not ask for the trouble she faced. She was dealt a bad hand. Sometimes life happens and there is nothing we can do about it. The issue is not the hand we are dealt, but what we do with what we have been given. Too often we wallow in our misery and play the victim. We use the fact that we are a victim as an excuse to treat others badly, have a bad attitude, and sit and do nothing with our lives. This is not the reaction that God desires from us. He wants us to make the most of our lives. He wants us to get over it and move on. Don’t waste your life by allowing yourself to be a victim. Get up on your feet and rise above your circumstances and do something with your life. The key is to trust in God’s provision and to do our very best with whatever life brings to us. As we do this, God will bless, provide, and He will be glorified.
What is God saying to me: Life may have treated you harshly. Things may have not gone as planned. But, it’s okay. You don’t have to stay there. Look to Me and I will help you to make the most of it all.
What should I do today: Stop dwelling on how bad I have it and start making the most of it all.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 58:6-14
The Lord desires to break the chains of sin that has us bound. He desires to do great things in our lives. He desires that we grow in our love for others in such a way that we are compelled to action. The Lord desires that we focus on our care and love for others rather than on our own personal pleasures. He desires that we keep the Sabbath Day holy and that we put Him first in every area of our lives. When Jesus is the center of our lives, He will answer us when we call upon Him. When Jesus is the center of our lives, He will provide for us and bless us. We make Jesus the center of our lives when we surrender to Him on a daily basis and we live a life of obedience and we fulfill His desires for our lives.
What is God saying to me: I have great desires for you and your wellbeing. I have a storehouse of blessings to pour out upon you. All I ask for is your heart. Put me first. Obey my Word, for I know what is best for you.
What I should do today: Examine my life and see what areas of my life that I need to surrender to Jesus. Live in obedience and put Jesus first in all that I do.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 147:10-11
He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; He does not value the power of a man. The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love.”
(Psalms 147:10-11 HCSB)
As humans we have the tendency to focus on our personal strengths and weaknesses. We tend to accept others based on their level of talent and abilities. We are impressed with those who are highly talented and who have charismatic personalities. However, God is not impressed. He is not concerned with your abilities or your personality or your looks. He does not value the power of a man. What God does value are those who trust in Him and who are faithful. You see, you do not have to have a certain amount of talent or ability to serve the Lord. God is not looking for the most talented, He is looking for the faithful. There is something to be said about faithfully following the Lord day by day. Those whom God values are those who are faithful to spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer. God values those who are faithful to serve in and through the local church no matter how inadequate they may feel. God is looking for the faithful, are you one whom God is looking for?
What God is saying to me: Don’t get caught up in what man can do. Trust in me and stay faithful, and I will use you in mighty ways.
What I should do today: Be faithful in the little things and trust in the Lord.
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:18
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The purpose of man is doxological. The reason for our existence is to bring glory to God. Everything that God does for us is ultimately that He may be glorified. This is also the desire of the hearts of true believers. When we think of the grace that God has bestowed upon us. When we think of the blessings He has entrusted us with. We are moved to thankfulness. God has blessed us beyond measure. Compared to many around the world, we all live in luxury. We have clothes to keep us warm. We have an over-abundance of food to eat and enjoy. We have shelter. We have a warm bed to sleep in. We are blessed with family and friends. We are blessed with a wonderful church family. We are blessed with the abundant and joyous life that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are forgiven, redeemed, justified, sanctified, liberated, and the list goes on and on. This is why we can give thanks even in the most dire of circumstances. The enjoyment of God’s grace and mercy is enough to cause us to be thankful no matter what we are going through. This may be a difficult Thanksgiving for you. You may be going through some difficult times. Don’t let your circumstance dictate your praise. Reflect and meditate on all that God is and all that has done for you. As you do, you will find your heart swelling up with gratitude and the cares and concerns you have will grow dim in the light of His glory and grace!
What is God saying to me: It is my will for your life that you be a thankful person.
What should I do today: Meditate on all that God has done for me. Focus on God’s blessings instead of my circumstances.
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:28-31
Waiting on God is one of the hardest things to do. We are impatient people. We live in an instant society. We want what we want and we want it now. The Bible talks a lot about waiting on God. The word ‘wait’ in Hebrew is ‘qavah’. It gives the idea of binding together a cord. It also refers to expecting, looking, anticipating, and waiting. To wait on God is stay focused. It is binding together those things we are certain of and keep our focus on the task at hand while we anticipate and look for what God has for us in the future. For example, as believers, we are anticipating the return of Christ. We are expecting Him to come. This does not mean that we just sit around and do nothing. We are to carry on in the work of the Lord while we wait for His return. Perhaps you are waiting on God for direction concerning your future. Perhaps you are waiting on God to answer a prayer. Whatever it may be, stay focused. Don’t get ahead of God. When you do stay focused and you wait on God, He will give you the strength to keep on walking and keep on running while you wait on Him. God is already in your future. There is no reason to worry or take matters in your own hands and get ahead of God. Just wait and He will give you the strength to carry on today.
What is God saying to me:
I know you are anxious. I know you want an answer. I promise you, I will answer at just the right time. Don’t give up. Stay focused. Do what I have called you to do today and leave the rest up to me. Be faithful in the day to day grind. As you wait for me, I will give you strength.
What should I do today:
Stay focused and get busy. Simply do what God has called me to do today and leave the rest up to Him.