Category Archives: November 2015

What Are You Thanking God For?

John 11:41-42

“…And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me.”

Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus raised him to life. This is one of the greatest miracles that Jesus performed. Wouldn’t you agree that death is indeed an extreme problem? Having no money in the bank, being sick and losing your job, bad as they are, are not as bad as being dead!

But what you need to see is this: If Jesus, in the most extreme of problems, shows us that the solution is still, “Father, I thank You,” then how much more should we thank God in the midst of the less serious problems we face. If thanksgiving can raise the dead, then let us give thanks in spite of the negative circumstances and we will see victory. Unfortunately, we tend to do the opposite – murmur and complain. But murmuring and complaining only magnify the problem. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is the language of faith which pleases God. I am not saying that we give thanks for the problems we have. No, we thank God that He is our answer and that He has already given every blessing to us. (Ephesians 1:3)

Even the little we may have we need to be thankful for, because it will multiply. Jesus thanked His Father for the five barley loaves and two small fish, a little boy’s lunch, and they were multiplied to feed more than 5,000 people with 12 baskets full of leftovers! (John 6:8-13) And notice that when the Holy Spirit talked about this event again, He specifically mentioned the Lord giving thanks, “the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks”. (John 6:23) The Holy Spirit seemed to be more pleased with the act of giving thanks than the miracle of multiplication or the 12 baskets full of leftovers.

The more you thank God, the more you please Him. What little you have will be multiplied and whatever is dead in your life will be raised to life!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Psalm 100:3-4

Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

God is our creator; we did not create ourselves. Many people live as though they are the creator and center of their own little world. This mindset leads to a greedy possessiveness and, if everything should be taken away, a loss of hope itself. But when we realize that God created us and gives us all that we have, we will want to give to others as God gave to us (2 Corinthians 9:8). Then, if all is lost, we still have God and all He gives us.

God alone is worthy of being worshiped. What is your attitude toward worship? Do you willingly and joyfully come into God’s presence, or are you just going through the motions, reluctantly going to church? This Psalm tells us to remember God’s goodness and dependability, and then to worship with thanksgiving and praise!

As you gather together for Thanksgiving with family and friends, be thankful for all that God has provided. Take a moment to reflect on how God provides for all your needs. Remember that others are not as fortunate as you.

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Power In The Name Of Jesus

John 16:23

“Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”

Do you end your prayers with “in Jesus’ name”? Maybe your Sunday school teacher taught you to do this, or maybe you have heard church leaders and other believers utter it at the end of their prayers.

The Lord wants you to realize that whenever you pray and say “in Jesus’ name”, you are putting your entire faith for your prayer to be answered not in who you are or what you have done, but in the person and name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and what He has done at the cross!

Whenever we ask God for anything in Jesus’ name, Jesus says to us, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.” This means that in your prayer for healing, when you say “in Jesus’ name”, healing comes over your sick body because it is by His stripes that you are healed. (1 Peter 2:24) In your prayer for protection, when you say “in Jesus’ name”, you are kept safe because the blood of Jesus protects and delivers you from evil. (Exodus 12:13)

The good name of your family cannot save you. Your pastor’s name cannot save you. Even the name of the latest medical breakthrough cannot save you. Only one name under heaven can save you – Jesus! And the good news is that His name in Hebrew, Yeshua, means salvation – healing, preservation, wholeness, wellness, provision, safety and deliverance for you and your family!

So these days, whenever you pray, slow down at the end of your prayer and say, “Father, I ask all this not based on what I have or have not done, but based on Jesus and His finished work at the cross. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen!”

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What Is God Up To?

Isaiah 16:4

“Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their shelter from the destroyer. The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land.”

In the wake of terror attacks in Paris and Beirut, the response from Americans – even among Christians – has been as strong as it is divided. While many have called for Americans to follow their nobler impulses and respond in compassion, courage, and love by welcoming refugees, many others (including now a majority of the country’s state governors) have voiced their strong disapproval for accepting any refugees, citing significant security concerns. Many are asking, What does the vetting process look like for incoming refugees? Can we accept only Christian refugees but turn away Muslims? How do we bring together a desire to show compassion with the responsibility to keep our country safe?

In other words, the key question seems to be this: In light of terror attacks worldwide, is bringing 10,000 refugees from the Middle East really a safe decision?

While we shouldn’t downplay these concerns, I do wonder what would happen if Christians stood counter to American culture on this issue, by asking fundamentally different questions. What if, while America was asking questions about safety and risk management, Christians were asking, What is God doing? What if, through the senseless evil of civil war, God was bringing unreached people groups to our cities? What if, through great tragedy, God was bringing about the triumph of the gospel? Do you see the enormity of the possibility here? We have spent years plotting and praying to get missionaries into some of the most difficult places in the world. Now, four million hurting and broken people from at least eighteen unreached people groups are coming to the West. “Is it safe?” sounds like a question a government would ask. And it should ask; a government should seek to protect its people. But Christians ask, “What is God up to?”

So, as Christians, we may disagree about what’s best for America to do in this situation. But as Christians, we also recognize that this is not ultimately as important as the gospel opportunity represented in the refugee crisis.

God cares about these refugees suffering, and so should we. This is an opportunity for us to “do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow” (Jeremiah 22:3). The heart of our Father towards refugees is evident throughout Scripture: “Let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them from the destroyer” (Isaiah 16:4). When we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, and clothe the naked, we do so as unto the Lord (Matthew 25:34-40).

While God cares about all suffering, he cares most particularly about eternal suffering, and so should we. God has blessed us so that His “way may be known on earth, [His] saving power among all nations” (Psalm 67:2). The refugee crisis is an opportunity for the nations – even Syrian, Sunni Muslims from eighteen unreached people groups – to sing for joy (Psalm 67:4).

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Forgiveness Comes Through Christ Jesus

Matthew 18:21

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Peter asked the Lord how often he should forgive his brother. The Lord’s answer to him was simple: Up to 70 times seven times. (Matthew 18:22) In other words, all the time! You may say that some do not deserve your forgiveness. Well, neither did you deserve God’s forgiveness.

There is not a single person alive or dead who did not break all 10 of God’s commandments. There is no such thing as a “partial sinner” or “great sinner”. All of us were great sinners when Jesus saved us. And when we realize that we are forgiven much, we will love much. (Luke 7:47)

You may be thinking, “how can you say that I have broken all of God’s commandments? I have never committed adultery.”

Jesus said, “If you lust after a woman in your heart, you have already committed adultery with her.” (Matthew 5:28) That is God’s standard. Man looks outward, but God looks inward at the heart. Moreover, if you break one law, you are guilty of all. (James 2:10) So everyone has broken all of God’s commandments. Everyone is a great sinner.

Now, you are no longer a sinner if you have received Christ as your Savior. You are a new creation. But you were a great sinner and God forgave you your huge debt through the death of His Son.

So if someone has wronged you, tell yourself: “I did not deserve God’s forgiveness, but He forgave me through Christ. So I forgive this person also.” If you think, “He does not deserve it,” it makes no sense. Forgiveness is not for people who deserve it. If they deserve anything, it is punishment. But forgiveness means that you extend grace – undeserved favor – like how God extends undeserved favor to you.

If you choose to hold on to bitterness, no one suffers but you. You lose your peace, then possibly your health. It is just not worth it. God says to you, “Let go. Forgive them their debts, just as I have forgiven you yours.”

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Your Destiny In Christ

Galatians 1:15

…God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,

You are not an accident with no destiny. God has called you from your mother’s womb. You have a special calling and a destiny in Christ, and it is all by His grace!

There are Christians who are called by God to be doctors. But among them are those separated from their mothers’ wombs for the healing ministry. They are passionate about seeking cures to alleviate the sufferings of humanity.

Likewise, there are Christians who are called by God to be teachers in secular schools. But among them are those separated from their mothers’ wombs to be Bible teachers. What gives them tremendous fulfillment is seeing lives saved and transformed under their teaching.

The apostle Paul knew that he was called from his mother’s womb. He had a misguided passion for God though, as he was persecuting the church, until he had his encounter with Jesus. (Acts 8:3, 9:1-6)

Now, don’t think that your calling has to do with your qualifications, abilities, achievements or even your walk with God. You were called from your mother’s womb by His grace. As a fetus in your mother’s womb, there was not much you could do – good or bad. That is why your calling is all by His grace. And since He has given you a calling, ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern the desires that He has placed in your heart, the passions that drive you in life, and fulfill your calling and destiny in Christ!

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Expect Restoration

Acts 3:20-21

…that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things…

As a believer, you have a right to expect restoration of the things that the devil has stolen from you. It may be your health, marriage or finances, but payback time is definitely coming! Acts 3:20-21 tells us that before Jesus comes back for His church, we will experience “the times of restoration of all things”. What a hope that gives us, knowing that God will restore to us all things before Jesus returns!

If the devil is attacking you in any area, tell God, “Father, I will not allow the devil to rob me of my health, marriage, children or finances. These blessings are blood-bought and paid for by Your Son!” Claim your restoration in Christ and heaven will hear you.

There will be such times of restoration of all things to the body of Christ that His people will only get better, stronger, healthier, and more successful and glorious! When God restores, even under the old covenant, His people always received much more than what they had originally lost, in terms of quality and/or quantity. How much more will our restoration be under the new covenant because of the shed blood of the Lamb of God!

I believe that God wants you to know that your times of restoration are here. Heaven is waiting to hear you stake your claim for restoration!

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Faith Is A Gift From God

Matthew 17:15-16

“Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.”

Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I (Jesus) to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” (Matthew 17:17) But like all of Jesus’s rebukes to his disciples, his reproof is not intended to condemn us but to exhort us to press in further. If we currently have little faith, it is possible for us to have more faith. If we failed yesterday or today, we don’t have to continue to fail. “Little faith” is not a permanent label. Jesus means it as a catalyst for our transformation. For this is what he followed up with:

“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

If Jesus’s rebuke over our little faith makes our heads droop, his promise should make our jaws drop: “nothing will be impossible for you.” Those are not empty words. That phrase is a check to be cashed.

How would you live differently if you really believed that nothing would be impossible for you?

Don’t let cynicism squelch that question. Our lightning quick and loud unbelief is not commendable. It is perverse, twisted. It robs us of more than we know. When contemplating such a question, it can be tempting for some of us to quickly point to the errors of the word-of-faith movement and reaffirm that we aren’t going to fall in that ditch. Good. We should not. But that does not excuse us to live at peace with little faith and impotence in kingdom ministry.

We are meant to move mountains – to see the impossible occur through the exercise of faith in the omnipotent promises of our sovereign Lord. If we are not seeing mountains move, we are living beneath our means. We are living as paupers when we have millions in our heavenly bank account. Jesus doesn’t commend this. He rebukes it.

The faith of God’s people is the channel through which God chooses to manifest much of his glory that results in the conversion of unbelievers. If we have little faith, then little glory is seen through us. We must not be content with this.

If we recognize that we have little faith, let us repent today and join the disciples in pleading, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5), and not let God go until he blesses us with an answer. It is a request he loves to grant.

Jesus really does mean for us to move mountains. He wants us to live in the bold joy of knowing that nothing will be impossible for us.

Read the full article on: Desiring God

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The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God

Revelation 4:11

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

There is a Christianity misconception that is prevalent in the world. People think of Christianity as a form of religion. But the truth is that being a Christian has no form of religion at all. In fact, if we look at the reason God created us, we find that we were created to reflect the glory of God by being more satisfied in God than anything else. So how do we become more satisfied in God than anything else? We need a revelation of God and of whom we really are.

If you were to ask someone who they are, you would probable get answers like, “I’m a lawyer” or “I’m a carpenter” etc. But our true identity is not in what we do, or who we think we are in this world, but it is in who we are in Christ. God created us in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:27) We were not created as a plummer, as a truck driver, but created by God for His glory. Isaiah 43:7, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.” Did you get that? “Whom I created for My glory.” You and me were created to glorify God. He created us for His glory not ours. God is glory!

If you take a look around you will see that all of creation glorifies God. Everything that God has created He created to glorify Himself. And rightfully so, since He created it all. From a flower in a field with all its radiant colors to a bumble bee in flight, everything points to creation and the glory of God who created it.

Now I know someone is going to say, “What about the violent storms that kill people?” You have to get your perspective on God and not on a fallen world. God did not create violent storms, or people with guns that go crazy, or sickness. This was the result of Adam’s disobedience and the fall of mankind. When sin entered the world everything in the world changed. Everything except God! That is why God sent Jesus so that we could be reconciled back to Him as He originally intended. And that original intention was to glorify God! If you get this one truth your life will change.

Christianity is not a willpower religion. It is not trying to stop doing what you don’t want to do. Christianity is a work of God where you want God more than anything else. It takes hearts that are in love with the world and puts them in love with God. It is a personal relationship with God.

God deserves all the glory. In Isaiah 42:8 God says, “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” God Himself is glory! When we truly understand what our relationship is supposed to be we find the one thing everyone longs for, and that is happiness. Each of us were created to be happy. To have a great and wonderful existence with God for eternity.

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Put On The Helmet Of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17

And take the helmet of salvation…

When the phone rings at odd times, most people think, “Oh no, it must be bad news.” They don’t think, “I wonder what the good news is that it cannot wait till morning!” When we hear, “The boss wants to see you,” instinctively, we think, “Oh no, this is not good.” But how do we know that it is not going to be something good? Our minds are inclined toward the negative. So to guard our minds against negative thoughts, we are to put on “the helmet of salvation”, which is “the hope of salvation”. (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

If you are going through a trial right now, putting on as a helmet the hope of salvation means that you have a confident expectation of good coming your way. It means that you choose to believe that this trial that you are going through is only temporary because God will see you through it. It means that you believe that this difficult period will end with your salvation – your preservation, wholeness, wellness and health! You may not know what is going to happen this week. But one thing you can do is to put on the helmet of the hope of salvation and tell yourself that you are going to have a fantastic week!

Biblical hope is not “I hope so” but it is “I know so”! You can have a confident expectation of good happening to you because you are not like the people of the world. You are a child of the living God. You have a Savior watching over you. There are more angels given charge over you than there are demons against you. And greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) There is every reason for you to have a confident expectation of good happening to you!

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