Faith is the power tool of a Christian. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)
Let me also share this with you, “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” (1Chronicles 20:20)
Every life, including yours and mine, is a series of successes and failures, celebrations and disappointments, joy and sorrow. We all have experienced these things, and as long as we live in this life on God's good earth we will experience these things again. You see, every step of the way through every triumph and tragedy God will stand by your side and strengthen you if you have faith in Him. Jesus taught His disciples that if they had faith, they could move mountains. You can too! Do you have mountains in your life?
When you place your faith, your trust, and indeed your life in the hands of Christ our Lord, you will be amazed at the marvelous things He can do with you and through you. So strengthen your faith through praise, through worship, through Bible study, and through prayer. Trust God’s plan. With Him all things are possible, and He stands ready to open a world of possibilities to us if we have that unconditional faith.
In closing, sometimes this world can be a fearful place, full of uncertainty and doubt. However, our Lord can overcome any challenge.
Father, give us faith and let us always remember that with Your love and Your power, we can live courageously and faithfully today, tomorrow, and the rest of our lives. Amen!
“O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!” (Psalms 8:1)
The key to understanding the psalmist’s words of praise is knowing that God’s name reflects His character. For instance, the name El Shaddai means, “All-sufficient” or “Almighty One.” Elyon means “The Most High God” and refers to God’s supremacy and sovereignty. The names of God reveal who He is.
The psalmist was truly delighting in who God is and what He is like. Let us look at the picture of God’s amazing creation that the psalmist painted -- “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalms 8:3-4 )
Within the majestic expanse of the universe, we are insignificant specks. Yet our infinite God sees us, knows us intimately, and loves us ceaselessly. Such divine consideration is truly beyond our comprehension.
In closing, “O Lord, Our Lord, Your love for me is truly amazing! Teach us to delight in You”. Amen!
In life there are moments when we feel all alone. There are a variety of reasons why we experience this feeling. It could be because of betrayal, a terrible mistake, or a difference in moral living. Again, there are many reasons for this feeling.
Jesus was no stranger to this feeling of loneliness. It appears that our Lord was no exception to these same feelings of loneliness along with the overwhelming experiences of life. Notice some of the more profound statements found in Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
As we open up our Bibles to John 18 we notice that Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and accused falsely for things He did not do. We know that it is one of His apostles (Judas) who betrayed Him in 18:2. He is DENIED by one of those closest to Him (Peter) in John 18:15-18 and 25-27. He is questioned and ultimately REJECTED by the religious
Establishment in 19-24 and sent bound to Pilate. Pilate is the one person in the process who “finds no fault in Him” (John 19:4) and he is not even religious. However, Pilate does not do the right thing but rather SENTENCES Him to death. He is MOCKED and SCOURGED by the Roman soldiers in chapter 19:1-4. He is finally CRUCIFIED in 19:17-24.
There is no place as LONELY and cruel as the CROSS!! His experience at Calvary was unjust, horrible, embarrassing, and ultimately cruel!! This helps me to understand why Jesus is our perfect example and motivation for life (1 Peter 2:21).
Jesus was PREPARED before the experience at Calvary. He didn’t wait until that moment to try and figure it out or prepare Himself spiritually. Rather, He prayed in the garden and walked with the Father anticipating a horrible event. He was not overcome with fear but rather TRUSTED that His Father was bigger than any experience in this life. While He EXPERIENCED loneliness He was not overcome with it.
We must be reminded that we too will experience similar feelings, and tragedy but we are not to be overcome by them. Remember, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19
Remember, when walking hand in hand with Jesus you are never alone!
We are living in uniquely difficult times. Our current experience is unlike any other that we have faced before. There are many challenges that we have overcome during this pandemic individually and collectively. One of the many challenges we continue to face is to remain committed to sincerely and reverently worship our great God.
Worship is essential to our relationship with God. It should be stated that while our location for worship has changed, the intent and desire of our heart should not change.
Worshipping virtually has been a blessing in many ways. The challenge is with the fact that we cannot physically be together. We were/are made for fellowship with God and with His family. In worship we experience these two great opportunities, being together with God and with His people.
As we worship God together, we must keep in mind that it must be offered in spirit and truth (John 4:24). In worship we must engage our hearts in sincere faith (Hebrews 11:6). We must offer a sacrifice of praise with thanksgiving in our hearts and on our lips (Hebrews 13:15) when we come together.
God desires that we worship Him because He alone is worthy of our praise. We need to understand that our eternal destiny depends on our worship of the one true and living God. He demands, seeks, and requests our worship because He alone deserves it, and because it is in our nature as Christians to worship Him and our eternal destiny depends on it.
Let’s anticipate worshipping God this Sunday!!
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” — Psalms 100:1-5
We are all aware of our First Amendment rights as American Citizens. Specifically, we love and enjoy our right to “Free Speech.” We all love to share freely about our opinions, ideas, concerns, loves, interests, stories, politics and religion. Many times when we share through our speech there is NO filter from what we think to what we say. A lack of a filter can be a major turn off for others. When people hear inconsistencies in our speech with the religion we express they begin to doubt our motives, intentions, and love for God, His Son Jesus, and the church for which He died.
God has placed filters on our speech. In reality, as Christians, we do not have freedom of speech. We are not at liberty to say everything we think, hear, or read. We have restrictions in place by God to protect others for the greater good and to elevate His Kingdom and to shine a bright light that brings about a positive response from others toward Him. God says…
1. Psalm 34:13-14, “Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”
2. 1 Peter 3:10-11, “For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.”
3. Psalm 39:1, “I said, "I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me."
4. Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”
5. Proverbs 25:23, “The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.”
6. James 1:19-20, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
7. Colossians 4:5-6, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
As you can tell God wants us to be FREE from speaking like everyone around us. He desires for us to use the filter of His word and the Love of His Son in our speech and to be different. Jesus would have us to remember that, “...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34). We must also remember that our speech can betray us as it did with Peter (Matthew 26:73).
Let’s be careful! “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9).