Saturday, September 25, 2010

Possibilities Of The Night

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them
[Acts 16:25, NIV]

The night represents a time of darkness and quiet, a time when some get restful sleep while perpetrators of evil seek to do harm. Night can also be used metaphorically to represent unpleasant times in a person's life. It easily interchanges with periods of depression, sorrow, pain or hardship. Life in itself is replete with nights and troubles to which every person on earth is exposed. The outcome a night period could brighten the succeeding day or dampen it further, leaving the victim on a long recovery path.

Paul and Silas faced such a night time in prison and we can take a cue from them in Acts 16:25-26, About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The duo used the night time to effectively use the weapon of praise to break the yoke upon them and set other captives free. They acted contrary to the behavioral demands of night time, which is to sleep, fold hands, hang heavy shoulders and be bowed down in sadness and tears. When we convert the night times of our lives to a time of praying and singing, we can be sure that God who doesn't sleep will come down to receive our praise offering. And when He comes down to inhabit our praise, we can be sure that miracles will follow.

In the case of Peter in Acts 12:5-7, we see that he was sleeping during his night time, however the Church was praying earnestly on his behalf, thereby releasing a breakthrough. The night time is strategic for receiving breakthrough, if we don't get lured into complacence. Let your attitude towards the night's of life be praying and praising God, and you will receive undeniable breakthroughs in Jesus name.

Prayer: Lord, your word remains the same. Please grant me the courage to look beyond present overwhelming circumstances to your ever-present faithfulness. Let my whole being praise you for who you are. Lord I return the thanksgiving of my deliverance to you now and always in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Sept. 25 2010 - Amos 1-3 (OT), Hebrews 8-10 (NT).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Praise Before The Miracle

Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard me..."

The sequence of events in this scripture for today may appear strange and unusual. Lazarus was still in his tomb, yet Jesus  gave thanks preceding the miracle of raising him from the dead. One would expect that thanks would only be given to God once the great miracle had been accomplished and Lazarus was seen restored to life. But Jesus gave thanks for what He was about to receive. His gratitude came forth before the blessing had arrived, in an expression of assurance that it was certainly on its way. It was thanksgiving and praise before the miracle.

There is nothing unreasonable about Jesus Christ's sequence of praise before the miracle. Praise is actually the most vital preparation to the working of miracles. Where there is praise, Almighty God is there, for He inhabits your praise [Psalm 22:3].

Consider how you feel and how you are motivated to act if someone praises you. Nothing pleases your Loving Father more than praise as part of your prayer life. It is good to praise the LORD [Psalm 92:1]. Put on your garment of praise today.

Prayer: My Loving Father, I thank You for the lessons I learn from Jesus Christ, for He did Your will on earth. I give You praise today and always, knowing that my miracle, my breakthrough and my answered prayers will surely come. May Your Holy Spirit bring to my remembrance the need to give You praise and thanksgiving, and remind me that You inhabit my praise. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Others May But I Cannot

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd

[Exodus 23:2, NIV]

The force of a crowd is very powerful, many decisions are concluded on popular vote. When the crowd takes a stand on a subject, it is easy to reckon that there must be truth in that decision. There must be something they see that others are either too blind or too slow to understand. This is the power of popular vote. In everyday life this unconsciously translates to peer pressure so that everyday decisions are easily swayed in the direction of popular opinion, in which case deciding against that makes one appear less than normal or outright foolish.

Proverbs 1:10-18 goes at length to guide the child of God on how to deal with this situation. The first thing is to determine the motive and intention of the crowd. That popular opinion of the crowd or the majority of your friends and family needs to be weighed against the will of God. Every lesson you’ve learnt as a child of God comes to bear at such a time, to teach you good from evil.

Having determined the intentions of the crowd, and having weighed it against the will of God, you will need to take a stand. Jesus give’s us strength and will power to say no to evil because we are no longer slaves to sin. You can decide not to conform or compromise to the pressures of the crowd because you are set apart for God. Remembering that you answer to a higher order, the order of the Most High God who judges the righteous and judges righteously, will enable you to stand firm against evil the crowd wants you to partake in. Do not yield to peer pressure, dare to stand alone in your office when other professing Christians compromise. Dare to stand alone amongst your friends or families when their instruction does not go down well with what God desires. You may be unpopular for this on earth, but heaven rejoices over you for one right decision you stand for.

Prayer: Help me Lord to overcome the pressures of compromise in this day and time. Give me the strength of mind to choose your will and stand by your will, teaching others the possibility of obeying you. Father keep me out of danger and every evil that seeks to harm me because I don’t compromise with the crowd. Let your name be glorified in my every stand, dear Lord I pray in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Sep. 23 2010 - Hosea 13-14 (OT), Hebrews 4 (NT).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Being God's Masterpiece

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

You are God's masterpiece. Your loving Father worked in His love, mercy and grace to make you alive with Christ. Every time He looks at any of His children who has received His gift of salvation, He sees a masterpiece. Because of God's workmanship you are now alive: alive to God and to fellowship with Him. You are alive to living as one of God's children. You are alive to the spiritual virtues of righteousness and holiness. You are alive to the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All these are part of you. What a blessing!

Why did God give us His love, mercy, and grace? What is His goal and His purpose? God had a very positive goal in mind when He, by grace through faith, made us His masterpiece. The purpose of God's workmanship is good works. God's workmanship saves and transforms the sinful human being into a new creature created in Christ to produce good works. This happened at the cross and the grave of Christ. This was done because God loves good works so much – for such honor and glorify His Name. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good works He planned for us long ago.

Your Loving Father has a purpose and a plan for you, and in Christ, He has already given you all that you need to fulfill that plan. He made you a masterpiece and yet is at work in you, helping you do the good works He planned for you long ago.

Prayer: My Loving Father, I thank You for in Your love, mercy and grace, You have made me a masterpiece. I thank You that long ago, You prepared a purpose for me that I may do good works and bring glory and honor to You. Thank You, my Father, that I am not a mistake neither am I on earth by chance. I pray Father, as I daily walk with you, that You will reveal the specifics of Your purpose for me, which You planned long ago. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Enjoying Your Sleep

It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me

[Psalm 18:47, NKJV]

The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Daniel 3:22. It is possible to hold your peace while God fights on your behalf. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were supposed to be victims of the kings destructive device. They held their peace while God used their captors to test the efficiency of the device, as He said He would in Exodus 14:14, The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. While God fought for the three Hebrew children, they suffered no loss, all their property was intact, because they submitted themselves to God and tried not to fight with their strength or intellectual wit.

In the face of trouble with the evil devices of the enemy against you, focus on God and not the enemy. If you focus on the enemy, the problem will be compounded, you will lose sleep, and everyone around you will become a suspect. When Peter shifted his gaze from Jesus to the raging storm (the problem), he began to sink. The fastest way to sink is to focus on the problem. Look to Jesus and be confident, enjoy your sleep because the battle is no longer yours. Praise God intentionally for your victory. Praise Him before the battle and during the battle increase the tempo of your spirited praise, after the battle continue to praise Him. The Lord will turn your enemies to victims of their crafty devices in Jesus name.

Prayer: Dear loving Father, I give you continual praise for the battles you’ve fought for me so far, seen and unseen. Father I bless your name on high for the battles you will fight for me. I give you my highest praise for the victories you’ve won on my behalf. Let every trouble and enemy in my way be put to utter shame I pray in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Sept. 20 2010 - Hosea 5-8 (OT), Hebrews 2 (NT)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Preferred Self Defense

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes

[Ephesians 6:11, NIV]

The nature of a problem determines the type of solution that will be applied to it. When David faced Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:39, he attempted to go into battle with Saul’s armor, which could have easily made him a victim because it was not appropriate. Likewise, when we face varied problems and Goliath's in life, we need to enter into battle with the proper weapon else we will go into battle with life's challenges, and be lucky if we even come out alive to tell the story.

The bible teaches us that our battles as Christians are not physical. They are not against the flesh and blood we encounter daily. The battles of a Christian are spiritual. To overcome these, we do not need physical weapons or worldly wisdom, they will fail us like Saul's weapons would have failed David. 2 Corinthians 10:4 reveals to us that the weapon's which are available to us are not carnal, they are not physical, but through God they are mighty and very effective. These are the weapons we want to face lives numerous challenges. The weapon that is of God.

Faith, knowledge of God's word, righteousness, obedience, soul-winning, prayer are all weapons of God available to help us win our battles. If you applied these in smaller battles and overcame, you can be sure that your victory remains even in bigger battles, because our weapons are mighty through God who remains the same.

Prayer: Heavenly Lord, I receive your might to overcome the battles in my way. As I put on your whole armor dear Lord, make them mighty by your power. Dear Lord pull down every stronghold in my life's journey, help me to overcome the plans of the devil against me, I pray in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Sept. 19 2010 - Hosea 1-4 (OT), Hebrews 1 (NT)