Friday, October 22, 2010

Optimizing Your Travels

As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures
[Acts 17:2, NIV]

Paul, as we read in the book of Acts is one person who faced persecution just about everywhere he went. One province to the other received him well and later pushed him out with diverse forms of threats. They would rejoice over the miracles, yet not have the will to entirely accept Christ. Despite this trend in each of the provinces, there would be a minute few who accepted Christ and went further to do their own exploits.

By this strategy of the Holy Ghost in moving Paul from province to province through persecution, the gospel of Jesus Christ spread throughout the land amongst Jews and Gentiles. The spreading of the gospel wasn't essentially because Paul traveled across these lands but because he wouldn't keep quiet or hide his identity anywhere he went. With blazing conviction of his faith in Jesus Christ and courage, he spoke up everywhere he went. He used every opportunity he got, whether there were people gathered in small village crowds or there were large congregations in the synagogue. As he spoke, it was the Holy Spirit who convicted the people to believe.

Acts 17:2 nailed upon the habit of Paul when he enters a new city, he went into the synagogue to share scriptures with them. Today many of God's children travel from place to place driven by other reasons besides persecution, do we spend time in the new city entirely focused on achieving the objectives that took us there, or do we seize the opportunity to share our conviction of Christ with others. The outcome of such sharing can only be determined by the Holy Spirit but Jesus loves us to carry the gospel, especially testimonies of our encounter with him to other lands that they too may know Christ. May the Spirit of God rest on us like Paul and give us courage to fearlessly testify of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I receive your word today with conviction, as you used the travels of Paul to spread the gospel, you also wish to use my travels to spread the gospel. Lord I ask for the outpouring of your Holy Spirit that I may have the courage and utilize every opportunity to speak boldly for you. Blessed Holy Spirit, let my words and actions be instruments in your hand to draw souls for Christ, dear Lord I dedicate myself in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Oct. 22 2010 - Revelations 7 (NT).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Standing Firm With The Sword Of The Spirit

Stand firm then...Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Romans used their swords both offensively and defensively. Used in a defensive manner, the sword, along with the other armor pieces, enabled the soldier to deflect the enemy's blows. As an offensive weapon, the sword was used to attack and counter-attack an enemy until the enemy was seriously wounded or killed.
Jesus, Who is the Word [John 1:1, 14], has graciously given us His written Word, the Bible. The Word is made alive by the Holy Spirit of God, causing it to be filled with divine energy and ability. God's Word, our sword of the Spirit, is able to cut down the strongholds of Satan.

The Psalmist says of the people of God, "Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand" [Psalm 149:6]. That double-edged sword is the Word of God, and it is a powerful spiritual weapon, perfectly suited for spiritual battles. The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart [Hebrews 4:12].

Learning to use the sword of God's Word comes with practice. You should not wait until youh ave been attacked to learn to use your sword. Rather, store up the word of God in your mind and heart on a regular basis through memorization and meditation. The more you memorize and meditate upon God's Word, the more natural it will become to use the sword. You will gain confidence in speaking the Word, praying the Word, and singing the Word. The Scriptures you hide in your heart and apply to your life will be with you at all times, even if your Bible is not nearby.

In trying to disarm you, the enemy will often try to convince you that a particular portion of scripture is not true or relevant for today. Remember that the sword is both an offensive and a defensive weapon. Used offensively, you hide God's Word in your heart, root out sin, and strengthen your inner man with God's promises before the enemy attacks. Used defensively, you deflect the devil's lies, doubts, and temptations with the truth of the Word. You shall not be disarmed. Stand firm today with the Sword of the Spirit.

Prayer: My Loving Father, thank You for Your word that is living, powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword. I thank You because You have made Your word available to me as both an offensive and defensive weapon for spiritual battle.  I am sorry for times I may have taken Your word for granted. I pray for a renewed commitment to Your word - to spend time reading, memorizing and meditating on Your word. May Your word always remain hidden in my heart that I may not buckle under the lies and deception of the enemy. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Truth Liberates

When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death
[Luke 15:17, NIV]

When things were no longer working for the prodigal son, he 'came to himself'. He sat himself down and reasoned to himself in a moment of sober reflection. He compared his father's affluence with his own current state in a far away country. The fact that he told himself the truth got him off the hook. Dwelling in lies can be a source of torture to a person, and it could be so bad if the person believes the lies are all the hope there is.

There are many lies that form the foundation of peoples beliefs these days, and if not carefully exposed can serve to rope it's victims into clear torment. One of these lies is to think that one has failed in life except he becomes financially wealthy. It is possible to be financially wealthy and still fail terribly in life. It is therefore better to embrace the true virtues of life than struggle and torment oneself to attain a height that does not serve as a yardstick for a life well lived. Attempting to do this is to operate in the captivity of lies.

Another lie is to think that 'the end justifies the means'. This lie can rope a person into many atrocities and form bonds of captivity around the life of it's unsuspecting victim. The truth will always prevail and as a matter of time the justice of God will rise in defense of the truth. It is therefore dangerous to build one's lives around such lies. Choosing and standing by the truth not only gives a clear conscience, it also liberates from self imposed captivity. The prodigal son realized the truth and the truth set him free. May the grace of God guide us to live in truth always.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me walk in uprightness and truth, shunning the lies that seek to overwhelm me. Help me Lord to live above rosy lies that are a bait to captivity and destruction, lies of dishonest gain and worldliness. Holy Spirit please open the eyes of my understanding to discern lies and live above them I pray in Jesus name.

One-Year Daily Bible Reading Plan - Oct. 20 2010 - Malachi 3 (OT), Revelations 5 (NT).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Following My Blueprints

Exactly as I planned,
it will happen.
Following My blueprints,
it will take shape.

What God has purposed He shall surely establish. From the beginning to the end of the bible, He resounds this promise to His own. "For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who can annul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?" [Isaiah 14:27]. God is not man that He should lie, neither is He the son of man that He should repent, whatever He has promised, He will do. 

Sometimes, we grow weary of waiting on God. We feel He is delaying and then we think we can speed up the process. We scheme and plan - sometimes like Sarah we manipulate, sometimes like the children of Israel we grumble and seek to find answers for ourselves when we feel God has gone silent on us.

The scripture for today says, "Following My blueprints, it will take place". Your loving Father has put in place plans for making His promise to you come to pass. If you have seen God at work bringing to pass His promise in other's lives, He will do it for you. His blueprint is all that matters. It may have been days, months, years or even time you have lost track of for which you have been waiting on God. Do not lose hope, keep your faith, because the Sovereign LORD helps you, you will not be disgraced. Therefore set your face like flint, and know you will not be put to shame [Isaiah50:7].

Many are the plans in a mans heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails. Rather than fret, rather than worry, ask God for the revelation of His blueprints. Your own ears will hear Him, right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left. Follow His path, with uncompromising faith, no matter how far it seems from the path you envisaged. We serve a God who is both the first and last, who sees the end from the beginning, whose plans for us are of good not of evil. What more do we need to hold on to?

Prayer: My Loving Father, I bless You for You are the promise keeper. I thank You for the assurance I have in You, let it be unto me, according to Your word. Grant me the grace to stand firm in You so that I do not waver in anxiety,  and to draw closer to You so that I may know Your heart for each time and season. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Standing Firm With The Helmet Of Salvation

Take the helmet of salvation...

A Roman soldier's helmet protected a soldier's skull and neck from enemy blows and falling debris. Just as the breastplate of righteousness guards the heart, the helmet of salvation guards the mind. The helmet of salvation guards a Christian's mind by providing hope, which is a joyful and confident expectation that God will keep His promises.

A person without hope is vulnerable to the enemy's lie that life is not worth living. All of us were without hope before we knew the Lord. Even after becoming children of God, we can still experience attacks against our hope. Our hope is in the salvation of the Lord - not only in His initial salvation from the penalty of sin, but also in His continuing salvation from the power of sin and the attacks of the devil. The enemy seeks to dissuade us from the  hope we have in Jesus Christ. However, as we yield to the Holy Spirit, God works His salvation in us. We are justified (made righteous) in God's sight by faith in the finished work of Christ. We are sanctified (set apart unto God) by the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. We will be glorified when Jesus returns to receive us unto Himself, which is the culmination of our salvation. Thus, our hope and confidence is in God's ability to complete the good work which He has begun in us.

Many of Satan's battles against us happen in the mind. To counteract the battle going on against our minds, we need to receive God's Word with all readiness of mind and search the Scriptures daily.  Because God has provided us with the helmet of salvation, we need not be taken by the devil's evil schemes against our minds. Stand firm today with the helmet of salvation.

Prayer: My Loving Father, I thank You for my salvation, because it tells me of Your love and it gives me hope. I thank You for who I am in Christ, and that You who has started a good work in me is able to and will complete it. Father, there are certain situations that may make me doubt who I am in Christ and the significance of my salvation. May I be continually reminded to put on my helmet of salvation, which gives me hope. May I never lose my hope and trust in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Encouraged With Strength

As soon as I pray, You answer me;
You encourage me by giving me strength.

Our loving Father is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering [Psalm 65:2, NLT]. As soon as we pray, He answers us. Sometimes we may not hear His answers because our hearts are clouded with cares and anxiety, or we are no longer able to discern His voice, or we already assume the answer He will give us. When we do hear from God and He wants us to wait longer than we expected, it could be disheartening.

In today's scripture, the Psalmist tells us that God encouraged Him by giving him strength. It was strength for the inner self to overcome temptation, to wait and to be expectant with each passing day.

You may be waiting on God for the physical manifestation of the answers to your prayers. You may have to deal with suggestions like "Why don't use take alternative measures? Why do you still trust this God who has not yet answered You?" Your loving Father makes everything beautiful in His own time and will never forsake His own. If you have to wait, He will encourage you, give you inner strength to be inflexible to temptations, and fill you with joy as you wait on Him.

Prayer: My Loving Father, my prayer-hearing and answering God, I thank You because as soon as I pray, You answer me. There are some times when I do not hear Your answers because my ears are not attuned to Your voice. Father, I pray for sensitivity to Your voice and Your words. There are times when I pray and Your answer implies that I have to wait.  I pray that I will be receptive to Your encouragement, which will give me strength to wait on You and overcome temptations. Thank You Father for answered prayers. In Jesus Name, Amen.