Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Good Man Speaks

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)

You and I are that "good man" Jesus talks about. His Spirit makes us good, and we must let Him complete His good work in us. That work should be reflected in our speech, which edifies and encourages others at all times. We are God's children, therefore, we must be determined to conduct every conversation in a godly manner -- and we will, if we put on Christ! So, let's fight the good fight for godly communication. That's what a "good man" does.

 

Jesus says a tree is known by its fruit, and the fruit of our lips will reveal the condition of our hearts every time. So, we must take the spade of the Word of God in order to uproot every trace of bitterness, and we can trust the scriptures to dig up every evil seed Satan has planted. We are good trees, the plantings of God, and our hearts are to be storehouses of good treasure. That should be evident each time we speak. Remember, a good tree will always bear good fruit, and a pure heart always bring forth good treasure. Always.


Let’s Pray
 – Dear Lord, thank You for Your sanctifying work in my life. I am learning to speak words of kindness and encouragement to everyone I encounter. Please continue to correct and bless my speech. Amen.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

People of Influence

Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord. And he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master." (Genesis 24:26-27a)

Godliness is the greatest point of influence one can exercise, and godly people will have a positive influence on everyone who has the privilege of knowing them. Abraham’s servant demonstrates a knowledge of the true and living God that is surely the result of the influence of his master Abraham, who God called His friend. He trusts in God just like Abraham, and he demonstrates an understanding of God's ways that indicates he watched his master closely and learned his lessons well.

 

As Abraham's servant looked to his master's God, so we look to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus Christ. And just as Abraham's God was found faithful, so will the God of our Lord be faithful to show Himself strong on our behalf, and He will answer every prayer lifted up to Him in faith. Each of us has been entrusted with opportunities to serve God's purpose, and the Holy Spirit gives us the awesome power and privilege to succeed and glorify God with those divine endeavors. That is what the word calls "good success." May we, too, enjoy that kind of success, give thanks, bow down, and worship God our Master. Amen. 

 

Let’s Pray – Father, help me to be a true and faithful witness to Your love and goodness. May those who follow my footsteps find themselves in the presence of the Lord, bowing down in worship, and glorifying Your name. Amen.

 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Separate Unto God

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich . . .' " (Genesis 18:22-24)

Though the king of Sodom appeared to be making a gracious offer, Abram rightly discerned his motives; and by refusing the riches he offered, he avoided any future association or obligation to him. Those ties would have surely become a point of grief to Abram, and once again, he wisely kept himself separate and unencumbered, so the Lord might have His way with him and bless him as He promised. May the same be true of us; separated unto God, and God alone.

 

God does not need help from anyone or any group of people to keep His promises to us. There is no need to curry favor or seek approval from men and women, nor do we have to meet the qualifications the world requires. The Lord sovereignly chose Abram, and earthly riches did not compare to the blessings laid up for him in Christ. The Lord has sovereignly chosen us, and He desires we live unfettered and uncomplicated lives that are free from relationships, attachments, and commitments that limit us spiritually. That is the choice that Abram made, to have faith in God alone; and we are his children, because we walk by that same type of faith. May all our streams be found in the Lord, and may we joyfully receive all God's promises to us in Jesus Christ.

 

Let's Pray – Father, I choose to find my satisfaction in You and You alone. May I resist every temptation to give in to worldliness and compromise. All my hope is in You. Amen.

 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Your New Name

Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” (Genesis 17:15-16)

God changed Sarai's name to Sarah to signify a new day in their relationship, and everything that was to transpire from that point forward was to be a matter of faith. He set Himself to bless her, provide for her, and fulfill her desire for a child of her own, even though she was far past the age of bearing children. He was determined to do for her what only He could do and to prove His word faithful and true. It is not until we receive the promises of the Lord as Sarah did — even in the face of impossibilities — that we begin to walk confidently and fearlessly before Him. Do you believe Him like that?

 

Some of us have never experienced the touch of the Lord by receiving His promises, and we have not yet received our new name. Yet, He is our Father, and that word packs great meaning for each of us. His promises are not only for others, because God doesn't have favorites. But He does have intimates — His children. He doesn't speak to "ministers" only, but to everyone He receives as sons and daughters. Our religious notions must give way to relationship, and that relationship is personal and available to each one who will hear, believe, and enter in. I challenge you to listen for God's still and quiet voice speaking directly to you. You will hear Him confirming His love for you and revealing His divine path for you to walk. So, receive your new name today — "Beloved of the Lord."

 

Let’s Pray – Lord, I want to believe You and trust You more than ever before. When You speak, I will say, “Yes, Lord!” So, speak. Your servant is listening. Amen.

 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

It’s All Good

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) 

When I am born again and walking with God, my steps are ordered and all things work together for my good. All things may not feel good or look good, but they work together for good, and that is the confidence the Lord would have me possess. When I am walking by faith and my eyes are focused on Him, my life progresses according to His will and good purpose. As I live uprightly before God, I will see His perfect will done in me, just as He promised.

 

God is all-knowing, and He is able to take all the things we experience and make them serve a larger divine purpose. As Joseph said to his brothers who had treated him with contempt and cruelty, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . .”  (Genesis 50:20). Once we grasp this truth, we can walk confidently even in difficult times, knowing the Lord has each of us right where He wants us, and He is doing a good work in us even when it hurts. He has wisely considered "all things" that are necessary for life and godliness where we are concerned; and that is why we can say with great boldness, "It's all good!" Yes, all things are good when we are in Christ.


Let's Pray 
– Lord, I pray with the greatest assurance and confidence, because I pray in Jesus’ name. I believe I have what I ask in faith, and that faith is rooted in my Lord. Thank You for this eternal perspective and understanding. Amen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

People of Understanding

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. (Proverbs 17:27-28) 

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; (James 1:19)

 

We are more likely to transgress by the things we say than the things we do, so when it comes to speech, less is often more. That is because our words have great power, and they render an immediate effect on those who hear them the moment they are spoken. We cannot un-say the things we say any more than we can un-do our actions; so the more carefully and sparingly we speak, the better. This is a difficult but invaluable lesson, and the sooner we learn it, the better.

 

There is much value in being a determined listener, for it is a greater a privilege to be quiet and listen than to speak and be heard. In fact, those who listen more learn more, and they build up a storehouse of wisdom from which to speak. When we truly understand the power of our words, we will cherish every conversation and count each one an honor. May we be thankful today for each opportunity to listen intently and speak in a way that God approves.


Let’s Pray
 – Lord, please give us the ear to hear what You are speaking in every situation and every conversation. Help us to be still and quiet enough to receive and share Your counsel daily. Amen.

 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Flesh vs. Spirit

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:17-18)

I wish I could tell you that spiritual things get easier as you grow older, but that is not true. In fact, the closer and longer we walk with Christ, the hotter the battle between the devil, the world, our flesh vs. our spirit — and it is quite the battle for those who are living godly lives. This life is not hard for Christians who are enamored with the wonders of salvation and all its benefits. They never actually show up for Christian duty, and they never experience the rigors of a growing relationship with a holy God. The sufferings of Christ remain a mystery to them, because they follow Jesus at a distance, and they would rather enjoy an unruffled life of blessings and favor. Yet, the Lord would have His sons and daughters gladly engage the rough and tumble of spiritual maturity and vitality, and He desires we enter through the narrow and difficult gate of discipleship.

 

None of us can please God by the sheer force of our will or our most sincere effort. There are contradictions in our souls that only the indwelling Spirit can reveal and overcome. The principle of sin is a reality we were born with, and it will remain with us as long as we are on this earth. However, the New Covenant is the supreme reality under which we live when we are born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Our victorious lives are not lived apart from our weaknesses and struggles, but in the midst of them. The freedom Christ gives us operates in the thick of life's battles, and we rise out of bondage and sin to sit with Him in the heavenly places. That is what it means to be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We win battles that could never be won without Him, and we are led by the Spirit into abundance and life; not by the law into condemnation, but by grace in to the glorious liberty that is ours in Him. May we come to articulate and appreciate these things more and more.


Let’s Pray
 – Dear God, may I wake up every day with a readiness and willingness to fight the good fight of faith. I will put on the whole armor of God, which is Christ, and I will be victorious in Him. To God be the glory! Amen.