Friday, January 1, 2021

Friday, May 22, 2020

In Christ Alone

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NKJ)

In Christ Alone
When we say, “With God’s help, we can …” we often think of ourselves doing the work and God supporting us. The truth is, without God, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). The emphasis here is on Christ, not us. Unless Christ enables us, we cannot, and unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).

Before we even begin to do anything, therefore, should we not first come to the Lord to ask for His direction and enablement?

Grant us, dear Lord, a calm spirit to rest in You and to listen to the prompting of Your Spirit as to what next steps to take, so that in Your strength we may walk and fulfill Your purpose for us. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Give Wisely

And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. (Luke 15:16 NKJ)

Give Wisely
Can we imagine how it would be like if we, out of the goodness of our hearts, helped the prodigal son and provided him with food, lodging and perhaps clothes? Very likely, he would have continued to live his life on charity for a time before he would think of returning to his father.

The Bible teaches us to give as we have purposed in our hearts, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Nevertheless, when we give, we need to verify and know whether our giving is for the right cause or meeting the needs of the people whom the Spirit has placed in our hearts to reach out.

I know of a church that had been regularly giving financial help to an overseas mission ministry. Later, however, that ministry decided to embrace atheism in place of Christianity, and the church discontinued its contribution to redirect its sponsorship to another Christian mission organization. Nevertheless, there are still individual Christian contributors who continued to sponsor the mission organization that turned atheist, unaware of the change. When we give, perhaps, we should consider doing it through the church as it is more in touch of what's happening on the ground.

Lord, we thank You for giving us hearts that desire to meet the needs of others. Yet sometimes, our good intent may do more harm than help another. Lead us, therefore, by Your Spirit to know the right thing we should do when helping others and grant us an attentive heart to hear You and know Your will and direction.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Rest in His Favor

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJ)

Livelihood is a concern for many, especially for those who are struggling to make ends meet. Whether we have enough to eat, drink or wear are matters of genuine concern. Even if we know life is more than just food and clothing, we cannot help but to sometimes worry about our next meal or how we can have enough to feed ourselves and the people under our care.

Some years ago, I was met with the situation of hitting rock bottom, unable to provide for myself and my dependents. When I cried out to the Lord, He heard me and answered my prayer. Amid seeking and waiting for a job, He led me to opportunities for freelancing, which sufficiently tied me and my family through for a period before I finally landed on a God-given job. God-given because it met every aspect of my request in prayer—a perfect fit.

This is why in Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus said to us not to be worried about our life; what we will eat, drink or wear. The birds do not plant or harvest or store food in barns, yet our heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not far more valuable to Him than them? Which of us by worrying can add a cubit to our stature? If God cares even for wildflowers, will He not care for us much more?

Even when we hear bad news suggesting a year or two of downturn, we need not have to worry, because as children of God, we are favored by Him, and need not walk according to the world’s economy. Because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross, we are now qualified to receive His unmerited favor of blessings. Rather than worry extensively or do many things to try and remedy the situation, let us rest in the Lord, because when we rest, God works; when we work and attempt to solve our own problems by our own effort, God rests.

Therefore, do not worry because God knows our needs. He cares for us and will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

Friday, May 1, 2020

Self-Doubt

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJ)

For many years, my work at a corporation had been highly valued. After the team of people I worked with was absorbed into another department, however, things became seemingly difficult with the change in culture under a new boss and a new supervisor. It took me several months ironing out conflicts and differences adjusting from a team working environment to top-down management. Before long, I became greatly distressed and began questioning my own self-worth and values. I failed to realize then that it was God’s plan leading me to something better.

Questioning our own worth when we feel inadequate or when in self-doubt is not uncommon. Moses, when he was called by God to deliver His people out of Egypt, said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) Solomon, when he was crowned king, prayed, “Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.” (1 Kings 3:7) When told to deliver Israel from the hands of the Midianites, Gideon said, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15)

Thankfully for all of them, they eventually became overcomers, not because of their abilities, but because they came to realize their lack and weakness. That qualified them for God’s unmerited favor.  It is when we come to realize we cannot but God can, that God says to us, His grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Rather than measuring our worth based on the words of people or on the things of this world, let’s lay for ourselves a sure foundation on the Lord’s unchanging love for us. Even if for our entire life we have not had anyone affirmed our value, we need not feel insecure because in the eyes of God, we are worth more than we can ever imagine for Him to sacrifice the life of His Son to save us.


Friday, April 24, 2020

God Gives and Does Not Take Back

… The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21 NKJ)

God had given to me the best things in life in the past, but now He has taken it back because I have not been faithful walking with Him.

My job was God-given, but now He has taken it away, perhaps, because I have disobeyed or failed Him in some areas of my life.

My friend, if you believe that God is the One who gives (good things) and takes back, you believe wrongly!

Job was mistaken in believing his misfortune came from God. In reality, it was Satan who took away Job’s loved ones, property and health (Job 1:8-2:7). God was the One who blessed Job’s latter days with much more (Job 42:12-17).

Whether we are facing problems with our health, finances, career or grieving over the loss of someone, know that God understands what we are going through and He cares for us. He loves us so much He gave His Son to die on the cross so that through Jesus’ finished work, we can have all the blessings He died to give us.

Help us, dear Lord, to change our misconception of Your love for us to think that it is conditional. Remind us when we are in doubt that You loved us so much, You bore all our wrongdoings and died on the cross to save us, so that today we can cry out, "Abba Father, thank You for loving us, and for giving us Your Son.

Friday, April 17, 2020

A Testimony of God’s Grace

A Testimony of God's Grace

I used to attend a church that emphasizes works beyond grace, and a salvation that requires maintaining till the end to be saved (Matthew 24:13). Such teachings frequently led to guilt and condemnation, especially when I fail to meet up to my own, God’s and others’ expectations.

After joining a grace-based church that preaches God’s unmerited favor without attempting to balance or mix with the law, I have come to understand more in-depth how much Jesus loves me, and the completeness of His finished work at the cross. When storms come blowing on my door and things around me get crazy, I know I can rest in Him. In my weakness, He is my strength, and what I can’t, I know God can. To me, the Christian life is not about what I can do (for God), but what God had done (for me). Edmond Ng

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Friday, January 4, 2019

New Beginnings

‘The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.’ Mark 1:1 (NRSV)

New Beginnings
When Jesus makes his appearance as a small baby it is both the arrival and the beginning of the good news. It has come for all people, for all times and as Jesus proclaims his message to all who will listen, the news just continues to get better and better.

Has the good news arrived and begun growing in our lives? Have we had the joy of meeting Jesus Christ yet? There is no really good news until he makes his initial appearance in our hearts; though we can look for it elsewhere in a multitude of people or places.

And once Jesus has been invited to begin sharing his life with us, his presence, his words and his promises will bring an exponential growth of good news in our lives. What holds us back from receiving all his goodness? What false narratives are causing us to resist him? A transformed life can be found in no other person, in no other place, in no other way. He is the answer and a life invested in Christ is the good life.

Beginnings can be difficult places to breach. They may be places of doubt, fear and questions. Allow Christ to calm our fears and satisfy our questions. A new beginning, full of good news is waiting for us.

Dear Jesus, forgive me for looking elsewhere and neglecting the good news you offer. I offer myself to you. Help me to walk closely with you each day from this moment onward. Thank you. Jennifer Woodley

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Blessed New Year 2019

Blessed New Year 2019!

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us 
the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:17 (NAS)



Friday, December 28, 2018

New Heart, New Year

New Heart, New Year
We read in Ezekiel 36:25-27 of a wonderful promise that each of us can take and hold onto if we desire to see our lives changed and it starts by allowing God to change us from the inside out.

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27 (ESV)

I love this passage of scripture because it explains to me one thing that apart from God I will never really get where I am going. You see He was talking to Israeli about being redeemed from all of their failings and He has promised you and me the same things if we will submit to His will for our lives.

What we see here is that when we chose the path that leads to God he begins a work in us that cleans us up. Not that you or I have to have everything right before we come to him we just have to take the steps in the right direction and he will begin that work. That comes through the conviction of our sins and the repentance of our heart. It is God who strengthens us to put aside those things that are keeping us out of His will no matter what it might be. He has promised to cleanse us and bring us closer to Himself.

Then God shows Ezekiel that the problem is not that we are just unclean but our hearts are hard as stone and this keeps us from continuing on the path that he has set before us. We are unable to enjoy what he has given us because we are dry inside. There is a difference between the words rock and stone within scripture. We call Jesus the rock of our salvation this is something permanent that will with stand everything that comes against it. While a stone is something much smaller that is often used by man. Sometimes it was used to honor God when altars were built but most often you see it used to destroy men and women as they are stoned to death for sins against God. So for us to try to follow after God with something that is man-made will never work it requires we allow Him to give us a heart transplant. This is the only real way for us to grow closer to Him.

He has also promised us something else in these passages a source of power to stay the course. He has promised to provide you with a new Spirit and that Spirit will help us stay on the path that he has called us to. It will give you strength in times of weakness. It provides direction when we are lost. It strengthens us when the load gets heavy and He guides us in our interactions with others. This new heart and spirit that have been promised; you will receive as you walk with God on the path he has chosen for you in the New Year.

One last point and verse I want to share with you today. When we have accepted this New Heart and Spirit God has promised us something in verse 28;

28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:28 (ESV)

God has something prepared for us that is greater than anything we can imagine. It requires though that we start traveling in the right direction and that we submit to His will in our lives so that we will be blessed and be a blessing to others.

I hope you have a truly blessed day as you walk in the light of God’s Word. Rev Brian Mathis