Friday, January 31, 2014

Living Humbly

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (Philippians 4:12 NAS)

Living Humbly
I used to live a life of plenty when I was working as a software support engineer until I was laid off because of corporate restructuring and had to move on to do something else. I learned then to live humbly, yet once in a while when I became too comfortable in a job, I was reminded of my dependency and had to go through times of waiting upon the Lord. On occasions, out of desperation for the livelihood of my loved ones and mine, I was tempted to go back to my old ways to work in jobs that were not entirely according to the will of God. I refrained, however, because I was constantly reminded of King Saul and the consequence he had to face, after he disobeyed God because he could not wait (1 Samuel 13:8-14).

Perhaps some of us are going through similar situations right now, desperately in need to make ends meet to provide for ourselves, our loved ones and dependents. We have waited for a long time and our prayers seem to be unanswered. We are tempted to give up, go back to our old ways, or go ahead without consulting or the blessing of the Lord. God is saying to us He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

As we do our part to look for the means to keep ourselves and our loved ones alive, let us also look beyond the mountains; for our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2). In the meantime, learn to get along with humble means and to comprehend the secret of being filled and going hungry in any and every circumstance (Philippians 4:12). Keep God’s word and do not deny His name, and God will open for us a door to meet all our needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19; Revelation 3:8).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we chose to get on ahead without consulting You or waiting for Your reply. Help us Lord not be tempted to return to our old ways during desperate times, but to push on in keeping Your word and not deny Your name. Keep us humble Lord to understand the secret of being filled and hungry in any and every circumstance. Open the door to the plan You have for us Lord that we might walk in Your will all the days of our lives.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Endless Quest

The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, But the stomach of the wicked is in need. (Proverbs 13:25 NAS)

Endless Quest
As I was not a brilliant student, I spent much of my time in the relentless pursuit of reading as many books as possible in my attempt to get good grades during my high school days. Consequently, I neglected my duties as a youth ministry leader and Bible study in church. 

Then one day, the pastor-in-charge of the youth ministry approached me. Quoting the verse Ecclesiastes 12:12, he read to me “But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.” His advice for me: let God work His plan in my life to balance my studies and service in the Lord.

Devoting ourselves to books or something else that means a lot to us is of course nothing wrong. Many of us pursue after things of our own desire, interest or to better ourselves. Whether it is wisdom, knowledge, fame, popularity, beauty, wealth, a hobby or things that are ‘in’ or ‘hot’ at this point of time, we can enjoy what we like doing. When our pursuit becomes relentless, and sometimes endless, just to satisfy our appetites, whim or ego, however, such can distract us from what really is important.

Are we in endless pursuit to satisfy our desires and appetites? Are we frequently feeling we are not having enough and always asking God for more? The Bible says to delight ourselves in the LORD and He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to us (Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:31). For the righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked suffers want (Proverbs 13:25).

So let us set our priorities right. If we seek to pursue after our own foolish and harmful desires, be aware that like those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare, we might plunge ourselves into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9). For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and they are in conflict with each other that we may not do whatever we want (Galatians 5:17).

Taking the advice of my pastor, I chose to seek God first and God saw to it that my grades were better than before. What is our choice today in our endless pursuit to do better or to satisfy our heart’s desires?

Dear God, forgive us for the many times we fail to set our priorities right in our endless pursuit to satisfy our own foolish and harmful desires. Help us Lord to always put You first in all we do and to delight ourselves in You to fulfill Your will. Guide us Holy Spirit so we might not set our desire against You in doing the things we please. Lead us O God that we might not fall into temptation or a snare, but seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Finding Rest at Day’s End

When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. (Mark 1:32 NAS)

Finding Rest at Day's End
After a hard day’s work, we usually hope to come home to an evening of rest and meaningful time with our family or doing the things we like. The necessity of livelihood and work expectation, however, often leaves us with little time for ourselves. From morning to evening, day after day, we rush to get on with the day, and we rush to complete our tasks and to meet deadlines. By the end of the day, we are left exhausted, stressed and worn out. Yet for some of us, we continue to do things hurriedly even at home, and sometimes even work through the night. Such a minute to minute lifestyle bears consequences and depletes health, even with the young and energetic.

Much like the circumstances we face today, Jesus also experienced the difficult situation of finding time to rest at day’s end. Even after the sun had set, people were still bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed (Mark 1:32). Jesus said, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58). Yet, our Lord never let life circumstances dictate His resolution to spend quiet time with God, and frequently urged His disciples to go to a secluded place with Him and get some rest (Luke 5:16; Mark 6:31).

Are we finding ourselves too busy for our own good that even at the end of the day, we are still stressed and worn out? If we are, we need to find time to rest. Spending a few minutes to take a break, relax and rest amid the rush is important if we hope to live our lives to the fullest to enjoy the abundant life God has intended for us (John 10:10). Whether it is in the evenings or at a time that works best for us, let us set aside time to free ourselves from the distraction of this world—the mobile phone, wireless devices, TV and the like—and rest. Like Mary, let us sit at the Lord’s feet to listen to what He has to say rather than keep ourselves busy like Martha (Luke 10:39-42).

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,” Jesus said. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the many times we let ourselves become too busy to the point of failing to listen to You. Help us Lord to refocus on You and to know Your will as we resolve to spend meaningful time with You and take time to rest. Grant us renewed strength each day O Lord that we might face our challenges boldly without misgivings or distractions. We desire to live our lives to the fullest Lord and enjoy the abundant life You have intended for us. Thank You, Lord, for giving us rest.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Blessings of Waiting on the Lord

Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. (Psalm 40:4 KJV)

Blessings of Waiting on the Lord
Waiting on God is good. There are blessings attached to our continuous trust in God even when it seems as if our prayers are not being answered. Waiting on God is not a single, momentary act of expectation or hope; it is a continuous act of exercising our faith and trust in the Lord. There is no length of days, months or years for waiting on the Lord. The kind of prayers that is associated with waiting on the Lord is called PUSH (Pray until something happens). In Psalm 40:1-4, David said he waited patiently on the Lord. Waiting involves a lot of patience. It is designed to kill our anxiety (Philippians 4:6) and to test the level of trust we have on God. There are amazing blessings emanating from continuous fervent prayers even if they seem not to be answered from the beginning.

First, God always pay attention to those who patiently wait on him. David did wait on God and he was not disappointed. God took notice of him and inclined unto him. When we think in our heart that may be God does not understand what we are going through, he actually does and if we persevere in prayer like David, we shall soon reap the fruit.

Second, God ultimately answer the prayer of those who wait on him. Jesus gave us a parable in Luke 18:1-8 that we should pray always without ceasing. He understands the spiritual far more than we know the physical. Jesus knows that effectual fervent prayer cannot go without being answered. He knows that if we continue knocking the door of heaven without ceasing, our prayers will surely be answered. God answered the cry of David; the supplication which he had presented before God. David was delivered. His feet were set upon the solid rock and songs of praise filled his mouth. That shall be our portion this season in Jesus name.

Beloved, God has a lot of promises for whoever is ready to wait upon him and you can be a partaker of those promises today if you are ready to wait and trust in him.   

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)”

If you haven’t received salvation yet, please do so today by praying this short prayer of salvation. Joseph Iwaye

Everlasting God, I come before you today, please give me the grace to trust and wait on you. Let me not wickedly depart from you. Teach me how to follow you correctly even in this world that is full of evil (In Jesus name I pray, amen).

Friday, January 3, 2014

Contentment

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)

Contentment
I don’t know if you make New Year’s resolutions or not, but if you do, perhaps this is the year to bypass that and offer up a prayer for the year instead. I can’t think of a better thing to pray for than what Paul shares in Philippians 4:11-13. Paul was in jail, a depressing situation if there ever was one … and he had been there for some time and wasn’t expecting release any time soon. He had faced beatings, attempts to kill him, imprisonment. Still, he was contented. What a great example for us to follow.

You see, contentment doesn’t just happen. It would be great if everything in life went well, if fairness and justice abounded, if all we wished for occurred. But we live in a broken world. Things do not always go as we plan and certainly not always as we’d like. Bad things happen; disappointments come frequently. One of my favorite bumper stickers reads, “Man plans; God laughs.” I don’t think God laughs at our misfortunes; I think he weeps with us. But the futility of so much of what we plan and work for is there all too often. We plan, we work, and things still go wrong. So how does one get contentment in those circumstances?

Paul says he “learned” to be content. How can one learn that? Well, like any kind of education, it takes some work on your part.

First, pray—but not selfishly; pray for God’s guidance, and believe in your heart that He wants the best for you. Trust Him. Without that, contentment is lost. Use your Bible. Look for examples within it that you can lean on. When you find something, pray it, make it your own. When my eldest son was a rebellious teenager and we were constantly locking horns, I claimed Isaiah 54:13 as my own—“All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.” I would tell God that I was failing to reach him, so I was trusting God to take care of things. And he grew to be a man in whom I take great pride. I’ve often said of both my sons that they are men I’d want to know, even if we weren’t related.

And remember—when times are frustrating, dismaying, chaotic, remember the good times and trust in your heart their return. Take whatever life hands you and learn from it, so you can use what you’ve learned when you face your next trial. One thing I learned through my separation and divorce from my husband is that, even when I think something is too great for me to get through, I can get through it. My coping skills are much, much better now than they were before that all happened. I learned first-hand that, when you hit the bottom in life, there’s nowhere else to go but up. So when you’re spinning your wheels, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember what’s come before and how you got through it. And trust God to get you through this time, too.

Finally, claim verse 13. You really can do amazing things through God. He empowers you with strength not your own. You need only claim it from him. Isaiah 40:29-31 is a favorite of mine. “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,  But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary; They shall walk and not faint.”

God has blessed me with contentment. It has been a long road getting there, but we travelled it together and now I can claim, along with Paul, that I have learned to be content in all things. I pray that you will get there, too. Emily Montfort

Abba, Father, thank you for being there in all we go through. Help us to see your hand in whatever we’re going through and help us to learn, like Paul, to be content in that knowledge. In your holy and blessed name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Blessed New Year 2014

Wishing You a Blessed and ...

Blessed New Year 2014

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly
beyond all that we ask or think, according to 
the power that works within us, to Him be 
the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
to all generations forever and ever. Amen. 

~ Ephesians 3:20-21 (NAS) ~

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