Monday, July 30, 2012

Be Strong In The Lord

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

It would be nice if we are God’s vessels to bring His Word to those in need.

It is not an easy job; persecution abounds.

But 95% of the believers who faced the test of external persecution passed it.

It is not persecution itself but the lessons learned under persecution that make and keep the church and an individual believer strong in the Lord.

What makes the difference is how we respond to persecution and how we respond to freedom.

Let us prepare ourselves for the hard assignments
in responding biblically to challenges.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fasting and Praying

Matthew 6:17-18

But when you fast,
put oil on your head and wash your face,
so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting,
but only to your Father, who is unseen;
and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus assumes that His followers practice fasting. He says “when” you fast and not “if” you fast.

Fasting is a significant spiritual activity that goes along with intensive prayer times.

To fast means to put God first. Fasting is an attitude of the heart in which we interrupt our normal life to pray for a specific matter or cause. It means to abstain from food and for some, even drink so that we can focus on God and be more sensitive to spiritual matters.

Fasting is also perseverance in prayer until we have received an answer — be it yes, no, wait or something different. In essence, fasting means that we rend our hearts before God, confess our sins and turn to the Lord anew (Joel 2:12-13).

Fasting is biblical. Moses fasted twice for 40 days (Exodus 34:28); Daniel fasted (partially) for 21 days (Daniel 10:3); Joel called for a day of fasting (Joel 1:14; 2:12); Ezra withdrew for a period of fasting and mourning (Ezra 10:6); Elijah fasted for 40 days (1 Kings 19:8); Leaders of the church in Antioch fasted (Acts 13:2-3); Jesus fasted for 40 days ( Luke 4:2); Paul and Barnabas fasted (Acts 14:23; 27:33).

Let us resolve to practice all the spiritual disciplines, including fasting.

Help me, Lord,
to practice fasting as a spiritual discipline without making it obvious.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Lamp In The Dark

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.

Let us treasure our freedom to read and meditate on God’s Word.

Oh Lord,
May Your Spirit of Peace
be upon our brethren in suffering.
May they be encouraged by Your Word!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oh Christian Fathers

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

For you know that we dealt with each of you
as a father deals with his own children,
encouraging, comforting and urging you
to live lives worthy of God,
who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

The Apostle Paul is very specific here in defining a fatherly role.

He gives 3 special characteristics of a Christian father (We fathers tend to apply them in reverse order).

He states them as:
  • Encouraging - Like children, we are often tempted to give up. When that happens, the real need is for someone to come along side who can identify with and encourage them to keep going. A Christian father is one who is always there to give an encouraging word when needed. And the need is often!
  • Comforting - This reference is to the kind of comfort that helps a child or another person carry a burden of grief or pain. Just by coming alongside in this concerned way, the burden is made lighter and the pain is lessened. We were not created to be alone, especially in grief. The Christian father and disciple maker is also always there for times of comfort giving.
  • Exhorting - This is the direction and assertiveness characteristic that should be evident in the father/disciple maker relationship. There are times when the father moves from the side to stand squarely in front and confront them with something that they need to face. The dangers in not exercising this responsibility are very great and should compel us to be diligent toward both our children and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us commit ourselves to be a good encourager, comforter and exhorter.

Oh Father,
Thank You for Christian fathers
who have modelled Your heart with their children.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Opportunity & Opposition

1 Corinthians 16:8-9

But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost,
because a great door for effective work has opened to me,
and there are many who oppose me.

The Apostle Paul was always focused on opportunity. Yet he was a realist who knew the opposition he faced from the enemy of our souls.

He expresses here an interest in visiting the Corinthian Church for a significant period of time. But it would not be until after Pentecost because of great open doors for effective work in spite of much opposition.

In doing kingdom work we should always expect opposition but that should not blind us to the great opportunities.

Let us not allow opposition to blind us to the opportunities of service God provides.

Oh God! Give me strength to walk through
open doors of effective work

in the face of opposes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Memorizing God's Word

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
(Psalm 119:11)

Over and over the Scriptures direct us to meditate on God’s Word. This activity takes time and discipline but brings much spiritual benefit and reward. Meditation is focused thinking about a Bible verse or passage in order to discover how we can apply its truth to our own lives.

In applying Scripture, we need to ask three primary questions.
  1. What did it mean to the original hearers?
  2. What is the underlying timeless principle?
  3. Where or how should I practice that principle?

There are six specific ways to meditate on a verse or passage:
  • Picture it. Visualize the scene in your mind.
  • Pronounce it. Say it aloud each time, emphasizing a different word.
  • Paraphrase it. Rewrite the verse in your own words.
  • Personalize it. Replace the pronouns or people with your own name.
  • Pray it. Turn the verse into a prayer and say it back to God.
  • Probe it. Ask the following questions: Is there any sin to confess? Is there any promise to claim? Is there any attitude to change? Is there any command to keep? Is there any example to follow? Is there any prayer to pray? Is there any error to avoid? Is there any truth to believe? Is there something for which to thank God?
Today, let’s learn to meditate on God’s Word.