I stood in the bare white room and sighed. Paint cans, trays, rollers and brushes were stacked in the middle of the floor. Every breath I took reminded me that I'd been here for a number of days, but there was still work to be done. These walls were still white. By the time we were finished painting the downstairs floors of two houses, I was tired, but I was getting pretty good at painting. I was even enjoying it a bit. It was satisfying, watching the paint flow onto the walls, turning them to a warm comforting colour.
I grabbed a new pail, gave it a bit of a shake and opened it up. I knew as soon as I passed the roller over the wall that something was wrong. I looked at the label on the pail. It was the same colour. I looked at the paint inside. It looked the same as what I'd been using earlier in the day. But I looked at the wall and frowned. I dipped a brush into the paint and immediately realized the problem. It needed to be stirred. It took quite a while, and my arm was starting to object, before the consistency was right and I could use that paint, but once it had been stirred enough, the rest of the work was almost effortless.
Like paint, our faith in God needs to be stirred. We need to see God's hand at work in our lives and the lives of others. It's the answered prayers, the obvious God incidents, and the manifestations of His glory in the world around us, which thicken our faith into something that will sustain us, something that can be used.
Some of the stirring can only be accomplished by God Himself. Faith is a gift. Only He can open our eyes to its reality. But we can put ourselves in places where we will see the hand of God at work. Go to the third world. Help in a soup kitchen. Visit the dying and those in prison. Work with those who are disabled. Witness to those around you. Go to church. Take the risks that will reveal Him. God is always at work in places where He is most needed.
When faith is thin, our spiritual life fades and God can't accomplish much through us. But when it's been stirred, life thickens with purpose and meaning. It is then that faith becomes a beautiful and useful tool in God's hands. When our faith has been stirred, the work we do for Him seems almost effortless because we recognize that it is He who works through us. We see the difference only He can make, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose". (Philippians 2:13).
Two kinds of voices vie for our attention. One says, “God will help you.” The other says, “God has left you!”
And here’s the great news: you select the voices you hear. Why give ear to pea-brains and scoffers when you can, with the same ear, listen to the voice of God? I had a friend who battled alcohol. He tried a fresh tactic. He gave me and a few others permission to slug him in the nose if we ever saw him drinking. If the wall is too tall, try the tunnel! Try something different… God will help you!
Ephesians 1:19-20 says, “God’s power is very great for those who believe. That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead and put Him at His right side in the heavenly world.”
Turn to God and he will give you what you need. Turn a deaf ear to the old voices. Open a wide eye to the new choices!
from Facing Your Giants
"the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ is spread through the believer” (2 Cor.2:14)
I looked out the window and noticed a thorny plant in bloom. The flowers look like clover- round little purple heads on a tall and gangly stalk. The amazing thing is the amount of bees this plant has drawn. About thirty bees are literally swarming around this bush. Now, there is no fragrance to this flower that I can detect, but, there is something most definitely appealing about this perennial to these busy insects!
In the Bible, God talks about fragrance a few times in both the Old and New Testament. In 2 Cor. 2:14 He says, "the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ is spread through the believer". In the next verse, it says that we (Christians) are "the sweet fragrance of Christ to God". (2 Cor. 2:15)
So, therefore, we are the fragrance of Christ, to God, and we spread this fragrance of Christ to others. Just like the bees were drawn to the flowers which emitted no sweet smell to me - likewise non-believers can be drawn to a Christian - by some undetectable pull.
In the New Testament, the story of a nice aroma is told in the book of John. In this story, Mary took expensive perfume and anointed Jesus’ feet. This wonderful smell permeated the entire house. (John 12:3) Likewise, sometimes our love for Christ is overflowing in such a manner that the fragrance of joy is obvious to others, and draws them near to see what is going on.
In either of these manners—obvious or subtle, Christians must draw the secular population to the saving grace and knowledge of Jesus. This is the fragrance which is pleasing to our God.
Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. ISAIAH 41 : 10
DRESSED FOR SUCCESS !!
Before you rush head-on into yet another hectic day .. Pause for a moment to ensure that your outfit is fully intact !!
Did you remember to put on .. The Belt Of Truth .. The Breastplate Of Righteousness .. The Shoes Of Peace .. The Shield Of Faith .. The Helmet Of Salvation .. and .. The Sword Of The Spirit .. ?
Did you remember to dress yourself for success in The Full Armor Of God .. ?
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand .. Ephesians 6 : 13
Wherefore .. Or .. Because you are fighting against spiritual wickedness, you must Take Unto You The Whole Armor Of God !!
Now, what is important for you to understand is that the phrase .. “Take Unto You” .. gives you great insight into the seriousness of the advice that is being put before you.
And Here Is The Reason Why !! .. In the Greek language used .. “Take Unto You” is like a military command that must be obeyed immediately and for all time !!
In Other Words .. You are to put on God’s armor Right Now and Do Not ever consider taking it off !!
It is important for you to maintain discipline over your flesh .. And .. Keep your spirit alert so that the Holy Spirit can keep you well informed of the enemy's movements at all times !!
You need to realise that when you Keep The Armor Of God On and you Persevere In The Spirit .. you Will Be Able to “withstand in the evil day” !!
Now, do yourself a favour .. Go back to Ephesians 6 : 13 and underline that word .. Day !!
Do this as a prominent and pertinent reminder to yourself that .. The devil’s attack against you is only for a day !!
That’s Right .. The devil Has A Limit !!
he will Not last if you will put on your armor and fight !! .. If you will Stand, his attack will soon be over and he will have to flee from you !!
STAND TALL !! .. STAND STRONG !! .. DON’T YOU QUIT !!
Are you aware that two of the greatest deceits of the devil are .. Discouragement and Exhaustion !!
In his view, if all else fails, he will very simply come at you again, and again, and again, and again, all to wear you down, tire you out and get you to throw in the towel and quit !!
Do you recall the time when Jesus was exhausted and alone in the wilderness being fiercely tempted by the devil .. Did Jesus Quit ? .. Absolutely Not !! .. Jesus stood against the devil with the Word Of God until the devil simply could not stay any longer !!
10 .. Then Jesus said to him, Be gone satan ! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve.
11 .. Then the devil departed from Him, and behold angels came and ministered to Him ..Matthew 4 : 10 – 11
The devils Time Was Up !! .. Jesus Outlasted him And he Had To Go !!
Today, you do not see Joshua and the children of Israel still circling around the wall of Jericho .. No !! .. They had a specific number of times to march and then their shout of victory brought the wall crashing down to the ground !!
The evil That Is Coming Against You Only Has .. A Day !!
If You Will Keep Standing .. his Day Will Soon Be Over !!
Whatever it may be that is coming against you in the spirit realm, you can be highly confident of the truth that it is not permanent !! .. It is not going to last too long .. Not If You Will Keep God’s Armor On And Stand !!
And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due season we shall reap, if you do not loosen and relax your courage and faint ..Galatians 6 : 9
How many of God’s children have not possessed the promises and blessings of God purely because they got tired of the struggle and quit just moments before ALL was theirs ?
How many were just inches away from conquering their land and they dropped their Sword or their Shield on the ground ?
That Very Thought Should Make Your Entire Body Shudder !!
What would have happened if Joshua had simply given up and quit before marching around the walls of Jericho for the seventh time ?
What would have happened if Joshua had given up before the shout ?
Father .. Help me to stop running in my own strength and live only in the quality of yours !! .. Help me to hear and listen to the voice of my Captain and follow only Your battle plan !! .. In your strength Lord, I will be sure to keep your armor on at all times, and when I have done all, God I will continue to resist the discouraging deceits of the devil Until your victory is manifested in my life .. In Jesus Name .. Amen !!
Child Of God, Always Remember !! .. When you know your enemy .. And .. You understand his tactics .. And .. You stay suited in the whole armor of God .. And .. You refuse to budge from God’s perfect will for your life .. You Can Defeat Your Enemy And Keep Him Defeated !! !!
You can love people .. Hate evil .. And .. Remain focused on the prize until it is fully yours !!
DO NOT PANIC .. PRAY !!
PANIC IS NATURAL .. PRAYER IS SUPERNATURAL !!
PSALM 91:3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
Today, we hear of new strains of viruses which were unheard of only a generation ago. The world has yet to find cures for them and many people are afraid of being struck down by these viruses.
But as believers, we are not of the world, though we are in the world. (John 17:15–16) So our protection is not of the world, but of the Lord. And when we say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust,” (Psalm 91:2) then what follows is not “maybe”, but surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
A couple in our church can testify that surely the Lord delivered and protected their two young children during a Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreak, which claimed a few lives in Singapore not long ago.
When their four-year-old daughter started vomiting and running a fever, the mother brought her to their family doctor, who found ulcers in her mouth and small red dots on her hands and feet—symptoms of the HFMD. Naturally, the doctor prescribed medication for her.
Back home, however, the little girl continued to vomit throughout the day, throwing up everything including the medication. Her fever persisted. Not able to do anything for their daughter, the parents prayed, proclaiming Jesus as their healer, and partook of the Holy Communion many times with both their children.
That night, their daughter’s fever broke and the vomiting subsided. They continued making the Lord their refuge and fortress. Within two days, their daughter was completely delivered from the disease. And all this while, their six-year-old son was completely protected from the infectious disease.
Beloved, you don’t need to be afraid of deadly diseases which may have claimed the lives of others. You don’t have to be fearful that you or your child may become victims of these super bugs. When the Lord is your refuge and fortress, surely He shall deliver you and your family from the snare of the fowler, such as the avian flu, and from all perilous pestilences!
Our work takes on even greater meaning when we realize that we are not doing it merely for a salary or for our personal fulfillment, but that we’re working to honour the great God of the universe! As a result we can bring an attitude of enthusiasm into our workplace.
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful” (Proverbs 15:13).
If we are truly working for God in our daily labour, what are some ways we can cultivate a healthy, positive attitude in our place of employment?
1) Be a “can-do” person. When faced with setbacks on the job, we should not give up but rather work at finding a way to successfully complete our tasks. Instead of saying: “No, this can’t be done”, we can say: “It looks tough, but let me see what I can do”. The effort and determination we demonstrate will pay off regardless of the success of a project. Such an attitude is valuable for both fellow employees and superiors who see and appreciate it.
2) Dont complain. Nothing positive comes from simply complaining about a matter. Instead, it’s better to discuss a particular problem with a superior if we feel it’s directly affecting our job function or performance. When we do, it leaves the door open for something to be done to correct a negative situation.
3) Work hard. The popular expression “Work smarter, not harder” is misinterpreted by some to mean that we can forego hard work. the real meaning is that our efforts should be put to the best use (read Ecclesiastes 10:10)) we still need to exert effort, always doing the best we can. As Scripture says: “Whatever your hand finds good to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
4) Be organized. Being organized means we can be more efficient, which allows our superiors to consider giving us better assignments. This is because he or she knows we can complete a task efficiently and on time.
But how can we work for God and be energetic if we have a superior who is difficult to work with or seems insensitive and uncaring? The Apostle Peter explains what to do: “Servants, be submissive to your masters, with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2: 18-19)
Of course, employees are not slaves, and no one should endure mistreatment endlessly. But it is good to remember that, even though we are working for God as our ultimate employer, there is no perfect human work environment. So when we face difficulties on the job, we should exercise the wisdom found in these words: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made to God.” (Philippians 4:6). Indeed God wants us to recognize our need for His help and to ask Him for it.
What if you are unemployed?
If you happen to be unemployed, it’s no secret that finding employment in today’s difficult job market involves using creativity, ingenuity and regular steady effort. In other words, these are the very same qualities needed to perform soundly once you secure employment. You can use the same Biblical principles of diligence, initiative and tenacity BY MAKING A JOB OUT OF FINDING A JOB. Just as you would in any other occupation, you can spend 40 hours or more a week working at securing employment. Putting pressure on yourself to reach as many potential employers as possible each day will be motivating and encouraging in confronting feelings of inadequacy and rejection that sometimes goes with unemployment.
I remember a long time ago when I wanted to leave school and earn money. As the youngest of three brothers, I was the last one remaining in school when my other two brothers were already working and earning money. To me, at the time it seemed that they were having the time of their lives. Each had a car and they were going and coming whenever they wanted. It looked like fun and I wanted in. What I did not see is the work they had to do to enjoy “the fun” they seemed to have. When I passed standard 8 (in the sixties that was high achievement) I nagged my parents to let me leave school and go to work. To my parents disappointment (much, much later in years, mine as well) I left school. I remember that day so well. I left school at the end of the year and I thought: “Finally, the “fun times” have come. The 2nd of January, my father kicked me out of bed at 5 am that morning and said: “Go find a job”.
“Wow!” I thought, “That’s quick, I haven’t had ‘Fun’ yet”. But I was out that morning looking for a job. I was back at 10 am. I had found nothing and I reckoned I would try again tomorrow. WRONG! As soon as I got home, my father asked me what was I doing at home. I told him my little story thinking I had “really” looked for a job. “NO! NO!” my dad explained. “You need to spend as much time looking for a job than you would working in a real one.” And he kicked me out telling me I should come back at dinner time which was normally 6 pm. It went on for days when I finally found work here at the place I am sitting today and that was 41 years ago. During the years I have work “real hard” and I realized that the “fun times” did not come free; it was real hard work to have “fun”.
What is the lesson here today? Don’t quick school too early you will regret it later in life. If you have supportive parents like I did, listen to your dad, he knows what awaits you. Learn as much as possible and if it’s too late for you, tell your children. Leave them in school. Encourage them to study hard and make the best use of their education. It will pay off because no one can take knowledge away from you.
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:3
D.L. Moody tells of a wealthy man who had found out he was dying of an incurable disease. Wanting to get things in order, he called for his lawyer and prepared his will. But this man had a little four-year-old daughter. The man’s wife just didn’t know how to explain to the young girl about what death means. So she simply told her, “Your dad is going away and he’s not going to be able to come back.” So the little girl went into her dad’s room, looked up in his eyes, and said, “Papa, do you have a home in that land you’re going to? This innocent question pierced the man’s soul. He realized that he had spent all of his adult life focused on amassing wealth and power but so little on what really counted. They lived in a beautiful home that he had to leave, and he didn’t know where he was going.
My friends, are you like that man? A beautiful home here in this world, yet uncertain about the next? Are you sure that when that time comes, you’ve got a home to go to? Jesus tells us that heaven is like home - like home is supposed to be. There is only one way to be sure that we are going there. Jesus is the only way. Do you believe Him, or do you not? Having a home in heaven depends on you trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
The teaching I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light. Mat 11:30
Paul had an interesting observation about the way we treat people. He said it about marriage, but the principle applies in any relationship. "The man who loves his wife loves himself" (Eph 5:28 ). There is a correlation between the way you feel about yourself and the way you feel about others. If you are at peace with yourself—if you like yourself—you will get along with others.
The converse is also true. If you don't like yourself, if you are ashamed, embarrassed, or angry, other people are going to know it…
Which takes us to the question, "How does a person get relief?" …
"Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest" (Mat 11:28 )… Jesus says he is the solution for weariness of soul.
When God Whispers Your Name (Max Lucado)
"Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never happen to you!' Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” (Matthew 16:22-23 NIV)
Insecurity demands that I must always be in control, must always have the last word, and must always have my way.
Insecurity leads to power struggles, and the result is that we live in perpetual conflict. When pressed, we can even try to snatch something out of God’s hands, the way a child will grab something from another.
In a sense, Peter is doing just that. When Jesus explains God’s plan, including his sacrificial death, Peter tries to snatch this cosmic plan from the Lord’s hands: “Never, Lord!” he says. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:22-23 NIV).
You have to feel for Peter, because he’s a picture-perfect snapshot of the up-and-down struggle we have maintaining faith while living in a nasty-now-and-now world.
It wasn’t very long before this that Peter had declared Jesus “the Christ, the Son of God.” And Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-17).
Fast-forward a few verses, and Jesus rebukes Peter for “seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matthew 16:23 NLT). “You have no idea how God works” (Matthew 16:23 MSG).
When we think like mere men, we distract ourselves from God’s plan and we get in the way of God’s purpose. Jesus’ rebuke isn’t a final statement of our dim-witted humanity; rather, it’s an exhortation that we can match our minds with God as we let the mind of Christ carry us to the things above.