'Is there any seed left in the barn? The vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree still haven't produced. But from now on I will bless you.'
- Have you tried everything and there is no sign of it bearing a good crop?
- Have you felt like giving-up lately?
- Don’t give up; hold on, HE will bless you.
- We can trust God's promise to bless us, though we see no visible sign of its fulfillment.
PRAYER: Lord, I will not look at what my eyes can see or my senses may tell me, but I will look to You, knowing that You will undertake and bless my situation. Amen.
As daar Johannes die Doper gevra is wie hy was, het hy geantwoord: "Ek is die een wat in die woestyn roep: Maak die pad vir die Here reguit." (Johannes 1:23 NV). Nadat Johannes se dissipels na hom geluister het, het hulle weggegaan om vir Christus te volg. Johannes was tevrede daarmee omdat hy geweet het waarvoor hy geroep was. Weet jy? Jy kan ook net vir so lank dinge uitprobeer. Op een of ander stadium moet jy agterkom waarvoor God jou geroep het, sodat jy jouself ten volle daaraan kan wy. Paulus was blykbaar nie 'n goeie spreker nie. "Bewus van my swakheid, en met groot angs en huiwering, het ek na julle toe gekom." (1 Korintiërs 2:3 NV). Maar wat hy kortgekom het as 'n spreker het hy voor opgemaak as 'n skrywer. Hy het die geïnspireerde woorde geskryf wat ander in staat gestel het om te preek. Sy woorde was so kragtig dat hy in die tronk papier wou hê, eerder as 'n prokureur of lekker kos, sodat hy kon aanhou skryf. Paulus het sy lewe lank geskryf. Sy woorde beïnvloed mense se lewens tot vandag toe. Dit was Paulus se roeping en hy het homself daaraan gewy. Het jou al jou roeping ontdek en jouself daaraan gewy? George Bernard Shaw het gesê: "Die lewe is nie vir my soos 'n kers wat vlugtig brand nie, maar eerder soos 'n wonderlike fakkel. Ek wil die fakkel, wat ek slegs vir 'n oomblik kan vashou, so helder as moontlik laat brand, voordat ek dit vir toekomstige generasies aangee."
Sielskos: Heb. 11:17-13:25; Matt 15:29-39; Ps 28; Spr. 5:3-6
It is not what you know but who you know that is important. As a Christian we have Jesus and our relationship with him as our risen saviour is what is making a difference in our lives. As Christians we have been sent into this world to do the work that Jesus began. Therefore we need to ask him on a regular basis for the infilling of the Holy Spirit to enable us to do what we are supposed to do in this world (live out, our calling).
Last night, I spoke about Samuel's great statement of the responsibility of praying for the people in our lives. He said, "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you." That's 1 Samuel 12:23. The outline of the message went like this...
1. "I pray." That's the privilege of prayer.
What an honor to be invited by the Heavenly Father to participate in His work throughout the world simply by bowing our heads and expressing our thoughts and worship and requests to Him.
2. "I pray for you." That's the responsibility of prayer.
We need each other so much. We have not been sent out simply to pray for everyone everywhere, otherwise, we would get the phone book down and get started. However, we each have a circle of people who depend on us for prayer. In my case, it's my immediate and extended family first, then our church leadership and membership, and so on.
3. "I cease to pray for you." That's the danger of prayerlessness.
Many of us used to pray for people we no longer mention to God. What could cause us to quit? In Samuel's case, he had been rejected by the very people who were now asking for his prayers (12:9). He would have been within his rights to tell them to buzz off. But his devotion to them was not conditional on their response, so he would keep right on praying for them.
4. "Far be it from me to cease praying for you." This is the commitment to pray.
Samuel is not merely hoping he will pray or even asking God to help him pray; he is announcing to the people his intention of praying for them, period. He promises to intercede with God on their behalf.
5. "Far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you." This is the holy burden of prayer.
It is a personal matter between the Heavenly Father and me. When I quit praying, I not only disappoint you and weaken myself, more importantly, I sin against God. After all, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." That's from Romans 14:23 and it applies to prayerlessness if it means anything.
I told the people about our recent meanderings around Manhattan by subway. Now, some of the Louisianans in our party had been there before and had some experience finding their way via the tube, but the rest of us were novices. We clustered around maps of the city, trying to find where we were, where we wanted to go, and which train to take. A few times we took the wrong train or missed our stop and had to back track.
But everyone was in good spirits - we laughed a lot - and tried to learn from the experience. Then, there were other times when we calmly walked to the correct station, took the right train, and got off at our stop with hardly a thought. Those were the times we had a guide along, a resident of New York City who negotiates the subways every day of their lives.
Think of that as a parable of life. God has given us the map, the Bible, to show us the way. But if He did nothing more - if we were on our own here - we would huddle around it trying to figure out where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there, making mistakes galore. But God took pity on His wayward children and gave us a Guide - Himself. The Holy Spirit knows the way and we follow Him. His leadership is always in accordance with the Map, since He wrote it! Our task is to stay close to Him and go where He leads.
This morning my daughter-in-law Julie called. "The Lord has really been impressing on me the need for praying for my children, and your message last night was from Him." She added, "Every morning when I take Grant (her 8 year old third-grader) to school, he says, 'Mom, did you pray for me this morning?' I assure him I did, and then he says, 'Are you going to keep praying for me all day?'"
I said, "Wow. I had no idea he was so attuned to the need for prayer. That is so wonderful." We pray for our little ones to open up to God and to become spiritually minded, and when it begins to occur, it takes our breath away.
A church member wrote on his worship registration form last Sunday, "Pastor, my wife and I pray for you and Margaret every day." I am so touched by those who call my name to the Father. God alone knows the debt we owe them for their intercession and the difference they make in our labors.
I once heard someone say, "My prayer doesn't count much. I'm only one person." I said, "Do you know anyone who is 'two'?" "I'm only one person" is the one excuse no citizen of planet Earth can use to get out of anything, since we are all 'ones' and no one is two. Therefore, all of us 'ones' may go ahead with the privilege and responsibility of prayer. There are people counting on my prayers today. God help me not to let them down.
Dr. Joe McKeever
Jesus het gevra: "Waarom sien jy die splinter raak wat in jou broer se oog is, maar die balk in jou eie oog merk jy nie op nie?" (Matteus 7:3 NV). Om meer te verwag van iemand as wat die persoon kan gee, gaan julle verhouding meer kwaad aandoen as goed. Dit beteken egter nie dat hulle nie moet of wil verander nie. Niemand hou daarvan om gedwing te voel om te verander om aanvaar te word nie. Mense is meer bereid om te verander vir die wat hulle onvoorwaardelik aanvaar as vir die wat aandring daarop dat iemand by hulle reëls inpas. Een ding is wel seker: God sal nie die mense wat ons wil hê moet verander, verander voordat ons dit nie in Sy hande oorgee nie. Ons moet Hom toelaat om te werk! Selfs al dink ons ons kan ons ontevredenheid wegsteek, kan ander dit steeds aanvoel. Gebed verander mense, nie druk nie. As ons werklik vir iemand lief is, sal ons vir die persoon bid en vir God toelaat om aan hom of haar te werk op Sy manier, op Sy skedule en vir Sy heerlikheid. Baie mense wat jou irriteer se persoonlikheid stem net nie met joune ooreen nie. Baie keer wil ons hê ander mense moet verander omdat ons moet verander. Die dinge wat ons nodig het in ander mense is baie keer reeds daar; ons kan dit net nie geniet nie, want ons is te besig om hulle te oordeel. Vir 'n verandering om blywend te wees, moet dit van binne kom. So 'n verandering kan slegs van die Gees van God kom.
Sielskos: Heb. 9:1-11:16; Matt 15:15-28; Ps 5; Spr. 5:1-2
“Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save...” (Isaiah 59:1, NKJV)
When the Israelites were in the desert headed toward the Promised Land, they had manna to eat each day. After a while, they complained to Moses that they didn’t have any meat to eat. Moses went to God and He said, “Moses, I’m going to give you meat not for one day or five days or twenty days, but for a whole month.”
Moses said, “God, that’s impossible. There are two million people out here. Even if we butchered all of our flocks, all of our herds, we wouldn’t have that much meat.”
God answered back, “Moses, is there any limit to My power?” He was saying, “Just because you don’t see a way, Moses, doesn’t mean that I don’t have a way. All I have to do is shift a few things around, and I can bring it to pass.” And sure enough, in Numbers 11:31, “God shifted the wind and brought quail in from the sea and caused them to fall into their camp.” Notice they didn’t even have to go out and hunt or fish. The quail came to them. They just went outside and picked up what they wanted. What am I saying? God knows how to shift things so that blessings come to you. There is no limit to His power. So get ready to see those open doors of blessing in your life this year!
Father, thank You for Your limitless power at work in my life. I know that Your hand is not too short for You are able and mighty to do great works in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men." Eph 6:7.
THE COMMON drudgery of daily life can be a Divine Calling. We often speak of a young man as "being called to the Ministry"; but it is as fitting to speak of a carpenter being called to the bench, the blacksmith to the forge, and the shoemaker to his last. "Brethren," said the Apostle, "let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God."
Remember that your life has been appointed by God's wise providence. God as much sent Joseph to the drudgery and discipline of the prison as to the glory and responsibility of the palace. Nothing happens to us which is not included in His plan for us; and the incidents which seem most tiresome are often contrived to give us opportunities to become nobler, stronger characters.
We are called to be faithful in performing our assigned duties. Not brilliance, not success, not notoriety which attracts the world's notice, but the regular, quiet, and careful performance of trivial and common duties; faithfulness in that which is least is as great an attainment in God's sight as in the greatest.
In every piece of honest work, we are fellow-workers with God. We must help God to give men their daily bread. It is for Him to cause the growth of the corn, but man must reap and thresh, grind out the flour, make and distribute the bread. The tailor is God's fellow-workman, helping Him to clothe the bodies which He has made to need garments of various textures. The builder co-operates with God in housing His children. The merchant helps to bring the products of the East to refresh and enrich the toiling masses of the West. God uses man in a thousand ways to serve the children of men.
Take up your work, then, you who seem to be the nobodies, the drudges, the maid-of-all-work, the clerk, or shop assistant. Do it with a brave heart, looking up to Him who for many "years toiled at the carpenter's bench. Amid the many scenes and actions of life, set the Lord always before your face. Do all as in His presence, and to win His smile; and be sure to cultivate a spirit of love to God and man. Look out for opportunities of cheering your fellow-workers. Do not murmur or grumble, but let your heart rise from your toil to God your Maker, Saviour, and Friend. So the lowliest service will glisten, as grass-blades do when sun and dewdrops garnish them.
"Lord, if it's You," Peter replied, "tell me to come to You on the water."
- Are you ready and willing to obey God?
- If He was to tell you to do something - would you do it?
- We should always be ready to hear and follow Him.
- Be ready to be used by God today.
PRAYER: Lord, I am ready and willing to be used by You. When You call, I will follow. Use my life I pray. Amen.
'Whoever hears these words of Mine and does them, will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain came down. The water came up. The wind blew and hit the house. The house did not fall because it was built on rock.'
- How we build and on what we build is very important.
- As disciples we should stick to the words and teaching of our Saviour.
- Don't build your life on your ideas.
- Build your life on the truth and you will not be shaken.
PRAYER: Lord, it is my desire to build my life and future on the truth of Your word. Help me in everything I do, to do what would honour You. Amen