In Matthew 11:25 Jesus prayed, saying, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Here we read of the main key to answered prayers: thankfulness. It is something we all can do. It's easy to give God thanks for everything He does. It lifts us into a different realm. We often bring God our needs, our complaints, and our desires. But did you ever bring God your thanks? Jesus taught us to thank our heavenly Father despite everything around us. We can thank God even when our situation dictates a different approach is called for. Jesus taught us by example to look for the different ways God works in each situation. If we can recognize His dealings with man we can be thankful for His handy work and find the higher realm to live in. Later in this chapter, Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He had it to offer others because that is where He was living: through thankfulness! May God bless you.
2 Timothy 2:1 says, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." I remember many years ago before I went to bed one night I knelt down in my living room to pray and this verse stood out to me. It was one of those "eye-openers." I was asking the Lord to speak to my heart about a direction in my life at that time. He didn't give me a lot of details: He simply said, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." A lot of people are strong in a lot of areas: strong opinions, strong personalities, strong egos, etc. But how many are strong in the grace of Christ Jesus? What does that mean, anyway? God bestows His good pleasure on His sons and daughters to the point where they walk each day in that favor of God. His personality shines through their lives so much others see Christ in them. It is a friendly disposition which produces kind acts, goodwill, and full of His pleasure and joy. It is spontaneous and given freely to those who receive it. It is found in a realm higher than present circumstances and situations. Today, Be strong in His grace and you will find His strength and grace is made perfect despite your weaknesses! May God bless you.
Luke 4:16-22 this passage tells of the beginning of the ministry of our Lord Jesus on earth. We often lose sight of where we are to go next because we lose sight of where we came from. But the Lord Jesus spelled out the goals of ministry for all of us here. These should be in the thoughts of every Gospel worker: to maintain the anointing so we may preach the Gospel to the poor, be sent to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. These are the main purposes of ministry for all Christians. We have been saved to extend the message of God's love to those who don't know Him. In our service to others He beautifies us with salvation. And then He said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Let today be the day you and I fulfill these things for others, in Jesus' name. May God bless you.
All throughout the Bible we read of God's character through nature. Psalm 42 is a perfect example. "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" My wife and I have been hiking a certain trail near our home for the past couple of months. After a resent snow storm we could see deer tracks heading towards the brook. The deer do not stay on the man-made trails, even though they cross the paths several times. But they always lead to and from the brook. Even though the brook is frozen over with ice, the cold water flowing underneath the surface brings life to these animals. They go where there are breaks in the ice to get a drink. The psalmist likens our soul to the hart (or deer). We are thirsty for the living God. We search for the water brooks constantly to be refreshed, for nothing else can satisfy the longings of our soul once we have tasted that the Lord is gracious! Does your heart pant for the spiritual water brooks? Jesus said His Spirit is like a river of living water, springing up into everlasting life! If you steer clear of man-made ways and start thirsting after the Lord and His righteousness, you shall be filled! May God bless you.
Jesus said, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24). I used to keep this verse inside my toolbox at work, so that every time I opened the toolbox I would remember to (first of all) pray, and also believe God for the answer. I can't expect Him to answer something I didn't pray about! But it is easy to slip into a mind-set of not believing when we pray. We pray about the same thing over and over and get stuck in unbelief after a while. I found that praying without faith is not good for it can actually cause unbelief. I am learning to set my mind to believe God heard me the first time I prayed, and if He heard me the first time there is no need to keep saying the same thing over and over again. My brother-in-law broke his leg when he was a teenager and he had a family friend who just loved him with every fiber in her being. Years later he found out she was still praying for that leg, long after it had healed! Don't worry: He that made our ears can hear! And He does answer prayer! And He does care about you and your situation. And He will take up your cause. May God bless you.
There is an old song I have been thinking of lately about the love of God. His love is something we can never comprehend. It is rich and deep, so vast and beyond human comprehension. But the picture this particular song captures fills my heart with wonder. "Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky." If you are struggling with your faith today, or if you don't know if God could love you, let me assure you that there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus! He loves you with an everlasting love. It is a love that goes beyond any human love, and His love will greet us when we arrive on heaven's shore some day! May God bless you.