Jesus, our Gentle Shepherd

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;

he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11.

Jesus calls Himself the good Shepherd and His gentleness, protective patience, and loving kindness is always towards His lambs (new believers). Jesus, however, is not only our good Shepherd but He is our Savior-Shepherd, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11. Jesus died on the cross to save His sheep from sins, failure, and eternal death.

As our Savior-Shepherd Jesus will:

1) Save you.  He will save you, your family, and all that concerns you, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Acts 16:31.

2) Protect you.  Sheep are not the smartest of animals and are sometimes unaware of danger.  Driven by thirst they could go into dangerous rivers; go towards dangerous animals; and walk over a cliff thinking it is safe.  Jesus who knows all, will protect you from danger, “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” Psalm 91:14.

3) Provide for you.  Sheep has needs such as food, water, shelter, medicine, and care.  One of the names of God is Provider. He has promised to provide all your needs, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

4) Guide you.  Guidance is needed at all ages and stages of life. God is our eternal Father for eternal guidance, “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14

Be secure today as your Savior-Shepherd, Jesus Christ is always with you.

Kingdom Declaration:

Jesus is my Savior-Shepherd who makes me safe, secure, and satisfied.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 119:1-88; 1 Corinthians 7:20-40.

Season of unlimited blessings

“The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’  ‘Jacob,’ he answered.  Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.’” Genesis 32:27,28.

God sometimes changed the name of His servants when He saved them from desperation into purpose. Peter’s name was changed from Simon (unstable), to Peter (rock).   Paul’s name was changed from Saul (destroyer) to Paul (worker).  Abraham’s name was changed from Abram (noble father), to Abraham (Father of many).

One of the greatest gifts we have in Christ Jesus, is the gift of ‘new beginnings’.   In Christ there is always an opportunity to make a fresh start; to admit our mistakes and move on; to admit to our pain to be healed; to admit to our weaknesses to be strengthened.

Jacob was true to his name.  He deceived his brother out of his birthright and blessing and he ended up reaping deception and treachery from his own father in law.  Jacob was fed up with his lifestyle of: blessings with cursing; riches with trouble; marriage with turmoil.  He turned to God and prayed through until he got a breakthrough.  God gave him a new name and blessed him for prosperity with lasting legacy from whom would come the twelve tribes of Israel. With his new name he got a new nature, a new walk, and a new future.  God is the God of another chance and He is only a prayer away for your new beginning.

Kingdom Declaration:

God is my Alpha and Omega and today I step into my new season of unlimited blessings.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 116-118; 1 Corinthians 7:1-19.

The God of Jacob

“Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.” Psalm 84:8-9

We mentioned yesterday that the name Jacob meant, “trickster and con- artist”.  Jacob’s name, however, was changed to Israel (Prince of God) describing a nation, a people group, and a religion.  It is never too late for change and a new beginning with God. We can learn from Jacob how to obtain mercy and favor from God:

1) Prayer and confession. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

2) Tithe and offerings. Jacob made a covenant with God to give back to God a tithe of everything he was blessed with.  Jacob vowed to God: “And this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” Genesis 28:22.

3) He repented for his wrongs. After a night of prayer he went back and faced his brother Esau with gifts of repentance and his brother forgave him. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” Proverb 16:7.

4) He did what was necessary to fulfill his destiny. “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” Genesis 32:24.  Jacob wrestled all night in prayer; God heard and granted him his request.

The name Jacob stands forever as a reminder that God is more powerful than our mistakes and failures. The God of Jacob looks down with favor upon you today.

Kingdom Declaration:

I am forgiven, blessed, and favored by Jesus Christ, my LORD and Savior.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 113-115; 1 Corinthians 6.

Nevertheless, God

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the LORD, who remains faithful forever.”  Psalm 146:5,6.

Our God is God of dysfunctional families. He goes by the name God of Jacob in spite of who Jacob was.  Jacob was Esau’s twin brother and the second son of Isaac.  He took advantage of his brother’s hunger and bought his firstborn birthright privilege for a plate of food.  Later with the help of his conniving mother, he deceived his almost-blind father and stole his brother’s blessing.

Jacob’s name meant, ‘trickster, con-artist’ and he truly lived up to his name.  Jacob’s family was dysfunctional with mother and father fighting over favourite sons; siblings with jealousy, treachery, and attempted murder.  Nevertheless, God remains the God of Jacob.  Jacob continued the family trait with his sons in a dysfunctional home with brothers hating each other and attempted murder.  Nevertheless, God remains the God of Jacob.

Why? Jacob reminds us that God is merciful, able to transform lives, heal relationships, and nevertheless help us to fulfill our destiny.  Jacob cried out to God when he was tired of his old life with his old ways and consequences. Jacob was ready for change.  He was ready to fulfill his potential as the seed of Abraham.  He prayed all night and God changed his name from Jacob to Israel which means “prince of God”. God kept the name of Jacob, however, to remind us that He is not just committed to perfect people, but to sinners who are willing to be saved. Today pray and receive His mercy that is new every morning.

Kingdom Declaration:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life as I trust in the God of Jacob.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 110-112; 1 Corinthians 5

Practicing the Presence of God

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”  Psalm 37:23,24.

With such great promise we need to know how God ‘delights’ in our ways.  When you daily practice the PRESENCE of God you will daily experience the POWER of God.

Practice three things:

1) Daily prayer.  Develop a stronger relationship with God by daily talking with Him and receive messages from His heart to yours.  Tell God about your fears and He will replace them with His faith.  Tell Him about your troubles and He will send you relief.  Tell Him about your failures and He will forgive you.  Tell Him about your desires and He promises to guide you and give you the desires of your heart.

2) Daily reading His Word.  The Bible is God’s Words to you.  As you read His Word, listen to His voice.  The Bible contains general words, but as you read and listen you will hear words that are relevant to your situation.  The Bible is God’s manual for a life of success.  It contains instructions and encouragement that will preserve and protect you.

3) Daily action.  Each day purpose to obey God’s principles that are found in His word.  Obey God one choice at a time. Walk in His way one step at a time.  Live for Him one day at a time.  When you make a mistake repent quickly.  When you are hurt forgive quickly.

As you practice the Presence of God, you will daily experience the Power of God.

Kingdom Declaration:

The LORD is my strength and my shield, my hope and my salvation.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 107-109; 1 Corinthians 4.

Fight the good fight of faith

“Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience.”  1 Timothy 1:18,19.

Some of the greatest learning experiences are not found in a classroom behind a desk but in life’s experiences.  We learn to depend on God when others fail us.  We learn of our strength in the middle of a storm.  We learn how to trust when the way seems dark.  We learn how to love when it is not returned.  We learn perseverance after failures.  We learn how to conquer when there are battles.  The fight of faith is a fight that refuses to lose or to give in to surrender.

Bob Hoover is one of America’s greatest test pilots.  He survived many crashes, fought fires mid-air, and wrestled out-of-control jets back to the ground.  In one crash he broke his back and almost died, but as soon as he recovered, he climbed back into the cockpit of another jet and soared into the heavens.  When asked why, he responded, “You gotta get back into the cockpit of the bird that bit ya.”

Don’t give in, don’t give over and don’t give up.  As long as you get back in the game you will have an opportunity to win.  As long as you get back up again you will have the opportunity to walk towards your miracle.  Fight the good fight of faith and refuse to lose or give in to surrender.  God is with you.

Kingdom Declaration:

My battle is the LORD’s therefore I will triumph over my enemies.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 105,106; 1 Corinthians 3.

Keep your faith alive

“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.  She came up behind Him (Jesus) and touched the edge of His cloak and immediately her bleeding stopped.”  Luke 8:43, 44.

One of the hardest things to do when our waiting has been for a long time is to keep our faith alive. For twelve years this woman visited doctors and looked for every possible cure for her illness and she grew worse.  Her bleeding condition would have caused great discomfort and affected her financially and socially.  This woman was ready for a miracle and lived with expectation.  Expectation creates the atmosphere for miracles

Faith killers are:

1) Discouragement.  Discouragement has a nagging voice that says it will never happen.  It inspires negative imagination to create the worse possible scenario.

2) Fear.  Fear has an intimidating voice that makes failure looks more possible than a miracle.  It makes you believe in sickness more than healing; poverty more than prosperity; failure more than success and in the power of the devil more than the power of God.

This woman with her faith alive and expecting her miracle, heard of Jesus, watched Him heal others and knew He was the gift she was waiting for. Her faith released strength to her weakened body, and in spite of her discomfort, she went to His crusade with a large crowd.  In the midst of thousands of people she had the courage to touch the cloak of Jesus and was healed.  Your faith in God will release His power in you for your miracle.

Kingdom Declaration:

I live in faith in God for miracles and blessings every day.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 103,104; 1 Corinthians 2

You are heavily protected

“Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:1-2.

God has promised His children guaranteed protection.  He surrounds us, guards us, defends us, and shields us from danger. Under His care and protection we are safe.  In department stores when shipping “fragile items” they use items such as shrink and bubble wraps, special boxes, cartons, poly bags, Styrofoam and containers made out of wood or steel depending on the product. You are heavily protected and secure in the arms of God.

God protects you with:

1) His Angels.  The moment you were born God assigned an angel to protect you.  “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrew 1:14

2) His Armor.  “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11.  Every day when you pray put on the full armor of God.

3) His Blood.  The blood of Jesus will protect you from evil.

4) His seal.  “… you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 1:13.

5) His Word.  He has given you His promises and guarantees your outcome.

6) His Power.  Our God is greater than all gods. “I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods.” Psalm 135:5.

You are protected from the inside out, God is in you.  You are heavily protected, guarded and secured.  No wonder the Psalmist says, “… you are like Mount Zion which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”

Kingdom Declaration:

I am like Mount Zion which cannot be shaken but endures forever.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 100-102; 1 Corinthians 1

Our time is in God’s hands

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  Romans 8:35, 37.

One of the biggest intimidators of our time is the word ‘cancer’.  Patients sometimes collapse even if the doctor links it with the word ‘possible’.  Paul had many near death experiences but he was convinced that God was in control of his life.   God is our Alpha and Omega which means He controls our beginning and our ending.  We did not begin by luck, chance, or coincidence.  We began by God and will end with God.  Our time is in His Hands.  The Psalmist says:  “..Your promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50.

Live with an eternal perspective.  You can have eternal life. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3.  There is an article on the bulletin board in the Mayo Clinic that reads: “Cancer is limited: it cannot cripple love. It cannot shatter hope.  It cannot corrode faith.  It cannot eat away peace.  It cannot destroy confidence.  It cannot kill friendship.  It cannot shut out memories.  It cannot silence courage.  It cannot invade the soul.  It cannot reduce eternal life. It cannot quench the spirit, and it cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.”

Do not fear.  Jesus in confidence declared:  “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”   Rest in God’s preserving power for He holds you in His hands.

Kingdom Declaration:

My God is my Alpha and Omega.  My life is in His hands.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 97-99; Romans 16.

No risk, no rewards

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”  Acts 3:6,7.

Peter had just recovered from his public failure for cowardly denying that he knew Jesus.  He was lovingly forgiven by Jesus and restored with the disciples to launch Christianity.  While going to the temple one day, he saw a crippled beggar asking for money.  To Peter this was an opportunity to prove the power of Jesus Christ that would flow through him to heal a crippled man.  It was a risk because of his past failure and weakened reputation but he decided to put his faith in God and speak the words of faith.  The crippled was healed by the Name of Jesus to the Glory of our Heavenly Father.  No risk, no rewards.

I read some time ago: “To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.  To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.  To reach out to another is to risk involvement.  To expose your feelings is to risk rejection.  To place your dreams before the crowd is to risk ridicule.  To love is to risk not being loved in return.  To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds is to risk failure.  But risks must be taken because the greatest risk of all is to risk nothing.  The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.  He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, he cannot feel, he cannot change, he cannot grow, and he cannot love.  Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave.  Only the person who risks is truly free.”

Jesus took a risk by coming to earth to save the world, knowing that many would reject Him.  Now we must take risks to love others, heal the sick, help the poor, and share the good news that Jesus Christ is Savior of the world.  When you pray, God listens.  When you step out, God releases miracles and His manifested glory in and through you.

Kingdom Declaration:

I pray and obey to share and show the love of Jesus Christ to the world.

Read the Bible in One Year: Psalm 94-96; Romans 15:14-33