Vessels of Mercy

May 24

“He answered:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  Luke 10:27.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is the story of a man who was beaten by robbers, stripped, and left for dead.  A priest, a Levite (religious person) passed him by and did not help.  Then a Samaritan (a victim of prejudice and from a shunned class of society) stopped and helped the desperate dying man.  Sometimes we can be so religiously busy that we forget the important things like compassion, kindness, and love. He was a  vessel of mercy.

Recently a boy, eight years of age, was beaten to death by his mother.  The neighbors were seen sobbing on the television news, for they had seen signs of abuse for years but no one wanted to get involved.  It is always a risk to get involved with issues but somewhere between caution and indifference; fear and self-preservation; there must be guts to love enough to care and care enough to help. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.  It is risky to get involved and sometimes costly but the world still needs vessels of mercy.

God encourages us: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36.  Remember that God is forever merciful to you.

Kingdom Declaration:

I am a vessel of God’s love and mercy of God.

Read the Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 22-24; John 8:28-59


Encourage Yourself

May 23

“And the people, that is, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and again formed the battle line at the place where they had put themselves in array on the first day.” Judges 20:22.

There are times when you will have only one encourager – YOU.  Here the men of Israel had to encourage themselves after two disappointing battles.  They had gone into battle with self-confidence and self-righteousness and suffered severe loss.  They examined their approach, attitude towards God, and in humility they sought His favor. This time God responded: “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.” Judges 20:28. They battled again and won.  Without encouragement it’s hard to continue in a fight after severe loss.

The bible contains many examples of people and nations that suffered severe loss and eventually recovered all.  In some cases they gained more than they had before their crisis.  They all had to fight a common enemy – discouragement.  David after a severe loss (his family, resources, tents, workers, friend), was greatly distressed.  He cried, prayed, and cried some more as the enemy of discouragement tried to swallow him in a pit of despair:  “David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6.

There are times when you have no one but YOU to encourage YOU; times when the situations and events don’t offer much encouragement.  These are usually the time when you need encouragement and that’s when you have to encourage yourself.  You have the power to encourage yourself.  You have the ability to think, say, and do for yourself what you need.  God is only a prayer away and David proved that when God comes into your circumstances, He is usually enough.  Change comes.  You can be your encourager in your world.  God’s word to you: “For I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 15:20.

Kingdom Declaration:

The Lord is with me forever. I am safe and secure.

Read the Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 19-21; John 8:1-27


You are born with Purpose

May 22

“We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.”  2 Thessalonians 1:11.

You are born with purpose.  You are a solution to challenges and an answer for your generation.  We sometimes find our calling a mystery, but it is not.  Our calling is a journey that is answered each day as we listen and walk in obedience.  Our calling is a day by day attitude of faithfulness.  As you continue to be faithful in what you are doing daily, you will grow in authority and your excellence will pave the journey of your calling.

If you listen you will hear your calling, calling you:

1) Be quiet enough to hear it.

2) Be wise enough to prepare for it.

3) Be strong enough to work for it.

4) Be brave enough to speak it.

5) Be honest enough to live it.

6) Be bold enough to defend it.

7) Be humble enough to keep praying it through.

Today by faith, act out God’s love and fulfill every good purpose as God provides you the opportunity.  Help somebody, love somebody, encourage somebody, and listen as God help you to create a new world of significance in making our world a better place.

Kingdom Declaration:

God has blessed me to be a blessing to others.

Read the Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 16-18; John 7:28-53


Focus on what you have

May 20

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them.  “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.  I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.  Why call me Naomi?  The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”  Ruth 1:20,21.

Trials can either make us bitter or better. They can be viewed as learning experiences that enhances growth, knowledge and therefore maturity; or they can create permanent damage to the heart; arrest growth, and limit future opportunities.

A Pastor shared that while he was away on a speaking engagement his daughter who was a great athlete met in a tragic accident, and lost one of her leg.  When he flew home and visited her in the hospital and said to her, “How are you?”  She said, “Dad you have always taught me not to dwell on that which I have lost but to be thankful for what I have remaining!”  She was grateful for her one remaining leg.

The Bible encourages us to praise the Lord at all times, not just in the good times but even in the bad times.  When we go through trials, praises become a cloak of protection; a net of safety; a wall of protection; and a tower of strength.  Praise protects our hearts from bitterness and keeps our souls alive for creativity, power and solutions.  Bitterness on the other hand causes barrenness to the soul; disease to the human spirit; and damage to the human body.

Our Choice: “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1 NKJV) “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30.

Kingdom Declaration:

I remain Thankful for my life, love, and lasting legacy.

Read the Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 10-12; John 6: 45-71


Practice a Positive Attitude

May 19

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.”  Philippians 2:14-16.

God wants you to shine like a star in a dark world.  Sometimes darkness finds us in the work place, at school, at home, at a hospital.  We have to make a choice to protect our hearts from the darkness of our environment.  We cannot always change our circumstances when we want to but we can guard our hearts.

Tips on guarding your heart:

1)  Have faith in God and in yourself. Bad news is an opportunity to prove the power of God.  Miracles are still possible.  God will receive glory from your negative circumstances.

2)  Practice a positive attitude. Refuse to be moved into an attitude of murmuring, grumbling, and complaining.

3)  Keep God on the throne of your heart.  Do not allow circumstances to rule your heart.  God will preserve you as He did before for His faithful believers.

4)  Share your news only with trusted, positive friends who are solutionists.  They will encourage and motivate you into positive actions.  You don’t need mourners with you in bad times but creators.

5)  Rule your world as you create and control your atmospheres.

6)  Be thankful.  Bad news is not the end result but just information for you to make changes to create a different result.  Thank God for exposing an area for growth, changes, and new opportunities.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Kingdom Declaration:

I thank God that He is in control of my life.  I am not vulnerable.  I am protected.

Read the Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 7-9; John 6:22-44


Step towards your Dream

May 18

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  James 2:17.

Faith is the evidence of the things we hope for and our actions are the evidence of our hearts of faith.  Faith is exalted as power that gives us access to the unlimited blessings of God and in His ability to accomplish our desires. Jesus shared and showed the power of faith throughout His ministry.

To a woman desperate for her troubled daughter:

“Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Matthew 15:28.

To friends of a sick, helpless man:

“Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2.

To a blind man believing for a miracle:

“Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Luke 18:42.

To disciples being trained for effective ministry:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12.

Jesus also taught about the negative result of a ‘faithless heart’. “He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Matthew 13:58.  Lack of faith in God and in yourself will limit your possibilities. Vance Havner wrote, “Faith is more like a verb than a noun…. Faith accepts the Word of God, affirms confidence in that Word, and acts upon it.”

Faith, therefore, involves believing, seeing, and stepping.  What you believe for you will see as possible and what you see as possible you will have the guts to step into.  Take a step of faith today.  There is a time to pray, and there is a time to act.  You might think that you are waiting on God, but God may be waiting on you.  Take a step of faith and go towards your dream, God is waiting to guide and provide with each step that you take.

Kingdom Declaration:

I have faith in God to provide, guide, and protect me as I step into my dream.

Read the Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 4-6; John 6:1-21


God will create through you

May 17

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ ‘So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’” Genesis 1:1;27.

God is Creator. The Hebrew word for Creator is Elohim which describes God as the Creator of all things and all life forms.  In Genesis 1 and 2 we read the account of God’s creation of the universe, world, plant and animal life, and human beings.  Because God is Creator, He loves all His creation.

God loves His world and everything in it – its people, plants, animals, and resources.  He placed in the earth minerals, silver, gold, products to give us energy, and everything that we would need to live in a paradise with nothing missing, broken, contaminated, or evil.   The risk factor was to place the man and woman (Adam and Eve) as rulers of the earth: “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Unfortunately, Adam and Eve were deceived and gave up their power and authority to the Evil Power called Satan.  But God, through Jesus Christ on the cross, conquered evil and again gave us the power and authority to Rule Our World.  We have the power and the privilege to communicate with God and to work with Him, for Him, and allow Him to work through us.

Today, receive fresh power from the LORD your Creator to create and rule your world of peace, joy, love and prosperity for His sake, for your sake, and for the sake of others.  You have the power to make our world a better place by helping one person, and providing solutions in one area each day.

Kingdom Declaration:

I am created to rule and make my world a better place.

Read the Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 1-3; John 5:25-47


When God says, “Enough is enough!”

May 16

“Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace!  Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows.  No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.” Nahum 1:15.

There comes a time when God says, ‘Enough is enough!’ The Assyrians had afflicted Judah over and over again.  God is, ‘slow to anger and great in power’ but He will not let you go through more than you can bear.  Darkness ends with the morning.  Winter ends with the spring.  Judah received good news that their conquerors and tormentors would be destroyed and would never torment them again.

When you go through a season of rough times remember that God watches over the intensity and the outcome.  The disciples faced many difficult times during the birthing of the Church.  They were imprisoned, tortured, faced many dangers and yet declared:  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. They experienced God’s grace, protection and comfort in all that they faced.

God’s promises: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33; “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4-5.  These promises shall be your reality.

Sometimes it takes the tough times to make you know how strong you are; turbulent times to prove the power of your peace; and fearful times to make you grow in unshakeable faith. At the end of the day, God remains in control of the intensity and outcome of your trials and will declare: “Enough is enough”.  Have faith in God.

Kingdom Declaration:

My God and King remains in control of all the issues in my life. I am therefore safe in His control.

Read the Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 24-25; John 5:1-24


Victory in Jesus

May 15

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”  2 Corinthians 2:14.

Paul was very confident in the victory of Jesus. God will always lead us into a victory march in the midst of our battles, and as David experienced, God sometimes parade us in victory “in the presence of our enemies.”

In the midst of a battle:

1) Do not panic.  God is in control.  “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Don’t be moved by what you see or hear, stand on the rock of revelation that your God is in control.

2) Don’t make hasty decisions.  Wait on the Lord and He will direct your path.

3) Expect God to help you. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:10.

4) Resist the devil until He flees from you. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.

5) Be immoveable in faith.  “I live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7. The victory belongs to Jesus.

 

Kingdom Declaration:

God’s banner over me is love and victory. The victory belongs to Jesus.

Read the Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 22-23; John 4:31;54


Trust in the Lord of Hosts

May 14

“So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” Zechariah 4:6-7.

God gave this word to the prophet Zerubbabel as he was being commissioned to work with God in a project that needed amazing miracles.  First, under the kingship of King Cyrus, he led the first group of Jewish captives, who were living in exile, back to Jerusalem. They also returned with the gold and silver vessels which King Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from the Temple after it was destroyed.

Then, under Zerubbabel leadership, the Jews started to rebuild the Temple that was previously destroyed during the war.  The foundation took two years to build and then the construction came to a standstill for 17 years.  They faced opposition from settlers in Samaria who disrupted the building project and later suffered court battles which resulted in King Cyrus withdrawing his support.

Zerubbabel, nevertheless, had to encourage himself in the Lord to keep the vision alive. He diligently resumed work on the Temple with a renewed effort by God’s Spirit and favor. He grew in favor with God because of his steadfast faith and God made him grow in favor with people.  Prophets, Persian kings, and influential people rallied around him in support, prayer, and provision. God’s word proved true and the Temple was rebuilt by the Spirit of God.

It is never easy to do great accomplishments as opposition and trials will always come. Jesus warns us and encourages us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. You will overcome.

 

Kingdom Declaration:

My God will strengthen and help me to overcome by the power of His Spirit.

Read the Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 19-21; John 4:1-30