God’s faith, love, mercy

April 4

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
Jude 20,21.

The Bible encourages us to grow in faith and love as you wait to receive the mercy of God. Sometimes the strongest evidence of faith is not when we get the promises, but the fruit of our lives when we are waiting for the fulfillment. In times of waiting, our character is tested; patience, strength, conviction, and love are tested.

Sometimes the ones you love hurt you the most; the ones you give to, deny you the most; the ones you reach out to, resist you the most; yet you keep believing, hoping and praying because your faith is mixed with love.

Inside of Jacob, the trickster was Israel the Prince; inside Mary Magdalene, the sinner woman, was a saint. Faith mixed with love transformed their lives. Faith keeps us praying and love keeps us reaching. It is just like Jesus to have faith in us and then to love us through our journey. His love keeps us, gives us hope, redeems our mistakes, and cheers us on to the finish line. Faith and love are the wings of victory that keeps us soaring while His mercy is always their there to catch us if we fall.

Kingdom Declaration:

I am secured in the love of God and kept by His mercy that is new every morning.

Read the Bible in One Year: Ruth 1-4; Luke 8:1-25

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God is Ahead of You

April 3

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9.

When God told Joshua to take the people into the promised land, Joshua was sure of one thing: it would not be an easy road. His first challenge was to cross a river at flood stage, then he had to go beyond a great wall guarded by enemy soldiers. Joshua, however, found out that all that God expected from him was faith to step toward the promise, to keep moving forward, and to keep listening for guidance along the way.

I heard of the story of a young girl traveling on a train for the first time and she heard that she had to cross several rivers. She was troubled and fearful as she thought of the water, but each time the train came near to a river, a bridge was always there to provide a safe way across. After passing safely over several rivers and streams, the girl settled back in her seat with a sigh of relief. She turned to her mother and said, “I’m not worried anymore. Somebody has put bridges for us all the way!”

God is already ahead of you putting bridges and steps for your safety and direction along your way. Where there is no bridge, the water will divide. Have faith, step toward the promise and keep moving forward. God’s glory goes before you and His glory guards you from behind. “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8.

Kingdom Declaration:

The LORD my God is with me and goes before me to light my path.

Read the Bible in One Year: Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50

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Hosanna in the highest

April 1

“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Hosanna in the highest!”  Matthew 21:8-9.

Jesus travelled on foot many miles in the dusty roads of Israel.  Five days before His death, however, He rode on a donkey in a grand triumphant entry to Jerusalem.  Families with children and people of all ages were walking before and behind Him waving palm branches, singing and shouting with voices of praise in a royal procession.  The street was lined in red carpet style with cloaks and branches of palm trees as He rode majestically as the true King of His Kingdom.

Their shouts were recorded in the four gospels as powerful declarations of hope and victory over oppression and freedom for believers in the Name of the Lord Jesus.  Their songs of praise and salvation continue to be songs of every believer in Christ:

1) Hosanna.  The word Hosanna means, “save now,” or “deliver us, we pray.”  Today our world is crying for a Savior to deliver us from violence, fear, and a global crisis.  The answer to our cry is found in the Bible: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”  Acts 16:31. Jesus is the Savior of the world.
2) Son of David.  They acknowledged Jesus as “Son of David”, Messiah and Christ.
3) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  This was a prophetic fulfillment as declared in Psalm 72:17, “All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.”  Today billions of believers bless and glorify Jesus Christ as their Savior, Lord, and King.
4) Hosanna in the highest.  Heaven and earth are now in agreement to what the Angels shouted at His birth: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:14.

Today we pray, “Save us Jesus and we shall glorify you until the whole earth is filled with your glory.”

 Kingdom Declaration:

Blessed be Jesus Christ the Savior of our world.

Read the Bible in One Year: Judges 13-15; Luke 6:27-49

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Transformed to be like Jesus

March 31

“On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.” Zechariah 12:8.

The great privilege of being a Christian is the transformation process of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives.  We come to Jesus as sinners needing His forgiveness; with hurts needing His healing; weak needing His strength; with torment needing His peace; with fears needing His deliverance.  God is not only changing us but He is also transforming us.

Change uses external influences and motivation from the outside to cause us to change our actions.  We are motivated to make New Year Resolutions that last only temporarily. Transformation, however, results from the Holy Spirit working from the inside to change our beliefs and thinking so that our actions become our new nature and new norm.  By the power of the Holy Spirit we are being transformed into the likeness of God.  “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.

God promises that the feeblest among us will become strong like David the giant-killer.  In you is the power of God to outlast and outlive your enemies. Be strong in the LORD and allow Him to turn your weakness into strength and your sadness into joy as you are transformed into His likeness.

Kingdom Declaration:

I am being transformed into the likeness of Jesus to bring great glory to His Name.

Read the Bible in One Year: Judges 11-12; Luke 6:1-26

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As You Seek Direction

March 30

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8.

Are you in the middle of making a big decision and you need to know that it is God who is directing you? The fact that you need to know means that you are aware that your ideas are not always perfect; your thoughts are not always positive; God is not always the source of your imagination. Human beings are imperfect. We don’t always hear, think, speak, and act perfectly.

The good news is that we don’t have to just depend on ourselves for direction, stability, guidance, and confidence. God has promised to instruct us, teach us, counsel us, and watch over us in our journey of decisions and actions. With God’s guidance, we can have confidence in His control of the outcome, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

As you seek direction:
1) Pray. God will lead, guide, and help you.
2) Seek wise counsel. “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” Proverb 15:22.
3) Wait for confirmation. “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20.
4) Keep listening. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17.

Kingdom Declaration:

I thank God for His continuous guidance in my life on my path of lasting success.

Read the Bible in One Year: Judges 9-10; Luke 5:17-39

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God’s greatness is in you

March 29

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 14:1.

The adult human body contains 213 bones; approximately 100 trillion cells; 30 trillion red blood cells in 60,000 miles of blood vessels; and 2 million sweat glands on its surface. The lungs are composed of 700 million cells. If the heartbeats for a single day were concentrated into one huge throb of vital power, it would be sufficient to throw a ton of iron 120 feet into the air. The nervous system is controlled by a brain that has 100 billion nerve cells. God your Awesome, Almighty, and Omnipotent Creator, created you with greatness.

The Bible describes you as “fearfully and wonderfully made.” You are God’s masterpiece with His life flowing through you. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10. By denying God, you deny yourself and your greatest heritage to be His child.

The blessing of a relationship with the Great God of the universe is yours when you ask Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior and Lord. The peace that passes all understanding is yours when Jesus becomes your Prince of Peace. You have access to His glory when Jesus becomes your King of Glory.

Ask Him today and allow His great gift of salvation and relationship to be yours. You are created in His image with His greatness in you. The spiritual DNA of God can be yours. His eternal life can be yours. When you believe in Him, His family becomes yours. His great love is yours now and forever.

Kingdom Declaration:

I have the spiritual DNA and the greatness of God flowing through me as a blessing to others.

Read the Bible in One Year: Judges 7-8; Luke 5:1-16

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The Seven Last Words of Jesus

March 28

“And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39.

Words from a dying person can be remorseful, fearful, resentful or sad but for Jesus, His last words were deliberate, confident, and intentional:
1) “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. Luke 23:34.
Forgiveness is an act of faith not feelings. No one deserves forgiveness. It is an opportunity for mercy because we all need mercy.
2) “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43.
Jesus said this to a dying thief who was also on a cross beside him. It is never too late for God’s mercy.
3) “Dear woman behold your son, son behold your mother.” John 19:25-27.
Even in the midst of His torture Jesus took care of His mother.
4) “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
Jesus spoke in Aramaic, the language he used as a child. He went back into His childhood to appeal to His Father’s heart. Jesus knows the pain of an abandoned child.
5) “I thirst.” John 19:28
He who is the source of living water denied Himself to become for us the water of life.
6) “It is finished.” John 19:30.
He declared his mission accomplished. Our sins were paid for in full.
7) “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46.
He gave up His life for you and all people. He rose again three days later and remains today the risen Christ, Savior, Lord, and King of Glory.

Kingdom Declaration:

Jesus Christ is my Savior, Lord, and King of Glory.

Read the Bible in One Year: Judges 4-6; Luke 4:31-44

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Trials contain seeds of glory

March 27
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6,7.

Remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God.  His love for you includes protection from destruction.  During trials His grace is your shield, His mercy mediates, His love is your covering, and His glory is your power within and protection around you. Do not be tormented by failure or fear.  God knows your strengths and weaknesses and yet He has chosen you for the praise of His glory.

William Wilberforce is probably one of the best-known slavery abolitionists.  For years he fought against the slave trade and his enemies were among politicians, slave owners, and global leaders in Europe and West-India.  He was involved in the revolution of the century.  His life was threatened and relationships broken.  Disappointed and discouraged, he was about to give up when his friend John Wesley, on his death bed, with trembling hands wrote William a letter, “unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and of devils.  But if God be for you, who can be against you?  Are all of them stronger than God?  O be not weary in well doing!  Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery shall vanish away before it.”  Wesley died six days later.  Wilberforce fought for 42 more years.  Three days before his death, slavery was abolished in Britain, later to be abolished in the English colonies.

Trials contain seeds of glory.  God is with you and for you.  Your endurance will make you stronger. Your victory will be a blessing to you and to others. God gains glory through the trials of His servants and bestow upon them glory for a great testimony.

Kingdom Declaration:

I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Read the Bible in One Year: Judges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30

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A Time for Self-Discovery

March 26

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

There is strength, ability, creativity, and sustaining power that is waiting for discovery. Sometimes it takes challenging times to make you discover your resilience; dangerous moments for you to discover your inner strength; discouraging words that make you discover your faith; and frustrating moments that make you discover your inner peace.

There is a story of a woman who chased her husband through the crowds at the zoo, waving her umbrella and unleashing insults like invisible missiles. Her perspiring and winded husband, seeing that the lock on the lion’s cage had not quite closed, yanked it open, jumped into the cage, slammed the door, pushed the astonished lion hard against the bars, and peered over its shoulder. His frustrated wife shook her umbrella, stuttered in anger, and finally managed to explode, “Ralph, come out of there, you coward!”

If you think you are a coward, that’s because you have not yet discovered your strength. If you think you are stupid, that’s because you have had the wrong mentors. If you think you are the most unlikely to succeed that’s only because you are the most unlikely to try.

Paul operated at a supernatural level of confidence and he said: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. Put your hope in the LORD and He will activate and renew strength (power, creativity, and sustaining ability) in you.

Kingdom Declaration:

The Lord is my strength and shield. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Read the Bible in One Year: Joshua 22-24; Luke 3

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Principle of Blessedness

March 25

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3.

Jesus taught His disciples the principles of ‘blessedness’. Happiness is emotional and dependent on chance and circumstances, but there is a ‘blessedness’ that is beyond the chances and changes of our lives. The blessedness that comes from God is untouchable by outward forces and is like a cloak of favor covering us.

God is the source of blessedness and therefore the strength of our relationship with Him will determine how blessed we are. The first key to His blessedness is to realize that without Him we have spiritual poverty. We become open to His blessedness when we recognize our need of Him, and ask Him to be our personal Savior and Lord. To recognize our need for God and our spiritual poverty without Him, “poor in spirit”, makes us a potential recipient of His blessing.

This is contrary to the humanist thinking where pride rules to deceive us into thinking that either there is no God, or if there is a God, we don’t really need Him. King David said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2. David remained dependent on God even after his promotion from shepherd to king, incredible wealth, and great fame.

Among the thousands of songs written by King David, he wrote: “I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.” Psalm 59:16-17.

Those who remain forever dependent of God, will inherit the blessedness of His Kingdom.

Kingdom Declaration:

The LORD is my strength, my love, my security, and my Savior forever.

Read the Bible in One Year: Joshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52

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