Day 15: You Are in God’s Army

Wouldn’t it be great if the earth was filled with peace everyday? No wars, no battles, no pain, no trouble? God promises to give His people this kind of life. However, until that promise is fulfilled we have to live on an earth filled with war, conflict and pain. Every day we hear news of some kind of evil that has taken place in our country or in a foreign land. Very often we are powerless to do anything about the evil that has occurred. We may lack the strength, resources or knowledge to help those who have been hurt or wounded by conflict and other evils. Sometimes we lack the strength, resources or knowledge to help ourselves.  However, there is good news for those who believe in Jesus Christ:

YOU ARE IN GOD’S ARMY!

Let us look at the army of any nation. Any nation that has an army is responsible for training the members of the army. That nation is also responsible for equipping each member of the army with the tools, resources and weapons he/she needs to operate effectively. That nation is also responsible for appointing experienced men and women to lead that army to victory.

God has an army on earth. That army is the Church (all believers in Jesus Christ). God is constantly training us and equipping us to be effective members of that army. God has given us the Holy Spirit to train us:

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26 NLT)

God has given us resources to equip us:

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT)

God has given us His Son to lead us to victory:

God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. (Ephesians 1:22 NLT)

Jesus is the General of the Army. He has been appointed by God our Father. Jesus was victorious over Satan in the wilderness. Jesus was victorious over death. He wants to lead us to victory also.

Let us stay in God’s army and follow our leader to victory!

Day 14: Wear God’s Clothing

Identity is very important to us as human beings. From the moment we are born we are identified by a particular gender. We are later issued with an identification number. Government departments use this number to identify individuals. However, there is another way to identify an individual:

Examining the clothes they are wearing

There are specific clothes worn by specific people in society. Police officers wear specific clothing. Fire officers wear specific clothing. Paramedics wear specific clothing. These clothes are called uniforms. Therefore, all police officers of the same rank wear the same uniforms. The same goes for fire officers.   Uniforms allow others to identify the person wearing the uniform. The same is true for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

There is a specific set of clothes that all overcoming Christians must wear everyday of their lives:

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10 NLT)

Heaven has a Clothing Line. Two of these Heavenly clothes are “the clothing of salvation” and the “robe of righteousness”. These clothes are not optional. God requires all believers in Christ to wear salvation and righteousness. These clothes are not seasonal. Some try to wear these clothes at Christmas or during Easter. However, salvation and righteousness must be worn all year round.

Sometimes there are seasons in our lives when we feel like overcomers. Other times we feel defeated. This is not the will of God. God wants all believers in Jesus Christ to be clothed in victory every day even though there is an atmosphere of defeat all around us. Jesus Christ was sentenced to die the death of a criminal. He was “counted among the rebels”. However, Jesus was victorious even in the presence of wrongful accusations, cruel punishment and death. God said:

I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death (Isaiah 53:12 NLT)

Jesus was clothed in victory even in the face of death. The Roman soldiers stripped Him of His clothes. However, Jesus was wearing “the clothing of salvation” and the “robe of righteousness”. Three days later, God the Father saved Him from death.

Let us wear God’s clothing every day of our lives!

Day 13: God wants You to Eat Like a King (Part 1)

Do you know that God wants you to eat like a King? This is the description that the Bible gave concerning the food that was available for King Solomon on a daily basis:

The daily food requirements for Solomon’s palace were 150 bushels of choice flour and 300 bushels of meal; also 10 oxen from the fattening pens, 20 pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry. (1 Kings 4:22-23 NLT)

There was no shortage of food in King Solomon’s palace. I believe there are persons in the 21st century who would scoff at the lavish lifestyle that Solomon lived. Therefore, I think it is best to put Solomon’s lifestyle in context. Firstly, Solomon was the King of Israel. He was the highest authority in Israel. Everyone looked to him for guidance and to do justice whenever persons had disputes with each other. In every Kingdom the position of King was highly esteemed and the King or Queen enjoyed certain privileges. One of those privileges was having more than enough to eat. As the King of Israel, Solomon enjoyed that privilege also.

Secondly, Solomon was blessed abundantly by God. One night God told Solomon:

“What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5 NLT)

Solomon asked God to give Him wisdom. God said He would give it to him. However, God gave Solomon something else:

…I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! (1 Kings 3:13 NLT)

God gave Solomon riches and fame. Some of the Kings and Queens of the earth already had riches and fame but God gave Solomon much more riches and much more fame than all the other Kings and Queens. This is the context in which we should judge Solomon’s lifestyle. But the question is asked:

How is Solomon’s diet relevant to me living an overcoming life as a Christian?

The measure of Solomon’s diet was not only in the abundance of food he had but the quality of the food he had. The Bible records that Solomon had “…choice flour…pasture-fed calves…choice poultry…” The word “choice” meant that the food which Solomon ate was the best. God blessed Solomon with the best food. Solomon truly ate like a King.

However, there is something about Solomon’s life that is even more exciting for us as Christians. God gave us the opportunity to eat the best food:

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35 NLT)

Solomon was indeed a very rich King. However, the food that Solomon ate was never of such a high quality that Solomon did not have to eat again for the rest of his life. Solomon had to eat of that food every day until He died. Our Father in Heaven has given us something better:

THE BREAD OF LIFE

There is no food which is greater than the bread of life. The bread of life is of the highest quality. It is of an eternal quality. Those who eat of it will never hunger again. This is the lavish lifestyle of the Christian. Believing in Jesus Christ is a lifestyle of abundance. It is an overcoming lifestyle. Jesus said:

…My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10b)

Certainly, there is no doubt that God wants you to eat like a King.

 

By Corey H.D. Beckles

Day 12: Follow God’s Kingdom Diet

A healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things that we can have as a human being. Without strong, healthy and energetic physical bodies, we cannot function effectively on this earth. Therefore, as human beings we need to follow a healthy lifestyle. One of the ways in which we can begin to follow a healthy lifestyle is by changing our diet (what we eat). There are many different programs developed by wise, educated men and women on this earth which can help us begin on our journey to health and wellness. However, do you know that the Kingdom of God has a dietary program for its citizens? I am not talking about physical food though. I am talking about spiritual food. Jesus Christ said:

People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

Many people are familiar with the circumstances in which Jesus said these words. Jesus had not eaten for forty days and forty nights and He was hungry. Then Satan tempted Jesus by telling Him:

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:3 NLT)

I believe Jesus was able to turn those stones into bread. However, Jesus was full and satisfied with another kind of food:

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” (John 4:34 NLT)

Jesus followed the diet of the Kingdom of God. He followed this diet wholeheartedly while He was on the earth. He followed this diet even though He was given the opportunity to follow the diet of the world. The diet of the world is disobedience to the will of God. Adam and Eve followed this diet when they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We inherited the desire to follow that diet from Adam and Eve. However, through Jesus Christ we can break free from the diet of the world and follow God’s Kingdom diet. Jesus overcame Satan’s temptation to disobey the will of God and turn those stones into bread. Through Jesus we can overcome temptations also. All we need to do is to decide that we will do what Jesus did:

FOLLOW GOD’S KINGDOM DIET

By Corey H.D. Beckles

Day 11: Remember the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is one of my favourite topics. Throughout the Bible, there are references to many different Kingdoms and the Kings and Queens that ruled over them. Some of these Kingdoms were very powerful. They had powerful armies and they were very wealthy. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and even Israel were powerful Kingdoms at one point in time. All of these Kingdoms were ruled by some human being and when one of those human beings died another human being replaced them.

However, the Bible records that there is another Kingdom in existence. This Kingdom is similar to and still unlike any other Kingdom on the earth. This Kingdom has a King Who sits on a throne like the other kingdoms. This Kingdom has laws like the other kingdoms. However, this Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can die. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can become weak and powerless. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who has to be replaced by another at some point in time. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can lose his/her wealth and riches. This Kingdom is not ruled by a human being who can be defeated in battle by another King. This Kingdom is ruled by a spiritual being Who is eternal in existence, eternal in power, eternal in glory and eternal in victory. This Kingdom I am referring to is:

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

God is a King and He has a Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is Heaven. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is also called the Kingdom of Heaven:

This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool… (Isaiah 66:1 NLT)

God is a victorious King. He always wins. There are many Kings on the earth which were defeated by other Kings. However, there is no power in Heaven, on the earth or under the earth that can overcome God and His Kingdom:

Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle. (Psalm 24:8 NLT)

Satan could not overcome God and His Kingdom:

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. (Revelation 12:7-9 NLT)

Human beings could not overcome God and His Kingdom:

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2 Chronicles 20:22 NIV)

Death could not overcome God and His Kingdom:

But God released [Jesus] from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. (Acts 2:24 NLT)

The Kingdom of God is always victorious. The Kingdom of God overcomes every evil and every obstacle. All believers in Jesus Christ are citizens of this overcoming Kingdom. When we are feeling overwhelmed we must remember that we are citizens of a great and powerful Kingdom. When we feel defeated we must remember that we have a King Who is always victorious.

REMEMBER THE KINGDOM OF GOD

By Corey H.D. Beckles

Day 10: Give Thanks

There is something very valuable and precious that even the poorest person can give. A child can give it. The oldest person can give it. People in every continent, country and city give it. Even the Angels in Heaven give it:

Thanks

We usually say ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you’ because someone has given something to us or has done something for us. Sometimes we say it without thinking. Sometimes we forget to say it. However, ‘thanksgiving’ is something that every overcomer should have in their spiritual treasure chest or bank account. One day ten lepers came to Jesus and asked Him to heal them. Leprosy was a very serious disease. Those who had it were labelled as ‘unclean’. They were outcasts. They were shunned by people. Lepers could not live a normal life. Those ten lepers believed Jesus could help them overcome their serious condition.

When Jesus heard their cry for help He told them to go show themselves to the priest. The ten lepers did as Jesus said:

And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. (Luke 17:14 NLT)

Under the Law of Moses the priest was the person who was given the authority to declare that a person with a disease like leprosy was clean. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest because Jesus knew God’s healing power would cleanse them of the leprosy by the time they got to the priest. Jesus performed a great miracle for those ten lepers. Those ten men received something wonderful from Jesus but only one man came back to give thanks to Jesus:

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. (Luke 17:15-16 NLT)

Only one of those ten men came back to give thanks. There was something different about this man who came back. This man’s heart was different. This man had a heart of gratitude. This man had a heart of faith. This man had a heart for God. After he saw that he was healed, he was unable to leave without giving thanks to the One Who set him free from leprosy.

Ten men were healed of their disease but only one of them was an overcomer. Ten men showed their healed bodies to the Jewish Priest that day but only one of them showed his healed body to the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Ten men heard the Jewish Priest declare “You are clean” but only one of them heard the Great High Priest say:

“Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” (Luke 17:19 NLT)

Our Father in Heaven is pleased when we return to give Him thanks. You may not be a preacher or a teacher. You may not be a famous gospel singer. You may not have done great things for God. However, one of the greatest things you can give to God is simply:

THANKS!

 

 

Day 9: Motivated by Love

February is the month of love. On the 14th of February many people in the world celebrate love. Chocolates, roses and other gifts are given to those who are loved. Many take their loved ones out to dinner or to some special place. Valentine’s Day is the day where many take the time out to show their love to those who are special to them. Usually, couples are not thinking about the difficulties or the problems in their relationship. Valentine’s Day causes persons to ‘forget’ the problems and obstacles and focus on expressing love to others. However, what happens when Valentine’s Day is over? What happens when the month of February comes to an end? This is what happens:

WE STOP FOCUSING ON LOVE

When the day is over, some of us no longer express our love with the intensity we had on Valentine’s Day (I am talking from experience). When the day is over, the focus on love seems to fade away. It is similar to Christmas. When the season is over all of the excitement, joy and happiness goes with it. There is nothing wrong with a special day or a special season coming to an end. It is said that all good things must come to an end. However, there is, in my opinion, something wrong when love, joy, and peace comes to end in our lives. Love is a powerful force that has the ability to motivate us to overcome every difficulty we experience in our relationships with others. As human beings, we cannot afford to have love come to an end in our lives:

When we lose our focus on love we LOSE!

When we lose our focus on love we lose the battle. We cannot be victorious in this life if we do not have love in our hearts. This is even more serious in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. The Bible records that love motivated God the Father to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to give eternal life to all believers in Christ. Jesus said:

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 New Living Translation)

The Bible also records that love motivated Jesus to sacrifice Himself for the world:

I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father… (John 14:30-31 New Living Translation)

God the Father was motivated by love. Jesus the Son was motivated by love. All believers in Jesus, the children of God, must be motivated by love also. Love is so powerful that when it is operation, there is no problem, no obstacle, no difficulty that can stop it. Love causes us to overcome in our relationships with others. Love causes families to overcome difficulties. Love causes married couples to overcome problems. Love causes the Church to overcome the world:

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:35 New Living Translation)

MAY YOUR DAY BE FULL OF LOVE!

Day 8: Stay the Course of Obedience

checklist-2077019_1920 The Bible is full of people who stayed the course. One person who comes to mind is Noah. God told Noah to build a boat. The purpose of this boat was to preserve the lives of Noah and his family and every kind of animal on the earth. God told Noah:

Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper. (Genesis 6:15 New Living Translation)

Let us breakdown God’s instructions to Noah into a To Do List:

  1. Build a large boat from cypress wood;
  2. Waterproof it with tar, inside and out;
  3. Construct decks and stalls throughout its interior;
  4. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high;
  5. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat;
  6. Put the door on the side;
  7. Build three decks inside the boat-lower, middle, and upper.

Imagine Noah had a sheet of paper (or a stone tablet) with that To Do List. Before Noah could complete that boat he had to ensure that every task on his List was completed. Noah could not complete five of them and leave the other two undone. Noah had to work on that boat until the last nail or peg was driven into that wood and the last bucket of tar was plastered onto that wood.

Certainly Noah’s assignment was tough. The building of the ark was probably one of the toughest construction projects which was ever done by a human being. Imagine the hours that Noah spent building that boat. Imagine the sweat and the tears pouring down Noah’s face to build that boat. Furthermore, building the boat was not the end of the assignment. After the boat was finished Noah had to:

Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.” (Genesis 6:19-21 New Living Translation)

God gave Noah a great responsibility. Without that boat every human being and creature would have been destroyed by the flood. Noah’s job was BIG! However, in spite of the magnitude of the assignment, Noah made a decision that would change the course of history:

…Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him. (Genesis 6:22 New Living Translation)

What assignment has God given you to do? What tasks have He chosen you to complete? Noah had to spend many years building that boat. Noah had to sacrifice time to fulfill the will of God but he was willing to do it. Noah was willing to stay the course until his assignment was finished. Noah had an overcoming attitude. Noah did not look at the greatness of the command. Noah looked at the greatness of the Commander. Noah followed God’s command to the end. Let us adopt this same attitude as we continue through 2018.

God sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us from the flood of sin and give us eternal life. It was literally through the blood, sweat and tears of Jesus Christ that we are able to experience the joy of salvation. Everything that Jesus did was the result of His decision to stay the course through obedience to God.

While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.(Hebrews 5:7-8 New Living Translation)

THE LIFE OF THE OVERCOMER IS A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD!

STAY THE COURSE!

 

 

Day 7: Stay the Course! (Part 1)

At the beginning of January I started a journey of writing a 30 day motivational series. More than 30 days have gone since that time and I am only on day 7. There were many things which hindered me from moving forward on this journey. However, despite those many hindrances I have decided to stay the course. ‘Stay the course’ is an idiom which means:

  1. To persevere with as much determination, energy, or fortitude as one can until the end of a race, competition, or contest.
  2. To continue attempting or pursuing something difficult to its end or conclusion. (www.thefreedictionary.com)

The life of the overcomer is a life which is fuelled by the decision to ‘stay the course’. The Apostle Paul was called by Jesus Christ to be an Apostle. This would seem to be a glamorous ‘calling’ to some but in reality it was a life filled with dangers, tests, afflictions and obstacles. Everyone will not have the same experiences as the Apostle Paul. However, we will all have things in our lives which we have to overcome.

The Apostle Paul told the elders of the church in Ephesus:

And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. (Acts 20:22-23 King James Version)

The Apostle Paul was working for God. He was preaching the gospel and teaching the disciples of Jesus Christ. He was doing everything that God wanted him to do but the will of God was not comfortable. He knew that if he continued to fulfill the will of God he would suffer “bonds and afflictions”. Yet the Apostle Paul decided to ‘stay the course’. This is was his response to the difficulties that lay ahead:

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24 King James Version)

The Apostle Paul desired to finish his course with joy and there was nothing that could prevent him from fulfilling his desire. He knew the will of God and he was willing to stay in the will of God until the end. To live the overcoming life we must have that same attitude.

Stay the Course!

Day 6: Had Enough of Life? Get up and Eat! (Part 2)

Life is a journey. One philosopher said:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Lao-tzu)

It is true that a journey, even the longest one, begins with a single step. That first step is important. Without it you will remain in a stationary position. However, there is something much more important than starting the journey:  Finishing the journey!

The wise King Solomon said:

“Finishing is better than starting…” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 New Living Translation)

When I decided to start my own business I had to to take the first step. I took that step. I began the journey. I am still on that journey and this is what I have learnt so far:

Starting the race is good. But if you want to finish the race you must have the strength, endurance and desire to keep running.

The Prophet Elijah wanted to stop running. He did not have the strength, endurance and desire to keep working for God. He “had enough” of life. However, in his weakness God gave him food to eat and water to drink. Elijah ate and drank what God provided and he received the strength he needed to continue his journey. In our moments of weakness; when we do not have the strength, endurance and desire to keep running the race of life let us eat what God had provided:

For God loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 New Living Translation)

God does not want to see us fail.  God does not want anything to hold us back in life, whether it be sin, guilt, shame, depression, hopelessness, sickness or all the other difficulties, obstacles and problems we face in this life. God wants us to finish the race. Therefore, He sent Jesus Christ to save us from sin and everything that wants to keep us defeated. God sent Jesus Christ to help us overcome.

Jesus Christ overcame every obstacle and difficulty he faced. He overcame Satan’s temptations in the wilderness. He overcame persecution and wrongful punishment. He overcame death. Jesus Christ is our only source of the strength and endurance we need to finish the race. Jesus Christ is the One who can fuel our desire to finish the race. God sent Jesus Christ, not only to save us from our sins by dying on the cross but to show show us the WAY to overcome.

When we have had enough of life let us get up and eat from God’s table. Let us look to Jesus Christ and experience through faith the eternal bread and water that God has provided for us:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2 King James Version)