Day 22: God Always Finishes His “Good” Work! (Part 2)

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6 NLT)

I want to encourage all who work for the Lord in any capacity. I want to encourage those who are spending energy, money and time to ensure that the gospel of Jesus Christ is spread within their community, their nation and the world. The Bible reminds us that serving the Lord is “good work”, but sometimes that work can overwhelm us and feel more like a burden than a pleasure. However, there are three things we must remember as servants of the Lord:

  1. God started that “good work”
  2. God will continue that “good work”
  3. God will complete that “good work”

The Church at Philippi was always eager to support the Apostle Paul financially. While the Apostle Paul travelled from country to country, the Philippians would send supplies to him whenever they could:

As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. (Philippians 4:15-16 NLT)

The Philippians were not financially rich but God started a “good work” within them. The Apostle Paul reminded them that the same God that started that “good work” will continue it until it is completed. Some serve the Lord through giving financial support. Some serve the Lord through public ministry. Some serve the Lord through private ministry. Some pray for others. Some encourage others. Some bear the burdens of others. Whatever you do to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ is “good work”.

You may not be financially rich but God started that “good work” in you. You may not be physically strong but God started that “good work” in you. You may have made mistakes while working for God but God started that “good work” in you. God will continue that “good work” in you and He will complete it.

That “good work” that God has started in your life is like a puzzle with many pieces. Every step you take for God, every minute you spend with God, every cent you give to God, everything you do for God are just pieces of the puzzle. God will ensure that all of those pieces come together perfectly to produce a beautiful picture. Don’t give up but be encouraged:

God Always Finishes His “Good” Work

Day 17: God’s Army Stands Ready (Part 2)

It is my desire to encourage you today. We all need encouragement at some point in time in our lives. The best boxers need their trainers to encourage them. The greatest athletes needs encouragement from their coaches. Children need encouragement from their parents. Christians need encouragement from their God and Father. Our Father in Heaven is the God of Encouragement. He encourages us through His Word. He encourages us through His presence. He encourages us through His servants.

Joshua was given the great responsibility of leading Israel to possess the Promised Land. God encouraged Joshua through His Word:

“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous.(Joshua 1:6-7 NLT)

God encouraged Joshua through His presence:

So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the LORD your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you…Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River!…as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away… And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. (Joshua 3:9-16 NLT)

God encouraged Joshua through His servant:

When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” (Joshua 5:13-14 NLT)

God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. God showed Joshua that He was with Him by moving the waters of the river Jordan so Israel could pass over to the other side. When Joshua had to conquer the city of Jericho, God sent a man with a sword in his hand to meet Joshua. This man revealed himself to be:

The commander of the LORD’s army

This man did not reveal why he was there but I believe he was there to encourage Joshua. I believe His presence alone encouraged Joshua to continue doing the will of God. If the commander of the army is present, his army cannot be too far away. Joshua was faced with the great task of conquering the city of Jericho but God’s army stood ready. If you are faced with a great difficulty today, be encouraged by Joshua’s encounter with the commander of LORD’s army. God’s Army Stands Ready to help you!

 

Day 5: Had Enough of Life? Get up and Eat! (Part 1)

Life can become very difficult. Sometimes we believe that being a Christian means that life will always be easy. That is far from the truth. A time will come when God will establish His Kingdom on the earth. A time will come when Jesus Christ will sit on the throne of David and rule God’s Kingdom with justice and righteousness. Until that time comes, life on this earth will be filled with difficulties and obstacles. Until that time comes, we have to live on an earth where evil occurs on a daily basis. Sometimes the difficulties, obstacles and the evils of this life can overwhelm us to the point where we cry out:

I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Have you ever had those moments where you feel like giving up? Those moments when you have had enough of the negative things life had to offer and you want to “call it a day” or “throw in the towel”. In those moments of discouragement and hopelessness there is “a way of escape” that God has provided for the believer in Jesus Christ:

GET UP AND EAT!

That may sound strange but lets look at our human body for a moment. When our bodies are in need of energy and strength we have to stop and fill them with something that can energize them. When are bodies become weak and feel like ‘giving up’ on us that is a SIGN that our bodies need something that can give them strength. That something is food. When our physical bodies have ‘had enough’ we have to: Get up and eat!

If we do not get up and eat, our bodies will fail us. It is the same for believers in Jesus Christ. No matter how strong we are, at some point in time our spiritual bodies will need energy and strength. In times of fear we need be strengthened with boldness. In times of discouragement we need to be energized by encouragement. Elijah was a mighty prophet of God but there was a time when he was overcome with fear. Elijah ran as far away from the source of fear (Jezebel) as he could. He was tired. He told God:

I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Elijah wanted to give up but God had other plans. God sent an Angel with food and this instruction:

GET UP AND EAT!

The Bible records that Elijah:

“looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again” (1 Kings 19:6 New Living Translation)

One day Jesus fed 5000 men with five loaves and two fish. The next day, some of those who were fed were looking for Jesus. They wanted more bread to eat and they wanted Jesus to feed them. Jesus told them:

“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 New Living Translation)

And again:

The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63 New Living Translation)

Jesus wanted those ‘bread seekers’ to understand that His words were more beneficial to them than the physical bread they ate. When we feel like giving up we need to get up and eat the words of Jesus. When we feel as though we have “had enough” we need to get up and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. If there is one person who know what it feels like to be burdened and overwhelmed by life it is Jesus. Jesus was condemned by the very persons he preached to, taught and helped on a daily basis. These same people wanted Him to die a cruel and painful death on a cross. Jesus was surrounded by Roman soldiers. While on the cross He listened to them mock Him. He was an innocent man who suffered the punishment of the worst criminal. In all of these things Jesus did not give up.

Jesus is our bread of strength. Jesus is our bread of hope. Jesus is our bread of encouragement. He is the One Who will sustain us in the difficult times of life. He is the One Who will give us the energy on a daily basis to continue to follow God in spite of the obstacles and evil experiences we face. When we have had ‘enough of life’ let us remember that God has provided food to help us OVERCOME. There is only one thing left for us to do:

GET UP AND EAT!

 

Day 4: Help! I am in Uncharted Territory

Have you ever faced a situation where you felt alone; where you felt like no one understands what you are going through? Have you ever been faced with a problem which you cannot solve and no one else seems able to solve it? Have you ever felt lost in life? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions you are in ‘Uncharted Territory’.

Life is full of uncharted territory.  Uncharted territory is an area “not recorded or plotted on a map, chart, or plan” (Merriam Webster). No one plans to experience negative situations. No one plans to lose a loved one. No one plans to lose their job or lose their money in a bad investment. Sometimes these events occur when we are happy and enjoying life. Suddenly the happiness and the joy we felt earlier turns to sorrow and despair. Uncharted territory is not a good place to find ourselves in for the following reasons:

  1. You feel afraid;
  2. You feel helpless;
  3. You feel like giving up

If we are going to live the ‘Overcoming Life’ we will need to know how to overcome Uncharted Territory. The Prophet Elijah found himself in uncharted territory. Elijah had just overcome 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah” who served Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. However, when he heard that Jezebel wanted to kill him, he ran away in fear. Elijah found himself:

“…alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (1 Kings 19:4 New Living Translation)

Elijah decided to give up on life. He told God to take his life and then lay down to sleep. But God’s response to Elijah’s request is amazing:

But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. (1 Kings 19:5-6 New Living Translation)

In the midst of Elijah’s feelings of fear, helplessness and giving up, God sent an angel to HELP Elijah. Elijah was in the wilderness, far away from civilization, but God found him.

GOD KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE!

You may be in Uncharted Territory but God knows where you are. You may know someone who is in Uncharted Territory. God knows where they are too. There is no place too high, too low or too isolated that God does not know your location. Though we are far away in fear, helplessness and despair, God can find us.

      We are never alone. We are never in a place which is too far for God to reach us.

Knowing that God is always with us will help us to find our way out of Uncharted Territory. There will always be a situation that we never faced before. There will always be a problem that we never solved before. However, God is ABLE to help us overcome every one. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us:

…God has said

“I will never fail you.
    I will never abandon you.”

So we can say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper,
    so I will have no fear.
    What can mere people do to me?”

   (Hebrews 13:5-6 New Living Translation)

Believe the Word of God: He will help you when you are in Uncharted Territory.

Day 1: Motivated by the Voice of God

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Now the Lord had said unto Abram…So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him… Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4 KJV)

What would cause a married, seventy-five year old man who is living with his family to suddenly leave his country, his family and his father’s house and go on a journey to another country that he does not know anything about? Let us think about this for a moment. Abram was living a very comfortable life. He was married to a beautiful woman called Sarai. He was surrounded by all of his family. If he and Sarai ran out of salt all he needed to do was go next door, knock on his family’s tent door and borrow salt. Even though he lived at a time when seventy-five was still a young age, he was old. He should have been looking to slow down; not go on a dangerous journey to literally ‘God knows where’. Yet Abram departed…

There were many justifiable reasons for Abram to stay in his comfort zone. But Abram was motivated by something that he probably never heard before in his entire life:

                                                         THE VOICE OF GOD

Abram grew up in Ur of the Chaldees. Abram’s family worshipped other gods (Joshua 24:2). Abram did not come from a family who worshipped the Living God. In other modern context, Abram did not come from a Christian family. Despite Abram’s unrighteous background, he responded positively to the voice of God. He heard God’s voice. He heard the word of God and he decided to obey the word of God. Abram was in a comfortable place but he wanted more. He found it in the Living God. One day Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. He saw two fishermen, Peter and Andrew, hard at work. Jesus said something that caught their attention:

      Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people! (Matthew 12:19 NLT)

Peter and Andrew stopped working immediately and followed Jesus. They had justifiable reasons to refuse Jesus’ request. They had their own fishing business. Furthermore, they were sinful and unrighteous men and Jesus was holy and righteous. Peter admitted that he was “a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). In those circumstances, why would they leave everything behind to follow Jesus?

                          THEY WERE MOTIVATED BY THE VOICE OF GOD

Saul persecuted the Church (the body of believers in Christ) day and night. He “agreed completely” with the execution of Stephen, a faithful member of the Church (Acts 8:1 NLT). Saul’s sole purpose in life was “to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison” (Acts 8:3 NLT). With every breath Saul threatened the Church and he received authority from his superiors to travel to Damascus to arrest every Christian he found. However, something happened on the road to Damascus that changed Saul’s sole purpose in life. Saul heard the voice of Jesus. What inspired Saul to stop persecuting the Church and to start working for Jesus?

                              HE WAS MOTIVATED BY THE VOICE OF GOD

An obstacle we often come face to face with in our journey as a Christian is our past. Sometimes, our past failures, sins, disappointments and other negative experiences become great mountains that stand between us and reaching the goal of being like Christ. However, we are not without hope. Abraham, the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul all had a past that was stained with sin but they overcame. How did they do that you ask?

                         THEY WERE MOTIVATED BY THE VOICE OF GOD

God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. God changed Peter from a Fisherman to a Faithful rock of the Church. God changed Saul from a Persecutor of the Church to a great Promoter of the good news of Jesus Christ. These men were motivated by the voice of God. God says:

…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

No matter how stained our past is, we can overcome our past and walk victoriously as the new person that God has called us to be.

BE MOTIVATED BY THE VOICE OF GOD TODAY AND LEAVE YOUR PAST BEHIND!