Day 20: God Does Not Take Vacations!

On several occasions I have entered a government department to conduct business and I was informed that the person who can help me is on vacation. When I enquired when that person will be back in office I was unable to obtain a definite answer. Sometimes life can make us feel as though God is on vacation. Sometimes, we pray and pray and pray to God for deliverance from our problems and nothing happens. In those moments we believe that God is ‘out of office’. However, the Bible gives us a different account of God’s work schedule. The Bible records that since the beginning of creation God only took one day off:

And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. (Genesis 2:3 NLT)

God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them in six days and He rested on the seventh day. He rested because His work was finished. However, God was not finished working on behalf on His creation. God planted the Garden of Eden so Adam and Eve would have a nice place to live. After Adam and Eve sinned, God made clothes for them to wear. God continues to work on behalf of His creation:

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:8 KJV)

There is no doubt that God does wonderful works on behalf of His creation. The Psalmist revealed that God delivered and saved His people when they were distressed and in trouble. However, there is something that occurred before God worked on their behalf:

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. (Psalm 107:6 KJV)

Those who were in trouble “cried unto the LORD” and the LORD “delivered them out of their distresses”. God works on behalf of those who put their trust in Him. God worked on behalf of David when he was running from King Saul. God worked on behalf of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. God worked on behalf of Daniel when he was thrown into the den of lions. God worked on behalf of Jesus when He died and was buried in a tomb.

Are you in distress? Are you faced with trouble? There is Someone Who can help you and He does not go on vacation. God is not so far away that you can not reach Him. Call on Him now:

Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6 NLT)

Day 19: God is the Righteous Judge!

Have you ever been deprived of your rights by someone in authority? We live in a world where persons in authority ignore the rights of others on a daily basis. Those who are not considered to have a high standing in society suffer the most. Even though the United Nations is present and many Treaties protecting the rights of human beings have been signed by many different countries in the world, the rights of many human beings are not protected by those in authority. These things occur in this world but they do not occur in the Kingdom of God. Those who do not have a high standing in the eyes of the world are considered highly in the eyes of God. God ensures that the rights of such persons are upheld.

One day Jesus told His disciples a parable about a woman who was a widow. This widow had a legal problem and she needed justice quickly. She went to a Judge but she faced a great obstacle. The Judge was a person:

“who neither feared God nor cared about people” (Luke 18:2 NLT)

In other words, the Judge was unrighteous. Even though persons came before Him with legitimate claims, He did not care. He would refuse legitimate claims at any time and against any person. However, this widow woman did not give up. She went to that unrighteous Judge on several occasions and said:

‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ (Luke 18:3 NLT)

The parable continued:

The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people,  but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” (Luke 18:4-5 NLT)

The widow continued to bother that unrighteous Judge with her requests for justice. Jesus said we should learn an important lesson from this widow:

So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly… (Luke 18:7-8 NLT)

The lesson is this:

The people of God should not give up asking God for justice. The people of God should not give up praying to God for victory. God is the Righteous Judge and He will uphold your legal rights.

NEVER STOP PRAYING (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT)

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 16: God’s Army Stands Ready (Part 1)

Semper Paratus is a Latin phrase which means “Always Ready”. This Latin phrase is the motto of the United States Coast Guard. It paints a picture in my mind of the United States Coast Guard always being ready at a moment’s notice to protect and to save. It paints a picture in my mind of the United States Coast Guard always being ready to handle any danger or evil that it is called to respond to. The United States Coast Guard is an earthly army. There is a Heavenly Army whose motto is also “Always Ready”.

The Bible records that in the time of greatest need God’s Army stands ready to protect and deliver those who put their trust in God. One day Elisha the Prophet and his servant were in a city called Dothan. The King of Aram heard of Elisha’s presence in Dothan and the King sent a “great army with many chariots and many horses to surround the city”. Elisha’s servant became afraid. However, Elisha had a different response:

“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. (2 Kings 6:16-17 NLT)

Elisha and his servant were surrounded by a great army but that great army was surrounded by an even greater army:

God’s Army

God’s Army stood ready to protect Elisha, the servant of God. Are you one of God’s servants? Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Then be certain of this:

God will never leave you nor forsake you!

God has provided around the clock protection for you. His Army stands ready to protect and deliver you at a moment’s notice. While surrounded by armed men who came to arrest Him, Jesus told Peter:

Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? (Matthew 26:53 NLT)

Trust God today!

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 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)

 

 

 

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!