‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6 KJV).
It is human nature to want to “sort things out.” We know what we want to achieve, and how we’ll achieve it; tackling a situation or problem with our own preconceived ideas. Then we battle with the issues in an effort to reach the desired outcome which, more than often, ends up with “battle fatigue.” Tired, exhausted and downcast, with bloodied faces and torn clothes, we collapse and wonder we we’ve gone wrong.
We need to learn to relinquish control to God. Our obsession with control just causes too many “casualties” on life’s battlefield. We need to let go and let God… Today is the day to stand back and let God take over – He’s got it all “sorted.”
Prayer: Father God, I confess that I rely so much on my own power and usually then make a mess of things. Please forgive me… Please come and take control. I stand back Lord – please take over in totality.
Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did (1 John 2:6 NIV).
If I say that I am a follower of Christ Jesus, then my life, my words and deeds should attest to it and not tell a different story. If my words and deeds are contra to my claim, then I’d make a mockery of Christ. Expressing it in a causal way could go something like this: “Christian >>> Follower of Christ Jesus >>> Disciple >>> Live as Jesus did.”
Agreed, none of us are perfect like Jesus, and none of us will achieve it on this side of eternity. But surely we could strive for it with every fibre of our being… We should be cautious that an attitude of “I am just a sinner” does not cause me to become spiritually paralyzed and I conform to the world and its ways. If I say I am a child of God, I should live as Jesus did.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, to live as You did, doesn’t seem humanly possible to me. Please help me with this by Your grace… because I desire to live as You did.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).
A direct result of us being rooted in Christ Jesus is that our lives will show it, i.e., we’ll be bearing fruit. An apple tree does not need a sign to say it’s an apple tree; it is known by its fruit… So it is with a true believer in Christ. If it is not the case, something is wrong somewhere. Jesus makes it clear in this passage that apart from Him we can do nothing. In order to bear fruit that demonstrates our faith, is to remain in Him, and Him in me; that’s it! I must remain anchored and rooted in Him. The moment I attempt to rely on my own insights and act in my own strength is when things go pear shaped and my fruit withers and wilts.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the vine and I’m a branch. I confess that without You I can do nothing. I devote myself to You; please remain in me so that I may bear fruit to Your glory.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP).
You might be finding yourself at a junction in your life where you are not looking forward to tomorrow, where particular demands you feel panicky about possibly awaits. Fear and anxiety are tugging on your being and you wonder how you are going to get through it. Maybe there are challenges you’ve been journeying with for a while now that you feel will remain a thorn in your flesh tomorrow. As if you want to say: “Oh Lord, I feel tired and downhearted just thinking about tomorrow.”
The Lord wants to remind us through the words of Paul to Timothy that we have absolutely no reason to face tomorrow with such an attitude. The Holy Spirit fills us with power, love and a sound mind. We have everything we need to face tomorrow with courage and conviction and to live victoriously from that position. Let us then go and live accordingly.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that I can journey into the future in Your power. Thank You that You have given me everything I need to live victoriously.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).
We are warned to be cautious about what we entertain in our hearts, because it has a significant impact on our whole life. Have you noticed what happens when you go around with concern and anxiety in your heart? It makes you despondent, weary and listless. You are tense and your face shows it. Your heart is heavy and you are negative… Your productivity weakens… Your relationship with your loved ones is full of conflict… Your husband/wife and children become a channel of release for your frustration… You are surly and rude… Even your pets must bear the brunt… Your sleep patterns become affected and you plainly just feel sick.
So what is the answer then?
Philippians 4:6-7 is God’s antidote. It states: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You that I do not have to be anxious about anything. Please, let Your peace which transcends all understanding guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Help my by Your Spirit to take every thought captive and to make it obedient to You.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).
Ever wondered about the purpose of your existence? Maybe you’re still wondering about it. Well, wonder no more… Matthews 28:19-20 is rather explicit in giving believers direction in this regard. The purpose of my existence is not merely about praise and worship; not merely about fellowship… then God would’ve taken me to heaven after being born again. No, praise, worship and fellowship with fellow believers serves to equip and empower me to fulfil my purpose… my purpose is simply to “therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”
That is the Great Commission, given to us directly by our King, Jesus Christ. That is the reason for our existence…
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I realize that Your commission is also the reason for my existence. I however feel ill equipped to heed to Your call. Please equip me by Your Spirit. Thank you for Your promise that You will be with me always.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Rev 3:15-16).
Lukewarm – neither cold nor hot. Clearly not acceptable to the Lord. It actually leaves a bad taste in His mouth – to such an extent that he wants to spit those who are lukewarm out of his mouth.
Lukewarm – neither cold nor hot. Lukewarm can be very detrimental… So “in between.” Nice and cosy. Perhaps in the physical, but dangerous in the spiritual – a danger that could have extreme implications.
How is it with you and me? Are we lukewarm in our spiritual life? Let us examine ourselves as a matter of urgency and make things right with the Lord if we’ve backslidden into a comfort zone of a lukewarm spiritual life.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus… I don’t want to be lukewarm… I don’t want to be spit out of Your mouth. I want to be spiritually hot Lord! Please let the fire of your Holy Spirit quicken me so that I will be hot for You.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. (Rom. 12:10)
“When days are dark, friends are few”… We all know the cliché. It is, however, totally inappropriate amongst believers. I would rather put it, “Whether days are dark or bright, Christian friends lovingly cares.” The song “Friends” by Michael W. Smith contains the lyrics “A friend’s a friend forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them; and a friend will not say never, cause the welcome never ends…”
Go read 1 Sam 18:1-4 to see what true friendship looks like. Is there a friend you could reach out to in love today? He/she should not necessarily have to be in a time of need – just let him/her know that you value his/her friendship, that you care and that you’re there for him/her.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the perfect Friend. I want to learn from you how to be devoted in love and to honour others above myself. Please teach me.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:1-2)
True and proper worship is not merely to read the Bible and to pray. No, the essence of it is to offer myself as sacrifice to God; a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him. Living is the opposite of dead. It is in other words not simply lip service, but acting; doing! Holy stands opposite to unholy, and unholy, for me, relates to this sinful world – the world we should not conform to. Holy is to be dedicated to God with your whole being.
Are you willing to place yourself on the altar as a living and holy sacrifice today? Perhaps you need a paradigm shift? Perhaps your mind needs renewal in order to do it?
Prayer: Father God, please transform me by renewing my mind, so that I can test and approve what Your will is – Your good, pleasing and perfect will.