Separating Yourself From the World
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were captive slaves for 400 years in Egypt. This captivity is a type of the bondage of sin each of us experience when we are under the world’s value system. Coming out of Egypt, or leaving behind the world’s values, requires making a decision to separate ourselves from our past sin and bondage. Only then can God help us. As the plagues were consuming Egypt, the death angel was able to pass over the homes of the Israelites because of the blood that covered the doorposts of their homes. Likewise, only the blood of Jesus can protect us from the penalty of our sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, ESV)
What would you do if you knew in the deepest part of your being that God was committed to helping you complete a particular endeavor? Not something that you invented or would ever initiate, but what you’re absolutely persuaded is on God’s heart. It may appear highly unlikely, or even impossible, but no matter, if an all-powerful God would fulfill this specific hope or dream, what would you believe for? The Bible says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” (Hebrews 11:1,3, NLT) Today, stake your claim on God’s ability to fulfill His promises.
Tolerance is defined as, “the ability or willingness to tolerate something. In particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” If this is what it means to be tolerant, then NO, I don’t want to be tolerant. I will instead commit to be much, much more. I will look into the eyes of those I disagree with on moral and spiritual issues and tell them I love them, even when I know that their beliefs and lifestyles are detrimental to their good and contrary to God’s best. I will endeavor to not just put up with, but also to speak the truth in love to those who vehemently disagree with me, and I with them. This is how Jesus loves us. I must do no less to others.
I’ve found it’s the little things in life that require my greatest attention: both the little good and the little not so good. A little laziness can be fed by little faith, which can lead to a little foolishness, which can initiate a little sin, which can bring on a whole lot of pain, which can destroy your life. On the other hand, a little extra commitment can expand your faith, which can lead to acts of obedience that can be catalysts for great victories, bringing about a whole lot of healing, which can transform your life. The Bible says, “Don’t despise the day of small things.” (Zechariah 4:10) And it was Jesus Himself who said, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” (Luke 16:10, NLT) What little thing is in front of you today that will lead to a BIG opportunity?
When the Israelites left Egypt, they first had to pass through the waters of the Red Sea, which represent the waters of baptism each believer is asked to submit to as our first act of obedience in following Jesus. They had experienced the miracle of being delivered from the bondages of Egypt (the world’s value system), now they would see the miraculous provision of God in their journey through the wilderness: the miraculous supply of food in the form of manna, water flowing from rocks, a cloud guiding them by day, and a pillar of fire leading them at night. God provides this same provision for each of us. The Bible says, “…this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NLT)
God’s Inheritance For You
Do you know that God has a wonderful inheritance for you? It’s true! But you’ll have to possess by faith what is rightfully yours. The nation of Israel was unwilling to take charge of their Promised Land, and therefore wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Now it is our turn! Will we possess our inheritance: the land God has for us? Because the Israelites were not willing, many died having never received what God desired to give them. However, their children stepped up and did what their parents were unwilling to do. Are you willing to conquer the land your natural or spiritual parents were unwilling to? God is ready and wanting to help you! But it will take faith, which is the evidence of everything He desires to give us for our good.
Managing Your Finances
My wife can shop for hours and buy nothing, but I really respect her because I know she’s shopping for a deal. Here are some great suggestions for you to live in financial peace. God is a giver. Obey Him when He asks you to give. If you can’t live within the boundaries of a smaller income, you won’t be able to live within the boundaries of a larger one. If you can’t manage what you’ve got, you won’t be able to manage what you’ll get. How do you know if you have control of your credit cards? If you can’t pay the balance at the end of each month, you don’t have control. In terms of getting out of debt, set goals that are out of reach, but not out of sight. Beyond what you can easily do, but not beyond God’s provision.
Getting Alone With God
None of us should ever be alone long term. We all need people around us in healthy relationships, but don’t be surprised if you sense God wants to be alone with you. He has very personal and wonderful things He wants to share, and the only way for that to happen is One-on-one with your Creator, the One who loves you the most. It will be a powerful and life-changing experience. The Bible says that Jesus went into the wilderness, “…filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1), but He came out, “…in the power of the Spirit.” (Luke 4:14) Getting alone with God is that transforming! It may be for a few minutes, hours, or days, but my time with God is priceless. He will do what no One else can do, for He alone knows who He created me to be.
Touched By Jesus
Do you feel unworthy to be touched by Jesus? It’s true. You’re not worthy. None of us are. But He still wants to touch us. An untouchable man with leprosy came and knelt before Jesus begging to be healed. He said, ‘Jesus, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,’ Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him saying, ‘I am willing. Be healed!’ “Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.” (Mark 1:42, NKJV) The reason we are happier giving than receiving is because God is as well. God gets great joy out of touching us, out of healing us, out of liberating us. Would you let Jesus touch you today, exactly where you are hurting the most? He is more than willing! It’s why He came to Earth.
Watching Your Son Die
A father and son, and the son’s friend, were sailing when a storm overtook them. Soon the boat capsized, and all three were swept into the ocean. Grabbing a rescue line, the father made the most excruciating decision of his life. Which boy would he throw the lifeline to? The father knew that his son was a Christian. He also knew his son’s friend was not. As the father yelled out, “I love you, Son,” he threw the lifeline to his son’s friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend in, his son had disappeared beneath the waves. The father knew his son was ready to meet Jesus, but his son’s friend was not. He had sacrificed his son, to save the friend. The rescued friend went on to receive Jesus. How great is the love of God that He too would send His Son to die for us?
I’m Not the Man I Once Was
The old method of drawing people into a relationship with Jesus was persuasion: Convince them that they need to be born again. But now, it really takes the more personal approach of identification. If someone can’t identify with me, they’ll never fully trust me. If they can’t see the struggle in me, then my life becomes less believable. Though none of us are perfect representations of Jesus, if we truly believe that Jesus died in our place then every day we can express our gratitude to Him amidst our struggle. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I could be; I may not be the man I can be; but praise God, I’m not the man I once was.”
A State Assemblywoman met another legislator in an elevator after a vote. One of them said to the other, “I can’t believe I voted for that bill!” But they both knew why she had voted for it. It wasn’t because she believed it was the moral high ground. It was all about keeping her constituents “happy,” so she’d be re-elected. You and I have “one Constituent” we should want to keep “happy:” His name is Jesus! How much money would it take for us to change our vote? How much pressure to surrender our morals? “Jesus, keep my heart ever looking to please You alone. There are many voices in this world trying to distract me from being the person You created me to be. Let Yours be the one voice I hear and obey. For You alone have what I really need.”