Monthly Archives: December 2015

seek-ye-first1

Back to School

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt 6:33 ESV 

The students walk into the classroom, and the instructor greets them with a smile. The room is filled, but there is room for more. The instructor says, “We will be starting shortly.”What will happen to those who are late? The instructor, as if reading my mind, announces, “I will take care of those who come late.”

He closes the door. He hands each student a blank piece of paper and says, “Draw a line down the center. On one side of the paper, write down everything you want out of life. On the other side of the paper, write ‘Seek the Teacher first.’ If you do this, you will get most everything you wrote on the other side of the paper.”

As you can imagine, we all had questions. “What if I don’t pass the test?” “What if don’t understand?”

His answer never changed. He kept telling us, “Come and see Me. If you follow Me, I will bless you.”

Can it really be that easy? Yes, it can. Jesus offers everyone a chance to be blessed, and all you have to do is put Him first. He needs to be your example and your tour guide. He needs to be the anchor of your trust and the person you confide in first. Once you’ve done this, then you will get the things you asked for. It really is that easy.

God, thank you for allowing us to seek you first, and thank you for all that you have given us. Continue to bless us we pray. Amen

Devotional by Steve Thomas

0
ht-jan-2016-quiz-511x1024
jeremiah-33

Your Destiny

Have you ever sat down and wondered what you are doing in this world? Days turn to weeks and weeks to months and then years, and you wonder, “When will this end?” But it ought not to be so! God made you and gave you breathe to work and enjoy His creation (Genesis 1:27-30), and to give Him praise (Psalm 150:6). Everyday of your life should be full of joy and peace and this post tells you how to achieve this.

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” – Luke 2:49 (NKJV)

Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 41:44 (NKJV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

Many people, when that emptiness comes and they wonder what they are doing on earth, don’t look for the answer from the right place. And when the hopelessness continues, suicide sometimes becomes an option for them, in order to end it fast. This I tell you is one of the worst decisions one can make on earth, because it is “first class” ticket to hell! Truly, you won’t want to go there.

We are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) but God has different plans for every one of us. For Abraham, the Lord called him to be a great nation and a blessing through which all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3); for Joseph, He called him to save many people alive during the famine (Genesis 50:20); for Jeremiah, He called him to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5), and for Jesus Christ, God called Him to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). And for me, I am called to write for Him online.

Though, we may have different assignments, one thing is sure, the Lord’s thoughts for us individually are of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

You can only have joy, peace and fulfillment when you are fulfilling your destiny. This is because you will be at the centre of God’s perfect plan for your life and the Holy Spirit, Who has joy as His fruit, will be dwelling in you. You will be carrying God’s presence and you know that in His presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)!

Jesus Christ understood this even as a child and decided to be about His father’s business, than to return with His family immediately after the ceremony (Luke 2:49). And Joseph endured all the sufferings and held unto God to launch him into his full purpose for living. And in Genesis 41:44, God made him head of all in Egypt excluding Pharaoh.

You may have a good career or business, and are comfortable with your income, that inner joy and fulfilment that only God gives can only be yours when you are about your Father’s business and He is pleased with you.

I have some other things I do too, but I have unexplainable joy when I receive feedbacks from my readers that they are blessed by my writings. I get fulfilled knowing that I am on course with God’s plan for me.

You are not late if you are yet to discover your purpose on earth. Go back to God, your maker, and He will reveal it to you. And if you are yet to receive it, serve Him whole heartedly with all of you; I assure you that in the course of it you will discover what you are made to be, and unspeakable joy of the Lord will be yours.

Devotional  by Ngozi Nwoke

0
Rays of sunshine breaks through the clouds

Open Eyes, Open Hearts

“Others tested him by asking for a sign from Heaven.” Luke 11:16

Jesus had just cast out a demon; the mute man could speak. Some saw the miracle and were amazed. Others, the Scripture tells us, overlooked what Jesus had done and kept asking for a sign from Heaven. Amazing! How could they possibly close their eyes and hearts to this miracle and then continue to ask for more?

Today I reflected upon the fact that we are much like these unbelieving people found in Luke’s gospel. We earnestly seek Jesus over an issue that concerns us. He graciously shows us the answer to our troubles whether they be ill-health, a rocky relationship, difficulties at work, whatever the concern.

Whether the answer comes to us through the Word or from the quiet voice of His Spirit in a time of prayer, God will whisper wise words to help us in our time of need. Deep in our hearts He will reveal the next step, the way forward.

Yet how easily we overlook these instructions and seek another sign; failing to see what He has already set before us. God always answers our prayers, let us fully open our eyes and hearts to see and receive His answer with courage, faith and gratitude. His gift is always enough, we need no more.

Heavenly Father, you are faithful and will answer us when we call to you. Please give us the courage and faith to walk in newness of life with you. Help us to see and accept the way forward that you show us regarding our concerns. Keep us obedient to your instructions. Thank you.

Meditation by Jennifer Woodley

0
grace-and-truth

The Great Enigma

Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. (Jude 1: 23b NLT)

An enigma is something that is puzzling or difficult to understand. How do we love people as God’s creation and yet hate the sin that mars their existence. It is like trying to separate dirt from muddy water. Yet for Christians, in the culture in which we live, it is a skill that is absolutely necessary to reach the world around us.

Trying to accomplish this feat is like walking on a type rope. If you lean too much to the side of mercy, we risk appearing to condone sinful actions. On the other hand, if we overly emphasize truth and judgment we fall off of that rope into the pitfalls of legalism. So how do we navigate this bumpy road?

First, there are no magical formulas, other than the life of Christ, ” full of grace and truth.” On one occasion He drove out the moneychangers, in another He ate with sinners. At times He was like a lion and others like a lamb. With Jesus, one size did not fit all.
What should we do when we find ourselves between the rock and the hard place of choosing between mercy and truth? Jesus only did what the Father was doing. We in turn, should do only what we see Jesus doing. We should neither look to right nor the left, but up to God to lead us. Doing this will not bring the approval of the legalist or the liberals, but it will please the one who really counts, the Son of God our example. So keep looking up and He will teach you how to love people and yet hate their sin.

Meditation by Ken Barnes 

0
nativity

He came

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)

He came because it was necessary for someone to come. He came because He was willing to come. He came because He was destined to come. “Here I am- it is written about Me in the scroll – I have come to do Your will, O God..” Hebrews 10:7

He came because mankind having been created in God’s image, had allowed the image to be damaged and harmed. Jesus was not prepared to let mankind drift further down the road to ruin. Man had pawned himself to the devil. Christ came to redeem mankind.

He came, leaving behind the glories of heaven, leaving behind the ethereal splendor of His heavenly home and the wonders of the eternal scene.

He came into a world where the taint of sin in human nature was evidenced by lying, dishonesty, theft, violence, greed, disrespect, godlessness and indifference towards God. Yet He cmae.

He came, not with chariots of fire and armies of heaven, but as the Babe in Bethlehem. “The Word become flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14).

How grateful we are that He came.

How humbling that had it been only one of us that needed saving, He would still have come.

He came without the least hesitation,

For man to enjoy His full salvation.

Coming down in Divine visitation.

To bring the Gospel to ev’ry nation.

And man, brought down by sin’s deprivation,

Was able to see full revelation –

To bring back to God was Christ’s noble aim,

So great was the love of God that He came.

0
he-is-alpha

He is Alpha

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, ‘Who is and who was and who is to come; the Almighty’ “Revelation 1:8

He is Alpha….the First

First in creation . He was the first to view what He had created. He saw the sky gilded with sunlight. He saw the ocean waves lapping the sandy and rocky shores of the land. He saw the vegetation growing, producing the kaleidoscope of colour in blossom, bud, fruit, plant and flower. He saw the creatures.  Birds that flew through the air singing a variety of songs. Animals of all shapes and sizes.  Some of swift and graceful movement, some slow and cumbersome. He saw the tiny creatures, insects that lived below the ground and some that lived above ground. He equipped them all appropriately for their respective environments. When all was done, as a painter stands back to fully observe his art creation, so the Creator took a step back in heaven and we are told that “God saw that it was good” Genesis 1:21.

First in Re-creation   Jesus is first in the new creation. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ” 2 Corinthians 5: 17-18. When a person makes a first move toward Christ, Jesus is the first to be aware of it it and to encourage it. He has given the invitation “Come to me…..”. He has come to us. By His Holy Spirit He has knocked at heart doors. “I stand at the door and knock” Revelation 3: 20. When Christ comes into our life, it is the beginning of a ‘new creation’, a new life. Jesus is the first and foremost for our highest good.

The letter in the alphabet

Which is before all others set,

Is an A described as Alpha

It’s the alphabet’s first letter.

Jesus was described as Alpha

He who was the first Beginner,

Our great big world that He began

He made it all, and He made man.

When His new life He to us gives

As He’s in heaven and He lives.

He who is first, takes us in hand

That in his service, we may stand.

0
candlefire-1024x986

This Little Light

  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12 (NIV)

A sudden blackout occurred one evening recently causing total darkness in our home and neighborhood. All of the electronic devices we are blessed to enjoy-the iPad, TV, telephone, as well as our lights and appliances- succumbed to the power outage. We were bummed.

Then, I recalled Ben Franklin’s advice: “Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.” I managed to navigate through the dark to find that ancient alternative tucked away in a drawer. With one click of a lighter, the small, soft glow of the burning taper dispelled the blackness in the room.

The luminance of the candle fascinated me. As I watched it yield its wax to the flaming wick, I marveled at the power of one little light to penetrate the darkness. I thought of another Light that we recall and celebrate during the Advent season- the Light that came into this dark world over two thousand years ago bringing hope and love, fulfilling a promise made in heaven.

Could it be that if we would choose to shine our own light-no matter how small or limited-we might dispel the gloom in our corner of the world? Could we follow that example of long ago-Jesus Christ, the Light of the world-to shine in a measure of our own? It’s possible. In fact, as believers we are called to do just that as Jesus directed in Matthew 6:14: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Rather than cursing the darkness, we can be like one small candle, letting our little light shine.

Devotional by Sandra Fischer

0
appleeye

Are You The Apple Of God's Eye?

Can you imagine someone touching the pupil of your eye or the pupil of God’s eye? Your eye is dear to you and so is the pupil (apple) of your eye. Likewise, the apple of God’s eye is dear to Him. This post gives a description of what it means to be the apple of the Lord’s eyes.
“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:” (Deuteronomy 32:10-11 KJV)

“For thus said the Lord of hosts, after [His] glory had sent me [His messenger] to the nations who plundered you-for he who touches you touches the apple or pupil of His eye:” (Zechariah 2:8 AMP)

The phrase “apple of my eye” is used to describe something or someone that another cherishes dearly above others. God has people who have become the apple of His eyes, people He cherishes above others.

At one time, the Israelites were the apple God’s eye. He watched over them as an eagle watches over her young (Deuteronomy 32:10-11). He fought for them, gave them the best of all and the rest of the world feared them because of God. Any nation that touched them touched the pupil of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8) and they always paid dearly for it.

When Egypt acted wickedly towards the Israelites that were in their country, they paid for it with plaques and eventually with the death of their firstborns. And the Israelites were released to go with great riches (Exodus 7-12)

However, now through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has added another set of people as the apple of His eye: those who have received His Son Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour and are obedient to His word (Galatians 3:13-14).

As the apple of God’s eye, God will always defend you from your enemies, for he who touches you touches the pupil of God’s eye. So you need not fear! Your part is to remain as the apple of the Lord’s eye and let God do what He knows best to do.

When Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses, it was God who fought for Moses because God cherished him above others.(Numbers 12:1-10). Another time, some people ganged up against Daniel and got him into the lion’s den. God delivered him from the lions and gave his enemies to the lions in exchange for him (Daniel 6).

All these men and many others enjoyed God’s deliverance, protection and provisions because they positioned themselves well by adhering to the words of God (Daniel 6:5). Anybody can do likewise and enjoy the same treatment from God. So, are you the apple of God’s eye?

Devotional by Ngozi Nwoke

0
red-sea

Not the Same

 And He led them on safely and in confident trust, so that they feared not; but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. Psalms 78:53 Amp

The Israelites (God’s people) and the Egyptians (the world) both went through the same thing. The Israelites went through the Red Sea unharmed; however, the Egyptians were destroyed. What overwhelmed the Egyptians was a victory for God’s People!

We can go through the exact same thing that an unbeliever goes through but we can experience different results when we are walking by faith. God can use a storm to strengthen the believer while that same storm can overpower the unbeliever.

The key to the Israelites’ safety was their Leader. They were being led by God through the sea; they were not on their own. An unbeliever will go through the tough times on their own. They are leading themselves and disaster is inevitable. We must realize the power that is found in following God.

How do we follow? We follow through the Word. The Israelites had to listen to God during this time; we must do the same. We listen by keeping our focus on the Word and taking the Word in. When we are in a tough spot there is no better place to be than in the Word. No matter what state we are in, the Word is the best place for us to be! The Word is our place of refuge. If we want to successfully endure the trials that destroy unbelievers, we must keep ourselves in the Word.

We don’t need to fear what the world fears. We don’t have to dread the storms. We can know that our God is enough; He will bring us through whatever comes our way victoriously!

 Devotional by Stephanie White

0