Monthly Archives: June 2016

He Has Overcome the World

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”John 10:10b

Christ came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. For this He had to suffer a most ignominious death on the Cross to wash away our sins.

He can only do so if we trust and believe in Him. If we have faith in Him, we will follow His teachings and live a life worthy of His name.

Jesus demonstrated Love throughout His earthly life and promised that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) by sending the Holy Spirit to abide in us after His death. Christ resisted the devil’s temptations in the wilderness three times, quoting scripture on each occasion (Matt. 4:3-10). This is an example for us to have scripture as an armour of God to stop Satan from having any influence in our lives. We need strong faith in God to withstand the wiles of the Devil. For many this task is not easy. We see a world seething in hate and envy, polluting the earth with crime and war. Christ left His peace with us (John 14:27) and we can only find that peace if we keep Him as our focus. It is faith in the power of Jesus to give us the will and the strength to avoid Satan’s sinister schemes. He said “I have overcome the world” (John 16:35).

This faith will take us over the mountain of sorrow and grief as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We will fear no evil because of His presence in our life. Our confidence in His Word will allow us to see miracles that will astonish us.

Devotion by  Phyllis Inniss

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HE PROTESTED

“If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.“ (Matthew 11:23)

Jesus protested. He registered objection at the degree of unbelief in the places where so many of His miracles had taken place. He protested at their willful refusal to consider His credentials and accord proper respect to the evidence set before their eyes.

He even pointed out that had the same miracles been performed in certain other cities, repentance would have followed. The protest of Jesus was strong enough for Him to actually denounce those places. “Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you. Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes’. “(Matthew 11 : 20-2l).

Why then was there a level of unbelief so great that it merited a protest from Jesus? Two possible reasons, though there may have been others, were that they knew Him only as the carpenter from nearby Nazareth. Also, concerning Messiahship, their concept of the Messiah was of a sword-waving political figure who would rid their country of Roman rule.

On both accounts the people of those cities were misled. Concerning humble origins, down the centuries some people of lowly birth have achieved fame for their talents and achievements. Humble origin does not automatically eliminate a person from a high attainment. On the religious plane their history should have reminded them that God is no respecter of persons. “For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2 : 11. A.V.). David, the youngest of eight, was chosen by God ahead of his brothers. Samuel was spoken to by God whilst Eli, wearing the robes of priestly office, was not. As regards expecting the Messiah to end Roman rule, that expectation was not what the prophets of old had said.

It is said that ‘there are none so blind as those who will not see’, and for whatever reasons, the people of those cities somehow could not bring themselves to believe Jesus.

Though Jesus worked so tirelessly

In Galilean towns

They disbelieved Him ceaselessly

Which in itself astounds.

And even Jesus did protest

That some in Galilee

Though He had given them His best

They could not, would not see.

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His Yoke

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11.29).

Many believers, alas! are unlike the colt and need to be beaten many times. That is our nature; we are so stubborn. We do not yield to the voice of God easily. We only want Him to bless us and deliver us from difficulties. When it comes to doing His will we do not want that. We only want our will to be done. That is why many believers do not grow spiritually. They do not obey the Lord Jesus Christ implicitly. Yet with what joy and humility the colt carried the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus was showing His disciples at that time if they wanted to be His true disciples, if they wanted to serve Him and follow Him, then they should be like that colt. By nature it was stubborn, but in God’s presence it was perfectly humble and obedient. No man can break our will. All of us are very stubborn, and it is only after many years of beating that we become humble.There are different kinds of pride in all of us, and that is why we find it hard to obey the Lord implicitly. The Lord has to break our pride in many ways. Sometimes the breaking comes through sickness.

Meditation by Bakht Singh

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Valued By Our Creator

A neighbor told me about a litter of kittens she once had to feed by hand. One became ill and was unable to keep anything down. Concerned the little thing wouldn’t survive, she prayed and asked God what she should do. She sensed the Lord telling her to feed it salt water. Thinking this was an odd idea, she assumed she was hearing incorrectly and continued to pray. Again she felt God say, “Give it a saline solution.” So she filled a syringe with the salt water and squirted it into the kitten’s tiny mouth. To her surprise, it improved and began eating again.

Matthew 10:29-31 says, “What is the price of two sparrows-one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it…. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (NLT)

If God cared enough about a sick kitten to answer my friend’s prayer, how much more does he value human beings who are created in his image? (Genesis 1:26-27) God created us to be his sons and daughters and planned to fellowship with us forever. But our sin separated us from him and brought death and darkness into the world. Still, he valued us enough to live among us, die for our sins, and come back from death so we could live eternally with him.

God has not promised us that life would be easy or fair. But he has promised to forgive us, restore and redeem our lives, and care tenderly for us even in the midst of the harshest of trials.

Meditation by Cheryl Weber

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HE PRESCRIBED

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” (John 14 : 1)

Jesus gave prescriptions.

He had just announced that one in the group would betray Him, and that another would deny Him. Furthermore, He said that He would not be with them much longer but would be going away.

The news caused despondency. The disciples needed consolation. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. “(John 14: 1). For troubled hearts Jesus prescribed trust in God and in Himself.

Trouble sometimes comes to the strongest hearts. Physical trouble, emotional trouble, family trouble or employment trouble. The same prescription can apply “Trust in God; trust also in Me ” A trust that He will see us through the trouble, or remove it.

Another of the many prescriptions He gave was given whilst walking on a lake. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water towards them, they thought He was a ghost and were afraid. Jesus called out, “Take courage. It is I, do not be afraid. ” (Matthew 14 :27). When His disciples were gripped by fear, Jesus prescribed courage.

We may be gripped by fears concerning past failures, or present circumstances, or a future difficulty is beginning to loom large on the horizon. In such circumstances we need the Lord to say to us, “Take courage do not be afraid.” Whilst “perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4 : 18), certainly courage, if it does not fully dispel the fear, will combat it and being dominant, subdue the fear.

He boldly spoke, not dropping clues,

To His disciples broke the news,

That on the earth He could not stop.

He looked and saw their faces drop.

He saw their deep despondency,

The slump in their expectancy,

That faith he not in jeopardy

He promptly gave the remedy.

For ills too many to describe

The remedy He will prescribe.

What Doctor Jesus has to say

Makes stress and strain to go away.

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Fortress

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust .Psalm 91:12 (KJV)

God offers us peace in all we do. He is our refuge throughout our daily activities of life. As we go through life it’s His hands and His strength that enables us to go through it with an inner peace.

Life is a series of ups and downs. Life is a kaleidoscope ever changing, fascinating, colorful, spectacular, and intricate. Life is a mountain one moment…you’re high atop one second, and then you can spiral to the bottom of the valley within the next second. But, with each changing moment it’s so much easier with God in your corner. God never vacillates. He is a pillar of strength, our rock and our refuge in terms of our fate and His promises. He is our sanctuary, and His gates are open to provide all that we need.

A believer who trusts in the LORD will receive the peace that Isaiah 26:3 promises. But that unshakeable peace doesn’t happen instantaneously; it’s procured through a consistent relationship with God. A lifestyle of dependence upon Him is the key to weathering storms with supernatural calm.

A relationship with God through prayer, meditation, trust, and total surrender, while seeking His face through every area of your life, is the very components in which to maintain and build upon, in order to reach the spectrum of His refuge within His Sanctuary of peace. It’s the optimum promise in which we should seek to receive. Full obedience to our Father will bring about rewards that are undeniable. Your cup will runneth over in love and peace.

Father, thank You for protecting and loving us, in Jesus name, Amen.

Meditation by  CD Swanson

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Confronting our Limitations

There is a place on the highway between Newcastle and Sydney that brings me undone. It is a wide, open space that descends down a windy, steep incline to the Mooney Mooney bridge over the Hawksbury River below. Six lanes of traffic weave through the man-made sandstone pass and the wind often howls through there swaying cars as they proceed at a frantic pace. In my mind it is an unwelcoming place, guaranteed to evoke panic and fear in me every time we journey to Sydney.

It is particularly alarming because I am usually not disturbed by much, and if that is the case, I can quickly settle myself in the loving presence of my Heavenly Father and trust Him to protect me. Not so with the descent to the Mooney Mooney bridge. On a recent trip to Sydney, the experience of traveling along this hazardous stretch of highway reduced me to a blubbering mess as I clung to the door handle for dear life, wishing I was anywhere but there. Fear gripped my heart, panic seized my mind and I simply could not talk or pray myself through this one. ‘Close your eyes honey,’ my husband said kindly as he drove, ‘and when it is over we will both open our eyes together.’ His humor did nothing to ease my anxiety.

If you think that God only leads us to quiet waters and still streams, think again. God also leads us to turbulent places, where He asks us to take courage and dive in. This turbulence causes us to confront our deepest, often dormant, issues. Take comfort, for everyone has limitations, vulnerabilities, fears, insecurities. They are there, but sometimes it takes a turbulent, tormenting event before they surface. And when exposed, they can catch us by surprise, in the most confronting ways. That’s okay. It’s important to recognize them, name them for what they are, put them out there to explore and then it is up to each of us to discern what place they will take in our lives.

When our weakness emerges, when the questions about our own limitations arise, when our self-confident foundations begin to crumble, what are we going to do about that? It is a good thing to be reminded of our human smallness and God’s divine greatness. When situations arise that expose our limitations, we can no longer depend upon ourselves. In our humanness, we will struggle to get ourselves through the turbulence that rocks us to the core. We can only, at this point of deepest need, abandon ourselves and embrace the One who sees us drowning in a sea of fear and anguish.

We have been plunged by Divine Grace into a cauldron of questions and uncertainties that call us to confront who we really are. In this churning place, God is wooing us to a new level of growth, a shedding of the false self that is so self-assured and confident in our own person hood. Affronted by God, we discover that we are not quite so capable in our own strength after all. In fact, we see for the first time, that we are nothing without Him. One way or another, the false roles, identities, and illusions spill over the sides of our life and we are forced to stand in the chaos and confess that we truly need Him to lean upon, depend upon, hope upon.

Turbulent, tormenting experiences open our eyes offering us a clearer vision of who we really are, and who we are not. These are the self diminishing events in our lives that reveal that our greatness does not come by investing in ourselves, but by investing ourselves in our Heavenly Father.

Meditation by Jennifer Woodley

 

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Guarding Your Heart

“Watch over your heart with all diligence. For from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 NAB

The term heart appears over 900 times in Scripture, only once in a literal sense. It’s regarded as the seat of the intellect, feelings, and will- the soul. The heart is essentially the home of our real self. It’s the spring or source of our thoughts, words, and actions. Its domain is the place we ponder, meditate, and come to believe. The heart is also a spiritual battleground and must be guarded above all else.

How can we build a guard fence around our heart? By purposefully taking offensive action as exemplified in the Word: First, treasure and meditate on His Word. “Thy Word have I treasured in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:11) Second, think rightly. “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”( Philippians 4:8) These actions will bring peace to the battleground of your soul.

What might a well-guarded heart produce?

Blessings… “Blessed are the pure in heart.” (Mathew 5:8)

Goodness… “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good.” (Luke 6:45)

Life… “…from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

The heart that is well-guarded becomes the doorway to the sacred temple of our spirit, where Christ may come to dwell by faith. It is the ultimate goal of guarding our hearts, to be revived in the springs of eternal life!

Meditation by Karen Pourbabaee

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Recovery is Possible

 “David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried them…..and there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great” (1 Sam. 3018-19).

David and his men had suffered a great and heavy loss. All their houses had been burnt down and their women and children and possessions had been taken captive by the Amalekites. Their loss was so great that even though they were strong men, they all began to weep loudly. Here were strong military men weeping, so much and so loudly that they had no more tears to shed (vs. 4). Their tears were all dried up, their throats were hot, and their heads were aching, so much so that they could not weep any more. So great was their loss, and, humanly speaking, beyond all hope of recovery.

By God’s help and grace, they recovered all that they had lost and much more beside, so much that they were able to pay all the debts that they had incurred during the previous years. They had been given shelter and food. Now David sent gifts to acknowledge kindnesses shown, and to pay back his debts. It is a peculiar joy to recover what we have lost, and especially when there has been no hope of recovery.

We have many spiritual losses because of our faults and failures. There are many in fact who have lost their joy. Some because of trouble and trial may have lost their faith. Others may have lost their consciousness of God’s Presence. Others have not yet learned the secret of finding God‘s will. Many have lost the old power they had when they were first born again. Others have lost their first love. How many hearts there are with some spiritual loss. They are not enjoying their Bible as before. They have not got the same burden for prayer as once they had. Whatever it may be that you have lost spiritually there is hope for you. Your loss can be recovered. Rather, you  can receive much more than you have lost.

Meditation by Bakht Singh

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HE gives PEACE

 “For He Himself is our peace… ” (Ephesians 2: 14)

Jesus is our peace and He gives us peace.

An artist was asked to paint a picture on the theme of ‘peace’. His picture was of‘stormy sea whose angry waves clashed fiercely against the rocks with noisy splash throwing spray high above the raging waters. Perched on the pinnacle of the rock was a lone bird unworried by the disturbance about it. It stood serene looking, wondering at peace amid the storm.

That picture was more true to life for life has few calm millponds, few quiet meadows, few peaceful retreats.

 Along life’s pathway there is so much to disturb and trouble. Domestic upheavals, employment anxieties, natural disasters, and the horrors of war, all disturb the peace. One would have thought that civilization would have dispensed with going to war over disputed territory. It hasn’t. It is only when there is peace in the heart that thoughts of war are banished.

It is not only in the arena of natural events that we need peace, there is also a spiritual warfare to face. Our faith may be tested, our testimony challenged, our witness resisted. In such moments the Lord’s peace in our hearts is crucially important and necessary.

Jesus said, “Peace leave with you, My peace I give you do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ” (John 14 : 27). He said, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world. ” (John 16: 33).

Peace in the stillness and the quiet,

The silent hush far from the riot.

 Unbroken calm in noiseless scene,

Peace reigns where once a war had been.

Peace in the heart while traffic roars,

Peace in the din of workshop floors.

Peace in the soul as prayers rise

And up to God we lift our eyes.

“Peace”, Jesus said. “I leave with you.”

It daily comes as morning dew.

And then He said “Don’t be afraid”

Unwanted din is sure to fade.

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