When was the last time you found yourself thinking about the ‘good old days?’ It’s human nature to do so but you must avoid getting stuck there. Many people zero in on a good time in their life but spend their present trying to relive those days. That is not a good way to live life because the past is just that, it’s in the past, and it can never be relived or repeated. The alternative is to dare to be bold and seize every day as a new gift from God. Psalm 118:24 says “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Every new day presents us with new opportunities and it would be wise to see it as such and work on seizing the moment while we have it. Your past contained both good and bad days. You made good choices and you made bad choices but dwelling on the good or bad will do you no good. Today you have a choice. You can live in the past or you can choose to let it go and move on and take advantage of all the possibilities that a new day brings.
Facing the present means that we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and trust Him to be involved in every part of our lives. It also means that we choose to live life as it comes to us day by day; not in the past, not in the future, but right here at this moment. God does not want us to waste our lives away. He wants us to seize the moment and live every day of our lives with a purpose. Your past, whether good or bad, does not predict your future. Your future is what you are determined to make it, so do your best and leave the outcome to God. God is an important factor in what lies ahead for you. Many people forget the God factor and plan for success based solely on what they hope to accomplish and they fail to take into consideration that what is impossible to man is possible with God.
Abraham Lincoln said “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Live every day on purpose knowing that you can make a difference. There is nothing you can’t do. Believing that you can is the first step. Don’t let what’s behind you keep you from living today. Life is good; life is precious and it should be embraced and enjoyed one day at a time. Don’t dwell on yesterday and what could have or should have been. Look up and see what is in front of you right now. Life is to be enjoyed and not merely endured.
One of the advantages of growing older is the opportunity to learn. In fact, I really believe if you are not still learning, you have stopped living. No one is too young or too old to learn no matter what their position is in life, and one thing that I have learned is our world needs more people who can’t help themselves but to be kind to the people who cross their paths every day. These are good people who enjoy doing good. The Bible has a great deal to say about being good and doing good. God is good and God wants us to be good. That sounds very simple, but many foundational truths in life are just that simple. There is so much violence and pain in the world today and sometimes it all seems overwhelming and we can feel powerless to do anything about it. We can, however, choose to be kind and to do good every day.
Kindness and goodness is an extension of God’s love and needs to be given out as freely as it is bestowed upon us daily by our heavenly Father. See each person as Christ sees them. Make a commitment to let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Often we’ll find we end up benefiting and being blessed as well. There are people waiting for someone who is genuinely kind to enter their world. These people have gone a long time since seeing an act of kindness or hearing a kind word. Just stop and think about it for a moment. There is someone out there who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to heal a hurting heart. Treating everyone with kindness will help us to live with purpose because we would have done what was in our power to do for someone when we were with him or her.
Just as important as being kind and doing good is to do so with no thought of reward. Do it simply because it is the right thing to do. There is no benefit of keeping score of our good deeds. With no records to read you will avoid the risk of growing resentful or bitter because your good deeds were never reciprocated. In the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul says that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” Our love should keep no record of “rights” either. One of the most meaningful emotions you can ever experience is to have someone recall how you did something for them that meant a great deal to them. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Do all the good you can, to everyone you can, while you can. Remember the words of Dr. Seuss “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”
Most Christians don’t fully understand how much God loves them individually. They know that they are saved and they believe that their sins have been forgiven, but they can’t wrap their arms around the concept that God is personable and knows them by name. Understanding the depth of God’s love for you is the fundamental truth that will hold you steady on your earthly journey. The Bible says “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). Once you get this truth down in your soul, it will bring about the breakthrough that many believers need to be set free. You might feel unloveable right now because of what someone has done to you or said about you, but you are loved by God not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are. The blood of Jesus Christ has made you loveable and worthy to be called a child of God. Jesus said that the greatest love a man can show for his friends is when he lays down his life for them. Jesus laid down His life for us. That is how valuable and loveable we are to Him!
The love of God may be hard for some of us to understand because we define love based on a human understanding. People love one another for many different reasons. Unfortunately, human love can change. Have you ever loved someone who only seemed to love you for what they could get from you? That is very painful but God’s love never changes nor is it based on our performance. It is impossible for us to do anything to make God love us any more than He already does. God will never love us less because His love is unconditional. It is everlasting and even though we may reject His love, He will continue to love us. At times in our lives we may find ourselves asking questions like does God love me? How do I know that God loves me? Just remember that you were purchased at a steep price and nothing will ever be able to separate you from God’s love.
There is nothing like the love of God. It is the most overwhelming thing I have ever encountered in my life. It is the greatest thing God ever did for any of us. The love of God heals, forgives and most of all it has redeemed you. God’s love is priceless and the best way to show God that you love Him is by doing His will and being what He would have you to be. Love others exactly as you are loved by God. The world needs to see what real love looks like. The world needs to see kindness, compassion and the act of putting the needs of others first. The world needs to see a love that knows no partiality and most of all it needs to see a love that is forever increasing because it has no boundaries. God would love that!
It’s important to focus on God and not on your circumstances when going through a tough time. That is the only way to find peace. When you focus on God you are acknowledging that God is in control and that God is bigger than your problem. Your faith causes you to possess a supernatural perspective that involves having the knowledge that God is going to use your problem for your good and you rest in that.
No one enjoys going through difficult times but God has promised to never leave or forsake us. That promise alone will carry you through your darkest days and should be looked at as an invitation to take your burdens to the Lord in prayer. God wants us to tell Him what’s burdening our hearts and give it to Him so we can rest. He commands us to stop thinking about our problems and let Him deal with them. When we do that, He gives us peace – the kind of peace which surpasses all understanding.(Philippians 4:7). God wants us to focus on Him; to think about Him and to pray to Him. Focusing on God and not your circumstances may not be easy; that’s why it’s called a battle. But the way we fight this battle is to change what we’re thinking about. You might say certain thoughts plague you because the crisis you are in has been going on for a long time and seems never ending. The answer is to renew your mind and think about those things that are true, lovely and of a good report. (Philippians 4:8).
Jesus was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and He’ll be with you in your fiery furnace as well. They were at peace even though they didn’t know whether God would actually keep them alive or not. All they knew was that God was with them and would see them through one way or the other. And that’s what you need to realize; God is with you and will see you through one way or the other. And that’s not resignation or defeat. That’s confidence. God has a plan for you and it’s good. If you’ll just keep moving forward, being the best that you can be, God will take what’s meant for your harm and He will use it to your advantage. God will open doors that no man can shut. God will give you favor and cause you to accomplish your dreams. God knows how to get you to where you’re supposed to be. You are not going to just come out, you’re going to come out better off than you were before!
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and every Christian has a lot to be thankful for. We know that Jesus died on the cross to pay the debt for every sin committed in the past, the present and in the future and because of Him, believers will spend eternity with our heavenly Father. We worship Jesus because He is alive and that He has risen. We know this in our head but have we really taken it to heart? Have you actually thought about what impact the death and resurrection has on your personal life? Are you living your day to day life as a child of God who has been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ? Redemption cost Jesus His life. Therefore, our lives should be lived with a purpose and should reflect the new man or woman you have become. You are a vessel that God’s love flows through. You are a light that will dispel darkness where ever you go. You have been set apart to raise the standard against evil all because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection changed everything. Not only was death defeated but that same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead resides in every person who knows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If you are saved, you are no longer just an ordinary person. You are now an extraordinary individual who is able to defeat the enemy of your soul no matter what fiery darts he throws at you. If you believe in the resurrection you have hope. You know that nothing is impossible with God and your eyes have been open to see what the non-believer cannot see. A non-believer is limited by the natural but now the natural becomes the supernatural and that supernatural dimension exists only because of the resurrection.
Where would we be without the resurrection? Jesus Christ rose from the grave and life will never be the same. Make it a point to serve the King of Kings every day. Reach out and touch someone who might not know what you know. There are a lot of hurting people in this world and a smile, a hug or just a ‘hello’ to a stranger might be the game changer for a lonely soul. The resurrection was not for just a certain group of people but it is for every one. Every one deserves to be happy, to have peace and not live in fear. Share your testimony and let God do the rest.
Have you ever found yourself in a despairing situation where it looked like there was no hope? Many times no hope circumstances involve delays orchestrated by God in preparation for a great miracle. We can’t see what God is doing behind the scenes. To our natural eye it seems God is taking his time when we want Him to move swiftly. Remember the story of Lazarus in the Bible? He became sick and his family sent for Jesus, but by the time Jesus arrived Lazarus had been dead four days. Jesus could have arrived earlier but he continued to be about his Father’s business and arrived exactly when he was supposed to. God does not need to explain Himself to us. When God doesn’t make sense, keep trusting Him. He is working in ways you can’t see to accomplish what you can’t imagine. This is the kind of faith the Lord is looking for in your life. He wants us to come to the end of our own abilities. He wants us to come to the place where we know that we can’t, but where we believe that He can!
There will be many times when our faith is small and weak, but our faith must always be in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus is faith that will always be honored by God. Mark 9:23 says “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Faith in Jesus may start out very small, but it will not stay that way for long. God has a way of growing our faith as we walk with Him through the days of our lives. We need our faith to be constantly growing because God doesn’t run on our schedule. God is not bound by the constraints of time and space. It may surprise you, but God does not possess a clock or a calendar and this is the cause for much unnecessary worry in our lives. The delays of life are designed to increase our faith. Think about Joseph and how he was thrown into a pit, then into slavery, then into prison; and out of that delay God gave us the Prime Minister of Egypt and a strong man of God.
When God doesn’t move as quickly as you might like, trust Him anyway for there is nothing impossible with Him. That lost spouse or family member can be saved. That impossible situation in your life can be resolved. That incredible need that you think is so great, it can be met. Jesus cares about your situation and he is able to handle your situation no matter what it is. Believe that you will be victorious because your faith is not in what you can do but it is in the Lord Jesus Christ and what he can do!
A friend can be defined as a person that you are fond of; someone with whom you talk or spend time with; a person on the same side in a struggle; is helpful and a person who you trust. True friendship is based on love, because only love will endure the tests that friends experience as they go through life together. Proverbs 17:17 tells us that a faithful friend “loves at all times.” A loving friend is someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same. A faithful friend loves you and is also someone you can count on and will not let you go or turn his back on you. He or she is dependable. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” We do fall or get knocked down at times, don’t we? And how wonderful it is when we have a friend who cares enough to lift us up, dust us off, and help us continue on. A true friend is one who helps you become who God has made you to be. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Someone once said, “A friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you’ve been, accepts who you’ve become and still gently invites you to grow.” We all need friends who will sharpen us by giving us advice and counsel.
Psychologists tell us that the quickest way to get rid of our troubles is to become involved in helping someone else because begin to forget your own problems. We seldom realize that. We think that when we are having trouble, we need to do something for ourselves, but that’s not the answer. If we spend all our lives trying to accumulate more and more possessions, we will never truly be happy and fulfilled. On the other hand we can decide to focus on building relationships, trying to make friends and to be a friend. While we can’t pick our families, we can select our friends. What’s important about selecting friends is we must be careful about the kinds of friends we choose. The reason we need to be careful is because we often become just like the people we hang around with. It has been said that we are known by the company we keep so choose friends who you trust and who have proven themselves to you. Choose friends who will be with you through thick and thin and who will be there when the going gets tough. As you journey through life you will discover that you will have many acquaintances but only a few true friends. Acquaintances come and go but a friend is someone who over time has remained steadfast and loyal throughout the years. When Howard Hughes was worth approximately 4 billion dollars, he reportedly said, “I’d give it all for one good friend. Money can buy you a lot of things but never a friendship.
Are you in need of a friend? Do you desire to be known and to know someone who would not hesitate to lay down his life for you? His name is Jesus and he is “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” His friendship has no limitations and it can never be broken. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. When you put your faith and trust in Jesus, you become a part of the heavenly family that goes on into eternity for not even death can separate you from Him. This friendship can be obtained just by calling on his precious name and accepting him as your Lord and Savior. Seek him and you will find him. He will be the greatest friend that you will ever need.
We serve an unlimited, omnipotent God. Mark 9:23 says “all things are possible to him that believes.” What’s important is the ‘all things’ is limited to only those items that can be believed. Jesus is saying, “If you can believe it, then it is possible.” The limitation is on our believing. If you can believe it, it will happen.” God is saying, “I have no limitations, if you can believe in me, I can do it.” The difficulty then is not with God, but it is with us, our getting to a place of undeniable faith. Faith is the ability for man to trust what God can and will do. It is trusting God’s faithfulness and His character and being fully assured that what God had promised, He is able to perform. God’s promises are His will, so we should know what is available to trust in and believe for by reading the Word of God.
Trusting God is not a spectator sport – it is something that all Believers are to do every day. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” The key part of that verse is not to lean on our own understanding. It’s impossible for man to fully understand the mind of God because God’s thoughts are so much higher than ours. After all, He is the creator who called everything into existence. Our part is to trust Him whole heartily and believe that He is able to do far more than what we can ask or think.
Trusting God should be as natural to us as breathing. Sadly, many Christians get into doubt and unbelief when they believe the lies of Satan. John 10:10 tells us that ‘the enemy comes to steal, and to kill and to destroy.” We must get to that place where we are totally dependent and confident in God. God wants us to have a relationship with Him and a major part of any relationship is trust. Trust God all the days of your life and you will never have to fear or worry about anything you face in life.
The Bible tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice and at some point in our relationship with the Lord we will be tested in that area. We will find ourselves in a place where we must yield total abandonment to God. This is when we must bring our hopes and dream, our family and everything dear to us and lay it down and offer it to God as a sacrifice. When God has brought us to this place nothing else matters. When God told Abraham to go to Mt. Moriah and offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, God did not reveal His plan and purpose to Abraham so that he could consider it, pray about it or have a peace about it. God, in essence, was asking Abraham for his heart, his soul, his whole being. Sometimes it is not a question of whether we have a peace. It is more a question of whether we are going to be obedient to what God has told us to do.
Mt. Moriah is the place of personal sacrifice. It is not a debate room. It is not a place where we consider what God as called and equipped us to do because obedience is not optional for believers. We show our love for the Lord Jesus Christ to the degree in which we obey His commands. It means we follow them and treasure them. The man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. Obedience is continuous action. It means to continue on and not to stop. It means day by day obedience. Obedience should be the priority in the life of the believer. We should obey God because of who He is. We should honor Him and reverence Him as God the Father, creator of all things.
There’s no substitute for obedience. As a believer we will face many decisions in life. If God in His word requires you to do something that may conflict to your personal priorities, what would be your response? Would it be keeping with your commitment to obey God like Abraham showed us? Is there any area in your life in which you struggle to be obedient? A person can listen to the best preachers yet dishonor God by disobeying the truth they have heard.
Mt. Moriah is that secret meeting place with God and every believer will be called to that place at one time or another. For those who can lay it all on the altar as Abraham did, they will find that there is a blessing far beyond what they could ever imagine. What about you? Are you on your way to Mt. Moriah or have you reached that place in your life where you are struggling as to whether you will give 100% or just 50%? Don’t be afraid to give it your all. God will meet you there and will lovingly and tenderly accept you and you will never be the same again.
There was a 8 year old boy who loved to go fishing with his father. One night his father promised that they would leave first thing in the morning to go fishing. The boy could hardly sleep but when he woke the next morning it was raining very heavily. So the boy became angry and complained all morning long. His father tried to explain to him that the rain was needed because they were in a drought. But the boy kept asking ‘why did it have to rain today?’ Shortly after noon it stopped raining and the sun came out. The father and the boy went fishing and caught more fish than they had ever caught before. They brought the fish home and cooked some of it and had it for supper. As they sat down, the father asked the boy to ask the blessing. The boy prayed this prayer; ‘God, if I sounded a little grumpy earlier today, it was because I thought this afternoon would look just like this morning.’
That is our problem as well. We think that our present ircumstances will never change. Everything must change; nothing stays the same but there is one thing that is solid and unchangeable. It is God. God has always been and will always be. God has no beginning or end. He is eternal. Since God is unchangeable, we can always count on Him. We cannot always count on our friends. They let us down at times. Their love is conditioned on our performance. But not God’s. His love is everlasting and therefore unchanging. He always acts out of His love for us. The better we know Him the more we shall be able to trust Him and hold on to Him for stability and strength when everything around us is changing. We may begin to think God has changed when we go through trials but nothing could be further from the truth. We must remember that God is changing us, getting us ready for eternity where things will never change.
Don’t allow your faith to waiver in times like these. Weigh the changes that come your way with an eternal perspective. Keep your focus on what is important, what really matters. Solomon said; “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Eccl.3:11b). That means that area of your life where you hurt the most, God is working for your good. (Romans 8:28). Don’t try to figure it out. Accept it, glean from it and trust God through it all. God loves you and wants nothing but the best for you. We can count on that. It is the promise of an unchanging God.