No doubt you've done your share of sighing. If you have teenagers, you've sighed. If you've had your motives questioned or your best acts of love rejected, you've been forced to take a deep breath and let escape a painful sigh!
Yesterday's devotion covered three steps to Christian growth: renewing our minds through Bible reading, confessing sin, and repenting of that sin. Today we will look at three more factors that will build us spiritually.
Exodus 3:7 tells us God heard the cries of His people. He knew they were suffering in exile. Yet their promised deliverance lingered, and because days stretched into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, they began to wonder if God had forgotten them.
In a broad sense God is omnipresent, which means that everywhere we go, He is there. But if we really want God with us, and more specifically, if we want Christ living in our hearts, then we must turn from our sin and believe in Him.
When your parents ask for your help, do you willingly agree? God gives specific instructions regarding the parent/child relationship. Your part in this is to honor your parents. That includes respect, love, and obedience. It includes doing what you can to help them. They may not need you to babysit a younger child, but there are many other useful things you can do. Keep in mind how much your parents do for you, and don't grumble when they need help in return.
At the beginning of Luke's Gospel of certainty (v. 4), we meet a couple who were certain of one thing. As a minister friend put it, they were sad members of the "and never will" club. Zechariah and Elizabeth had not been able to have children, and now, given their physical condition and age, they never will. They were at the end of their rope.
Before a great dignitary of Rome would enter a city, a work crew would go before and make sure obstacles were cleared from the road. Damaged areas were repaired, and washed out areas were filled in. Have you done as much for the Lord Jesus? Is there a cleared highway for Jesus to enter your heart? Does He have a clear path to your heart, desires, and plans? This passage was written to a nation that had idolatry and greed in their "roads", and is applicable to us too.
Look around you! Rather than shocking the globe with an occasional demonstration of deity, God has opted to display his power daily. Proverbially. Pounding waves. Prism-cast colors. Birth, death, life. We're surrounded by miracles. God is throwing testimonies at us like fireworks, each one exploding, "God is! God is!"
Man has always been beset by worry, and the pressures of modern life have aggravated the problem. To men of all time Jesus said, "Take therefore no thought for the morrow . . . but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33-34). Many of you are filled with a thousand anxieties.
In the first century AD in a time of severe persecution of the early church and Christians by the rulers of the Roman Empire, the Apostle Paul, being anything but politically correct, stated unequivocally, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."1
Maybe you are having a difficult time this Christmas. Maybe your marriage has fallen apart and you are alone. Let me tell you something: God is with you. Maybe your kids have forgotten about you this year. Jesus hasn't forgotten about you. His name is Immanuel, which means "God with us." Maybe your parents have forgotten about you. But God your Father has not forgotten about you.
In Acts 16, Paul had "one of those days." On the way to the house of prayer, a young slave woman began following him and Silas. Her shouts were meant to draw unwanted attention to the apostle. In reality, the enemy was seeking to run Paul and his evangelistic team out of town. But Paul commanded the harassing spirit to leave this young woman (Acts 16:18).
Life without war is impossible in the natural or the supernatural realm. It is a fact that there is a continuing struggle in the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual areas of life.
Health is the balance between the physical parts of my body and all the things and forces surrounding me. To maintain good health I must have sufficient internal strength to fight off the things that are external.
Are you ready for Jesus' return? Do you know what you need to do to be ready for that event? Do you think you're ready because you go to church and Sunday school or do all sorts of good things? None of those activities prepare you for heaven. The Bible says that the only way to be ready is by accepting Jesus into your heart and life. Believe what God says and put your faith in Jesus now before it's too late. (See the ABCs of Salvation at the right.)