Understanding your heavenly Father (1)

2018-10-14
John 8:27 NKJV

The people in Jesus’ day found it hard to grasp the concept of God as a Father. Lord, king, judge, they understood – but not Father. The Old Testament rarely speaks of God as Father, whereas the New Testament mentions it often. Until Jesus came and revealed the Father, He remained a mystery. “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27 NIV). And many of us still don’t comprehend His fatherhood and the rich blessings we have in Him. “Father,” God’s all-inclusive name, incorporates everything we could ever need, while disclosing how He feels toward each one of us. It exemplifies every trait of the best father imaginable. Think what a loving, all-powerful father would do for a needy child. Your heavenly Father will do all that for you – and then some! When you recognize God as your Father, your fears dissolve and you start to believe that all your needs will truly be met. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid…it gives your Father great happiness to give you the [benefits of His] Kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NLT). It makes God happy to offer you the resources of His kingdom! Why? Because He loves you as much as He loves His Son Jesus! Jesus prayed you’d know with confidence that your Father “loved [you] in the same way [He has] loved me” (John 17:23 TM). As His redeemed child, you have all the benefits that come with membership in “the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19 KJV).

Soul food: Heb 11:22; Gen 39:1-23; Gen 45:1-11; Gen 50:15-26

Our heavenly Father (1)


John 8:27 NKJV

The people in Jesus’ day found it hard to grasp the concept of God as a Father. Lord, king, judge, they understood – but not Father. The Old Testament rarely speaks of God as Father, whereas the New Testament mentions it quite a few times. Until Jesus came and revealed the Father, He remained a mystery. ‘No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ (Matthew 11:27 NIV). And many of us still don’t understand what God being our Father really means. We struggle to grasp the blessings we have from Him. ‘Father,’ God’s all-inclusive name, incorporates everything we could ever need, while showing how He feels about each one of us. God has every trait of the best father imaginable. Think about what a loving, all-powerful father would do for his child when they were in need. Our heavenly Father will do all that for us – and even more. He’ll be there for us when we’re in need, and He’s there blessing us in the good times too. When we recognise God as our Father, our fears start to leave and we start to believe that all our needs will be met. God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. Jesus prayed that we’d know with confidence that our Father ‘loved [us] in the same way [He has] loved me’ (John 17:23 MSG). The Bible tells us that we ‘are members of God’s family’ (Ephesians 2:19 NLT). And that we’re His children. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John 3:1 NIV). The question is: Do we believe that?

Heb 11:22; Gen 39:1-23; Gen 45:1-11; Gen 50:15-26

Giving and receiving

2018-09-28
Luke 6:38 KJV

Many of us want to give to people we love and causes we believe in. But fear stops us. We’re afraid that if we give, we might not have enough left for ourselves. So instead of sowing, we hoard our seed and miss the harvest God promised us. Why? Because on some deeper level we wonder if God would actually bless someone like us. Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” If a bank promised that kind of return on your investment you’d beat a path to their door, right? But banks can fail and bankers can’t always be trusted, whereas God has never broken a promise! Here’s an important Bible truth: When you open your hand to God, He opens His hand to you. And God has a bigger hand! But as well as learning how to give, you must learn how to receive. Jesus said, “Good measure… will be poured into your lap” (NIV). When God gives back to you, He often does it through people. All kinds of people! So don’t let pride or prejudice stop you from receiving from others, because God wants to give them a harvest on the seeds they sow into your life. Don’t circumvent the harvest – yours or theirs. Never hesitate to give to a true servant of God. “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper” (2 Chronicles 20:20 NKJV). When God moves you to sow a seed, it’s because He has a harvest for you to reap. Don’t miss it!

Soul food: Zech 12-14; Luke 23:26-34; Ps 52; Prov 24:32-34

You have the power – use it!

2018-09-15
Ephesians 3:16 NIV

Until you realize the power of God that’s within you, you won’t use it. One of the greatest healing forces in the world is God’s Word, and it’s at your fingertips! For example, when you or a loved one gets sick, the Bible says, “These signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will…lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18 NKJV). That’s a power-filled promise. When Jesus returned to Capernaum, the Bible says, “It was noised that he was in the house” (Mark 2:1 KJV). And before He left there, a paralyzed man got up and walked. So: If Christ lives in you, shouldn’t people feel His presence when they’re in your presence? If you’re on the church board, shouldn’t the church be blessed? Shouldn’t you be a change agent solving problems and helping the church grow? The church isn’t perfect. Nobody said it was. It’s a hospital, not an Ivy League club. But whatever is wrong with the church is man’s doing, not God’s. When God is behind even the smallest thing it becomes mighty; it must succeed because His power is absolute, unchanging, and available! It’s time to “use God’s mighty weapons…to knock down the strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT). It’s time to force the issue by telling the Devil to take his hands off everything that concerns you! Jesus said, “All power is given unto me…Go ye therefore” (Matthew 28:18-19 KJV). He has given you the power – use it!

Soul food: Neh 5-7; Luke 21:25-38; Ps 78:32-39; Prov 23:29-35

Barabbas – and you

2018-05-15
Luke 23:18 NIV

The Bible says: “With one voice they cried out, ‘Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!’ (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder)” (vv.18-19 NIV). And just like Barabbas, we deserve to die for our sins. Four prison walls, thickened with fear, hurt, and hate, surround us. We’re incarcerated by our past, our low-road choices, and our high-minded pride. We’ve been found guilty. We sit on the floor of a dusty cell awaiting the final moment. Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls. Head between knees, we don’t look up as he opens the door; we don’t lift our eyes as he begins to speak. We know what he’s going to say: “Time to pay for your sins.” But then you hear something else: “You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you.” The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out!” and we find ourselves in the light of the morning sun, shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering, “What just happened?” Grace happened! Christ took away your sins. All of them. Where did He take them? To the top of a hill called Calvary. “God in his gracious kindness declared us not guilty…through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us” (See Romans 3:24-25 NLT). Jesus loves and forgives you, and He has a wonderful plan for your life. So come to Him today.

Soul food: Deut 30:1-32:28; Mark 8:27-38; Ps 57; Prov 12:15-17