God Is On Your Side So Get Back Up
But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. Acts 14:20
If you’re going through a hard time, read these words: ‘Then Jews…came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city’ (vv. 19-20). Notice two phrases: ‘supposing him to be dead’ and ‘he rose up.’ Paul was stoned but not silenced; beaten but not defeated. ‘We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed’ (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Imagine Satan standing over Paul like a referee standing over a boxer who’s on the canvass. On the count of nine Paul gets up and says, ‘I may be down, but I’m not out!’ He was a defiant optimist, a self-encourager who knew how to lift himself and those around him. One day in the heat of battle, Lord Nelson’s enemies flashed him a signal to surrender. Picking up his telescope, he looked through it and announced, ‘I can’t see any sign of surrender!’ During World War II, Churchill warned the French that, if necessary, Britain would fight on alone. Their generals sent him a telegram saying, ‘In three weeks, England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.’ Undeterred, Churchill took to the airwaves and announced, ‘We shall never, never surrender!’ He lifted Britain up by its bootstraps! After the war, Churchill addressed the Canadian Parliament. Wearing his hallmark, bulldog expression and waving the telegram, he announced, ‘Huh! Some chicken, and some neck!’ The word for you today is—get back up, God is on your side.
Heavenly Father, help me to never to give up what You have deemed to succeed! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
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How’s Your Work Ethic? – Part 2
“She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also. Genesis 24:46
When Abraham’s servant arrived in the town of Nahor, a young woman named Rebekah offered to give him a drink of water. When he had finished drinking, Rebekah said, ‘I’ll water your camels, too.’ We are told that she ‘quickly’ emptied her jar into the trough and ran back to the well. It all sounds fairly unremarkable, until you read between the lines: one gallon of water weighs eight pounds. A thirsty camel can drink up to thirty gallons of water and there were ten camels. Do the math. Rebekah is drawing three hundred gallons of water for a stranger. She does all that could be reasonably expected of her—and then some. This was a pivotal moment in her life. Because of her act of service, Rebekah became the wife of Isaac and went on to the adventure of a lifetime, becoming part of sacred history. To this day, her name is remembered and revered by people of faith. Rebekah did not know all that was at stake that day. She did not offer to draw three hundred gallons of water because she knew what the reward could be. It was simply an expression of her heart. Rebekah proved the truth of Scripture: ‘Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper’ (Proverbs 13:4). Where did we get the idea that it is wrong to give, expecting a return, or serve, expecting a reward? Certainly not from the Bible! Some of our rewards will come in this lifetime, others in the next one. But, ‘You know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does’ (Ephesians 6:8).
Heavenly Father, help me to remember to always give my all, not expecting something in return, but reflecting You in what I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
How’s Your Work Ethic? – Part 1
Then he prayed, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Genesis 24:12
We seldom know ahead of time the full significance of what we do or don’t do in our work. The Bible simply says, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might’ (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Judaism, Christianity and Islam all trace their roots to Abraham. Abraham was ‘…now old and well advanced in years’ (Genesis 24:1). So he realized the time had come to find a wife for his son Isaac. Since there were no Internet dating services in those days, he assigned the task to his ‘chief servant,’ Eliezer. The servant set out with a caravan of ten camels to the region Abraham had directed him. Finding a wife for your boss’s son was an important assignment that required considerable thought. Certainly, it isn’t a job you’d want to fail at. So the servant began his work with a prayer: ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today.’ Do you ever pray and ask God to make your work successful? People sometimes wonder if it’s okay to pray for your work to be successful. Of course! Now, if success is becoming your God, you will have to find a way to dethrone it. But generally speaking, if you can’t pray for the success of what you’re doing, you should start doing something else! Any good parent wants their child to succeed. Any wise employer wants their workers to succeed, because when they succeed the company succeeds. Here’s what God told His people: ‘Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do’ (Deuteronomy 29:9).
Heavenly Father, I commit my work to Your will – help me to be successful in doing Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The Sin of Omission
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. James 4:17
We tend to focus on sins of commission—the wrong we do. But what about sins of omission—the good we fail to do? In Christ’s parables, when someone was condemned, it was often over a sin of omission. A man was put out of a wedding because he had no wedding garment (Matthew 22:12). Five virgins were excluded from the wedding party because they had no oil in their lamps (Matthew 25:3-11). A servant, who buried his talent in the ground instead of using it, forfeited it (Matthew 25:25-28). A rich man who failed to care for his neighbor was condemned for it (Luke 16:19-24). A barren fig tree that failed to produce fruit was cursed and died (Mark 11:20-24). You say, ‘But I’m interested in a deeper spiritual life.’ Well, the deepest spiritual life is one spent doing good to others! And it’s the basis on which you’ll be judged and rewarded. ‘Then the King will…say… “I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.” Then they will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?” And He will answer, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me”’ (Matthew 25:41-45). So when you’ve a chance to do good—do it!
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the things I have failed to do that You have wanted me to do. Help me to be faithful in “doing” the works You have prepared for me to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
“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
On May 3, 1943, air raid sirens sounded over London. People raced toward Bethnal Green Underground station, where more than 500 people had already taken refuge. In the next ten minutes, 1500 more would join them. A woman carrying a baby lost her footing on one of the 19 steps leading down from the street. Like dominoes, people started falling on top of one another. In the end, 173 people died. Bombs didn’t kill them, fear did! Today there’s a stampede of fear around us and, if you’re not careful, you’ll get caught up in it. It’s okay to recognize danger, but God doesn’t want you to be overwhelmed by it. So you need to monitor what you listen to, think and say. The disciples needed a rock to stand on in the coming storm. Jesus had just told them how bad things were going to get in the world and the extent to which they would suffer. He announced He was leaving and told them He would send the Holy Spirit to be with them. John chapter 16 ends with these words: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”’ No matter what the situation, Jesus is on top of it. No matter what trial you face, Jesus will bring you through it. Though surrounded by fear and the fearful, you will have His peace. And that stabilizing peace will fortify you and cause others to turn to you for answers.
Heavenly Father, thank You for having victory over the world so that I need not fear what my final destiny will be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen