Come back and view our daily blog during our 40 Days of Partnership begining on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
Mary, the mother of our Lord, is told by a man named Simeon on the occasion that she and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple to be presented to the Lord about pain. The Bible tells us that Simeon, an elder, had the Holy Ghost upon him and had had the Holy Ghost reveal to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. He told Mary that pain would be a part of her parenting. Misery would be a part of motherhood for her. According to Luke 2:35, he says to her, “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also…” Many times, in order to go give birth to Jesus in your life, you must experience pain! As you go forth into the rest of year 2019, the question is, “Can you stand the pain?” In order to know the Lord’s presence in a greater way, you must endure hurt that you never experienced. However, the pain is worth the gain! Keep pushing!
Have you ever had a song? I mean a song that you loved so much that when you heard just a small bit of start to play, you would start smiling and then you would proclaim, “That’ s my song. “ Sometimes, it’s a song that you share with somebody else. It’s you all’s song. Couples we have song. Individuals have songs. But if there is any person that should have a song, it is a survivor. Every survivor ought to have a song. Psalm 124 is biblical literature that comes to us from the songbook of Israel. In this song, the psalm writer tells us of the survival of the people of God. Because you survived the worst, today you ought to have a song. Sing it today!
The first thing the Christian must learn is that God does not lead him/her to sin. The Apostle James clearly condemns the attitude of blaming God for tempting circumstances (James 1:13-15). God may test His children, a process designed to purify and strengthen them, but He does not lead them into sin. Without exception, sin results when temptation strikes a sympathetic chord in the human heart, and man has no one to blame but himself.
Our age is one in which blame is passed to society, to the pressures of the times, or to some other faceless, nameless creature. If one is to be forgiven, he must first humbly admit, "I have sinned." As long as one looks for someone or something else to blame, he or she will be totally helpless in combating temptation.
The Christian needs to recognize the role of Scripture in overcoming temptation. The Psalmist stated, "Thy Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalms 119:11). When God's Word becomes an integral part of the believer's life, it fortifies that person against temptation's power. Use the Word of God to fight temptation today!
A few year ago, the First Lady of Unites States (FLOTUS), Michelle Obama launched an initiative called “Let’s Move!” When I think about Christianity, I’m reminded of this initiative. As Christians, we are called to lives of study and meditation, but Christianity also requires movement. Jesus told us to go! There are all kinds of movement in the Bible like walking, running, and leaning. In fact, Hebrews 12:1 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Remember our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19). We must be in shape for God to serve God. Make a commitment today to greater physical activity! Start by committing one day of your week to leaning, walking and/or running. 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week can make a great difference in your life.
I was reading a book once and the author stated, “If you had the cure for cancer, would you tell it or keep it to yourself?” I am sure some of us reading this are probably saying internally, “Yes, I would tell it but for a price tag!” However, the point of my reference to having a cure cancer is this. You cannot discover the remedy to sickness, pain and suffering and not have a heart to share that with those afflicted by such. Any person who has a heart that resembles the heart of God wants folks free of affliction. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Through Jesus, God commissioned us to go into all the world and tell the good news of the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20) That good news is that Jesus saves! Jesus is the answer! Jesus is the cure for whatever ails us! The prophet Isaiah looking down the corridors of time anticipating Jesus said, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” We have the cure. Now let’s go tell it! Tell 5 others something great about Jesus today!
The Christian is called to a life of astuteness and awareness. The Bible teaches us to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. The Bible tells us to watch as well as pray. One of the most important matters for Christians to be astute about is money. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus addressed the matter of money more than any other matter. He not only warned His disciples of the evils of preoccupation with money or mammon, but He also taught them of the power of money. Consider the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Luke 6:38 tells us that He said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” I Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with.” However, Ecclesiastes 10:9 notes, “A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.” Get educated today about the power of money! Have the right mindset about it! Save it! Bless God with it!
In Ecclesiastes 3, the wisdom writer tells us, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Time is very important. However, many of us have discovered that timing is just as important as time. A quote that is really popular is, “Timing is everything!” Timing is about understanding and having a good sense of time. It is about knowing when conditions or moments are right for what is supposed to happen. Effectiveness in matters such as performing, singing, and athletics is often related to timing. These physical activities are often done well by those who understand what is supposed to be done when.
However, timing is not just important to success in physical matters. Timing is also important to effectiveness in spiritual matters. It is important to effectiveness in matters related to God. Often many of us do not succeed at living like Jesus because we do not understand timing. We do not understand timing as Jesus understood timing. Jesus’ understanding of timing was not just informed by the time of day. His thoughts about timing were not shaped solely by what we call chronological time, or what is sometimes referred to as chronos. But His thoughts were shaped by what is referred to as kairos. Kairos is the right time or the opportune time. Theologians refer to kairos as God’s time. Jesus acted and lived by kairos time. Today determine in your heart to live not by your own time but God’s time.
Living like Jesus is about understanding priorities. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ” So many times we who are people of faith are guilty of operating in a backwards fashion. We make seeking things our priority rather than prioritizing seeking the kingdom and righteousness of a God who can add things to our lives. Consumerism and materialism permeates our society. As people of God, we have to constantly renew our minds that we may not conform to the world and that we may follow the words and the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
From a very early age, Jesus understood the importance of prioritizing the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness. As early as they could, Jesus’ parents brought Him to the House of God--the temple at Jerusalem. There they introduced Him to God and dedicated His life to God. It is no coincidence that we read what the scriptures record in Luke 2:41-52. This story tells us how Jesus got lost on his first visit to Jerusalem and the temple. When His parents find Him after much searching, His words are an indication that at a young age, He understands who and what should be priority for the person of God. He makes it clear by His statement that His Father, God, and God’s business is His chief priority. His words are instructive for those of us who seek to follow Jesus and to live as He lived. We learn from His words that in order live as He lived we must put God first and at the center of all that we do. According to Luke (KJV), Jesus said I “must” be about my Father’s business. He used a word that is an imperative. What “musts” do you and I have in our lives as it relates to God? If we are serious about being children of God and living like Jesus, we shouldn’t be content to say things like, “I am going to try and go to church” or “I am going to try to go to Bible study” or better yet, “I am going to think and pray about volunteering for the church or serving in a ministry.” If we are truly committed to God, we should speak words and have the kind of postures that exhibit that God and God’s business is a major priority for our lives. However, this commitment should also be evident by where we go and what we do.
Sailing ships have the wind. Jets have fuel. God has given Christians the anointing as the power to move and live for Him. The anointing is the power of God. It is the power that abides in us as result of our abiding in God. The Bible says in I John 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
Living like a Jesus means operating in the anointing. The word "Christ" from which we get the term "Christian" means "the anointed one." Though the word is often misunderstood to be the surname of Jesus due to the numerous mentions of Jesus Christ in the Bible, Christ is a translation of the Hebrew ???????? (M?šîa?), usually transliterated into English as Messiah. Christ is a title for our Savior Jesus. However, the word being associated with Him informs us as to how Jesus lived. It lets us know that He lived as one who was anointed. He lived as one who had the power of God or with the power of God active in His life. Those of us that are seeking to live like Him must strive to do similar. We must seek to operate in the anointing as Jesus operated in the anointing.
Yesterday, we read about the power of prayer. Our message made the point that prayer is a way to gain deliverance from both physical and spiritual bondage. I reference how we read in Matthew 17 that Jesus once encounters a man who has a son with an unhealthy spiritual condition that holds him hostage. After Jesus heals the man’s son following his disciples’ failed attempt, He says to them, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Prayer is effective. We all should stand on James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”However, there are times when we have to do more than pray. Jesus said to His disciples, “Howbeit this kind…” There is more than one kind of situation that holds of us hostage. Consequently, we cannot have the same strategy for every kind of situation. Some situations require prayer and fasting. In order for some things to come out we sometimes have to go without. Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Fasting symbolizes and says to God that we are willing to depend on God more than anything else. Today remember the words of Jesus and schedule time to observe fasting. Designate a day or a part of a day for a complete fast or you may engage in the Daniel Fast (www.daniel-fast.com/).