“Prayer Makes the Difference”

“Prayer Makes the Difference”

Friday, July 20.

“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” Acts 12:5

Many times we do not ask God when we want things.  We simply assumed that we will receive it.  It is important for us to communicate with God.  James the brother of Jesus wrote, “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2).  In His infinite wisdom, God has designed for His people to participate in what he does.  In our Scripture today, God is telling His people that when danger threatens the program of God, it is a call to prayer.  This is the time Christians come together to pray.  When this happens, God will hear the prayer and free His people.

Every event in the life of the believer is important.  We must consider every event and pray for each other.  We must pray because prayer is the natural response of Christians to situations.  Prayer is a mighty, power thrust of God’s people to change events.  Prayer is also the natural response of the heart that is depended on God.  Let us all put our trust in God by praying more frequently. God who knows our needs and wants even before we asked will help us.

Memory verse: Jeremiah 33:3

“Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.” Mahatma Gandi

“When Pride Takes Root”

“When Pride Takes Root”

Thursday, July 19.

“On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people.  They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.”  Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and he died” Acts 12:21-23

Many people quote a part of Scriptures that talks about the fool saying in his heart there is no God.  For those who think that there is no God, they are in trouble.  God has a way of dealing with the ultimate folly of those who think they can live without God.  On the news, in the newspaper, many think that we as a people can do things on our own without God.  This is a tragedy of humankind.  From our actions, we tell God everyday, “Please God, I can do it alone.” This is not true.  Without God, we are domed.  We need God every step of the way in our lives.

In moments like these, God strikes to remind us that everything we have comes from Him.  This what happened to Herod.  It  happened to king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  Everything, yes everything we have belongs to God.  So we are fools to think that we can live and exist, act and react on our own.  The account of Herod shows how blinded, distorted, how tragically twisted becomes the thinking of men who departed from the sense of dependence on God.  Let us with humility always depend on God for our survival.

Memory verse: Acts 12:5

“Pride is the parent of destruction; pride acts the mind and the heart and the soul alike.” Anne Rice

 

“God’s Dwelling Place”

“God’s Dwelling Place”

Wednesday, July 18.

“However, the Lord does not live in houses built by human hands.  As the prophet says, “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool.  What kind of house will you built for me?, says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hands made all these things?”  Acts 7:48-50

Stephen was a martyr.  He was killed because he was an apologist of the Christian faith.  He was murdered because of what he believed. Chapter 7 of Acts records one of the longest sermons in the Bible.  It is Stephen’s brilliant defense of what he believed.

Stephen talks about God’s dwelling place.  He affirms what the prophet Isaiah wrote in time past: God is not always going to live in the temple.  No building will ever be the house of God.  God is bigger than building. God made everything.  Heaven is His true dwelling place.  God also dwell in our body.  When we occupy the church or the building, we are truly the house of God.  God dwells in us.  When we leave the building, it stands there.  It is we who occupy the building during our worship of God, who are the true dwelling place of God.

Memory verse:  2 Samuel 7:5

“The man who has made God his dwelling place will have a safe habitation.” Aiden Wilson Toder

“False Faith”

“False Faith”

Tuesday, July 17.

“Now for sometime a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the great power of God.” Acts 8:9-10

In a true faith, we find many people who are Christ centered.  Everything professed is about Christ and His church.  On the contrary, false faith exalts personalities.  It is a faith that lifts men up rather then lifting up Jesus. In such faith, individuals are always pointing to themselves rather then to God.  They are egocentric.  These individuals point to themselves.  They exalts themselves.  In such faith, these men will want to serve as mediator between a Christian and his God.

This is what our Scripture is about. But it is good to be wise.  There is just one mediator between God and man.  This Mediator is called Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).  Let us always look to Jesus Christ alone.  He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Memory verse: Psalms 1:1

“True faith is belief in the reality of absolute value.” William Ralph Inge

“Devotion to the Community of Faith”

“Devotions to the Community of Faith”

Monday, July 16.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

The early church was a very good example of what a community looks like.  In the early church, there was sharing of meals, caring for one another, worshipping together and praying together.  The early church took community seriously.  They did not just meet on occasion, they met regularly.  The members of the early church spend quality time together.

There were three things that matter in the early church, fellowship, prayer, and worship.  The main focus of the early church was the people fellowshipping together.  It was not a once a week event, it was a regular event.  The record tells us in Acts that the Lord added to their number everyday.  There was more rooms for more to be added.

In our fast paced culture, the individual can take center stage in every day life. In such a culture, the community of faith or anything biblical can seem strange. But this is what the community of faith is about. It is about relationships.  Relationship always involves sharing. It involves sharing our time, experiences, material goods, and more.  In this community of faith, individuals devote their life to each other. There are personal investments.  This is what we believers do.  In our Scripture above, they devoted themselves to the teachings of the great ones in the faith.  They fellowshipped together and ate together, and shared with each other.  Let us continue in the teachings of those great Christians before us!

Memory verse: Acts 16:25

“Our love to God is measured by our everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays.” Andrew Murray

 

“Worry”

“Worry”

Friday, July 13.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

A time of anxiety can come our way when things are tense.  There are unpaid taxes.  The children are arguing upstairs. There are worry of war that would break out.  The news flashed across television screens is just not good.  Worry seems inevitable.  But how much can we gain when we frown?  How much can we gain when we are disturbed about life’s situations.

A lots of people do the same thing when worry sets in.  We think something bad might happen.  If we can let go and simply trust God, we always get the feelings that life is getting better.  Jesus said the same thing to His disciples, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will put on.”  Jesus Christ said this because life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Jesus gave examples about the fowls of the air: they are clothed.  The animals in the barns get food. In Luke 12, Jesus gave example about the lilies.  They grow and are beautiful.  Even Solomon in all his wisdom could not say how these flowers are made beautiful.  God feeds them all. God clothed them all.  If we can only trust God, he will eased our worries.  God tells us in His word that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

We are worried because we are impatient.  Let us trust God.  Let us rely on Him for all our needs.  He will supplies our needs according to His riches in glory.

Memory verse: Luke 12:22

“What worries you masters you.” Haddon W. Robinson

“The Sacrifice of Praise.”

“The Sacrifice of Praise.”

Wednesday, July 11.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice.”  Philippians 4:4

Giving to thanks to God can be a burden for some.  The Last thing we want to do when times are difficult is to give thanks.  It is one thing to give thanks when the bill are paid and we are in a good state of health.  It is another thing when we experienced tragedy.  The least thing a person wants to do in difficult situation is to give thanks.

In Psalms 106:1, the Psalmist says, Oh, give thanks to the Lord for he is good! For his mercy endures forever.”  This is when praising and giving thanks to God become a sacrifice.  to better explain this, let us take the life of Job into consideration. In one day, this man lost everything.  Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong.  But Job was humble.  He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.”  The Lord give, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21.

It is important to understand that praise will not always come easily.  Praise will be difficult sometimes. But let us always give thanks.  Let us engage ourselves in the theology of praise. For the man Job to offer praise like that in the midst of his circumstances, it was a sacrifice.  The anonymous write of Hebrews put it this way, “Therefore by Him, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” Hebrews 13:15.  Praise is a sacrifice!

Memory verse: Psalms 22:3

“Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit:We cannot flower and grow without it.”  Jess Lair

“God Inhabits the Praises of His People”

“God Inhabits the Praises of His People.”

Tuesday, July 10.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God, It is he who made us, and we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues to all generations.” Psalms 100:1-5

Let us give a thought to a husband who does not communicate with his wife.  He only communicates when he wants her to do something for him.  How would you consider his behavior?  Some would say he doesn’t love her.  Some would say she is just being used.  We are always lifting prayer requests after prayer request.  But yet, we failed to to render to him the admiration and the praise he deserves.

1 Peter 2:9 admonishes us as God’s people to show forth the praises of God, who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.God wants us to come to Him with a worshipful heart and not a heart of self-centeredness. “Why praise God,” some may asked?

It is important to praise Him because our focus shift from ourselves to God.  When we praise Him, we recall all the ways He has impacted our lives.  Praising God is an unending theme found throughout the Bible. God wants us to do it.  He also wants us to do it joyfully (Psalms 100:1).  Let us take some time to reflect upon the mighty works of God in our lives and offer Him praise.

Memory verse:  Psalms111:1

“Praise the bridge that carried you over.” George Colman

“Lord We Need Grace”

“Lord We Need Grace”

Monday, July 9.

“For the Law was given through Moses: Grace and truth was realized through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

From our Scripture today, one would conclude that grace is not found in the Old Testament.  I cannot help but think about this Scripture.  It tells me that the New Testament is the declaration of the new covenant, the covenant of grace.

It is known that God has always granted salvation on the basis of grace, and grace alone, still grace was not realized until “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Until the Seed of Abraham and the Messenger of the New Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ came, men were “kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.  The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:23-25).

Let us understand that faith releases God’s grace.  Faith is the key that unlocks the door to the unmerited favor of God.  And once that door is unlocked, we forever stand in the grace of God. Grace is more than unmerited favor.  It is reality.  By grace you live, by grace you please God, and by grace you are freed from religion and released into a relationship with your heavenly Father.  Grace is always based on who He is and what He has done.  Grace is never based on who you are apart from Him or what you can do.

Memory verse: Romans 5:1

“Grace changes everything.” Weakandloved.com

 

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

Friday, July 6.

“He who did not spare His own son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things.” Romans 8:32

Growing up in Liberia, I learned the meaning of names given to people.  I had a friend call ‘hard time’.  There was another person called ‘struggle.’  There were many others whose names meant different things.  If you were born on Sunday, you were called Sundaygar meaning a Sunday man.  As I grew up, I found out that some of these names were not good for our Christian faith.  How would a person be named struggle or hard time.  My belief was these names meant negative things.  So during my refugee years in Ghana, I met a young fellow who did not have any relatives in Ghana.  Life was tough.  He had told me he had been struggling since he came to Ghana. I mentored him.  I told him we have to change your name to something else. I urged him not to worry because God eyes were on him.  God was watching over him and would provide for him.  He took his Christian name and told his friends, I do not want to be called struggle any longer.

Few months later things changed dramatically.  He heard from his mom overseas and received regular stipend from her. When a former night club singer was asked why she didn’t sing the song “Stormy Weather” anymore, she replied, “There is no more stormy weather in my life, only heavenly sunshine.” Sometimes in life, we ought to look up with faith. Some wind will fall in everyone’s life, but we must know that God is watching.

Memory verse: Psalms 102:7

“Life is full of tears and happiness, be strong and have faith.” Kareena Kapoor Khan