January 18 – Stay “On Guard” For God

    “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” II Peter 1:10

God has called you with a holy calling (II Timothy 1:9) and a heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1). To stay true to one’s calling and election requires a DAILY decision to follow God and not to conform to the ways of this world. (See Romans 12:2.)

Jesus said, in Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, hut few are chosen.” You can see, through the teaching of Jesus, that God chose men whose hearts and minds were “stayed” (Isaiah 26:3) on Him. It is still a condition today in order to stay “on guard” for God.

When Gideon purged his army down from 32,000 to 300 chosen men, God told him to pick those who were not afraid and who lapped water from their hands instead of bending down to drink. It appears that God was looking for vigilant, “on-guard” people.

So it is spiritually. You must keep your guard up always. How? Through prayer, Bible reading, and exercising good works…giving diligence to make your calling and election sure!

PRAY: “Caring Father, help me to cultivate ‘diligence’ in my life today, because Your Word advises me to ‘keep my heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”* In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

*Proverbs 4:23

January 17 – True Happiness

“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Psalm 146:5

What is it that would really make you happy?

“I’d be happy if it weren’t for my marriage!”

“I’d be happy if this sickness were just gone!”

“I’d be happy if we just had a new home!”

“If he would just ask me to marry him, I’d be the happiest woman alive!”

To most people, happiness depends upon favorable circumstances. Unfortunately, circumstances change like the weather…sunny one day and rainy the next.

Real happiness is NOT an elusive dream. For the Christian, happiness is disguised in the Word of God under the term “blessed,” taken from the Greek word “markarios.” It means “having a sense of God’s approval.” TRUE HAPPINESS, then, is the blessing that comes from a right relationship with God.

It is true that in the midst of adverse circumstances a Christian, whose heart is pure, will be “blessed” with peace…a contentment, a quietness, a confidence…TRUE HAPPINESS!

PRAY: “Heavenly Father, I am truly blessed today. I have learned Your kingdom is ‘righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’* Thank You. Help me to never forget it in ALL my circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

*Romans 14:17b

January 16 – Be The Best You Can Be For God

  “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”     I Corinthians 12:18

An ancient legend tells of a king who walked into his gardens one day and found almost everything withered and dying. The oak tree was sick of life because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was upset for it could not bear fruit like the pear tree, while the pear tree complained that it did not have the lovely odor of the spruce. The same discontent prevailed throughout the garden.

However, when the king came to the pansy, he saw its bright face full of cheerfulness. “Well, little flower,” said the king, “I’m glad to find at least one tiny plant that is happy.” “Your Majesty,” said the pansy, “I know I’m small, but I decided you wanted a pansy when you planted me here. If you had desired an oak or a pear tree, you would have put one in my place. So I’ve determined to be the best little flower I can be!”

God has made you unique with special gifts and abilities with which to serve Him. There is no need to compete with the abilities of others. Use the gift God has given YOU to make your own special contribution to the body of Christ!

PRAY: “Giver of all gifts, I thank You for making me ME. Help me to test my own actions and carry my own load today so I do not compare myself with others.* I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

* Galatians 6:4-5 (NIV) (paraphrased)

January 15 – Lay Aside Every Weight

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud 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.”  Hebrews 12:1

Praise God for a new year! Half of the first month of it has passed already. Will it be a year of revival, of restoration, of liberty in your life? If you made spiritual resolutions, are they still intact? Now is the time to seek God with all your heart and soul!

Will you also seek to be more:

1) Diligent in prayer and Bible study?

2) Faithful in fellowship and giving?

3) Free in your worship and praise to God?

This year strive to lay aside every weight (hindrance to spiritual growth) and run with endurance the race (vision) that is set before you. There is a great grandstand of witnesses in heaven cheering you onward.

You can believe for the same promise God gave Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 (paraphrased): I will bless you…and through you I will bless the nations! Notice this is a two-part blessing upon which to anticipate.

PRAY: “Surely, God, You have given me much…and I know now much is required of me.* With Your Spirit’s guidance and help today  I can perform Your will for me.  I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

*Luke 12:48b (paraphrased)

    “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

Do you ever say “I can’t” when you are asked to do something for the Lord? You may be turning down a great opportunity if you do so. WHY?

1) Because at the end of your ability is where God’s sovereign hand begins. He is waiting for you to reach that point of reliance upon Him so that He can do it through you. I Thessalonians 5:24 says: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (Emphasis supplied.)

2) Because when you do something in obedience to God, there is a great reward in store. (See I Corinthians 3:8.) So let Him help you do it, and then you reap the reward.

Remember too Matthew 25:40 (paraphrased): Inasmuch as you do it unto one of the least (neediest) of your brethren, you do it unto me.

“I can…love my spouse; I can…forgive my enemy; I can…overcome that problem; I can… volunteer for the nursery; I can…correct my bad language; I can…witness to my neighbor.” Do it through Christ!

PRAY: “Father, when I attempt new tasks for You, I know l am totally dependent on Your grace. Help me continue to trust You on repetitive tasks as well. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

January 13 – Stand In The Gap

    “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”  Ezekiel 22:30

God is looking for intercessors to “stand in the gap.”  When someone’s name or face is impressed upon your heart in prayer, God is appointing YOU to the spiritual battle of intercession.

Never underestimate the importance of PRAYER. Prayer is where the ACTION is. It may appear that our battle is with the Amalekites on the field of combat, but the real action is happening in higher places. In Exodus 17:9-11, Moses stood at the top of the hill with the rod of God above his head while Aaron and Hur stood on either side, holding up his weary arms. In a spiritual sense, they were up there PRAYING; and, as long as the authority of God was lifted up, the battle was being won.

Maybe you are not necessarily “out doing” but, rather, “home praying” and standing in the gap through intercession, keeping the rod of authority lifted up by prayer. If so, remember: YOU ARE ON THE WINNING SIDE! Pray in faith, believing your prayer of agreement to produce miraculous results!

PRAY: “Mighty God, I lift up my hands and give You praise. I lift up my nation and ask You to protect it, revive it, and guide its leaders.  In Jesus’ Name, I stand in the gap. Amen.”

January 12 – Intercessory Prayer

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

The ministry of intercessory prayer is the purest ministry available to the body of Christ. The success of any church or ministry is based on intercessory prayer. As righteous men and women pray effectually and fervently, much power is released.

For the intercessor, both the costs and the rewards are high. The cost of total commitment… keeping one’s heart and motives pure and submitting time, talent, and energy toward interceding on others’ behalf. The reward…a close and personal relationship with the Lord.

You can actually sin against God by NOT PRAYING for others! (See I Samuel 12:23.) Pray for each other’s safety, health (spirit, soul, and body), and testimony. Your prayers can CONFUSE and NULLIFY the enemy’s assignment against your family and friends.

If your church does not open its doors for early morning prayer, ask your pastor to begin doing so and then attend regularly. Gathering together to call on God is not a religious duty but an exciting privilege!

PRAY: “Father, incline Your ear to me and hear my cries on behalf of others. Send Your Holy Spirit to draw them to Yourself, and heal them. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”