GOD WILL NEVER

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Psalm 86:15

Have you ever wondered why the Philistines didn’t notice that Samson’s hair was growing again? I believe that it was because they never banked on the fact that Samson’s God is a God of grace and second chances. As far as they were concerned, Samson’s God had given up on him.

When people give up on you, and even when you give up on yourself, I want to assure you that God has not given up on you! He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins and this God of grace will never give up on you.

His arms are wide open to receive you, freely forgive you and restore you!

Just see the spirit by which the father in Jesus’ story of the prodigal son welcomed his wayward son home—“Bring forth the best robe! Put a ring on his hand! Put shoes on his feet! Kill the fatted calf! Let’s celebrate! My son was lost and now he’s found” (Luke 15:22–24). He didn’t say one word about his son wasting his wealth on prodigal living. The father was just overjoyed that his son came back.

In the same way, God has not given up nor will He ever give up on you. The moment you take a step toward Him, you will find Him running toward you to embrace you. And when you enjoy His love and grace toward you, you will find yourself not just in a place of safety and provision (like the prodigal son), but like Samson, your strength and purpose in life will return!

GOD WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON YOU.

Forgive and Rest

People like to say, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget.” Have you heard that before? Now, in the first place, nowhere in the Bible does God tell you to forgive and then to forget. It is not in the Bible! The devil is adding something here to make the whole thing burdensome.

God only tells us to forgive because God in Christ has forgiven us a debt we cannot pay. When we do this, we do ourselves a favor because harboring bitterness and unforgiveness can sometimes destroy our health!

So just forgive and let God take care of the rest. When you really forgive, sometimes, He makes you forget. But sometimes, you still remember the incident because it was a major thing in your life. Yet, when you look back at it, the pain is no more there. The sting is gone and you are not bitter.

Joseph had forgiven his brothers before they came and bowed before him. He remembered what they did to him, but he did not remember it with bitterness. (Genesis 50:15–21) So you may remember the incident, but the bitterness is gone because you have put the cross in the picture—“God in Christ forgave me. Daddy, I forgive you. Mama, I forgive you. My cousin, I forgive you.”

When you forgive, forgive by faith, not by your feelings. We walk by faith, not feelings. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Some people are waiting for feelings—“I am waiting, Father, for the right emotion to come on me to forgive that person.” That “right emotion” may never come!

Once you forgive by faith, you will see the sting of bitterness removed from your heart. You will experience the peace and joy of God filling your mind, and see a greater measure of wholeness in your body!

INCREASE

Sometimes, we think that the increase or success which we enjoy is the result of our own efforts or hard work. Now, I am not advocating laziness, but the truth is that God is the one behind our increase.

We see this truth when we read the story of Ruth, a young widow from Moab, who worked as a gleaner in a barley field from morning till evening. Now, we could attribute the entire ephah—a substantial 10-day supply—of barley she collected at the end of the day to her hard work. After all, she did work all day in the field.

But when we read about how Boaz, the owner of the field, had secretly told his reapers to “let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean” (Ruth 2:16), we know that it was because of Boaz’s intervention that Ruth ended up with so much.

I believe that Jesus, our heavenly Boaz, does the same thing for us today. He causes people to favor us and “drop” blessings on us because He loves us. Then, He causes us to “pick up” these blessings. Often, it happens so seemingly naturally we forget that it is the Lord who has blessed us with the increases.

A friend who runs a florist business shared that once, God caused someone who needed a lot of flowers to “drop” a huge order with her. She also shared that she was hardly making any money even though she had been working hard for many years. But when she became a Christian after coming to our church, she began to confess every day that God’s favor was on her. Within a few weeks, that big order worth $14,000 came in. Only God could have given her such a supernatural increase.

My friend, your hard work is not behind your increase. The Bible tells us that it is “God who gives the increase”. He is the one who is behind your increase and He delights in blessing you because He loves you!

Meditate

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1


Under the new covenant, we get to meditate on the person of Jesus when we meditate on the Word.

Jesus is the Word made flesh, and as you meditate on His love for you, on His finished work, on His forgiveness and on His grace, you will have good success.

You can just take one verse and meditate on Jesus’ love for you. For example, you can begin to mutter Psalm 23:1 under your breath: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

As you meditate on this simple verse, you begin to realize that the Lord is (present tense) your shepherd. A shepherd provides for his sheep, feeds them and protects them.

Because Jesus is your shepherd, you shall not be in want for anything.

You shall not lack wisdom, direction, provision—anything.

Now, in this short period of meditating on Jesus, faith is imparted and your heart is encouraged with the reality that Jesus is with you, even when you are facing challenges.

Whether you are a homemaker, salesperson or business owner, your soul will be nourished and strengthened when you meditate on Jesus. In fact, He will propel you into success without you even realizing it!

Without you having to scheme or make all sorts of plans, He will direct your steps and cause doors of opportunity to supernaturally open wide for you. When you meditate on Jesus, your ways always become prosperous.

Open Doors

Cruel words spoken in anger. A betrayal of trust. Promises broken. A destructive relationship you knew you should not have entered into.

Have you been down those dark paths before? There are so many people who are living in the shadow of guilt and condemnation. The mistakes of their past haunt them and it is a painfully lonely and arduous journey for them.

Perhaps the paralyzed man who was let down through the roof by his four faithful friends in the book of Mark understood a little of this. The Bible tells us he was paralyzed to the point where he could only lie on a mat, which was how his friends carried him to the house Jesus was in. With the man lying inert on his mat, his four friends lowered him through the roof, right in front of Jesus—the only way they knew how to bring their crippled friend before Jesus and secure his healing.

Scripture tells us that when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you” (Mark 2:5).

To all who were watching this scene unfold that day, that must have been a very strange thing for Jesus to say — “your sins are forgiven you.” The man was clearly paralyzed. He was obviously there for healing. What had forgiveness to do with his condition or healing?

But Jesus knew it was exactly what this poor man needed to hear for his healing to manifest. And indeed, at Jesus’ next words, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go to home,” the paralyzed man “jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers” (Mark 2:11–12 NLT).

What had transpired? Jesus saw, when no one else could, that the man needed to hear he was forgiven, that God was not condemning him. And those words opened the door to his healing and broke him loose from his paralysis. No wonder the onlookers were stunned—the man went from being immobile and helpless to being active, strong, and completely whole right before their eyes!

My beloved friend, if you are paralyzed by a heavy sense of condemnation over something in your past, I want you to know beyond any doubt that God is not withholding your breakthrough from you.

He loves you, understands your pain and suffering, and has forgiven you through the cross. He wants you to know that your past does not have to poison your future. No matter how many dark days you have experienced, God has prepared many wonderful open doors of opportunity, favor, and good success for you to walk through in the days ahead. Your brightest and most glorious days are still ahead of you.

#goodnews

My past does not have to poison my future. God has prepared many wonderful open doors of opportunity, favor, and good success for me to walk through in the days ahead.

Divine Health

A lot of people think that the way to get health is to watch what they eat. For example, many people say that the Mediterranean diet is a very healthy one. I agree, generally. But do you know that the people whom Jesus healed were also on a Mediterranean diet? They did not eat pork and prawns, for example, because they were Jews and these things are not kosher for them.

I know that you want to walk in divine health. But God does not want your focus to be on food—what to eat, what not to eat—or even exercise—how to exercise, when to exercise. All these are natural means which the people of the world trust in. It is better to trust in the Lord and His finished work, than to put your confidence in the latest man-made diet plans and exercise regimes.

At the cross, Jesus took your sicknesses and carried your pains, and by His stripes you were healed. (Isaiah 53:4–5) The Bible even tells us how to escape sickness and premature death—by discerning the Lord’s body when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. (1 Corinthians 11:29–30)  But instead of focusing on these truths, many of us prefer to focus on dieting and exercising.

Now, I am not against eating well or exercising. I myself exercise and I do watch what I eat. For example, I don’t like to eat oily stuff because it makes me feel uncomfortable. And when I have to preach, I do my best not to eat foods that make me burp!

But I eat generally healthy stuff not because I trust dieting to make me healthy. I exercise not because I trust exercising to make me healthy. No, I trust the finished work of Christ to make me healthy. I eat well because I like to feel good and I exercise because I enjoy the rush, the sweat!

God wants you to be free when it comes to eating and exercising. Don’t make laws for eating and exercising, and then trust these laws to give you “divine” health. Trust in the finished work of Christ. Discern His body when you partake of the Holy Communion. And just enjoy your food and workout!

#goodnews

It is better to trust in the Lord and His finished work, than to put your confidence in the latest man-made diet plans and exercise regimes.

21 Reasons To Laugh

Laughing is an amazing gift from God. It helps you cope with sadness and everyday life. Have you ever felt mad and then someone said something to make you laugh? Even though you were upset the laughter made your heart feel better.

It’s always great to have a cheerful heart and laugh with family and friends. There’s a time to laugh and there’s a time not to.

For example, bad jokes that have no business in your Christian life, making fun of others, and when someone is going through pain.

Quotes about laughter

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Charlie Chaplin

“Life’s better when you’re laughing.”

“Laughter is poison to fear.” George R.R. Martin

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

“I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing.”

What does the Bible say?

1. Luke 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

2. Psalm 126:2-3 Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs. Then the nations said, “The LORD has done spectacular things for them.” The LORD has done spectacular things for us. We are overjoyed.

3. Job 8:21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

4. Ecclesiastes 3:2-4 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A godly woman

5. Proverbs 31:25-26 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

A joyful heart is always good

6. Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

7. Proverbs 15:13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression.

8. Proverbs 15:15 For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

Reminder

9. Proverbs 14:13 Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.

There’s a time not to laugh.

10. Ephesians 5:3-4 But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting–all of which are out of character–but rather thanksgiving.

11. Matthew 9:24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him.

12. Job 12:4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered– a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!”

13. Habakkuk 1:10 At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it.

14. Ecclesiastes 7:6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

God laughs at the wicked.

15. Psalm 37:12-13 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.

16. Psalm 2:3-4 “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.

17. Proverbs 1:25-28 You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you–when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.”

18. Psalm 59:7-8 Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords. “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer. But LORD, you laugh at them. You scoff at all the hostile nations.

Examples

19. Genesis 21:6-7 And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!”

20. Genesis 18:12-15 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

21. Jeremiah 33:11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, “Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD.

Never, ever, ever discouraged

What do you do when you get discouraged? Maybe you’re discouraged right now. If so, you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to tell you something Jesus said that will set you free. His words are found in a story about a widow whose pleas for justice were being ignored by a bad judge (Lk 18:1-8).

I used to quote this text when talking about never giving up until I realized that I had missed what Jesus was really saying. But it certainly doesn’t help matters when the NIV translates the opening verse of Luke 18 like this:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (NIV)

This translation naturally leads to thinking in terms of persistence and human effort. It sounds very much like Jesus is saying that the key to breakthrough is to pray and pray and pray. But look at how this verse is translated elsewhere:

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not tofaint.” (KJV)

The Greek word for faint, ekkakeo, means to “be wearied” or “lose heart” or become “utterly spiritless.” Given the context of the poor widow’s plight, perhaps the best translation of Luke 18:1 is this one:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged.” (GNB)

If anyone ever had a good excuse to become discouraged, it was the widow in Luke 18. She was being exploited. She needed justice but thanks to the wicked judge there was none to be had.

Never, ever, ever discouraged

Have you ever been unjustly treated? Then you may know what it means to lose heart and get discouraged. Yet Jesus says it’s possible to never become discouraged. And he should know. Look at all the injustices Jesus had to deal with. He was falsely accused, sentenced to death by a corrupt official, abandoned by his friends, scourged, then nailed to a cross. Yet Jesus was never discouraged. No doubt he was tempted, but he overcame every time. That’s why you never heard Jesus say, “I give up” or “God doesn’t care.”

What was his secret? How did Jesus defeat discouragement? He lived in a kingdom where justice reigns!

Jesus had to deal with the injustices of life like any man. Yet he never lost heart because his heart was fixed on a higher reality. Down here men were cursing him. Up there his Father was declaring, “this is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” There is a great example for us here. Jesus did not let his unjust circumstances dictate his reactions. Instead he kept his focus on his Father knowing that vindication would come from above.

Let justice roll like waters

We live in a fallen world where injustice seems to reign. Bad things happen to good people. The strong oppress the weak. The rich exploit the poor. Bosses mistreat their workers. Disease and death afflict the healthy. The unborn are slain on the altar of convenience while millions of children die from preventable causes. And humanity cries out, “it’s not fair!”

Some people think that God passively allows injustice to happen, as if he doesn’t have a strong view on the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth! “The Lord loves righteousness and justice” (Ps 33:5). Ever-increasing righteousness and justice are the hallmarks of his kingdom (Is 9:7). The Lord no more “allows” injustice than he “allows” sin. He hates injustice so much that he died on the cross to establish a new regime based on true justice and righteousness:

“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isa 9:7)

Strangely, you will find some in the church who are nervous about God’s justice. They don’t even want to talk about it. But only those who love iniquity need fear his justice. Those who love Christ and are robed with his righteousness know that his justice is sweet. And like the prophet Amos they will not be satisfied until his “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).

What is God’s plan for dealing with the epidemic of injustice? Jesus!

Christ was sent to “proclaim justice to the nations” (Mt 12:18) and lead “justice to victory” (Mt 12:20). Here’s what the prophet Isaiah said the Savior would do:

“In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.” (Is 42:3-4)

Now at this point some Christians will say, “I long for that day when Jesus returns and the old order of things passes away.” That’s like saying he is a God of “eventual justice.” We have injustice now, but one day, eventually, we will have justice. That day is indeed something to look forward to. But God is also a God of “quick justice.” This is the whole point of the story of the widow:

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:7-8)

A just king has come

Before the cross people looked forward to justice (Is 30:18). But we live after the cross. The king of justice has already come! Look under Jesus’ throne and you will see He sits on a foundation of righteousness and justice (Ps 89:14). This means that wherever the #goodnews of the king is believed, righteousness and justice follow.

When injustice comes and life serves you a cold dose of harsh, unfair reality, you have two choices. You can look at the circumstances and get discouraged, or you can fix your eyes on Jesus who is your vindication (Ps 17:2). Don’t pray like a victim. Don’t pray like an unbeliever. Pray with faith that a just king has already come and established his justice here on earth. Maybe the trial you are facing is huge. Jesus is bigger still! Maybe the entire world is picking on you. Look to your Father who justifies you! Look to Jesus who intercedes for you!

A just king reigns!

I will never preach about men when I can preach about Jesus. You want a champion of persistence? You want a role model who never gave up? Don’t look to the widow – look to Jesus! He faced more injustice than anyone yet he was never discouraged. He was knocked down to the grave but he rose again in triumph. At the cross He conquered injustice. Now He sits vindicated and enthroned at the right hand of the Father.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (Jn 14:1)

When trials come and you begin to lose heart, put your faith in Jesus. He is the Overcomer.

Every Promise Is Pure Gold

At the foot of Mt Sinai the Israelites boasted “We will do everything the Lord commands” (Ex 19:8). Perhaps you have said something similar, but this is a fatal boast, and a recipe for disaster. Make an impossible promise and you will invariably break it.

What the Lord demands you cannot provide. This is the lesson of the old covenant, yet many have not learned it. They’re stuck on the vicious cycle of making and breaking promises, repenting, then promising to do better next time. Oh, how we need a revelation of the new covenant that is based on his unbreakable promises to us.

I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. (Jer 32:40)

The difference between the old and the new is we will versus he will. In the old, we broke our word again and again, but in the new he keeps his word forever. It’s a huge difference. We no longer wobble on the shaky ground of our resolve, but we stand secure on the Rock of Ages.

List all the promises you have ever made to the Lord and you will find it is a worthless list. Every promise is either a launch pad to disappointment (“Sorry I let you down”) or pride (“Look how good I am”). Your carnal promises ain’t worth spit.

How much better to list the promises the Lord has made to us. Every promise is pure gold. Whether you stand or fall, his promises remain as reliable as ever.

So let us quit making promises we can’t keep and trust in the eternal promises of our Father. Let us give up the futile practice of saying “I will” and put our faith in the “I wills” of God. Here they are:

What the Lord requires, He provides. This is the lesson of the new covenant and we need to learn it. Everything you need – salvation, holiness, righteousness – he freely supplies according to the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus.

Find your rest in God’s good word and be set free from the endless cycle of making and breaking promises. There are no ifs in God’s promises to us, no conditions for you to fulfill. All He asks is that you take him at his word. All He requires is that you believe in his eternal goodness as revealed in Jesus.

Divine Acceptance

When you know God is pleased with you regardless of your productivity, it will free you from the pressure to perform. When you’ve heard God say “Yes” to you, it will empower you to say “No” to the unhealthy demands of Pharaoh’s whip-cracking taskmasters.

If you have been burning the candle at both ends trying to get ahead, a revelation of God’s acceptance will bring you to a place of rest. It will get you off the merry-go-round and sit you down in pastures green.

But that doesn’t mean you will be idle. Those who wait upon the Lord renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). Paradoxically, those who have been freed from the need to produce are often the most productive people around. This happens because the loving acceptance of another brings out the best in us, particularly if the Other is someone special.

Perhaps you have had the pleasant experience of being accepted by the most beautiful girl in the room or the best man in the house. It is the thrill of being elevated to a higher level. “Really?! You choose me? But you’re way out of my league.” As nice as that is, it pales in comparison to the lift that comes from being accepted by the Maker of heaven and earth. To the glory of his grace you have been lifted out of the miry clay and seated with him in heavenly places. Talk about your upward mobility.

With God on our side like this, how can we lose? (Romans 8:31b, MSG)

When you realize that God is for you, it gives you boldness. You begin to strut, not out of arrogance but confidence. “God is on my side. How can I lose?” You’ll walk into the lion’s den with a holy swagger and face the furnace without fear. “God is with me. I will not be burned” (see Isaiah 43:2).

Situations that intimidate the socks off your coworkers won’t bother you in the slightest. You’ll go in front of performance reviews and interview panels with complete peace and without any desperate need to impress. “My promotion comes from the Lord. If these guys see that, great, if they don’t, that’s their problem.” Secure in your Father’s approval, you won’t be bothered whether your ministry flourishes or founders. “It’s his church anyway. I’m just pleased to play a part.”

But the #goodnews is you won’t fail. How can you? When you are confident of your Father’s absolute delight in you,

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

With all respect to Dr. Seuss, this not about the empowerment that comes from self-belief but the divine and uplifting influence of God’s mighty grace.

Sons and daughters who are supercharged by their Father’s favor shine like stars (Philippians 2:15). Elevated by his love they mount up with wings like eagles. They race against horses and walk on the water, living testimonies of the energizing power of his divine acceptance.