Tag Archives: thinking

Unshakeable Faith

Daniel 1:1-20

Daniel had unshakeable faith. His trust in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home taken into captivity and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under several kings and faced many challenges.

Knowing God and trust Him are the 2 key elements of deep faith. Daniel who was part of the Israelite nobility apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and wanted to obey God. When offered a meal that was incompatible with the dietary laws he took a great risk by requesting other food. In verse 9 of today’s passage we see that God caused the official to show favor to him. Like Daniel we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what please our heavenly Father.

Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said but he also trusted the Lord to do as He had promised. Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness he was demonstrating his confidence in the heavenly Father. And his friends had unwavering faith as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace but they believed He could and trusted that He’d do what was right.

Barriers to unshakeable faith include pride (I won’t admit I need God’s help), arrogance (I know a better way- I don’t have to ask God) and self sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help). Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn it toward the Lord.

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How to Avoid an Empty Life

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In public, most people appear happy and confident. But beneath the surface, many feel empty. In fact, it is possible to be in a large crowd and yet still feel alone.

A lot of men and women see no meaning or purpose in life. Attempting to overcome the emptiness, some become busy, others turn to drugs or alcohol, and still others strive for more money, power or love. Though pleasure exists for them, it is usually short lived.

There’s a reason why life can feel empty: Man was created with a yearning that God alone is able to satisfy. Individuals can’t be fulfilled until they experience His transforming and unconditional love. Jesus said “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” In other words, the Lord wants us to feel complete, which can happen only through a relationship with Him.

However, even a person who is saved can feel empty. This could result from disobedience: a slight detour in one’s walk with the Lord can become a way of life, depriving a believer of deep satisfaction. It’s also possible for Christian’s to live according to God’s Word without fully surrendering their desires to Him. For example, many believers still try to fill up their own void with achievements, wealth or relationships. When aspirations like these are given higher priority than the Lord, they are a form of idolatry.

We can live a full live only when we seek God above all else. Pray for His guidance as you search your heart. Confess any sin, and ask God to fill your life as only He can do.

Preparation Through Prayer

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ACTS 1:9-14

The book of Acts is an amazing record of how God worked in and through the early church & one of their most important activities was prayer. While Jesus was with His disciples little was recorded of them praying because they could talk directly to Christ. But after His ascension they immediately gathered in the upper room & “devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14).

Talking to God was their means of preparing for the work He had for them. Jesus had told them the Father would give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13). Then after the resurrection He instructed them to stay in Jerusalem until they were “clothed with power from on high” (24:29). Without the Spirit they were not adequate for the Great Commission even though they’d spent time with Jesus. & if they needed the Spirit’s power so do we.

To the degree we’re willing to admit our absolute helplessness to do God’s work the Holy Spirit will empower us as we pray. When we are devoted to prayer the Lord begins to work in our heart preparing us for service. He gives us the Spirit’s boldness to speak God’s Word (Acts 4:31) & the courage to face any persecutions that might result (v.29).

God is looking for believers who understand the importance of prayer and realize the only way to fulfill His calling for the church is through His supernatural power. Christ’s church is not grown through programs, seminars and conferences but through the humble prayers of saints who gather together in utter dependence upon Him. That’s when God’s power is released and His will is accomplished.

The Passion to Serve Him

2 Corinthians 11:22-31

In today’s passage, Paul’s description of his suffering is remarkable in 2 ways. First of all he had obviously faced considerable torment for his faith. Second he refused to whine or seek pity.. if this was the price for passionately serving Christ Paul was willing to pay. In our own faith walk we can learn from the apostle’s commitment.

We serve according to God’s will not our own. On the road to Damascus Jesus said to Paul “It will be told you what you must do” (Acts 9:6). We are to see the Lord’s direction and timing instead of choosing the ministry that seems best to us. Committing to do whatever He asks requires courage but anything less amounts to putting limitations on our obedience.

We serve according to our gifts not our talents. A spiritual gift is the special endowment God gives us to serve where he calls. Talents may be useful in His work but His gifts equip us for success. Natural skill wasn’t what made Paul a powerful preacher. In fact he spoke of the uselessness of his abilities and pedigree in comparison with knowing and erving Christ (Phil. 3:4-9).

We are to serve with a focus on God not on the work. Paul excelled at remaining Christ centered but this is where many people fall short. We get caught up in schedul;ing responsibility and accolades which can make us lose sight of the true purpose: reaching the needy and those who need Christ.

Doing “church work” can stroke the ego but drain the body. If we keep focused and serve out of our gifts service will be satisfying even when it is hard or painful.

Life after Death

The thought of death frightens many people. But believers have no reason to fear. Jesus’ empty tomb proves that there is life after the physical body dies.

Unbelievers who dread their demise have two different approaches to life. One group piles up wealth, good deeds, or worldly success in the hope of passing it on to their children or to charity. They expect to “live on” in the memories of those who benefit from their hard work. But it’s the rare person who is still remembered a few generations later. And none truly live on.

The other group chooses to laugh in the face of death. Their philosophy is “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” Their existence seems pleasurable from the outside but can you imagine a more futile way to live your life? God does not intend for us to pass the time with such meaninglessness.

Here’s the key to significance: fulfilling our unique God given eternal purpose. In this life we do not labor to leave a physical legacy or waste our days pursuing pleasure. Instead we help those in need influence our culture and reach out to the lost. And when a believer enters heaven he or she keeps on working for Jesus.

For the believer death is not a fearsome end. It is the doorway to a new life of serving the Lord in heaven. Our days on earth are just the beginning of our existence: they will seem like only a few minutes compared to an eternity spent in His presence.

The Rewards of Working Well

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I decided one day to work as if the Lord was my boss and that choice made all the difference.

The work became tolerable and best of all I had many opportunities to share my faith because fellow workers noticed I was different.

Treating our work like an extension of our service to the Lord changes our attitude. Pleasing Him motivates us to do our best and inevitably results in the believer’s contentment. A job may be challenging, frustrating or boring but we can be at peace instead of wallowing in negative emotions.

A servant heart can impact other employees as well. Service that is rendered with kindness, grace and humility gets coworkers’ attention which in turn opens up opportunities for ministry to the people with whom we spend hours each day.

Rewards for enthusiastic service on the job can take many forms – including greater personal satisfaction in our work and opportunities to reflect Christ to others. There is also the great joy of knowing that our Father is happy with our performance.