THE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH – DAY 1
Reading : Philippians 4:1-9
“Rejoice in the Lord always : and I say, Rejoice.
Many people may think that joy derived from possession of materials and favourable situation. But if we base our happiness on conditions and situations, it will not last.
In a stark contrast, when we make God as our source of happiness, our joy is permanent because the joy from God is the joy that persist in all kind of situations and will not be influenced by circumstances but Holy Spirit will work in us. This joy is what the Prophet Habakkuk felt “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18). When we look at the facts and situation, Habakkuk has the reason to be sad, mourn and despair, but he still managed to rejoice “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:11b).
The will of God for the believers is to always rejoice. Not only in good and pleasurable times, but also in difficult and hard times. Being in prison with shackles bounding the legs was not an excuse for Paul and Silas not to rejoice. Even in the middle of the night both of them sang praises to God (read Acts 16:25). For the believers, it is not difficult to be joyful in the midst of problems and suffering because Holy Spirit is in us. The joy from the Lord is our strength. If you are in the middle of huge crisis, don’t be discouraged. “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10). How to rejoice in any situations? Have a close relationship with God always. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17).
When we are able to rejoice in all situations, we will be a good witness for others.
EXAMPLE OF CHRIST : Died for men.-DAY 2
Read Philippians 2:1-11
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”.
The Apostle John tirelessly reminds “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” ( John 2:6). This means, we Christians of follower of Jesus must live in example of Christ.
One example that Christ showed us was His willingness to sacrifice for men “And being found in fashion of man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8). Christ was willing to die for all men. This is not only a very rare occurrence, but only He can do this, ie to die for all men on earth. At the moment of Christ’s death, He did not wait for us and asked us if we are willing to repent and be saved, but He immediately did it out of love. “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. (Romans 5:8). In the moments in Gethsemane, in the eve of his death, Jesus in his human nature experienced tremendous fear that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44b), but he did not forced his will to pass the cup of wrath, but obediently carried on the Father’s will. When he was on the cross “and they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved other; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the Kingof Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that crucified with him reviled him.” (Mark 15:29-32).
Although being ridiculed, blasphemed and lowered, Jesus never give up mid-way and come down from the cross. No! Jesus stayed on the cross although he was the almighty but he did not exercise his power.
Jesus willingly died to fulfil the Father’s plan for men’s salvation.
EXAMPLE OF JESUS : Love the enemy-DAY 3
Read : Luke 6:27-36
Realistically speaking, what Jesus thought about loving the enemy, pray for them and do good to those who hates you makes no sense. But, because this is God’s commandment, whether we like it or not, as His follower, we have to carry on this commandment obediently.
Paul presented the same message to the brethrens in Rome, so that they will live in love and “If it possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men!” (Romans 12:18). The term ‘peace’ in this regard does not refer to a calm situation, peaceful, no conflicts or war, but refers to the condition of the heart that is empowered to be still and peaceful, despite being in the midst of the enemies or even among the people who hates us. Can we? Know this, when God commanded us to love our enemies and live in peace always, He definitely know that we are able to deliver this commandment. Love originated from God who Himself is love, and so the strength and ability to love are also comes from Him. Our part is to lit and flow God’s love to others, that includes our enemies. The problem lies not in are we able or not, but whether or not we are willing to love our enemy and live in peace with all people.
Joseph, although he had the opportunity to get even with his brothers, he chose to love, forgive and return it with good deeds. David, although he had the chance to exact his revenge to the evil Saul who always sought to relinquish and kill him, and yet he chose not to avenge, not because he feared Saul, but more on fear of God. David even said “…I would not stretch fort mine hand against the LORD’S anointed.” (1 Samuel 26:23).
A believer’s faith in Christ will be tested in his ability to love his enemy like Jesus did!
EXAMPLE OF JESUS : Loving the enemy.DAY 4
Read : 1 Peter 2:18-25
“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” ( Peter 2:23).
A believer’s life is a learning process to imitate Jesus. One of his character that must be emulated by His followers is on his attitude towards enemies or those who did malice to Him. Evil and evildoers are always present in this world, for this world is under the Devil’s control who is the mast and originator of evil. In the days approaching Christ’s second coming, the Bible told us that evil will increase everywhere. “…then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another… because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:10, 12).
The design of the world teaches us that if we are hurt by others, we must return it in kind. If others do evil to us, we must return it with evil twofold. If people make enemy out of us, we must in return also brand them as our enemies. According to the dictionary, enemy means opponent, the opposite position or opposition. As long as we live in this world, each one of us will surely find an opposition. What more, the existence of the believers in this world often met with hate, enmity, discriminate against and unjust treatments.
Don’t ask why the world despise the follower of Christ! The question we should ask is how we should react to these people. What the world taught is the opposite of what God taught. He even taught us to love our enemies and not return evil with evil. In this regard, Jesus did not give us a mere theory, but He Himself set an example in this principe. When he was mocked, abused, ridiculed and tortured, He even prayed and forgave his enemies although He possessed the power and rights inflict retribution. Therefore, every believers must emulate Him.
NEVER HAVE IDOLS. DAY 5
Read : Psalms 135:1-21
“For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.” Psalms 135:5
Idols are not always identified with statues, ancient relics, ancestral graves, old trees and the like, but something that we love more than we love God. Sometimes, our car can be an idol, or money and our riches. We fancy these things more than God. “…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21).
When God requested a young man to sell all his belonging and give it to the poor, and follow God, that rich young man chose to abandon God. “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:22). This proved that the young man love his possessions more than God. The wealth has become an idol in his life. The bible stressed “riches profit not in the day of wrath; but righteousness delivereth from death.” (Proverbs 11:4).
Idols can also mean something that we spent time on more than we spend time for spiritual things. There are many Christians whom their days has been packed with works, business or hobby and left no time for worship. Their minds filled with means to accumulate as much money as possible. Please note! “’…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 many sorrows.” ( Timothy 6:10). It is not wrong for us to work, having business and do all sorts of works as our daily activities, or fill our time with hobbies and frivolities, but we must remember that spiritual endeavour should be our main priority. Do not let our time be occupied by worldly things more than spiritual things. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33). Prioritize God and things of spiritual importance more than anything else from this world.
As His redeemed people, we must be servants only to God, and give our all to please Him only, and not others.
NEVER HAVE IDOLS.DAY 6
Read: Psalms 31:1-9
“I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.” (Psalms 31:6).
According to the Indonesian Grand Dictionary, the terms Idol means : Statues of gods or an object that considered as deities which are worshipped and revered. Upon hearing the word ‘idol’, our minds comes to statues, ancient relics, ancient tombs, hundreds of years old trees where multitudes of people come to worship. Our minds assumed that idols has it connections to the forces of darkness. It is not wrong! Even the psalmist wrote “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: Noses have they, but they smell not. They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: Neither speak they through their throat.” (Psalm 115:4-7). God does not want us to worship other false god, but only Him, for God hates idolatry.
The first and second commandment from the Ten Commandments dictates : “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:3-4). God strictly said that believers can not worship idols! Because our God is a jealous God, we can not have other god beside Him. It is useless to say that Christ Jesus is our God if we still seek helps from shamans, soothsayers, believed in feng shui, tarots or horoscopes. All these are idolatry which God hates.
However, there are ‘idols of the modern world’ that sometime without us realizing it has regressed God’s position as the top priority in our lives. Career, business, hobby, popularity, houses, cars and anything that we own can easily turned into an idol in our lives, even our newspapers and gadgetry!
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14).
ENOCH: Close with God.DAY 7
Read: Jude 1:3-6
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with then thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed…” (Jude 1:14-15).
Through the birth of Methuselah, God reminded Enoch of a great catastrophe that will destroy all earth. Upon receiving the prophecy from God of His plans to pass judgement to the world, Enoch responded with a God-fearing heart that leads him to live righteously and close with God. “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14). God will reveal many things to those who are close to Him and shares His will, His plans, His promises.
This prophecy came to fulfilment in Methuselah’s grandson or Enoch great grandson, Noah when God brought forth the great flood that submerged the entire land. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7).
To live close to God means to please God and live a life in accordance to His will, in rhyme with God’s heart, to live like how God want us to live. To live close with God means to walk with God every day. A long as we succumb to our fleshly desires and live according to our own wills, we are yet to walk with God. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). When we want to please God, there is no other way but forging commitments to have fellowship and close relationship with God continuously and consistently.
Faith and obedience are steps to forge a close relationship with God.
ENOCH: Close with God.DAY 8
Read: Genesis 5:1-32.
“And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24).
Upon careful reading on this chapter five which outlined Adam’s descendants, there is a repetation of designs in man’s life, that is the birth, having descendants and died. Adam’s descendants always ends up with the same word – death. But this did not happened to Enoch, which is the seventh generation since Adam: He did not experienced death, but a rapture, taken alive by God. He became the first man who never died, “…for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24).
Enoch has many sons and daughters. One of them is Methuselah. This means that Enoch’s life was not very different from the rest of his contemporaries with families and amidst of the busyness of life. However, there is a shining character of Enoch that was not found in many people, that set him apart and special from other people – his closeness with God. When his contemporaries chose to live apart from God, satisfying their lusts and casting aside the spiritual matters, Enoch chose to live his life differently and live in intimate fellowship with God, a testament of his resolute stance to not be swayed by the worldly flows and be different. The Bible even recorded twice on how Enoch live intimately with God (read Genesis 5:22, 24). Enoch live closely with God for not a short period of time or in a second, but for a very long time which is in a span of three hundred years that concluded in a rapture (365 years of age). The name ‘Enoch’ means ‘dedicated’ (an offering). True to his name, Enoch offered all his life to God which included him as one of the witnesses of faith who preserved his faith till the end. Enoch made the decision to live closely with God after the birth of his son, Methuselah when he was 65 years of age, although the name Methuselah carried the meaning of God’s intention to pass judgement to the world because of men’s corruption. This warning from God was the turning point in Enoch’s life.
UPRIGHT LIFE : Holding on to God’s admonishment.DAY 9
Read: Psalms 119:97-112
“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” (Psalms 119:111).
All believers should strive to have a life that satisfy God’s standard, i.e. a upright life. Why? For as long as we live in sins, taints and deficiency, and continuously dwell in the design of darkness, the Devil will accuse us day and night (read Revelation 12:10), and made us into his plaything.
Upright life is also a life that holds to God’s admonishments. This however does not mean that we are invincible to failures or falls, but we must be willing to be refined to live in accordance to the Word of God. Even if we failed, we will raise up immediately, and view these failures as valuable experiences and the best teacher. Don’t ever be discouraged, angry or offended whenever we received a hard lesson from the Word of God. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrew 5:13-14). How can we achieve a good spiritual sense if we are not willing to be trained, be cleansed and purified by the Word of God every day? “Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). This is a step towards upright life, because “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16).
So, as we hold on to God’s reproof more and more, our correct understanding of God and His wills will so grow and we will be increasingly awakened by His great promises to the uprights. This will encourage us to fervently guard our quality of life. “…according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.” (Psalms 18:24).
“…no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalms 84:12. This is what God has promised.
UPRIGHT LIFE : Willingness to be corrected.DAY 10
Read: Psalms 119:1-8.
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.” (Psalms 119:1).
Living righteously is God’s will for every believers. Living righteously can also be said as living uprightly. This is one of the most heavy responsibility every Christian shoulder, and even many Christians consider this to be impossible to deliver, because to them this means a life devoid of even a single error. Is there a person who never make even one mistake in his/her life? Undefiled life does not necessary means that a life without even a single error, but a life that is willing to be corrected by God.
David, a great Israelite King and also a writer of a major portion of the Psalms was not a person without any mistake. One of the fatal error he made was the adultery with Bathsheba (read 2 Samuel 11:1-27). However, upon rebuked and reprimanded by Prophet Nathan, David was quick in his regret of his wrongdoing which led to his repentance. David admitted “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightiest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest… …Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.” (Psalms 51:3,4,10,11).
David let himself to be corrected and be cleansed by God just like a branch that must go through trimming and pruning so that it can fruit heavily. It was very different with Saul, who although with many transgressions, he never admit it and repented, but always find excuses. This was exactly why “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto him David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” (Acts 13:22).
The willingness to be corrected and be cleansed is the beginning of upright life.
STRIVE TO LIVE RIGHTEOULSY.DAY 11
Read : Psalms 37:18-20
“The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever;” (Psalms 37:18).
To have a life that is holy is the matter that we have to develop. We have to ‘upgrade’ our life every day, for a holy life is not formed automatically. Even after receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour does not makes us a holy person immediately.
Rigthousness formed through day to day process. We have to be willing to reformed just like clay in the hands of a potter. “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” (Jeremiah 18:4). What are the things that we need to develop? The apostle Paul said “…And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Peter 1:5-7).
However, all the factors that supports righteous life will not grow if we ourselves are unwilling to actively engaged to develop it. Remember, a holy life is a serious matter before God. That is why we should respond seriously too. No playing around. Job, though suffered heavily: he lost his wealth and all his children died, he pressed on in holiness in his life. His wife even said “…dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10). One’s holiness is tested in the face of problems, pressure, hardship and suffering.
God will be the benefactor to the one who persist in godliness in all situation.
STRIVE TO LIVE RIGHTEOULSY.DAY 12
Read: Peter 1:3-5
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3).
Many people think that living a godly life in this modern time is simply impossible. Why so? Because the world we live in is that corrupted and filled with all kind of evil in every aspect of our live.
What is righteous life? Righteous contain the meaning of obedience, serious in his worships, holy, faithful. For the unbelievers, living a righteous life may be an impossible thing to do. But to the believers, it is very possible, for God has given His Holy Spirit to us and gifting us all things that are beneficial to live righteously (refer to our main scripture). The Bible said that the Holy Spirit is referred to as the spirit of truth “…will guide you into truth.” (John 16:13). Because of this, the apostle Paul adviced “This I say then, walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:16-17). As long as we are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit every day, living righteously will no longer a dream but can be a reality. Living righteously is a commandment, not just a suggestion. That is why we need to put forth our best efforts accordingly. “…so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
So, a righteous life is a life that reflects Jesus’ characters into materialization. God give His great and priceless promises to those who live righteously. Truly, our God is a good God, for not only He give the command to live in holiness, He also know exactly the limit of our strength. That is why He send forth His Holy Spirit to be at our side, assist and guide us to all truth.
GOD REMAIN THE HEALER.DAY 13
Read: Psalms 30:1-13
“O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.” (Psalms 30:2).
Every person will surely have burdens in their lives, and to each his own burdens. One of the burdens that we have in this life is the one related to sickness. There are many who might be tired and gave up because of the struggle with sicknesses that seems no hope of healing. To such circumstance, the psalmist cried for help and “…thou hast healed me.” (The referred scripture).
Consider what God promised to the Israelites when He brought them out of Egypt. “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee,” (Exodus 15:26). This means, from the beginning, it is God’s character to heal and plan only the good things. It was proven that through 40 years of journey in the desert, their foot did not swell (read Deuteronomy 8:4), which means they are in a healthy condition. In other words, not only does God heals, He also guaranteed health to their bodies, provided that they obeyed Him.
During His ministry time on earth, Jesus too carried out the ministry of healing. He “…healed many that were sick of divers diseases and cast out many devils…” (Mark 1:34). It is no doubt that He has the power to heal anyone according to His will. There is not a single sickness that God can not heal. Perhaps people may question why God did not answer their prayers and healed them of their illness. Whether or not He heal our sickness, it does not mean that He is unable to do so, or He goes back with His promises. Since the past, now and in time to come, He is still the healer, Jehovah Rapha. There lies God’s plans in each of our circumstances.
Healings is due in His time and according to His will. Give thanks always and do not let your heart change.
STRENGTH IN FAMILY.DAY 14
Read: Titus 3:1-8
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” (Titus 3:5).
The solidarity in a family is under treat if each of the members are unable restrict themselves or handle their emotions rightfully. “Speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men”.
We always find husbands who lost in his rage, and even materialize them in physical abuse to his wife and children. There are wives who could not put a leash on their tongues, angered easily and display shallow respect to their husbands by hurling hurtful words. These are among the reasons why the husband finds their homes as not a conducive place to be. It is written “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling women in a wide house”. (Proverbs 21:9). It is very important to use our tongue righteously. “…and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 21:9). This is what creates harmony in a household! The psalmist said “…for brethren to dwell together in unity!…for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forever more.” (Psalms 133:1-3).
Apostle Paul said, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3), but now that we are in Christ “…he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, we must be truly reformed, that is to do away with the old fleshly habits that is not pleasant before God, and no longer live like those who does not know Christ. Also, each member of a family must have the resolution to serve each other and perform charity.
A family will stand form and increasingly blessed by God when every member of the family live their lives as a new creation in Christ.
STRENGTH IN FAMILY.DAY 15
Read: Titus 3:1-8
“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to e ready to every good work.” Titus 3:1
These days, it is not uncommon to find broken families. The families are under the Devil’s cross hair.
Broken families will negatively impact the church, because families are effectively core churches.
There are numerous problems appears in families that leads to family fall outs and feud among them. We read from the newspapers or hear from the TV of countless families who are in perfect harmony initially but ends up eventually with divorce after a turbulence ride. We know God hates divorce. “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away…” (Malachi 2:16), because “…what therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6). Based on a statistical survey, the United States of America is one of the ten countries in the world with most case of divorce and majority of the families in the United States are Christians. There are many factors that leads to a divorce in a family, among them are : disharmony, extra marital relationship, and economical reasons.
In his letter to Titus, Apostle Paul send his advice on how to maintain a strong family and always be in the care of God. The most important aspect a family could have is meekness (main verse). Feud bound to happen in a family when both sides refused to recognize due authorities. They stubbornly defend their egos and refused to make concession. Children refused to recognize the authority of their parents, and a wife to her husband who is the head of the family. He is “…the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…” (Ephesians 5:23). In the same regards, husbands do not humble themselves before Christ. The urge to “always win” will fade when every member of the family (children, wife, husband) appreciates humility.
RESPECTING AND LOVING THE PARENTS – DAY 16
Read : Proverbs 10:1-10
“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” Proverbs 10:1
Presently, we can see many youngsters who does not respect their parents. They go against their parents advises who are to them, not in line with the current trends, and they chose to live their lives as they wish in the illusion that they are matured enough to do it. And the result? Many of them runs into bad companies: drugs, free sex and the like. The scripture reminds “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” ( Corinthians 15:33).
To a child, respecting the parents is a must, and one of God Commandments that need to be adhered to. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12). God provides His blessing only to the children who honour their parents and even more to those who return kindness and exact good deeds to their parents. Therefore, as long as our parents lives, honour them and treat them with the love of Christ.
If a Christian does not respect their parents, and even abandoning them, he has disobeyed one of God’s commandments. We do not respect our parents just because they have provided our needs or with the intention to have our inheritance because such love is not pure but with hidden motives. Respecting the parents must be based on unconditional love in any situations. Even if they could not provide all the things we need, as a child we must still respect them. Why? They are God’s envoys, and the child’s livelihoods almost completely depends on their parents until they are ready to set off on their own. “…for the children ought not to lay up for their parents, but the parents for their children.” (2 Corinthians 12:14).
For a child who respect and love their parents in return of their love, God will surely in turn, bless him/her, even though their parents might not be able to return their children’s kindness.
BEING HONEST – DAY 17
Read : Psalms 50:1-23
“…and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.”
Most people inclined to lie because they chose to fear man or trying to please man but not to fear God. They think that it is easier to lie before God who is not visible in their naked eyes than to lie before man who they can see. If they are found out by man of their lies, they will risk embarrassment, scolding, scorn or maybe layoffs.
Every lie will surely be made known, sooner or later. We may fool fellow humans, but God who sit on His throne is an omniscience being, even “…searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts…” (1 Chronicles 28:9). All things that is in our minds, our plans, ambitions – God knows it exactly. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrew 4:13). Stop lying, be an honest person, for “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but that deal truly are his delight.” (Proverbs 12:22).
Presently, the world is filled with sins and evil permeates the land which made living honestly become increasingly difficult. Should the believers conform to the ways of the world and live in dishonesty? “…Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a new creation in Christ, we must do away with our old habits. We must get rid of our old characters and live with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. To live according to God’s will means to be an honest person. Is living honestly a loss? David wrote: “…surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.”
“The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.” (Proverbs 16:17).
BEING HONEST – DAY 18
Read: Psalms 140:1-4
”Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.” Psalms 140:13
In our daily life, many times we hear people say “in these days, where can we find honest person? Honest people will perish!”. Honesty is a rare commodity and its value is priceless these days. Micah sigh on the same matter , “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with net.” Micah 7:2
The definition of honest is of pure heart, does not lie, does not cheat (as in rules). Being honest means take a yes as a yes and a no as a no. The opposite of honest is lies and deceit. Uttering lies means the words that comes out of the mouth does not match with the intention in the heart. ‘Yes’ out of the mouth but in actuality the heart says ‘no’. The Bible boldly states “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:37). As a believer, speaking no lies and being an honest person is a must. If the heart says no but the mouth says yes, that means we are being dishonest aka lying. The Bible explicitly said that lie is a characteristic and is the devil. “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).
If we continue lying, that means we are taking after the devil and to follow in his footsteps, for lie is a characteristic of the devil and he is the father of it.
Do we want to be counted as the children of the devil? Of course no! Therefore, strive to be speak no lie henceforth.
FULFILLED PLAN.DAY 19
Read: Psalms 92:1-16
“O LORD, how great are thy works! And thy thoughts are very deep.”
The bible says that God’s plan for his people is “…thought of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11). This plan of God will come to fulfilment if each one of his people responded enthusiastically to the call. We cant afford to sit idly, resting our hands and wait passively, but we must be active and productive. That means, we must be willing to pay the price. There is no such thing as the key to gain success are to laid back in laziness, what more being dependence to others. It is written “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” (Proverbs 10:4). The slack fancies the “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall the poverty come as one that travelleth; and they want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:33-34).
In order for God’s plan to be materialized in this life, other than working diligently, we must also rely on God, that is to trust our whole life in his care and guidance, and also to live according to His words. God counselled Joshua “The book of the law shall not depart out of they mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).
Hence, true Christians are those who are prepared to pay the price and rely on God always. Also, don’t be ashamed to learn from others. Learning from others doesn’t mean that we are tracing on others or that we are lacking of principle but learning from experienced successful people. Don’t forget to build relationship with people with positive energies, and don’t chose the wrong sort of people, for “…evil communications corrupt good manners.” ( Corinthians 15:33).
God’s plan will be fulfilled, as long as we are prepared to respond with the appropriate actions.
CREATING FLAVOURS.DAY 20
Read: Matthew 5:13-16.
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13.
The saying “like a saltless dish” gives us the impression that salt is very important in every cooking. Seasoned with salt, food tastes better and not bland. Salt truly creates flavours in our food. Salt, or Natrium Chloride (NaCl) is a mineral sodium that our body needs. Sodium assist our body to regulate the bodily fluid concentration and also to assist our cells to form nutritions.
In order to give that great taste, salt must be of a good quality. If the salt lost its saltiness, there is no use of it but be trodden by men. Salt functions better when it mingles with food. There is no meaning for salt in the pantry if it stays in the capped bottle or safely packed in packages. There is no meaning to it! And so are we. We are the salt of the world when we mingle and build relationship with others. To have a close relationship, to be a friend to others are the beginning of an influence. The influence in question is a positive influence, to be witnesses and blessing to others. However, there are many Christians who are reluctant to mingle around with others, exclusive, keeping their distance and unwilling to have relationship with the unbelievers, and fancy only among the believers although God called us to be the salt of the world.
To build the relationship with others (non-believers included) is a very important matter. Jesus too, befriend all people, serve all without prejudice of their backgrounds: Fishermen, Tax Collecters, even Prostitutes. While the Pharisees and the Scribes stayed away and making enemy out of these sinners, Jesus in contrast draw close to them, so close that He was referred as “…a friend of publicans and sinners.” (Luke 7:34) although He Himself does not sin. Jesus’ presence in the midst of the world creates the different flavour because He can be a blessing anywhere, anytime.
Have we become the ‘salt’ to those around us?
LIFE THAT IMPACTS THE SURROUNDING.DAY 21
Read: Matthew 5:13-16
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
Every person has the potential to impact others in his surroundings. That influence can be a positive or a negative ones. Those who produce positive influence we called them motivator of inspirator, where his presence will motivate others to follow him and he become an inspiration to others. Meanwhile, the person who emit negative influence is called provocateur. He provokes people to do negative acts.
And so is our Christian life. God reminded every believers to have an impactful life and be the influence in this world. The influence in question here is the positive influence, not the negative one. In other words, we must possess the ability to influence others through a positive and exemplary values of life and become a blessing to them. In order for us to impact our surrounding positively, we must first possess the appropriate characters. What is character? According to the dictionary, character points to the soul aspects, frame of mind or special qualities of a person. Character reveals who we are as we are, what God say about us. About David God says “…I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” (Acts 13:22). Christians with character means those who make sure to uphold the quality of his life, even with no one around to witness it, for he know that God sees his every actions.
This is what God is looking for: Christians with good character that reflects on his every words and actions, for the presence of believers in this world is like the open letter of Christ, read and seen by many. “…ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered to us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” (2 Corinthians 3:3).
Be a Christians with godly character; that’s what impacts.
FRUIT-BEARING LIFE.DAY 22
Read: Luke 6:43-45
“For every tree is known by his own fruit…” (Luke 6:44).
How long a person in as a Christian or how long of an involvement in ministerial works does not fully guarantee that his life will bear fruit for God. This ‘fruit’ speaks about being a blessing to others, a useful and impactful life to others. This is the fruit that God is looking for from every Christian’s life, for “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8). Else, despite the many years of being a Christian and still barren, therefore “and now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into fire.” (Matthew 3:10). In light of this, “…bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8).
Why should every believer must bear fruit? Fruit is a thing that produced naturally from trees or plants. Can we find a fruit from a withered and dead tree? No! So, fruit is a sign that there is life in that tree or plant. Additionally, it is also a sign that the tree has undergone a good growth. As we have a good spiritual growth, “…unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13). We know that a tree will only produce fruit when it has matured. In the same regard, a matured Christian marked by fruit bearing life. Regrettably, there are many Christians who follow God for a long time but their spiritual facet is still in infant phase. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Hebrew 5:12). That’s why they are barren of fruit.
How to bear fruit for God? The key is to live in God; to attach to the true Grape Vine, because “…without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5); willing to be cleansed/trimmed by God’s word every second.
To bear fruit is a sign that our Christian life is growing towards fullness!
FRUIT-BEARING LIFE. DAY 23
Read: Colossians 1:1-14
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10).
We are always reminded that Christian life must bear fruit. The fruit God want us to produce is not limited to just bringing people to a church and make them stay there permanently. The more important matter is how to influence people so that they too wish to have Christ’s character. There is no meaning to have a busy church work and activities if the character does not show any change in growth.
An effective ministry and worthy of being an example is when the servants of God has the Christ-like characters. There is no louder preaching compared to the conducts of the servants of the Lord themselves. How ironic it is for many Christians, even those with the status of ‘God’s servants/man of the cloth’ to not having a fruit-bearing life. If this is what transpires, that means our standard of life is far from the standard of life that is set by God, We failed to meet the will of God, which is a fruit bearing life.
Our state is being depicted as wild branch that was introduced to a vine. For an original branch, i.e. Israelites, it may not bear fruit, and it may be trimmed off. What more us, who are regarded as wild branch? “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” (Romans 11:21-22). To produce fruit, the price is costly. We need to be prepared to lose all fleshly pleasures, to leave behind the worldly comfort and make God as the only comfort. Meaning, we will be always in the state of pleasing God and live as how Christ live, to become the follower of God (read Ephesians 5:1).
A life that live up to God’s standard is a fruit bearing life! The key to produce fruit is attaching to God and willingness to pay the price.
JESUS AS THE CORN OF WHEAT. DAY 24
Read: John 12:20-36
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
No one will enjoy a harvest if he let his seed of wheat stored and not sowed. It is clear that in order to fruit, a wheat seed must first fall to the soil (sowed) and died.
In today’s reading, the corn of wheat that Jesus spoke of refers to Himself. If Jesus did not obey till His death on the cross, He will never bear fruit, there will be no redemption and no salvation. In other words, sinful human will continue to bear the consequence of sin as it is written “for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). But since Jesus obeyed to his death, even died on the cross, there is fruit, that is every people that believed in Him will be saved and reconciled with God. Jesus has become the corn of wheat that fall into the ground and died which produced the harvest, the saved souls.
Is it enough for us to just be thankful to God for His sacrifice? No. As his redeemed people, we also must understand God’s will behind His sacrifice, because “…I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that fruit shall remain…” (John 15:16. God want the believers to produce fruit! In order to fruit, we have to follow Jesus’ example, that is to be the corn of wheat that fall into the soil and died. Just like the corn of wheat that fall into the soil and died, we too must b prepared to do away our old life and to put on the life of Christ in fullness. “I am crucified with Christ: Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Chris liveth in me: and the live which I nowlive in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).
Because of the sacrifice of Christ, all of us who believed in Him is saved and now have the responsibility to live as Jesus live.
THE LEVITES: Gaining favour. DAY 25
Read: Exodus 32:1-35
“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” (Exodus 32:26).
When Musa was on Mount Sinai to receive God’s Ten Commandments, the Israelites was waiting impatiently. They believed that Moses prolonged his descend purposely.
The Israelites pushed Aaron to made them a golden calf for them to worship in place of the living God. They collaborated to let go of their gold articles and smelt it to a golden calf to be worshipped. This has aroused God’s wrath that He called them a stiff-necked people (verse 9). When Moses came down from of Mount Sinai carrying the two stone containing God’s Commandment written by God’s own finger, he saw the dancing Israelites while fall in worship before the man-made golden calf, How easily for them to forget the living God and turn to idols. With great anger, Moses smashed the golden calf before the Israelites. In that moment Moses stood at the gate of the camp to challenge the Israelites to make their life and death choice. “Who is on the LORD”S side, let him come to me!:. Out of the twelve tribes of Israel, there was only one tribe that answered the call and gather to God’s side. “…and all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” Because the Levites chose to obey God and did not conform to the pressure of the mass, they gained God’s favour. The Levites will later became ‘special’ and ordained by God in the priesthood for Him, although Levi was not the first born from Israel (Jacob).
To take on God’s side means to stay on the track, live under His line, living righteously and does not conform to the coaxing from the mass. Usually, people tend to the voce of the majority as opposed to the minority, or chose to compromise with sin out of fear of enmity, ostracized or branded as religious bigots.
Because they chose to fear God, the Levites gained His favour. “Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.” (Numbers 8:14).
RAHAB: Gaining favour. DAY 26
Read: Joshua 6:1-27.
“…and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day, because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (Joshua 6:25).
Rahab was a harlot who lived in Jericho, a city which Joshua cursed till it was completely destroyed by God. In man’s eyes, can this ‘unclean’ woman be saved, aided and have her live changed? Nonetheless, Rahab and her family gained God’s favour for the exploit of her faith that proved her allegiance to God. When the two spies sent by Joshua instructed Rahab to bind a scarlet thread in her window, she complied obediently. There is always cost to obedience. Rahab and her family was saved when the city of Jericho fell.
The salvation which Rahab received is a prove that God does not discriminate towards people whom He gave His compassion. “…I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15). Rahab, a sinful woman with pagan background, experienced God’s compassion because of the red sign she hung. The red sign is the representation of real salvation, the sign of the blood of Christ. Through the shedding of the blood of Christ on the cross, we gain salvation and forgiveness of sin. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7). Because she hid the two spies that Joshua sent and her faith to the God of Israel, the Bible recorded Rahab as one of the witnesses of faith.
Rahab, the sinful woman that was look down upon by her people, gained the position on par with the rest of witnesses of faith like Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Moses. “By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” (Hebrew 11:31).
Because of her faith, Rahab gained God’s favour, saved and her status was elevated. From a harlot with no value in the eyes of men, to enter the line of Jesus’ ancestors (Read Matthew 1:1-17).
RAHAB: Gaining favour. DAY 27
Read: Joshua 2:1-24
“And as she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.” Joshua 2:21.
Upon closer inspection in this second chapter of the book of Joshua, the main focus was Rahab and the two spies sent by Joshua. Who was Rahab? The Bible recorded her as a harlot whom a house was in the upper part of the city wall, and was a very strategic place as a traveller’s resting place. The profession which Rahab belongs to is not a very honourable one, in the eyes of man. She was despised, loathed and disgusting. People classified Rahab as the garbage of the society. The name Rahab means an arrogant person. It does represent the people that lived within the enclosure of a sturdy Jericho wall.
But, on the other side of her gloomy life, there was an extraordinary quality we can find from Rahab’s life, that is her boldness to take risk by hiding the two spies in her house. The exploit was not a baseless desperate move she took. If the people of Jericho knows about this, her life will be on the line. But her faith was the base of her action. This is a living faith, faith followed by actions. Even though her background was of pagan origin, she possess the correct knowledge about the God of Israel. “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side of Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:9-11).
This shows that Rahab was more afraid of God than the king of Jericho, because she knew that the God of Israel is the living God whose possessed the power over heaven and earth.
THE OTHER SIDE OF A RICH MAN.DAY 28
Read: Matthew 19:16-26
“…Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:23).
Apostle Paul commanded Timothy to remind the rich, “…that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.” (1 Timothy 6:17-18).
Why do reach people need to be reminded? Because they are more susceptible to over immerse in their wealth. How true is the Word of God “For where your treasure is, there will your heart also.” (Matthew 6:21). The security they feel that comes from their possession will cause them to rely more and more on the material world and less on God and they take pride in the wealth they have. They will get use to the notion that they can go on living even without God and the reliance on God will slowly fade. God no longer be the priority in their live. In other words, rich people can potentially forget God more easily since they have something ‘else’ to rely on although the earthly riches is temporary and it can disappear easily “…For a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15). They envision that if they have much money and overflowing wealth, satisfaction will be achieved. Ultimately, they will pour more and more efforts to add more riches, and in some case, they do this at all cost. They are the greedy and the avaricious.
Solomon, one of the richest who ever walked the earth said: “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). God never value us based on what we have, but based on who we really are.
“Riches profit not in the day of the wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” (Proverbs 11:4).