Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5).
For today's meditation, we will be looking at Psalm 103:1-5. Psalm 103 is one of my favorite Psalms among many. Psalm 103:1-5 gives us 5 things to be thankful and it is an excellent reminder as we approach Thanksgiving.
The first thing we are exhorted is to praise the Lord. Our hearts should always abound with thanksgiving and praises to the Lord. The Bible says:
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15).
The second exhortation is that we should not forget all His benefits toward us. By nature, we are a forgetful people. But that ought not to be so. The Bible says:
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name" (Psalm 100:4).
Than we are given five things to be thankful for in verse 3-5.
1. We are to be thankful for the forgiveness we have in Christ.
That is the greatest blessing. David cries out:
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit" (Psalm 32:1-2).
2. We are to be thankful for good health.
Good health is a blessing for God and we should never take our health for granted. God does not guarantee healing every time we get sick; but when we do get sick and recover, it is because God has healed us. Sometimes God lets us get sick for God can even use sickness for our good and for our sanctification. God works through medicine and doctors to heal us.
"O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me" (Psalm 30:2).
3. We are to be thankful for God redeeming our life from destruction.
Many times we wander astray like lost sheep and like the prodigal son. But Christ is the Good Shepherd of the sheep (John 10:11) and He cares for each of His sheep and will seek out His sheep till He finds it. Christ cares for each of His sheep not only as a group but also individually. Each of Christ's sheep is very precious in His sight.
"Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses" (Psalm 107:13).
4. We are to be thankful for God's lovingkindess and tender mercies.
God's mercies are great. God does not give us what we deserve. His grace is unmerited and undeserved. The Bible says:
"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:8-14).
5. We are to be thankful for God's provision.
We need to be thankful for God's providing for us all that we need such as food, clothing, and housing.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1).
Indeed God is very faithful and that is a cause for thanksgiving. Even "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself" (2 Tim. 2:13). His mercies are new every morning and great is His Faithfulness.
"Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lam. 3:22-23).
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper" (Psalm 1:1-3).
Today's meditation is Psalm 1. In Psalm 1 we are exhorted not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. We are not to be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2). But we are to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). We learn that we should delight in the law of the Lord and we should meditate in it day and night.
The Lord spoke to Joshua saying:
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success" (Josh. 1:8).
God promises that when we meditate in His word, we shall bear fruit. Jesus said:
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:7-8).
Are you abiding in Christ and in His word? Are you meditating in His word? If not, start today. Don't delay. Start first thing in the morning to mediate in His word and throughout the day. And than you will find His peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 marks the qualities and the characteristics of the child of God while the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 marks the qualities and the characteristics of the unregenerate. There are nine fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. These alone are produced in us by the Holy Spirit upon conversion and during sanctification as God conforms us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). The nine fruits of the Spirit are:
Love is on the top of the list because love is the most important Christian virtue. The Apostle Paul says if we have all kinds of Christian virtues and all kinds of spiritual gifts and yet lack in love, then we are nothing. (1 Corinthians 13). The two greatest commandments are based on loving God with all our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind and with all of our strength and also loving our neighbor as ourselves. (Mark 12:30). “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:40). “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
Joy is another Christian virtue produced in us by the Holy Spirit. True joy only comes through a saving knowledge of Christ. The world knows nothing of the joy that Christ gives. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
a. Jesus gives fullness of joy “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
b. We have joy in answered prayer “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
c. We have fullness of joy in his presence “You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence” (Acts 2:28).
d. We have joy in trials and persecution “And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:6).
e. The Joy God Gives Is Inexpressible “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
Peace is another Christian virtue that only the Christian possess. “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22).
a. We have peace with God through Christ “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
b. Christ gives us His peace “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
c. Christ give us peace in the midst of tribulation “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
d. That peace is beyond all human understanding “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).
4. LONGSUFFERING (Patience)
Longsuffering literally means “long-tempered”, that is one has self-restraint when anger is stirred up within him.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:12-13).
“With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).
Kindness is another Christian virtue which the Christian shows from a pure heart and from a pure motive. We are exhorted to put on kindness and to add to our faith, kindness.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Col. 3:12).
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).
We are saved by grace alone through faith alone apart from works (Ephesians 2:8). But “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (Rom. 15:14).
“For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Eph. 5:9).
Faithfulness marks the life of the Christian.
a. We are to be faithful as stewards of God
“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Col. 1:2).
“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’” (Matt. 25:21).
b. We are to be faithful until the end
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
Gentleness is another virtue of the child of God. The Christian ought to be full of meekness and humility.
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5).
“With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:10-11).
9. SELF-CONTROL (Temperance)
Self-control is the virtue of one who masters his sinful desires and passions.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good” (2 Tim. 1:1-3).
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness” (2 Peter 1:5-6).
Verse 1 – Give yourself and your life completely to God. That is the reasonable thing to do. We are not our own. We were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We should no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
Verse 2 – Do not be conformed to this world. Love not the world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15-16).
Verse 3 – Be humble and not puffed up. All your gifts and talents are from God. (1 Cor. 4:7).
Verse 4-8 – God gave to each one of us spiritual gifts. Do you know what your gift is? Are you using it? If you don’t know what your gift is, then ask God to reveal it to you.
Verse 9-10 – Love each other with a sincere heart and from a pure motive.
Verse 11 – Be diligent in serving the Lord!
Verse 12 – Rejoice in trials and afflictions. Pray during times of suffering. (James 1:2-4) and (James 5:13).
Verse 13 – Help the brothers and sisters in need and show hospitality. (Titus 3:14).
Verse 14-21 – Love your enemies. Do not take revenge. Leave in peace with all men. Overcome evil with good. (Matt. 5:9-12; Heb. 12:14).
14 CONDITIONS OF ANSWERED PRAYER by the editor of www.georgemuller.org
The following are conditions of answered prayer that I have found through out the Bible:
1. HAVE THE GLORY OF GOD IN MIND
Ask yourself: “Is what I am praying for going to bring glory to God?” If it will not bring glory to God, God will not answer.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
2. GO TO GOD IN PRAYER THROUGH JESUS
God will not accept you unless you go to Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).
3. ASK IN JESUS NAME
Ask in the name and authority of His Son, the Lord Jesus, who alone is worthy.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14).
4. ASK ACCORDING TO HIS WILL
Ask according and in submission to perfect His will by saying “Not my will, by thy will be done” (Luke 22:42).
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).
If you live a life of disobedience and rebellion, God will not answer.
“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:22).
6. ABIDE IN CHRIST
If you abide in Christ, you will surely have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) and ask things pleasing to God.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
We must believe that God is able to do what we ask Him. God does not like unbelief.
“So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:22-24).
“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23).
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8).
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb.11:6).
8. DON’T ASK AMISS (IN THE WRONG WAY & WITH WRONG MOTIVE)
If we ask for something that is not for our spiritual good and for the glory of God, God will not answer.
“You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3).
9. DON’T HARBOR SIN
If we have unconfessed sin, God will not hear.
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18).
"Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2).
"When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood" (Isaiah 1:15).
10. FORGIVE OTHERS
Make sure you are not harboring unforgiveness towards someone before coming to God in prayer.
"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mark 11:25-26).
11. ABIDE IN THE WORD OF GOD
If you abide in the Word of God, you will surely ask things that are in the will of God.
“One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination" (Prov. 28:9).
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
12. BE PERSISTANT
Persevere and be persistent in your prayers!
"And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Luke 11:5-10).
"Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”" (Luke 18:1-8).
"Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour" (Matt.15:21-28).
13. DELIGHT IN GOD
Delight in Him! Let Him be your chief delight and the joy of your heart.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).
14. WAIT ON GOD
Wait on God! His timing is best!
"For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him" (Isaiah 64:4).
"Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalm 27:14).
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass" (Psalm 37:7).
How to Know the Will of God? By the Editor of www.georgemuller.org
All of us have questions about our life. We want to know what education path to take; we want to know what career to pursue; we want to know where to live; we want to know who to marry, etc. How do we know God’s perfect will for our lives? There are three ways by which we can know God’s will:
By prayer and waiting on God, one can ascertain the will of God.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:5-6).
2. The Word of God
God never contradicts His word. The handbook for our lives is the Bible. Everything revealed in the Bible is God’s will for our lives.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).
"Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors" (Psalm 119:24).
3. Godly Counsel
Sometimes we are blind to our situation and we need a mature brother or sister in the Lord to correct us and to guide us. God gave the elders of the church extra wisdom and discernment and it is beneficial for us to listen to their counsel for they watch out for our souls (Heb. 13:17).
"Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Prov. 11:14).
"The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding" (Prov. 15:31-32).
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you" (Heb. 13:17).
The Biblical View of Money What the Bible has to say about money Complied by the editor of www.georgemuller.org
GOD OWNS EVERYTHING:
"I will not take a bull from your house, Nor goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness" (Psalm 50:9-12).
"The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1).
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Rom. 11:36).
THE STRENGTH TO WORK TO ACQUIRE WEALTH IS FROM GOD:
"“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day" (Deut. 8:11-18).
THE GIFT OF GOD:
"As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God" (Eccl. 5:19).
"The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it" (Prov. 10:22).
"The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up" (1 Sam. 2:7).
"Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all" (1 Chron. 29:12).
THE UNCERTAINTY & WRONG VIEW OF MONEY:
"Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17).
"Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven" (Prov. 23:4-5).
"Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them" (Psalm 39:6).
"Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him" (Psalm 49:16-17).
"He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage" (Prov. 11:28).
"Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16).
"And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”" (Luke 12:15-21).
"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (1 Tim. 6:7).
"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:9-10).
THE PROPER VIEW OF MONEY:
"“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money]" (Matt. 6:24).
"...If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them" (Psalm 62:10).
"Now godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6).
"And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (1 Tim. 6:8).
"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need" (Phil. 4:11-12).
"But you, O man of God, flee these things [the love of money] and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (1 Tim. 6:11).
WE ARE STEWARD'S OF HOW WE USE GOD'S MONEY:
"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4:2).
"On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (1 Cor. 16:2).
"Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (1 Tim. 6:18-19).
"Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:5-7).
"As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever”" (2 Cor. 9:9).
"Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need" (Eph. 4:28).
"But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17).
"distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality" (Rom. 12:13).
"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim. 5:8).
THE PROMISE OF GOD'S PROVISION:
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8). "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
"Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed" (Mark 1:35).
WHAT is the most important Christian duty? The most important Christian duty, I believe, is having a daily quiet time with our Heavenly Father. Like the old hymn says:
“Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always, and feed on His Word. Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak, forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.”
Jesus knew the importance of having a quiet time with His Heavenly Father. We read in the Gospel of Mark how “in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus knew the importance of having a daily quiet time with His Heavenly Father. He felt the need to rise early before daylight, to avoid any possible distractions, and to depart to a solitary place to pray. Now if Christ, who was “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16), felt the need to have a quiet time with His Heavenly Father, how much more should His followers?
David too had a quiet time with His Heavenly Father. David cries to the Lord in the 5th Psalm: “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my king and my God, for to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (Psalm 5:1-3). Also in the 63rd Psalm: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory” (Psalm 63:1-2). David made sure he sets time each day to spend with his Heavenly Father. He says: “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:16-17). The Psalmist in Psalm 119, who most likely was King David, says: “I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word” (Psalm 119:147-148).
Daniel also had a quiet time with God. We read how “he knelt down on his knees three times” and “prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). His enemies knew they would find him “praying and making supplication before his God” (Daniel 6:11). Job also had a prayer life. We read in the Book of Job how he would rise early in the morning and pray for his children and “offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, ‘It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts’” and “thus Job did regularly” (Job 1:5).
In the spring of 1841, George Muller (1805-1898) had a life-transforming discovery that changed his life. He saw more clearly the importance of a daily quiet time with God in the Word of God and prayer. He says in his autobiography:
“I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.”
E.M. Bounds (1835-1913), the great man of prayer and the author of numerous books on prayer, spent the last nineteen years of his life in his home, rising 4 AM and praying until 7 AM. Even during his speaking engagements as an evangelist, he would not neglect his early morning time with God in prayer. Claude Chilton, Jr., in his Foreword to Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds, speaks of E.M. Bounds saying: “As breathing is a physical reality to us so prayer was a reality for Bounds. He took the command, ‘Pray without ceasing’ almost literally as animate nature takes the law of the reflex nervous system, which controls our breathing.” E.M. Bounds writes in his book “Power through Prayer” that “the men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, he will be in the last place the remainder of the day. Behind this early rising and early praying is the ardent desire which presses us into this pursuit after God. Morning listlessness is the index to a listless heart. The heart which is behind in seeking God in the morning has lost its relish for God. David's heart was ardent after God. He hungered and thirsted after God, and so he sought God early, before daylight. The bed and sleep could not chain his soul in its eagerness after God. Christ longed for communion with God; and so, rising a great while before day, he would go out into the mountain to pray. The disciples, when fully awake and ashamed of their indulgence, would know where to find him. We might go through the list of men who have mightily impressed the world for God, and we would find them early after God.”
One of the most gifted Scotch preachers, Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843), said: “I ought to spend the best hours in communion with God. It is my noblest and most fruitful employment, and is not to be thrust into a corner. The morning hours, from six to eight, are the most uninterrupted and should be thus employed. After tea is my best hour, and that should be solemnly dedicated to God. I ought not to give up the good old habit of prayer before going to bed; but guard must be kept against sleep. When I awake in the night, I ought to rise and pray. A little time after breakfast might be given to intercession. I ought to pray before seeing any one. Often when I sleep long, or meet with others early, it is eleven or twelve o'clock before I begin secret prayer. This is a wretched system. It is unscriptural. Christ arose before day and went into a solitary place. David says: ‘Early will I seek thee’; ‘Thou shalt early hear my voice.’ Family prayer loses much of its power and sweetness, and I can do no good to those who come to seek from me. The conscience feels guilty, the soul unfed, the lamp not trimmed. Then when in secret prayer the soul is often out of tune, I feel it is far better to begin with God -- to see his face first, to get my soul near him before it is near another.”
Martin Luther (1483-1546), the great reformer, said: “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” John Bunyan (1628-1688), author of the famous “Pilgrim’s Progress” said “he who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” Andrew Murray (1828-1917), the great devotional author, says: “Shut the world out, withdraw from all worldly thoughts and occupations, and shut yourself in alone with God, to pray to Him in secret. Let this be your chief object in prayer, to realize the presence of your heavenly Father." What about you dear reader? Do you have a daily quiet time with God? If not, I encourage you to begin one. Start today; do not delay. George Muller writes in his autobiography:
“I want to encourage all believers to get into the habit of rising early to meet with God. Someone may ask, ‘But why should I rise early?’ To remain too long in bed is a waste of time. Wasting time is unbecoming a saint who is bought by the precious blood of Jesus. His time and all he has is to be used for the Lord. If we sleep more than is necessary for the refreshment of the body, it is wasting the time the Lord has entrusted us to be used for His glory, for our own benefit, and for the benefit of the saints and unbelievers around us. It may be said, ‘But how shall I set about rising early?’ My advice is: Do not delay. Begin tomorrow. But do not depend on your own strength. You may have begun to rise early in the past but have given it up. If you depend on your own strength in this matter, it will come to nothing. In every good work, we must depend on the Lord. If anyone rises so that he may give the time which he takes from sleep to prayer and meditation, let him be sure that Satan will try to put obstacles in the way.
Trust in the Lord for help. You will honor Him if you expect help from Him in this matter. Pray for help, expect help, and you will have it. In addition to this, go to bed early. If you stay up late, you cannot rise early. Let no pressure of engagements keep you from going habitually early to bed. If you fail in this, you neither can nor should get up early because your body requires rest. Rise at once when you are awake. Remain not a minute longer in bed or else you are likely to fall asleep again. Do not be discouraged by feeling drowsy and tired from rising early. This will soon wear off. After a few days you will feel stronger and fresher than when you used to lie an hour or two longer than you needed. Always allow yourself the same hours for sleep. Make no change except on account of sickness.”
So, dear reader, take the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and all His saints and begin and cherish your daily quiet time with God and you will be greatly refreshed and strengthened.
"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, Says the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6).
For my blog article this month, I will be addressing the following topic: “Is a Faith Ministry Biblical?” My answer is absolutely yes! I will be explaining first what a Faith Ministry is. Second, I will be giving reasons why a Faith Ministry is biblical. Third, I will be giving examples from history from great men of God who “lived by faith” and who trusted in God “for great and mighty things” (Jer. 33:3). And finally, I will be giving personal applications.
So what is a Faith Ministry? A Faith Ministry is a church or a Christian ministry that seeks to “live by faith” and trusts God to provide for all its needs solely by going to God in prayer. A Faith Ministry is completely dependent upon God to provide and does not solicit funds from people. It is completely non-profit and does not charge for Bibles, Christian books or Christian literature. Its primary aim is to glorify God and to see souls saved. It does not trust in the “arm of the flesh” and does not use human techniques or gimmicks to accomplish its goals. I will be giving several reasons why a Faith Ministry is biblical:
A Faith Ministry is biblical because it glorifies God. A Faith Ministry brings the most glory to God because it is completely dependent upon Him. When a church or ministry is completely looking to God to provide for all its needs and is not constantly talking about money and soliciting donations, then God gets the most glory. Our ultimate aim is to glorify God. When we bring our needs to God in prayer and God answers, God gets the most glory! Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). God is most glorified in man’s dependence.
A Faith Ministry is biblical because God is able to provide. God is our Heavenly Father. He “knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8). He “shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). God is not only able to supply all our needs but He is able to bless us even more abundantly so that we can be a channel of blessing to help others and to have abundance to do His work. God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
A Faith Ministry is biblical because the gospel ought to be free. Salvation is completely free. It is pure grace. Grace is the unmerited and undeserved favor of God toward man. Salvation is not by works but by grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8). We ought to give the gospel message free. It grieves me very much when I find churches and ministries that charge for CD’s, books, literature, and Bibles. Many churches nowadays even have a book store inside its church. The church has become like a business – buying and selling. If Jesus was on earth now, He would “cleanse” His church like He cleansed the temple when “He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business” (John 2:14) and “He would say, Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:16) and “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Luke 19:46). God meant that the gospel should be free and given free. In Isaiah 55:1 we read, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8). The Apostle Paul said, “What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:18).
A Faith Ministry is biblical because faith pleases God. The Bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). The principle of living by faith is found throughout the Bible. In Habakkuk 2:4 we read, “But the just shall live by his faith.” In Hebrews 10:38 we read, “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Paul said that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Abraham was a great example of faith. “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Gal. 3:9). It says of Abraham that “not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Rom. 4:19-20) and “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20). God wants us to exercise our faith and to trust Him for “great and mighty things” (Jer. 33:3).
A Faith Ministry is biblical because God answers prayer. God is a prayer-answering and a prayer-hearing God. The Psalmist said, “O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come” (Psalm 65:2). Jesus said, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matt. 21:22) and “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). When we bring our needs to prayer and God answers, God is greatly praised and glorified. Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:3).
There are two great examples of men who “lived by faith” in history. They are George Muller and Hudson Taylor. George Muller (1805-1898) is one of the greatest examples of men who took God at His word and who trusted God with child-like faith. God used him to build orphanages and care for more than ten thousand orphans all without making known his needs to man and without asking anyone for penny. George Muller never went into debt and believed it was unscriptural. George Muller not only founded orphanages but also founded the Scriptural Knowledge Institution to circulate freely the Holy Scriptures; to aid in supplying the needs of missionaries and to assist Day-schools, Sunday-schools and Adult-schools to give instruction based upon Scriptural principles. George Muller is a great inspiration to me and I have devoted the whole web site: www.georgemuller.org to encourage men and women and boys and girls to trust God for “great and mighty things” (Jer. 33:3). George Muller did everything for the glory of God. His chief reason for establishing the orphan houses is to have a living proof that God does and still hears prayer and to strengthen the faith of the church and of the children of God. I encourage you to visit www.georgemuller.org to read many books, articles, quotes and even to listen to the whole autobiography of George Muller on audio. It has proven to be a great strength and encouragement to me as I listened recently to “The Life of George Muller” on Sermonaudio.com. The link is found on the George muller web site at: http://www.georgemuller.org/audio.html. George Muller said:
"God's plan is, there shall be none of self and all of Christ. The very people who are doing the most for God in saving souls, in mission work, in the care of orphans, are those who are working on short supplies of strength, of money, of talents, of advantages, and are kept in a position of living by faith and taking from God, day by day, both physical and spiritual supplies. This is the way God succeeds and gains conquests over His own people, and over the unbelief of those who look on His providences." – George Muller
The second great example from history is Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) who was a missionary to China and was the founder of China Inland Mission. Hudson was greatly influenced by the principles of George Muller. Hudson Taylor was one of the missionaries that George Muller supported financially. Often times, Hudson was almost completely out of funds until he got an unexpected gift from George Muller or other Christians. Hudson said, "Many seem to think that I am very poor. This certainly is true enough in one sense, but I thank God it is ‘as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things." And my God shall supply all my need; to Him be all the glory. I would not, if I could, be otherwise than I am - entirely dependent myself upon the Lord, and used as a channel of help to others.’” He also said, "Depend on it. God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply. He is too wise a God to frustrate His purposes for lack of funds, and He can just as easily supply them ahead of time as afterwards, and He much prefers doing so." Visit www.firstlovepublications.org to read more quotes and articles by Hudson Taylor.
In conclusion, a faith ministry ought to be normal thing and not abnormal in the Christian life and in the church. How can we apply this to our personal lives? Everyone ought to develop a life of complete and utter dependence on God and exercise his faith. We should seek the glory of God above all things. Of course, we need to make a living and work in this world as good stewards of God. The Bible says, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10) and “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). But God said, “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18). “The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:10). Ultimately, God is one who provides for us and gives us the strength and health to make a living and to put food on the table. And God not only wants us to use the resources He has given us to take care of our temporal needs but also to take care of spiritual needs to reach the world with the gospel.
I encourage everyone to listen to Pastor Joe’s Jacowitz sermon titled “The Necessity of a Faith Ministry” found on http://www.georgemuller.org/audio.html. Part 1 and Part 2 to talk about the importance of living by faith. I will close with a quote by Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) and Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).
"Paul's God is our God and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished. What a measure doth the LORD go by: 'According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.' The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His 'riches of glory by Christ Jesus'-who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the LORD Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!" – Charles H. Spurgeon
"That the creature should have so absolute and universal a dependence on God, provision is made that God should have our whole souls, and should be the object of our undivided respect. If we had our dependence partly on God, and partly on something else, man's respect would be divided to those different things on which he had dependence. Thus it would be if we depended on God only for a part of our good, and on ourselves, or some other being, for another part: or if we had our good only from God, and through another that was not God, and in something else distinct from both, our hearts would be divided between the good itself, and him from whom, and him through whom, we received it. But now there is no occasion for this, God being not only he from or of whom we have all good, but also through whom, and is that good itself, that we have from him and through him. So that whatsoever there is to attract our respect, the tendency is still directly towards God; all unites in him as the centre." – Jonathan Edwards
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33).
Today, we will look at Matthew 6:33. Jesus tell us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" and He will add the other things that we need unto us. Let us strive to put God first in our lives and in our thoughts. Let us make Him the first priority in our lives and make Him preeminent in our lives. Let us not worry about temporal things or about tomorrow but let us trust that God will provide for us.
Father, bless us today and help us to trust in You in all things and in all circumstances. We thank you, in Jesus name. Amen.
"...that in all things He may have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18).
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts (Zech. 4:6).
Today, we will look at Zechariah 4:6. The Lord says to us: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit." Sometimes, we go through a lot of trials and hardship in our Christian life. Sometimes we see no deliverance either on the right or on the left. We tried to seek the help of man but man is limited and cannot really help us. The Bible says, "Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless" (Psalm 60:11). Indeed the help of man is useless and vain. Also, we tried to help ourselves and we found we cannot even deliver ourselves. So, what can we do in this case? The only thing to do is to look up to God for He alone is our help. The Psalmist says:
"I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2).
So, in all our affliction and distress, let us remember the Lord. Let us not fall into despair and despondency. But let us look up to our Heavenly Father who cares for us. God cares even for the small details of our lives. Jesus said, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matt. 10:30). Let us go to God today and pour our hearts before Him.
Father, please be with us today and strengthen us. Help us to wait on You and to trust You in all circumstances. Use us to be light and salt in this world. Use us to be a great and bold witness for Christ. Help us to speak the truth in love. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.
"Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us" (Psalm 62:8).
This is a good article on prayer by Charles Spurgeon. It is taken from Spurgeon's Morning & Evening Devotional:
"Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you" (Isaiah 30:18).
God often DELAYS IN ANSWERING PRAYER. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that "the thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient for him. If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in?
Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.