All posts by Rev. Darryl Mathis

Our Hope in God

Romans 5:1-5 (NASB): Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We all face disappointments in life. So often, we pray to God and our prayers are not answered in the way that we desire. When that is the case, we must trust God and realize that His ways and His purposes are higher than ours. We have very limited vision, but God sees the entire picture and we must trust Him, even when it hurts. As believers that have been “justified by faith,” we can have a certain “peace” with God that lifts us up as we go through times of unanswered prayer or in the various trials of life.

Paul wants us to understand here in Romans chapter 5, that in all circumstances, our “hope” is found in the glory of God. Through our faith in Christ, God has given us His peace that will help us to navigate anything that life in this world sends our way. It’s easy to rejoice when things are going well, but it’s much more difficult to rejoice when we are faced with trials and suffering. God’s desire is that we acknowledge Him and praise Him in the midst of our difficulties, as well as those times in life when everything is going smoothly.

We would usually prefer to not go through any trials in life, we like for everything to go as planned. And the Apostle Paul, who is very familiar with trials, exhorts us to rejoice in the midst of our trials. Now that is the kind of advice that most of us would prefer to politely decline. Rejoice in our trials? Really? When I am going through times such as these, I would much prefer to sulk and to blame God and to question Him. And after a day or so, after God has allowed me to wallow in my misery, God says, “Trust me, I am going to teach you how to persevere through this trying time.”

You see, when we go through difficult circumstances, we learn how to persevere. And Paul writes that, perseverance improves and strengthens our character, and that will in turn point us to the “hope” of God in our lives. And as we trust God to lead us through the dark passages of life, we begin to sense and experience God’s hope and love. Paul tells us that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” So we must persevere and rely on our “hope” in God, who promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6).

May God fill you today with His hope, His love, and His eternal peace!

Daniel Chapter 3: Don’t Compromise Your Faith

Daniel 3: 12-16 (NASB):

There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Do you have the faith that is required of you to stand firm in your faith and not compromise with the gods and idols of this world? Daniel’s three friends were given a choice: Fall down and worship a man-made idol or stand firm in your faith in God and face the consequences. Bear in mind that death in the fiery furnace was the consequence here. For many, this would be a difficult decision, but for these three young men it was a decision that was very easy to make. They were determined to stand firm in their faith in God, even if it led to a horrible death by fire.

King Nebuchadnezzar was filled with pride and arrogance and he “set up” an image of gold for all the people to bow down and worship at the appointed time. “To you the command is given, O people, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn…you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire” (Daniel 3:4-6 NASB).

On the surface, what appears to be a challenging decision for these three young men was not a difficult decision at all. They had made the decision long ago in their minds when they decided to obediently follow God and not man. It’s likely they thought about the command from God when He said, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Exodus 20:4). For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, they clung to their faith in God over any fear of man. Even being unsure if God would actually deliver them, they still thought it better to lay down their lives in obedience to God rather than to bow down and worship a false idol of man. They completely trusted God to deliver them, but even if He did not choose to do so, they were determined to remain faithful to Him, even if it meant death.

God wanted to use these three faithful men to show King Nebuchadnezzar that the God of Israel is sovereign over the entire earth. Their lives were spared and God used their faith and trust in Him to bring a powerful pagan king to acknowledge and fear God. God can and will deliver His people as He so chooses. It is God who rules the world and eventually all earthly powers will bow down to Him.

Will you be completely obedient and faithful to God, or will you allow the world and its values, to influence how you live out your life? Each time we give into the world and follow its urgings, we create a distance between ourselves and God. God loves us and cares for us and in return He expects our loyalty and obedience. As Christians, we must stand firm in our faith and we must oppose those worldly values that are in direct opposition to God’s commands. Do you seek the praise of men or do you follow God’s laws above all else? Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, we have a choice. Who are we going to follow? Man or God?

 

Daniel Chapter 2: There is a God in Heaven

Daniel 2:19-23 (NASB)
19Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20 Daniel said,
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21
“It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
22
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
23
“To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel chapter 2 is a long chapter (49 verses) but you may want to read the entire chapter so that you get a sense of what’s going on with Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar. Several Wednesday nights ago as I taught this chapter at church, there were two prominent themes that stood out to us. First, it is Daniel’s God, “the God of heaven,” that is in control of this earth. And not only is God in charge, but we are also reminded that He can remove and establish kings, leaders, presidents, and even dictators! Second, it is only Daniel’s God who can reveal and make known deep and profound mysteries, the “hidden things.” God gives wisdom not to those who hold powerful positions in this world, but to those who obey, trust, and faithfully follow God’s will and purpose for their lives.

King Nebuchadnezzar was having a troubling dream that caused him to have some sleepless nights and he was anxious to have the meaning revealed to him. The king called for his conjurers, magicians, and sorcerers – his “wise men.” However, the king throws them a curve; he not only wants them to interpret the meaning of his dream, but he demands that they also tell him what his dream actually was! Well as you can imagine, the “wise men” are shocked and grasping for words. So they tell the king: “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king” (Daniel 2:10). It’s not going to come as a surprise that this was not the answer that King Nebuchadnezzar was looking for. So he gives the order that they be “torn limb from limb.” And then for good measure, their houses would be “made a rubbish heap” (Daniel 2:5).

“Because of this the king became indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them” (Daniel 2:12-13).

And what was Daniel’s response? I don’t know about you, but my first thought would be to get as far away from the king as possible. Daniel, however, did not do that. We are told that Daniel asked to appear before the king (yes, the same king that wanted to take his life) in order to ask for more time so that he could give the king the interpretation of the dream. And because of God’s influence in earthly affairs, the king grants Daniel the time needed for the interpretation of the dream.

Daniel remained calm because he trusted God regardless of the outcome. Daniel knew that prayer would provide the answer to this dream and that would be how he would approach God. Daniel’s faith and trust in God enabled him to go before the powerful and unpredictable King Nebuchadnezzar and ask for more time. So Daniel and his three friends resolve to pray “so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:18).

God reveals the dream and its meaning to Daniel and immediately, Daniel gives praise and thanks to God, while acknowledging God’s wisdom and power over all the earth. Daniel then goes before the king and tells the king his dream and then gives him the interpretation. The point that Daniel makes to the king is that the “God of heaven” is the only one who “reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:28). The “God of heaven” reigns over the whole earth and King Nebuchadnezzar will soon find out that it is God “who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings” (Daniel 2:21).

Thinking about the world we live in today, we see the same circumstances occurring. We have ruthless and power hungry dictators and self-appointed leaders threatening to destroy entire nations. They don’t even pause to consider God, because they believe their own power is greater than anyone else, including God. However, as the Bible clearly states and history has shown us, it is God and God alone, who determines the “times and the epochs; he removes kings and establishes kings.” People throughout the ages have over and over again relied on their own wisdom instead of God’s wisdom and what do we see occurring? Presidents, dictators, and kings have come and gone but God remains in control. God’s kingdom is the only kingdom that will last forever, it will be everlasting!

Daniel 2:44 (NASB)
In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

 

 

 

 

Daniel Chapter 1: Being A Good Witness


Daniel 1:8-9: But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials…

For the last four weeks, I have been teaching the book of Daniel in our Wednesday night Bible study. Although this book was written around the sixth century BC, it has many important applications and insights for us as believers today. One important aspect stood out for us as we studied the first chapter of Daniel. Given the example of these four teenage Hebrews believers, we talked about how important it is for us as believers today, to be a good and faithful witness for God. We certainly live in a time and in a world that needs to hear our witness, to the love and compassion of God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We saw in Daniel chapter 1, how Daniel and his three Hebrew friends stood firm in their belief and trust in God. These young men were teenagers, who were taken away into captivity to Babylon, and they stood firm in their faithfulness to God against the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. And because of their faithfulness, “God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams” (Daniel 1:17).

“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself…”
As believers today, we must also make up our mind to not defile ourselves. We live in a world that worships almost everything except God. If we are to be a faithful witness, by living out our lives in a way that is committed and faithful to God, we can’t allow the world to defile us. Christians need to pray for God’s strength to stand firm against the ever evolving belief system of this world. If we are to be a good witness for Christ, we must live a life that makes others take notice. When we rise above the sin and turmoil of this world, we can make an impact upon others by being a good and faithful witness to God.

God used these four Hebrew teenagers, to make a pagan king take notice of their unique and faithful relationship with the one true God. And God can use you, to help those who are lost today, to notice and want to know more about your relationship with God. Always strive to be a good and faithful witness to God, because you never know how God can use your witness to affect someone that is watching how you live out your life as a follower of Christ.

 

Please God, Hear My Prayer

Psalm 143 (NASB)
1Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!
2 And do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no man living is righteous.
3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead.
4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart is appalled within me.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You, as a parched land.

I have been reading Psalm 143 every day for over a week now. It has given me great comfort as I have been overwhelmed from all directions, it seems. In the midst of the past week that was trying, difficult, and at times completely overwhelming, this Psalm of David has been a refuge for me in the midst of crisis. When you are faced with being overwhelmed by the difficulties of life, and circumstances seem so out of control, you are faced with two choices on how to deal with those problems. You can either get down on your knees and pray to God for help, or you can choose to address those circumstances in a manner that is not godly or healthy. For me, I instinctively turn to God for strength in enduring the onslaught and coming out stronger on the other side.

Have you every prayed or cried out to God, like David did in this Psalm? The first thing David asks is for God to simply hear his prayer! This is a kind of praying that sounds almost desperate. God, please hear my prayer because I am in such a bad place that only You can save me. David wanted God to hear and understand his dilemma and he asks God to answer him out of God’s faithfulness and righteousness. David knows that when God promises to deliver his people that God must be true to His nature of faithfulness and righteousness. God may not completely answer our prayer in our time frame, but He will answer (or give a different answer) when He knows it is the best time for us. In the meantime though, God will comfort and give care to us because He absolutely hears our prayers and He loves us. God and God alone can bring us through any difficult circumstance that we face if we will only acknowledge Him and turn to Him in prayer.

As I was dealing with one very specific issue last week, I had a non-believer tell me, “You better start praying about this because I don’t see this ending well.” Now I’m really not sure of his mind set when he said that. At first, I thought he was mocking me but after some time has passed, I’m not sure that was his intent. Whatever his thought process was, I am sure of one thing. I’m certain that this man did not believe  God would answer me and create a solution out of what seemed impossible. As this man kept giving me his opinion that the end solution would not be good, I continued to pray to God for direction and guidance. I also prayed for God to give me the words and the attitude to respond to this man so that I would not put someone else at risk. My faith in God and in God’s faithfulness gave me the strength to believe that God would deliver me from a seemingly impossible situation.

I love how honest David is in this Psalm. He knows and confesses that he is a sinner and he asks God to not judge him for his sinfulness. He is essentially saying, God, you know that no one is perfect. We are all sinners in need of your mercy and love. Be faithful God and deliver me from the enemy who has crushed me to the ground and who is persecuting my very soul and making me to live in dark places. David tells God, “my spirit is overwhelmed, within me.” David’s heart is appalled or desolate and He knows that only God can bring him out of the dark place that he is in. He knows that only God can save him and restore him.

After enduring five long days of worrying and not sleeping, I came to the end of my week. The problem that arose at the start of the week was solved and for that I give God all of the glory! And for the man that told me I better start praying, I wonder if he gave any thought to his comment about prayer. Hopefully, I will have another chance to have a conversation with him about the power of prayer and how my faithful and righteous God spoke powerfully in this situation. Now there are prayers of mine that remain unanswered and for those I just have to trust in God and in His timing. Whether it takes a month, a year, or ten years, I will remain faithful to God because I know He is faithful to me.

Prayer: God, I thank you for your faithfulness. You are a merciful and compassionate God and for that I praise you. In the midst of trying times, your great faithfulness gives us the hope to endure. And as we go through those moments in a way that glorifies you, we can be a strong witness to your power to those who do not believe. Help us God to live a life that sees your new mercies every morning and to rely only on you throughout our day, whether our day is easy or difficult. Help us to remember that there is never a moment in time that you do not watch over us. Amen.

Calling Upon God

Psalm 145:17-21 (NASB)
17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.
20 The Lord keeps all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

How often have you called upon the Lord in the last week? If you are like many other believers, you are probably calling on the Lord many times throughout the day. I always try to give thanks and praise to God before I begin giving Him my requests, but I often fail. While God certainly does want and desire our praise and thankfulness, He also wants us to call upon Him, so that He can show us His amazing love and His awesome power to change circumstances in our lives. The important thing to remember is that God is near! Most people imagine God to be so far removed from their daily lives, but the reality is that God is very close, and He is waiting for us to trust Him and call upon him, so that he can release His life altering power to us, through His Holy Spirit.

Often the circumstances of this world tend to drag us down. When that happens, we really have two choices. Do we follow the ways of the world and allow sin to take over our life and lead us farther away from God? Or do difficult times give us the resolve to focus our prayer life upon God and pray for His presence to guide us? Psalm 145 tells us that not only does God hear those who “call upon Him in truth,” but God will “also hear their cry and will save them.” God wants to lift you up out of the difficult circumstance that you are in if you will only trust Him and call upon His name in truth. Don’t let the world tell you that God can’t do what God promises to do. Trust God, go to Him in prayer, and ask Him to save you from whatever difficult circumstances, life sends your way. God is righteous, He will hear your cry, and He will save you! He will do all these things because He loves you!

What do you need God to save you or deliver you from? Are you battling an addiction problem that only God can completely heal? Are you struggling with a relationship problem that seems impossible to solve? Are you a new Christian struggling to let go of your old way of life? Do you have a health issue that has you worried and concerned? Do you have children or grandchildren that have you anxious and troubled? Is your job dragging you down and causing you to fear the future? Whatever you are struggling with, turn those worries over to God and allow Him to transform your life.  God can lead you away from the dark and worrisome aspects of your life and lead you into the light of His healing power.

If you are feeling broken and defeated, I have good news for you! Fall to your knees and go to God in prayer right now, and ask for God to come near to you and give you what you need to cope with whatever your struggle in life may be. God wants us to depend upon Him and to seek Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. And when we do, our loving and merciful God will hear our cry and He will save us. Praise be unto God for His mercy and His lovingkindness to those of us who call upon Him and love Him!

 

Do Not Be Afraid Any Longer

“Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” (Based on Mark 5:21-43)

Mark 5:36 (NASB): But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.”

Jarius was a synagogue official who had heard about Jesus. It’s not surprising that he had heard about him because news about Jesus was spreading rapidly. Crowds were coming from Galilee, Jerusalem and Judea, just to get a glimpse of Jesus. People were coming in droves from beyond the Jordan and from regions that were a considerable distance away, hoping for a healing touch that would forever change their lives. Little did they know that Jesus could heal them in ways more than just a physical healing. To those who would only believe and accept Him as their Lord and Savior, Jesus offered the free gift of salvation and eternal life. Could the people even imagine the kind of life that Jesus could offer? A “new” life that would be free from the pain, suffering and fear that was present in their world.

Jarius had an overwhelming problem that propelled him straight to Jesus; his little twelve year old daughter was near the point of death. Jarius must have heard about the many miraculous healings that Jesus was performing and he knew that this encounter with Jesus represented his daughter’s only chance to live.

When Jarius came upon Jesus, there at Capernaum, he literally “fell at His feet” and he began to implore Jesus to come to his house and to “lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.” Just seeing Jesus and the hope that He represented drove this man to his knees!  Luke writes about this man’s encounter with Jesus, and neither he nor Mark comment on what Jesus initially thought about this man’s faith.  It appears that Jarius had some amount of faith, because both gospel writers tell us that Jesus was willing to follow Jarius to his house, where the man’s daughter lay dying.

Jesus is delayed for a while because of the crowds and the throngs of people so desperately desiring a healing. And before he can arrive at the man’s house, they came from the house of the synagogue official saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?” To the people bringing this sad news, and probably to Jarius, it seemed that all hope was lost. The little girl had died and nothing was going to bring her back. And then Jesus silences everyone by speaking these words: “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.”

And we know that Jesus brings this girl back to life, and Peter, James, John and the girl’s parents are witnesses to this amazing miracle.

What do you need to not be afraid of any longer?
• Fear of failure
• Lack of money
• Job frustrations
• Health issues
• Concern for children or grandchildren
• Violence in the world today
• Growing old
• Telling others about Christ

If there is something in your life that you fear, Jesus is saying to you today, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” Jesus is there for you and He is more than willing to help you conquer any and all of your fears. If you will only focus your heart and mind upon Jesus, you won’t have to spend your time worrying about things that Jesus can handle for you. Jesus has already overcome the sin of this world and the fear and sense of hopelessness that so many people feel in their lives today. Go to God in prayer right now, and ask in the name of Jesus, for Him to take away your fears and give you the strength and faith to not be afraid any longer. And all you have to do is believe!

 

Encouragement For Daily Life

Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 Is there a particular area of your life that you are struggling with? It could be that you are overwhelmed with work or school, and you are so completely stressed that you feel like you are sinking down in the depths of despair. Maybe you have made a bad decision lately, and you are at a crossroads, and you need to make a lifestyle change for the better. Do you have a child or loved one that is going through difficult times and you feel helpless and all alone? Whatever difficult situation in life you are faced with, remember that God is “with you wherever you go.” God will never leave your side; He is always there to carry your burdens and to lift you up from the depths of despair.  

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

So often we try to make plans and decisions without first consulting God. And when we go our own way, how well does that usually work out for us? If you’re like me, then the answer would be not too often or never. God wants us to seek His advice through prayer and through an ongoing dialogue with Him. When we lean on our very limited human understanding, we will usually fail. But when we turn to God, submit to Him and earnestly seek Him, He will make our paths straight.

John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Peace, true peace, is not found in this world that we live in. This world and our culture are all about self and the accumulation of material possessions. True peace can never be found in any of those things. Jesus promised His disciples, and He promises us, that true peace can only be found through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. In Christ, you will find a peace that surpasses any human understanding. The peace of Christ heals our hearts and enables us to face a dangerous and chaotic world without any fear.

 Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

 

 

A Christ Like Attitude

Philippians 2:1-5: Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.

I heard someone say this week that they don’t attend church because of their disdain of “organized religion” and the hypocrisy that is present in many churches. It really hurts to hear that because I know that a church family can be a vitally important place to grow in your faith and to raise a family. I cannot begin to count the many times that our church family came through for us when our family was faced with difficult or challenging times. For me, it was my faith in God that I knew would get us through whatever difficulties we faced. But I also am thankful that our church family was there alongside us, encouraging us and helping us, as we went through those tough times. 

The church can be a powerful witness to those who need to hear about and experience the love, mercy and compassion of Christ, but it can also fail to live up to its high calling when it fails to conduct itself in a “manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul is writing to the church at Philippi and he is encouraging the church to conduct itself in a “manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul writes that we can do this by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, being united in spirit, and being intent on one purpose. We are to put aside our selfish nature and we are to humble ourselves in our relationships and interactions with everyone. We must continue to strive to be Christ like as we develop a humble attitude towards everyone.  

When we operate from a mindset of humility, we begin to look at others in a different way. We move from acting selfish and we begin to regard the other person and their concerns or struggles as more important than our own. We then begin to think and care more about others than we do our own self. We are on the way to doing what the Apostle Paul says: “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” If we claim to believe in Christ and to serve Christ, we are to have this same humble attitude towards everyone.

We simply cannot be an effective witness for Christ unless we empty ourselves of our own pride and selfish ambition and open our hearts to look after and serve the needs of others.  We should not seek or desire to glorify our own self. Our one clear mission is to preach and teach the Good News of Christ crucified and risen. Christ and Christ alone is to be exalted. Our mission as disciples is to lead others to the saving knowledge of Christ and to live a life worthy of our faith and calling in Christ. Only then can the church carry out our mission to spread the gospel message to a lost and hurting world.

God Thinks About You!

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV): For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 

It becomes so easy to feel hopeless or helpless in times of difficulty. Many faithful and trusting Christians sometimes think God has forgotten about them, and they feel all alone. If we would only take the time to open up God’s Word, we could be reminded about how God is always there for us, in good times and in difficult times. Think about the times in your life when God has shown up at the last minute to make a way for you when all seemed impossible. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

Many believers today live under the false impression that the Christian life is one that will be easy and problem free. Jesus certainly didn’t promise His disciples a stress free life when He told them to pick up their cross every day and to follow Him. Luke 9:23: And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” We can be assured that when we take up our cross daily, God is watching, and He is working to strengthen us and lead us down the pathway of faith that leads to eternal life.  All He asks is that we trust Him and remain faithful to Him. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

Remember this: you are not alone in your struggles. Many other Christians around the world are undergoing the same struggles and trials that you are facing. As you face health problems, job insecurities, family issues, whatever you are facing, God is there to strengthen you. God is faithful to every believer in every part of the world. God promises to watch over you and to give you strength to face the challenges of each and every day. Ask God each day to strengthen you so that you will be able to stand firm in a world that is becoming increasingly opposed to God and His desire for everyone to lead holy lives. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 

Our hope is found, not in the things of this temporary world, but in the promise of eternal life with God, which all believers in Christ will inherit. In that day, God will wipe away all tears, suffering, and pain and we will live forever in the holy presence of our creator God. We will no longer remember the pain and suffering of this world. We will be at home with our Lord. Until then, remember and repeat this daily: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”