God’s Provision Ahead

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

—Matthew 2:9-11 (NKJV)

For Christmas, we have made it a family tradition like others to decorate a Christmas tree. In addition, we would always place the manger scene under the tree to keep us focused on the reason for our celebration. One morning while sitting in the family room, I looked across at that tree and my gaze fell upon figures of the wise men with the gifts. It was then I realized, “God provided for Jesus’ needs the very day He was born. He was the beneficiary of those gifts that were presented.” Then I thought, “God provided for me even before I was born.”

2 Peter 1:3 (AMP) clearly says, “For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).”

Often times we worry about our needs and wonder if we have enough for now and the future. But throughout Scripture, God has proven to us that He is not only our Creator but He is as a Father who protects, nurtures and sustains us by His power.

God feed us. In Genesis, God planted a garden for us. The earth is filled with food, water, shelter, gold and other precious metals for our use. He has filled our mouths with good things. He satisfies us daily.

God gives us wealth. He wants us to be financially empowered. God did not allow Israel to come out of slavery as an impoverished nation. But they came out with riches having more than enough to build a tabernacle unto the Lord. God delights in our prosperity.

God provides shelter. God makes land and houses for us. He provided a Promised Land with houses and vineyards that Israel did not build nor cultivate. He does the same for us. Many of us are blessed with beautiful houses to live in.

The story of Jesus birth shows God’s Fatherly love for His Son. God provided for Jesus through the wise men. God will also provide for you through similar means as you receive gifts this Christmas season. But beyond this giving and receiving season, God daily provided what you need in many ways. He is constantly bearing gifts on you because He wants the best for you. He is one special Father who knows what you need even before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8).

During Christmas 2012, honor Jesus for the gift He has given – eternal life. Also thank God the Father for daily providing for you. And appreciate the Holy Spirit who has come to guide you and comfort you when you need help.

I thank God for providing in advance for all my needs. Do you recognize how God provides for you even before you ask?

Staying Power: A Key to Success

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

Lately I have been time and energy challenged with three major projects pending completion within the same time frame. Each of them spans across different areas – my job, church and book publishing. During my lunch time, I am either making phone calls or responding to personal emails to keep up with the pace. By the time I reach home, I am taking care of my family and trying to set aside time for writing, marketing, promotion, learning and improving. At times, I feel a bit stretched but when I go to bed, I am satisfied that I’ve done my best for the day.

I realize that day by day, step by step I am making progress on my goals. Recently I asked the Lord how is it that I can keep moving forward although the responsibilities are great, the goals are high and at times tired. The word of received from the Lord is that He gives staying power.

Hum! What’s that?

I thought to myself that I have tried and failed miserably at other goals before but still I am ‘riding the tide’ (so to speak). Even amidst those foul ups, bleeps, blunders, outright failures; I have not given up (though I have thought of it in the tough moments). Today I am still moving forward and stepping out to try new things too. Staying power reminds me of the Apostle Paul who said he was pressing towards the goal for the prize of his calling in Christ (Philippians 3:14). This is what staying power is.

But what does staying power involve?

Anointing of God

For any Christian I would say the greatest means to having staying power is to have the anointing of God on your life. We are often quick to give up especially when life is tough. We need to keep asking God to anoint us to do His will. We need God’s presence for service not only in church but at home, at work, at school, or in whatever way we serve.

Enjoy Your Work

I know that I can be paid for what I am doing. Yet though there is not immediate recompense to me, I am not discouraged. Money is not my driving force but rather sharing and encouraging others to be living successes in Christ.

Discipline

Success in anything is gained with the ability to lead yourself. Instead of sleeping in, you rise early. Rather than watch television, you cut the hours you spend in front the tube to work on your goals. If you’re keep tabs on your weight, you exercise and eat healthier foods. Discipline is giving up the immediate pleasures to gain the precious prizes at the end.

Determination

Considering all Paul experienced (beatings, persecutions, imprisonment, ship wrecks) in his service to God, we can tell that he was strong-minded man (1 Corinthians 11:24-28). Joseph when betrayed by his brothers, then accused and imprisoned did not lose sight but keep holding to his dreams. Make up you mind to keep going forward.

Diligence

A diligent person is one who sticks to the task. You don’t stop midway but you work to complete what you started. Determination is a mind-set that acted out by being diligent. They go hand in hand and are part of having staying power. Be diligent because the reward will be sweet for you (Proverbs 13:4).

Love God & His people

You can love God but it really shows when you love His people. It is very hard to love without giving. When I put my time and effort into this work of writing I am by extension showing the love of Christ to others and honouring God.

Passion

When you are passionate about something, you have an unrelenting drive for what you are doing. You deeply care about what you are doing. You think about it all time and your family and friends probably think you are overly enthusiastic about it.

Prayer

Our physical as well as spiritual stamina lies in having a constant connection to our heavenly Father. Some mornings after a long night I would prefer to stay in bed but I can’t. I know that I need my Father God – to guide, to comfort, to direct, to strengthen and to provide. He is the Source of everything good. I am always renewed and receive new strength when I spend time in God’s presence.

Today, ask the Lord for give you staying power. Ask God to help you press forward like Paul in whatever way He has asked you to serve. Fix your eyes on the goal and move forward.

Share an experience when you thought you could do no more and you received staying power from the Lord to continue?

10 Essentials of Effective Prayer

And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly].Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

Mark 11: 21-24 (AMP)

Prayer is simple. It’s a conversation between us and our heavenly Father. Although prayer takes discipline, God wants us to enjoy the moments we spend with Him and to receive His blessings.

 

Sometimes when we pray and we don’t receive God’s response we often get frustrated and give up. However if we want to see success in our spiritual walk and receive answers to our long-desired requests we need to keep some basics in mind.

Praise God          Matthew 6:9

I once heard someone said that when you don’t know where to start, begin by praising God. Attributing praise to God draws us closer to Him and He comes near to us because of our worship. Acknowledge Him as your God and your Father who is the most High God – great, mighty, gracious, loving and a lot more wonderful.

Ask the Father in Jesus’ Name   John 16:23-24

Direct you prayer to the Father through the Son. Jesus said that the Father will do whatever we ask in His name. It’s so simple, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Be Persistent     Luke 18:1-8

Keep asking until you receive an answer from God concerning your matter. I understand, I’ve experienced for myself, some requests seem to take long but at the right time the answer comes. Please, don’t give up. Keep praying and don’t let go until God blesses you.

Don’t be Selfish               James 4:3

This may sound strange but check the motive behind your asking. Yes, you have needs and desires but is your asking only beneficial to you all the time? Do you consider others when you are praying? Sometimes our prayers can be selfish, “Lord I want this and that and that.” We look out our own and not for others. Jesus expects us to pray for others too. Consider the needs of others.

Have a Pure Heart           Mark 11:25-26

Hidden sin such as unforgiveness, bitterness, unresolved conflicts, hate, hurt, etc. can keep us from receiving answers to our prayers. As Psalm 66:18 says, the Lord will not hear us. If the Lord does not respond to our prayers then no blessing will come. Jesus said if we have issues with someone, while we are praying forgive them. Forgiving others benefits us because we receive forgiveness from God. Therefore, set your heart to forgive and receive God’s best.

Don’t Worry       Phil. 4:6-7

This scripture deeply resonate in me. It is a constant reminder that nothing in my life should cause me to be anxious. True prayer brings inner peace. It does not mean that we see immediate results but we have God’s peace protecting our thoughts and our hearts from constant worry. When we pray the effect on us should be an inner confidence in God’s ability to help us.

Don’t Doubt God             James 1:6-8

Doubt – regular instances of negative thinking – contradicts your prayer. Doubt will result in unanswered prayer. If you are uncertain about what you want God to do, how can you expect a definitive response to your prayers? Like the father who had some doubts that Jesus could heal his child, ask God to remove any doubt from your heart.

Have Faith in God           Mark 11: 21-24

Believe you have what you asked for. Believe that God exist and that He is willing to bless you (Heb. 11:6). As Almighty as God is, God will only do through us and for us what we believe. The success of our prayers is dependent on what we believe God can do. Faith in God leads to salvation, victory, success, provision, healing, and so much more.

Think & Ask the Same Things     Ephesians 3:20

This may seem like a repetition of the above but we need to align our thoughts with our prayers. If there is any contradiction between the two then we are hindering the answers we need. What we think works with what we say. Therefore we must be careful about what we say not only in prayer but in our day-to-day conversation. We must also what keep renewing our minds in Christ so what we are thinking is brought in line with His will.

Seek God First  Matt. 6:33

The best solution to answered prayer is to seek after God first. Make Jesus, His kingdom and His will your priority. It’s not like God doesn’t know what His children need or want. He certainly does but He desires a relationship with you too. Let your first priority of prayer be fellowship with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.

I hope that as you reflect on these points, you will ask your Father God to help you draw closer to Him. Prayer is not only about asking for what you need or want but it’s about building a relationship with your Creator, the Most High God. What a blessing we have to be able to connect to this great and awesome God!

What do you do to help you prayer more effectively?

The Father’s Love

As Father’s Day approaches you may be excitedly looking forward to honoring your father and celebrating with him while others may not. You may have a great relationship with you dad and enjoy being with him. Yet there are some who may not have that kind of relationship or even know their dad. Or you may know what it is like to have your father’s love while others long for it.The Father's Love

For some Father’s Day can prove to be a not so great day. However, regardless of our relationship with our earthly father, as Christians we can celebrate our heavenly Father. You have a Heavenly Father who:

Loves You BIG

The fact that God loved you even before you loved Him is enough to be thankful for (John 3:16). He showed His love by sacrificing Christ, His Son to suffer and die in our place. Therefore, appreciate God’s unconditional love. Receive His forgiveness and His love and love Him back. Your Heavenly Father loves you BIG.

Blesses You

God your Father is willing to give you whatever you need or desire. Since He willingly gave Jesus for you, what is there that He won’t do for you (Rom. 8:32)? He provides for all our needs and He has a good future planned for you.

Always Listens to You

Your Father God has time for you. You have 24/7 access to talk with your Big Dad God and to pour your heart out to Him. He does not only listen but He is able to give you sound advice and direction for your life. You can always rely on Him for guidance.

Protects You

Your heavenly Father is strong and absolutely mighty. He can protect you from any harm (seen or unseen). He has angels assigned to you not only to protect you from the enemy but from you hurting yourself (Psalm 91:11-12). You can always look up to Big Dad God and He will pick you up and hold you close.

Our Heavenly Father is the greatest dad ever. Although He expects us to honor and celebrate Him, He also wants us to do the same for our fathers. We glorify God when we:

Honor our fathers. God promises that when we honour them, He will ensure that we are successful and have long life (Eph. 6:1-3).

Pray for our fathers. There isn’t anyone who does not need prayer. No dad is perfect. Our prayers can go a long way in helping him to become the man God wants him to be.

Give thanks for our fathers. Yes, give thanks for him. After all, we are their seed.

Bless our fathers. Fathers’ Day gives you the opportunity to do something special for our dads and to say, “I love you.” Whatever little we do will be appreciated.

What special things are you doing to honor your dad?