“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Here we see a contrast between pride and humility. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke these Words for an example for us to learn from. He promises that not only is there a punishment that comes from exalting ourselves, but there is also a reward for humbling ourselves. We find these principles and promises throughout Scripture.
The Punishment – Proverbs 16:5,18-19
“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished…Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
The Reward - I Peter 5:6
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
Our passage today also displays a unique Truth in relation to salvation. Those who come to God submitting the works that they have done in order to be worthy of Heaven are exalting themselves. When we rely on our works, we exalt ourselves because of our pride. God promises that there is a punishment…”For the wages of sin is death…”
God has already paid the price; He gives us the free gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In order to come to God and receive that Free Gift we must humble ourselves. When we come to God with a humble heart admitting ourselves as a sinner, placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, we are exalted to become the Sons of God.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
II Samuel 5-6 | I Corinthians 9 | Psalm 111
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
God wants us to focus our minds on heavenly eternal things instead of the temporal every day things. Take an account today of what has your focus.
Are you constantly looking at material things, maybe having a keeping up with the Joneses mentality? Are you career driven, wanting to climb the corporate ladder? There is nothing wrong with having nice things, or wanting to have a successful career. The trouble comes when your attention or motivation is consumed with the secular things.
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
To be carnally minded refers to pursuing fleshly things. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are all things that the Lord warns us about throughout Scripture. Are you pursuing fleshly things?
God desires for us to be spiritually minded. Are you focusing on eternity?
Paul contrasts the carnal mind with the spiritual mind. Note the disparity of death and life. Romans 8 is focused on spiritual life or death and the love of God that we cannot be separated from once we receive Him.
Being spiritually minded comes from having eternal life. Once we are in Christ, and we become new creatures, our desire should be to share with others what He has done for us. To keep the Gospel to ourselves is selfish. Share your faith with others. Allow God to change their life too.
If you have lost your focus on eternity, refocus today. Ask God to help you seek to invest in eternity by supporting and contributing to the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Those who invest in eternity with not be empty handed when they reach their heavenly home. Be spiritually minded today, and every day. “Set your affection on things above…”
II Samuel 3-4 | I Corinthians 8 | Psalm 110
II Corinthians 12:8-9
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Aren’t you glad that God’s grace is sufficient? Often this verse is interpreted that God’s grace is enough (and it is!), but more often than not the Scripture has hidden treasures that the Lord wants us to search to find.
R.A. Torrey mentions this truth in his book, “How To Study The Bible”:
“The Bible contains golden nuggets of Truth, and anyone willing to dig for that Truth is certain to find it.”
Paul had prayed three times asking God to remove his thorn in the flesh, yet God answered in a different way than Paul wanted or expected. His thorn was never removed. Instead, Jesus Christ told Paul that His grace was more than enough... The word sufficient here means to suffice, but it also means to be content, to be made strong, to be possessed of unfailing strength.
How can we be content?
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
How can we be made strong?
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
How can we possess unfailing strength?
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Although God chose not to remove the thorn, Paul decided to glory in his physical infirmity because it made him rely on Christ’s grace and strength. It was a daily battle for Paul to serve and minister to the people he was sent to.
The word glory here means to rejoice or find joy within. Paul did not focus on the negative aspects of his thorn and what it hindered or prevented him from accomplishing. Instead, he found joy in the fact that his thorn caused him to rely not on his own strength, but in Christ’s.
God may choose not to remove your thorn. But rest assured that if you choose to find a speck of joy, a reason to rejoice despite the struggle, despite the pain, God’s grace will give you an unfailing strength to endure. Allow His strength to make you strong today.
Your thorn may not be a physical ailment. His grace is sufficient for every trial, every storm, every difficulty, every circumstance, every problem. His grace is sufficient for every day. The good days, the bad days, the in-between days, the chaotic days, the uneventful days, the days when you face the unknown of the future… His grace is sufficient.
Notice what happens when we choose to rejoice in our circumstances… “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
God allows the thorns of our lives so that we may see our need for His strength. When we are weak in our own strength, God can use us. Relying on our own strength only impedes God working through us and in us by His power and for His glory.
Be content in His grace today. Be strong through His grace today. Rest in His unfailing strength, for His grace is sufficient!
II Samuel 1-2 | I Corinthians 7 | Psalm 109
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
God does not repent, or change His mind, in His gifts and calling. They are irrevocable. What He purposes, He accomplishes. What He promises, He delivers. When He enters into a covenant, He does not regret it.
Those who come to Him for salvation, He will not turn away. He is not willing that any should perish. His gifts of grace, of salvation, of adoption, of justification, of eternal life, etc. are forever.
We as followers of God should develop this attribute in our walk with Him. Once we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we begin our walk with and for God. Regardless of the persecution we face or the suffering we endure, we must press on in our work with Him.
“…to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard…”
Continue. Ground and settle yourself in your faith. Be unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Don’t turn around. Endeavor to daily die to yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
though none go with me, still I will follow;
though none go with me; still I will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
my cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
my cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before;
no turning back, no turning back.
I Samuel 30-31 | I Corinthians 6 | Psalm 108
I Corinthians 16:9
“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”
The Lord had opened a door for Paul, to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.
“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.”
Paul knew that there were many people who were against him preaching to the Gentiles.
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”
The Lord has also opened a door unto us. His last words before He ascended up into Heaven were the Great Commission.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
What are we doing with the door that has been opened unto us? Are we sitting back and letting others carry out the Great Commission? Christ did not exclude any of us from His command. He promises to equip us with the power to be witnesses of the Gospel.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Start in your Jerusalem, wherever that may be.
There will be persecution. The adversaries will come, some even camouflaged as Christians. Our enemy walketh about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, and he will flee. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Stand today with the whole armour of God so that you, like Paul, can say…
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
We have an open door. Be bold, and use your time wisely.
I Samuel 28-29 | I Corinthians 5 | Psalm 107
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”
How are you communicating your faith?
Is the communication of your faith effectual?
Are you seeing fruit?
When we ask ourselves these questions we begin to take a look at our effectiveness as disciples for Christ.
How can we make our communication of our faith effective?
We must acknowledge that every good thing we have, every good thing that is in us, is all because of Jesus Christ.
It is Him Who works in us for His good pleasure.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure.”
It is Him Who works through us.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
It is Him Who gives the increase of the fruit we that we bare.
I Corinthians 3:6
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
Communicate your faith today.
Acknowledge that everything is because of Him.
I Samuel 26-27 | I Corinthians 4 | Psalm 106
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
25 words. So much Truth.
The reason we can come to God in prayer is because we have access through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We have access through Him because of what He did for us on Calvary.
God in His foreknowledge knew the moment He breathed life into Adam that one day He would give His Son in order to have a relationship with him. He knew that because of one man’s sin, One Man would have to die to save the entire world.
Within the 25 words of the most well known verse of the Bible lies the Truth of God’s eternal plan of salvation.
“For God so loved…”
God loved the human beings He created so much that He gave us Himself wrapped up on human flesh. The Word dwelt among us so that we could dwell with Him.
God did not and does not select a few or some to be His elect. Today’s version of Calvinism wants us to believe that He loves all of us, but He only died for those He chose to be with Him. John 3:16 tells us the Truth. God so loved the world. The entire world is why God sent Jesus as the Sacrificial Payment for our sin. He died for every single person that has ever been and will ever be born… because He loves us.
“…that he gave his only begotten Son,…”
God gave us everything in His Son. Jesus Christ willingly left His throne in Heaven to be made flesh and dwell among His creation. Those on earth at the time beheld His glory as He walked among them, full of grace and truth. God in the flesh lived a sinless life, and walked willingly to Calvary to be crucified. God gave His Son. Jesus gave His life.
“…that whosoever believeth in him…”
God reiterates that He so loved the world that whosoever believeth in His only begotten Son could be saved. Whosoever. Anyone, no matter who, if they believe in Jesus Christ as their only means of salvation can be saved. In these 25 words of Truth God tells us twice that Jesus died for all of humanity. All we have to do is believe in the Truth of the Gospel.
“…should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God made a way for us to be with Him. Despite the sin that we inherited through Adam, God provided Himself a Lamb to be sacrificed so that we could dwell with Him. Our sin separates us from God, but the moment we believe in Jesus Christ and place our faith in Him alone to save us, we obtain everlasting life. This removes the penalty of perishing, and provides the Way for us to spend eternity in the presence of our Creator, our Saviour, our Lord, our God. Everlasting life is made possible through Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.
Share the Truth of these 25 words with someone today.
I Samuel 24-25 | I Corinthians 3 | Psalm 105
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, yet shall receive.”
Why must we believe when we pray? Because believing takes the emphasis off of ourselves and off of the prayer we offer, and places the focus on the One Who is Able to answer. We must believe in Him, and then believe that He is Able to provide whatever the need. That belief must first be expressed in faith within our heart, and then expressed within the prayer we pray to our Heavenly Father.
We see this Truth described in Romans in reference to salvation:
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
In salvation it is not the prayer that saves you, but the belief (faith) that Who you are asking is able to accomplish the request. If someone asks the Lord to save them from their sins without believing that He alone can save them, the prayer is in vain.
The same Truth applies to every prayer we pray. If we do not pray believing that God can and will deliver our plea if it is His Will to do so, we pray in vain. The words are just words, but when those same words are combined with faith that God is Able anything is possible!
“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
Pray believing. Pray expecting. God will meet you at your expectation!
I Samuel 22-23 | I Corinthians 2 | Psalm 104
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that he may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
The words “effectual fervent” are translated from the Greek word, energeō, which means to be at work, to put forth power, or to display one’s activity. The word itself sounds like energy, doesn't it? God wants us to put energy into our prayers! He wants us to pray with power without wavering in our belief that our God can supply whatever the need!
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
When the righteous actively pray, God promises that much can happen. We just need to believe that He will accomplish that which He pleases.
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
In order to pray effectually and fervently, we must first believe that God is Able. He is Able to heal the sick. He is Able to supply the need. He is Able to direct our paths. He is Able to save that soul. He is Able!
Before we even bow our head, or utter the first word of our prayer, we must believe in the God Who answers prayer, and His ability to provide for us. His ears are open to our cry. He knows our need before we even ask. Believe in His provision. Believe in His unfailing ability to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
Endeavor today to pray effectually and fervently. Put energy behind your prayers, and patiently wait for God to move in your situation!
I Samuel 20-21 | I Corinthians 1 | Psalm 103
“...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
What a privilege it is that the God of the universe wants us to pray to Him. He desires to hear from us. How amazing is that?
Jesus tells us that if we will simply pray in His Name, according to the Father’s will, we will receive.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
We are not told to pray in the Name of the Father or in the Name of the Holy Ghost, but in the Name of Jesus, God’s Son. Why is that? Because His Name is above all names! There is just something about the Name of Jesus!
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
He chose us, and He chooses to have us ask Him for what we need. He knows what we need before we even ask, yet in His love He desires to hear from us. His ears are always open to our cry, our pleading, our asking, our seeking, our knocking, our supplications. He is always there. Whatever your need, call on Him today.
He’s as close as the mention of His Name!
I Samuel 18-19 | Romans 16 | Psalm 102
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