I’ll never forget when I went down to south Florida in 1981 to be the pastor of First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach. I was warned by a number of people that it was a terrible career move. “You can’t build a church in South Florida. Nobody goes to church there!”
They were partly right. There were 850,000 people in Palm Beach County and fewer than 50,000 of them attended church on Sunday. It definitely wasn’t the Bible belt. But our team at the church believed God was going to do something great. And we saw God reach nearly 1,000 people with the Gospel every year!
Often in life, God is going to call you to do things that don’t make sense when viewed through the world’s lenses. But it’s in those times that you’re being tested to see if you really trust God, or are just leaning on your own understanding.
Don’t let the fear of worldly failure keep you from stepping out and doing big things for God. Trust in His leading and remember He’ll work everything out according to His purpose. When you have that kind of faith, there’s no limit to how God can use you to shake the world for Jesus Christ!
TRUST IN GOD’S LEADING, NOT YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING, AND HE’LL USE YOU TO SHAKE THE WORLD FOR CHRIST!
“Now the Lord had said to Ahijah, ‘Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. You shall say thus and thus to her, for it will be when she arrives that she will pretend to be another woman.’” (1 Kings 14:5)
King Jeroboam of Israel had a sick son and desperately wanted a positive word from the Prophet of the Lord, Ahijah. Knowing that Ahijah was not likely to pronounce something good on Jeroboam’s family because of the extreme wickedness Jeroboam had brought to Israel, the King suggested that his wife disguise herself. Because Ahijah was old and nearly blind, surely he would not notice.
However, God isn’t old and blind!
The Lord revealed to Ahijah the whole scheme, and the first words of Ahijah to the disguised woman were “Welcome, Mrs. Jeroboam. Why are you disguised?”
How many times do we disguise ourselves, thinking no one will notice? We do not normally use clothing, make-up, and hair styles as the disguise, but we disguise our attitudes and actions to cover-up the real motives. The Scripture says “do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” We may fool others, but we have not fooled God. And, at the end of the day, we may have a hard time living with ourselves.
As one poet said:
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years And get pats on the back as you pass But your final reward will be heartache and tears If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White
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MondayBlessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11-12New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… For most who can read this Internet message, the sentiments of this verse seem foreign. But among those who closely study persecution, believers in Christ are enduring perhaps the greatest amount of persecution in the history of Christianity. For those of us who live in cozy places where belief is tolerated and Christians are just considered “unhip” or a bit out of touch, we need to be thankful that our lives make enough of a distinction from our culture to be noticed, even if it’s a bit unfavorably. But at the same time, we need to pray for other believers throughout the world who are undergoing the wrath of hell for the faith. MY PRAYER… Great Deliverer, we have many who call on your name with faith in Jesus who face persecution and hardship every day. I pray that they will not lose heart and give up their confidence. I pray that you will bring deliverance from this time of persecution. I pray that their sufferings will be the source of powerful witness so others will come to see the great value of Jesus and our allegiance to him. This I pray in his precious and holy name. Amen. TuesdayFear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.Proverbs 29:25New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… Fear is such a paralyzing emotion. It robs us vitality, decision-making ability, and strength. Courage helps us step out of fear’s paralysis and turn its nervous edge into power. But this kind of courage comes to us fully only when we know that all that Satan and his allies can really have of us is our bodies. He cannot take our mind, our attitude, our faith, and most of all, he cannot take our relationship with God, given to us through Jesus. MY PRAYER… O Savior, my Great Redeemer, thank you for triumphing over all that I fear through Jesus. You have not only given me a hero I trust, but a hope by which I can live victoriously. Through my Conquering King I thank you. Amen. WednesdayPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.1 Peter 1:3New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… The great truth about Jesus’ empty tomb is not that he is risen, but that he is living! His victory over death wasn’t short-lived, it was ultimate. He now lives to make intercession for us until he can return and bring us to his home. Our life is hidden with him so that no one and nothing can take it from us. When he appears, we will get to share in his never-ending glory. How can we not praise God for such grace? MY PRAYER… Almighty God, I praise you from the bottom of my heart for your incredible and glorious grace that has brought eternal victory out of mortal anguish. Thank you for paying the price to make it so. You are marvelous beyond my words and worthy of more praise than all your children’s voices together can tell. My Hope will live forever because he is risen and reigning as Lord. To you be all honor, glory, and majesty forever, and ever, Amen! ThursdayDo not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.Proverbs 27:1New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… Don’t you have your hands full with today? Don’t you find yourself distracted from the urgent and important things of today by worrying about the problems of tomorrow and fantasizing about all the possibilities down the road? Isn’t it a waste of time to be anxious about those things you have no influence over? So why…? MY PRAYER… God, give me the strength to seize the moment and live the life today that will please you and bless others. Help my heart feel the urgency of today and act with boldness, kindness, and salvation instead of worrying so much about what may happen. Give me the immediacy of the moment I see in your son’s ministry. Through whom I pray. Amen. FridaySeek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.Isaiah 55:6New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… In truth, God is always close to those who genuinely seek after him. The real problem is that we drift away from him, lose interest, and leave his presence. So let’s seek him and receive his grace and his help while we recognize that he alone is the one who truly saves. MY PRAYER… Father, I seek you with all my heart. While I seek to know about you through your Word, I long to know you and be known by you as a tender father knows his child and as a child feels complete trust toward his tender father. Be not only my God, but be real to me in ways that transcend explanation. Help me sense your nearness and to know your presence. Through Jesus I pray. Amen. SaturdayTrust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the Rock Eternal.Isaiah 26:4New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… When we see mountains we feel small, knowing not only how much larger they are than we are, but also how much longer they have been here than we have been. But the Lord existed long before any mountain and will exist long after it has melted into nothing. The only rock of security, and all the forevers we have, are found in him. MY PRAYER… Eternal I Am, who is and was and will be forever, I trust that you are and will always be my God, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Shepherd, and my Father. I commit all my tomorrows to you. Through Jesus my Lord. Amen. SundayO God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.Psalms 63:1New International Version THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE… Addiction has been defined as “God-hunger directed to the wrong source of soul satisfaction.” Psalm 63 reminds us this is true. Deep in us is a desire to seek after God because he is not far from us and longs to be known by us (see Acts 17). But often when our soul-craving need for God is greatest, he is the last place we turn for satisfaction. MY PRAYER… Holy Father, fill my heart with longing for you and my head with understanding that it is your presence I crave. I confess that I have often sought relief for my hunger in things that do not satisfy. I pledge today to recognize all other sources of satisfaction to be temporary and false. I promise to pursue you and your will through your word and your Spirit until I rest in your presence and grace. In the power of Jesus my Lord, Amen.
Genesis 17: 8 “And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land in which you dwell, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting inheritance; and I will be their God.”
Social insects rarely, if ever, tolerate other species within their communities. Strangers are generally identified by their smell, rather than their appearance, since those insects that are not really blind have very poor vision. It is common for social insects to band together to destroy even a stranger invading their nest.
Like most social insects, termites do not tolerate strangers. However, the Trichopsenius frosti beetle likes to make its living inside the nest of a single species of termite. These termites produce a very specific blend of 21 compounds that blend into a unique fragrance by which they identify their nest mates. The single fragrance includes a compound that is one third of the total blend, while the other included compounds are less than one percent of the blend. As unlikely as it sounds, the Trichopsenius is capable of making the same mixture of compounds so perfectly that its presence in the termite nest is unquestionable.
Those who trust Christ for their salvation are strangers in this world. But unlike the Trichopsenio beetle, because we are foreigners here, we should not strive to be like those among whom we are foreigners. Like Abraham, those who trust Christ have received God’s promise that He will lead them through this desert to a new and perfect land that will last forever. Abraham could not guess how God would make his descendants a great nation and give them a beautiful land. Yet he trusted God’s promise, and we can too!
Prayer: Dear Lord, teach me to be like You and to live like Your child. Amen.