Christ is how all things happen!

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.  Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;  for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.  Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.

 

Philippians 4:12-17New International Version (NIV)

Strength

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 New International Version (NIV)

Why does it seem that Muslims are upset at the World!

In order to understand why muslims  are at war with the rest of the world, you will have to know your bible and how Islam came about.

Origin of Islam: According to Secular History
The origin of Islam can be traced back to 7th century Saudi Arabia. Islam is thus the youngest of the great world religions. The prophet Muhammad (circa 570-632 A.D.) introduced Islam in 610 A.D. after experiencing what he claimed to be an angelic visitation. Muhammad dictated the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the preexistent, perfect words of Allah.

Origin of Islam: According to Islam
The origin of Islam is generally accredited to the prophet Muhammad but to the devout Muslim, Islam began long before Muhammad ever walked the earth. The Qur’an was dictated by Muhammad but, according to the Qur’an, it did not originate with Muhammad. The Qur’an testifies of itself that it was given by God through the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad. “This is a revelation from the Lord of the universe. The Honest Spirit (Gabriel) came down with it, to reveal it into your heart that you may be one of the warners, in a perfect Arabic tongue” (Sura 26:192-195). “Say, ‘Anyone who opposes Gabriel should know that he has brought down this (the Qur’an) into your heart, in accordance with God’s will, confirming previous scriptures, and providing guidance and good news for the believers'” (Sura 2:97).

The Origin of Islam: The “Previous Scriptures”
The origin of Islam is controversial. The “previous scriptures” mentioned above are the Hebrew Torah, the Psalms of David, and the Gospels of Jesus Christ (Sura 4:163; 5:44-48). The Qur’an accepts these books as divinely inspired and even encourages us to test its claims by these “previous scriptures.” “If you have any doubt regarding what is revealed to you from your Lord, then ask those who read the previous scripture” (Sura 10:94). But this is where we run into a problem. The problem is that the Qur’an thoroughly contradicts the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospels. For example, the Qur’an explicitly denies Jesus Christ’s crucifixion (Sura 4:157-158) while all four Gospel accounts clearly portray Jesus Christ as crucified and resurrected.

One contradiction in particular has caused a great deal of conflict between Muslims and ethnic Jews and is thought to have been and continues to be the cause of much bloodshed in the Middle East. According to the Hebrew Torah, God made a covenant with a man named Abraham. God promised Abraham a child through whom He would fulfill this covenant (“the child of promise,” Genesis 15). Abraham was at that time childless. His wife, Sarah, was barren. This of course made the promise very special to Abraham. But it would require nothing less than a miracle. Sarah, conscious of her condition, decided to help God out. She offered her maidservant Hagar to Abraham with the hope that Hagar might conceive and bear the child of promise. Abraham agreed to take Hagar as his concubine. She conceived and bore Ishmael (Genesis 16). God allowed Ishmael to be born but Ishmael was not the child of promise God had in mind (Genesis 17). God promised a child through Sarah, not Hagar (Genesis 17-18), and in due time God fulfilled His promise. “And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him-whom Sarah bore to him-isaac.” (Genesis 21:1-3) Isaac was the child of promise. Isaac later begot Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the Messiah, Jesus Christ, eventually came into the world through the nation of Israel, fulfilling the covenant which God had made with Abraham. God also promised to give the land of Canaan (Palestine) to Isaac’s descendants, the land which Israel possesses today (Genesis 12:4-7; 13:12-18; 15:1-21; 17:1-22; 21:1-14; 25:19-26; 26:1-6; 35:9-12).

The problem is that the Qur’an teaches that Ishmael was the child of promise (Sura 19:54; compare Sura 37:83-109 with Genesis 22:1-19) and so Muslims believe that God’s covenant promises were meant for Ishmael’s descendants, not Isaac’s. Muhammad descended from Ishmael and so Muslims seek to lay claim to these covenant promises, namely the land of Palestine. Since Israel’s U.N.-sanctioned return to Palestine in 1948 there has been unceasing hostility between Israel and her Arab neighbors, with major armed conflicts in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973-74, and 1982. That Israel remains today is a miracle in-and-of itself.

What would it take for you to trust God’s promises more fully and thereby become a “mighty warrior in the Lord”?

The List of David’s mighty warriors in 1 Chronicles 11:22 introduces us to Benaiah, whose exploits included overcoming two of Moab’s best men. He also killed a lion in a snowy, slippery pit. Perhaps most amazingly, he took on an Egyptian tall enough to be a starting center for the Chicago Bulls. This seven-and-a-half-foot giant wielded a spear with a shaft as sturdy as a lead pipe while Benaiah had only a wooden club.

Even so … Benaiah “snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada … He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty” (1 Chronicles 11:23–25).

It was not a Ph.D. degree that brought honor to a person in those days. Honor did not necessarily flow to the person with money or leverage or media access. Honor came as a result of doing exploits for the king.

Who is doing exploits for God today? Where is the enemy being driven back? That is the great yearning of all spiritually minded people. They are not enchanted with polished sermons and slick organizational technique. Where are the mighty men and women anointed by God to truly make a difference?

What is it really that stops us from becoming mighty warriors in the Lord? God has not changed. He is still superior to anything the enemy can throw against us.

No personal or church situation is too hopeless for the all-sufficient power of the Holy Spirit. God will be no more eager to act tomorrow than he is right now. He is waiting for us to take his promises seriously and go boldly to the throne of grace. He wants us to meet the enemy at the very point of attack, standing against him in the name of Christ. When we do so, God will back us up with all the resources of heaven.

—Jim Cymbala

 

Recommended Reading: Judges 3:7–31; Philippians 4:13; Colossians 3:23–25

 

The “what if ?” game.

Maybe you wonder if your life counts for something beyond your responsibilities and obligations, or if you were just meant to march through your daily routines with no real purpose or direction. Maybe you wonder if the lies you hear in your head are true: that not only does your life not matter to God, but that you probably don’t matter either.
Wondering who you really were. Wondering if you were forgivable. Wondering if you were worthy. Wondering if you were loved by God and others. Wondering if you were lovable. Wondering if you were beyond repair. Wondering if what someone did to hurt you stole your value. Wondering if you were a good enough person, husband, wife, brother, or daughter. Wondering if you measured up in any area of life.
Whether we are the sinner or the victim of a sinner, shame can slither in and shape the way we see ourselves. Then it becomes easy for the enemy’s deceptive and damaging schemes to weave a web of lies deep into our hearts and minds. Gradually, we lose sight of who we are in Christ, which is exactly what the devil wants us to do.
Satan’s ultimate goal is to get us to believe the lies, and live them out in our everyday lives, apart from God. But it is up to us whether he reaches that goal or not. We can thwart his plans by claiming God’s sovereignty over our hearts once and for all.
It’s possible you have been living in the shadow of the enemy’s lies, either because of your own mistakes or because of someone else’s choices to sin against you. I wasted many years believing the enemy’s lies were absolute truths. When I finally began to believe I did matter to God, I thwarted the enemy’s plans and began to follow God’s instead.
If you have been living the lie, too discouraged to allow yourself to believe how much God loves you, or too ashamed of your past to accept God’s gift of grace and mercy, let today become the day you begin seeing yourself in a new light with a new reflection looking back at you. Be proud of who you see in the mirror, not because of who you are, but because of Whose you are.

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

Psalm 139:14, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.”

Matthew 10:31, “So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

Faith and Endurance

I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ

Greetings! Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Ten Commandments

So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.” Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same. “Do not make any idols. “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt. “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.“No one is to appear before me empty-handed. “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest. “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God. “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning. “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

The Lord saw favor in Joseph

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Because Joseph was a man of God, he was given success in everything he did. Even his master was blessed for he knew the Lord favored him. Who would know that one person’s faith would bless a household? How is your home? If you had to take more than 30 sec to think about that question, maybe its time to talk to God.

VERSES FOR TODAY:

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

Psalm 16:8, “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV)

Psalm 116:2, “Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” (NIV)

Crippled by society’s definition of Beautiful

Acts 3:1-10 tells the story of a man crippled since birth who was carried to the temple gate called Beautiful every day. There he would sit and beg from those going into the temple courts. One day, he saw Peter and John, disciples of Jesus, about to enter and asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him and said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6b). Peter then took him by the hand to help him up. The man jumped to his feet and began to walk. He followed them into the temple jumping and praising God.

Peter and John didn’t give the crippled man what he thought he needed. They gave him what he truly needed — to be made whole.

We too have places in us that need healing. Society has forced its standard of beauty, telling us we must look this way, weigh this much and measure this size. But just like the crippled man in Acts 3, we can be made whole. In the name of Jesus, we can redefine beautiful by His standard and receive the acceptance, approval and affirmation we need.

Father, I have been crippled by society’s definition of beautiful. I desire to be made whole. Heal my crippled spirit. Restore my broken heart. Make straight in my life where my vision of myself is crooked. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.