[ecko_quote source="Matthew 5:24"] Leave your gift there in front of the altar, first go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift [/ecko_quote]
It is useless to give offerings to God even in the form of singing, praising & worshiping if you are still at enmity with your brother/sister. Jesus said that His followers should be reconciled with anyone who is against them. The world seeks reconciliation on limited terms. Christians are to be reconciled, whatever it takes.
You might say, “But you don’t know how deeply he/she hurt me! It is unreasonable to ask me to restore our relationship.” Or, “I tried, but they do not seem to be pacified” Jesus did not include any exception as a clause for our reconciliation. If the person is an enemy, Jesus asked us to love him, if he persecutes you, you are to pray for him. If he/she publicly humiliates you, you are not to retaliate (Matt 5:39), if someone takes advantage of you, you are to give even more than he asks (Matt 5:41-44)
The world preaches us to “proclaim yourself” but Jesus taught us to, “Deny yourself”. The world warns that you will constantly be exploited. Jesus’ concern for His disciples was not that they should be treated fairly but was that they show unconditional love to others regardless of how they would be treated. Men spat on Jesus and nailed Him to a cross. His response was our model: “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34).
If there is ever a command that is constantly disobeyed, it is this mandate to be reconciled. We comfort ourselves with the thought, “God knows that I tried to make things right, but my enemy refused.” God’s word does not say “try to be reconciled” but “Be reconciled.”
Sin breaks our relationship with God; it also severs our relationships with others. Broken relationships are the epidemic of our day. Sin alienates family members, separates friends, divides churches, and destroy marriages. Sin creates mistrust, jealousy, hatred, and greed, all of which devastate relationships. Christ is the oOnly remedy for this disastrous effect of sin on human relationships. As Christ's ambassadors, we are to take the message of reconciliation. How tragic is it when God’s messengers of peace harbour enmity toward each other. It is a travesty to carry a message of love and yet be filled with hatred. If there is someone whom you refuse to forgive, your message of reconciliation is hypocrisy. The evidence that you are a disciple of Jesus is that you love your fellow Christian (John 13:35).
Often we are less patient with our fellow Christians than we are with nonbelievers. We expect more from Christians, and we feel betrayed when they fail us. When this happens, we need to look closely at the cross and remember the forgiveness we received there. We must set aside the self-centered nature that leads to impatience and criticism of others.
I am aware of how difficult it would be to put reconciliation into practice, but as a Christian, we don’t have any other way/option. Surely it would be good for our health and spiritual growth if we do so. The matter is up to us to follow the Word of God or deny it.
Is there someone with whom you need to make peace? Then do what God is asking you to do.
[ecko_quote source=" 1 Peter 5:7"] Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you [/ecko_quote]
One day after a service, a woman came up to me and said, "Brother, I want you to pray for me." I said, "What for?" She looked surprised and said, "Do I have to tell you?" I said, "Well, I can not pray unless you do because I would not know what we are praying about otherwise. I cannot believe for something I do not know about, and I cannot agree on something unless I know what I am agreeing on. What is your request?" She began to cry. She said, "Brother, the burdens of life—the cares, the worries of life—are just so heavy I cannot bear them. I wanted you to pray that the Lord would do one of two things: He'd either take about half of them away because I can carry half of them—I just can't carry all of them—or else He would give me the grace to carry them."
My heart went out for her. I did my best to help her. I said, "Sister, I cannot pray either way. That would be unscriptural. You see, the prayer of faith will not work in that case. In fact, there is only one kind of prayer that will work in this case: the prayer of commitment. Isn't it wonderful, Sister, that you and I already have the answer?" She looked startled. I said, "We already have information on the subject." (i.e. inside-the-Bible) I said, "You see, the Word of God tells us exactly what to do with our worries, our concerns, our anxieties." I quoted to her from the King James Version first. I said, “In First Peter 5:7, the Holy Spirit said through the Apostle Peter, 'Casting all your care upon him; for He cares for you.' And The Amplified Bible says, 'Casting the whole of your care—all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all— on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully.'” I told her, "You do not have to do it every day. You do it once and for all. From then on, you are free from all burdens."
She looked up at me and said, "You are hard-hearted. You are just hard-hearted!" I put all the kindness in my voice I could, and I said, "Dear Sister, I am not hard-hearted. I did not write the Bible! I was not the One who said that. That's God's Word, and God loves you." "Yeah," she replied, "but you do not know what I have got to worry about!" I said, "Dear Sister, I'm sure do not know what you are worrying about, but God knows—He knows everything—and it's God's Word that says, 'Cast the whole of your care—all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all— onto Him.'" She said, "I just can't do it." I said, "Yes you can. God is just and kind and good, and He did not ask you to do something you cannot do." It seemed to me that anybody would be glad to find that verse in the Bible and would be thrilled to act upon it. But she turned, walked away, and said, "I could not give up worrying.
When you turn it over to Him, you do not have it anymore. He is got it. Then you can say, "I am care-free," even when it is still there from the natural standpoint. Because you are not carrying that load; He is. We used to sing a song that went, "Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there." The trouble with most people is that they come to the altar, or wherever they pray, take their burdens to the Lord all right, tell Him about them—and then when they get up from that place of prayer; they pick their burdens up again! It helps to imagine your burdens as a 100-pound sack. People put it on their backs and carry it home with them from their place of prayer. No! Leave it there! Leave it there! "Casting the whole of your care ... ONCE AND FOR ALL on Him," that verse says. So I refuse to worry.
Sources: Pastor Jonah Ravinder -devotion- Stress Management; Pastor Kenneth Hagin
[ecko_quote source=" wheel chairsActs 3:6"] Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk[/ecko_quote]
This story was narrated by Pastor Kenneth E Hagin in his book titled “What Faith Is”. He said in this way; I remember a few years ago a friend of mine telling me of a lady evangelist (I think probably Kathryn Kuhlman) in the earlier days of Pentecost who was ministering to four people in wheelchairs. To all four she said in a very quiet tone “Arise and walk in Jesus name” And they all got up and walked except the fourth one. I can’t walk, the fourth one said. The others could not walk either, the evangelist said, but they did. To which the fourth one replied, I know they did, but I cannot walk. I have not walked in years; I cannot walk. And the evangelist had to walk away and leave the fourth one sitting there.
You see, when the first three began to ACT on what was spoken to them the results were forthcoming. When you ACT upon what God’s Word says, or ACT upon what the Holy Spirit may speak to your heart, then results are forthcoming. That is faith!
Further Pastor Hagin also shared the following incident on faith and about Acting upon the Word of God. A lady in one of the churches he pastored was in a wheelchair. She had arthritis. The doctor had told her some years before that her body would eventually become rigid, and that she would not be able to move, she would become confined to a wheelchair. Since then she was in that state. However, she and her husband never missed a service whether the services were on weekdays or weekends. Now he could pray for this woman, and she would receive instant healing for anything such as the flu, or a cold.
But it bothered Pastor Hagin she never once asked to be prayed to receive healing from arthritis although there were many others in the church who had been healed of very serious ailments. And he was bothered because he knew it was God’s will to heal her.
Some people would say, “well, it may not be God’s will” But I know it is God’s will to heal people! That does not mean that those Christians who do not get healed are not going to heaven. It just means they are robbed of a blessing while living on this earth.
To continue above story, one afternoon Pastor Hagin gathered a small group from the Church and went to this lady’s house to pray with her. And as they prayed, Pastor Hagin saw exactly what God would have him to do. He said, to everyone, “Get back away from her”. He got across the room from her, and since they were in a large room, he asked “everybody watch, but not touch her. Stay away from her, he said”. Then he pointed his finger at her and said, “now my sister, arise and walk in the name of Jesus Christ”.
He was a witness to the fact, the prayer group is a witness to the fact and his wife is a witness to the fact that an unseen power lifted her out of the chair. And she just sat up in mid-air away from the wheelchair! She could move her arms, and immediately she reached down for the wheelchair. The moment she did, she just fell back down into it. The instant she did that, he said, “Sister, you do not have a bit of faith, do you? You do not believe you’ll ever be healed of this arthritis, do you? Immediately she spoke out, “No”, Pastor Hagin, I do not. I will die and go to my grave with it”... And she did.
You cannot receive from God beyond actual faith. Do you know what would have happened if she had cooperated with God and with that power which was upon her? She would have begun to walk. She’d have been healed right then.
Too many people think that God’s power- healing power. Holy Spirit power- is just going to move in on them and make them do something whether they want to do it or not. No! Because then that would be the evil spirit, not the Holy Spirit. Evil spirits force, drive and make do. Holy Spirit urges, prompts, or gives a gentle push, and then it is up to us to respond. It is up to you to obey. Moreover, when an individual will act and cooperate with the Holy Spirit, in that very moment impossible will become possible.
[ecko_quote source="Jeremiah 17:7"]Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord [/ecko_quote]
The Bible is primarily not a book which can be explained; it is first and foremost a book which needs to be believed in and obeyed. Whether you understand it or not, God says it! You simply obey it. Just consider when taking a medicine or flying in an aircraft or driving a car, do we have to understand the entire technology and formulas before we use those services and products. Absolutely not! we take medicine as prescribed, board the plane and drive the car having full faith in those created matters. However, we often struggle to put our trust and believe in our Lord who created everything.
Moreover, don't substitute human reasoning for obedience. So many times we like to tell God how He ought to do things. I can imagine those early disciples when Saul was making havoc of the church and carrying Christians off to prison and death. I imagine there were many praying, “Oh, God, do something about Saul. Strike him dead.” However, God did not want to strike him dead. God struck him alive! And aren't you glad He did?
Obedience to God’s commands comes from within your heart. When you are begining to struggle in obeying God, that is clear indication that your heart has shifted away from Him. Some claim “I love God, but I am having difficulty obeying Him in certain areas of my life. That is a spiritual impossibility. For example, if you told your spouse that you loved her at certain times but that you struggled to love her other times, your relationship would be in jeopardy. Yet we assume that God is satisfied with occasional love or partial obedience. He is not. Obedience without love is legalism, and there are many pagan religions that fall into this category.
Our Lord never insists upon obedience because he gave free will to choose or not to choose. He tells us very emphatically, what we ought to do, but He never takes means to make us do it. We have to obey Him out of our discipleship. He prefaced it with an IF- we do not need to unless we want to. The Lord does not give me rules. He makes His standard very clear, if my relationship with Him is that of love, I will do what He says without any hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone else in the competition. Jesus Christ will not help me to obey Him; I must obey Him; and when I do obey Him, I fulfil my spiritual destiny.
As Christians, we can waste our lives standing on faith’s shoreline, never venturing beyond ankle-deep water. There we have little need for God; after all, we are safe on the beach, far from the danger of high waves and storms. However, believers who release themselves into deeper waters of obedience need the Lord desperately. The Christian life becomes exciting when we wade into the water so deep that our feet no longer touch the bottom. Then we must stand on God’s promises.
Isn't it strange how God works? You see, our ways and God's ways are very different. It is why we have to say, “I will trust You and obey. “Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus- But to trust and obey
[ecko_quote source="3 John verse 2"]“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers ” [/ecko_quote]
We have examined the man’s three-fold nature (spirit, soul and body) in our previous devotion series. Our spirit has been born again when we received Lord Jesus into our hearts. In relation to our soul, the Scripture states it must prosper and be renewed with the Word of God. Our soul has four faculties, mind, will, intellect and emotions. God’s desire is to prospers us in all of these parts. This would enable our soul to flourish so that we may have good health and prosperity in every area of our life. Soul prosperity is the greatest blessing on this side heaven. The health of the soul came first in the Apostle’s mind and when there is that; he can wish for bodily health to support it.
It is God’s will to prosper, and the prosperity does not mean money alone. But prosperity in the Christian lifestyle includes character, attitudes, personality and other physical and monetary areas. Prosperity without health is irrelevant. If you are terminally ill then what good does prosperity do to you? Further, what good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Matthew 16:26). Therefore, my dear one our soul must prosper in all faculties of a soul (mind, will, intellect and emotions). The Scriptures says in Proverbs 17:22” A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. There is a direct connection between our soul prosperity to our health and wellbeing. Let us examine each of the soul's faculties briefly and how they would contribute to the holistic prosperity of our soul.
Mind: Webster defines mind as "the intellectual or rational faculty in man, consciousness, intelligence, memory, soul." This is not exactly true. In the Greek language, for mind, we have the noun "dianoia" and the verb "dia-nooumai." Both are composite words from the preposition "dia," which means through, by way of, by means of, and "nous," which is the thinking agent, or that which thinks in man, the human soul. Therefore, "dianoia" for mind in the Greek language means the substance or the instrument through which the soul of man functions in thinking. Mind is a thinking agent and whatever it thinks it acts accordingly. The Scripture says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve; what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will (Roman 12:2). Therefore, we must renew our mind through the Word of God. Read the Word, meditate and apply, this will enable our soul to prosper.
Will: The Will, generally, is that faculty of the mind which selects, at the moment of decision, the strongest desire from among the various desires present. Will does not refer to any particular desire, but rather to the capacity to act decisively on one's desires. Our will must align with God’s will. Remember of our Lord’s agony in Garden of Gethsemane, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42). We must submit our will to God’s Will obediently. Further, we have to do it willingly and obediently as the Scripture says, God loves who are willing and obedient, and they will eat the good things of the land (Isaiah 1:19).
Intellect: Intellect is a term used in studies of the human mind, and refers to the ability of the mind to come to correct conclusions about what is true or real, and about how to solve problems. The Scriptures says “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children (Hosea 4:6). But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. We should not be ignorant but read the Word, understand it and apply to our lives. Ignorance is no excuse (Roman 1:18). God is not questioning your knowledge of the stock market, economy or engineering but about Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (proverb 1:7). Our intellect-faculty will prosper when we depend on God’s intellect that is the Word of God.
Emotions: Emotion, in everyday speech, is any relatively brief conscious experience characterised by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure. Jesus felt compassion; he was angry, indignant, and consumed with zeal; he was troubled, greatly distressed, very sorrowful, depressed, deeply moved, and grieved; he sighed; he wept and sobbed; he groaned; he was in agony; he was surprised and amazed; he rejoiced very greatly and was full of joy; he greatly desired, and he loved.
As Christians, our emotions should be balanced. We should not be carried away by our emotions but stand firm on the Word of God.
The Scriptures says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). There is a wedding and a funeral every day at the same time all over the world. And if you are in a large church, you will always know somebody weeping, and you will always know that there is also someone on tiptoe happiness, which means that 2 Corinthians 6:10 is true. We are “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”. The fruit of the Holy Spirit shows us to have self-control. Christians must be self-controlled, who has to control? We have to control our emotions. As our emotions prosper with the Word of God, our soul would also prosper accordingly.