The Importance of Faith

Acts 3:16 “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know:  yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

The blessings of trusting the Lord are more in number than can be counted.  Faith in the name of Christ has taken Peter to another level.  The same will happen for each of us.  Faith is the foundation of all of Christianity.  Without faith we cannot please the Lord.  The faith that worked such miracles through a man like Peter is the same faith that will work through us.

  • There has to be Saving Faith:  Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  The person of Jesus Christ is who we must trust.  We must place our trust in His name because it carries with it great value and great power.
  • There has to be Strengthening Faith:  This faith in the name of Christ made Peter strong.  A Christian that possesses great faith is definitely a Christian that possesses great strength.  We must be reminded of Psalm 121:2 “My help cometh from the Lord…”
  • There has to be Stabilizing Faith:  This faith Peter possessed produced perfect soundness.  Faith stabilizes each Christian.  Through faith in the Lord we find that we will not be swayed one way or the other.  The only swaying force in our lives is the faith we have in Christ.

Today’s Challenge:  Allow your faith in Christ to grow to the point where you can say “Christ saved me, strengthens me, and stabilizes me.”  Don’t put faith in things that cannot truly do these three things.

They Continued

Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.”

This verse teaches the key to the successful ministry.  There is a phrase “they continued” is very important to successful ministry.  To be a successful Christian we must decide to continue.  In other words, we must make a conscious decision to stay the course.  There are certain things that we must continue in order to see God bless our lives as well as our ministry.

  • We Must Continue in Doctrine:  If we move away from the Bible we are moving away from God.  Those that want the blessings of God will desire to align to the Bible rather than the philosophies of the world.
  • We Must Continue in Fellowship:  It is really important that we continue to build relationships with people.  The more our relationships with people grow the more continuity there will be among God’s People
  • We Must Continue in Breaking of Bread:  This is another level of relationships.  We are to another step further and establish friendships.  This takes fellowship to another level of intimacy.  We are to grow our relationships from becoming acquaintances to becoming a family.
  • We Must Continue in Prayer:  It is vital that we pray.  Continue to pray.  Pray opens heaven’s door and places us in fellowship with Christ.  Without fellowship with God we cannot have fellowship with man.  God help us to pray without ceasing!

Today’s Challenge:  Continue in these things.  Obedience is on us, but the outcome is up to God.

This Same Jesus

Acts 1:10-11 “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also, said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?   This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” 

The words “this same Jesus” seems to jump out and speak to the heart of the disciples.  The lessons in this statement can speak volumes to us as well.  I really believe these messengers from Heaven were telling the disciples to quit standing there looking and start working.  This should also remind us of our responsibility.  The statement “this same Jesus” does three things that help us in our work for the Lord.

  • It Encourages Us:  It give us encouragement that Jesus is coming back the same way He left.  It should encourage us that there is not a different Jesus coming, but the same Jesus that left those disciples that day will be coming back to take us home.
  • It Educates Us:  We are taught what to expect upon His return.  The same Jesus that left is the same Jesus that is returning.
  • It Excites Us:  It should thrill our souls that Jesus is coming back.  The King is coming, and He is coming to take His children home.

Today’s Challenge:  Remember that you can still look while your work.  Our work should be as though we are looking for the return this same Jesus.

The Napkin is Still Folded

John 20:7 “And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”

Many overlook the blessing of a folded napkin.  This folded napkin is significant for several reasons.  A folded napkin sends a message.  When a person is eating and they throw their napkin down on their plate it sends the message that they are done with their meal.  However; when a person folds their napkin and lays it aside it sends a message that they are not finished and that they will be back to finish the meal….(Well I just got real happy)!  Note that Jesus did not throw the napkin down but it was laid their folded.  Telling us that He is not finished and that He is coming back to finalize the work.  Praise the Lord the napkin is still folded.  This folded napkin teaches me several lessons:

  • It tells us that Jesus has Conquered Death:  If Jesus was still dead then the napkin would be around His face while His body was still in the grave.  However; He is alive and the napkin is still folded.
  • It tells us that Jesus can Comfort our Distress:  The folded napkin is a message that we serve a living Savior.  Anytime I get stressed or feel like I am losing, I can remember the folded napkin.  I find comfort in knowing that Jesus is returning.
  • It tells us that Jesus is Confronting the Doubters:  There are some out there that are skeptical as to the resurrection of Christ.  The folded napkin sends an assurance to our heart that Jesus has a promised return.  It is our evidence to a soon coming promise.  Jesus is coming back!!!

Today’s Challenge:  Be not dismayed…the napkin is still folded!

The True Meaning of Salvation

John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”

We are introduced to the meaning of “life eternal”.  Many people look over the true meaning of salvation.  Salvation is not just about going to Heaven or not having to go to Hell.  It is about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We often time use Heaven and Hell as a lure to lead a person to Christ.  The entire message of Salvation is about knowing and having a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus is so worthy of worship and adoration that we should accept Him regardless of what He does in return.  Many times we have the mentality of “Lord, I will get saved as long as I get to go to Heaven.”  Rather than approaching salvation on the grounds of saying “Lord, you are so wonderful and I am so wretched that I desire with all my heart a personal relationship with you.”  Salvation is more than just a destination, it is about a person.  That person is Jesus Christ.  It is personal!

Today’s Challenge:  Look beyond the destination after salvation, and look at the person of our salvation.  He is Worthy!

The Results Are Greater Than The Process

John 16:21 “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come:  but as soon as she is delievered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.”

The Lord gives an awesome illustration explaining the time we sorrow compared to our times of joy.  We learn through this text that sorrow and pain are just temporary experiences.  He compares our experience here on this earth to the birthing process of a child.  During the birthing process there is a tremendous amount of pain, and sorrow.  It is amazing that once the child is born the pain and sorrow was worth every moment.

  • We need to realize that the end result of our journey will be worth it.  There are a lot of things we face and experience on this earth that will bring us heart ache.  We are taught that once we get to the end of the journey we will realize that it will all be worth it.
  • We need to realize that the joy that comes at the end is more powerful than all the sorrow experienced up until the end.  The joy of finishing is greater than all the sorrowful experiences combined.  Just like that child being born.  The end result brings more joy that pain of the process.
  • We need to realize that hope is our greatest avenue to joy.  We can lose a lot of things, but joy is something that cannot be stolen.  We can freely give it, but it cannot be taken from us.  The hope we have in Heaven gives us great joy.  It is a joy that makes ever other experience on this earth worth it.

Today’s Challenge:  Don’t get bogged down in the struggles of today when we have the hope of joy tomorrow!

The Key to Experiencing True Joy

John 15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

This verse is absolutely amazing!  There are two different types of “joy” mentioned in this text:  “my joy” and then “your joy”.  The “my joy” is Jesus speaking about His own joy and then “your joy” is talking about you.  The only way that our joy might be full is that God’s Joy remains with them.  Complete joy can only come from Christ.  Joy does not just come from the confines of this verse but in those previous recorded.  It would be good to look at the “things” Christ spoke with intentions of bringing us joy.

  • Joy comes from the Lord:  It does not matter what we do or how we do it.  We must realize that if we are going to truly experience Joy then we must abide in Christ.
  • Joy is connected to fruit:  John 15:5 “…He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit…”  Productive Christians are always going to be happy Christians.
  • Joy is connected to Love:  John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”  There is no greater experience that experiencing love.  However; in order to really experience the true meaning of love you must first learn to extend love.

Today’s Challenge:  Draw your joy from the Lord.  Trying to find joy in anything else will leave you empty and void.

Do You Love the Lord?

John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

The Lord teaches us how He identifies those that truly love him.  We live in a culture that thinks that shallow, spiritual words speak louder than obedience and submission.  The Lord reminds us that love is better displayed by our actions.  Our lives dictate our love for God.  It is not just about what we say, but it is also about how we live.  When a person loves Jesus then we will see it long before we hear it.

  • A Person that Loves the Lord will not take His Words Lightly:  People that love the Lord will take the Bible very seriously.  It is not about a routine of reading or some sort of spiritual hoop a person must jump through.  A person that loves the Lord will look at every verse as God’s instruction to their life.
  • A Person that Loves the Lord will Adjust to the Scriptures:  Lovers of the Lord are ones that look at the Words of Christ and align to them.  Many today want to take scripture and fit it into their lives.  That is an indication that a person loves themselves more than the Lord.  Rather than try to align the Bible to our lives, we must learn to align our lives to the Bible.  Those that love God will do this!
  • A person that Loves the Lord will Obey the Word of God:  One of the greatest indicators of Love is obedience.  Rebellion is an indicator of the absence of love and obedience is an indicator of the presence of love.  We must love God, and His Word to the extent that we desire to obey every word.

Today’s Challenge:  Measure your love today by your actions and alignment to the Bible rather than shallow, superficial words that mean nothing.

The Lord’s Lesson on Leadership

John 13:16 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”

This is an excellent lesson on leadership.  The Lord teaches us in this text that the greatest leaders are the greatest servants.  We need to look at the principles that God desires of those that lead.

  • Great Leaders are Humble:  The great leaders are the ones that do not look down upon another.  They do not consider themselves to be better or above those they lead.  They consider themselves to be equal if not less than those they lead.
  • Great Leaders Set Examples:  The greatest of leaders operate on the “do as I do” principle rather than the “do as I say” principle.  We need to never ask someone to do something that we would not be willing to do ourselves.
  • Great Leaders Love:  The greatest of leaders operate out of a heart of love rather than a heart of dictatorship.  The lead because they desire that others are successful.  The greatest leaders measure their success by the success of those they lead.

Today’s Challenge:  Determine that you are going to be a great leader.  Lead today by the standard of the Lord rather than with the standard of world.

The Key to being a Successful Christian

John 12:24 “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone:  but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” 

This is one of the most powerful verses in Scripture.  Within the context of this verse contains the key ingredients to being a successful Christian.  The key to successful Christianity is simple…DIE!  For a moment we need to take a look at the process and the product of the one that makes this verse a reality.

  • The Danger of Selfishness:  When you do not die to yourself, you will remain just like the seed.  A seed that has not died to itself and fallen to the ground will remain small, hard, and unproductive.  The Christian is no different.  Living for self will produce a small, inadequate life that yields nothing.
  • The Decision to Surrender:  The seed itself must surrender its life.  It must fall to the ground and die.  It must go from selfish to selfless.  Once you realize that surrendered life is a successful life you will then be able to produce fruit for the Lord.  Remember, it is never about you!  It is always about God.  If we truly got what we deserved we would definitely be in Hell.
  • The Deployment of Service:  When the seed surrenders to the will of the one planting it we see a deployment of production and prosperity.  In order to truly produce fruit and prosper in Christianity, one must die to itself.  The question must be asked:  Do you want no fruit, some fruit, or much fruit?  The key to much fruit is dying to yourself and surrendering your life to the will of the Father.

Today’s Challenge:  Decide whether or not you are going to be a Christian that has no fruit, some fruit or much fruit.  Remember the much fruit Christians must follow after the principles in this verse!