Jesus Will Exceed Your Expectations

Daily Devotional: Day 140

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6, NKJV).

A man laid at the gate of the temple gate in Jerusalem called the Beautiful, asking alms from the worshipers. One day, as John and Peter approached, he begged them for alms. Notice that he did not beg for prayer or for healing. It’s an important observation. The Bible says he had been born disabled, unable to walk. Mostly likely, he had accepted his condition and didn’t expect to be made whole. Asking for alms provided him the means to cope and survive. But his whole life was about to change.

Peter had neither gold nor silver, but he had something else to give. In his own words, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And, the man was healed. He expected to receive alms; but what he got was infinitely better. He received healing through the Name of Jesus. Thus, God exceeded the expectations of the man, by saving him from the need to rely daily on the generosity of people to survive.

God doesn’t always answer your specific prayer. He blesses you beyond your request. Whatever your expectations are, they cannot match God’s tender mercies. It’s important therefore to keep your faith alive and open. Don’t set limits for God. The man in today’s story got the surprise of his life. What he thought was an ordinary day turned out to be a day of divine visitation. He had never walked before, and probably never expected to walk. But Jesus surprised him with love and compassion. Know that Jesus is not a therapist. His plan is not to give you coping and survival skills. He is your Savior, so His plan is to bless you with life, dignity and freedom.  

In the Name of Jesus, all things are possible. Each new day is a reason to be hopeful. What are your expectations today? Do you believe that Jesus is able to give you more than what you expect?

May Jesus shine upon you today! Amen.

For further study: Ephesians 3:20-21

Forgetting the “Lottery Prayer”

Daily Devotional: Day 107

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10, NKJV).

Jesus teaches us a simple approach to prayer. In this approach, the key elements are trust and expectation. He exhorts us to do three things: ask, seek, and knock. When we pray, our mindset shouldn’t be like playing a lottery. In a lottery, the odds of you winning are awful. It is said, for example, that in the Mega Millions multi state lottery in the USA, the odds of you winning is 1 in almost 176 million. When you play the lottery, you’re basically trying your luck, hoping against hope that perhaps you’ll be the lucky one and everyone else will lose. Lottery is largely based on chance and wishful thinking. Unfortunately, there are Christians who approach prayer with a lottery mindset. They may not say it out loud, but they somewhat believe that God is very busy trying to keep up with billions of prayer requests sent to His desk in Heaven. Plus, they are not sure if God even hears them. And if he did hear them, they aren’t sure if He will be kind enough to show them favor. The bottom line is, when they pray, they’re hoping (the lottery kind of hope) to get lucky one day and have their request granted. This mentality needs to change.

Today, Jesus’ message is simple. The Father loves you. You are His child. In fact, he is willing and happy to answer you. He wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed. Prayer in not a lottery. When you pray, all the odds are in your favor. So, Jesus says, just ask; just seek; and just knock. That’s all you have to do. No drama. The only thing is, when you ask, expect to receive; when you seek, expect to find; and when you knock, expect the door to be opened – and never give up on your prayer. Keep it simple.

Prayer:

Dear Father, I know that you love me. Thank you for always hearing me. Grant me faith to believe that what I ask, I shall receive; what I seek, I shall find; and when I knock, the door shall be opened. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Luke 11:1-13

Only Believe

Daily Devotional: Day 48

“While he [Jesus] yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:35-36, KJV).

Words have meaning. And everything that has meaning has influence. Words are not neutral in their effect. Words – yours or another’s – can trigger fear, doubt, hope or faith. The basic requirement of our Christian life is to walk by faith and not by circumstances. The Bible explains faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Today’s Bible passage tells the story of Jesus’s encounter with a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the Jewish synagogue. Jairus’ daughter was severely ill, so he petitioned Jesus to go heal her. But, Jesus was delayed on the way by a woman who suffered from hemorrhage.

Before Jesus got to Jairus’ house, certain people came with the news that Jairus’ daughter was dead. At this point, pay attention to what they tell Jairus. They say, “Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further?” These are words, and as we’ve noted earlier, words can trigger fear or faith. Jesus knew about this, so pay attention to what he does right after the news of Jairus’ daughter came. The Bible says that as soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he said to Jairus, “Be not afraid, only believe.” Jesus knew that the words spoken to Jairus could shake his faith, so he wasted no time in reminding Jairus to maintain his faith. Jesus spoke faith into Jairus’ ears to counter the bad news. 

The lesson for us is this: Be careful what you hear, the music, the movies, the TV shows, the books, the magazines, the news, the conversations, etc. Also, be careful who you surround yourself with; some people will harm your faith by the words from their mouth. Remember that your faith is precious; you can’t afford to jeopardize it. This is also why it’s important to know the Bible – God’s Word written for you. The Bible is the only true Book of Faith. Whatever happens in your life, you should quickly remember – by the Holy Spirit – what God has said about that situation. And once you remember it, go with what God has said. That’s the definition of walking by faith: going by what God has said in his Word. Only believe.

 Prayer:

Daddy, protect me from every situation that can hurt my faith in you. Make me spiritually aware of what and who surrounds me. In all things, let me only go by what you have said in your Word. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Numbers chapters 13-14

True Faith Produces Works

Daily Devotional: Day 38

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 1:26, KJV).

Today’s Bible verse is well known for the controversy it has generated among Christians, especially since the Protestant Reformation. This is a devotional, so we won’t go into the complexities of the controversy. But, let me say that God’s Word isn’t complicated at all. The problem is that people won’t let the Bible speak for itself. We tend to read too much of our own opinions into God’s Word. What we believe is powerful – powerful enough to influence the direction of our lives. Nearly everything we do in life is a product of what we believe. In today’s passage, James –  speaking about faith in God – says that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. He’s right, and God wants us to understand this. Some have tried to get around James’ statement to make it mean something different, but James means exactly what he said: faith without works is dead, and a dead faith doesn’t save anyone. James’ teaching agrees with everything else the Bible says about faith. (At another time, I shall write about how this fits into the doctrine of being saved by grace through faith, apart from works). True faith produces corresponding works. This means, contrary to what some suppose, faith is not action-less.

If our faith in God doesn’t lead to corresponding action, something’s wrong. Be sure to read Hebrews 11:1-40 for further insights on how faith produces works. Whenever there’s a separation between what we claim to believe and what we do, there’s a problem: Perhaps we don’t truly believe or we’re being hypocritical. This is the fundamental principle that is behind the biblical teaching that faith without works is dead. At no point does the Bible propose a faith devoid of works. For example, if you truly believe that God has made you righteous through the atonement of Christ, that same faith will produce works of righteousness in your life. If, however, the said faith doesn’t produce fruit of righteousness, something’s wrong somewhere.  Faith that’s alive always produces fruit. Ask God to ignite faith in your heart, so that your faith can bear fruit for his glory.

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for the gift of faith. Stir within me your gift of faith, and let it come alive in my actions, speech and thoughts. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Hebrews 11:1-40

PRAY THE PRAYER OF FAITH

Daily Devotional: Day 5

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1, NIV).

God doesn’t honor prayer (Don’t be shocked! Read on); he honors faith. Prayer by itself doesn’t change your life. To benefit from prayer, your prayer must be a prayer of faith. This means, if you petition God for anything, believe without doubt in your heart that God has heard you and answered your prayer. Remember, without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The parable Jesus told in Luke 18:1-8 was about the need to pray the prayer of faith. Some erroneously interpret this Scripture to mean that Jesus wants us to pray and pray and pray. They think that Jesus is telling us to pray more. Praying “more” doesn’t hurt. But that is not what Jesus is teaching here. The point Jesus wants to drive home is that, due to a lack of faith, many people give up on their own prayer. When they don’t see immediate results, their faith wavers; then they quit believing that what they asked for will come to pass. It’s this attitude of unbelief that Jesus wants to correct. Jesus is saying that when you pray for something, don’t lose heart if you don’t see instant change.

Don’t quit believing, because your faith is the currency of your prayer. Without faith, prayer is meaningless. God is moved, not by your prayer per se, but by your attitude of faith in his promises. Remember that anyone can pray, but not everyone prays the prayer of faith. At the end of the parable, notice what Jesus says, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). If you think that praying more is the key to being heard, you need to change your thinking. The truth is, the effectiveness of your prayer has nothing to do with the duration or frequency of your prayer. The key is faith. As you exercise faith, you’ll realize that you don’t need a lot of words or a lot of time to get prayer results.

Confession:

God is for me; he’s not against me. By his grace, I’m a new creation through faith in Jesus. I know that the righteous shall live by faith. Through the blood of Jesus, I am righteous. Therefore, I walk by faith, not by prevailing circumstances. I pray the prayer of faith, for I know that my God is faithful, and he shall perform what he promises. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

 For further study: James 1: 5-8; 5:14-18

Have a faith-filled day!

Pastor Steve

Charis Temple (non-denominational church)

Email: charristemple@gmail.com