Elevate Your Value

Daily Devotion | Day 287

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you have more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7).

Fear does a lot of things to people. If people knew in spirit what fear does to them, they would do whatever it takes to eliminate it. On multiple occasions, Jesus addressed this problem, because He knew that fear hurts our cause. Indeed, fear is the enemy of progress. Fear is a form of bondage. To be truly free in life, you need to overcome fear once and for all. In the devotional message sent out a few days ago, I stated that fear interferes with faith. I mentioned also that whatever you fear, that thing has power over you. We scratched the surface on this last point. Today, we want to expand it by looking at what Jesus said in our opening Scripture passage.

Jesus addressed fear by using an example familiar to people of His time. For two copper coins, one could by five sparrows. At that time, a copper coin was worth very little. That one could buy five sparrows for two copper coins shows that sparrows were very cheap. In using the example of sparrows, Jesus wanted to put across the idea of worthlessness. Then He says that despite their cheap market value, not one of the sparrows is forgotten by God. Sparrows have vale before God. And, it is why God does not forget or neglect them. Things of value are treated with care.

Jesus is now ready to draw a lesson from the life of sparrows and apply it to the people. He says, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God has numbered the hair on our head, because every detail of our life is of value to Him. To conclude His point, Jesus says, “Do not fear therefore; you have more value than many sparrows.” Notice the point Jesus is making. He wants us to realize that there’s a close relationship between fear and self-value. What does this mean for us?

In God’s eyes, you are of great value. However, your attitude can affect your sense of self-worth. God has given you the power to set your self-value. You do this through your choices, especially through the things you speak and the things you do.

Fear lowers your value. When you entertain thoughts or feelings of fear, panic and anxiety, you reduce your worth. And when you reduce your worth, you reduce your strength. To borrow an expression from modern parlance, fear is an “energy vampire.” It will drain you of energy, life and inspiration. You should, therefore, eliminate fear and replace it with faith and serenity. While fear lowers your value, faith elevates it.

Learn to inspire yourself. The most inspiring people are those who have learned to self-motivate. You can’t always rely on others to motivate you. The best motivation comes from within you. Reject fear. Embrace faith, and elevate your value.

BlessingMay the angels of God guard you today in all your ways. Amen.

For further study1 Samuel 17:4-58

What to Do When God Seems ‘Asleep’

Daily Devotion | Day 275

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’” (Mark 4:37-38, NKJV).

The Apostles had had enough. The storm wouldn’t cease. Initially, they probably tried to let out as much water as they could. At first, they didn’t want to bother the Master who was taking a nap. But all their maneuvering proved futile. The storm only grew fierce. Now their boat was filling up with water. They knew what that meant: The end was near.

But wait, there was one more thing. During this whole time the Teacher (Jesus) was asleep. The noise from the storm didn’t seem to disturb His sleep. The Gospel writer added an important detail. Jesus wasn’t just sleeping. He was comfortably resting on a pillow – in the middle of the storm.

When all their efforts failed, the Apostles turned to the sleeping Teacher. They awoke Him and poured their frustration on Him: “Teacher,” they said, “do You not care that we are perishing?” A Friend who sleeps during your period of crisis certainly doesn’t appear to be the caring type.

Up to this time, the Apostles had confidence in their Master. He was there when they needed Him. But today is different. Today, the Master sleeps when they need Him the most. This was the one day they doubted that their beloved Teacher cared: “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

All crisis is not the same. Some are more severe than others. Some problems you can easily manage and ultimately overcome. But there are times when problems come at you with the intensity of the waves of the sea, and you can feel overwhelmed. In these moments, you hope you can use some divine intervention. But all you hear from heaven is silence. It feels like God is asleep.

Then you begin to wonder if He cares. When this feeling persists long enough, in some people it can reach a tipping point where they begin to wonder: Does God even exist? Perhaps you’ve had your own moments where you wondered if God cares or is who He says He is.

Moments when it seems God is ‘asleep,’ remember (and this may shock you): God doesn’t do everything for you; not because He can’t, but because He has already given you the wisdom, the will and the ability to handle the problem. Your prayer shouldn’t be, “Lord, don’t you care? Please, do something.” Rather, you want to pray, “Lord, I know you care. Show me what I am missing here.” And listen attentively, He will illuminate you about how you ought to proceed. You will marvel at how suddenly you begin to see a clear path and an open door before you.

Take the following example:

One day the Israelites were caught between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. It was overwhelming. They felt it was a mistake to leave Egypt. They also felt JEHOVAH was not who He said He was. Moses was under immense pressure, so he cried to God. Now listen to what God told him, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.”

Did you catch that? God wanted Moses to stop crying to Him; not because He didn’t want to help, but because He had given Moses the ability he needed to take care of the problem. God didn’t say, “Wait, I’m going to divide the Red Sea for you.” Rather, He told Moses to go ahead and take care of the problem using his rod.

Understand that God has made you His partner. He has shared His power, wisdom and glory with you. When you feel like He is silent or ‘asleep,’ it doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. It means it’s time for you to act by faith in God’s Name.

BlessingMay your light shine and overcome all powers of darkness in your life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study2 Kings 2:1-14

Defeating the Enemy Called ‘Doubt’

Daily Devotional: Day 234

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like the wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7, NKJV).

Today’s passage from James originally talks about asking for wisdom, but the underlying teaching is applicable to all prayer requests. Praying for something is more than just asking. Anyone can ask for something, but not everyone asks in faith. What does it mean to ask in faith? According to James, it means asking with no doubt in your heart (cf. Mark 11:20-24).

James likens people who doubt to the wave of the sea which is driven and tossed by the wind. Such people lack stability and direction. People like that, James adds, should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Faith alone pleases God (cf. Hebrews 11:6). If you want God to honor your prayer, honor Him by eliminating doubt (completely) from your mind.

Faith is a stabilizer. It keeps you steady – steady in your thoughts, your convictions and your actions. Faith is what propels prayer to reach its intended target. Without faith, prayer is a meaningless exercise.

Doubt is faith turned upside downIf you want your prayer to be effective, don’t mix it with doubt.

If you want God to honor your request, your doubt level must be equal to zero (0). Even a 0.0000001% doubt is enough to neutralize your prayer. Doubt has robbed many a Christian of their blessings (ask me how I know that). Doubt slows progress. Doubt sinks success. Doubt stifles dreams and kills vision. Treat doubt as you would an enemy, for it is an enemy. Neutralize it before it neutralizes you.

The good news is, you can defeat doubt for goodin Jesus Name. Identify any sources of doubt and deploy the Holy Spirit power in you to get rid of them. Let’s start with you; yes, you. If a thought of doubt pops up in your mind, immediately address it with faith-filled words (You can say something like, “In the Name of Jesus, I reject all thoughts and imaginations of doubt. Thank you, Jesus, for filling my mind with thoughts of love, faith, hope, peace and goodness.”). If doubt returns a thousand times, reject it a thousand times. That’s how you stay a winner. The real battle of life is within. 

Furthermore, saturate your mind and heart with God’s word by reading (if possible, memorizing) and meditating the Scriptures. Finally, watch the company you keep. People, images and voices (or sounds) around you can help your faith or hurt it. Share your important life dreams, if possible, only with people you know are well grounded in faith and are not prone to panic or doubt. If you are not sure, keep your plans between you and God.

May the Lord elevate your faith and cause His blessings to be upon you! Amen.

For further studyMatthew 14:22-33

Conquer Your Fear, Go for the Win

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: DAY 205

“And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart” (Deuteronomy 20:8, KJV).

Deuteronomy chapter 20 opens with instructions given to the Israelites about preparing for battle. On their way to occupy the Promised Land, the Israelites would encounter several nations and peoples. Some of these encounters would result in battles. The Lord wanted His people to be battle-ready and be able to overcome the nations which stood between them and the Land of Promise.

To win a battle, your attitude is as important as your weapons. You may have the right numbers and the right weapons, but if your mindset is flawed, you risk being defeated. Battles are won or lost starting with one’s state of mindTo win any battle, it is necessary that you first conquer your own fears. Therefore, when the Lord prepared Israel for battle, one of the first things He addressed was fear (cf. Deuteronomy 20:1-3).

Fear is contagious. It’s like an infection. If, for any reason, you’re afraid, be kind enough not to spread your fear. Fear undermines, not only your own faith, but the faith of the people around you. If you partner with people who panic easily, they can derail your faith and cause your plans to fall apart. Do not go on any important mission with people who are prone to fear. This word of wisdom is proposed in today’s Bible reading. Look at it again.

Before going into any battle, God commanded the officers of Israel to speak to the people about fear. The officers had to call on any fearful or fainthearted man to return to his house. Then, notice what the Bible says next: “Let him go and return to his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.” It is better to go into battle with just two or three people who have faith than with a hundred people who are fainthearted. Recall the incident in Mark 5:35-42, where Jesus expelled a group of people for giving in to fear. If you are dealing with any battle (battle in your marriage, business, health, finances, academics, battle with an addiction, etc.) be careful who you call to fight with you. 

To sum up today’s message, let’s remember the following: Fear is to faith what a leech is to blood. Faith does not fear, and fear does not believe. Don’t infect others with your fear. Conquer your fear, and go for the win.

For further studyNumbers 13:17-4:9, or Mark 5:35-42

How to Live Long and Prosper

Daily Devotional: Day 163

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-2, NKJV).

Once a child, always a child. In other words, you’re always somebody’s child. No matter how old or independent you are, you always will be someone’s child. Similarly, once a parent, always a parent. Whether your children are around or not, your status as a parent remains a permanent fact of human history. The bond between parent and child is precious to God; for God Himself is a Parent and the Source of all life. God, therefore, pays special attention to the parent-child relationship. Today’s message will focus on what God wants children to do for their parents. As usual, look carefully at today’s opening Scripture; there’s a lot going on the passage.

Honoring your father and mother is so important to God that He included it in the Ten Commandments (cf. Deuteronomy 5:16). In the New Testament, Jesus reiterated it (cf. Mark 10:17-19); so did Paul – as you can see in today’s reading. Speaking to the Christians in Ephesus, Paul says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” The context suggests that he is addressing children who are still under the care of their parents. Notice that the command is for children to obey their parents in the Lord. It’s an important qualification, because when we become Christians, we’re supposed to do all things (good things, of course) in the Lord and for His sake. Love for Christ motivates us to do what pleases Him, including obeying our parents. Paul adds, “for this is right.” The life of a Christian is about doing what is right, i.e. practicing righteousness. Obeying our parents is the right thing to do, therefore, we do it. And, when we do what is right, we’re showing that we are righteous people (cf. 1 John 3:7).

“Honor your father and mother” means obey your parents, respect them and show them reverence. It means you serve them; you provide for their welfare; it also means you don’t quarrel or fight with them; you don’t talk back to them or talk down to them; you don’t raise your voice against them or give them attitude. God hates disrespectful attitude toward parents. How you treat your parents says a lot about the authenticity of your relationship with Jesus. If you love Jesus, you’ll do what He tells you. Regardless of how insufferable you think your parents are, God wants you to always uphold honor and respect. You may not like something about your parents, but they’re your parents; and, so long as they remain alive, Jesus wants you to honor them. If you have a problem with them, look for ways to handle it while maintaining a posture of respect and honor.

Furthermore, “Honor your father and mother,” is the first commandment with a promise attached to it. If you honor your parents, God promises that it will be well with you (meaning, you will prosper) and you will live long on the earth. See, God has given you the key to prosperity and long life. He is not asking you to go on a diet or go to the gym. All He is telling you to do is to honor your parents. Do you want it to be well with you? If yes, then honor your parents. Do you want to live long on earth? If yes, then honor your parents.

May the Lord let His face shine upon you and your family today! Amen.

For further study: Luke 2:41-52