Devotionals

by Brother Marko 0 Comments

A collection of devotionals and prayer articles by Brother Marko

The Need for Disciple Makers

Today, it is a commonly known fact that all over the world, many Muslims leave Islam on a daily basis and embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Their numbers are so high and every day so many more of them come to Jesus that nobody really knows how many Muslim background Christians are around us.

 

This is purely the amazing work of the Holy Spirit. In the light of this great move of God, the challenge for the Church of Jesus Christ is to welcome and disciple these countless new believers. Throughout Africa, America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world, more and more Muslims come to Jesus every day. Some of them publicly denounce Islam and accept Jesus as his God, risking his life, some others keep his faith a secret for a while. However, all of these new Christians are in desperate need for a loving fellowship and discipleship from the Body of Jesus Christ. They are in need of your love, prayers and discipleship. They need you to welcome them into your churches, pray for them, teach them the Bible, encourage, instruct and correct them in the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

  1. Please pray that God will prepare and use you as a disciple maker among these Muslim background believers. They desperately need Christians who will love and guide them in their new life and new faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. Please pray that God prepare the hearts of the leaders of your church and use your church as home and family for the Muslim background believers.
  3. Pray that your church will welcome, love and gracefully disciple Muslim background believers.
  4. Please pray that God will put a new passion and vision into the hearts of the Christian leaders in your town/city concerning these Muslim background believers. So that the Churches in your town/city will reach out to every Muslim and Muslim background believer with the intention to disciple them.

 


From Muslim Immigrants To Christian Preachers

During the recent years more and more Muslims, mainly men, have been legally or illegally immigrating to non-Muslim countries. South Africa has been the favourite destination of immigration especially for the Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims. They have been swarming into this country in great numbers during the recent years. They have been opening up cell-phone repair shops, spaza-shops and small scale grocery shops almost in each and every town, township, neighbourhood and sopping mall across the country. They have been charming and marrying to Christian South African women and converting them to Islam as well as islamising poor and needy people in the communities in exchange of groceries and other goods. It seems that nobody really knows how many of them are really legal and how many are illegal immigrants and parasites in the economy of this country. In general they have been very resilient in rejecting friendly approaches of Christians and Christian attempts to share the Gospel with them. So far they have been silent but stubborn agents of Islamisation in this country as well as exploiting the unsuspecting people, the economy and the infrastructure of this nation.

Prayer Points

  1. Please pray that each and every one of these Muslim immigrants in South Africa will meet Jesus Christ, the King of South Africa and will give their hearts, lives and even their treasures to Jesus Christ.
  2. Please pray that God will raise countless new believers, prophets, preachers and missionaries from among these Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and other Muslim immigrants in our country.
  3. Please pray that all the women that they have married and converted into Islam, all the needy people that they have tricked into Islam will be visited by the Holy Spirit and will be saved out of Islam.
  4. Please pray that these agents of Islam will become the anointed preachers of Jesus Christ.

 


Let Them Know The Truth

One of the key characteristics of Islam is that it is a religion of lies and deception. So much so that, Allah, the god of Islam, introduces himself as the “best of deceivers” in the Quran (3:54; 7:99 and 8:30). Additionally, one the of the pillars of the Islamic theology is the doctrine deception, also known as the doctrine of taqqiya. This doctrine teaches that Muslims should lie, cheat and deceive people (other Muslims and non-Muslims) to promote Islam and to discredit Christianity and even other religions. Thus, deception of people has always been one of the prime objective and occupation of Islamic leaders and scholars. We see this practice of deception in the very words and deeds of Allah and Muhammad as recorded in the Quran and Hadiths. Additionally, both throughout the Islamic history and even today, Islamic leaders and scholars do their best to deceive Muslims and non-Muslims in order to promote Islam and discredit the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result of these widespread lies and deceptions of Allah, Muhammad and contemporary Islamic leaders, millions of Muslims are kept in slavery to Islam. What will set them free is truth. As Jesus said, they shall know the truth and the truth shall set them free. Free from Islam and its filthy lies!

Prayer Points

  1. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of nearly 1.7 billion Muslims to the lies and deceptions of Islam. They shall see what a deceptive fake god is Allah and his so-called messenger Muhammad.
  2. Pray that, Holy Spirit will also reveal the truth about Jesus Christ and His Gospel to these nearly 1.7 billion Muslims. They shall see how much Jesus loves them and how much Jesus has sacrificed to give them an eternal life in abundance.
  3. Please pray that the Holy Spirit shall transform these 1.7 billion Muslims into bond-servants, pastors, preachers, prophets and ambassadors of Jesus Christ so that for the rest of their existence, they shall proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 


 

Let Them Be Courageous

Islam is a religion of fear. It rules by fear. Most Muslim never decided to be a Muslim. Since the day they were born Islam has been forced upon them. They were told again and again that if they ever question or oppose Islam, they would be severely punished. Islamic doctrine and practice all over the world dictates that those that question, discredit and oppose Allah and his religion shall be severely punished and even killed. That is the reason why it is both the law and practice of Muslim countries to arrest, persecute and even execute people who question, criticise and abandon Allah and his religion. The religion of Islam does not allow Muslims to think for themselves and to choose for themselves freely. Furthermore, according to Islamic law, those that leave Islam and embrace Jesus Christ and His Gospel shall be punished by death. Accordingly, in most cases, when a Muslim becomes a follower of Jesus, he gets rejected by family and friends, looses his job and even properties and possessions. Furthermore, he might even have to run for his life. All of these Islamic regulations and practices ensure that Muslims live by fear and never find the strength to question or abandon Islam. Only if they had the courage to face it all, they could step out of this fear based religion. Unlike the evil Islamic spirit which intimidates people all the time, The Spirit of our God, the Holy Spirit gives love, power and self discipline (2 Tim 1:7).

Prayer Points

  1. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will today, even now, visit and minister to millions of Muslims, giving them love, power and self-discipline so that they may have the strength walk away from Islam.
  2. Please pray for yourself and other Christians you know so that the Holy Spirit may empower you to disciple and evangelise Muslim with love, power and self-discipline.

 


The Need for Modern-day Ananias’

Saul would have never become the Saint Paul without the courageous obedience and initiatives of Ananias. Saul was confronted and converted by Jesus on the way to Damascus (Act 9:1-9). However, it was Ananias who baptised and possibly sheltered and discipled Saul (Act 9:10-25). At about the same time Jesus confronted Saul, He also visited Ananias in a vision and instructed him to go and pray for Saul. If Ananias did not meet Saul and pray for him, Saul might have never became the Paul we know. His obedience in meeting and praying for this dangerous person resulted in Saul becoming the most effective servant of Jesus throughout whole Christian history. Most probably, Ananias did not only pray for and baptise Saul, but also helped discipling and sheltering him after his conversion.

Similarly, there is no doubt that, today Jesus is visiting and even converting many Muslims as he did with Saul. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. At the same time He is looking for modern-day Ananias’ to go to those Muslims, pray for them, baptise, disciple and even shelter them after their conversion.

Could it be possible that you might be an Ananias to go to a specific Muslim who have already been visited by Jesus?

Prayer Points

  1. Lets pray that we will be attentive to the guidance and directives of the Holy Spirit when He calls us to go and pray for others, even a Muslim terrorist.
  2. Let us pray that, we will not stop by only praying for them but also baptise, disciple and even shelter them if need be.

 


 From Terrorist to Saint

Perhaps, the most fascinating conversion story in the New Testament is the story of Saul. As a staunch religious leader, he persecuted the followers of Jesus Christ. He was instrumental in starting the “great persecution” against Christians in Jerusalem as he supervised the stoning to death of Stephen (Act 8:1). His desire to persecute Christians was so strong that he even obtained special letters from the high priest, authorizing him to arrest and persecute followers of Jesus in Damascus (Act 9:1-2). He was feared by many Christians as a terrible persecutor. No doubt that if he lived today, we would call him an enemy of Christ, persecutor of Christians. However, in his own eyes he was only a faithful servant of God. On his journey to Damascus – authorised to arrest and persecute Christians – something unprecedented happens to Saul. Jesus Himself confronts him, blinds his eyes and sends him to Ananias – a Christian in Damascus – to be prayed over and to be discipled as a new believer (Act 9:1-19). Consequently, Saul, the enemy of Christians becomes Saint Paul, the great servant of Jesus and loving brother of Christians. Today, many Muslim terrorists think and act almost exactly in the same way as Saul did. They roam around the world with the intention of persecuting and killing Christians just as Saul did. Lets pray that Jesus will do to Muslim terrorists as He did to Saul. As the persecutor Saul got transformed by Jesus into a saint, so shall the Muslim terrorists be transformed by Jesus into saints and servants of Him. After, his radical conversion, Paul became the most influential and fruitful servant of Jesus. There is no other man known to be as effective, as influential and fruitful as Paul in the service of Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

  1. Therefore, let us pray that, today’s Muslim terrorists shall become tomorrow’s most effective servants for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 


Married to a Muslim

During the second half of the 20th century and in the 21st century, increasing numbers of Western Christian women converted to Islam after marrying Muslim men. This is partly due to the fact that many Muslim men intentionally target vulnerable Christian ladies to lure them into Islam via marriage. This has been one of the most effective strategies in the Islamisation of Judeo-Christian Western nations. This problem first emerged in Europe after World War 2 when thousands of Muslim men that came in as workforce married to European Christian ladies and converted them to Islam. During the recent decades, this practice spread to all over the world. It is not any more limited to Western nations, but it is a problem in all Christian communities. More and more Christian ladies get married to Muslim men, convert to Islam and raise their children as Muslims. In most cases, these Christian ladies step into these marriages and convert to Islam without really knowing what they are getting into. Some of these ladies, later on, realise what a big mistake they made and with great difficulty try to get out of the marriage and Islam. There are also others like Samantha Lewthwaite from Britain, who became a Muslim terrorist after marrying a Muslim man.

The sad reality is that, many of these women end up in the bondage of Islam because of one poor decision they made. Together with these ladies, their children also suffer as they are raised as Muslims, without knowing Jesus or hearing the Gospel.

Nevertheless, all hope is not lost, Jesus can still turn the tide around and save these ladies and their children.

Prayer points:

  1. Pray for these ladies who are lured into Islam via marriage. Pray that they will turn back to Jesus, and Jesus will become their first love.

  2. Pray also for the salvation of their children and Muslim husbands. Pray that they shall hear the Gospel, learn about Jesus and be ministered to by the Holy Spirit.

 

 


 Top Priority

So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matt 6:31-33, HCSB).

According to these words of Jesus, believers should not run after things such as food and clothing but rather seek God’s kingdom. The concepts of food and clothing in these words boil down to money. Naturally, money is the top priority for mankind as they work and fight for money.

However, the top priority of Christians shall not be money but God’s Kingdom. We shall prioritise God’s kingdom above money and all earthly gains. At the same time we shall trust Jesus for the provision of our needs as He assures us that God will provide for us.

Let us check our hearts and life-styles, repent and re-prioritise if we have been doing it wrong.

Lets work hard for God’s Kingdom. Lets fight for truth and freedom of faith. Lets work and fight to give others the freedom and the opportunities to know, to love and to worship God freely. Also remember, today we are able to freely learn about God and worship God because some men such as Martin Luther and King Jan III Sobieski worked and fought very hard to give us this freedom and opportunities to love and serve God.

 


 Come, let us present our nation to God

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7, ESV2011).
It comes easy to rejoice when things go well. But it is not so easy to rejoice when our people suffer unemployment, our national resources are plundered by corrupt politicians and millions of illegal immigrants, quality of education at our schools drop down to alarming levels, our churches are infiltrated by unbiblical doctrines and practices and our youth is hopeless, helpless and confused. Therefore, in times such as this Paul’s letter to Philippians becomes our secret weapon. Our God is still in control and He is still almighty. We shall bring our people, our country and all our concerns to God with a sincere prayer and know that He hears us and will respond according to His plans. Then, we shall receive peace and joy of God that transcends all understanding. Come, let us present our case to God. Bring our country, nation and problems to God. He is still in control. In your prayers this week, do not concentrate on your personal issues so much, but intercede for our country and nation and God’s church in our country.

 


 Walking with Jesus

Enoch was 65 years old when he fathered Methuselah. And after the birth of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and fathered other sons and daughters. So Enoch’s life lasted 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him.” (Gen 5:21-24, HCSB).

Wow, what a testimony. In these verses, God is testifying to the faithfulness of a man called Enoch. At the age of 65, he started walking with God and for 300 years he remained faithful to God. “Enoch walked with God 300 years”. Another translation (ISV) says “Enoch communed with God 300 years”. Then, Enoch was no more because God took him. In other words, since the day he met God, Enoch walked with God, communed with God and remained faithful to God until the end of his life on earth. When I read this passage, I just admire the steadfast faithfulness of this man. I just wish and desire that I may also remain faithful to God and walk with God until the day He calls me home.

Life on earth is filled with various temptations, challenges and even some opportunities. Very often, many of us get too busy with these challenges, opportunities and temptations and tend to forget the most important aspect of our lives: walking with God.

Firstly and most importantly life is an opportunity to commune and walk with God. Let us make the most of this great opportunity.

Dear Lord, help us fix our eyes on you, tune our hearts to you, and walk with you day by day until the very end. Let us commune with you years after years as Enoch did. Amen.


 Defending the knowledge of God

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, …” (2 Cor 10:3-5, ESV2011).

Although we live in a physical world and operate in physical bodies we are all part of a spiritual battle. Some of us are more aware of it then others. Some people stand against God and His kingdom simply by their ignorance. Perhaps they never consciously chose to serve Satan by believing and promoting his lies serve him. Some others though are more aware of this battle and they are careful to position themselves with God. Paul was one of them. He did not only chose to position himself with God but also made it his aim to destroy every argument and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. I am very convinced that this should be our aim too. We shall not keep silent when others distort the knowledge of God and teach false information about who God is. We shall not remain silent when post-modernists, promoters of homosexuality, Muslims, and communists teach unbiblical doctrines about God and lead the nation into deception. Remaining silent will be positioning our selves with Satan and promoting his lies with our silence. Instead, as Paul wrote, we shall destroy every argument and lofty opinion that is raised against the knowledge of God.


  Love that demands sacrifice

We have come to know love by this: that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians. But whoever has the world’s possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person?” ( 1Joh 3:16-17, NET).

Wow, what a challenging statement!

If one truly loves God and if one is indeed a true Christian than He needs to do as Christ did: lay down his life for others. In our post-modern and self-centred culture this statement sounds difficult and even unacceptable. However, in this self-sacrificial love is power of the Gospel. This self-sacrificial love of Christ sets him apart from all other so-called gods. In the same way, we are ought to love God and his people self-sacrificially. If God expected from His own Son to lay down His life for the sinful men, why should he not expect the same from us? What makes us more valuable and worthy to spare than Christ himself?

However, it is not only the unbelievers that we should love and reach with the Gospel of Christ but more than that we should love the believers in Christ.

More and more Christians around the world become victims of persecutions and are in need of a loving hand from other Christians. Let us open our hearts stretch our hand to them. That would is the true love.

May the Lord give us love and concern for fellow Christians who are in need and suffering. May we act as Christ did; laying down our possessions and life for God’s people.


Be A Wise Christian

Jesus said: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16).

Although this verse is well known and often quoted among Christians, it is debatable if we are really wise. Especially during the last hundred years, We Christians did not really act very wisely in discerning and responding to many global issues such as Islam, post-modernism, homosexuality, human-trafficking and even slavery.

“To be wise means to be marked by understanding of people and situations, to have keen and unusual discernment, and a capacity for sound judgement in dealing with people and situations” (John McClain).

As Christians, it is our responsibility to analyse and discern people and situations with an unusual discernment and respond with Biblical principles.

Where do you invest your money? What companies and organizations do you support and work with? What political party do you vote for? In other word’s whom do you empower? If you empower people and organizations which oppose Biblical principles, one day you will find yourself in an increasingly ungodly world. If you tolerate and empower the persecutors of Christians, one day you will see that Christianity becomes the illegal religion in your country too. If you empower the promoters of homosexuality, one day you will find that your own children are brainwashed and forced into homosexuality.

May Jesus help us to be wise as serpent, discern with unusual understanding and respond with Biblical principles. May we empower those who serve Jesus, uphold His principles and oppose those who are against Christ and His values.


 Fear and Serve God

“Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Sam 12:24-25, ESV2011).

“Fear the Lord! Serve the Lord!” These are not any more very common teachings in many Western churches. Rather, God is presented as a sugar daddy. Christianity became more about what can we get from God to spoil ourselves instead of fearing and serving God. However, the concepts of fearing and serving the Lord have dominated both the Old and the New Testaments. Lives of many great man of God like Moses, David, Peter and Paul were all marked with their fear of God and service to God.

Solomon concluded his analysis of life’s experiences and life’s meaning with “fear God and keep His commandments…” (Ecc 12:13, NKJV).

Jesus’ parable of the talents also teach about serving God with fear (Mat 25:14-30). Likewise, Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit also imply our responsibility to serve God according to our calling and gifts (1 Cor 12:1-11).

In conclusion, Christian life is a life of fearing and serving God as much as growing in God’s love and grace. Thus do not be fooled by the self-centred feel good sermons or consumer friendly teachings of prosperity preachers. You are here to fear and serve God.


Unselfish Christianity

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mat 10:37-39, ESV2011).

This might sound rather difficult to accept but, this is exactly what Christ demands from His followers: unselfish love, unselfish commitment. If you cannot value Christ more than your own life, if you cannot love Him more than all your family, friends and everything else, you are not worthy of Him. That means you shall not even call yourselves Christian if your life is not totally and unconditionally committed to Christ. In the post-modern Western culture, there is the great movement of making Christianity as cheap and as easy as possible. That is called consumer friendly or politically correct Christianity. Sadly, by many popular preachers and authors Christianity is portrayed as a mere lip service to God or as a self-help gimmick.
However, this Western way of understanding and promoting Christianity is neither biblical nor in line with Christ’s calling. True and truly biblical Christianity starts and ends with a radical commitment and undiluted love for Christ.

Prayer

Jesus please forgive me for my selfish Christianity and half-hearted commitment to you. Jesus, today, I decide to love you more than all and commit myself to you totally and unconditionally. Amen.

Submission in prayer

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Mat 26:39, ESV2011).

Although Jesus was God he was also man. Although he came earth to do God’s will he also knew the great suffering and humiliation that he was going to face. Thus He prayed: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”

However, Jesus was humble and submissive in His prayer, thus He ended with “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

That I call submissive prayer. This is exactly the opposite of stubborn prayer where one stubbornly asks God what he wants and never even thinks about God’s will.

Essentially, submissive prayer is God centred, while stubborn prayer is self-centred. Submissive prayer sees God as the King of universe to whom we must submit. Stubborn prayer, sees God as a sugar daddy in the heavens whose job is to give us all we ask.

Submissive prayer thinks that it is about God and what God wants. Stubborn prayer is selfish and arrogant enough to think that it is all about me and what I want.

Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 is another good example of submissive prayer. Jesus and Paul did not rebel against God when their requests were not granted, but they simply submitted to Father’s decision.

Heavenly Father, please teach me to pray not stubbornly but submissively. May I be God-centred and not self-centred in my prayers Amen.


If you keep quiet…

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth 4:14, ESV2011).

Jews were facing a total destruction from Haman. Although Esther was not Haman’s immediate victim, safe in king’s palace, she was called to speak up for others.

Similarly, today, Jews in Israel are under attack, and face intense pressure from the rest of the world. At the same time, across the world millions of Christians face persecution and murder on a daily basis. However we, South African Christians, are still free and safe as Esther was in the palace. Just like Esther, we are also called to speak up for the relief and deliverance of God’s people.

Our safety and freedom should not lead us to indifference to the sufferings of other Christians and also Jews. On contrary, we shall see freedom and safety as God’s empowerment to stand up and speak against the atrocities committed to God’s people (Jews and Christians) across the world. We shall use freedom to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend those who cannot defend themselves, fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Perhaps, God put you in this place at this moment in history so that you may speak up and defend Jews and Christians. Also remember, if you keep silent at this time God’s relief and deliverance for His people will come from somewhere else but you and your house may perish.


Love God’s People

“Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people” (Esth 10:3 ESV2011).

Mordecai cared enough to take and raise Esther when her parents died (Esth 2:7). He faithfully served king Ahasuerus and saved him from a possible assassination (Esth 2:19-23). When Haman decreed the destruction of all Jews, Mordecai stepped forward and eventually saved his people (Esth 4).

Mordecai did not only love God, but he also loved God’s people to the extend of taking risks to save them.

His love for Esther meant that he should take and raise her as his own child. His love for God’s people meant that he should face the enemy to stop the massacre of God’s people.

There is so much to learn for us from the legacy of Mordecai. Many of us claim to love God and our neighbours. But do we love God’s people to the extend of facing the enemy to save them?

Today, Christians (God’s adopted people) are attacked from every corner intellectually, physically, politically and economically. Today, Jews (God’s chosen people) are fighting for their survival as Muslims are attacking them with the determination to kill every Jew until none is left. More and more the nations of the world are turning against Israel and supporting Islamic destruction of Jews. Today there is so much need for Christian men like Mordecai who will stand up and defend Jews and Christians from the attacks of the enemy.

Farther, forgive my selfishness and cowardice. May I love and stand up for your people. Bless me with love for them and boldness to defend them.


 Serving God with your heart

“I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him.” (Ps 89:20-21, ESV2011).

God found, anointed and empowered the little shepherd boy David to kill Goliath, to rule the nation of Israel and to pave the way for Messiah. Although he made mistakes, he lived for God, worked for God, fought for God and left behind a great legacy and a great kingdom.

But the question is, was David merely an obedient servant who only did what God said or was he more than that? The answer is found in Acts 13:22: David was not only a servant, but a man after God’s heart who would do all God’s will. He was not merely obeying God, but passionately trying to fulfil God’s desires. He was not merely a labourer but a passionate man of God. He did not just put in his labour but firstly his heart, then all he had to see God’s will done.

That is the kind of servant God looks for. If you work for a corporation, it will be enough if you put in your expertise and labour. But if work for God, your expertise, labour and even your obedience will not be enough. First and foremost you must give your heart as David did.

May the Lord give us His heart, passion and desires so that we may be a people after His own heart.


Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth, … You are the light of the world…” (Mat 5:13-14, ESV2011).

Salt has preserving and flavouring abilities and is used to preserve and make food tastier. In the same way, God meant that Christians should act as preserving and flavouring agents in this constantly decaying and tasteless world.

Light is what chases away darkness and makes any place pleasant and habitable. In the same way, God meant Christians to be light in this dark and corrupt world.

Since the days of Christ, God used many Jews and Christians as salt and light to make this world a more habitable, pleasant and flavourful place. For example: the hospitals and the medical system, education and universities, equality and freedom of all men were introduced and implemented in this world by Christians. God used Christians like William Wilberforce to fight against the slave trade and to establish the concept of freedom for all men. God used Christians like George Muller to establish orphanages and care for abandoned children. God used Christians like Corrie Ten Boom to protect and shelter Jews from the Nazis during the 2nd World War. Today God is using many Christians to shelter and provide for victims of Islamic violence and terrorism in the Middle east and North Africa. Islamic armies arrive to kill, destroy and kidnap. Christians arrive to save, shelter and give life.

What is your role in God’s work? Where does God want you to be salt and light? Where does God want you to save, shelter and give life?

Prayer

Father God, please use me as salt and light in this dark and bitter world. Use me to preserve what is good and pleasant and to fight against what is evil. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


Friends and enemies of God

“You adulterers! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God” (Jam 4:4).

Although this verse begins with “You adulterers!” it is actually applicable to everyone. One cannot be promoting the principles and values of this world and still be a friend of God. One is either God’s enemy or God’s friend based on what he favours: the values and principles of God or the values and principles of the world. Only those who favour God and His values and principles are His friends and true Christians. Those who claim to be Christian and at the same time promote the things that God hates such as homosexuality, adultery, abortion, etc. are not actually God’s friends but enemies.

Sadly, in our post-modern world, we have many so-called Christians, who are pro-world and anti-Bible. They support the politically correct ideas of the world against the radical teachings of the Bible. On the one hand claiming to be Christian, on the other hand fighting against God and His values. Thus, they are the friends of this world and enemies of God no matter how much they claim to be Christians.

However, those who will obey and promote the Bible’s teachings and the values of God are the friends of God and the true Christians.

May, God give us reverence and fear for His name, bless us with an undiluted commitment to Himself and all His principles and values. May we be faithful to Him and His Word.


Faith in Action

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (Jam 2:19-20).

Faith without works is dead. In other words, its the practical faith that gives life not the theoretical faith. If your faith in God is only a theory then it is good for nothing. True faith is practical and fruitful. If you are only a spectator Christian who is scared or unwilling to take a step forward, make a stand for what you believe, afraid to take risks, afraid to be politically incorrect then I am sorry to say that your theoretical Christianity is fruitless and your faith is useless. True faith is practical in nature and demands action. Be bold! Take a step forward! Stand up for what you believe! Otherwise, do not even call yourself a Christian. Only those who can stand up for what they believe can influence and change the world. Only those who can take risk and step forward in faith can be the salt and the light in this dark and suffering world. Only those who are willing to fight spiritual battles can win victories. All the rest will go down to history as useless theoretical Christians.

Prayer

Jesus, help me to be a practical Christian not theoretical. Help me Jesus to be bold and stand up for your truth. Help me Jesus to step forward and do what you called me to do. Amen.


Perseverance

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation” (Jam 1:12, NKJV).
Temptations, trials and persecution are inseparable parts of Christian life. As Paul said all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:16). In other words, Christianity is not a game, nor a club for lazy happy clappers. It is tough, it is difficult and it requires perseverance and faith even in the shadow of death. Christian history is filled with men and women of God, who suffered all kinds of hardship and never gave up but persevered. When God calls you to do something, surely there will come various kinds of temptations, trials and even persecution on your way. God will allow such hardships to come against you to test and to refine you. In fact, all men and women of God face them. Jesus had to endure hardship, torture and death on the cross to fulfill God’s plan. For many years, the apostle Paul endured all kinds of hardship and persecution in doing God’s will. Similarly, across the world, throughout Christian history all servants of God faced hardship, temptation and persecution. If you want to serve God and do what He has called you to do, you have to persevere and be determined in spite of all difficulties.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, please help us to keep our eyes on you and persevere so that we may fulfill your plans. Help us to serve you with determination and perseverance as you did. Amen.


Abraham: God’s Friend

““Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.” (Jam 2:23, ESV2011).

Abraham’s life was marked with his friendship with God. His was not just a religion but a radical trust in God. His journey started in Genesis 12 as he stepped into the unknown in obedience to God. For the rest of his life he was always depended on God for protection, guidance and provision. Although, he was a wealthy man he was also a broken man before God. He was a stranger in strange countries, unable to protect himself and unable to have his own children. Although he had many workers, he did not seem to have many friends. Even his wife could not fully share and support his faith and obedience to God (Gen 18:10-15). Abraham was a strange and broken man. His extra ordinary faith and obedience to God made him even more strange and lonely at times. However, in the midst of all, God became his friend (Isa 41:8). So much so that God would visit Abraham and discuss His plans with him (Gen 18). As a faithful friend, God sustained him, protected and guided him throughout the years.

Similarly, your faith and obedience to God might make you unpopular, strange and lonely. Remember then, who called you, who sustains and guides you. God is your eternal friend. Trust in Him and pour out your heart to Him.


Jesus: Always Reliable

We live in an extremely unreliable world. It is the expected norm that no person or no institution is actually reliable. Friends and family fail us, companies we work for desert us, governments we elected betray us, churches we supported hurt us. We, ourselves betray, abandon and fail others around us. As the time goes by people, governments, demographies and even the climates change. All these changes make our world even more unreliable.

But there is one, who has always been reliable, who has kept all His promises and never deserted those who put their trust in him. Jesus: the only truly righteous and reliable person who ever lived in our unreliable world.

13 years ago, on December 6, I decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus. Since then, I have gone through a lot of rejection, persecution and trials. As I was following Jesus, I have experienced the favour and the wrath of people. At times I was an obedient follower of Jesus, at other times I disobeyed Him. But He never abandoned me, never turned His back on me. He kept all His promises, even when I did not keep mine. He became my best and most reliable friend. In the same way, Jesus kept all His promises and never abandoned anyone of His people throughout the history.

Taste and see that Jesus is good, His love and faithfulness endure forever (Ps 34:8; 100:5). He is always the reliable refuge and stronghold for His people (Nah 1:7; Joe 3:16).


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