Tag Archives: Jesus

What is God’s Favor?

God is with us—for our good and His glory.

Written by GodLife on 01/03/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BlessingsDifficultyFavorLifeLoveSufferingTrials


The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered…When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes…

Genesis 39:2-4

If your life includes some trouble and suffering, you are not alone. Think of Joseph’s story. (Genesis 37, 39-50) He was the favorite of his father's twelve sons. He became second-in-command to the Pharaoh of Egypt. He even saved the ancient world from famine. Surely this was a man in God's favor!

Did you notice what was left out of that story? Stay in only certain parts of Joseph's story and it is easy to see his favor with God. But who could forget his brothers’ betrayal? How he was sold into slavery? How his purity was tested in his master's house? How he was thrown into prison for something he did not do? There's no denying it. Joseph suffered. And his great suffering was a key part of God's plan.

Notice that:

  1. God's plan was bigger than Joseph. How could he have predicted the way God saved Egypt and Israel?
  2. Joseph's suffering was not the end of the story. Thirteen years of hardship is terrible. But Joseph himself said he forgot all about the trouble (Gen. 41:51) during the next 80 great years.
  3. Joseph’s hard experiences brought him great peace and insight about God's nature. (Gen. 45:7-8Gen. 50:20)
  4. Readers of his story are reminded, "the Lord was with him." (Genesis 39:323)

When I am going through hardship, I can’t read my own story and see the note, "the Lord was with him." In fact, it often feels like he is not. Was it different for Joseph? Did he feel out of God's favor when his brothers sold him into slavery? When he went to prison for something he didn't do? Whether or not he felt that way, he came to understand that his trouble did not reflect God’s displeasure with him. He said it himself – what others intended for his harm, God intended for good, to accomplish the saving of many lives. (Gen. 50:20) And not only saving those ancient lives.

His story reminds us that hard times don’t necessarily mean God is displeased with us. He has bigger plans for us to embrace! He’s still writing the story. Some comfort can only come through hardship – and for the sake of the larger story, we have to go through it and pass it on. Remember Joseph. And just think how much poorer we would be if we only knew the easy, comfortable parts of his story!


Pray this week:

Dear God, thank you for always being with me. Please help me to remember that hard times don’t always mean you are displeased with me. Help me to feel your love even when I’m in bad situations. I trust your plans for my life, even if I can’t see the bigger picture.


Do hard times mean God does not favor you? Talk with a caring Christian about it.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Love Serve and Stay United in Church

Life with Jesus

Written by GodLife on 14/08/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church, Service, Unity
…we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:5
The Church Jesus built has an enemy. That was clear from the time He introduced it: “…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) In less than 300 years the Roman Empire went from being its most vicious persecutor to acknowledging Jesus as Lord. Preaching “Christ crucified” – which was called “foolishness” by the gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23) – ended up being victorious over the “wisdom” sought by Greco-Roman culture. (1 Corinthians 1:22-30)  But that’s in the past. What about today? Do the “wise” and “strong” still search for “the wisdom of God?” (1 Corinthians 1:27, 30) Yes! Here are a few examples: 

Facebook’s founder admitted that he wants to imitate the church’s ability to make strong and unified groups. 
Guy Kawasaki, an American author and “Chief Evangelist” for an important computer company, attended the Billy Graham school of evangelism. 
After so many centuries, the Church is still effective and influential. How does it operate? What kind of organization, (or, as it has also been called, organism), is the Church of Christ?

How are we to love one another?
Romans 12:9 urges, “Let love be genuine.” How are we to do this? “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9) Impostors seek honor for themselves, taking advantage of others and tearing down the integrity of the group in the process. (As the problems in the Church of Corinth show.) True Christian love puts the other person’s best interests first. If you’re part of a group you can really trust, where you can be yourself, it works to build you into the person God means for you to be.

How are we to serve one another?
In  Romans 12:11-13 goes on to explain,  “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit.” Have you ever volunteered for something without really wanting to do it? Probably not if you were helping a really close friend. With our church family, God wants us to be energetic and passionate: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Prayer is necessary because Jesus Himself promised us we’d have trouble. “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” The longer you’re part of a church, the more likely it is you’ll have opportunity to help someone in a profound way: it may be giving them something they need, serving in place of someone missing in their life, or making space for them in your home or routine. In fact, it might end up being you who has the need, who experiences the loss or who needs a place to stay. You should turn to your church family before your government or unsaved friends. It makes a great witness to the world! (John 13:35)

How do we stay united?
The Church is called an “organism” – Paul compares it to a human body in 1 Corinthians 12. Each member has a unique function, but they all serve in unity. The word used in Romans 12:16 is “harmony.”  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another.” Harmony is a better word, since it makes it clear we’re not all the same. We’ll sometimes feel sadness and joy at different times – this gives us opportunity to support one another and to celebrate with one another. “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”

God wants us to always remember that our righteousness, our wisdom, all comes from Him, not ourselves. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:15–18) In saying this, Paul is not telling us to be peaceful until we’ve reached the limits of our patience. He’s telling us that a relationship with another person requires both to be peaceable, and that it’s not always possible to have a harmonious relationship with a disagreeable person. Don’t forget that Jesus taught us not to put a limit on our forgiveness. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Reminding ourselves of Jesus’ commandments should be a central part of what we do together as a church. As 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” We serve as His body “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:18) The life of the Body is Jesus’ life: His continued ministry on earth. It’s by His direction and in His power. Living this way is how we, like the early church, will be victorious over the world, and show them Christ is their only hope of salvation: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:23)

Pray this week:
Lord, give me the opportunity to serve with a joyful spirit. Amen. 

Do you want to know what it’s like to be in unity? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Who is God?

God is the Supreme Being who created the heavens and the earth. https://youtu.be/QxIRS0wSodQ

Who is God? God is the Supreme Being who created the heavens and the earth. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God is invisible; He is a Spirit. God is eternal; He has been from all eternity; He has no beginning and no end. God has all power and all authority. There is no power in heaven or on earth that has more power than God. God is all wise and all knowing; He knows everything and He has perfect wisdom. Picture the most wise and powerful person on earth; then multiply it times a million and you still only have a tiny picture of a little fraction of who God is.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

 

 

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His (God’s) lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:11-12

 

 

 

God Loves Us

 

The good news is this all powerful God is loving and kind. The Bible says God is patient; He is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” He cares for us just like a perfect and wonderful father would care for his own children. God loves us and is ready to forgive our sins when we sincerely ask Jesus Christ to be our Savior. God knows what is best for us; He will lead and guide us with His loving eyes on us. And most wonderful of all, He is ready to spend all eternity with us in heaven when we truly have accepted Jesus Christ. God has prepared a wonderful place for us in heaven forever.

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Jesus speaking) Matthew 28:18

Day 3: Knowing Jesus


What does it mean to you that this All-Powerful God is able to forgive sin and live within us? If you don't believe that's true, talk to someone about it.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

3 Facts About Being a Child of God

What exactly is this new identity we have in Christ Jesus? Here are three things that happen when you become a child of God.

Written by Joy on 25/01/2015

Series: Weekly Devotional


 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

 

Paul tells us; “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). So what exactly is this new identity we have in Christ Jesus? Here are three things that happen when you become a child of God.

You are Adopted by God

“You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). When you become a child of God, you are adopted. You may not have a good human father, but God is a perfect Father. He loves you no matter what. Nothing you do will change God’s love for you (Romans 8:35-39). Sin can hurt your relationship with God, but even if you sin you are still God’s child. God’s forgiving love is shown in the parable of “The Prodigal Son.” (Luke 15:11-32).

You Inherit God’s Blessings

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17). Becoming an heir means you’ll inherit God’s great riches and blessings. Jesus promised that he would secure a place for us in his Father’s House (John 14:2-3). As adopted children, he has chosen us and given us all the blessings of heaven (Ephesians 1:3,11). He has revealed his plans to us and enabled us to be heirs of His Kingdom.

You Begin to Reflect God’s Image

Children are often a reflection of their parents, in looks and in learned behavior. Since we are children of God, our Heavenly Father is the perfect role model. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children…..For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” (Ephesians 5:18-10). As a Christian, you represent the family of God. When you become a child of God, you’ll begin to reflect God’s image. You can give others an impression of God by your actions and words.

When you fully understand God’s love for you as His child, you will have power to live a life that pleases Him. Are you ready to become a child of God? Click here to learn how to join God’s family.


Pray this week:

to fully understand your position as God’s child.


What new truth did you learn about being God's child, and how did this encourage you?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Why a Child of God Should Not Worry

Worrying is a choice we make

Written by Gary Schneider on 07/08/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Obedience, Worry
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2
For some of us, worrying is part of our everyday life. However, God’s Word is very clear about us worrying, In Isaiah 43:2, it says: 

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

Did you know that worry is optional?
Yes, worrying is a choice we make. Here are three ways we can deal with worry in our lives: 

We can worry
We can ignore the stress, or
We can relax and trust God
 In Psalm 116:7, David reminded himself of God’s promises: “I said to myself, Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Like David, some days we need to say this to ourselves (out-loud) many times over. 

You can’t worry and trust God at the same time.  It’s impossible.
That’s not just good spiritual wisdom from the Lord; it applies to your health as well.  The Bible says in Proverbs 14:30 that a heart at peace is a healthy heart.  “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”

It’s not just what you eat that destroys your health—it’s what eats you.  You can have the best health plan around- eat fresh, healthy food in proper portions- but if you’re resentful against someone in your life or worry about the future, your health will suffer.

We deal with all sorts of worry in our lives.  Most of them are in these 5 areas:

We’ll be left alone
We won’t know what to do in the future
We won’t have what we need in the future
We’ll be hurt by something or someone in the future
We won’t have the strength to survive in the future
But there’s good news:  You don’t have to worry.  Worry is optional misery.  We have many things that impact our health that we cannot control, but we can control the amount we worry!

God has more than 7,000 promises in the Bible that are remedies to the 5 things mentioned above.  Here are a few of them that I encourage you to memorize so that you can speak these (out loud) to yourself, just as David did:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38-39)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11:28-29)

If you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you know the One who created your future.  His promises about your future give life. Ultimately, we have no need to worry.  The One who holds our future will walk with us through it.

Pray this week:
Lord, I lift up all my worries up to you.  Please grant me your peace and wisdom so that I can be obedient in your Word. Amen. 

In what area of your life are you struggling to trust God, causing unneeded worry? What promise from God will you claim to help you trust Him more and worry less?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What Kind of Work Does God Want You In?

How do we know we are doing the job God has created us to do?

Written by Gary Schneider on 09/10/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: CareerWorkVocation


For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Given the fact that we belong to God and that life is all about stewarding or managing what God has given us, the question naturally arises in the heart of a Christ-follower: “How do I choose a career that honors God and brings me true fulfillment?”

Let’s look at a few key Scripture verses to get started:

Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Isaiah 43:6-7“Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Psalm 139:13-16“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”   

These passages indicate that:

  1. God shaped you for a purpose,
  2. You are unique, and
  3. You are wonderfully complex.

About 20 years ago, a mentor of mine, Pastor Rick Warren, came up with a tool called SHAPE to talk about the five things that make you, you. SHAPE is the way God wired you for your life’s work. Understanding the SHAPE God uniquely gave you is the key to finding His will for your career.

SHAPE is: Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experiences

Spiritual gifts

The Bible teaches that God gives every believer certain spiritual gifts to be used in ministry and in your career (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 8, Ephesians 4). However, I believe spiritual gifts are only one part of the picture. Sometimes, spiritual gifts are emphasized to the point at which believers excuse themselves from service because they claim they are not 'gifted' in that area. But the absence of a spiritual gift is never an excuse to disobey a command such as the one to share the gospel. That's a responsibility we all share. Natural abilities that you were born with also came from God. So do your experiences and inborn personality traits. Your creator planned these factors as well.

Heart

The Bible uses the term “heart” to represent the center of your motivation, desires, interests, and inclinations. Your heart determines why you say the things you do (Matthew 12:34), why you feel the way you do (Psalm 34:7), and why you act the way you do (Proverbs 4:23).

Physiologically, each of us has a unique heartbeat. Each person has a slightly different pattern. Likewise, God has given each of us a unique emotional “heartbeat” that races when we encounter activities, subjects, or circumstances that interest us.

God had a purpose in giving you your inborn interests. Your emotional heartbeat reveals a very important key to understanding his intentions for your life. Don’t ignore your natural interests. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing. High achievers enjoy what they do.

Abilities

These are the natural talents that you were born with. Some people have a natural ability with words. They came out of the womb talking! Others are naturally good with numbers. They think mathematically and they can’t understand why you don’t understand calculus.

Exodus 31:3 gives an example of how God gives people “skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts ….” in order to accomplish his purposes. In this case, it was artistic ability to be used in building the Tabernacle. 

Personality

It’s obvious that God has not used a cookie cutter to create people. He made introverts and extroverts. He made people who love routine and those who love variety. Some people work best when given an individual assignment while others work better with a team.

There is no “right” or “wrong” temperament. We need all kinds of personalities to balance the church and the workplace and give it flavor.

Your personality will affect how and where you use your spiritual gifts and abilities. For instance, two people may have the same gift of evangelism, but if one is introverted and the other is extroverted, that gift will be expressed in different ways.

When you minister or work in a manner that is consistent with the personality God gave you, you experience fulfillment, satisfaction, and fruitfulness. It feels good when you do exactly what God made you to do.

Experiences

God never wastes an experience. Romans 8:28 reminds us of this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Consider five areas of experience that will influence the kind career you are best shaped for:

  • Educational experiences: What were your favorite subjects in school?
  • Vocational experiences: What jobs have you enjoyed and achieved results while doing?
  • Spiritual experiences: What have been the meaningful or decisive times with God in your life?
  • Ministry experiences: How have you served God in the past?
  • Painful experiences: What are the problems, hurts, and trials that you’ve learned from?

God sovereignly determined your shape for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it or reject it. “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” (Romans 9:20-21)

Instead of trying to reshape ourselves to be like someone else, we should celebrate the shape God has given to each of us.

Wise stewardship of your life begins by understanding your SHAPE. You will be the most effective and fulfilled in your life’s work when you use your spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of your heart’s desire and in a way that best expresses your personality and experiences.

What God made you to be determines what God intends for you to do.


Pray this week:

God, please show me how I can use the gifts you have given me in the way that best honors you and maximises the talents you’ve provided me. Thank you for your daily blessings in my life and walking through this with me. Amen.


What is one thing you have done in life that you have talent in and have found great joy in? How could this relate to a possible career choice?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Jesus said I will build My Church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it

How Does it Work?
Jesus said, "I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18). But how is Jesus building His Church?

Series: New Believers Guide

So how does the Church work? Jesus said, "I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18). But how is Jesus building His Church? Ephesians 4:16 tells us the answer: "As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow." Did you know that you are meant to play a crucial part in God’s family?

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42

Don't Miss Out!
Imagine for a moment a young boy who never wanted anything to do with his family. He never came out for family dinner, but just ran in his room when he got home from school. He never did any chores around the house, refused to clean his room, and pushed his brother whenever he saw him. In addition, this boy had it in him to become a great soccer player, but he never let his dad teach him how to play. Think of all that child would miss out on! Not to mention how the family would suffer as well.

"Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart." Acts 2:46

Just Like a Family, the Church has a Give-and-Take Relationship
— like how people need the oxygen trees give off and trees need the carbon dioxide people breathe out. Just the same, you need the Church, and the church also needs you. Look at mutual benefits of being in a church:

You are Protected
Just as a house keeps people protected from harm, so God's house keeps Christians safe from false teaching. God gave this instruction to pastors: "So guard yourselves and God's people. Feed and shepherd God's flock — his church, purchased with his own blood — over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders" (Acts 20:28).

You are Taught How to Follow Jesus
1 Peter 2:2-3 says, "Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness." Newborns can’t feed themselves; they need someone to help them. Pastors and teachers help you grow as a Christian as they feed you the spiritual food of the Bible and help you know God better.

You Learn How to Love Your Family
Jesus said, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:34-35). Being part of a church family helps you learn how to love others and their differences and show the love of Jesus to the world.

You Discover and Use Your Gifts
Have you ever had someone tell you that you are good at something you were unaware of? God has given you spiritual gifts, and your church family can help you discover them and learn how to use them. The Bible says, "Since you want spiritual gifts very much, seek most of all to have the gifts that help the church grow stronger" (1 Corinthians 14:12). As you use your gifts, the church is strengthened and grows.

You Need the Church and the Church Needs You
What are the gifts God has given you to build His Church? Maybe you haven't discovered them yet. As you join a spiritual family, you grow as a Christian and help the whole body of Christ to grow as well.

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

Watch the video  :   https://youtu.be/pM6Y9VZKmK4

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member