“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Matthew 6:6 NKJV
Do you have a favorite “secret place” to pray? It should be somewhere quiet, peaceful and free from distractions–for example, beside a creek, on your back porch, inside your car or even inside a closet (like in the movie “War Room”). Jesus frequently prayed on a mountain, Peter prayed on a rooftop, Daniel prayed three times a day in his upper room. Our prayer lives will be greatly enhanced if we designate and habitually escape to one or more private places. Why? Doing so will better enable us to give God our undivided attention as we draw near to His throne.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Daniel 6:10 NKJV
Daniel knew he might get in trouble. In fact, he knew he might die. Refusing to cease from his daily prayers would likely result in his capture and death, as the freshly minted Persian law indicated. Did that stop him? No. Daniel continued praying as he had since early days: three times a day, with his windows open toward Jerusalem. What a wonderful example! Are you in the habit of daily prayer? Do you continue in that habit regardless of any distractions or threats that might stand in your way? If so, great job! You have a prayer life like Daniel’s. If not, then work to make prayer a priority in your life. Just as Daniel opened his windows toward Jerusalem, open your heart toward Heaven, daily. There’s no better day to start than today.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:6-7 NASB
Do you ever feel unimportant? Do you ever feel unimportant before God? If so, today’s passage can encourage you. God cares so much about you that He knows every hair on your head. They are all numbered, every single one of them. God is mindful of every last detail about you because He places tremendous value on you. No matter how forgotten you might feel, you are important to God. So don’t fret about life. Never fear. God will take care of you, just as His beloved Son promised.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 NASB
As you are well aware, labor is life. Though we may grumble about our labor, God assures us it is a blessing. There is great reward in hard work, therefore we should do whatever our hand finds to do with all our might. Enjoy the times of rest God gives you, but when it is time to get back to work, do so diligently and without complaint. Do the best job you possibly can, whether in your workplace, at school, in your home or in anything else your hand finds to do. No matter how busy life gets, however, do not neglect to labor with all your might for the Kingdom of God (Luke 10:2). The results of such effort will far exceed any temporal reward, leading to eternal rest from all your labor (Rev. 14:13).
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22
A young child decides to run away from home, so he stocks up his wheelbarrow with the necessities of life and leaves the house, only to get to the end of the street and realize he has nowhere to go. After standing there for a little while, he turns around, head drooping, and walks slowly back home. Did you ever do something like that as a child?
This scenario serves as a parable for the spiritual failure many Christians experience. They sincerely attempt to flee from youthful lusts but without any moral destination in mind. In other words, they try to stop sinning without replacing their bad habits with godly virtues like righteousness, faith, love and peace. If this describes you, you will always struggle with sin. Like the child in the parable, you will find yourself leaving your lusts only to return slowly to them. This cycle will continue to repeat itself until you learn to thoroughly map out your get-away plan by setting positive moral goals, then pro-actively pursuing those goals while refraining from sin. Do this, and you’ll not only flee from lusts, you’ll stay gone.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Have you ever been told any of the following: “you’re too poor”; “you’re the wrong color”; “you don’t have the right background”; “you’re too old”? If so, you know what discrimination feels like. Whether people say these things out loud to you or not, you are in fact being labeled all the time and are being looked down on by those who think they’re above you or better than you. Such is the norm in the world. However, God does not tolerate this pecking order mentality among His people. When God looks at us, He does not see color, race, ethnicity, gender, age, or social status; He sees souls, period. And so must we!
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Our God is a God of light. Creation was the first time God issued forth light in order to dispel darkness, but not the last. Throughout history He has illumined His children with spiritual light, providing His word as a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path (Psa. 119:105). He sent forth His Son as the Light of men (John 1:4). In fact, God Himself is our light and our salvation (Psa. 27:1). Therefore, we should walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8) so that we might shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15). Praise God for always speaking light into existence. Without His light, we would be lost and blind, directionless and despairing. With His light, the path to salvation is clear and, as a result, our faces radiate with the hope of the glory of the Lord, whom we will have for an everlasting light (Isa. 60:9).
As they were going along the road, they came to some water. The eunuch said, “Look, there’s some water. What keeps me from being baptized?”
Acts 8:36, ISV
The eunuch had just heard the Gospel for the very first time from Philip and had learned what to do to be saved. When he saw a body of water, he wanted to know if there was anything keeping from having his sins washed away in baptism. How encouraging it is to read about this excitement and eagerness of the eunuch to become a Christian!
If you are not a baptized believer, the eunuch’s question — “What keeps me from being baptized?” — applies to you as well. What keeps you from being baptized? If you believe in the Lord Jesus, confess His name, and repent of your sins, there is nothing keeping you from baptism. Or is there? Perhaps there are motivational barriers that are preventing you, such as the fear of commitment, the fear of failure, the feeling of inadequacy, or the lack of desire. Whatever might be keeping you from baptism, realize that it is a barrier that is preventing you from being saved. Examine your heart today, and remove any barrier that might be standing between you and your salvation.
“Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:7-8, NASB
You may have heard of the book The Five Love Languages. The basic concept is that people show and understand love differently. Some individuals’ primary love language is quality time, for example. Others speak the love language of physical touch. There are five love languages altogether. In order to have a happy marriage, each spouse must learn to speak the primary love language of their spouse.
The same is true in our relationship with God. In order to please God, we must learn to speak His primary love language, which is faith-based obedience. Some believers try to invent love languages for God. For instance, they think God’s love language is acts of merit. Nothing could be further from the truth. God sees straight through man’s shallow efforts to somehow earn God’s love through outward actions. Examine your heart today to see whether you are truly speaking God’s love language. Only then will He know that you genuinely love Him.