Hope FM Activate Devotion
1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything… Acts 9:1-9
Can anything that is all old, worn out and written of be of any use again? Well, I once read in a magazine that a 60-year-old hotel in Kansas was being renovated into apartments. A rusty ship that was docked in Philadelphia for almost two years was being restored and may become a hotel or a museum. Hangar 61, an admired piece of architecture at the old Stapleton Airport in Colorado, was being transformed into a church. Each structure had a specific use that is no longer viable; yet someone was able to see promise and a new purpose in each one.
If structures can find new life and purpose, why not people? Think about these men in the Bible whose lives took an unexpected direction. There was Jacob, a surplunter who wrestled with the angel of the Lord and his name changed (Gen. 32) and he became the father of the nation of Israel; Moses, the murderer, who talked to a burning bush (Ex. 3) and God used him to deliver the children of Israel; Paul, the tormentor of Christians who met with God and was temporarily blinded (Acts 9)and he became one of the greatest apostles and writer and many others. Their stories were different, but all had a change of purpose when their encounter with God sent them down a new path.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
We too may experience circumstances that change the course of our lives. But God reminds us of this: I loved you before you loved Me. I want to give you hope and a future. Give all your worries to Me because I care about you.
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7;
We love Him, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19);
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10).
Our practical application: As you cling to God’s promises, ask Him to reveal new direction and purpose for your life. God has a purpose for your life, So what you have to do Is follow Him, believing that He’ll keep directing you. Keep your eyes on the Lord and you won’t lose sight of life’s purpose.
Sunday, 30th October 2011
Hope Fm Activate Devotion:
One day when I was waiting to board a plane, a stranger who had overheard me mention that I was a minister began to describe to me his life before he met Christ. He said it was marked by “sin and self-absorption. Then I met Jesus.” I listened with interest to a list of changes he had made to his life and good deeds he had done. But because everything he told me was about his busyness for God and not his fellowship with God, I wasn’t surprised when he added, “Frankly, pastor, I thought I’d feel better about myself by now; but I am not.”
I think the New Testament character Martha would have understood that stranger’s observation. Having invited Jesus to be a guest at her home, she set about doing what she thought were the important things. But this meant she couldn’t focus on Jesus. Because Mary wasn’t helping, Martha felt justified asking Jesus to chide her. It’s a mistake many of us make: We’re so busy doing good that we don’t spend time getting to know God better.
The bible says in Luke 10:39-40 “She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving;”
Many times we are engulfed in and carried away by the cares of this world and we forget the essential and most important things that we should mind about in life. Accepting Jesus Christ into your life is not just enough… there is need to get to know him more in a personal way and this can only be through spending time with him at his feet just as Mary did. READING his word reveals unto us His Character and who He is and spending time in PRAYER; we get to hear his voice and get direction and his will for our lives.
My advice to my new airplane friend came from the core of Jesus’ words to Martha in Luke 10:41-42. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I said to him: “Slow down and invest yourself in knowing God; let His Word reveal Himself to you.” If we’re too busy to spend time with God, we’re simply too busy for growth.
Our practical application: Take time away from your busy schedules and create time to bond with God and have fellowship with Him. Always remember – Our heavenly Father longs to spend time with His children.
Saturday 29th October 2011
24“Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels. 26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” 27The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.” 30When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. 31 He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!” 2 Kings 6:24-31
The events of this past weekend left me all drained, tired and thinking why it had to happen the way it happened and more so why at this point in time. Ever been on the road and the car decides to break down on you in the middle of nowhere? Make it more worse in a state that you cant push it or even tow because being a manual car, you can’t change the gear and you do not know which gear is engaged… That’s where I was. Come the following day, the gear box was fixed but now it develops injector problems and cant pull gasoline from the tank to the carburetor and three times, I thought I had ran out of gas but on examination, I realized that there was so much gas in the tank just that the car couldn’t pull to gas to the carburetor. By this time, I had spent all the cash I had and nothing left, not even a dime. Sometimes circumstances, situations and issues of life push us to a corner and we are at a place where we do not know what we are supposed to do next.
At this moment in time, you can’t make a move to the front or even go back from where you have come from because you are more or less corned. The issues and circumstances surrounding you have put you in a cage or better still confined you to a place you can’t make a move; you just have space to make a few steps to the right or left. You are just like a tethered cow or dog. A fierce as you are, you can’t cause any harm to anyone because you are tethered and confined to the length of the rope/chain. This will make you just stay there and you won’t be able to know much or progress because you are just confined to one place.
Samaria was a well fortified city with strong and tall high walls surrounding it. These walls were to protect the city from foreign attacks from the enemy. They had one main gate to enter and exit the city and once the gate was close, if you are outside, you cant get in and if you are in, you cant get out. Ben-Hadad the king of Aram lays a siege on Samaria and his army camps outside the city wall such that no one could get out to go and transact any form of business outside the city. The bible tells us that there came famine in the city because the people ate and consumed all they had stocked in their houses till they had nothing more left. The only remaining thing was the animals they had and the bible talks of Donkeys and the dung of doves. This means that they had eaten all the cows, goats, sheep, camels name them and what was remaining were the birds and donkeys.
I do believe that in the first days when the Samaritans were besieged, they were not worried because they knew that were in the city and they were secure. They knew that the army of the King of Aram will just stay there and when they get tired, they will go back to their land but the bible tells us that the famine came and little did they know that their food reserves would run out. Many times, this is how many of us behave. The bible tells us that “Curb every passion, Be self-controlled and be on the alert. Your great accuser, the Devil, is going about like a roaring lion to see whom he can devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 WNT) We do things day-in, day-out that are not pleasing to the Lord; we walk in sin and unfaithfulness before the Lord and we think that all is well but there is more to that and we need to know that all is not well and take care of the issues that are not right.
There are small things that are happening in our lives and we just think that they are normal or just there for a season and we do not take care of them. We assume them but in the real sense, they are symptoms or indicators of a looming danger and something bigger that is happening and we need to be alert as Peter is calling us to Soberness, Self control and alertness to the detail of everything that is happening in our lives. The devil wants to “besiege” us and confine us in a manner that we will be rendered helpless. Imagine when someone gets to an extent of eating her own child to satisfy his/her hunger which is just for a moment… and because of that, we loose our values. Once the devil manages to get hold of us, we are done.
You need to realize that you will never reach your destiny because you are besieged. Remember the tethered dog? It cant be of any help even if it sees any danger because it is tethered; it can only go as far as the length of the chain that has been used to tether it. In the same manner, the devil gets hold of us and holds us hostage in some habits and situations and whenever he wants us, he will just pull the rope and brings us back to himself. We may not realize that this is happening unless we are spiritually alert. We may just see the situations that we are in as just normal circumstances; the issues we are struggling with as normal struggles; sins that we are falling into just as normal sins not knowing that this is just but an indicator or a looming/coming famine in our lives that we need to address. We do not realize that we are “besieged”.
We need to realize that whenever we are under “siege”; things will seem normal at first but when the situations worsens, that’s when we will dash to look for help. When the women were discussing who’s child to eat first, they hadn’t thought of one would play a dirty game on the other. There are Four things that I learn from this portion of scripture that we need to learn as Christians. They are symptoms or indicators of a looming famine in a Christian’s life. Sit down, look and evaluate your life and see if you have any of these symptoms and then you will know if you are “besieged” or not. When we are under “siege”:
- The Devil makes things that do not have any valuable in them become more valuable to you (vs. 25): ~> Dung is not valued unless it is being used as manure. Donkeys are not valued as food for human beings but they are useful as beasts of burden. But imagine when the head of donkey goes for 80 shekels and dove’s dung going for 5 shekels? The most invaluable things find value. There are things that you look at as a Christian and they are not of benefit to you as Christian. They do not edify you at all; but when the same things that do not have value find value in your eyes and you start craving and running after them, then know that you are “besieged.”
- Valuable things become Valueless to you (vs. 28-29): ~> A child is of great value. A child speaks of the future generations that will come. A child propagates the family lineage once the parents are dead… but this woman didn’t value her child no wonder she agreed to give her child to be eaten. The other woman valued her child no wonder she was so cunning and evil to eat the child of the other woman and hid her child. Paul reminds us that “For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) What will you value more? Is it the things of this world or your eternity? Jesus asks the question; what will it profit a man to gain all there is in the world and lose his soul in eternal hell? (Matthew 16:26) Choose for yourself… what to value.
- You only think of TODAY and not Tomorrow: ~> (vs. 28b)~> The woman said to the other one… let’s eat your child TODAY.. and tomorrow we eat the other. This woman didn’t think of after we eat mine and hers, what next? Again, they didn’t think of the generations that would live after them though these children.. Once you are under “siege” the devil makes you see that the issue at hand is more important more than what is ahead. You look to solve the need at hand and you do not think of tomorrow… Remember, “Today is the currency to buy your Tomorrow”.
- People blame one another (vs. 30-31): ~> The king was so fast to blame Elisha the man of God for the famine and the women eating their children. He forgot that they were under siege by the King of Aram. When you are under “siege” you will always find people to lay/throw blames at for our problems or even wrong decisions and choices that we make. Do not blame anyone, instead, bear your burden and handle your mistakes. Never hip them on someone else.. Carry your own cross.
Brothers and sisters, I do not know the state that you are in right now as you read this devotion… You may be at a place where the Samaritans were. All your reservoirs are depleted and you do not know how or where to refill from. You are caged in a situation that you do not see how or when you will get out of it. You have an habit that you want to leave or you are soaked in a certain sin that you really want to leave but you can’t… I want to encourage you today. All is not lost. Jesus is calling out to you. His arms are wide stretched open to hold you and pull you off the muggle and miry clay that you are stuck in.. All you need is to reach out to him.
Isaiah 55:1 says "Listen! Whoever is thirsty, come to the water! Whoever has no money can come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk. You don’t have to pay; its free!” The savior is calling… come to the cross and surrender all your burdens there and you will be set free from the cage and siege that you are in. Do not fear… Come and lay it down at the altar at Jesus feet; Just as Mary did, she came with all her filthiness at Jesus feet and she was cleansed… (Mark 14:3-9) come and leave it at his feet.