Prayer For The Persecuted

11th June

But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.”

Acts 12:9

Persecution for your faith can come in many different forms and from many different places. We are blessed in the Western church to boldly share and practice our faith in most countries without fear of physical persecution. Yet sadly, across the world, there are many who do not share that privilege. The early church, in the book of Acts, also went through severe persecution, not just from the ‘Gentiles’, the ‘outsiders’, but from those they would call brothers, ‘fellow Jews’!

Peter, as one of the early church leaders, had to bear the brunt of a lot of persecution, as he was often the one boldly standing up for his faith, and preaching the message of Jesus Christ. Yet what is so clear throughout the book of Acts, is that the believers did not pray for Peter’s release per se, but rather for him.

Often we think that praying for freedom for persecution, or from hard situations is the answer, but when we read of the prayers of the believers, we are challenged to perhaps refocus our prayers. Perhaps we should pray instead, that God may give the persecuted strength to endure, because even in the midst of persecution, something beautiful can be birthed. Take for example, Paul and Silas’ imprisonment in Philippi, in Acts 16. Through their imprisonment and an earthquake, the prison guard and his whole family were saved, baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Today, if you are going through some hardships, persecution, or you know of someone who is, why not try and pray, that God would give them the strength to endure it and birth something beautiful from it; that God may be glorified. After all, ‘in all things, God works good for His glory’. We might not always see the fruit of our suffering, but we can rest in the knowledge and peace, that God will always get the glory. Don’t give up. Something great is about to be birthed.

My Life Is In Safe Hands

10th May

O Lord, I give my life to You. I trust in You, my God!

Psalm 25:1-2a

With Jesus I can make it

With Him I know I can stand

No matter what may come my way

My life is in YOUR hands

Kirk Franklin – My life is Your hands

There is no-one more powerful than our God. Our lives, although just a mere speckle, here today and gone tomorrow, mean so much to our creator, that He sacrificed His only Son so that we would be set free from our punishment. God is incredible. He now holds us in the palm of His hands, protecting us, providing for us and guiding us into His perfect plan for our lives. He knows all our needs, He knows all our worries and all our weaknesses, yet He still wants to be part of our lives. He wants to walk with us, lift us up when we fall down, carry us when we can’t walk and support us when we feel alone. That is the kind of God we serve. He saves, redeems and restores. Friends, you are not alone. You are in the palm of God’s hands, your best supporter. Give yourself wholly to Him. Trust Him. You are HIS!

Run Like A Winner

9th May

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.

Hebrew 12:1-2

Usain Bolt can take pride in the fact that he is the recorded ‘fastest man on this earth’. He trained hard, most probably sacrificed many things, all for the sake of perfecting his sport and becoming the world’s best champion. Did you know that we too are in a race, the race of life. Yet this is not a race that needs to be won, in terms of finishing the fastest. This race is won with patience, integrity and God-like living. Our ‘training’ is imitating Christ in all we do, exercising spiritually (praying, worshipping and reading His word), sacrificing the empty pleasures of sin and living for Jesus wherever we are.

The most comforting thing, is that we can all be winners and be crowned champions. In fact we are already on the winning side. Moreover, when we feel like giving up we can look to those who have gone before us as our inspiration, ‘the Hero’s of faith’ mentioned in Hebrews, chapter 11; people who were just like us, warts and all, people who fell down but got back up, and persevered to the very end. Yet above all else, we can look to Jesus, who came to this earth, ran the race of life and completed it with excellence. He now sits championing us on, running by our side, encouraging us along the way and being our best supporter.

Wherever you are, re-focus on Jesus, fix your eyes on Him and press on. If you have fallen, don’t give up, instead, get back up. In addition, if there is something that is causing you to stumble, get rid of it. Give it to Jesus. Let the joy of what awaits us give us a new burst of energy. May we all run together, encouraging one another, keeping our eyes on the Author and Finisher of life itself. For what joy awaits those who finish well.

No Worries Mate

8th May

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in the barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?

Matthew 6:26

The freedom of the birds is stuff we dream of
To soar among the clouds and ride the wind
They never sow or reap or store for Winter
And yet your Father feeds and cares for them

Pocket change will buy them in the market
While the blood of God’s own Son was paid for you
How is it that you worry for tomorrow
And doubt that what he said is what he’ll do

DON FRANSICO – Consider

Friends, today’s devotional is a short and simple reminder to look at the birds. As Jesus said, they neither work, store or reap, yet they are always feed by our God. Whatever you may be worrying about, God is there for you and will provide for you. Just trust Him. You are more valuable to Him than birds. He bought you with His blood so how much more will He provide for you!

Name Above All Names

7th May

Through faith in the Name of Jesus, this man was healed – and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ Name has healed him before your very eyes…..Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene…

Acts 3:36, 10a

Friends, we have such a powerful weapon, freely accessible, at any time, yet instead of using it, we trust in mere human words or in our own ability to make things right! If we take scripture as literal, which we should, if we believe what is written, then we should have faith to trust in the powerful Name of Jesus Christ in every situation and in every circumstance. His Name is a powerful weapon that completely blows sickness, disease, weakness and sin back to where it came from. His Name is power.

In Jesus’ Name, from the early church times, until this day and forevermore, people are saved from their sins, healed even from death, released from bondages, set free from curses and filled with unspeakable peace and joy. Jesus never sleeps, or goes on holiday, or is never away from ‘His throne’. He is God all the time, and never will stop being. His Name is power. His Name is healing, comfort and security. His Name means ‘SAVIOUR’. Friends, let us too have the boldness that Peter had, to not overcomplicate things, but to clearly state, that it is only in JESUS’ NAME that men can be saved, healed and set free. There is no other Name by which men shall be saved. Call out His Name. JESUS JESUS JESUS! My Healer and Saviour.

Pray Bigger

3rd May

You can ask for anything in My Name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask Me for anything in My Name, and I will do it!

John 14:13-14

When Jesus left the Earth, He promised to be with us forever. He may have left in His physical form but through the power of the Holy Spirit, He now lives in our hearts. He is always with us in everything we do and say. This being said, because we are human, we still manage to confine God to our small imagination and images. Although He may live in our hearts, we tend to put false limitations to what God can do because of our finite understanding of Him. Yet if we are to take God’s word, in fact, Jesus’ very own words, as literal, then surely our prayers will start to become more radical and outrageously hopeful. The more we realise who lives in us, the more we realise His power and might. If the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead lives in us, and Jesus said that we can ‘ask for anything in His Name and He will do it’ then why don’t we start praying bigger prayers.

With man there are so many things that are impossible. Yet with God, in Jesus’ Name, through the power of the Holy Spirit, alive in us, NOTHING is impossible. We can pray for a change in our communities, for our bosses and colleagues to be transformed by the love of Jesus, for our world leaders to give their hearts, lives and actions to Jesus, for peace and unity to rule and reign. These things are impossible in our own eyes, but not with Jesus. Pray bigger, trust for more.

Inclusivity

1st May

“‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on my servants – men and women alike – and they will prophesy.’”

Acts 2:17-18

Have you noticed a rise in ‘Equal rights’ within our world? A call for both men and women to be paid equally. A call for migrants to be finally classed as true citizens of the country they live in. A call for equality between blacks and whites. A call for equal job opportunities for all. And all rightly so. Yet these are not original ideas. These calls are taken straight from the Bible. Throughout God’s word there is a call for equality and unity in Christ, no matter where you are from, the colour of your skin, gender and such like. In God’s eyes we are ONE.

After the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up to explain what was happening to the onlookers who thought Jesus’ disciples and followers were all drunk. As Peter quotes from the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32), a passage written many years before this event even happened, notice the wording he uses to explain God’s idea of inclusivity; ‘I will pour out My Spirit on ALL PEOPLE, YOUR SONS & DAUGHTERS, YOUR YOUNG & OLD MEN, EVEN ON MY SERVANTS, MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE’. God shows no partiality, no favouritism, He is not racist, He is not sexist, or even Ageist. Everyone is included in His love and no one is excluded. He gave His Spirit, to all people. You are included in that wherever you are from, whatever status your are and however old you are. You are included.