“Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered Himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then He sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand.”
There is no sin or nothing you have done that God’s grace cannot reach. Even the things you may have done that you can’t possibly think God will forgive you for. Perhaps there are things that you have done in your life, that you feel are so unthinkably wrong, that God actually despises you for it. Or perhaps you are so embarrassed that you can’t even talk to God about it.
Well, if that is you friends, know that there is Good News. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, covered every part of our life and included even our darkest secrets, even the ones we bury with our shame. He died for everything. There is no part of our lives that God’s grace cannot reach. His love reaches into the deepest part of our souls, forgiving, healing and setting us free. The only thing we have to do, once confessed to Him, is to let Him. His sacrifice was once for all time, and then He sat down because His work was finished. We now can enjoy the fruits of Jesus’ labour. His love, forgiveness and unlimited grace. That’s the Good News. That’s the Gospel. And YOU are included in it!
“If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your home….Do not repay evil for evil. .. Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.”
PROVERBS 17:13, ROMANS 12:17A, 21
It almost feels natural to want to get revenge when someone hurts or offends us. We want the upper-hand, almost as if we feel we deserve it because of the wrong done to us. There is however, no end to revenge. The only way bitterness, revengeful thoughts and hurt is overcome, is by forgiveness and release. The longer we hold on to grudges and have a desire to seek revenge, the longer we ourselves suffer. Jesus came to bring peace, to restore broken relationships and to show us that we don’t have to live in animosity with each other, but can live in peace and harmony. The Bible tells us that the only way to overcome evil is by doing good; and we do good because we have a good good Father who lives in us. Let His light shine in you and out of you. Let His nature become yours. Let Him deal with all your hurt and offence and replace it with love for all people. Don’t hold on to bitterness, it will only eat YOU up. Let it go and give it to God.
“…He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names.”
When we pray ‘Lord, Your name is above all names’ or ‘You are the King and kings and Lord of lords’ do we realise what we are actually saying. We are lifting the Name of God above every thing, every situation, every addiction, every pain, every worry and every power both in Heaven and on Earth. Why can we do this? Because God is above all. He is not in the same level as these things. He is above it – yet He cares, yet He listens and yet He answers. When you pray to the King above all Kings, remember who it is you are praying. Remember His position and your position in Him. He is the authority above all things.
“Give us today the food we need..YOUR Heavenly Father already know all your needs.”
MATTHEW 6:11, 32b
Today’s devotion is simple. We all have needs, wants and desires. Yet instead of letting those things consume our thoughts and cause us to worry, how about just relaxing in the provision of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father. Firstly, God knows all we need before we even ask, and secondly, what He gives, is from His unlimited storehouses. Whether that be grace, love, finances, or food, every good gift comes from Him and is freely available to all His children if we just ask. Even Jesus Himself, in His model prayer, tells us to freely and boldly ask for all we need. He is not hiding His provision but wants to freely give to all those who ask. Don’t be afraid, don’t be shy, ask God in Jesus’ Name and He will provide all your needs. It is weakness to ask, but strength to trust.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Jesus, in His wonderful ‘Sermon On The Mount’, shared a lot of key gems to help shape the disciples spiritual lives. The ‘Sermon On The Mount’ also encourages, provokes and challenges believers worldwide to this day and most assuredly, in many more years to come. Jesus’ simple teachings are straight to the point and highlight our need for Him in all we do, in our everyday lives. Perhaps the simplicity and directness of Jesus’ teachings is why they are so popular and often used in sermons worldwide.
One of the gems found in this sermon, is today’s key verse. Jesus highlights to His disciples, the need for trust in Him, for all their provision, and to not worry. He encourages the disciples to not worry about anything. We too are encouraged to not worry about tomorrow’s problems. However, why is that? Is it because our lives our completely in Jesus’ hands, so therefore we don’t need to worry about anything? Well, yes, for sure. Jesus is our burden carrier, our provider and our hope. But on an even simpler level, which Jesus highlights too, is that “today’s trouble is enough for today”. In other words, why further burden yourselves with things that are out of your control tomorrow, and with things you haven’t even reached to yet. It is almost like Jesus is saying, ‘yes tomorrow may have many worries, but take each day at a time. Give your burdens daily to Me and let’s work through them day by day’.
Isn’t that a refreshing perspective. If we look at today’s worries and tomorrow’s worries, of course our stress levels will rise, and our Godly perspective on them will start to become blurry. Yet if we take one day at a time, each day giving that day’s worries and troubles to Jesus, don’t our worries become less stressful?! Moreover, when we give our daily worries and struggles to Jesus, the load becomes manageable as we invite Jesus into all we are doing, giving Him our daily worries and stresses for that day.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!”
When people read this verse, it can often be confused with a notion that we should, as Christians, walk around constantly with a smile on our face, even when faced with sad news, tough situations, and gloomy circumstances. Although in Heaven, one day there will be an end to suffering, pain and sadness, that day is not yet. The reality is, we still live in a fallen world. Yet God has redeemed US. He has poured out Heaven over and in us. This means that we can have joy in tough and gloomy circumstances. It does mean that we don’t have to surrender to depression and sadness but can have joy.
What Paul was saying here, was that even in situations beyond our control, situations that can lead to sadness and sorrow, we still can have joy and peace, not in the situation, but in knowing that God is in control. It is not wrong to mourn or to be sad. Jesus too had times of sadness when He walked the earth. Can you imagine the sadness and sorrow He must have felt being crucified by the people He created. Yet the Bible tells us that it was His joy to suffer and endure the cross for us. This is not the Bible contradicting itself but rather, in our hearts, we can have joy, just like Jesus did, knowing that God is working, even in the midst of a storm, and knowing His ways our higher than what we can see in the physical. Let your trust in Jesus, be the anchor in the storm. Let your hope in Him, be your joy in pain and sadness.