“Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]”
JOHN 14:27 AMP
You have probably read health articles that say that the cause of many medical conditions today is stress. Stress can produce all kinds of imbalances in your body. It can cause you to age prematurely, give you rashes, cause gastric pains and even hinder fertility. To put it succinctly, stress kills!
Beloved, stress is not from God. Peace is! Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. Notice Jesus’ second statement. He says that if you want to walk in His peace, then don’t allow your heart to be troubled or afraid.
Now, you do this by not feeding on negative reports that trouble or put fear in your heart. If your doctor has given you a negative report, don’t keep thinking about it. Meditate on the fact that by Jesus’ stripes you are healed. If the news on television is making you worried about the economy and your job security, don’t keep watching it. Meditate on the fact that God supplies all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Beloved, let not your heart be troubled. Rather, let it be strengthened and established in the love and wonderful promises of God for you!
Habits Of A Healthy Mind
David C. McCasland
Trust in the Lord, and do good. —Psalm 37:3
There is much said today about improving our health by developing habits of optimism, whether facing a difficult medical diagnosis or a pile of dirty laundry. Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, says we should try activities that build joy, gratitude, love, and other positive feelings. We know, however, that more is required than a general wish for good feelings. We need a strong conviction that there is a source of joy, peace, and love upon which we can depend.
Psalm 37:1-8 gives positive actions we can take as an antidote to pessimism and discouragement. Consider these mood boosters: Trust in the Lord, do good, dwell in the land, feed on His faithfulness (v.3); delight in the Lord (v.4); commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him (v.5); rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, do not fret (v.7); cease from anger, forsake wrath (v.8).
Because they are connected to the phrase “in the Lord,” those directives are more than wishful thinking or unrealistic suggestions. It’s because of Jesus, and in His strength, that they become possible.
Our one true source for optimism is the redemption that is in Jesus. He is our reason for hope!
Lord, we can’t manufacture hope, and even if
we tried it wouldn’t be real. Help us to find
hope in You because of what Jesus has done
for us. We know You are walking beside us.
When there’s bad news, our hope is the good news of Jesus.
Psalm 37 is one of the many “wisdom psalms”—psalms that give instructions on how to live wisely. In this psalm, David deals with the perennial perplexity of the injustice of life—the wicked go unpunished while the righteous suffer. He tells the righteous not to fret, be envious, or be angry, for God will ultimately bring justice (vv.1-2,9-10,20,35-36,38). Instead, they are to be patient, to trust, to delight, to rest fully in God, and to continue to live godly lives (vv.3-8). For the “Lord upholds the righteous” (v.17), takes delight in them (v.23), and will not forsake them (vv.28-29).
Bible in a Year:
Exodus 36-38; Matthew 23:1-22
Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. —Luke 10:42
Every day I drive the same highway to and from the office, and every day I see an alarming number of distracted drivers. Usually they’re talking on the phone or texting, but I have also seen people reading the newspaper, putting on makeup, and eating a bowl of cereal while trying to maneuver a car at 70+ miles per hour! In some circumstances, distractions are fleeting and harmless. In a moving vehicle, they can kill.
Sometimes distractions can be a problem in our relationship with God. In fact, that was the concern Jesus had for His friend Martha. She “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” for a meal (Luke 10:40 niv). When she complained about her sister Mary’s lack of help (apparently due to her devotion to Christ and His teaching), Jesus told her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (vv.41-42).
Martha’s distractions were well-intentioned. But she was missing the opportunity to listen to Jesus and enjoy His presence. He is deserving of our deepest devotion, and He alone can fully enable us to overcome any of life’s distractions.
Lord, I want a heart like Mary’s—that takes
time to sit at Your feet to learn from You and be
close to You. And I want a heart like Martha’s—
that takes time to serve You, the One I love.
If you want to be miserable, look within; distracted, look around; peaceful, look up.
Martha’s distractions in Luke 10 brought a loving challenge from Jesus. But after the death of her brother Lazarus (John 11:17-27), we see that she was fully focused on Him. She affirmed her confidence that Jesus had a special relationship with the Father (v.22) and then declared her belief in the coming resurrection (v.24). Ultimately, she voiced her clear conviction that Jesus is the Son of God (v.27).
Bible in a Year:
Exodus 19-20; Matthew 18:21-35
David H. Roper
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8
Some years ago my son Brian and I agreed to haul some equipment into an isolated Idaho backcountry ranch for a friend. There are no roads into the area, at least none that my truck could negotiate. So Ralph, the young ranch manager, arranged to meet us at road’s end with a small wagon hitched to a pair of mules.
On the way into the ranch, Ralph and I started chatting and I learned that he lived on the property year-round. “What do you do in the winter?” I asked, knowing that winters in the high country were long and bitter and that the ranch had no electricity or telephone service, only a satellite radio. “How do you endure it?”
“Actually,” he drawled, “I find it right peaceable.”
In the midst of our pressure-filled days, we sometimes crave peace and quiet. There is too much noise in the air; there are too many people around. We want to “come aside . . . and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Can we find a place to do this?
Yes, there is such a place. When we take a few moments to reflect on God’s love and mercy and cast our burdens on Him, we will find in that quiet God-filled space the peace that the world has taken away.
There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God. —McAfee
Spending quiet time with God will bring quiet rest.
Jesus is concerned with our physical health. He showed this when He invited the disciples to come away and rest because “they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31). Rest from work and time to refresh our minds and bodies is important. Jesus is also concerned for our spiritual health and invites all those who are weary and burdened to come to Him for rest (Matt. 11:28).
Bible in a Year:
Exodus 12-13; Matthew 16
Kindness Gone Viral
Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. —Mark 10:14
News of a simple act of kindness on a New York subway has gone around the world. A young man, head covered by a hooded sweatshirt, fell asleep on the shoulder of an older passenger. When someone else offered to wake the young rider, the older man quietly said, “He must have had a long day. Let him sleep. We’ve all been there.” Then he let the tired fellow rider sleep on his shoulder for the better part of the next hour, until the older man gently eased away to get up for his stop. In the meantime, another passenger snapped a photograph and posted it on social media, and it went viral.
The man’s kindness seems to resonate with what we all long for—the kindness that reflects the heart of God. We see this gentleness in Jesus when His friends tried to protect Him from the noise and bother of little children. Instead, Jesus insisted on taking the little ones in His arms and blessing them (Mark 10:16). In the process, He invited all of us to trust Him like a little child (vv.13-16).
Jesus lets us know that all of us are safe in His presence. Whether awake or asleep, we can lean on Him. When we’re exhausted, He provides a safe place for us to rest.
Under His wings, I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild;
Still I can trust Him—I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me and I am His child. —Cushing
God is a safe resting place.
Jesus demonstrated that true faith in God was not bound by cultural concerns. In a patriarchal society, He met and talked with women (see John 4). He ate and drank with those who were considered impure (see Luke 7:36-30; 17:11-19; 19:1-10). He even embraced children, when most would push them aside (Mark 10:13-14). Jesus didn’t simply say that He had come to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10); He demonstrated it by showing that God’s love is open to everyone.
Bible in a Year:
Genesis 36-38; Matthew 10:21-42
Join me in reading Today’s Word with Joel and Victoria Osteen:
REST FOR YOUR SOUL
God wants to give you rest. He wants to refresh and restore your soul — your mind, will and emotions. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “busyness” of life, and before long, your mind, will and emotions are so “spun up” that you can barely think straight! But even in the hustle of life, you can find rest, ease and relaxation. God wants you to enjoy your life. That’s why He tells us to come to Him. God wants to take care of everything that concerns you so that you can find rest in your innermost being.
Imagine how you would feel if someone came up to you today and said, “Give me all of your monthly bills; I’m going to pay them.” You’d get pretty excited, wouldn’t you? But it wouldn’t happen until you did your part to actually hand that person your bills. They can’t pay them for you if you never release them. In the same way, when we release our cares and concerns to God, He promises to take care of them.
Today, choose to release your cares to the Lord. Let Him fill you with His peace and joy. Receive the rest that He promises and enjoy the fulfillment and blessing He has for you!
Father in heaven, today I humbly come to You. I choose to cast my cares on You so that I can live in Your rest. Thank You for Your goodness to me. Help me find ways to share Your goodness with those around me today in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today I am reading day 238 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
The Spirit’s Rest And Refreshing
Isaiah 28:11–12 11For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,12to whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” and, “This is the refreshing”…
To counter stress, many people resort to tobacco, alcohol or tranquilizers. These things, besides having harmful side effects, are costly and often lead to addictions.
God has something better for us. It is powerful, costs us nothing and has no harmful side effects. He calls it “the rest” and “the refreshing”. What is He referring to? Speaking in tongues — “For with stammering lips and another tongue…”
One of our church members was on medication for nine long years for a host of problems: severe depression, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, chronic sinusitis, gastritis and panic attacks. Every day, he had to take up to 30 tablets to keep these conditions under control.
He suffered from such bad sinusitis that he had to visit the hospital regularly to drain the mucus. He could not sleep much — at most three hours — even with sleeping pills. And because of his panic attacks, he could not go to work and seldom left his house. His wife had to look after him and their three kids. The side effects of the long-term medication also caused his physique to balloon.
One day, he felt God prompting him to pray in tongues as often as he could. He obeyed. The moment he started to pray in tongues, even though it was just a few syllables, he felt a rest, a peace. This encouraged him to pray in tongues more. And the more he prayed in tongues, the more rest and peace he felt.
His sinuses began to clear up and he was healed of gastritis. Slowly, the fears and panic attacks left him too. He also started to have quality sleep without the sleeping pills! The Lord even taught him how he was to eat — two meals a day, but to eat whatever he wanted. Today, he is back to his normal weight!
Through praying in tongues regularly, God delivered this man from a host of long-term illnesses. My friend, this is the rest and the refreshing which God has promised us. So start praying in tongues regularly, and let His rest and peace saturate your entire being!
Thought For The Day
Pray in tongues regularly and let God’s rest and peace saturate your entire being.
Today I am reading day 213 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Have You Taken Your Love Break Today?
John 15:9 9“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
In your workplace, you probably take coffee breaks, lunch breaks, tea breaks and definitely toilet breaks. Why not do the same in your spiritual life — take time out for breaks, especially love breaks?
What is a love break? It is the time you take to enjoy and feed on the love of Jesus for you. At any time during the day, wherever you are, find a quiet spot and feed on the love of Jesus. Just sit down and talk to Him. Say to Him, “Thank You, Jesus, for loving me. Nothing is going to happen to me that You don’t already know about. Jesus, when I could not save myself, You died for me. You gave up Your life for me. What else will You not do for me!”
Such love breaks are typified in the Old Testament by Aaron the high priest and his sons eating the breast of the animal sacrificed. (Leviticus 7:31) The breast of the animal speaks of the love of Jesus. Today, you are a priest to God. (Revelation 1:6) So spend time feeding on the love of Jesus for you, and see yourself nourished, strengthened and sustained by His love. Jesus is our High Priest today. This means that His food is in loving us. He enjoys loving us and is also “nourished” by His love for us.
But do not forget that the breast was roasted by fire (Leviticus 7:35), which speaks of God’s judgment on Jesus as He hung on the cross because He was carrying our sins. So as you feed on Jesus’ love for you, see Him loving you at the cross. When things around you are not going well, do not allow the devil to say to you, “If God loves you, how come these things are happening to you?” My friend, interpret God’s love for you based on the cross, not on your present circumstances.
During the day, when you are hard at work, when busyness sets in, when problems pile up or when discouragement comes, just stop everything and take a love break with Jesus! Let Jesus love you. Let yourself enjoy being loved by Him. Lean on His bosom, abide in His love and be nourished by His love for you!
Thought For The Day
Be nourished by God’s love for you today!
Today I am reading day 182 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Rest And Find God’s Grace
Luke 2:40 40And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
The verse says that the grace of God was upon Jesus. The Bible also says that where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. (Romans 5:20) And when you put the two together, you may find yourself asking, “If the grace of God was upon Jesus, does it mean that He sinned?”
No, Jesus did not sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) So there must be another explanation as to why God’s grace was upon Jesus. There must be another explanation as to why someone can abound in God’s grace even when he has not sinned.
Let’s look at the word “grace” when it is first mentioned in the Bible. Genesis 6:8 says that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”. Noah’s name means “rest”. So the verse is telling us that rest found grace. In other words, when you rest, you find grace!
So grace was upon Jesus because His life was a life of rest and trust in His Father. He said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself. He can do only what He sees His Father doing.” (John 5:19)
Likewise, grace comes upon you when you rest and trust God. If you have a wayward child, stop nagging at him and trust God to handle the problem. Say, “Jesus, I commit this boy into Your hands. I cannot control him. You can.” If you have a persistent pain in your body, bring it to the Lord. Say, “Jesus, I hand all my worries about this pain to You. You work on the pain.”
“Pastor Prince, what if nothing happens?”
Honestly, if after you have given the matter to Jesus and nothing happens, what can you do? If Jesus Himself can’t do anything about it, do you think you can? But praise God, once the problem is handed over to Jesus, He can and will do a perfect work of taking care of it for you!
So live a life of rest. Have this attitude and tell the Lord, “I can do nothing of myself. I just rest in You Lord and I trust You.” Beloved, what you will see is the grace of God upon you in every situation of your life!
Thought For The Day
God’s grace comes upon you when you rest and trust Him.
Today I am reading day 179 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Working Out Of Rest
Hebrews 4:3 3For we who have believed do enter that rest…
Naturally speaking, when we rest, we don’t work. So what does working out of rest mean? Well, let me explain by sharing with you what the Lord had taught me.
Many years ago, when I first started preaching, I would prepare diligently for all my sermons. I fine-tuned my points and made sure that everything was in place. I would think to myself, “Man, I am going to share this… and that…”
But when I preached, I would forget to mention certain points. Because of that, I would get angry with myself. I would tell myself, “That was such a good point. Why didn’t I remember to share it?”
Then, God began to speak to me. He said, “Son, your preaching is not out of rest. It is out of your memory.” What He said next changed my life, not just in the area of preaching, but also in every other area, and I pray that it will bless you too. He said, “Prepare everything you need to. But when you stand in front of the people, whatever you need to say, I will give to you.”
Yes, there must be preparation, whether it is your sermon or sales presentation. I am not telling you to be lazy and just do nothing. You need to prepare, but don’t depend on your preparation. Just trust God and tell yourself that whatever you forget, God wants it forgotten. And whatever you didn’t plan to say but said, it is because God wanted it said. Don’t be stressed out and lose your rest by thinking, “I must know everything! I must remember everything and do everything I have prepared!”
No, believe God and be at rest. When the time comes, whatever you need to know, there and then, God will let you know. Whatever you don’t need to know, you don’t need to know. And don’t worry about what you didn’t say — believe that God didn’t want it said.
My friend, when you live life like that — trusting God and resting in His love for you — you become cool and collected. And when you are peaceful and at rest in Him, what you do prospers!
Thought For The Day
When you are peaceful and at rest in God, what you do prospers!
Today I am reading day 155 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Be Anxious For Nothing
Philippians 4:6–7 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
When faced with a challenge or crisis, our tendency is to get all anxious about it. But God does not want us to react this way. He does not want us to be anxious about anything. Instead, whatever the problem is, He wants us to go to Him in prayer and supplication, telling Him what we need and thanking Him for the answer. When we do that, His peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds from all worries, anxieties and fears.
“Pastor Prince, it is easy for you to say, ‘Be anxious for nothing.’ Try living with my husband for one day. Try disciplining that wayward teenager of mine. Look at the balance in my bank account! How can I not be anxious?”
Hold it! I am not the one who said, “Be anxious for nothing.” The apostle Paul said it. Yet, it was not him — he was prompted by the Holy Spirit. And when Paul wrote that, he was a prisoner under house arrest in Rome. He had been sent to Rome because he had appealed to Caesar regarding his death sentence. The Jews in Jerusalem wanted him to be put to death. (Acts 28:16–20)
Yet, under those trying conditions, he wrote these words: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
My friend, if you are anxious or worried about something, remember those words. Let’s say that you are anxious about a huge debt. Go to the Lord and pray, “Lord Jesus, I no longer want to be anxious about this problem. I hand it over to You and ask for supernatural cancellation of this debt. It is in Your care now. You are in charge. I thank You for taking care of it.”
God is true to His Word. As you pray this prayer and cast your care to Him, you will find His peace setting your heart and mind at rest. So be anxious for nothing — let the One with whom nothing is impossible take care of it for you!
Thought For The Day
Cast your cares to God in prayer, and find His peace setting your heart and mind at rest.
Today I am reading day 141 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Be Conscious Of Your Position In Christ
John 15:5 5“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
In this verse, Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” He did not say, “I am the vine, try to be the branches.” In other words, He wants us to realize that we are already the branches. We do not have to struggle to become the branches.
As His branches, we only have to abide or remain in Christ our vine. How do we do that? We do that by simply being conscious every day of our position in Christ. Because we have received Christ, we are in Christ and are accepted in the Beloved. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 1:6) God accepts us because we are in the Beloved and He is in us. And that is how God sees us today when we come into His presence.
What the devil wants to do then is to get you to focus on your condition instead of your position in Christ. The condition you are facing could be financial lack or deteriorating health. The devil wants you to focus on your condition and forget your position — that you are the righteousness of God in Christ and that you are seated with Him in heavenly places at the Father’s right hand. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 2:6) He wants you to forget that you are an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)
The devil knows that once you focus on your position in Christ, it will give you the power to change your condition and circumstances. John 15:5 says that you will bear “much fruit”. This means that when you pray against any lack, abundant supply will flow. When you pray for healing, sickness will leave.
My friend, none of these things can happen by your own doing, but by His life that flows through you. Just as sap flowing through the branches of a vine will cause them to bring forth fruit, His life flowing through you will bring forth a bountiful harvest of provision, healing and miracles. You only need to remain conscious of who you are in Christ!
Thought For The Day
Remain conscious of who you are in Christ and you will bear much fruit.
Today I am reading day 125 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
No More Sleepless Nights
Psalm 127:2 2It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.
Are you one of those who have trouble sleeping at night? Perhaps just this morning you said, “I was up the whole night — my boy was running a high fever,” or “I slept for only two hours — I was awake polishing up my presentation,” or “I couldn’t sleep at all — I was worried about the bills that are piling up.”
God “gives His beloved sleep”. Who are His beloved? You and I! Because we are in Christ, we are His beloved. (Ephesians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
God says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows…” In other words, it is pointless to worry and lose sleep because the truth is, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
So let God be the one who builds your career and watches over your financial investments. Let Him be the one who guards your health, marriage and children. Don’t worry and stay up late as if you are the source of the increase, or the one who has the power to make things happen and save the situation. No, God is the one and He says to you, “My beloved child, throw that care to Me and go to sleep.” And while you are sleeping, He is working on your situation. He, who neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:3–4), works the night shift for you as you sleep!
But because we are such doers and performers, it is hard for us to let go and let God take over. But when we actually do, casting all our cares, anxieties and worries once and for all into His hands, we will see how He cares for us affectionately and watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7) We will see Him taking care of our problems and working things out for good. (Romans 8:28)
Beloved, trust your Father’s love for you. Cast your cares on Him and have no more sleepless nights!
Thought For The Day
Cast all your cares and worries into God’s hands, and see how He cares for you affectionately and watchfully.
Today I am reading day 122 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Jesus Is God’s Satisfaction
Leviticus 1:9 9… And the priest shall burn all the pieces of the bull on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.
When Jesus was on the cross, He did more than just die for your sins. His one sacrifice did not just remove your sins, but it also clothed you in His righteousness and perfection. Jesus became the true “burnt sacrifice”.
In the Old Testament, whenever someone offered a burnt sacrifice, the perfection of the animal came on him. In the same way, every perfect attribute of Jesus your “burnt sacrifice” comes on you when you take Him as your Savior. And because God sees you clothed with Christ, you have the same acceptance and favor with Him that Jesus has!
When Jesus was offered on the cross, the fire of God brought out His perfections like perfume to God. In that one sacrifice, Jesus’ obedience and perfections rose as “a sweet aroma to the Lord”, which is what is emitted when the offering is burnt. This “sweet aroma” speaks of a savor of rest to God. Jesus’ perfect sacrifice gave God so much satisfaction that He rested.
You can also rest in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, knowing that what He did, He did for you — “Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma”. (Ephesians 5:2) You can rest knowing that God the Father is satisfied with you because His Son’s sacrifice has caused His heart to rest with regard to you. You can rest because Jesus is God’s satisfaction for you.
Today, as you come before God, say, “Father, I thank You that Jesus is such a delight and joy to You. He satisfies Your heart completely. And what He did, He did for me. Because Jesus so satisfies You, I know that You are satisfied with me. Because Jesus is Your delight, I am also Your delight. Because Jesus so pleases You, I know I please You too. And because Jesus is my righteousness and perfection, I stand righteous and perfect before You.”
Beloved, when you speak of Christ and His finished work, it goes up to God as a sweet-smelling aroma, a savor of rest. And if God can rest in the perfect sacrifice of His Son, you can too!
Thought For The Day
You can rest because Jesus is God’s satisfaction, delight, righteousness and perfection for you.
Today I am reading day 112 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Seek First God’s Kingdom
Matthew 6:31–33 31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
As a child of God, know that it is your Father’s pleasure to meet all your needs. Jesus Himself tells us, “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” But God does not want you to seek after things. He wants you to seek first His kingdom. And when you do that, all the things that you need will be added to you!
So your first priority every day is to seek His kingdom. The word “first” in verse 33 is the Greek word proton, which means “first in order or importance, holding the highest place in all our affections”. My friend, God wants us to seek first His kingdom, and all things will fall gloriously in place.
We are not to seek after things the way Gentiles do. The word “seek” in “the Gentiles seek” (verse 32) is the Greek word epizeteo. It means “to seek with all their might with much sweat or with much stress”. However, the way God wants us to “seek” in “seek first the kingdom of God” is the Greek word zeteo, which means “to hunger, to desire to worship”. It is simply a hungering, a desiring for the kingdom of God, without any labor or toil.
But what is the kingdom of God? Romans 14:17 tells us that it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And the kingdom of God dwells within you because the Holy Spirit indwells you. So the kingdom of God is His righteousness, peace and joy in you.
Beloved, if you want to have peace and joy in the Holy Spirit flowing inside you, then seek every day to be conscious of your righteousness in Christ, not your own righteousness, but His righteousness given to you as a gift. Pursue Jesus first. Spend time with Him and listen to His Word. And when you do these things, you are seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, and all the things that you need will be added to you!
Thought For The Day
When you pursue Jesus and His righteousness given to you as a gift, everything you need will be added to you.
Today I am reading day 82 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
God Can Turn Your Evil Day Into Good Days
Esther 9:22 22… rest from their enemies… sorrow to joy… mourning to a holiday…
Today, many Jews still celebrate the feast of Purim. The name Purim is derived from “the lot” which a Gentile, Haman, cast concerning the fate of the Jews when they were in Persia under King Ahasuerus.
Haman, the villain in this story in the book of Esther, hated the Jews and sought to exterminate them. He got King Ahasuerus to allow him to issue a decree to annihilate all the Jews in one day — the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar. But God used Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai, both Jews, to turn the tables on Haman and save the Jews.
Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he had constructed for Mordecai! Then, the king allowed Queen Esther and Mordecai to issue a counter-decree to allow all the Jews to defend themselves and destroy their enemies in one day — the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar!
So instead of the Jews being exterminated on that fateful day, their enemies were destroyed! God turned an evil day for the Jews into good days. He turned their mourning into rejoicing and gave them victory over their enemies.
My friend, God can do the same for you today. He only wants you to remain in your position of rest in Christ. You see, because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross, you are seated in heavenly places in Christ, far above every principality, and evil assault the devil can throw at you. (Ephesians 2:6) Just as Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, and refused to stand up and bow to Haman, let’s not “bow” to the devil by being persuaded to move from our position of rest in Christ. Don’t allow him to get you worried, frantic and doing things to save yourself.
Queen Esther was also in a position of rest before Haman was executed. (Esther 7) She was seated on a couch as Haman pleaded with her for his life. While doing so, he accidentally fell over the couch where the queen was. The king, thinking that Haman was assaulting his queen, sent him to the gallows!
Beloved, remain at rest in Christ’s finished work, and He will turn your evil day into days of rejoicing and feasting!
Thought For The Day
Remain at rest in Christ’s finished work, and He will turn your evil day into days of rejoicing and feasting!
Today I am reading day 54 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
Your ‘Work’ Is To Enter His Rest
Hebrews 4:10–11 10… he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…
A baby learns to sit first before he starts to stand and walk. The Christian life also begins with sitting. God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. (Ephesians 2:6) How well we walk after that depends on how well we sit and rest in the finished work of Christ.
The promised land was a land of rest where God promised His people “large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant”. (Deuteronomy 6:10–11)
But for 40 years, God’s people wandered in the wilderness because they refused to believe that God had given them a land where everything had been prepared — the work was finished. They could not believe that God had given them a land full of good things to enjoy, a land that just flowed with His abundant supply.
Today, there are believers who still cannot believe that the work of Jesus is truly complete and finished. They are trying to complete a completed work, finish a finished work and defeat a defeated devil.
There are believers today who are always working and trying to produce their healing, success and victory. God wants us to stop trying and start trusting in His love for us. He wants us to stop working and struggling, and start resting and believing in His grace toward us.
The only “work” left for us to do today is to enter His rest. We are to labor every day to enter His rest. We are to rest inwardly and believe that the work is done because it is a finished work, and trust in God’s undeserved favor toward us. We are to rest in Jesus our true ark, who will carry us through tempestuous waters.
So today, “if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts… be diligent to enter that rest”. (Hebrews 4:7, 11) Let’s enter His rest. Let’s enjoy sitting together with Christ in the heavenly places, then we will run and not be weary! (Isaiah 40:31)
Thought For The Day
How well we walk depends on how well we sit and rest in Christ’s finished work.
Today I am reading day 10 of Joseph Prince’s Devotional:
A Sleeping Partner Who Benefits
Genesis 15:12 12Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram…
In business, sleeping or silent partners don’t work but still take home huge profits. They are like the wife of the boxing champion. He gets badly beaten up to win the prize money. But when he gets home, his wife takes it from him and says, “Thank you very much, darling!”
Do you know that in your covenant with God, you are like the boxer’s wife or the sleeping partner?
When Abraham asked God how he would know for sure that he would inherit the land that God had promised him, God made a covenant with him. (Genesis 15:8–21) But instead of cutting the covenant with Abraham by walking in between the animal pieces with him, God put Abraham into a deep sleep and cut the covenant with Jesus instead.
Jesus, the light of the world, appeared as the pillar of fire and cut the covenant with God the Father who appeared as the pillar of cloud. In other words, Jesus took Abraham’s place. He was perfect Man representing Abraham when He cut the covenant with His Father.
By substituting Abraham with Jesus, God was being gracious because if Abraham had done it, he would also have been responsible for keeping the covenant. And Abraham, being a mere man, would fail. But God the Son can never fail! Abraham’s blessings were therefore guaranteed because they did not depend on his performance but Jesus’ performance. Abraham was literally a sleeping partner, a beneficiary of the covenant.
Today, God has also made a covenant with you, called the new covenant. And like Abraham, you are a sleeping partner because the new covenant was also cut between God the Father and God the Son at Calvary. You are simply a beneficiary of the new covenant. You enjoy all its benefits without having to work at keeping it. Jesus, your representative, has already fulfilled all the conditions on your behalf. And because His obedience is perfect and His work is perfectly finished, the covenant blessings for you are guaranteed!
My friend, there is nothing left for you to do, but everything for you to believe. Don’t try to work for your covenant blessings. Rest in the Son’s finished work and receive them by faith!
Thought For The Day
Your covenant blessings are guaranteed because Jesus, your representative, has already fulfilled all the conditions on your behalf.
Today I am reading day 359 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Maintaining Physical Health
1 Corinthians 13:7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Psalms 127:2 It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Psalms 119:73 You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
1 Corinthians 6:20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Love is exhausting. It’s work to really love. Most people don’t understand that their physical condition has a strong impact on their relationships and their ability to love.
What happens to your relationships when you’re run down? Little issues become big problems when you’re tired. You’re more cranky, defensive, and critical when you’re physically low.
What are some habits the Bible says will physically refresh you?
Rest – “It’s senseless for you to work so hard from early morning till late at night. God wants you to get your proper rest.” (Psalm 127:2 LB) Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just get some rest. It’s amazing how much better things look after a good night’s sleep. Many of you are too tired to love your kids, too tired to love your husband, and too tired to love your wife.
Balanced Diet–“You made my body, Lord, now give me the sense to head your laws.” (Psalm 119:73 LB) It’s a no-brainer, but choosing fruits and vegetables over chips and cookies will give us more sustained energy.
Regular Exercise–“Honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NIV) Our bodies were made for activity. In Bible times they didn’t have to exercise; they walked everywhere, they did physical work. But most of us have sedentary lives, and we drive everywhere. Yet, you really only have two choices in life: fatigue or fitness. Fitness involves regular exercise.
Today I am reading day 38 of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional:
Buffer Your Schedule
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
In preparation for a decade of destiny, we’ve been talking about the need to be physically healthy – that God wants us to take care of our bodies. And I want to stress one more time that unrelenting stress harms our bodies.
Why do we wait until our health plummets before we decide to create margin in our lives? The Bible teaches that your body needs downtime in order to heal and re-energize.
Listen to why this is so important: when you’re overloaded by activity, you can only think of yourself. You’re in survival mode, just trying to make it through another day. And that limits your usefulness in ministry!
When you have no downtime or margin in your life and God taps you on the shoulder, saying, “I’d like you to do this for me,” your first response isn’t joy. Your first response is, “Oh, no! Another thing to do! Sorry, God — I’d like to do that, but I’m just too busy.”
We end up resenting the great opportunities God brings into our lives. But when we deliberately and specifically add downtime into our lives, we become available for God to use us as we head into this decade of destiny.
You don’t have to live on overload. You don’t have to live in survival mode. Begin today to build a buffer around your schedule. Then enjoy the benefits of margin — and see what God does next!