Have you ever walked into a business only to discover everyone in there is cranky? It's like they all decided to put on their grouchy pants and wear them at the same time. Perhaps you've gone into a restaurant expecting to have a quiet lovely meal, and the waiter was less than satisfactory. There are times when our spouse is a bit on the 'short tempered' side. And, I just imagine you've been in 'crabbyville' yourself a time or two. Situations out of sorts, such as a surprise bill, unexpected family tragedy, unhappy family relationships, triggers worry, which causes moodiness. Sickness, hunger or exhaustion all bring on irritability. Thus we have a world of crabby people. It's difficult facing sudden changes in life and adjusting our attitudes quickly. We all have a tendency to bear it all to the world. People say, "If I feel bad, I want you to know it and feel bad too"!
But as a Christian, aren't we suppose to be different? Shouldn't we be the ones that bring a little sunshine into the lives of others? I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, well, that's impossible, because we all have bad days. But Jesus said, (Mat.5:13-16) "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."
He said you and I are the salt and the light of the world. We are distinct, adding the seasoning of God's nature, delaying the decay and dispelling darkness. If we become like the world, we can not affect the world. That's why it's important that we be different. A renowned pastor once said, "You are either being corrupted by the world or you are salting it".
Col. 4:6 says, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Not only our actions but our conversation is able to add flavor to the world. However, a lot of people have a tendency to add 'spice' by speaking their own opinion or criticism. The scripture says, 'let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt...' Taking the time to be watchful over our conversations and our actions will most definitely help to preserve from corruption.
I close with the story read from Matthew commentary: A specific Pastor, tells an encouraging story about the "after taste" left by "salty" missionaries relating that "Pastor Paul Ndungu from Kenya, told us of a missionary couple that served for fifteen years among a particular people group in Kenya without seeing any outward response. He said they labored faithfully, serving the people, teaching the gospel, and doing all they could to set Christ before these people. But none responded until a couple of days after their departure. The missionary family’s maid, two gardeners, and milkman converged upon the empty house, related how they now missed these Christians. All wept about this sense of loss, and reflected upon what they saw in them and what they had taught them. One by one they called upon the Lord, coming to faith in Christ. The church among that people group was born without a missionary but not without the salt and light influence of that Christian family that lived among these people for fifteen years, faithfully living unto the Lord. What they did not accomplish with their missiological approach they accomplished by being Christians in a decaying world."
Look around, do you see a lot of 'cranky' in your work place, at your school, among your friends or family? We then have to ask our self, are we being the salt or the light? Let's be the difference in the world. Shed a little salt and light!
Babe Ruth said, "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up." Can you say that you're one of those people, who never gives up? For a lot of people, the most difficult thing is being tenacious in the midst of problems. It's easy to get discouraged and throw in the towel. Just like a boxer, who receives blow after blow after blow, to continue to stand and not fall is tough. Problem is, we become battle weary. Living day after day, minute after minute being bombarded with defeating thoughts, sickness or despair. Many ask, where can we turn to for encouragement to keep on keeping on?
One of my heros that encourage me to be persistent in my walk of faith is Paul. He wrote in Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me..." Faced with difficulties and the prospect of painful hardships, he determined to be unshaken in his walk with the Lord. The only thing that mattered was finishing his ministry call with joy. He established that it was no longer he that lived, but Christ IN him. The life he lived, he knew he lived by faith in Jesus Christ. (Gal. 2:20) From that resolution, the strength to endure each adversity, rose up from within him. Becoming conscience that the greater One lives IN us conveys the confidence that produces fortitude in the middle of trials. When all the odds are against us, we can rest assured that there are more of God's forces with us. The supernatural power of God's Word and the Holy Spirit will equip us to press through the difficulty!
Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 4:8 "We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.." No matter what affliction he was faced with, he continued in faith IN Jesus Christ. When situations tried to crush or suffocate his belief or trust in God, Paul knew the Jesus IN him was the uncrushable Rock! When problems came and tried to throw him off balance, he realized he was more than a conqueror through Christ. Rom. 8:37 "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." In what things? Tribulations, distress, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger or death. (Vs. 35) No matter what he was up against, Paul decided he was going to live for the Lord! Regardless of the opposition, despite the dilemma, whatever the sufferings, Paul said they could not be compared with the glory to be revealed within! (Rom. 8:18) With each conflict we encounter, our confession of faith and trust in God's redemption power begins working within us and in our situation, a great glory. A glory, of His delivering ability that can be given to our God!
You might be going through one of the toughest times in your life right now. But we want you to know that you can grab a hold of the Word of God that's in you and claim your victory, by faith. Do not be moved or shaken by the circumstance. Know that Greater is He IN you! You can do all things through Christ! You are victorious by the blood of Jesus Christ! The devil can not defeat a person that will not give up! Hold on, hang on, and only surrender to God and His Word! The Psalmist wrote in Ps. 16:8, "I am always aware of the Lord's presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me."
Prayer: Father, I repent for fear, doubt or unbelief. I thank You right now for my victory. I know YOU are more than enough! I resist the temptation to give up. I am more than a conqueror through Christ! I submit my situation to You and ask for wisdom and deliverance. I give You praise, I stand firm and nothing can move me, in Jesus Name! Amen.
People all the time ask, "how long do I continue to believe for an answer to prayer?" If you've ever asked God for a specific thing, you know that the answer doesn't always come right away. Some of you may be saying that you've been waiting years for God to answer your request. And many have already given up, thinking their answer is never going to come. Let me just say that first and foremost, one important aspect of prayer is FAITH! Heb. 11:6 NIV "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."
FAITH believes beyond what it can see! FAITH never gives up! Just because 'it' hasn't happened, or just because you can't see it yet, does NOT mean it's not in the working. If you've ever planted a seed in the ground, you know that it takes time for that seed to germinate! We don't give up on that seed, nor do we dig it up to see what it's doing! What do we do? We wait patiently, till one day we see the evidence of it emerging. We continue to water it, pulling out the weeds, and even fertilizing it. We have great expectation for the fruit of that plant, even before we see it.
Our prayers are just like the planting of a seed. We are placing into God's hands a petition that's dear to our heart. The minute we pray it - He heard it! 1 John 5:14-15 NKJ "Be earnest unwearied steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving."
So how long should we believe for the answer to our prayer? Until it shows up! To stop believing is just like digging up the seed. The growth will be aborted. What we can't see is happening in the 'spirit' realm, things are moving and changing. Remember the seed grows below the surface before it rises above the surface. Our continued faith and patience will bring forth the result in it's due season. Never give up, never stop believing - Praise Him and thank Him for your answered prayer!
Have you ever been focused on a specific task and had an interruption? Maybe you've been at the theater watching a movie and right in the climax of a scene someone interrupts by speaking to you. Or perhaps you're concentrating on balancing the check book, when your child comes to you needing attention. Interruptions can be annoying and frustrating. Truth is, interruptions can reveal what's really important. There are good ones and bad ones, and they never come at a good time.
One such time recorded in the bible, would be when a young teenage girl got pregnant out of wedlock. Yes, that was Mary, the mother of Jesus. God's divine plan interrupted a young girls life. Her life instantly took a different path than her friends. Mary's reputation and wedding plans changed. But, her acceptance of God's plan made available the worlds salvation. (Luke 1:38)
Another interruption of a different sort, came to a man named Jonah. You've probably heard the story that God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh to tell them to repent of their sin. But Jonah didn't want to. So he ran from God, thinking he could hide. As the story goes, he ends up on a ship headed in the opposite direction, but is seized and thrown overboard because of a mega storm. And his journey now gets interrupted by a very large fish that God has sent to swallow him. Jonah's interruption keeps him in the belly of this fish for three days and three nights. Interestingly the fish puked Jonah up on the shore close to Nineveh. A divine intervention of God. And so, the people repented and changed their ways.
In the New Testament we find another type of interruption, that didn't end quite as well as the others we've discussed. One of the disciples, Judas, was 'interrupted' by satan, to betray Jesus. (John 13:27) From this point, Judas' life would never be the same. His interruption caused his demise, as he hung himself. (Matt. 27:5)
We all have events that interrupt us in life.: A life of sin can suspend God's plan in someones life. A pastor receiving a phone call in the middle of the night, to pray for one considering suicide. Someone's life is interrupted by sudden sickness, disease, or death. Negative words of discouragement. An unplanned pregnancy. The loss of a job. An inheritance of a lot of money. New found love. Restoration of lost family relationships. These and many more whether bad or good, are various interruptions that people deal with every day.
We can determine how we are going to let these interruptions affect us. Romans 12:2 says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." We don't have to respond to interruptions the same way as the world, exasperated, irritated, or aggravated. When they come in contact with 'suddenlies' it throws them off their groove and causes panic. But Romans 12:2 tells us to allow the character of God's Word to change our way of thinking. By praying and submitting the situation to Him, He'll direct our path, leading us to make the right choices! (Prov. 3:5-6) The Word of God gives us advantage to discern from where this interruption is coming, thus comes wisdom to know what our response should be. If it's of God receive it, if it's from the devil interrupt it with the Word.
2 Cor. 10:5 "[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments theories reasonings and every proud lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)," When interruptions come, and we know they will, interrupt the interrupter with God's Word and wisdom to discern, divide and conquer! Speak God's Word over interrupting demeaning thoughts, and physical attacks from the devil. Let the peace of God rule in your heart, by being prayerful in giving thanks to God, for He always causes us to triumph through Christ.
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."