He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 18:2-4
Take the posture of being learners rather than experts in the ministry of the Spirit. There really aren’t that many of our generation who have gone before us in some of these things. We must continue to become like little children before our heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We must be more confident in their ability to teach and lead than in our ability to learn and follow. Fortunately, their commitment to us is stronger than ours is to them. And this reality is truly the source of our strength. Be gracious, kind, and patient with differences in perspectives within the community of believers and various streams of the body of Christ. If God is the true source of a move of the Holy Spirit, then He is well able to act independently of our judgments and criticisms to defend His honor. He will raise up creditable witnesses and advocates.
Father, I have so much to learn about You. If I spend each waking day of my life in Your presence, I will still have so much more to learn about Your work, Your love, and Your purposes for my life. Make me a learner, dear Father.
We don’t have to prove to anyone that
something is of God if it really is!
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. —Ephesians 2:6-7
Kindness. We will often be praying for people whose lives have been wrecked by sin. Many haven’t been taught social skills, and they have unlovely characteristics about them. Many have embraced wrong teachings and even are oppressed by demons. We must be braced to gracefully absorb some of their immaturity and deal kindly with their deception. We must overcome evil with good and be kind to those who are unkind to us. This honors the Lord and gives them the best chance to get His help.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5
When I think of our Savior who came to earth to save us all, I think of a man of humble beginnings, born in a barn, set in a manger meant for animals, and as he grew into adulthood, he never worried. He knew his needs would always be met by his heavenly Father.
I remember when I was the college pastor years ago, I left this ministry to start a new church. That job had provided our family income and I thought that, if I plant my own church, I might lose everything. It had taken us, my wife and me, our whole lives together to save up $40,000. And when we planted our church, we lost everything. We lost every dollar. We had tons of student loans to pay off and other expenses, and the savings eventually was lost. Yet, it wasn’t that bad because we didn’t lose anything more than everything, if that makes sense.
This was the funniest thing – right when we ran out of money, when we hit zero in our savings, then we had a baby. Nevertheless, even when we had zero dollars in our account, we were able to pay every bill. As the bills and needs came, a bit of income was there, and we just took care of things. Everything was fine. All that worrying I had about losing everything was much worse than actually losing things. In fact, I look back at those times in my life and I cherish them, and I remember them as some of the warmest, best times of my life.
So, don’t worry. Keep hope alive. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Trust in Jesus, in his provision for your life, and keep him always before your mind.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your example as a man living on this earth, doing life simply, never wanting for anything. When I become concerned about my financial future, instead of listening to the worriers, I will listen only to you, and follow your lead. Amen.
Reflection: Do you worry about your finances? How can Jesus’ example help you to calm your fears?
We’re called to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). But our adversary the devil roams around like a roaring lion intent on devouring your faith (1 Pet. 5:8).
One way the devil does this is by trying to choke you, or put you in a stranglehold. In the wrestling world—and remember, we’re wresting against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places, according to Ephesians 6:12—a stranglehold is an illegal hold that chokes the opponent. Merriam-Webster calls it a “force or influence that chokes or suppresses freedom of movement or expression.” If the wrestler doesn’t break free from the stranglehold, the lack of blood or air can cause him to black out.
Translating this to our spiritual realities, the enemy wants to choke the Word of God out of your mouth so you can’t wield your sword of the Spirit or pray. The enemy wants to choke your revelation of who you are in Christ and your authority over him. The enemy wants to counter the work of the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your life so you’ll sideline yourself. We need to learn how to prevent the enemy from getting us into a stranglehold in the first place—but if we’ve fallen into the devil’s trap, we can break free with one simple prayer.
Worry: The Devil’s Stranglehold
What is this stranglehold I’m talking about? Worry. Did you know that one definition of worry is “to harass by tearing, biting or snapping especially at the throat” and “to shake or pull at with the teeth” or to “to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment”?
This is one of the enemy’s so-called roaring lion tactics. He magnifies our circumstances to get us to worry. Once we begin to worry, he moves in position to engage us in a stranglehold that makes us feel powerless to do anything about that which we’re worrying. It’s a clever strategy that plays on internal cares that we haven’t cast on the Lord—or that we continue taking back from His able hands.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Breaking Free From Satan’s Stranglehold
Jesus warns us repeatedly not to worry, but He also tells us what to do instead. He inspires our faith for provision by telling us to look at nature and assuring us of our value to Him. Then He instructs us to get our mind off what we need—and that could be anything, from provision to healing to protection to relationship-mending and beyond—and seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
In His infinite wisdom, Jesus knows that if you focus on what the enemy shows you—the lack, the symptoms, the trial, the trouble—you’ll worry and fall into Satan’s stranglehold. But if you focus on the kingdom and His righteousness, you’ll build your faith to overcome any circumstance. If you seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, Satan can’t get you into a stranglehold.
If you’ve already fallen into the enemy’s trap, you can do what Peter suggested before he warns us to be vigilant, “because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8): You can cast all your worry on Him, because He cares for you (v. 7). And when you feel that anxiety and worry rising up in your soul, you can take Paul’s advice:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
When you do these things, the enemy can’t keep his grip on you. Amen.
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.” -1 John 3:1a
I want to do my best to convince you of something very simple that seems impossible for us as human beings to grasp and take deep down inside of us. It is this:
God loves you and that you belonged to him the day you were born.
The instant you were conceived, you belonged to the Lord. There is nothing you can do to separate yourself from God’s love. In fact, the gift of God’s love is something that is completely free and unearned. There is no middleman that bridges its way to you and Jesus. There is no list of rules that you can follow to get God to love you or to think good things about you because you are God’s kid and he loves you.
Even when we mess up, God loves us and cares about us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I’m so thankful to you for your love and care. I know that I can only come to you because of what Jesus did for me. I’m so thankful for him and his sacrifice. Now, it’s in His name that I pray. Amen.
Reflection: Do you accept God’s love as described above? Which part of his never-ending love is the hardest for you to accept and believe?
“Behold, what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” -1 John 3:1a
There are so many misunderstandings about what the word love means.
When we hear that God loves us, it can create some problems. The love of God is the most foundational, important thing in understanding all spirituality, all theology, all doctrine. The most important concept to know and to understand is the immeasurable, limitless, and boundless love of God for His sons and daughters.
And not just the love of God for the church as a collective group, but for you – for you the son, the daughter of God, for each one of us to know that God loves us individually just as a parent with many children individually loves his or her children. That the love of God, the boundless, unending, perfect love of God is the source of all great spirituality, of all perfect doctrine, of all growth.
We must understand that God’s love surpasses everything. There’s nothing you can do, even if you hate God, there’s no sin you can commit, no filth you can have in your life, nothing you can do to ever remove God’s adoration and love for you. God’s love is the greatest love of all.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I come to you hurting, broken, wounded, lonely, and sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that you actually love me. But your love abides. Amen.
Devotion: How have you felt God’s love at work in your life?
O Lord, I join my brothers and sisters in one accord and we confess that our hearts are filled with deep sense of undiluted reverence to Your Name and to Your throne for all that You Alone has done for us throughout the Month of Novemeber, we praise You as we worship in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
O Lord, we pour our hearts to You in praises, worship, exaltation and adoration to Your Holy Name for honouring us with the gift of life and the gift of good health throughout the month, we say indeed we have tasted and we have seen that You are a Loving, Kind and Caring God, we thank You in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
Great Provider, we praise You for disconnecting us from every forms of lacks throughout the month and we magnify You for connecting us with the heavenly outpouring unstoppable abundance throughout the month, we bless You for all the blessings, favours, empowerments, flourishing, fruitfulness and as many other that You have done, we glorify You as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
Great Healer, we adore You for breaking every forms of sickness out of our folds, we exalt You for every healing that You gave unto us throughout this month and we pray that our healings shall continue to be permanent even as we cover them in the Precious Blood of Jesus and we worship You for every freedom You gave us from the works of the enemies and even from self-imprisonment throughout this month, receive all glory, honour and adoration, as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
God Of Victory, Lord we humble ourselves before You as we lift Your Name above every other names for every deliverance You gave unto us throughout this month both spiritually and physically, indeed their is no one to compare to You, Our God and we are marvelled by every victories that You gave unto us, throughout this month, in the north, south, east, west, beneath the earth, above the earth, in the sea, in the air, spiritually and physically, we cover each and very of our victories in Jesus Name. Amen and the devil and his agents will continue to be defeated under our feets to the glory of our heavenly Father, we ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen and Amen.