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Is there something you’ve been praying about for a while now, and still haven’t gotten an answer? Keep praying! God will eventually answer your prayer! That’s what Jesus promised us anyways. He told a story about a widow who went to a judge and told him: “Get justice for me from my adversary.” (Luk.18:1-8) But the judge would not do it. This judge the Bible tells us, had no fear of God nor regard for people, you know, like most politicians today. But the widow was relentless in her pursuit for justice. She wouldn’t let up! She would show up at the courthouse time after time and go after the judge demanding that he do her justice. Her cause was just you see, but the judge was unjust, yet she didn’t allow that to slow her down! She was poor, the judge well to do for he was corrupt but that didn’t stop her either! She knew she was right, and she was determined she was going to get justice, therefore she pursued him relentlessly until one day the judge threw his arms into the air and said: “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will vindicate her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” (v.4,5) He was going to finally do her justice, not because his heart bled for her, but because he felt sorry for him! But that didn’t matter to this poor widow. What mattered to her was that finally, after incessant pleading with the judge, she was going to see justice done.

So Jesus said: “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall  not God vindicate His own elect  who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”   (v. 6,7)  There are two conditions laid here for God to answer our prayers: we must know Him (‘His own elect’) and we must pray persistently  (‘who cry out day and night’).  But answer He will if we meet these conditions, though He may take a while before He does so. Some prayers He answers right away and I’m sure you have experienced that yourself, and some He won’t. Why? One of the reasons is to teach us patience, to help us mature in faith by learning how to pray and wait, for if He answered every prayer quickly we’d learn nothing, never mature in our faith, become spoiled and most likely we’d lose reverence for Him.

We’ re in a far better position when petitioning God than this widow was doing her judge. She was a stranger to him, we are His children. She was alone when making her petition, we can have others agree with us in ours. She petitioned an unjust judge, we a Righteous One. Nobody represented her, we have an Advocate with the Father, Christ Jesus. She had limited access to the judge, ours is 24/7. Her judge was incensed by her persistence, our Father rejoices in ours. She wasn’t promised a resolve when first petitioning her judge, not so with us, we are promised from the very outset  He’ll come through for us! So… keep praying! You’re almost there!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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One day Jesus was invited into Martha’s home. The Bible says that as Jesus began to teach, her sister Mary sat down at Jesus’s feet and listened to His every word.. That very much unnerved Martha who was all caught up in preparing a lavish meal for the Lord. However she had absolutely no reason for acting like that, for up until Jesus came Mary worked alongside her helping with the household chores, but as soon as Jesus started to teach she dropped everything and sat down at His feet soaking in His every word. Can you blame her for that? I mean, no one taught like Jesus did! He could preach to thousand on the mountain, witness to one woman by the well, reprove a teacher of the Law in the dark of night, and even in this house of Martha’ s He wasted no time in talking about the things of God. Yet to Martha as important as Jesus teaching in her house was, she felt that the meal she wanted to prepare for Him was more important, therefore she was sorely displeased with Mary’s move in dropping everything, leaving her alone in the kitchen and sitting down to listen to Him teach.

Martha represents the many Christians in our churches, always busy doing things for the Lord, you know, this bake sale, that car wash, things like that but who never find time to closely fellowshipping with Him. Seeing herself all alone in the kitchen and feeling she was done injustice by Mary she approached the Lord and said: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me” (v.40).  Now, let’s look at how she presented her ‘heart-wrenching’ case to the Lord….

She said: “Lord, do you not care?” If she had been closer to the Lord, if she knew what fellowshipping with Him really was, she would have known that He cares. We get to know God’s heart when we  commune with Him in prayer and in the reading of His Word, and not when we bake cookies, or wash somebody else’s car, or passing sandwiches to strangers on the street. I’m not knocking those things, I’m just saying that our communing with Him must come first in our lives, and not our work for Him, for God is more interested in us the workers than the work we do. After all there can’t be no adequate ministry without an adequate fellowshipping with Him. She told the Lord: “Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” She took this personal, because that’s what happens when our walk with Him is defined by what we do for Him, we tend to compare ourselves with other fellow Believers, feeling they do nothing and we do everything! 

Jesus looked at Martha and told her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (v.41).  To be worried and troubled about one thing is bad enough, but to be worried and troubled about many things is even worse. And such was Martha! And sadly, such is most of the Christian world! If she would have done what Mary did, sit at the feet of Jesus, commune with Him, she would have been in a far better shape!  

“One thing is needed” continued Jesus (v.42). He didn’t say two, five or nine things, for it had nothing to do with our performance, our ‘doing’ things for the Lord, but everything with our seeking Him. He was in effect telling Martha: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat.6:33). How many of us know this Scripture, believe it, agree with it, yet still do not implement it in our lives and then wonder why things aren’t getting any better!  He told Martha “Marry has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away.”  Our communing with Him, our fellowshiping with Him is a choice we make, something we choose to do just like Mary did, and which will keep life’s many worries far and away, a choice that will not be taken from us, for God will fiercely protect it on our behalf.  

We hear constantly of Ministers quitting their ministries because of  ‘burning-out”.  I do not mean to be unkind in what I’m going to say, but the only reason one will ‘burn-out’ in working for the Lord is when one no longer burns ‘within’ for Him. And that flame is kept alive not by our ‘doing‘ of things but by our resting in Him. Ministries are important, but cannot be possibly performed God’s way without a proper communion with Him. We must therefore pray as someone well suggested: “Lord, give me the hands of Martha and the heart of Mary.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

There’s nothing that we as children of God do for Him  He won’t repay back and do so abundantly. God will never allow Himself to be indebted to any of us. Jesus said: “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luk. 6:38). Now, when He says “Give”,  He doesn’t necessarily refer to money only, but also compassion, time, etc. We must also understand that this promise He made is dependent upon our rendering complete obedience to Him in all other areas of our life, and not just the paying of our tithe or being charitable towards others. And when I say ‘complete obedience’  I’m talking not so much about a flawless performance in our walk with Him for such is impossible, but rather a sincere desire in doing our best to be in the center of His will for our lives. He can work with anyone who sincerely desires to please Him.

Going back to the subject of God rewarding our giving…. Let’s look at one instance of many where He does just that, and we find it in Luk. 5:1-11. He was preaching by the Lake of Gennesaret. Many, many people came to hear Him to where He was thronged by them, so He asked Peter if He could borrow His boat that He might preach out of so He could continue His message. Needless to say Peter gladly consented. After He finished His sermon, He told Peter:  “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch”  (v.4).  He was going to pay him for the use of his boat. God will owe no man anything! A cup of water if we give to one of His children, He promised not to go unrewarded! Reluctantly, Peter agreed. I said reluctantly for he was tired, having spent all of the previous night trying to catch some fish with no success and wouldn’t have tried it again that day for anyone, but this was the Lord who asked Him to do it, so he complied. No sooner had he let down the nets that he caught so much fish the nets began to brake. For you see, the same Jesus who commanded the frogs, lice and locust to flood Egypt, commanded the fish to fill up the nets.  And He’s able to command blessings of every stripe to overflow in our lives too, if we’re obedient to Him! So Peter called for help on his fellow fishermen, and they came and filled both of the boats so that they began to sink. Think about this now! From fishing an entire night and catching nothing, to having his boat and that of his  partners’ sinking for the multitude of fish they caught, and all of this because he lent that little boat to the Man from Galilee to serve as pulpit, so He could finish His sermon.

We cannot outgive God!  You can’t , I can’t, none of us can! You wanna try it, go ahead try it and see for yourself, lend Him your ‘boat’,  and He will fill it with ‘fish’!

Jesus had just finished preaching the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible says that as He came down from the mountain  great multitudes followed Him. Among the multitudes was a leper who came to Jesus, worshiped Him and said: “Lord, if you will  you can make me clean.” (Mat. 8:2). Please note, he never doubted Jesus’ ability to heal him, only His willingness to do so! Leprosy was an incurable,  odious disease. All of his life he was told by those around him that his leprosy was the result of him being  cursed by God. This is why he expressed doubt whether Jesus would actually cleanse him of his leprosy.  The  Bible says that Jesus put out His hand and touched him saying: I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him! When He said “I am willing”, Jesus in fact forever settled the question about God’s willingness to heal, save and deliver us!

Is it  possible you’re going through some tough situations today and were told by those around you that God may just be through with you for you messed up once too many times? It may be your marriage, your finances, relationships, it may be a thousand and one things! Whatever it is, know that what the Lord has done for that leper whom pretty much everyone wrote off, He will do for you too. He will resurrect your marriage, heal your finances, deliver you from whatever bondage, bring healing to your body, whatever it is you need,  He is willing and able to do it. How do I know that? Because as we’ve seen in this story He said so Himself!

There’s no need to walk around with whatever it is that burdens you. He made a way for you and I to rid ourselves of our burdens, and that way is Calvary. The price He paid while hanging on that Cross secured not only our redemption but also our healing, our deliverance, the answer to every problem we face  as well as blessings untold.  All paid for and ours for the taking!  That is if we do what the leper did, and come to Him. Are you willing to do so?

Truly saved or merely religious? Where do you stand when it comes to the salvation of your soul? Have you placed your faith in Christ for your redemption or are you trusting in in your ‘good works’ to save you?  Have you got Christ in your heart, or mere religion? Let’s look at one story in the Bible which I hope will help us see the difference between being truly saved and being merely religious. It’s the story of the Rich Young Ruler.

“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him: ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”  (Mar. 10: 17).   Let me say first of all that it was commendable of this young man to show sincere concern for the salvation of his soul. Most of the young people today are not terribly concerned with that. However, the way in which he viewed Salvation  was completely wrong. And sadly, millions today make the same tragic mistake.

Let’s look at where he went wrong. He asked the Lord: “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Firstly, one cannot inherit eternal life, for one cannot pass it on! It is freely given to us by God upon believing on His Son,  Christ Jesus.  The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Joh. 3:16)      

Secondly… He asked the Lord: “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” We must ever understand that it’s not our ‘doing’  that’s going to save us, but our ‘believing’!  Apostle Paul writes:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9). So, as we see here too we’re not saved because of our good works, but because of the grace of God, freely given to us! That’s not to say however that good works are not important to the child of God. They are! But we do good works not to get saved, but because we are saved!

Jesus looked at the young man and answered him: “If you want eternal life, keep the commandments.” The young man responded: “But I did! All of them! What else do I need to do?”  Question: if he kept all the Commandments as he claimed, never mind that he didn’t as Christ in fact proved it to him, why was he still so unsure about his salvation? The answer? For the same reason millions of good, religious folk aren’t sure about theirs! They’re trusting in their good works or some religion they were passed on and not Calvary to take away their sins and thereby seal their salvation.  They view themselves as ‘good’ people. Yet Jesus said: “Repent and believe  in the Gospel.” (Mar.1:15).  However,  that’s hard for religious man to do. Repenting  requires admission of wrong you see, and that doesn’t bode well with most of the the ‘good’ folk.                                                                                   

Two days ago I ministered at the funeral of a 6 month old baby. I looked at his tiny little frame laid in the tiny little coffin… You’d think he was asleep, and in a way he was for the Bible teaches us that when little children or Believers die, the soul goes instantly to be with the Lord while the body goes to ‘sleep’. We find this written in the Book of Acts, where we read the story of Stephen the Martyr, who after praying for those who were stoning him, the Bible says that, and I quote,  “He fell asleep” (Act.7:60). Again, not the soul but the body, for the soul as I already said goes to be with the Lord.

I thought about it that night how wonderful it is to know the Lord. That even when loosing a loved one, we really do not loose them, we’re just separated from them for a short while, only to have them for eternity, providing they too know the Lord.

I have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. Some 15 years back my wife miscarried when she was about 4 months pregnant if my memory serves me well. We never did know whether it was a boy or a girl. If you asked me and as far as we’re concerned, we have 5 children and not 4, for one day we’ll meet our 5th one, and oh, what a grand day that will be. My faith in Christ provides for this hope that I have. I also have 4 brothers, and 2 sisters. However, I had another brother and sister who died in their infancy before I was born. So, in effect I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters, only 2 of them I haven’t yet met, but one day I will, for my faith in Christ provides for this hope also. How? Jesus Himself made that provision when He said: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (Joh. 11:25,26).  And I choose to believe Him!

One Easter Sunday, a young man sarcastically asked one of the Deacons in his church who had just greeted him with the well known ‘Christ is Risen!’:  “Say, how can you know for sure He is Risen?” “Oh, I know, I  just know!” answered the Deacon. “But how can you be so sure?”, insisted the young man. “Because I just talked with Him in prayer this morning!”                                                                                                                                                                      

 How can I know for sure He will resurrect my loved ones, our miscarried baby as well as my infant brother and sister? Oh, it’s quite simple! All I have to do is remember the hell He resurrected me out of while living in sin, a long, long time ago. He promised to do it then if I just gave my heart to Him. I did, and He kept His promise. And that’s how I know He will keep it again!

How important is God’s Word to your life? Well, how faithful are you when it comes to reading it? An honest answer to the question I just posed will indicate where you stand in relation to Bible’s relevance to your life. Sadly, many Christians today read books about the Bible but not the Bible, make time plenty for their favorite TV shows but not the Scriptures, pour over their paper religiously, but not the Word of God, and then wonder why their lives are falling apart. Call me mean if that’s what you want but I know I’m telling the truth! It’s been well said that B.I.B.L.E. stands for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”  You follow them, you win. You ignore them, there’ll be nothing but loses. It’s that simple! Let us look at one scenario in the Word of God which I would hope will point to the importance of of God’s Word in our lives. 

Moses died.  It was Joshua God chose to take His people into the Promised Land. A humongous responsibility to say the least and God knew that! That’s why He was going to give him all the help he needed. How? By pointing Him to His Word! He told Joshua: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you’ll make your way prosperous, and then you’ll have good success.” He was telling Joshua: “What worked for Moses, will work for you!” And it did! Joshua held unto the Word of God, and was able to successfully take the people into the Land that flowed with milk and honey. He was promised success if obedient to God’s Word, and found it, every step of the way.

If in leading almost 3 million people to the Promised Land, God’s Word more than sufficed for Joshua, it will surely suffice for us as well. To you and I God’s saying today: “What worked for Joshua, will work for you too!”  If it’s success we desire in our lives, God has already promised it to us, if we’ll obey His Word. Now, to obey His Word we must know what it says, and to know what it says we must read it. To not read His Word, is to not know what it says, and to not know what it says is to not be able to obey it, and that’s how we get in trouble. See how everything points to the necessity of reading and knowing the Scriptures? For it is through His Word God reveals His will for our lives, therefore it’s incumbent upon us to read His Word daily in order that we render Him the much needed obedience so that all the promises we find in His Word will become a reality in our lives, every last one of them!