Little Strength by Jim Poelman
“I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” — Revelation 3:8
Jesus’ letter to the church in Philadelphia is filled with praises and promises. This is a letter of love and encouragement. Encouragement from Jesus is what this church needed for the long road of faithful obedience.
In the course of my pastoral ministry, I have met faithful followers of Jesus who experienced many disappointments and difficulties. I would often attempt to encourage them with Bible passages like Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd. . . .” But some would respond, saying, “Pastor, the words of Psalm 22—‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’—speak more honestly of my life experience.”
I often wondered what Jesus would say to these hurting friends. The letter to the church in Philadelphia is Jesus’ word to his hurting people. “I know that you have little strength,” he says, “yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Jesus knows how tired we can get from walking the long road of obedience, “even . . . through the darkest valley,” as Psalm 23 explains.
Like a long-distance runner who needs encouragement for the last part of a race, we need Jesus to cheer us on to keep his word and not deny his name.
May God give you the grace to endure patiently today and to trust that Jesus will do all he promises for the ones he loves dearly. Have a great day.
Worthy of Glory, Honor, and Power by George Young
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. — Revelation 4:11
God isn’t only our Creator; he is also the Sustainer of our being. God is faithfully involved in keeping everything going that he started in the beginning.
Some of us were raised in a family with parents who cared for us every day. Our mother may have done the laundry, made the meals, read stories to us, and tucked us in at night. Our father may have assisted in those tasks, and together they guided us through the confusing changes of adolescence and upheld the family as a loving team. How worthy of praise they are, and how blessed by God.
Some families may not have had the same experiences. But still they have enjoyed blessing, as Psalm 68:5 indicates, for God is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.”
Recently a new type of literature for young people has appeared, putting ancient mythical gods in a modern setting. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, for example, tells of Perseus, whose father, Poseidon, left his girlfriend in the lurch to raise their child as a single mother in Manhattan. This mythical Poseidon was not worthy of glory and honor, not worthy to be entrusted with power.
How wonderful to know that God, our faithful Father, loves and upholds us daily. He never lets us down. Have a great day
WITH ALL YOUR HEART by Bryant Wright
“Jesus answered, ‘The most important [commandment] is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your HEART and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'” – Mark 12: 29-30
To love God with all your heart means to love God with all of your feelings, with all of your emotions and with all your passion. Now, passion is a very hot term in our contemporary culture. When people ask about your passion, what they’re really asking you is what gets your juices flowing? It could be a certain ideology, social cause, or politics. Perhaps it’s going to the theatre, movies, or concerts. It could also be financial success, physical fitness, or college football. But what about your relationship with God? Can you be passionate about getting to know God?
Yes. In fact, your life’s number one passion should be your relationship with God. Think about it this way: when you first gave your life to Christ in faith, you had a hunger to learn and to read God’s Word, to be in worship, and to share with others how your life had changed. You were excited about it; there was a very real passion there! But over time, as life presented its many challenges and opportunities, it became easy for other things to become a higher priority.
If we’re more passionate about anything else than our relationship with God, then our priorities are simply out of whack. Jesus reminds us that when you give your heart to God, you want to maintain that passion through loving Him with your whole heart — feelings, emotions, and passions. What can you do today to prioritize loving God with all your heart? Have a great day.
God, Why Is This Happening to Me? By Rick Warren
“We don’t know everything, and our prophecies are not complete . . . Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don’t know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understand us” (1 Corinthians 13:9, 12).
Sometimes God intentionally hides his face from us. Why? So we’ll learn to trust him and to live by faith rather than by our feelings.
For instance, when Job experienced a lot of pain and despair, he asked a lot of legitimate questions: “Why let people go on living in misery? Why give light to those in grief” (Job 3:20 ).
These “why” questions are human nature; we all ask them. We have this misconception that if we understand the reason behind our pain, it will lessen the pain—or at least make it easier to endure.But Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is God’s privilege to conceal things” .
The only reason you know anything about God is because he has chosen to reveal himself to you. Here’s the truth: There are some things you’ll never understand until you’re in heaven.
God doesn’t owe you an explanation for anything. God doesn’t have to check in with you first before he does something. God doesn’t have to get your permission before he allows things to happen in life. God is God, and we’re not always going to understand why some things happen.
One day it’s all going to be clear. It’s all going to make sense. You’re going to be able to say, “So that’s why God allowed that in my life!” Until then, God wants you to trust him. Have a great day.