As received by Deacon Stan Cor; shared with permission
SWIFTLY ANSWER SUNDAY (encouragement)
Many thoughts swirl about in our minds. We need to discern and discard what is not of God. Then we should focus on those thoughts that are of God and swiftly answer Him as Isaiah did: “Here I am, Lord; send me!” (Isaiah 6:8b)
Swiftly answer; do not delay when He calls. Swiftly answer so as to seize the opportunity and the anointing He bestows with the call. Isaiah did not understand all that God’s call and his response would lead to. Still, overwhelmed by the glory of God, his answer was a heartfelt, “Here I am, Lord; send me!” His swift answer and his continuing “Yes!” resulted in a powerfully anointed ministry including a preview of Jesus, the Suffering Servant in Isaiah chapters 51-54 of the book of Isaiah.
Swiftly answer the Lord’s call; expect Him to do great things for you and through you. Swiftly answer and be attentive to all that He speaks to you and asks of you. He will lead you step by step. As He reveals the next step, keep answering, “Here I am, Lord; send me!”
In the words of a Carey Landry song: “Great things happen when God mixes with man; great and wonderful, marvelous things!” Swiftly and consistently answer whenever God calls; never delay. Discern yes, but swiftly answer!
Swiftly answer, great things await you.
TAKE NOT THE BAIT TUESDAY (encouragement)
In his book, “The Bait of Satan” John Bevere exposes the enemy’s tactic of presenting us with opportunities to take offense at someone or something. This is the bait of satan. We have to be aware that it is not people but satan who tries to trick us into taking offense and thus not responding in love and mercy to the people and things around us. To take offense is to fail in the love Jesus commanded us to have for one another and for all. Taking offense gives satan power over us.
John warns us about the danger of taking offense, how to recognize and resist it, as well as how to escape from the demonic trap of offense if we have been taken captive. At times we take offense, not because someone was offensive, but because we are tired or at a low point and react negatively instead of responding with peace and love.
Many divisions could be avoided if the situation is recognized as the bait of satan and dealt with accordingly. Vigilance is the way to avoid taking the bait. No one wants to be a prisoner, but it can happen. What is the way to escape the trap? Thoughtfulness and sensitivity are keys to avoid giving offense, asking forgiveness is a way to make amends. Forgiving is the key if we have taken offense.
We need to be alert so as to neither give nor take offense and so live in the freedom and fellowship we are meant to enjoy.
Take not the bait!
Don’t take the bait of offense for it will imprison and weary you. Taking and harbouring offense gives satan power over you. Don’t take the bait.
Don’t take the bait of pride, wanting to be recognized, appreciated and applauded. Remain humble with a servants’ heart like Jesus. Don’t look to people for approval for that will lead you astray and could give them control over you. Don’t serve in ministry to be seen and appreciated, but rather in self-giving obedience to the Lord. Don’t take the bait of pride. Don’t take the bait of false humility either, that will keep you from saying, “Yes!” to the Lord’s call. Don’t take the bait!
Don’t take the bait of being so busy “working for the Lord” that you don’t take time with Him in prayer, Scripture, in silence listening to Him, loving Him and being loved by Him. Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, “I’m so busy that I can’t afford to pray less than an hour a day.” Build the foundation of a relationship with God. Don’t take the bait of busyness with things that are not the will of God for you. Don’t take the bait of feeling sorry for yourself, that can lead to discouragement and depression. Don’t take the bait of comparing yourself to others or competing with them. Be the unique self that God created you to be. Don’t take the bait of exaggerated self-importance, there is only One Lord God and it isn’t us.
Don’t take the bait of trying to “fix” others. Simply pray earnestly for God to work in their lives to make them all He created them to be. Bless them. Don’t take the bait of judging others; that is God’s job, not ours. “Judge not, lest you be judged.
Take not the bait, whatever form it takes!
VOICE OF WISDOM WEDNESDAY (encouragement)
The Word of God is the voice of wisdom. The entry of His Word imparts wisdom. His Word is truth, spirit and life. As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Listen to the voice of wisdom; listen to God speak His Word of wisdom in the Scriptures, the teaching of the Church and the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts. Jesus said that His sheep can hear His voice and know His voice and follow Him alone.
Heed the voice of wisdom, the voice of God. Wisdom is speaking to her children: Come learn from me, you simple. How long will you remain simple? (Proverbs 1:22)
Hear and heed The voice of wisdom; God is speaking!
“For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion, and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity. For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing that is sullied enters into her. For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of His goodness. And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews all things while herself unchanging; and passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets.” (Wisdom 7:24-27)
Father, Your wisdom leads us along the path of life eternal. Help us to follow your guidance today and everyday.
FOR ME FRIDAY (encouragement)
When Jesus was on the cross we were on His mind. He did it for me and for you. He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves! What awesome love He loves us with!
Each of us can say, “He did it for me!”
Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” Then He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit. (John 19:30)
It is finished, done accomplished! Jesus did His part; through His suffering, death and resurrection He has won our salvation. All any person, even the vilest sinner, has to do is come to Jesus with an open honestly repentant heart to ask for forgiveness and invite Him to be their personal Saviour and Lord and to fill them with the Holy Spirit so they can live for Him from now on.
That is our first part in receiving the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Now the work of cooperating with the Holy Spirit to be set free from old habits and patterns of sin can begin. If we have received Christ into our lives we have died with Him. However, like a newborn child, we have to grow to spiritual maturity and learn to live the new life in the Spirit. He will help us faithfully follow Jesus and help us to grow in holiness as we are meant to grow. The love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Following the lead of the Holy Spirit is an adventure!
It is finished, the work of salvation. Receive it.
It continues, the work of sanctification. Cooperate with it.
All praise and glory to God, the only God: the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did it for me!
For me and for you, Jesus suffered the rejection, false accusations, condemnation although innocent, the horribly painful scourging at the pillar, the crown of thorns, the nailing to the cross and the painful death there. He bore our sins, infirmities and diseases. By His stripes we were healed. (1 Peter 2:24) All forgiveness, healing and restoration flow from the cross of Jesus Christ.
As we were led through the Stations of the Cross this evening the words, “He did it for me!” kept coming to mind. For me, as if I were the only one who needed forgiveness and salvation; for me.
For us sinners You bled and died; for our sins that we could never ever hide.
For us sinners You bore the pain; for us sinners You rose again.
Lord, You gave Your life for me, that I might live eternally.
You are my story, You are my song; I’ll praise You Jesus all life long.
BE STILL SATURDAY (encouragement)
Today is a day to spend being still and meditate. The disciples were disappointed and discouraged after Jesus died on the cross. So many thoughts and emotions swirled within their minds and subdued conversations. They did not yet know that the seeming defeat of the cross was necessary for the glorious victory of the resurrection that was to come.
Perhaps they encouraged one another by repeating some of the promises Jesus had made like, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Or, “I have power to lay down My life and I have power to take it up again.” Perhaps it was Psalm 46:11: “Be still and know that I AM God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”
Be still and know! Resurrection glory awaits us!