Saturday, July 23, 2016

FAITH THAT REACHES OUT by Claude Houde

Abraham was a man whose life was consumed by a faith that reaches out. He knew that faith without works is dead (see James 2:17). Genesis 14:11-16 uses simple yet clear words to reveal the scope and beauty of his decision when he learned that Lot and his family had been taken captive and had lost everything. “As soon as Abraham learned this . . . he brought three hundred eighteen of his bravest servants and they pursued the oppressors. . . . They brought back Lot, his brother, their possessions, as well as their wives and children” (14:14-16).

It is important to reread each word to fully grasp the depth of what is being said here. “As soon as Abraham learned this,” he didn’t wait, look for excuses, or put it off until the next day. He did not hide behind his lack of resources nor what he didn’t have. The Apostle Paul appeals to us to make a decision when he reminds the Corinthians that when intentions are sincere, they are demonstrated not by what we don’t have, or hope to have some day, but by what we currently have available. “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don't have” (see 2 Corinthians 8:12). Help someone today with what you do have. Faith that reaches out simply refuses to continue saying, “No!”

Abraham, armed with three hundred eighteen of his bravest servants” — it is interesting to notice here that the exact number is mentioned. I profoundly believe that God knows each believer who helps those who suffer, but also every believer or church who chooses to do nothing. There are several specific moments in Scripture where God seems to want us to know with infinite precision that each person counts. For instance, in Nehemiah 3 we see the meticulous listing of those who miraculously rebuilt the walls that had been torn down.

Dear reader, this is faith that reaches out. This type of sacrifice opens up the heavens and produces the supernatural. We read these words in the story of Abraham as a prophetic promise for all who turn toward someone who is hurting, who is held captive or in need: After these events, “the Word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision with these words: Don’t be afraid, Abraham, I will be your defender myself. I will protect you and your reward will be so great!” (Genesis 15:1).


Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.

Friday, July 22, 2016

REMEMBERS THEM NO MORE

There is good news for every Christian who has ever striven or worked to subdue the deeds of his flesh in his own strength. Does this include you? How many times have you tried to plow ahead toward victory in the Christian life? How many promises have you made to God only to break them? How many times have you tried to please Him by fighting off your lusts and habits, only to fail once again?

Here is your good news, reported in the book of Micah: “[The Lord] will subdue our iniquities” (Micah 7:19). God’s Word has given us image after image of how He wipes our sins from memory: He blots them out. He remembers them no more. He buries them in the sea. He subdues them, meaning He hunts them down and captures them. Isaiah even tells us God takes our trespasses and flips them over His shoulder: “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (Isaiah 38:17). This means God will never look at our sins or acknowledge them again.

Now let me ask you: If God forgets our sins, why do we always allow the devil to dig up some muck or mire from our past and wave it in our face? All of our sins are already covered by Christ’s blood; the cleansing, forgiving power of Jesus’ blood is all-encompassing. It covers our entire lives.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

COMPLETE IN HIM

There will be two groups at the Judgment: sheep and goats. These groups are going to stand before the Lord separately on that day, one group on the right and one on the left: saints and sinners. And the bad works which will be exposed that day are only those of the wicked.

Scripture says all evil deeds of the wicked will be brought into the light and exposed. Every wicked thought, every secret desire, every lust, every vile imagination, every denial of Christ, every curse word—all will be proclaimed and judged.

On the other hand, no evil deed of the righteous will be mentioned on that day. Instead, every good thing about their lives will be brought into the light: every holy thought, every charitable act, every sacrificial work. He is going to bring everything good out into the open. And that will be one glorious moment!

The fact is, as we stand before our Lord at the Judgment, we will be complete in Him. This means that everything we’ve ever done, including any sin we’ve ever committed, will already be covered under His blood and never mentioned again. There is no condemnation to the righteous—none at all. Jesus tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). The Greek word for condemnation here is “judgment.” Jesus is saying, in essence, “If you believe in Me, you won’t come into judgment. Instead, you will pass from death over into life.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I BRING GOOD NEWS

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). As Scripture testifies, our lives here on earth are like grass (see Psalm 102:11). One day we’re here, growing and thriving, and the next day we’re fading away with the season. We’re like the vapor of breath we see on a frosty day: here one moment and gone the next. And I’m convinced that just one moment into eternity, we’ll realize how unimportant and fleeting our present fears and trials have been. We’ll also see just how present the Lord has been with us the whole time, watching over us with His saving and keeping power.

I bring you good news—glorious news—that will help combat all the bad news you’ve been hearing. I believe this news will keep your heart and spirit peaceful, even joyful, through all that’s coming upon the earth. Here is that good news:

If you have repented of any and all sins and you are trusting Jesus—believing in His cleansing blood, submitting daily to His lordship—you’re going to stand before His throne without fault or fear. In fact, you’re going to be acknowledged before everyone present—every human, every angel, every demon in hell—as the precious Bride of Christ.

You will not have to face even a single sin against you, nor be exposed for any failure, but you will be able to stand without blemish.

Not a single sin of yours will be mentioned. Instead, only your good works—including your faith in Jesus Christ—will be expressed to the multitudes gathered.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ENDURING FAITH

Whenever we face afflictions and persecution, Satan comes to us whispering fears and lies: “How are you going to make it through this crisis? What will you do now? If God is faithful, how could He allow this to happen to you? How could He put your loved ones at risk this way? What will become of you, your family, your job, your ministry?”

But enduring faith rises up and answers the enemy’s lies: “Devil, you’re asking the wrong questions. The question for me right now is not how I’m going to make it. It is not what will become of me and mine. I have already placed everything — all afflictions, all trials, all my plans, everything that concerns me — into my loving Father’s hands. He has proved Himself faithful time after time and He can be trusted with my future.”

With this established in our hearts, the question for us is, “How can I love and serve my Lord better? How shall I serve others as myself?”

Enduring faith means casting ourselves wholly on the will of God, as Jesus describes it in the Sermon on the Mount. In short, we are to seek God and His concerns first, and everything we need will then be given to us (see Matthew 6:33).

Enduring faith declares, “I have no will of my own. Rather, His will be done. No more personal agenda for me. No more playing God by trying to solve my own problems or those of others. Holy Spirit, keep my mind stayed on my Lord and His promises.”

With such faith, we’ll be ready for whatever the present hour brings.

Monday, July 18, 2016

JESUS CAME TO DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL by Gary Wilkerson

Upon being verbally assaulted by a man with a demon, Jesus said to the demon, “Be quiet! Come out of the man” (Luke 4:35, NLT). At that, the demon threw the man down and came out of him without hurting him further.

What would it be like today to have faith to believe that your marriage could not be damaged any further? What would it be like for you to believe that your children who are far from God could come back to the Lord and know Him?

I have seen what is written in this text to be a reality and I want to tell you, the same thing can happen for you. I was at the very edge and it was all over my prodigal son. He left home, got into drugs, and was living on the street. He was just a wild kid but he had a good heart and I knew God had a calling on his life.

I began to pray these things: “Holy Spirit, interfere with my prodigal son, Elliott. Oh, Holy Spirit, wherever he is right now, cut short the plans of the enemy because I know that he’s called to victory after victory. And then, Lord, destroy the works of the enemy.”

The prodigal has come home! Jesus interfered with his life and my son is a changed man. He’s serving God. He’s just totally different! There’s joy, there’s confidence, there’s boldness. And there’s vision for his future. Why? Because Jesus gets involved, Jesus cuts short, and Jesus destroys.

The good news is that Jesus wants to take what is planned against you and destroy it so that it cannot harm you any further. He can do that for you today!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

WHEN GOD PROVIDES by Nicky Cruz

There is tremendous relief in living under the guidance and provision of God. It takes a lot of worry off your shoulders. I don’t have to wonder where my next meal is coming from or whether I’ll have a place to lay my head. I know that God is in complete control and He has never let me down.

Early in my ministry I worried about my children. I knew that my background would haunt me, and I wondered if the curse my parents were under would bleed over into my family. I knew that Satan didn’t like the way I assaulted him week after week and the way I did it in his own backyard. He taunted me constantly, and I knew he would do the same to my wife and children.

As an evangelist I spent a lot of time on the road, away from home, and as a young man I spent hours praying that God would take care of my family, protect them from the harm that Satan wanted to do to them.

Many nights I lay awake in a hotel room praying, “Lord, You know that I try to be the best husband and father I can be. I love my children and Gloria more than I love my own life. I couldn’t stand the thought of anything happening to them. Please take care of my family. Please watch over their hearts. Watch over my babies, Jesus.”

The more I prayed that prayer, the more God put a sense of peace in my spirit. He told me that if I would stay faithful to His calling on my life, He would take care of Gloria and the children. He knew my heart. He knew how much I wanted to serve Him and how much I hurt for the lost and helpless of the world, so He commissioned me to reach out to them at every opportunity. And He wanted me to do so without worrying about my family.

It was one of the many conversations that God has had with me through the years. He promised to take care of my family, so I released them completely to His care. And He has always kept His promise.


Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.