Are there times when you feel tired and worn out—so burdened by the affairs of life that you just don’t feel you can make it through another day? Perhaps you know someone who is facing that struggle right now. Here’s something you should know: God has graced you with the ability to transform those negative feelings into positive ones so you can prosper and live victoriously. First Peter 5:7, The Voice, says: “ Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries.” And in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Not only should those words encourage you, but it’s an encouragement you can share with others, especially if they don’t know the Lord. We are blessed and favored to take the Good News of the gospel to the world. And that’s some really good news!
Not only does God expect us to be His voice in the earth—to tell others about His loving kindness, goodness and mercy—but He expects us to be living examples by saying and doing the things Jesus said and did when He was here on earth. One of the best ways to exemplify God’s love is through serving others—especially those who are in need. I encourage you to read the entire chapter, but in Matthew 25:35, New Living Translation, Jesus told His disciples: “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” And in verse 40 He said, “When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” When we go into all the world and tell others about Jesus, our witness doesn’t stop there. We must show them the reality of God’s love by imitating Him. Now that you have come to know Jesus, gladly share Him with others.
If you’re a believer, then you should be familiar with the “Great Commission”—the instruction Jesus gave to His disciples, and ultimately to us, to preach His gospel and spread His teachings to all nations. In Mark 16:15, He told them to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (New Living Translation). But how often have you heard someone express discomfort in sharing the gospel with others? They say things like, “Oh, I’m just not called to do that,” or “I don’t feel I have what it takes to witness like that.” Jesus said He came into the world to perform on your behalf—to forgive your sins and restore you to a right relationship with your heavenly Father. But now, God is looking for you to perform on His behalf. He wants you to tell others about Him and His love for them. If you’re concerned that you won’t know what to say, then don’t be. Jesus, who promises to always be with you, will tell you exactly what to say. Ezekiel 3:27, NLT, says, “But when I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak.” God doesn’t just give you an assignment, He favors you by giving you everything you need—including the words—to carry out that assignment.
Unmerited favor. We hear it mentioned a lot, but what exactly does it mean? Simply put, these two words describe God’s desire to do you good despite your unworthiness and your absolute inability to help yourself. The truth is, you can’t gain God’s favor, or increase the flow of His mercy in your life through your own efforts—by trying harder to do good. The Bible says it is by His grace that we are forgiven of our sins and redeemed unto God. It is His unmerited, or undeserved favor, that puts us in right standing with Himself and positions us to be successful and live victoriously. Take time to read and study God’s Word. Learn what it says about His promises, and the blessings He has in store for you. Then, use your faith—no matter how big or small it is—to believe and receive what already belongs to you. You do not work for it, but God’s love for you makes you righteous in Jesus to deserve it!
At some point in life, we all have been challenged, threatened or confronted by problems or circumstances that caused us to become worried, fearful, or filled with anxiety. In those times, we sometimes tend to forget that we are not alone—that God is always with us. Not remembering that blessed truth doesn’t change the fact that, because He loves us so much, we have His divine favor (Isaiah 61:2). He is always ready, willing and able to take care of anything that is against us or that may try to separate us from Him. Not only does He control the universe, but He also watches over and takes care of your life. Despite what the enemy says or does, God is going to get the glory as He works out His purpose in you. Your responsibility is to seek His will, and leave the rest up to Him. He has given you His love, His power, His Word and His favor, to overcome whatever you are confronted with. You are more than a conqueror—you are an overcomer in Jesus!
We talked on Monday about “mustard-seed” faith—that tiny bit of faith that God honors and blesses because He recognizes it as being real, true and sincere—and the truth that it doesn’t have to be BIG faith. But here’s something to remember: God responds to prayers based on a full knowledge that He is the God who supplies all your needs according to His riches (Philippians 4:19). He not only gives you what you need, but the Bible says that He will give you the desires of your heart, according to His will for your life (Psalm 37:4). What you believe for is not a problem for God, because He owns it all. If it is His will that you have it, then you can count on it being yours. Even those things that, in the natural, seem impossible to you are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). God has given each of us a measure of faith. Are you using yours?
Yesterday marked the 28th anniversary of The Faith Center. It also served as a reminder to me of what faith in God’s Word, no matter how big or small, will do when it is properly applied. I like to say it this way: Faith in God will move mountains out of your life! This ministry was begun on what Jesus describes in Luke 17:6 as “mustard-seed” faith. It wasn’t “great faith,” as some would believe is required for God to move. But it was the kind of faith the Bible declares is necessary for God to move. In that verse, Jesus said your faith can be as small as the size of a mustard seed and you can still speak the Word of God and see what you say come to pass. That’s an amazing promise from God. But here’s the caution: Don’t read that scripture to mean you should settle for having small faith just because you know it will work for you. The greater your faith, the greater your victories. Use the faith you have, but use it believing God for even greater, bigger faith. And as you do, God will honor the faith you have.
Faith. It’s what caused Carol and me to move from Brooklyn, N.Y., 34 years ago and put down new roots here in South Florida. It was what caused The Faith Center Ministries to be established 28 years ago this month. And today, it’s what’s keeping us all alive—joyfully and obediently serving God day by day. Everything that has been accomplished in and through this ministry—every heart touched, every soul saved, every life changed—has been because of faith in our God and obedience to His Word. It’s because of decisions each of us have made to step out and trust Him. And today, we’re reaping the benefits of God’s blessings through our obedience to Him. This month, I’m taking the opportunity to encourage your faith—whether it’s big faith, or faith as small as a grain of mustard seed. I want to help you understand and recognize you are living in God’s divine favor, and what that means for you. The Bible says His mercy endures forever, and His grace toward you is sufficient—in all things (2 Corinthians 12:9). Prepare to embrace God’s favor in your life.
I talk with people all the time whose faith journey is similar to mine. Like me, God spoke and told them to move and they obeyed—even when things looked bleak and it didn’t seem they could prosper and become successful. And because they stepped out in faith, determined to stand on God’s Word and not waiver, He honored their faith and blessed them beyond their wildest dreams. I am yet living in the fulfillment of God’s promises as He continuously blesses and prospers me, my family, and the congregation at The Faith Center. And as we, as a church body, prepare to celebrate 28 years of ministry, God continues to assure us that His best is yet to come. In John 10:27-28, New Living Translation, Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.” God honors faithfulness, and rewards obedience. Once you hear from God, be quick to obey. Put your faith to work and trust Him to carry out His planned purpose for you. He has a blessed future waiting for you.
Society is good about placing labels on people—especially Christians. Because we choose to not partake in the ungodly acts that are so prevalent in the world—things that oppose God and His Word—they view us as being different. The thing is, when you read what the Bible says about being like the world, you quickly realize how being labelled as different is not so bad. First John 2:17, The Message, says: “Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” Do you really want to be characterized in that kind of light? As believers, we are called out of the world—set apart by God and made to display a new and different lifestyle—one that reflects His love, kindness, mercy, and truth. Knowing that should make you, or anyone, okay with being different.