“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1)
Soul singer Lionel Ritchie was once deeply impacted by a speech in which his father had honored his mother, on their 37th wedding anniversary. In his speech, Ritchie Senior had lovingly given thanks to his wife for sticking by him through the ups and downs of life. Said Lionel, “What a great story because I pass through my house every day and I don’t say thank you. I just take for granted that certain things be done”. That speech moved him to compose one of his best loved songs, ‘Three Times a Lady’.
“…, people brought the sick into the streets and laid then on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by… and all of them were healed” (Acts 5:15-16).
As you think of the Apostle Peter’s ministry in the book of Acts, what comes to mind? Is it fearlessness, anointing, miracle worker, dynamic preacher?
Yes, all these are true and God used Peter powerfully. Through Peter God healed a crippled (Acts 3:6-7) and a paralyzed man (Acts 9:32-35), raised the dead (Acts 9:36-43), opened prison doors and gates (Acts 5:19, 12:8-10) and brought thousands to salvation [Both Jews and Gentiles](Acts 2:41,4:4,10:44-46). As the opening scripture in this devotional records, people even expected to be healed by having Peter’s shadow fall on them as he passed by.
Popular singer/songwriter Tom Petty passed away last week after a highly successful career. One of Petty’s most loved songs was titled ‘I Won’t Back Down’. Some of the lyrics go like this:
Well, I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down
No, I’ll stand my ground
Won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground
While Tom Petty was probably singing about the injustices and human challenges we have to face, the Apostle Paul says something similar regarding the spiritual challenges and battles we encounter as God’s children. He says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:13). The imagery is that of a well-trained soldier, planting his feet firmly on the battle field and refusing to back down. In other words, Paul may be saying, ‘Don’t back down’. Ever!
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Introduction – The book of Zephaniah was written to warn of impending judgment on Judah. In the midst of the doom however, the book ends with a promise of restoration, forgiveness and blessing. As the book comes to a close, we find the powerful statement mentioned above in chapter 3 verse 17. From this verse we can glean the following 4 encouraging truths.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,… you will… give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).
The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘The Lord saves’. In the corresponding passage in Matthew’s Gospel, Joseph is also told to give the child “the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (1:21).//CONTINUE READING THIS//
“I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
We all like to protect our name. In fact, most people would do anything to stop their name being misused or abused. While I understand that sometimes my name may be mispronounced or not spelt properly, it always makes me happy when it is done correctly. The satisfaction is even greater when someone that I may have met only fleetingly, remembers my name.
I have at times faced some level of embarrassment when the name of a person I’m talking to eludes me. On a few occasions, I have even struggled to remember the name of a person I was praying for at the altar!
I once heard a Pastor mention that he waited 6 long years to win the affection of his future wife. The Founding Pastor of our church, Pastor Colton Wickramaratne received a vision from God in 1957 about his future ministry. He had to persevere through many delays and challenges before the large vision became a reality. When I began my career in Radio Broadcasting, I waited 3 years to get a proper break on the Radio Station. I almost quit, but thankfully God came through. A number of couples I know prayed earnestly for a child for many years before the prayer was answered.
All these stories have one common thread; delay.
Are you troubled about an answer to a prayer being delayed in your life? Have you almost given up? Do you feel like God is denying you His blessing?
After finishing schooling, I found employment as an Executive in a company that sold electronic products and vehicles. I had hopes of building a career in the secular world until the Lord began to place His call upon my life. His call grew over time to the point that I knew my future was not in secular employment, but in full-time Christian Ministry. Therefore, after 6 years of employment, I obeyed His voice, resigned from my job and gave my future into the hands of the One who called me. I have never regretted that decision. In fact, I wonder where my life might have taken me, if I hadn’t obeyed His voice.