Devotion 10 Sep 2019 Tini Toala
“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25 NIV
One of the most frustrating struggles for a child of God is anxiety. It is a situation we never want to experience. In theory, we should easily overcome our problems because we believe God is so much more bigger.
In reality though, this is not always the honest case. We feel the pressure of our situations and become so absorbed in it. There seems to be no way out. Then comes the sense of hopelessness on top of growing doubt. What about tomorrow?So then, why is God so concerned about my anxieties?
When we are so absorbed in the difficulties of life and remain focused on them, we lose sight of grace. What anxiety does is place future worries on the present, and greatly deprives us of the happiness we find in God.Humanly speaking, the simplest thing we can do to uplift an anxious heart is to offer kind, encouraging words. Spend time in prayer. Pray for one another. Cast all your worries before God. In truth, that may be all the reassurance needed during trying times.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
Devotion 05 Sep 2019 Tini Toala
Suppose you reach the pearly gates of Heaven and with utmost excitement rush to meet Jesus personally for the first time, only to be told “…get away from me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23, NLT)
How difficult must that be to hear. In a sense you feel betrayed. You have been a faithful servant and served boldly for His sake, yet where did it go wrong? Then you realise how serious Jesus is; now you have an eternal problem from which there is no saving.
Keep that in mind and consider this: What is our primary goal as carriers of the glorious Gospel of Grace?
The answer is simple- to introduce every person into the presence of Christ for now and eternity!
If, at the end of our religious activities- our Bible studies; church services, outreach programmes, evangelism, prayer meetings – we have not actively introduced people into the eternal presence of Christ, we have totally missed the point. We would have served in vain.
How can we action a remedial response if we find ourselves in this situation?
1. Actively seek the Lord daily-
Matthew 6:33, seeking “first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..”
Jeremiah 29:13, seeking God “with all our hearts.”
In order to invest in others you must first have something to give; you cannot give what you don’t have. Get comfortable being alone with God! Know where you are heading and lead people there.
2. Actively empowering others-
Galatians 6:9-10, using every “..opportunity to do good to people..” and not “..being weary of doing good..”
Every gift God has given us is to equip us for life in service, out of love for Jesus Christ. Aim to encounter Christ more and more by looking for good in others.
In the end, there is nothing worse than introducing others into the presence of Christ, while the self is distant from Him. Get to know him personally as you serve in this lifetime, always remembering we are serving in this life for eternity.
Food for thought 28 Aug 2019 Tini Toala
In Luke 19:1-10 we find the classic encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus, who was the chief tax collector in the region at the time.
There was nothing honest about this man. He cheated his own people by stealing money through taxes. Zacchaeus knew his sin, but this did not compel a need for change in him. He built great wealth from this lifestyle and continued to live as if everything was fine.
Then we discover in this encounter how Zacchaeus heard Jesus was in town, and only wanted a quick look at him. Although unsuccessful at first because of his dwarfed height, Zacchaeus rushed ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree and waited. Keep in mind he did all this just for a quick glance at Jesus.
There Jesus found him, and called him out by name, and then invited himself into Zacchaeus’ home.
Maybe the most amazing part of the story was this: Jesus knew exactly who Zacchaeus was – a notoriously corrupt, wicked, fraudulent man – yet He called him by name, and wanted to spend time with him alone, without judgment.
Zacchaeus was not interested in changing his life before he met Jesus. He only wanted to look and see what the big deal was about this Jesus person. On the contrary, Jesus was well aware of the tax collectors deepest need! And He moved graciously to supplement it. By just having Jesus in his home, Zacchaeus was compelled by grace to make restitutions for his sins, and change his ways.
Jesus knows how imperfect and fallen we are, yet he does not call us by our brokenness. He recognises our need of Him alone. So he calls us by name, as he did Zacchaeus. What mattered to Zacchaeus at that point was not the name calling and opinions of the people around him. His only desire was to look upon the face of Jesus. Ultimately, what mattered the most to him was the Lord Jesus Christ looking beyond his sins, and calling him homeward by name.
“How marvellous the grace that caught my falling soul, He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.” – Dottie Rambo