"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Cor 5:17 (NIV).
There are many places world over where once you commit a certain offence you are marked for the rest of your life. Committing a felony like bulgarly, worse a sex related one, you then enter a register which potential employers can always check on when you submit in your application. The moment they discover that you have ever committed a listed crime then ends the conversation.
This is quite unfortunate for certain crimes are committed only out of ignorance or perhaps an act of desperation. There are also those who are framed for certain crimes. Yet only to be marked for the rest of life because of that lapse or just bad luck.
When Christ came he was not for those who had led a clean life and were condemned forever. As a matter of fact it was often the discarded and despised that he welcomed. When Jesus met and embraced Zacharias, the tax collector, people were shocked, "All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner" (Luke 19:7). But to the astonished crowds, "Jesus's answer was, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (vv 10).
It is the same Jesus who forgave a criminal besides him at the cross once he recognised him as God. "Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23: 42-43).
Society may reject one for good. However, there is a comfort that our Lord and Savoir is in the business of welcoming those who need a second chance. Today, whatever might be weighing on you, know that once you come to Jesus you are totally forgiven and can start happily afresh.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I start the year with confidence, knowing my past is forgiven and with you I begin totally redeemed and saved, for your glory, this I pray in Jesus's name.
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23/02/2024 - 24/02/2024 All day
“The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them” – (Deuteronomy 28:2).
Every now and then one chances upon someone despising the importance of being enterprising. To some being enterprising can be equated to the love of money and it’s pitfalls (1 Tim 6:10). Others see it as being overtly worldly. Yet, far from it, being enterprising is clearly an avenue God has given believers to raise resources for their well-being and promotion of the rich Gospel.
The Bible is full of enterprising characters who were used mightily of God. Abraham was apparently a good rancher that he “become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (Gen 13:2). Job was hated by Satan who sought to destroy him because “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ was born and raised in the house of Joseph, the carpenter (Mathew 13:55). Carpenters do not create works of beauty to donate for free. To prosper they must run sustainable enterprises which pay taxes and make profit. The Apostle Paul would often rely on enterprising people to support him in his ministry. One of his worthy converts “was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God (Acts 16:14).
Though Paul was a law don once he went to the mission field, other than cling to his titles by burdening his hosts he often dabbled in tent making to support himself. In Corinth he teamed up with an amazing couple, Priscilla and Aquila, and “because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:3). This couple run a successful tent making business that enabled them support mission work.
And then of course, there is the noble woman of character, as told in Proverbs 31, who “selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings.. She sees that her trading is profitable…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes (vv 13-25).
When the body of believers is filled with such enterprising people it generates resources important to sustain God’s work. Further, the work of God is then supported without being dependent on sources that might compromise the mission, as sometimes we see! Be enterprising!
Prayer for today: Lord father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you who has given us the gift of enterprise, today I pray to use this gift to take care of my needs and support the expansion of your kingdom on earth, this I pray in Jesus’ Name.