“From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” - Gal 6:17 (NIV).
After his resurrection when Jesus appeared to the disciples and the Apostle Thomas happened not to be around, upon learning he protested. “So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
A week after the Lord appeared, “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (vv 27-28).
This event totally shook Thomas. He travelled to India where he shared the Gospel and the present church in India is attributed to him. It is said he was attacked and killed at Mount Chennai in AD 72 where his body is interred. Though initially skeptical, his body ended up with wounds of Christ!
Many followers of Christ have since his crucifixion bore wounds which can disprove doubters. The Apostle Paul once shared, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea..” (2 Cor 11:25). He carried a lot of wounds for his service to the Gospel. Legend has it that almost every Apostle other John suffered an ignominious death.
For followers of Christ bearing his wounds from those that refuse the grace of the Gospel, is often inescapable. Christians are habitual target of attacks not just for sharing the Gospel but standing up for truth and righteousness. May the Almighty God grant us grace to carry those wounds with joy and pride, for they bear the very marks of our faith in Jesus!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I thank you for the wounds of Christ I bear on my body because of service to you, and for all the attacks may I know these are badges of honor, 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.