Today’s children are plagued by sex, drugs, alcohol, greed, and violence at a young age. Our judicial system has shut God out of our schools, yet we cannot blame our corrupt school systems for damning our children — our entire society is experiencing a moral collapse.
All parents should memorize this covenant promise: “Hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not … for I will pour water on him who is thirsty. And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessings on your offspring; they will spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses’” (Isaiah 44:1-4).
This word of promise to Israel is also meant for us today. Its words of comfort are given to all who are chosen (verse 1), which means all who are in Christ. God’s glorious, binding, covenant promises are to his righteous ones. The promises are:
Parents today need more wisdom and discernment than at any time in history. Satan has wicked inventions and subtle disguises to use against our children and God has made parents the guardians of the home.
God says your children will testify, “I am the Lord’s” (44:5). What an incredible promise — yet these promises are not for everyone who merely says, “I am of Christ.” They are only for hungering, thirsting parents; those who drink in God’s Word daily and pray regularly, asking the Spirit to pour out on them his power and presence. Claim these promises today and then bathe your home and your children in prayer.
God can bring back to life anything you have given up as dead. We are all familiar with the story in Mark 5 of Jairus, the desperate synagogue ruler who asked Jesus to heal his daughter. The twelve-year-old girl was dangerously near death and Jairus pleaded with Christ to come to his house and lay hands on her.
Jesus agreed to go with Jairus but he had some interruptions along the way. When Jesus stopped to minister to the woman with a blood disease who touched the hem of his garment (Mark 5:25-34), a messenger came with the tragic news that Jairus’ daughter had died (5:35). Of course, Jairus’ heart was gripped with grief and he must have thought, “If only we had gotten there on time. Now it’s too late — my daughter is gone!” But Jesus assured him, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (5:36).
They continued toward Jairus’ home and as they neared the property, they heard sounds of wailing and weeping. Jairus’ family and neighbors were grieving loudly. Consider the contrast in this scene: God in the flesh, the creator of the universe, was approaching in all his power to perform the unimaginable. Yet, the mourners were weeping in his presence. In short, they were testifying, “God can only help as long as there is some sign of hope left. But when all life is gone, there is no need to call on him; even he can’t restore that kind of situation.”
How many Christians today no longer call upon the Lord because they think their problem is hopeless? Jesus rebuked such unbelief when he said to the weeping crowd at Jairus’ home: “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping” (5:39).
The Lord was stating, “This situation is not what you see or think. You think all hope is gone, but I say there will be restoration.” He then went to the little girl’s room and with merely one small phrase, he brought the child to life (5:41).
This story in Mark’s gospel shows us that nothing is too “dead” or too far gone for Jesus to restore to life. He is saying, “Put your trust in me to fix your problem. It’s never too late for me to work.”
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over” (Psalm 23:5).
We love the promise of being served a feast in the presence of our enemies while they watch. But just who are these enemies? In biblical terms, there are the demonic kind and the human kind. In Psalm 23, David is referring to demonic enemies; these represent the devil and all his hellish principalities and powers.
According to Jesus, “The enemy … is the devil” (Matthew 13:39). Yet, many of our enemies aren’t from hell. When Jesus tells us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), he isn’t speaking of the devil and his hordes. He is talking about people in our lives who have become tools used by Satan to make us miserable. It was David’s fleshly enemies who caused him to cry, “Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; in You I take shelter” (Psalm 143:9).
You may have only a few human enemies or you may have an abundance, depending on your sphere of influence. In any case, if you have your heart set to follow Jesus, you will be an offense to some. And you’re going to be resisted by both nonbelievers and fleshly Christians alike.
You will be marked as a target by the devil and his wicked spirits; your adversary, the devil, is going to attack you physically and spiritually. And he’ll stir up trouble for you among your human enemies, if he can. The Lord’s supernatural feast becomes even more amazing because both classes of enemies have to sit by and watch as the Lord serves you.
God’s Word says of the righteous, “His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon Himself His crown shall flourish” (Psalm 132:18). God is saying, in essence, “Your fleshly enemies thought you were finished, but now they can only gaze in wonder as I feed and bless you.”
On the occasion that you fail him and feel that Satan has gained a foothold in your life, the Lord beckons, “Come to the feast. Sit down and taste of my mercy. I want you feasting at my table in the presence of your enemies.”
Some things in life are completely out of our control. For instance, you cannot bring back a prodigal child and force him to return to his relationship with Christ. No matter how much you fast and cry out his name to God, the decision is his. Numerous other things in life present similar challenges but if you know the One who can move mountains, there is always hope.
The wonderful thing about life in Christ is that we get to engage in amazing things we couldn’t do on our own. In fact, Jesus calls us to participate with him in accomplishing what we cannot do ourselves: see lost loved ones come to faith; see broken marriages restored and healed; see unsaved people in our community rescued from a hopeless eternity. Through our faith in Jesus, we get to see — and even take part in — things achieved by his power, majesty and authority.
In Hebrews 11, there is a list of biblical figures who pleased God: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, David, Samuel, and a host of others. They are commended not for their talents or achievements but for trusting God to do what was beyond their abilities. Together they comprise “a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith” (see Hebrews 12:1).
To attain that life of faith, we are urged to lay aside every weight that prevents us from trusting (12:1). Many Christians are weighed down by unbelief because they look to their circumstances more than to the God who controls all circumstances. Be assured that what God has promised can never be thwarted.
When God promised Abraham that he would be the father of all nations, Abraham knew he and his wife Sarah were too old to have children. Yet, “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief” (Romans 4:20). In fact, according to the Word of God, his faith grew even stronger. The more Abraham figured, “I can’t do this,” the stronger his faith in God’s ability grew. And through the death of his flesh came a power that was not of himself — the power of the Holy Spirit.
We all are called to do what we can for Christ’s kingdom — and more. In order to see God’s purposes accomplished in your life, he asks only that you trust him by living a life of faith.
You may be in a storm right now but on the other side of that tumultuous sea is a bank of God’s blessing and a deeper miracle. We see the secret of this in the book of Acts when we look at the life of the apostle Paul.
Paul had done no wrong — King Agrippa said, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains” (Acts 26:31) — yet, he was taken prisoner. “They delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius” (27:1) and in spite of Paul’s advice to delay their departure, they sailed toward Rome where Paul was to go on trial before Caesar. Along the way, they encountered numerous storms that caused them much hardship. During this time, Paul stood up in their midst and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship” (26:21-22). An angel had appeared to Paul and assured him that they would all be safe.
Even though they crashed on the island of Malta, demolishing their ship, not one life was lost, just as Paul had declared. It was cold and rainy, and they were in chains in a strange culture with a strange language. But they were met with unusual kindness and were made to feel welcome (see Acts 28:1-2).
A shipwreck is never a pleasant experience, but God used this event to demonstrate his goodness and bring the good news of Jesus to this island. “In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously” (28:7). The father of this local dignitary was ill and God used Paul to bring healing to him (28:8). This demonstration of God’s love and power opened up the avenue for a revival on the island.
All the pain and pressures Paul endured on his trip were preparing him for Malta and the miracles that occurred there. He was shipwrecked under God’s sovereignty! But on the other side of that shipwreck was the miraculous.
Surrender your Malta to Jesus today — God has a purpose for you there! As you hold on to his promises, he will use you, prepare you, mold you, and change you for his glory.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.