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Tag: time

Joseph’s Christmas Story: Full-On Faith

Joseph shows us how to react to surprising and difficult circumstances.

Written by GodLife on 18/12/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChristmasFaithGraceHumilityJesusJoseph


When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:24-25

Considering the birth of Jesus, it’s an interesting exercise to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. Think about it. As he is making preparations to marry his fiance, Mary, he learns that she has become pregnant even though they have not been together as man and wife.

What would your first reaction be? Rage? Sorrow? Disappointment? Shame? Any of these emotions would be certainly understandable. However, Joseph didn’t react like this at all!

Let’s look into what Joseph’s reaction was and how God was present, helping him all the way through one of the most difficult times in his life.

Humility and grace

Purity was a huge deal in the Jewish culture of the day, so marrying a woman who had become pregnant out of wedlock was not something that was seen as acceptable. Because of this, when Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, the Bible says he decided to quietly separate from her and move on with his life.

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19)

This act of grace alone shows that Joseph is a man of great integrity, because many young men in that culture would have put her to shame.

The power of faith

As the story continues, we see that Joseph has remained with Mary through her pregnancy, all while he contemplates what his next steps should be. Then he gets a visit from an angel of the Lord who tells Him that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit and commands him to stay with Mary and name her baby Jesus.

If this happened to you, what would you think? Would you say ‘Yes Lord!’ or would you be scared and doubt that what you heard was actually from God? I think most of us would doubt, but here’s how Joseph responded:

“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)

Extreme faith. That’s what it took for Joseph to listen to the angel of the Lord and believe that God was watching over him and directing his steps. 

Joseph’s story shows us the power of faith and what can be accomplished if we simply believe. Will you believe what the Lord is telling you today about your difficult life circumstances?


Pray this week:

Lord, thank you for showing me what it means to have complete faith in you, no matter how crazy the circumstances are around me. Help me to trust you like Joseph did and believe that you have the best for me. Amen.


When have you had a hard time trusting the Lord with a difficult circumstance in your life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

One Man’s Death Every Man’s Guarantee

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man

Tags: Death, Easter, Hope, Life, Power, Resurrection
We all keep hoping for peace. World War I was "the war to end all wars." Then we found ourselves in the midst of World War II-again sending out sons, husbands, and fathers who may not return.

The wars kept coming. Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Each one pouring out death and destruction to an extent the world hadn’t witnessed previously. If only military victory carried a lifetime guarantee of no more death, no more failure, no more fear. Or better yet, an eternal guarantee.

But only one man’s death carries that guarantee.

No human effort to build a better world can guarantee lasting peace in the Persian Gulf, or Somalia, or anywhere else for that matter. The freedom that costs the blood of our precious young men and women isn’t permanent. It lasts only until another aggressive power comes along, unjustly claiming supremacy over others. Then the bloodshed starts all over again.

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man. Death is man’s legacy; life is God’s. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).

Good Friday, when we remember the cruel death of Jesus Christ on the cross, is a day that man made because of sin. But Resurrection Sunday is God’s Day. He made it. Only the power of God could have raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Man’s deepest yearnings for life, power, and hope find fulfillment in the meaning of Easter.

Life
Resurrection speaks of life. Jesus Christ is alive today! Here in the northern hemisphere, Resurrection Sunday comes in the spring. After a long, cold winter, nature comes alive. In the spring, one is prompted to think of resurrection. It’s a new beginning.

Death is our enemy. But life is ours in Jesus Christ. Death brings fear. The Resurrection gives peace. Thoughts about death often lead to depression. The reality of the Resurrection leads to hope. Death speaks of separation, but the Resurrection speaks of a life that is indestructible, in union forever with the risen Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, "When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins" (Colossians 2:13). We are alive to God because the risen life of Christ is our life. All of us who have Jesus Christ in our hearts know that He’s alive. That’s why we love to sing, "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart." The Lord affirmed, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That speaks of His life in us!

When Jesus came out of the grave, having finished the work on the cross, having shed His blood, having taken the punishment for our sins on His own body, He was able to give us life, because He was alive, risen from the dead.

Do you have this life? Have you experienced what it is to come alive in Jesus Christ? Have you experienced what the Bible calls a "new birth"?

To be born again means that Jesus Christ actually comes into your life. Instead of being dead to God, dead to the things of God, not understanding what God is like, you come alive. You become a new person who can understand the things of God.

The Resurrection speaks of life; not only the life of Christ, alive from the tomb, but also an abundant inner life for us, here and now, daily.

Jesus Christ also opened a way into heaven. We no longer have to fear death, because we are united with Christ. A Christian has been resurrected with Jesus Christ. Christ’s victory is our victory both now and in the future. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed him "who holds the power of death-that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).

Power
Resurrection also speaks of power. Before the Lord was raised from the dead, the apostles were quite a miserable lot. What was wrong? What was it that they lacked? They lacked power!

Until the Lord Jesus was resurrected, was raised up into heaven and the Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles were still afraid and in hiding.

But on the Day of Pentecost, Peter, who had earlier been afraid of the accusations of a servant girl, stood up in front of several thousand people and said, very boldly, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). What brought on this boldness?

Peter now was filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit! He had the risen life of Jesus Christ in him. The power that brought Christ out of the grave is for us now. God’s power is not something that we work up ourselves. It comes only from the indwelling Holy Spirit.

If you lack power in your life, power to overcome temptation, power to witness for Jesus Christ, then you need to allow God’s Spirit to fill you. You need to acknowledge His life in you and let Him live through you.

The life of Christ dwells in every one who by faith receives Him. Your life can be filled with the power of the living Lord Jesus Christ. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).

Hope
Hope? Yes, resurrection also speaks of a secure hope. My father’s body is buried in a little cemetery in Argentina. But my father has been with Jesus Christ all these 48 years since his physical death. One day his body is going to be resurrected, just as the body of Jesus was resurrected.

For those who know the Lord Jesus, that fact is very real. The Lord is coming back! The Bible says that one of these days, we shall be changed "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52). What a marvelous reality!

When my father died, we sang a hymn at his funeral:

Face to face, O blissful moment.

Face to face, to see and know.

Face to face with my Redeemer,

Jesus Christ who loved me so.

Face to face I shall behold Him,

Far beyond the starry sky.

Face to face in all His glory,

I shall see Him by and by.

This is the hope that the Resurrection gives you. We know we shall see the Lord Jesus face to face in all His glory. Do you have that hope? Do you have that assurance? Do you know for sure that you’ll see Him?

If the resurrected Christ does not live in your heart and you die today, what hope would you have? There is no "reincarnation," no "second chance." But if Christ lives in you, then there is the secure hope of eternal life with the Lord Jesus, forever. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish," He has said (John 10:28).

A minister’s son, 28 years old, married with two children, had cancer. Each of the several specialists who examined him said the cancer would take his life. I was the guest speaker at the minister’s church on the Sunday that his son died, early that morning. This pastor, who had suffered so much for two years seeing his son slowly dying, was at perfect peace. He described the last few hours he spent with him. His son had said, "Dad, tonight I’m going to be with Jesus."

"Aren’t you lucky to get there before me, David," his father said. "To think that tonight you will actually see Moses in person, and Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist!"

Then his father said, "But son, best of all, you’re going to see the Lord Jesus. And when you see Him, David, will you tell him that your father loves Him very much?"

The reason this man had such tremendous peace when I spoke with him a few hours after his son’s death was because his son was with the Lord Jesus. That’s what knowing Jesus Christ will do for you.

If the Lord Jesus returned today, would He welcome you into His presence? Have you opened your life to Jesus Christ?

You can receive the Lord Jesus by a simple prayer of faith. Believe in Him, invite Him into your heart, and become a child of God. Make sure that you will be part of that resurrection day when the Lord Jesus comes back for His own.

Make this prayer your own, quietly now, as you finish this article:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that because of Easter, You’ve made it possible for me to have a new beginning. Thank You for Your death on the cross, paying the penalty for my sins. Thank You for Your resurrection three days later. You’re alive and now You offer me new life, power and hope here and now and for all eternity. Please forgive my sins and make me part of Your family. I gladly receive You and put my trust in You. Amen.

What is your favorite part of the Easter season? Which Easter truth gives you the most hope and peace? Did you pray the prayer at the end of the article for the first time? If so, talk to a caring Christian about it and be encouraged!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Powerful Gospel

Have you ever not trusted in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ?

Written by Malcolm Riley


Does the gospel have the power to save anyone?

Have you ever been tempted not to trust in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ? Sometimes, we as Christians apologize for the message of Christ when talking to those who don’t believe. Romans 1:16 should be a life verse for every Christian! Paul says at the beginning of his letter to the Roman Christians, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of others.” The same gospel that has been saving people for thousands of years is still saving people today. This gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, can change any hard heart—if we will tell it! Our job is to pray and tell people about Christ. For as Paul went on to say, “How will they know if someone doesn’t tell them?”

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

We need to tell people about the whole gospel and not leave out the difficult bits like sin, judgment, and Hell, and only talk about the amazing forgiveness that Christ offers at the cross. This means we will really have to trust the Holy Spirit when we tell people of the gospel. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me.” The power is not in our “sales pitch” of the gospel; the power is in telling the truth about Jesus.

Bring Them to Jesus

We also want to be the kind of people who, like Billy Graham, “Call people to decision!” A great prayer is that we might be like a crossroad in the lives of those we meet: that meeting us would draw someone in one of two directions—either towards Jesus Christ or further away from Him. We don’t want our lives to leave people ignorant about the gospel or comfortable with being neutral. The great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said we should preach “the whole gospel with a call to decision.”

Push Past the Awkwardness

Every time I come to a point when I am going to challenge someone to pray to receive Jesus Christ, it never feels right. It always feels awkward. But so many have come to Christ when I have felt like this and chosen to go past the pain barrier and preach the gospel with a call to decision. We’ve got to challenge people in spite of being nervous or feeling awkward. It’s so important to not just tell people the gospel but to also challenge them to receive the greatest news in the world! Ask them, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Do you wish to follow Him?” If their answer is yes, lead them in confessing their faith in Christ and assure them of their salvation. Ask the Holy Spirit today to make Romans 1:16 your life verse: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation others.”

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

ANOINTED TO KNOW THE TRUTH

Pastor Chris 

 

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time… But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things (1 John 2:18-20). 

 

The Scripture reveals that in the last days there’ll be many antichrists, many who’ll come in their own names with false doctrines. A false doctrine is a perversion of truth, intended to deceive and lure people away from the true Gospel of Christ. 

 

However, as a child of God, it makes no difference how many antichrists, false preachers, and false teachers are out there; you can’t be deceived. 1 John 4:3-4 says, “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome THEM: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” “Them” in the scripture above refers to the antichrist, false prophets, and teachers; you’ve already overcome them all. 

 

Your heart and mind are anointed to know the truth. Because of the Holy Spirit who lives in you, you’re able to tell right from wrong, and to discern the right teaching of the Gospel from false doctrines; you have insight into Kingdom mysteries and secrets. No one can toss you to and fro by any wind of doctrine; you know, and judge the truth. 

 

1 John 2:27 tells us, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” The Holy Spirit is the Lord of the Church, and when you hear the Word of God, the same Spirit in you bears witness with your spirit that what you’re hearing is the truth. That’s why you can’t be swayed from the truth, because there’s a special ability from the Holy Spirit that makes you know, and keeps you in the truth. 

 

Trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life. Apart from helping you recognise all false and antichrist doctrines, He’ll also cause you to make right and accurate choices, decisions and investments in life.

 

                PRAYER 

 

Dear Father, I thank you for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in my life. I’m anointed to decipher between light and darkness, and I’m deeply rooted in the Word of truth. I can never be deceived, because I dwell in the light, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

FURTHER STUDY: || John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. || 

 

|| John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. ||

 

|| 1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. || 

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

World’s Top 10 Youngest Billionaires

By Caitlin Kindig | Updated July 12, 2018 — 10:02 AM EDT

Thanks to family inheritances, family businesses, and technology startups, there seem to be more young billionaires today than at any point in history.  According to Forbes, the youngest billionaire in the world comes in at just 21 years old, with the tenth youngest being 32 years old. Kylie Jenner is on the cusp of being the world's youngest self-made billionaire, a title that Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Facebook (FB), earned in 2006 at the age of 23. Jenner, now 20 years old has an estimated net worth of $900 million and will turn 21 in August 2018.

This list is according to Forbes' real-time net worth ranking as of July 11, 2018.

1. Alexandra Andresen
Born in 1996, Alexandra Andresen is the world's youngest billionaire, at just 21 years old. She is a Norwegian heiress and the daughter of Johan H. Andresen Jr., who owns Ferd, a Norwegian investment company that runs hedge funds, actively invests in the Nordic Stock Exchange, and has private equity investments. In 2007, Andresen and her sister, Katharina, were each transferred 42.2% of the ownership stakes and subsequently inherited the money. Andresen has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion. 

2. Katharina Andresen
Katharina Andresen is the world's second-youngest billionaire, as only her sister Alexandra is younger. Andresen also inherited 42.2% of the Ferd ownership stakes. She is 23 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion. 

3. Gustav Magnar Witzoe
Gustav Magnar Witzoe owns nearly half of Salma ASA, one of the world's largest salmon producers. Salmar spearheaded the industrialization of salmon farming in Norway. This stake was given to him in 2013 by his father, Gustav Magar Sr., who founded the company in 1991. Because Witzoe Sr. still runs the company, Gustav invests in real estate and tech startups. He is 25 years old has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion.

4. John Collison
John Collison is the owner and co-founder of Stripe, a company that builds software for businesses to plug into websites and apps to instantly connect with credit card and banking systems in order to receive payments. The 27-year-old Irish entrepreneur devised the idea for Stripe with his brother, Patrick, when they were both attending university in Boston. The company is valued at $9.2 billion, and Collison himself has an estimated net worth of $1 billion.

5. Evan Spiegel
Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc, a camera company which operates Snapchat — a photo messaging service that delivers temporary photos between friends. Snap Inc has a market cap of $16.7 billion as of July 11, 2018. Spiegel studied product design at Stanford University, where he met his co-founder and fellow billionaire, Bobby Murphy. Evan Spiegel is 28 years old and has a net worth of $3 billion.

6. Ludwig Theodor Braun
Ludwig Theodor Braun owns 10% of the medical device company B. Braun Melsungen, which was founded in 1839 as a small pharmacy that sold herbal remedies. Now, the company manufactures injection solutions and surgical instruments. The company had over $7.9 billion in sales for 2017. Braun is 28 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion.

7. Bobby Murphy
Bobby Murphy is the second half of the co-founding pair that brought Snap Inc to the marketplace, and he also owns the company. Murphy is older than his fellow co-founder Spiegel and studied mathematics and computational science at Stanford University. Murphy is 29 years old and has an estimated net worth of $3 billion.

8. Patrick Collison
Brother of John Collison, Patrick is the co-founder and CEO of Stripe, the company that allows businesses and individuals to easily accept payment over the internet. Stripe's big-name investors include Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. Collison is 29 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1 billion.

9. Wang Han
Wang Han inherited wealth from the shares he holds in Juneyao Air, a major airline company based in Shanghai. He inherited the shares from his deceased father who founded Juneyao Group which also has business involvement in retailing, education, and food. Han is 30 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.

10. Lukas Walton
Lukas Walton is the grandson of the famous founder of Walmart Inc. (WMT), Sam Walton. He inherited his fortune as well as one-third of the family estate from his father, John Walton, who died in a plane crash in 2005. An active investor and philanthropist, Walton owns stakes in Walmart, First Solar, and Arvest Bank. He is 32 years old and has an estimated net worth of $14.2 billion.

 

Read more: World's Top 10 Youngest Billionaires | Investopedia https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/101415/worlds-top-10-youngest-billionaires.asp#ixzz5RTXl2rsa 
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Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Helping Those Who Question

Regard the curious as thirsty for living water.

Written by GodLife on 11/09/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Questions, Answers, Reasons, Evangelism, Apologetics
Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope.

1 Peter 3:15
Have you ever asked a question, only to get another question as an answer? It’s not that uncommon, and it doesn’t mean the other person is avoiding your question. Here’s an example:

“So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’” (Acts 8:30-31)

People ask questions for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they aren’t really asking for information—they either already think they know the answer or are raising a question as a cover for something. Here’s an example:

“But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:25–29)

Jesus answered this question with one of the greatest parables in the Bible: the story we call the “Good Samaritan.” Even though the young man’s goal was to “justify himself,” Jesus worked creatively to reach him. 

It’s a good test of our walk with Jesus when we’re gracious with those who ask questions like he was. What are some ways we can do that?

Are all questions… even the not-so honest ones… opportunities?
The only way to avoid uncomfortable questions is to only associate with those who are certain they know all the answers. And this shows the value of questions. They imply the questioner is teachable. Both Peter (see 1 Peter 3:15, above) and Paul assumed believers would live lives that created opportunities to answer questions: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5–6) 

Will they come whether you’re ready or not?
Jesus actually made it clear that people would question us–and that it’s a good thing, a way for God to be glorified.   “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16) A believer’s nature is meant to be an invitation for questions. We can’t be hidden, even if we try. God meant it to be like that as a way for His purposes to be worked out. (See Philippians 2:12-16)

How did Jesus use questions?
Did Jesus Himself get tough questions? You bet. Did He always answer them directly? No; in fact, He often answered questions with questions his critics couldn’t answer. “Then some of the scribes answered, ‘Teacher, you have spoken well.’ For they no longer dared to ask him any question.” (Luke 20:39-40). Very often, Jesus’ challenging questions were for the benefit of the surrounding listeners as well as the questioner. Every time I read these exchanges it makes me want to grow in my ability to answer and ask good questions.

Helping others who question, then, is Christ-like, isn’t it? It’s an opportunity to help the teachable, a way to fulfill God’s purposes for us, and a chance to embrace conformity to the image of Jesus. The next time you are questioned, how will you make it an opportunity to bring truth and love to the questioner?

Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, I want to be more like You. Show me where fear and pride make me defensive and keep me from helping others who question.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member