If you were to make a list of priorities, surely somewhere at the top, would be to show devotion to Jesus. Oddly enough, the word ‘devotion’ is not in the King James New Testament, but the phrase “CONTINUED STEADFASTLY” is used. It means to show devotion, be dedicated and keep a priority. The New Testament does not leave us guessing about how we are to show devotion, it is specific and repetitive in telling us that Christians are to be devoted and continue steadfastly in prayer. Prayer is a top priority in showing who we are committed to in this life. Look at the following verses, Acts 1:14, “devoting themselves to prayer”. In Acts 2:42, “devoted themselves to…the prayers”. In Acts 6:4, “devote ourselves to prayer”. In Romans 12:12, “constant in prayer”. Ephesians 6:18, “praying at all times in the Spirit”. Colossians 4:2, “Be devoted to prayer”, and 1st Thessalonians 5:17, “pray always!”. Why all this devotion? Because God never stops loving you more than anything in this world! The world is devoted to making money, looking pretty and dominating power over the next person. Jesus is devoted to loving you, tell Him you love Him, every day!

This is the essence of praising God, by our action, our words and whole lifestyle. Anyone who worships (loves) God and does his will, is heard by God, Jn 9:31. What God does after hearing someone who loves him and does what He wants, is a good question. Cornelius is a great example. His prayer and good deeds went up as a memorial, and God answered him with the good news of his salvation by His Spirit and Peter’s command of baptism, Acts 10:45-48. This empowers us to praise Him. We of course, are not coming into salvation as the first ever Gentile believer, with the purpose of proving God’s work miraculously. But we are just as precious, loved and destined for a divine purpose. The reason we should praise God is best defined by David who wrote in Psalm 40:1-3, “I relied completely on the Lord, and he turned toward me and heard my cry for help, He lifted me out of the watery pit, out of the slimy mud. he placed my feet on a rock and gave me secure footing. He gave me reason to sing a new song, praising our God. May many see what God has done, so that they might swear allegiance to him and trust in the Lord”. This kind of praise that is rooted in recognition of God’s help, is the kind of praise that keeps us devoted to prayer and our Savior Jesus Christ. Do we lack the strength and stamina to keep praising Christ? It may only be because we do not recognize His very real help and work on us and all around us. Look! Read! Believe and live it out!

Genuine Sweetness

Saccharin, Stevia or Sugar, which is real? The food industry has studied, tested, proven and promoted all kinds of sugars. But which is really the best for your body? That is a much debated topic. But let no one argue about which kind of sweetness is best for our soul. God says, “and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-8). What could be sweeter than the kindness of God in Christ Jesus. His grace still inspires millions to be kind & gentle, even towards enemies undeserving. This is true love, it is sacrificial love and the most love any one could have, that is, to lay down their life for a friend. It is God’s design for His sacrificial love to inspire our human affections to grow. For most of us, Valentine’s Day is a time to show affection and kindness to those who are close. But if we are called upon to make a real sacrifice for those close and dear to us, could we do it? This reminds me of an anonymous poem my aunt gave me. “God has not promised skies ever blue, flower strewn pathways always for you. God hasn’t promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But He has promised strength from above, ongoing comfort, unfailing love”. This truth was long ago expounded upon by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:35-38.