Week of Jan. 11
Making a Comeback
Do you live in a state of regret over how your life has turned out? Do you wonder how things would be different today if you had only followed God's path yesterday? If you have missed God's opportunities in your life because of fear, timidity, lack of faith, or even apathy, you may be tempted to keep punishing yourself for your mistakes.
God does not want you to feel constant regret and misery. He wants you to be forgiven, restored, and renewed. With God, it is never too late to be used for His kingdom. The same specific opportunities may no longer be available to you, but you can still be effective for Christ. He wants you to serve Him willingly and obediently today—no matter how you may have failed in the past.
We can find inspiration in the believers in Philadelphia, who wholeheartedly pursued God's opportunities for them. They faithfully served God's kingdom, and Jesus commended them for their commitment: "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" (Revelation 3:8).
The city of Philadelphia was the crossroads of the world and called the Gateway to the East. The Philadelphians sought to use that gateway to propagate the Greek culture and language to the rest of the world. They had a great mission for themselves—but Jesus had a far greater one for the believers in that city. Jesus honored the Philadelphian church with unique opportunities to spread His Gospel.
The believers in Philadelphia had many obstacles and weaknesses, but instead of neglecting their opportunities, they embraced them. They did not want to miss out on anything that God placed before them. They would not ignore God's open door. They would not trample upon or squander the rare opportunities that Jesus was giving them to spread the Gospel message. They knew they were in a unique position in that gateway city, and they did not take that privilege lightly.
The church in Philadelphia knew that serving God is not a chore or a burden—it is a gift and a blessing. Because of their faithfulness and loyalty, Jesus gave them an opportunity to do great things for God and He promised great rewards: "Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name" (Revelation 3:12).
Jesus is also calling today's church to serve Him. He wants each of us to share our faith with others. He will provide us with the right people with open hearts who are ready to hear the Gospel message. He will open doors that no one else can shut.
Before we can share the Good News we must have the spiritual sensitivity to perceive those open doors. We must be ready to act in faith when God gives us an opportunity. We must have the spiritual eyes to watch for His open doors. We must be willing to serve God wholeheartedly in whatever He calls us to do.
What open doors has God placed in your life? What spiritually starving people live on your street or work in your office? How long will those doors be open to share the Gospel with them? If you have neglected God's opportunities, turn back to Him today—it is not too late to serve Him.
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
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