Day 54: The Importance of Rest

The Daily Word: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
Leviticus 14:1-57
Mark 6:30-56
Psalm 40:1-10
Proverbs 10:11-12
For full text click here.
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. – Mk 6:30-32

Jesus told the disciples to put a priority on rest. The disciples were praying: telling Jesus all things they had done and taught. They were serving: for there were many coming and going. Yet Jesus interrupted their prayer, and their service, to remind them to rest.

The disciples were being stretched thin: traveling to heal and to teach, and ministering to all the people who came to them. They had busy schedules full of service to God! But Jesus told them if they didn’t take time to minister to themselves, they wouldn’t have strength to minister to others.

If you aren’t full, you will have nothing to pour out. Give yourself time to rest and receive from the Lord. It is only from a place of rest that you can glorify God.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for rest! Remind me of the importance of rest: every single day of my life.

Archives
See commentary from this day in 2014.
See commentary from this day in 2015.
See commentary from this day in 2016.

© Michael D. White, 2017. All rights reserved.

Day 345: Strengthened By the Holy Spirit

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Friday, December 11th, 2015
Amos 4:1-6:14
Revelation 2:18-3:6
Psalm 130:1-8
Proverbs 29:21-22
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1vWYCiO

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. – Rev 3:5

To “overcome” means to conquer: to hold fast to your faith even unto the death of all your enemies (Strong’s #3528). The only way to overcome is by allowing God’s Holy Spirit to strengthen you. You can never overcome on your own; but God can overcome through you! You can never defeat Satan on your own; it is the strength of the name Jesus that defeats him!

Living on your own and simply trying to “be strong” will leave you defeated and burned out. Yield to God. Allow His Holy Spirit to work through you with power! Your reward for overcoming will be infinite. You will be dressed in white, and clothed with the same garments as Jesus Christ Himself! If you confess the name of Jesus before men, He will confess your name before His Father in Heaven!

Prayer:

Father, help me to overcome! Strengthen me, in Jesus’ name, so that I can go out and do everything You have called me to do!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 344: Your Prophetic Gifting

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Amos 1:1-3:15
Revelation 2:1-17
Psalm 129:1-8
Proverbs 29:19-20
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1wbxtIJ

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. – Amos 3:7

God does nothing without first telling His prophets. And guess what? That means YOU!

Under the Old Covenant, there were only three categories of people who could hear from God: prophets, priests, and kings. God’s Holy Spirit would rest on those people, and communicate His messages to them. If you are a New Testament believer, you are filled with God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit doesn’t just descend on you, impacting you from the outside in (as if that wasn’t enough!). Now He dwells in you: impacting you from the inside out!

Here is what the Gospel says about your position as a prophet:

For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” – Lk 7:28

As believers who are righteous in Christ Jesus, we live in a position that would make Old Testament prophets jealous. Because God’s Holy Spirit lives in you, you have the potential for a greater prophetic gifting than even John the Baptist! Ask God to speak to you! He will tell You His will –in advance – so You can partner with Him to make it happen.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for speaking to me every day. Help me to have confidence that when I come to You in prayer, You hear me. You know the desires of my heart!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 343: Fresh Revelation

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Wednesday, December 9th, 2015|
Joel 1:1-3:21
Revelation 1:1-20
Psalm 128:1-6
Proverbs 29:18
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1w9JwFm

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. – Prov 29:18

‘Revelation’ means prophetic vision, and ‘restraint’ is the ability to hold ourselves together. In other words, this verse is saying that when we lack prophetic vision, we start to unravel. The KJV translation of Prov 29:18 says that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

If we are separated from God to the extent that we are not hearing from Him, we will spiritually wither and die. Yet when we have revelation from God, we will stay rock solid. We will stay well-fueled, and full of life!

So how do you get more revelation? Revelation belongs to Jesus. Revelation 1:1 says that, “…God gave Him [revelation] to show His servants.” Since revelation belongs to Jesus, we must get to know Him to find out more about God! If you need revelation, sit at the feet of Jesus! Consider the Gospel in awe and wonder. The more you intimately get to know Jesus, the more you will be overcome by fresh words from Heaven.

Don’t settle for a stale, revelation-less life. God will reveal Himself to you. Ask Him for revelation!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for providing endless revelation! I know that when I ask for more of Heaven, you cause Heaven to unfold in front of my eyes. Thank You for fresh manna, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 342: Praying in the Holy Spirit

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
Hosea 10:1-14:9
Jude 1:1-25
Psalm 127:1-5
Proverbs 29:15-17
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1zkMmt9

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit… – Jude 1:20

Jude exhorts all believers to pray in the Holy Spirit. When Scripture speaks of praying in the Holy Spirit, we are meant to interpret it as praying tongues. When we pray in tongues, Jude says we are building ourselves up in faith because we are allowing God’s Holy Spirit to pray through us. When we pray in tongues, we are keeping ourselves in the love of God by partnering with Him in perfect prayer.

There will be times when you know you should be praying, but you don’t know exactly what to pray. Praying in tongues is the answer. Paul told the church at Rome that whenever we pray in tongues, “…the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings with cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26). The Ephesians were taught to pray, “…always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Eph 6:18).

Praying in tongues is an amazing opportunity for all Christians, and we should never ignore this important spiritual discipline. God’s Holy Spirit is in you for a reason: so you can pray just as Jesus prayed, led by the Spirit of God!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit, and inviting me to pray with Him. I ask that You would remind me to speak in tongues often! I know that when I do, I will be built up, edified, and reminded of God’s love.

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 341: Healing Is For Today

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Monday, December 7th, 2015
Hosea 6:1-9:17
3 John 1:1-14
Psalm 126:1-6
Proverbs 29:12-14
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1yZ1JGL

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. – 3 Jn 1:2

Healing and salvation happened on the same day! Jesus made provision for divine healing in the atonement. If God still saves, then God still heals!

There are many Christians who claim that Jesus no longer heals. Yet John prays that Gaius would have prosperous physical and spiritual health. He would not have prayed for physical health, if perfect physical health were not God’s will!

We see here that health and salvation (a prosperous soul) are inextricably linked. God will cause your body to prosper, just as He causes your soul to prosper. Please do not believe the lie that Jesus is done healing because He is in Heaven. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8)! If He healed then, He heals now!

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. – Is 53:5

Prayer:

Father, You are Jehova Rapha: the God Who Heals. Healing is not just something You do; Healing is who You are! Thank You that Your desire to heal has never changed, and will never change, in Jesus’ name!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 340: Face to Face

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Sunday, December 6th, 2015
Hosea 4:1-5:15
2 John 1:1-13
Psalm 125:1-5
Proverbs 29:9-11
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1AHjH0L

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. – 2 John 1:12

John had a lot to say. Yet he didn’t want to write it all down, because he knew recording the message wouldn’t do it justice.

There are some things that must be said face to face. In a day and age where personal interaction is becoming less and less common, this is a timely reminder to get out and see people: face to face. For certain messages, a Facebook message, or an e-mail – or even a handwritten letter – won’t get the job done. John knew the only way his joy would be full is by spending time with other believers!

With whom have you been meaning to get a cup of coffee? With whom have you been wanting to spend some good, quality time? Ask God to help you make time in your schedule to see people in person, and speak with them face to face!

Prayer:

God, You make the time to speak with me face to face. Help me to show that same love and attention to others. Help me to make time to spend with people, face to face!

View today’s post on our website: http://bit.ly/1Q7IaqD

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 339: Obedient Love

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Saturday, December 5th, 2015
Hosea 1:1-3:5
1 John 5:1-21
Psalm 124:1-8
Proverbs 29:5-8
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1CPnrSv

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. – 1 Jn 5:3

The difference between loving and hating God’s commandments is love. If you know God loves you, you will do whatever He asks with a smile on your face. If you don’t understand the depths of His love, however, keeping His commandments will be the most burdensome undertaking you could ever attempt.

Do you feel like you have to keep His commandments? Or do you understand that you get to? God’s love makes the difference. God gives us His word so that we can live in true freedom, and never have to settle for a counterfeit.

Prayer:

Father, help me to know the depths of Your love. Help me to serve You without fear! I love You because You first loved me.

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Day 338: You Are A Winner

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan
Friday, December 4th, 2015
Daniel 11:36-12:13
1 John 4:1-21
Psalm 123:1-4
Proverbs 29:2-4
For full text click here: http://bit.ly/1tK7qns

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. – 1 Jn 4:4

Jesus conquered the grave. In one fell swoop, as He hung and died on the Cross, Jesus Christ won a decisive and permanent victory over death. Satan can no longer win any ground against Jesus.

Jesus is of God, and so are you. If you believe Jesus is Lord, His Holy Spirit lives in you! That means you are a beneficiary of His victory over death. Because You are in Him, you have already overcome (past tense) every enemy. It is done! The battle is finished, and there is nothing and no one left to fight! You are guaranteed victory before you even take one step forward!

As Christians, we do not fight for victory; we fight from victory! Our privilege is to go out and declare the word of God, in the name of Jesus, knowing that every knee bows at His name (Phil 2:9-11). You are more than a conqueror (Rom 8:37)! The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead gives you power to perform the supernatural on Heaven’s behalf (Rom 8:11)!

Today is going to be a good day. You’re barely even awake; but you are already victorious in Jesus! Now go out and live for His glory.

Prayer:

Father, thank You for victory! I know that I am more than a conqueror. I am seated in Jesus, at the right hand of God, in heavenly places! The enemy can never drag me down, because Jesus has already lifted me up!

© Michael D. White, 2015. All rights reserved.

Biblical Success

The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Biblical Success’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 2/1/2015, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here: http://bit.ly/1xIIHB0

The Biblical Call to Success

We all want to be successful. The American Dream is something that has been deeply ingrained in most of us. But as Christians, sometimes we can feel forced to abandon our ambitions for success. If we’re working too hard, it must not be God, right?

For so many years, Christians have been known by the rest of the world as people with big ideas, but below average execution. We have been known as people with good hearts, but little business sense. Christianity has become synonymous with not-for-profit. But what if I told you the Bible calls us to be successful?

I believe that Christians should be the most successful men and women in our fields. We should be the hardest working people in our workplaces: not for our glory, but for God’s glory alone. We should be the best writers, and the most gifted physicians. We should be the most talented athletes, and the most popular musicians.

We’ve seen professional, Christian athletes professing their faith in increasing numbers recently. Jeremy Lin, the overnight superstar for the New York Knicks, was forward about his faith in Jesus Christ. Tim Tebow prayed in the middle of games as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and unashamedly praised God in press conferences off the field. Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, leads players in on-field prayer before and after NFL games every week. He admits in magazine interviews that he became a Christian at age 14 when Jesus spoke to him in a dream. Then, he says, the Lord led him to switch from baseball to football.[1]

What are these men and women athletes doing? They’re being salt and light:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matt 5:13-16

As God’s people, we are designed to be the best and brightest. We are encouraged to step into that role so we can position ourselves to be mouthpieces for God! We are called to be the most talented people in our field so that, when we achieve success, we can give God all the glory! Professional athletes have been leading the charge, but now I believe it’s time for the rest of us to step up and do our part.

We are all called to be successful. That is not to say, at all, that if we’re unsuccessful in any way, shape or form, that God will not use us to speak to others. However, the Bible is clear on the subject of success. It is something we are supposed to allow God to achieve through us, as a demonstration of His power.

Jesus invites us to a Biblical standard of excellence. Please note that there is a marked difference between an invitation and a requirement; and that is the difference between the Law and grace. Levitical Law required us to maintain a standard of excellence to earn God’s favor. Grace, on the other hand, invites us to accept a standard of excellence we could never attain on our own, because we already have God’s favor.

Jesus spoke to His disciples about professional excellence:

He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. – Luke 16:1-8

The verses above tell the story of a business administrator who – let’s face it – is not too good at business. He had been accused of wasting his boss’s finances, and failing to collect invoices. He lacked creativity, and had become a little too comfortable with his cushy job.

He finds himself on the verge of being laid off. But then God gives him business savvy. He deals “shrewdly” to collect on all of his boss’s outstanding accounts. And guess what? The plan worked. The boss was blown away, and the steward kept his job.

Jesus finishes the lesson to His disciples with this addendum:

And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? – Lk 16:9-11

The people in our workplaces will notice proficiency and excellence. When we demonstrate success and precision in everything we do, they will want to know how we’re able to handle so much responsibility with so much grace. When the men and women in your workplace know you have the ability to steward professional success, they will want to know how you treat your soul. And that will be the invitation you need to introduce them to Jesus Christ.

I’ve worked with many Christian organizations over the years. Unfortunately, many of us are not administratively gifted. When we can’t manage interactions, finances, and other resources well, the people around us won’t have any interest in learning Who we’re all about. But when we achieve desirable results through administrative efficiency and the pursuit of excellence, the entire world will take notice. They will want to meet us to find out the keys to our success; and they will want to meet our God to find out the keys to our favor.

Misplaced Ambitions

We all want to be successful. But most of us go about trying to achieve success in the wrong way. Most of us try and earn it, in and of ourselves. God invites us to pursue excellence, but only through the miracle-working power of His Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit gives us life (Rom 8:11). He strengthens us when we’re physically exhausted, and speaks through us when we don’t have anything compelling to say (see Mk 13:11).

When we try to become successful on our own, without God’s help, we end up tired and frustrated. We’ve all been there. We work our butts off until we run out of gas. Then, after we’re burnt out, we watch in disappointment as everyone around us gets promoted – especially the people who don’t deserve it!

We must understand why it is possible for men and women who don’t know their loving Father to achieve worldly success. The answer to the question, “Why do good things happen to bad people,” lies in the understanding of common grace. Common grace is the inborn characteristic that gives every human being the innate ability to pursue and display the knowledge necessary for success. In a nutshell, common grace explains the undeserved blessings which God extends to all mankind.

All of us are made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), which explains why so many men and women who are not Christian are so insanely talented. The Reformed scholar Louis Berkhof explained it this way:

“[Common grace] curbs the destructive power of sin, maintains in a measure the moral order of the universe, thus making an orderly life possible, distributes in varying degrees gifts and talents among men, promotes the development of science and art, and showers untold blessings upon the children of men…”[2]

Common grace is what explains political concepts such as common morality.[3] God demonstrates His potential through all men and women so that nobody has an excuse not to believe in Him (see Rom 1:20,21).

Common grace is separate and distinct from saving grace: the grace we enjoy as Christians. Saving grace means forgiveness for, and freedom from, all sin; common grace does not. That is why successful men and women who take advantage of common grace, without accepting saving grace, so often struggle with severe issues like depression and substance abuse (which stem from guilt, condemnation and fear).

When people around us are successful, we shouldn’t become frustrated. We should ask God to help us understand the favor we are meant to enjoy in our own lives. We should seek God, and ask Him to illuminate His purpose for our lives. We should ask Him to lead and guide us into financial well-being and Biblical prosperity.[4]

When we talk about Biblical success, we’re not just talking about money. We’re talking about the ability to pursue God’s call on your life: not just as a hobby, but as a profession. The definition of a “professional” is:

“A person engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. Someone who is well-trained and able to succeed in a given area.”[5]

Are you living out God’s calling on your life, and getting paid for it? Are you pursuing His will on a full-time basis? Not everyone will be called to full-time ministry; but all of us are called to be full-time ministers. All of us should invite God to gradually lead us out of our day job and into our calling.

We have so many people in our church who have left large corporations to start their own businesses, founded on Biblical values and principles. I have nothing against large corporations, but it’s so beautiful to watch those transitions happen. No matter where you work, God should be your boss; and if that’s not possible in your current seat, then maybe it’s time to play musical chairs.

God wants to make you successful. He wants everything you do to overflow with excellence. He wants to be involved in every investment decision you make. He wants to be part of every conversation you have at the office.

I come from a financial background. I’ve made some successful investments; and I’ve also made some financial decisions that haven’t turned out so great. Looking back, all of my successful decisions were preceded by seeking God’s guidance before making the investment. All of my unsuccessful trades were encouraged by pride: me, trying to be smarter than everyone else in the marketplace.

If God is not involved in the investment process, we can’t hold Him liable if it fails. But when we seek Him before we make decisions, we have the full confidence that the best business Partner around will lead us through whatever we face!

Freedom through Obedience

Success hinges on obedience. Prosperity hinges on obedience. Ultimately, our freedom to live a life for God hinges on obedience. Deuteronomy 11 explains this well:

For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. – Deut 11:10-14

We all want God to bring us into the Promised Land: a place where God takes care of our every need, and is always looking out for us. But few of us are willing to pay the price.

Verse 13 (above) is a conditional statement. If we serve God with everything we’ve got, then He will water us with more provision that we can handle. Obedience activates God’s blessings. God wants to be involved in every single decision you make: personal, financial and spiritual.

Effortless Success

We are called to pursue success. More accurately, we are called to allow God to demonstrate His favor through us. This is the Biblical path to success: allowing God to work through you with a spirit of excellence. The best decision we can make is to stop trying so hard, in and of ourselves, and allow God to start working on our behalf.

If you try to succeed in and of yourself, you will fail. But if you admit to God that in and of yourself you will fail, He will make you succeed. Paul was a man who understood this well:

And [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Cor 12:9

We, as Paul’s spiritual descendants, would do well to understand it too. We become a magnet for God’s power when we boast in our infirmities. We become a recipient of God’s success when we boast in our inadequacies.

As New Testament Christians, God promises that His Holy Spirit will work through us:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  - Rom 8:11

Jesus was the most successful Man who ever lived. He didn’t achieve His success by spinning His wheels and trying hard. He allowed God’s Holy Spirit to work through Him. When His Father showed Him what to do, He did it. And so should we.

If you feel under-qualified to pursue the things God is calling you to do: great. That means your heart is exactly where it needs to be for God to successfully work through you. Without Him, we can do nothing; but through us, He can do all things.

- by Pastor Mike White

© Michael D. White, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



[2] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), pages 434-435.

[3] John Kerry gave a speech with a reference to “common humanity” which defended the United States’ response to Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime. You can view the video and read the transcript here: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/08/213503.htm.

The thrust of common humanity (or common morality) is that men and women should pursue good over evil. If there is no God, however, then common morality loses its purpose. If our lives are nothing more than blips on the radar of infinity, then what we do on earth simply does not matter. By arguing for good over evil, therefore, even the most anti-religious proponents of common morality are embracing the existence of God without even realizing it.

[4] At CityLight Church, we define Biblical Prosperity as God’s abundant provision for the unique purpose He has put on your life. He may not give you everything you want, but He will give you everything you need (see Matt 6:25-34).

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