Head of Public Relations

Philemon 1:6 — That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus (NKJV).

In order for your faith to be effective, you have to begin acknowledging every good thing you have in Christ. Your faith should produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good thing that is yours in your identification with Him (AMPC).

People, in general, readily recognize what’s wrong with their lives. They have precise knowledge of their problems and are successful at marketing them. Their thoughts, words, and actions confirm the belief that they will never quite measure up or come out of the mess they’re in. They are chronic complainers.

You are the head of your public relations department. Rather than spread discontent or voice your dissatisfaction, make known the good things you have in Christ Jesus. From His fullness we have all received (John 1:16). Your faith will only increase when you begin to promote who you are in Him.

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Forgive Anyway

Luke 23:34 — Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for His clothes (NLT).

Jesus obviously understood the power of forgiveness. After being accused by the priests and tortured by the soldiers, Jesus forgave them. A lot of what He let go was done in spite, but in the verse above, He even forgave them of what they had done in ignorance.

Not everyone who hurts us does so vindictively. There are probably people in your life right now who you hold a grudge against, and they are clueless. Meanwhile, they live their lives freely, and you’ve imprisoned yourself. When you choose to forgive, you’re not only releasing the offenses of others, you’re letting yourself out of captivity.

Another thing I noticed in this verse is that right after Jesus forgave them, the soldiers gambled for His clothes. What a slap in the face and another opportunity for Jesus to be offended! Not everyone is going to receive your forgiveness, but you are still to give it without expecting anything in return. Love simply does what is right, period. Choose to forgive today.

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Love God First

Romans 12:9-10 — Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is goodBe devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves (NIV).

In this passage, Paul was writing to the church about how to treat one another. But before you and I will ever adhere to his instructions, we must love God first.

Matthew 22:37-39 says you are to love God and then love your neighbor as yourself. So I ask you, “How do you begin to really love Him?” I believe the answer is two-fold: Get into His presence and meditate on His word.

As you discover who God is, you will not be able to contain your love for Him. He is just that good! And as a result of loving Him, you will be compelled and excited to love others—really love them.

Matthew 22:37-39 — Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandmentAnd the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (NIV).

—Heidi Jonker

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Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:8 — Love never fails (NKJV).

Another version states love never ends (ESV). Psalm 136 declares twenty-six times that God’s love never fails (CEV). Pastor Aaron Hankins said it like this, “Love is guaranteed success every time.”

Failure is not an option for the person who walks in the love of God. His love is not capable of a loss or even a tie. It wins!

It’s not uncommon for those involved in a broken relationship to say something like, “Well, we just grew out of love.” I don’t know what “love” they grew out of, but it wasn’t the God-kind. His love does not diminish; it is everlasting.

Many of the impossibilities and issues we face would work themselves out if we’d discipline ourselves to live in divine love. Choose today to demonstrate God’s love, even to those who are failing to love you.

Colossians 3:14 — Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony (NLT).

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Walk in Love

Mark 11:25 — “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” (AMP).

This verse comes right after Jesus talked to the disciples about believing God and speaking forth His promises. Our faith works by love. If you’ve been standing on God’s promises and are not seeing results, you might need to check your love walk. Prophet Kenneth E. Hagin once said, “Many times believers miss out on what God has for them because they choose to be offended and refuse to walk in love and forgive.”

My husband and I carry the message of forgiveness all over the world. We have walked through many trials, as I’m sure you have. Sometimes we initially failed to walk in love and had to repent and start over. But God is faithful, and the Holy Spirit is a good Helper. We must simply yield to Him and His leading. When offense comes, we must choose to forgive and love just like Jesus forgave and loved us.

If you are struggling with an offense, bring it to the cross today and leave it there. Forgive your offender and move forward in love. Mountains will move when we believe, speak, and walk in the God-kind of love.

Galatians 5:6 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love (NKJV).

—Heidi Jonker

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General Sherman

Zechariah 13:9 — “I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (NLT).

General Sherman is a cut above the scores of sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park. With a height of 275 feet and a diameter of 25 feet, it weighs in at a whopping 2.7 million pounds and is an estimated 2,300-2,700 years old. General Sherman is the largest known living tree by volume on the planet.

Giant sequoia trees naturally grow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at elevations between 5,000-7,000 feet above sea level. At that elevation, the trees are provided with the rare combination of dry air and snow (water) they need in order to thrive. But even in these ideal conditions, I found it interesting that a sequoia’s health largely depends on fire.

Fire suppression helps sequoias release the seeds from their cones, recycle nutrients in the soil, reduce competition from other trees, and remove undergrowth. You could say fire has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role in fortifying one of the world’s strongest living things—General Sherman.

Fire plays a similar role in the life of a believer. In Zechariah 13:9, God Himself said He will bring His people (you and me) through the fire in order to purify them. When you walk through the fire, be sure God has a purpose for it. He wants to burn up the things in your life that stunt growth and boost those things that stimulate health. Embrace the season you’re in and know God is making good use of it.

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Surely, All, and Forever

Psalm 23:6 — Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (NKJV).

There are three words that jumped out at me when I read this verse—surelyall, and forever. All three are definite. The word surely implies something is definitely going to happen; you can count on it. All means every or total, not lacking. The word forever means never-ending or eternal. Now I want to direct your attention to the phrases these words are attached to in Proverbs 23:6. Be encouraged today!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you. Have you ever been followed before? I have. Being followed by someone is usually annoying or creepy, but God’s goodness and mercy can tail me anytime. His goodness is His unmerited favor. Who wouldn’t want that? His mercy is what keeps us from getting what we deserve. Hallelujah! How awesome!

But not only are His goodness and mercy surely going to follow you, they’re surely going to follow you all the days of your life. That means God has a fresh dose of goodness and mercy for you every single day. When you wake up in the morning, His favor is upon you and His mercies are made new. Perhaps you needed to be reminded of this truth today. God has an endless supply of goodness and mercy stockpiled, and He liberally provides it to all of His kids!

Lastly, David said you would dwell in the house of the Lord foreverThe Amplified Bible says His presence will be our dwelling place the length of our days. It is not God’s intention for anyone to ever live outside of His presence. He is readily available at all times; we simply fail to acknowledge Him. Recognize His presence, and get ready for His goodness and mercy to follow you.

Lamentations 3:23 — Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning (NLT).

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