Category: <span>thoughts by Palitha Jayasooriya</span>

In an increasingly insecure world, people are living in tension and anxiety.


In an increasingly insecure world, people are living in tension and anxiety. Horrific scenes of death and destruction can be seen every day.  However, in such troubled times, the child of God can rest assured that our future is always secure in God’s hands!

In John 14, the disciples of Jesus were troubled because He had hinted that He would be leaving them soon (John 13:31-38). Although they couldn’t grasp all that Jesus meant, what they heard was enough to get their stress levels to rise rapidly.

In the midst of this scenario, the Lord highlighted the following powerful facts to bring reassurance to their troubled hearts.

•    He was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:2)

When we take a journey, we generally like to have proper accommodation at our destination. If not, we may even postpone our trip for another day. How encouraging it is to know that the Lord has prepared a better place for us! The scriptures show us that it will be something beyond our present imagination and vision!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

•    He is coming back for His children (John 14:3)

The second coming of Jesus is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. That’s a lot of scripture! Since Jesus has been true to all His promises so far, we can be assured that He will be more than true to this one as well!! When that great event takes place, He will receive us to Himself, to enjoy His blessings forever!

Someone said, ‘We do not look for the undertaker, but for the upper taker’.

Illustration – It is said that the territory held by a famous General in World War 2 was overrun by enemy forces. As he departed with his soldiers, he made a promise to the people that he would come back to liberate them soon. They held on to that promise and true to his word, the General did return with his army to liberate the land from the opposing forces.

If a human General could fulfill his promise so effectively, how much more would the King of Kings do so? Are you waiting in anticipation for the day in which the clouds will be rolled back and our Savior will appear in all His glory?

•    He gives peace to our troubled hearts (John 14:27)

God has promised to give us a peace that passes all understanding. Therefore, the Apostle Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything…” (Philippians 4:6). The Lord Jesus Himself told the Disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. (John 14:27). His peace will sustain us in the tumultuous times ahead!

Illustration – When faced with an unbearable tragedy that involved untimely deaths in the family, Tom Dorsey, in the midst of heartbreak and a shattered world, penned down some lyrics that have touched thousands of lives over the years.

Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the Light,
Take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home.

Let’s remember that the Lord Jesus is coming back to take us to a prepared place. Till then, His peace and grace will sustain us.

PrayerLord, may your peace and the promise of your return sustain me in these troubled times. Amen.

By Pastor Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission


If you don’t know Jesus in a personal way and would like to, you can start today by surrendering your heart to him.  Jesus can transform you from the inside out and be your anchor during times when life seems shaky. His love is amazing. You can start by praying a prayer like this:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

If you prayed this prayer, we would love to hear from you. If you want to learn more about the Christian life, we can connect you with a mentor (by email) and send you some helpful reading materials.


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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Further Reading

•  Reading the Bible – Where to Start?\

•   How To Be Sure You Are a Christian

•  Salvation Explained


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I wonder how many times you have been let down by someone?

There are many   who promise us that they will stand by us, no matter what comes our way. They say, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you’. However, when trouble strikes, most of them are so far behind that you need a telescope to see them!

On the other hand, things around us keep changing at a rapid pace, sometimes too fast for us to adjust. In fact, some changes like global pandemic, getting old, developing health issues, children leaving home, having to play the role of a single mom or dad unexpectedly and losing a job can be quite scary!

It is therefore comforting to know that in the midst of changing circumstances or being let down by someone, we have a God who never deserts us! He has said,

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5)

In Deuteronomy 31, the people of God were told of a huge change that was ahead of them. Moses, the man who had led them through ‘thick & thin’ for 40 years, makes a startling statement. In vs 2 he says, ‘The Lord has said to me, you shall not cross the Jordan.’ Just imagine the shock that went through the camp! He also says, ‘Joshua also will cross ahead of you…’ (vs 3). Here was their leader, talking about a change in leadership at the critical period of entering the Promised Land. Moses also clarifies in vs 2, that he was no longer able to lead them, being a 120 years old. It was obviously a scary time for the people of Israel who were used to seeing Moses in front of them. Sure, changing circumstances can be very trying!

Moses however then assures them, ‘the Lord your God goes before you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.’ What a promise! He therefore asks the people to be strong and courageous. This gave strength to the people who had seen God go before them as a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21). It is also no coincidence that in Joshua 1:5, God also tells Joshua, the new leader, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.

What changing circumstances are you facing right now? How are you responding to those changes? Has fear gripped your heart? Do you feel like God is far away? Remember, ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you’. We have a God who never deserts us, specifically in the most difficult moments.

Illustration:

There is a story of a family whose house caught fire. As each parent tried to grab a few belongings and a child’s hand to get out of the house as quickly as possible, the little daughter who was holding the father’s hand, broke free from his grip and ran upstairs to get her teddy bear. However, when trying to come down again, she found that she was trapped by the enveloping flames. She therefore, ran to the upstairs window and shouted for her father’s help. The father shouted back ‘jump down, I will catch you’. However, since she couldn’t see her father clearly through the smoke, the little girl cried, ‘I’m scared to jump daddy, I can’t see you’. Her father replied, ‘don’t worry honey, you just jump. I’m right under you and I will catch you. Although you can’t see me, I CAN SEE YOU’!

Our heavenly Father sees us at all times. He will never desert us!

By Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•   There is Nothing Beyond Your Reach – by Mark Doyle
•   More than a Father
•  Salvation Explained

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Scripture (below): 2 Kings 8:1-6

This devotional is based around a Shunamite lady who had been greatly blessed by Elisha’s ministry. Not only was she blessed with the miracle of a child (2 Kings 4:17), but later, the now grown up son, was raised from the dead through God’s power (2 Kings 8:1).

On Elisha’s instructions thereafter, she had left her home and gone to Philistine territory to avoid a 7 year famine (8:1-2). When the famine was over, she returned home, only to find to her dismay that the house and land no longer belonged to her. It is possible that the land had either been seized by the Government, or been encroached on.

In desperation, this lady (with her son), went to the King, hoping for small mercies. Little did she realize that God had prepared a ‘Restoration Package’ for her! It so happened that the King was in animated conversation with Elisha’s servant Gehazi at that very moment regarding Elisha’s powerful ministry, and quite amazingly, Gehazi was sharing the story of how God had raised the lady’s son from the dead (2 Kings 8:3-5). Imagine their surprise when she appeared before them at that exact time!

The shocked King then asked the lady whether the story was true and she affirmed it (2 Kings 8:6). The end result was that she not only got her house and land back, but even the income from the land for the past 7 years! I wonder whether any bank has that kind of payback scheme!

Today, especially after the pandemic, many people are counting their losses and searching for restoration in their lives. If that is you, trust God to complete His restoration in you and see Him answer in unexpected ways. He is the God of Restoration!

Prayer – Lord, may your restoration be seen in our lives as we trust in Your faithfulness. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

By Rev. Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission

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2 Kings 8:1-6

Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.
It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land. Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.” Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him.
So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.”


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It is said that Missionary John Paton’s mission house was once surrounded and on the verge of being attacked by hostile natives. As darkness fell and the threat became more serious, Paton and all in the compound, used the only weapon they had; prayer. As they prayed, the attack did not materialize and the threat ended. Much later, as one of the tribal chiefs turned to Jesus, it was discovered that on the eventful night, the attackers had seen a vast army (God’s army) surrounding the mission house with a protective cordon. They realized it would be futile to attack as the compound was securely and strongly protected.

Living in an increasingly insecure world has its real challenges. Dangers, terrorism, new strains of viruses, economic struggles and broken/displaced families surround us on all sides. In the midst of these tensions that can crush our peace and increase our levels of anxiety, it’s comforting to know that we can look to our God, the living God, to surround us with His protection.

The composer of Psalm 125 gives us a vivid picture of what God’s protection looks like. He says,

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore” (vs2).

We hear a lot today about ‘surround sound‘. This is ‘surround protection’!

In 2 Kings 6:13-17, the Prophet Elisha was in grave danger in a city called Dothan. The King of Aram was desperate to get his hands on Elisha and sent a strong armed force to surround the city by night. When Elisha’s servant awoke the following morning, he was terrified by the sight of the vast army surrounding the city. Elisha however was unperturbed and said,

Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them‘ (vs16).

As the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, the scripture says that

he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (vs17).

God had surrounded His Prophet with His mighty protection!

He is the same God today. Doesn’t the Bible say that

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)?

The Apostle John further adds,

Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4KJV).

Doesn’t this include anything satan or the world can throw at us? Let’s therefore trust God to surround us with the protection needed for ourselves and our families.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance”. (Psalm 32:7)

PrayerLord may your mighty protection surround us every day. Keep us confident in that trust! We pray In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thought – No evil can surround us when we remain surrounded by God’s protection!

By Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission

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FURTHER READING

Fear or Love?
• Fear, Faith and Migraines by Dr. Muriel Larson
Why Worry Yourself Sick? – by Muriel Larson

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In 1969, Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff recorded a song titled, ‘Many Rivers to Cross’. Jimmy Cliff mentioned that the song was birthed out of the frustration and helplessness he felt after moving from Jamaica to the UK. The feelings came about because unlike what he had expected, nothing significant seemed to be happening in his career at that time.

The lyrics go like this:

Many rivers to cross
But I can’t seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover

Are you feeling like that today? Surrounded by turbulent waters that you can’t seem to cross? It is a fact that many people are facing turbulent waters today, especially with the ripple effects of COVID-19. In the midst of such challenges, the Word of God gives us great hope and assurance.

Here is a thought from the Bible that encourage us to have hope when surrounded by turbulent waters.

Turbulent waters cannot drown us

In Isaiah 43:2, the Lord gives great assurance about His protection on His children as they face deep, turbulent waters. He says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:2). What a great encouragement it is to know that He will not let us drown or be swept away when confronted by what the scripture calls ‘rivers of difficulty’ (Refer Isaiah 43:2 NLT).

Closing:

So friend if you are facing turbulent waters right now hold on to the promises of God and stand firm in your faith. As you do so, Jesus will speak to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”   Mark 4:39.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission

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Devotional on Psalm 11

David was facing extreme dangers when he wrote Psalm 11. His enemies were waiting in the shadows to shoot their arrows at him ( 2). This could refer to verbal attacks and very definitely, to attacks on his life.  King Saul had already been using him as target practice to enhance his skills in javelin throwing (1 Samuel 19:10)! As his very foundation was being shaken (3), David’s close friends had encouraged him to flee to safety.

Let’s look at David’s responses to this extreme challenge.

1) He refused to flee in fear (1)

David refused to ‘flee like a bird to the mountains‘ as advised by His friends. He would trust the Lord to deliver him.

It’s sad that when things get tough, many people decide to run away, seeking relief elsewhere. As a result, they run away from a difficult marriage, a hurting relationship, a challenging job, a financial crisis and other trying circumstances. Christian leaders run away from the challenges of a struggling ministry. Some run away from finding true love because they were hurt once in a relationship. The scriptures record how Elijah, a man of faith and anointing, ran away when confronted by Jezebel (1 Kings 19:2-3).

Are you in that place today? Are you ready to give up? Throw in the towel? Let’s take heart from the faith shown by David.

2) He knew where his security lay (4-5)

David saw that the Lord was still in control of his life because He was on His heavenly throne. His eyes were on God and not on the dangers surrounding him! He saw this just and righteous God (7), closely observing everything that was happening (4). He therefore placed his security in the Lord’s hands, knowing that God was well able to protect him (6).

Yes, God closely observes everything his children go through. While sometimes it may seem like He is inattentive, He never takes His eyes off us and will answer at the right moment. He not only saved David from this challenge, but from every challenge he faced in a colourful career.

 3) He sought God’ presence

David says, ‘upright men will see His (God’s) face’ (7). He clearly knew the joy and beauty of being in God’s presence – ‘You will fill me with joy in Your presence’ (Psalm 16:11). David also knew that the key to seeing the face of God was to live uprightly before Him, even in the most difficult situations.

Are you spending quality time in God’s presence? Are you living uprightly before Him, especially in the midst of extreme challenges? Let’s resolve to do so as the Psalmist shows us.

As we live uprightly in God’s presence, we realize that He is our refuge (1). We can therefore face every challenge our enemies throw at us.

Prayer Lord, help me to stand strong in You in the most difficult challenges facing me today. May I know that You will never fail me and that my security is in You alone. May I remain in your presence and strive to live uprightly before You. Amen

By Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission

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FURTHER READING

Did You Know that You are Someone Special?

A Poem of Hope

Reasons to be Thankful


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My mobile phone crashed a few months ago and I had to switch to my wife’s old one as a temporary measure. On the first day of using the phone, there was one particularly important feature that neither I nor my wife could   grasp, though we tried to figure it out for a while. My small son, who was watching us all the time, then boldly mentioned that he could help us figure it out. We ignored his offer of help and kept grappling with the problem unsuccessfully on our own, even though he repeatedly kept offering his help. Eventually, maybe more out of irritation, we handed the phone to him. Lo and behold, he sorted it out within a few minutes!!

Relieved and I guess quite surprised, my wife and I expressed our appreciation and admiration to him. His casual reply, said almost in despair was, ‘The problem with you two is that you never ask for my help”! He was just 7!!

It struck me that sometimes, we too may be the same. We try to solve our problems in our own strength and ability and in every other possible way, (many times to be disappointed), without first going to the Lord in prayer! it’s good to remind ourselves today that Jesus said. “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24).

So, if you are battling a challenging situation today,

1) Turn it over to the Lord in prayer. He says, “Call to me and I will answer you….” (Jeremiah 33:3).

2) Have the confidence (Faith) that he is strong enough and well able to help you. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for ” (NLT).

3) Testify of His goodness when the answer comes.

Jesus is always willing to help us.

O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer   (Joseph Scriven)

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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“You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head”. Psalm 3:3

Too often at social meetings, worship meetings and at hospitals, I see people with their heads hanging low, bowed down by the burdens they are carrying. Some of them may have no one to talk to, while others show no sign of hope in their eyes. They are desperately looking for answers. Many more have given up and resigned themselves to the challenges they are battling with.

What about you?

Is your head bowed down today because of a burden you are carrying? Are you desperate for God to come through?

When we are downcast or gazing downwards, our eyes are fixed only on a small area of the floor around us. What we see therefore is a very limited space and Satan will do everything possible to keep our gaze on that small space. But, when God lifts our head up, we will see the whole horizon before us; the largeness of what He has created for us to enjoy! Imagine yourself on a beach at dusk, looking down. You may see a rock, some sea sand and maybe a few shells. However, if you lift your head up, you will see the entire horizon, the beautiful sky, maybe a ship or two in the distance, and the beauty of a setting sun! You then realize how big the Creator God is!!

The Good News is that Jesus is well able to ‘lift up your head’ and He is waiting to do so! Psalm 3:3 says, “But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head”(ESV). God, through Jesus, wants to show you a glimpse of His glory and to “lift up your head “. Will you call upon the mighty name of Jesus and ask Him for help now? It will change your outlook on your problem!!

PrayerLord, my head hangs low with the burdens I am carrying. Be my shield, show me your glory and lift my head up now. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen!

By Rev. Palitha Jayasooriya
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How much we worry and how many of our worries are unfounded?

Unhealthy worrying can cripple us to the point of making us ineffective and unable to cope with life’s challenges. It can also lead to depression. We worry over sickness, viruses, finances, family, children, salt, sugar, unforeseen dangers and many other things.

The Longman Dictionary describes worry as ‘an uncomfortable feeling in the mind, caused by a mixture of fear and uncertainty’.

Sadly, according to experts, worry can also take a heavy toll on our physical and mental health. Dr. Charles Mayo once said,

‘Worry affects the circulation and the whole nervous system. I’ve never known a man who died from overwork, but I’ve known many who have died from doubt’.

So, what are you worrying about today?

A lot of our stress and discouragement is caused either by unfounded or maybe even real fears and anxieties. The Lord Jesus however said in Matthew 6:34 

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”.

He was advising us to take each day as it comes, trusting Him. That’s a great antidote for anxiety and we should consider doing so for the following  reasons.

  1. Because We Can’t Control Tomorrow

There is no point in worrying about tomorrow, because no one is assured of a tomorrow. God holds the times and seasons in His hand. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”. That’s a good reason to commit each day and our future plans into God’s hands and to receive His strength for our anxieties. Only He can control our tomorrow.

  1. Because There Is Enough Trouble For Today

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said.  “… Do not worry about tomorrow, …Each day has enough trouble of its own”.

Not only can’t we control tomorrow, but we do not know what may happen today. In fact, some of us going through severe crisis situations may dread the dawning of a new day. I once read that there are two possible ways people could wake up in the morning. One group cheerfully says, ‘Good morning, Lord”, while the other says, ‘Good Lord, its morning’! Let’s place our today in God’s hands for He is always in control. We are then assured of His providence, protection and provision.

It is interesting that God identifies Himself in the scriptures in the present tense as, ‘I am’. He is therefore a God of the present; a God of today. Sadly, many people are either living with regret over the past or with anxiety over the future. For those living with regret over the past, Paul says in Philippians 3:13‘But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind….I press on..’, while for those worrying over their future he says, “Do not be anxious about anything” and then encourages us to trust in the power of praying to God (Philippians 4:6). Paul trusted in God’s grace every day.

By  Palitha Jayasooriya
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1 Samuel 30:1-20

Are you staggering in an unexpected crisis right now? Maybe some challenge has hit you out of the blue? Crisis situations don’t warn us before they hit, do they?  However, in God’s plan, the crisis may well be leading you to a ‘Divine Appointment’.

In 1 Samuel chapter 29, God had just helped David and his men get out of what was a difficult situation, in having to fight their own countrymen. In chapter 30, as they returned home, obviously with much thanks for God’s intervention, an unexpected crisis had struck. Their home city, Ziklag, had not only been raided and torched by the Amalekites (30:1), but their families had been taken captive (30:2). In the midst of the unimaginable sorrow they were feeling, David’s faithful men were even talking of stoning him (30:6). In this crisis situation however, the Bible says, ‘David found strength in the Lord‘. As he did so, God began to turn the crisis into a ‘Divine Appointment’.

Under God’s direction David began to pursue the enemy, and eventually, in a vast land area, he unexpectedly found the very person who could lead him to the raiders (30:8-11). This was the dying servant of an Amalekite official who had been deserted, as he was sick and a burden. Since David spared the man’s life, he was more than willing to lead them to the raiders’ camp (30:15). As a result, David and his men won a great victory before any harm could come to their families and received back much, much more than what they thought they had lost (30:18-20).

An unexpected crisis can truly be turned into a ‘Divine Appointment‘ by the Lord.

Illustration: At the age of 24, I faced an unexpected crisis as I developed a serious problem on my spine that needed surgery. I spent 25 days in hospital and life as a whole, as well as my future, looked extremely bleak. God had however planned a ‘Divine Appointment‘, and many, many years later, thanks to His healing touch, I still haven’t had any surgery on my spine! He is the God of ‘Divine Appointments’.

Thought: Trust God to turn any unexpected crisis in your life at present into a ‘Divine Appointment’.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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This past week I’ve had to pray with people battling heavy odds against cancer, children’s health issues, relationship problems, addictions, emotional distress, a burnt down house and many other issues. They all felt overwhelmed and that the odds were stacked against them.  Are you too struggling against overwhelming odds today?

In 2 Chronicles 20, a coalition of armies had come against Judah. This strong army (verse 2-4) brought a sense of terror upon the people.  King Jehoshaphat realizing the seriousness of the challenge before him, cried in desperation, “We have no power to face this vast army… We do not know what to do…” (verse 12). Maybe you too are saying ‘I don’t know what to do’?

However, God brought about an amazing victory for Judah. We can therefore learn how to find victory against overwhelming odds by looking at 4 responses shown by King Jehoshaphat.

  • Resolve to trust God in Prayer

Prayer is the greatest weapon God’s children have over every challenge. A famous quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson says, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” So, when facing overwhelming odds and when you may not even feel like praying, there is only one thing to do. Keep on praying!

Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout the land. The people responded in unison as the King cried out to God (verse 3-5). He was depending completely on God’s strength!! (verse 6-12).

God sometimes permits staggering odds to come against us to drive us to our knees in prayer.

  • Receive a specific promise for the situation

Verse 14 – 15 tells us that the Prophet Jahaziel, under the anointing of God’s Spirit, began to prophesy over the situation. He said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. … stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you”.

Similarly, God has a specific promise for every challenge we face; especially when overwhelming odds are against us.  It can come through a scripture, a song, a sermon, a prayer, wise counsel or a prophecy.  Once we receive such a specific word from God, we should hold on to it and not give up till the victory is final (refer verse 20).

  • Realize the battle is the Lord’s

The Prophet Jahaziel said, “You will not have to fight this battle… Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you,…”. He further emphasized “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (verse 15 –17)).  Therefore, realize that the Lord is always fighting on your behalf.

So often I hear powerful testimonies of people who have experienced God’s delivering power in challenging situations.

  • Meditate on God’s unfailing love through worship

When the army went out for battle the following morning, Jehoshaphat “appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness (verse 21).” These singers were focusing on a well- known worship refrain about God’s enduring love. They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever (verse 21).”

In response, the Lord brought disarray to the enemy’s camp. Their armies began to annihilate each other and an amazing victory unfolded (verse 22-23)!! As you stand against overwhelming odds, meditate on God’s unfailing love which endures forever. He will come through for you, often in unexpected ways!

God will surely give us victory against the overwhelming odds that are against us today.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission

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Thoughts by All Thoughts by Men thoughts by Palitha Jayasooriya

Psalm 145:1-6

The first few verses of this beautiful psalm of praise by David show us 3 practical ways in which we can honor our Lord daily. Following these 3 steps will strengthen and enhance our walk with Jesus. They are:

  • Praise Him every day

“Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever” (vs 2)

There is so much to praise God for and we should be lifting our praise to Him every day. Let us start our day with praise and end it with praise! Let us praise Him as we walk the streets, as we sit at our desk and as we travel. Praise is contagious and soon others will follow your example.

Illustration – I remember a Christian leader saying that as he was traveling in the bus one day and enjoying the beautiful scenery around him, he couldn’t help humming the powerful hymn ‘How Great Thou Art’. The person seated next to him soon turned and said, ‘Feels so true doesn’t it’? A short while later, a few others in the bus started humming the great hymn! That’s the power of praise!

Have you praised God today? Read the rest of the Psalm (21 verses in all) and list down the many reasons David praised God ‘EVERY DAY’.

“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord” (vs 21)

  • Meditate on His works

“I will meditate on your wonderful works” (vs 5b)

The works of God are revealed in His powerful Word. We also see them in creation, in our own lives and in the lives of others. Let us meditate on His Word and His works. Meditating on His Word and His works lifts our faith whenever a new challenge comes our way.

A preacher once mentioned that meditating on God’s Word can be compared to a cow ‘chewing the cud’. As the cow receives help with its digestion when it chews the cud, so we too can receive all the strength contained in God’s Word as we spend a few minutes or more, meditating on it. It is interesting to note that The Collins English Dictionary describes the term ‘chewing the cud’ as follows – ‘to reflect or think over something’.

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Psalm 119:97)

  • Proclaim His Great Deeds

“.. I will proclaim your great deeds” (vs 6b)

What has God done for you recently? How did He bring you to salvation? Have you been telling others about His blessings to you? Have you been sharing them with your children? I rejoice in the fact that my 2 sons aged 12 and 10, love to hear my stories about God’s interventions in my life and ministry. In fact, they often ask for repeats!

“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts” (vs 4).

Why should we proclaim God’s great deeds?  We need to do it “so that all men may know of your (God’s) mighty acts” (vs 12).

Last week, at our midweek service, I was praying at the altar with a young man over a burden he was carrying in a very personal area of his life. As I shared my own testimony in that particular area of life and how God came through for me, his eyes lit up and he shouted, ‘Yes, I now believe God can do it for me too”!

There is power in proclaiming ‘His great deeds’, more so, when we tell people about His mighty ‘saving grace’ in our lives! They just might want what you have!

Prayer: Lord help me to honor you every day by praising you, meditating on your works and by proclaiming your great deeds. Amen.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
Used by Permission

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Read: Psalm 107: 1-38

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1

Soul singer Lionel Ritchie was once deeply impacted by a speech in which his father had honored his mother, on their 37th wedding anniversary. In his speech, Ritchie Senior had lovingly thanked his wife for sticking by him through the ups and downs of life. Said Lionel, “What a great story because I pass through my house every day and I don’t say thank you. I just take for granted that certain things be done”. That speech moved him to compose one of his best loved songs, ‘Three Times a Lady’.

How much we too forget to be thankful to God for the blessings He gives us. We often take them for granted. In Psalm 107, the author earnestly encourages the people to be thankful to God, by repeating the phrase, “Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to humankind” on four occasions (Psalm 107: 8, 15, 21, and 31).

The Psalmist also describes the many ways in which a loving God has been faithful to His children by reflecting on His deliverance (Psalm 107:6), guidance (Psalm 107:7), provision (Psalm 107:9), protection (Psalm 107:29-30) and blessings (Psalm 107:35-38).

As I was reflecting recently over this psalm, the Lord reminded me of how He had brought deliverance through trials, guidance in difficult situations, provision in unexpected ways, protection from targeted attacks of the enemy and individual blessings to each of our family members. So much to be thankful for!

May we truly learn to be thankful to God every day!

PrayerLord, may I never forget all the blessings You have given me. Like the Psalmist, help me to be thankful today through a prayer or a song of praise. Amen.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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“…, people brought the sick into the streets and laid then on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by… and all of them were healed” Acts 5:15-16

As you think of the Apostle Peter’s ministry in the book of Acts, what comes to mind? Is it fearlessness, anointing, miracle worker, dynamic preacher?

Yes, all these are true and God used Peter powerfully. Through Peter God healed a crippled (Acts 3:6-7) and a paralyzed man (Acts 9:32-35), raised the dead (Acts 9:36-43), opened prison doors and gates (Acts 5:19, 12:8-10) and brought thousands to salvation [Both Jews and Gentiles] (Acts 2:41, 4:4, 10:44-46). As the opening scripture in these Devotional records, people even expected to be healed by having Peter’s shadow fall on them as he passed by.

How did such a dramatic change happen in the life of a man who had so callously denied Jesus on 3 occasions? The obvious answer would be the anointing received as Peter and the other disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. How true that is and what an anointing they received!

I would however like to suggest another reason why Peter’s ministry was so effective. I believe it was also because of the power of a prayer. In fact, it was an intercessory prayer that was made on his behalf  by none other than the Lord Jesus himself. Jesus told Peter at the Last Supper “Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32). The final result of that prayer was quite amazing as we have seen in Peter’s powerful ministry.

That shows the power of a prayer!

Friend, never underestimate the power behind a prayer. While we may not sometimes see immediate results, be sure the Lord hears every fervent prayer. Therefore, as the Apostle Paul recommends, “Never stop praying” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Popular singer Tom Petty passed away recently after a highly successful career. One of Petty’s most loved songs was titled ‘I Won’t Back Down’. It says:

Well, I won’t back down.
No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell,
But I won’t back down

While Tom Petty was probably singing about the human challenges he had to face, the Apostle Paul says something similar regarding the spiritual battles we face as God’s children. He says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13). The imagery is that of a well-trained soldier, planting his feet firmly on the battle field and refusing to back down. In other words, Paul may be saying, ‘don’t back down’. Ever!

The senseless shootings at a church in Texas and others disasters, bear witness to the fact that we live in dangerous times. It is at a time like this that the church of Jesus Christ and individual Christians should stand firm, find renewed hope, minister to the hurting and refuse to back down.

In Daniel 6, Daniel was about to receive the ‘promotion of a lifetime’, being the likely candidate for Prime Minister. The appointment may have brought privileges in the form of a brand new vehicle (the latest chariot?), unlimited power and added bonuses. That’s when envy set in as the other powerful officials rose up against him. Their devious plans meant Daniel would have to either back down from his commitment to God or face the ‘lions’.

Daniel refused to ‘back down’ and God sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths. Maybe He tranquilized them, maybe He assigned them to a 12 hour fast, or maybe they just lost their appetite. Whatever may have happened, it was a powerful work of God

Similarly, God is with us in our battles. Let us therefore stand firm and be encouraged by the words in James 4:7 that says, “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. Whatever challenge you may be facing today, don’t back down God’s grace will carry you through.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Thoughts by All Thoughts by Men thoughts by Palitha Jayasooriya