Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Divine Education - August 31, 2010

Psalm 119:33-40 (New International Version)
h He
33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.

35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.

39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.

40 How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Psalm 119:33-40 (The Message)

33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

There is an old adage that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", but if you know my dog you know that this isn't true. Many times people use this adage for people too. I'm here to tell you that this adage needs to be replaced with, "the older you get the wiser you become". Now that is true for dogs and for people too.

What does this have to do with the Bible passage above you may ask? Well, here our faithful priest shares with us his heart for seeking more learning and guidance from God. He asks God for teaching, insight, guidance, and desire for the wisdom and counsel of God, and he asks God to keep him from focusing on the wrong things, whether it be material things or criticism. He wants to have a divine education on all things of God.

As we get older we should be getting wiser. This is true of worldly things, and it needs to true of Godly things as well. It doesn't matter if you are a new believer or have followed Jesus Christ for many many years. We need to always be passionately seeking a divine education from God. He loves us and enjoys directing us and giving us wisdom. This is easily proven. How many times have you read a Bible verse that means something to you, only to read it again much later and it has a totally new and deeper meaning?

Until our dying day, if we stay close to God and His teaching, we will constantly be learning new and different things that will prepare us for our eternal lives with Him. Belief in Jesus Christ is only the first step; our divinely inspired education is meant to complete the process of getting us ready for the afterlife. Focus on Him by meditating on the verses from this section of the psalm. Ask God to teach you, give you, direct you and turn you in the same way the priest asks for above.

Psalm 119 is a devotional poem from a very pious priest. This is the only psalm in The Psalms written by this author. This psalm is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Israelite priest sought to pass on godly instruction in his devotional study of the word of God.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Backup - August 30, 2010

Joshua 1:9 (New Living Translation)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Acts 18:9-10 (English Standard Version)
9And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people."

Once we have found eternal salvation by believing in Jesus Christ, it becomes necessary that we tell as many people as we can. Problem is though many of us feel like we are going it alone, when we take a step of faith and decide to serve God. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those of us who do believe only do so because God has rescued us for His purposes (John 6:44). God draws everyone, but many harden their hearts to His call. That is why He uses the witness and example of simple men and woman to be His "hands and feet", causing those who may not have heeded God's call to be drawn to the living examples of Jesus. Sharing the truth in love while extended a helping hand is very difficult to resist.

God goes before you preparing the way, by preparing the ground(the hearts of people)before you, and He goes goes behind you protecting you while you are in His service. His call is for us to go and do, following the call that He has placed within your spirit. Once you are truly "saved" it is diffcult to ignore that call. Don't worry and don't fear stepping out,just GO, because God "has your back".

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Are You Listening? - August 29, 2010

1 Kings 19:11-13 (New International Reader's Version)
11 The Lord said, "Go out. Stand on the mountain in front of me. I am going to pass by."

As the Lord approached, a very powerful wind tore the mountains apart. It broke up the rocks. But the Lord wasn't in the wind.

After the wind there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn't in the earthquake.

12 After the earthquake a fire came. But the Lord wasn't in the fire.

And after the fire there was only a gentle whisper.

13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his coat over his face. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.

Then a voice said to him, "Elijah, what are you doing here?"

Mark 1:35 (New International Version)

35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Day after day we busy ourselves with many things; we get up, eat, get ready for the day, take kids to school, go to work, pick them up, come home, eat, go to activities or help with home work, watch some TV, go to sleep; did I mention eating? Each weekday morning, we pretty much do the same thing day after day. Weekends come, we get up, eat, go play or shop, eat, relax, eat, come home, go to sleep; on and on it goes.

For those of us who might take the time, we crack open the Bible, and maybe spend a little time with Him. We lift up short abreviated prayers, asking for this, thanking for that; "good morning Lord", "now I lay me down to sleep". Its a wonder that we ever hear God these days. Truth is that even when we reach out in times of trouble, we seldom take time to really spend time with Him. Instead we reach up to heaven in the place we afind ourselves and we lift up our pleas. But do we stop to listen for His answer? Do we sit still and listen? Do we really seek Him?

At a time Elijah the prophet of God to Israel was fleeing from Jezebel, who sought to kill him, God spoke to him in the midst of his trouble. You might want to grab your Bible and read through all that Elijah had been going through, but what is significant is where and how far God had to bring him before Elijah would stop to listen. And how does God speak to him? The Creator of the universe and Master of everything in nature, speaks to Elijah in a whisper, in a "still small voice", in a breeze some translations say. God finally has Elijah's attention when he is still enough, and focused enough to hear God in a whisper.

In our very busy and sometimes troubled lives, we need to take the time to go off by ourselves and listen to God speak to us. We usually don't hear from Him because we have not slowed down or even stopped for Him. We do not give Him priority in our lives, and because of this, we miss out on a tender and intimate relationship He offers to us all. We miss out to timely, God-inspired, solutions to our problems, and we miss out on His direction and guidance. Guys really have a difficult time with this. First of all, we think we can handle anything, and secondly we seldom slow down enough to really listen.

We need to follow after our shepherd Jesus, who being fully man was fully God, yet took the time and secluded himself to talk with his Father in heaven. As you study the four gospel accounts about the life of Jesus, you will find that he did this frequently. Can you imagine that the One who took part in Creation, still humbled Himself to spend time with his Father?
If you are in that troubled place, or you are just needing a guiding hand, make a commitment to take the time, go off by yourself and seek your Father in heaven. Listen for God in the whisper, in His still small voice, in the breeze, and find comfort in His caring embrace.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Its Almost Sunday! - August 28, 2010

Acts 5:42 (New International Version)
42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ(the Messiah).

Romans 10:14 (New International Reader's Version)
14 How can they call on him unless they believe in him? How can they believe in him unless they hear about him? How can they hear about him unless someone preaches to them?

Tomorrow is another Sunday, another opportunity we have to take time out of everything else we do and spend a little bit of time with our God. Sure it becomes difficult when you have a family, and sure it is tough to get everyone going, but I challenge you to not neglect taking the time to take your family to a your local church. Some may say, "well God and me are tight; we have church right here every Sunday!" Others may think, "I have worked so hard all week long, God won't mind if I just take the day off".

Problem is that when you place God on the back shelf of your entire week, and don't take a couple of hours out of the 168 hours each week, you will soon forget about Him all together. Soon life will quickly mount up with challanges, and before you know it you will find yourself in a place you don't want to be. Don't need Him you say? Well, He is always there, but if we harden our hearts to Him, we will no longer hear from Him. You don't want to find yourself at that point in life.

The most important thing for you is for you to know God, and for you to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Much happens when you take time out to remember and worship God, for He commanded us to "remember the Lord's day and keep it holy". And if you do have children, you owe it to them to learn the truth about the Creator of the world they live in. No amount of school and weekend activities will equip them for the difficulties of life. Only seeing good and faithful parents taking time to worship and praise their God, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will do that.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lawbreakers - August 27, 2010

John 1:16-17 (New International Version)
16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6 (New International Version)
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (New International Version)
15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

We can't help ourselves. No matter how much we try, we can't seem to do what is right. We stretch the truth a little bit here; go a little over the speed limit there; talk about someone we dislike behind there back; linger as we stare at someone on the beach. We borrow a few things from work that we never return; decide that church can wait another Sunday as we go the lake; focus on how much money we can make day in and day out; have no problem disobeying our parents; think that we should have the car our neighbor drives; and join in as our buddies curse without a thought.

If we can see ourselves in any of the things that I have mentioned above, we will find that we have disregarded and very blantantly broken every one of the laws of God given to Moses, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). If we care anything about what happens to us after this life, there will be a day when we finally realize that we cannot keep from doing such things with out outside help. We don't like who we are anymore, because the Law of God acts like a mirror showing us how much we really disobey God. By then we have accumulated so much junk and carry so much bad stuff in our lives, that we one day the burden becomes too much for us to bear.

Thank God that He has a heart for lawbreakers! Thank God that His love extends beyond what we have done! Thank God that in His grace and mercy that he has given us a way out; someone to carry the burden of our wrongdoing; someone who took them upon his broken body as he hung on the cross; someone who stepped out of the grave to show us the way back into the love of God. Thank God for giving us the gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior, our peace and our comfort.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Staying With It - August 26, 2010

Romans 12:12 (New International Version)
12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Hebrews 10:32,36 (New International Version)
32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

It takes more than a day and a few platitudes to work ourselves out of difficulty. Yesterday I wrote and asked if you were overwhelmed by persecution, or searching for ways to overcome problems. Sometimes what you encounter weighs so heavily on you that it leads you into deep depression. Or it might create within you so much anxiety and worry that it becomes difficult to function in everyday life. I have had those times in my life, especially before I gave it all to Jesus Christ. These times are very real, and at times you almost feel hopeless.

There is a real solution for what you are going through and cure for the fear that you are encountering. First you need to regain your trust that God will take care of you, and not lose hope. You need to seek to be joyful despite the circumstances, knowing that what you are going through will come to an end. You need to also learn to be patient in your suffering, and be confident that your troubles are temporary. Finally, as I state many many times, you need to commit everything to prayer. Prayer is your way of communicating your concerns to God. He likes hearing from you, and if you feel like He is not hearing you or answering your requests, stay with it.

There is an old adage that I have heard many times: You can't enjoy the mountain top until you have come through the valley. But you need to also remember this; once you have commited yourself to walk with God in Jesus Christ, He will be with you through it all. He is there waiting for you to call on Him, and He will lift your every burden. Stay with Him just as He is always with you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Suffering Plea - August 25, 2010

Psalm 119:25-32 (New International Version)
d Daleth
25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.

26 I recounted my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.

27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts;
then I will meditate on your wonders.

28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.

29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through your law.

30 I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.

31 I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.

32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.

Psalm 119:25-32 (The Message)

25-32 I'm feeling terrible—I couldn't feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life's dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don't let me down!
I'll run the course you lay out for me
if you'll just show me how.

As a follower of Christ we will encounter ridicule, slander and persecution from others. It is a promise that Jesus gave us(John 15:18-25) and one that brings us closer to the suffering of Jesus. When we faced with this, and the world weighs in on you, what are you to do? How do you overcome in the face of the overwhelming?

As we study further this acrostic poem from this faithful priest, we can "hear" his heart as he writes this suffering plea. He brings us into his circumstances as he calls out to God for help. How is he determined to overcome in his trouble? He clings closer by getting deeper into the word of God and calling out in confidence in prayer to God. He shows trust in whatever God chooses for him, and he surrenders his will to the direction and discipline that he is given.

If you are overwhelmed by persecution, or you are searching for a way to overcome, get into the Bible and seek God in confident prayer. Trust in Him and He will help you determine the way out.

Psalm 119 is a devotional poem from a very pious priest. This is the only psalm in The Psalms written by this author. This psalm is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Israelite priest sought to pass on godly instruction in his devotional study of the word of God.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gospel "Light" - August 24, 2010

Titus 3:3-8 (New International Reader's Version)
3 At one time we too acted like fools. We didn't obey God. We were tricked. We were controlled by all kinds of longings and pleasures. We were full of evil. We wanted what belongs to others. People hated us, and we hated one another.

4 But the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared. 5 He saved us. It wasn't because of the good things we had done. It was because of his mercy. He saved us by washing away our sins. We were born again. The Holy Spirit gave us new life.

6 God poured out the Spirit on us freely because of what Jesus Christ our Savior has done. 7 His grace made us right with God. So now we have received the hope of eternal life as God's children.

8 You can trust that saying. Those things are important. Treat them that way. Then those who have trusted in God will be careful to commit themselves to doing what is good. Those things are excellent. They are for the good of everyone.

The Gospel, or Good News, message is really simple, but we have a tendency of over complicating it. Because of this, there is much confusion of what Christianity is really all about. Many people think that if you become a Christian you are suddenly a slave to a bunch of rules and regulations. Others believe that you have to go through certain rituals, standing up and sitting down, and acting in a certain way. Then there are those that believe that as long as you belong to the "club", you have earned the right to be in; you can identify yourself as a Christian.

Of course none of this is true. Being a Christian has nothing to do with any rules, regulations, ritual, or rights. It is all about a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe, a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Letter to Titus puts it very simply; sort of the Gospel "light"; yet it illuminates what it is all about and can be described as simply as it is written above and is stated here:

We were once fools lost in the world of sin; God had mercy on us and saved us from that sin by washing us with the blood of Jesus he shed on the cross; we were made right with God, and by His grace, God sent the Holy Spirit to teach us about our salvation and inhabit our daily lives; because of all of this, we will live forever. In turn and in gratitude for what we have received, we need to do good to everyone, and point the world to the goodness of God through Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meant to be Shared - August 23, 2010

Acts 2:44-47 (New International Version)
44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 4:32-35 (New Living Translation)
32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

How did we ever lose our way? When did we as believers in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord quit focusing on the right things? Being a Christian is more than a solo pursuit. Unfortunately, many of us dwell only on ourselves and forget that the experience we have been blessed with is meant to be shared. Our faith is not something we should hide and keep to ourselves. The world around us is perishing, and if we could only picture those around us, whether loved ones, friends, or just the person in the next cube, spending their eternity in what is called Hell, we might just have a different attitude about it.

The verses above from the Book of Acts, tells us how the early fellowship of believers shared with one another in a community. I believe that because they embraced one another in their new faith and in love, their witness to the world around them was very attractive. The early church grew quickly because of this, and it was able to survive centuries of persecution and heresy because of they shared and lived out their true faith with one an other.

Imagine what the world would be like if we treated not only fellow believers, but everyone in the manner described above? We were meant to spread our faith and love around, and in doing so offer to those who are hurting and in need a place of rest and peace in Jesus.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bold Praise! - August 22, 2010

Psalm 27 (New International Version)

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

With boldness David authored this psalm of triumph and victory over those who were against him and pursuing him. This is a great passage to meditate over. David states how God is his light, salvation, and stronghold, and then he describes these as themes throughout this psalm. I have italicized what I feel are important keys listed herein. As you read through this, personalize it for yourself. Put yourself in David's sandals and select those verses that are important to you. Pick out how God can work in your life, bringing you His light, salvation and sheltering you from the difficulties of this world as your stronghold.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fatherly Advice - August 21, 2010

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (New International Version)
11Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (New Century Version)
11 Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you.12 If you do, then people who are not believers will respect you, and you will not have to depend on others for what you need.

Although our society has minimized the role of the father in the home, he still is the key to the formation of well-adjusted children and the building of good character. A good father passes on great advice to his children. It is difficult to make it through this life without it. Many strong servants of Jesus Christ owe their successful lives to the teachings of a godly father.

Our Father in heaven in the same way passes on wisdom and instruction in righteousness to us. It is important if we are fatherless, or if we are fathers, that we continually seek God for our daily guidance and teaching.
As we look to the Bible, and we meditate on His wisdom, through prayer and a relationship through Jesus, He will give us much more than an earthly father is capable of.

One of the best verses in the Bible for instruction in living was penned upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by Paul in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. The words above are timeless, and if we will folow them and take them to heart, we will lead "quiet" and respectable lives, dependent only on no one but our God.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baseball - August 20, 2010

Psalm 16:8 (New International Version)
8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

I have learned that life throws you alot of curve balls, to use a baseball term. No matter what day it is, most of them end up with some sort of problem to deal with. As a Christian, you may have thought that life would be very idyllic. You may have thought that nothing would go wrong. Truth is our Savior promised us that we would encounter trouble, especially for following Him. What are we to do?

This verse from the Book of Psalm is a great place to start. As this verse says, I have learned to always put God first in all things. I approach each day, committing myself to God and His purposes. I try to grab onto wisdom from His word, to give me the guidance and support to make it through the day, and to overcome anything that is thrown at me. In other words, "I have set the Lord always before me".

With God on the field with you, as the lead off batter, I can be sure that I will be a winner in the game of life. Commit your day to Him and you will find yourself winning at life as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chip Off the Old Block - August 19, 2010

3 John 1:4 (New International Version)
4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Proverbs 22:6 (New International Reader's Version)
6 Train a child in the way he should go. When he is old, he will not turn away from it.

Over the years, I have enjoyed watching my children come to faith in Jesus and the exercise that faith in their day-to-day lives. The best thing is that they came to their faith on their own. It didn't take hours of dogma, ritual or confinement in a convent. All that happened was that they were exposed to the Bible and the witness of authentic Christians around them. They chose to believe Jesus when he said that he was "The truth, The way and The life".

There is an old expression that dates back to the 17th century. When a child would follow in the ways of his father, they used to describe that child as a "chip off the old block". For Christian parents, there is no greater joy than to see our children grow and make the decision to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Sure they may have a streak of rebellion, but if they have been exposed to the supernatural life of the One who gave Himself for our sins, the Holy Spirit will touch their hearts and we will have to do very little else but support them.

Thank God for His mercy and grace and the opportunity to share in the joy of their salvation.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All Praise - August 18, 2010

Psalm 148 (New Living Translation)
1 Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
2 Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3 Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4 Praise him, skies above!
Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!
5 Let every created thing give praise to the Lord,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6 He set them in place forever and ever.
His decree will never be revoked.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you creatures of the ocean depths,
8 fire and hail, snow and clouds,
wind and weather that obey him,
9 mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all livestock,
small scurrying animals and birds,
11 kings of the earth and all people,
rulers and judges of the earth,
12 young men and young women,
old men and children.

13 Let them all praise the name of the Lord.
For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong,
honoring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him.

Praise the Lord!

Our God is holy and worthy of all praise. In this psalm, the psalter call on the evertything, the entire creation to give praise to God. Every created thing reflects the image of God, and we see His handiwork everywhere. Nothing makes sense without acknowledging that God has created all things. Man in His feeble attempts try to copy the what God has made in paintings, gardens, architecture, music and even photography, but even a photograph cannot show someone else what you see with your eyes.

Praise the Lord!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Healthy Confession - August 16, 2010

Psalm 32 (New Living Translation)
A psalm of David.

1 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!

2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

3 When I refused to confess my sin,my body wasted away,and I groaned all day long.

4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.


5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.


6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.


8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

When it comes to discussing the results of confessing your sins, no one does it better in the Bible than King David. The Bible says that David was a man after God's own heart(Acts 13:22;1 Samuel 13:13-14)and you feel the closeness of David's heart to the heart of God as you read through the various Psalms ascribed to him. Knowing that he had that intimacy with God, we should look to his words when looking for an example in how to pattern our lives.

But what brings David down to earth is that he too was plagued by sin, just as we are. He sinned against God as an adulterer and murderer, yet because of his confession and repentance, God forgave him. Even so, David paid for the "bad seeds" he had sown through the disintergration of his family and the loss of those he loved. If you study the Psalms further, you will follow him through all of these struggles.

If you haven't brought all your "junk" to God and sought forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ, spend time with David. Follow his example and lay out you life to your God and Savior.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

God's Word - August 15, 2010

Isaiah 55:10-11 (New International Reader's Version)
10 The rain and the snow come down from the sky.
They do not return to it without watering the earth.
They make plants come up and grow.
The plants produce seeds for farmers.
They also produce food for people to eat.

11 The words I speak are like that.
They will not return to me without producing results.
They will accomplish what I want them to.
They will do exactly what I sent them to do.

Matthew 24:35 (New International Version)
35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Hebrews 4:12 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
12God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.

The word of God is very unique. Several times in the Bible God discribes the nature and power of His words. If you have done any studying of religious texts, you will easily see how unique the Bible is. If you are a Christian, you need to make it a practice of becoming familiar with the word. What this will do for you is that you will be able to experience what is decribed above, and you will be able to use God's word.

The word of God is important for personal evangelism; it does its work within an individual whose heart is open to hearing from God. That is what is meant in verse 11 of Isaiah 55 above. His word is just like the rain, as it waters plants that will produce seeds, and then provide food for nourishment. The study of God's word "waters" the believer that plants the "seed" of God's promises in the hearts of all those who hear, that will later provide the "food" of faith that gives nourishment for daily living.

If you have not done so, make a commitment to God to start spending time in His word. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and He will open up a whole new world to you. As you become familiar with the promises of God contained in the Bible, you will the be able to meditate and pray "through" them, and accomplish heavenly results.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Accountable - August 14, 2010

Isaiah 55:8-9 (New Century Version)
8 The Lord says, "My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways.

9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Romans 11:33-34 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
33God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep that it is impossible to explain his decisions or to understand his ways.

34“Who knows how the Lord thinks? Who can become his adviser?”

We have become too comfortable with God. Many of us have lost our "fear of the Lord". Yes, He loves us deeply and has provided us the way to redeem ourselves and spend eternity with Him, but to many of us He is way too small. Our God created the universe and everything in it! Who are we to question what He does? Who are we to get angry with Him when things don't go our way? Its wonderful though that His grace and mercy, His "loving kindness" as the Bible says, is limitless for those who love and seek Him.

Psalm 145:3 (New International Version)
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;his greatness no one can fathom.

Someday, all of us will find ourselves accountable to Him. We will stand before His judgement and have to answer for what we did in this life. Yes, we who call on Jesus as Savior will be saved through eternity, but we will still have to give an account for our actions with what He has given us.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (New Living Translation)
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

If you have stumbled acorss this post, or you have been reading along for awhile and have not surrendered your will to Him, and accepted His only way to salvation through Jesus Christ, this needs to be a warning to you. His grace and mercy are only for this life. He is calling for you, and you only have this lifetime to come to Him. Your time on this earth is very short when measured against eternity. Do not gamble with where you will spend eternity. Do not discount His grace, saying you have plenty of time to get right with God. The end of this life could come at any moment.

And, if you have friends, or children, or other loved ones who do not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, it is your responsibility to share what Jesus can do for them. You must plant the seeds, others will water, and the Holy Spirit will produce the harvest.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seeking and Finding - August 13, 2010

Isaiah 55:6-7 (New Living Translation)
6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
7 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

Matthew 7:7 (New King James Version)
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

John 3:16-17 (New International Version)
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

2 Peter 3:9 (New Living Translation)
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

One of the saddest situations in life is when when someone is taken away, dies suddenly, without notice or warning. Those who are left behind are left with the tragedy, wondering what could have been done, or whether or not they could have made a differnce. Others also wonder why they never spent more time with the person, or were kinder, or communicated their love and care. What is sadder is when one passes away and it is not certain where that person will spend eternity.

We all have a certain time on this earth. We are only promised death and taxes. With that in mind, many choose to avoid talking about the former. Death is inevitable, and someday we will all experience it. From cover to cover, the Bible is God's attempt to draw all people to Him. Story after story, verse after verse, God reaches out telling people He loves them and has provided for them to spend eternity with Him.

God is asking you to seek Him. You need to respond and find Him while you can.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spiritual Dehydration - August 12, 2010

Isaiah 55:1-2 (New International Version)
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

John 4:13-14 (New Century Version)
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life."

Revelation 21:6-7 (New Living Translation)
6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

As usual in mid-August in Texas, it has been really hot around here. Add the humidity and the heat "penetrates to the bone". Prolonged exposure to the hot sun causes us to lose body fluids and can result in dehydration. Our bodies overcomes this drive to replace the loss of fluids by giving us a craving, thirst. Continued heat and exposure, and our thirst can become unquenchable.

We experience this same kind of unquenchable thirst when we are seeking God. All human beings have an emptiness inside, a thirst, that has to be filled with something. Most often we try to quench this thirst with temporary, external things. Or we believe it can be quenched through our works or actions as is found in many religions. We think that this emptiness can be filled by going through certain "holy" rituals, but unless we are filled from the inside, we will never be saisfied.

In Isaiah God invites all who are thirsty to freely come to the waters. Jesus picked up this same theme when he offered the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well "living water". He offered her water that would fill her from the inside out and produce a spring that would continue to fill her. And Jesus makes this same offer to all that come to Him, and he will quench their spiritual thirst.

What fill us with from the wellspring of living water that leads to eternal life? It is Jesus Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit, that will continue to freely fill us, when we accept the free gift of salvation that God offers us through His mercy and grace. When you become spiritually dehydrated from the heat you encounter from the fires of life, come drink from the living water God offers and never be thirsty again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

God's Invitation - August 11, 2010

Isaiah 55 (New International Version)
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

3 Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.

4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.

5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor."

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.

7 Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD's renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed."

Over 700 years before the birth of Christ, the propher Isaiah wrote down the words given him by God. The prophecies written dealt with the fate of Israel, God's judgement and gift of salvation. He dealt with redemption, deliverance, restoration and comfort. Many passages also prophetically pointed to the coming Messiah that would bring God's people back from their rebellion unto Himself. These were fulfilled in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Above is a chapter that deals with God's invitation to the people to salvation and covenant blessings. Read carefully through the verses, and we will unpack God's words and fulfillments herein over the next few days.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Above Reproach - August 10, 2010

Colossians 3:17 (New Living Translation)
17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (New International Version)
31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

When we step out of the house each day to go to work or school, or whatever we do, are we mindful of who we are representing? Do we really realize that everyone is aware and watching everything we do and say? How is that working? Is your behavior something you can be sure will reflect well on Jesus Christ?

I have spent quite a bit of time in the corporate world, and as a senior executive for much of my time, it was important that in everything I did, I was a positive and acceptable representative of my position and the company I worked for. It was always important to me that everyone that worked for me would act in the same way. I felt that as a team of representatives of that particular company, we needed to be "above reproach" in everything we did.

As representatives and witnesses for Jesus Christ in our world, we need to always be above reproach. That means that our behavior needs to always be blameless and of good reputation. We are the examples of Christ to the fallen world around us, and how we act will either point those seeking God to Jesus or somewhere else. This is something we need to always have in mind no matter what we do, and it is true of work and our free time as well, because you never know who is looking. And if no one else is around, God is always watching!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Do It My Way? - August 9, 2010

Galatians 5:16-17 (New Century Version)
16 So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want.17 Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please.

Galatians 5:16-17 (New International Reader's Version)
16 So I say, live by the Holy Spirit's power. Then you will not do what your sinful nature wants you to do.

17 The sinful nature does not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the sinful nature delights in. The two are at war with each other. That's what makes you do what you don't want to do.

For those of you that are a little older, you may remeber a song that Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and others used to sing. It was a French pop-song that Paul Anka heard in the late sixties, that he later wrote English words to. That song went like this:

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full.
I've traveled each and ev'ry highway;
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

We live in a culture that insists on doing things there way. I too often find myself struggling with this. I say that I trust in God and I rely on His direction, but when it comes down to it, I am often doing it "My Way".

It doesn't matter how long you have followed Jesus Christ, we all struggle with not surrendering oursleves and following the guidance of God. Jesus told us that He would send us a Friend (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Comforter-John 14:16), the Holy Spirit, that would be with us an keep us following the truth. Problem is that we often ignore Him and follow after our own will. Why do we do this?

The passage above from Paul's letter to the church in Galatia makes it pretty clear. Saved or not, we have a sinful nature. When we commit ourselves to serving Christ, although we are now inhabited by the Holy Spirit as promised, we still have our sinful nature. There remains a constant battle, a struggle, between that sinful nature of self-will and the new Spirit of Truth that is now seeking to help us, and to guide us in our new life as a Christian.

If you are like me, and you struggle with this issue, it is time we truly trusted in God for the outcome of our lives. We need to repent in prayer and seek His forgiveness for trying to do everything "our way". We need to confess daily something like this:

Dear God, I confess that I always seem to try to control and follow my own way. I have not surrendered every area in my life and my will to you, and to your Lordship and leading. I ask you dear Father to forgive me, and help me to turn to you in all things. Holy Spirit, fill me with your peace and joy, and help me to fully trust in you. Help me to recognize your presence, and to hear your voice as my guide.

I know you love me, and you have promised that you will work out everything for my good. Help me to know and to be confident that no matter the outcome, you are in control dear God. I am your child and you want what is best for me and those in my care. Help me to daily seek your will for my life, and to humbly surrender daily to you.

Thank you for your grace and mercy, and for Jesus Christ who has saved me from my sins. I lift these things up to you in His Name. Amen

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting Dressed - August 8, 2010

Ephesians 6:10-18 (New Living Translation)

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

As a guy, I often have a hard time getting dressed and picking out the right things to wear. My dear wife is always telling me to change this or that because this or that doesn't match. I think the last time I probably looked pretty good fashion wise was when we were dating over 20 years ago. It's just not something I pay alot of attention to. That's the problem with being a guy; we are always wearing stuff that we love, but it usually is out-of-style and doesn't look very good. Thank God that there is someone in my life that keeps me from being a laughing stock everytime I go in public.

We need to pay attention to how we are "getting dressed" as Christians as well. In Paul's letter to Ephesians, he reminds us that we are in a battle; a spiritual battle that involves more than what we can see. We are constntly battling against evil foes and forces that are bent on our at most destruction, and in the very least our distraction. Nothing is more crippling for the forces of God than an ineffective, ill-equipped believer. We become ineffective in delivering the life-saving message of God's plan of salvation if we are not properly dressed and suitable prepared.

In the passage above, Paul gives instructs us to put on God's armor to keep us prepared and equipped for the battle. He uses the figure of a warrior suited for battle to illustrate how God through His Holy Spirit dresses us for the fight we are to take on. He arms us with His truth wrapped around us, Christ's righteousness as our covering and protection, the peace of the Holy Spirit found in having knowledge of the gospel, a determined faith that shields us from the bombardment of the world's temptations, the salvation message wrapped around our minds so that we will remain focused on God, and the weapon of God's word to beat back any attack that comes against us.

Above all, getting dressed properly for the battles that will come our way, requires us to commit the battle and the outcome to God in prayer. We need to pray in every circumstance and challenge we face, and pray for those that will fight alongside us. As long as take hold of God's "fashion sense", we will overcome whatever comes are way when we step into the public and battle of life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Lord - August 7, 2010

Isaiah 33:22 (New International Version)

22 For the LORD is our judge,
the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
it is he who will save us.

In case there is any doubt in your mind who God is. He is mighty to save! Let's us worship Him and give Him our praises.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Appetites - August 6, 2010

Psalm 119:17-24 (New International Version)
g Gimel

17 Do good to your servant, and I will live;
I will obey your word.

18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.

19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.

20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.

21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed
and who stray from your commands.

22 Remove from me scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.

23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.

24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.

What do you hunger for? What drives you with an insatiable desire? It may be something in this world, a passion, a goal, an accomplishment. It could be a job or career, sports, children, even church. All of us are driven by something. It becomes an all-consuming appetite that needs to be satisfied.

In this portion of Psalm 119 the writer is driven by his appetite for God's word, and his desire to please God with his obedience. You can read the passion in his words and feel the emotion in what he is writes. If only we had the same hunger for the word of God, and an all-consuming appetite to please God!

How do we do this? As a Christian, we have help. We have the Holy Spirit that takes up residence within us. He helps us to have that all-consuming desire to please God, and to live in the light of His mercy and grace. If you truly believe and you are truly saved, no matter how bad it might get, and no matter how lost one might seem at times, there is no way that you can walk away from God.

If you have a new relationship with Jesus Christ or if you have been following the Savior for many years, get into God's word. Pray for the Spirit to inhabit your desires and give you a hunger for His will. Share what you learn and talk about it with fellow believers and with those that don't know God. You will find that God will give you an appetite for the things that truly satisfy.

32 Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven; it is my Father who is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 God's bread is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
46 "No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only he has seen the Father.47 I tell you the truth, whoever believes has eternal life.48 I am the bread that gives life.49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but still they died.50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give up so that the world may have life." John 6:32-33;46-51(New Century Version)

Psalm 119 is a devotional poem from a very pious priest. This is the only psalm in The Psalms written by this author. This psalm is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Israelite priest sought to pass on godly instruction in his devotional study of the word of God.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Redeemed - August 5, 2010

1 Peter 1:17-20 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
17So if you call God your Father, live your time as temporary residents on earth in fear. He is the God who judges all people by what they have done, and he doesn’t play favorites. 18Realize that you weren’t set free from the worthless life handed down to you from your ancestors by a payment of silver or gold which can be destroyed. 19Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections. 20He is the lamb who was known long ago before the world existed, but for your good he became publicly known in the last period of time.

If you were to go to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and look up the definition for what is described in the verse above written by Peter the disciple of Christ you would get the following:

Main Entry: re·deem

1 a : to buy back : repurchase b : to get or win back
2 : to free from what distresses or harms: as a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental c : to release from blame or debt : clear d : to free from the consequences of sin
3 : to change for the better : reform
4 : repair, restore
5 a : to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby b (1) : to remove the obligation of by payment (2) : to exchange for something of value c : to make good : fulfill
6 a : to atone for : expiate b (1) : to offset the bad effect of (2) : to make worthwhile : retrieve

synonyms see rescue

When you read through this definition, you will find that each way it is defined describes perfectly what Jesus Christ has done for us.

He has bought us back from the penalty our sins. He has freed us from the captivity and bondage of the devil. He has reformed us, changing us for the better. He has repaired our fallen state, and restored us to our rightful place before God. He has made good on the obligation of God's law by exchanging his blood for ours, justifying us. Finally he has atoned for our wrondoing, making us worthwhile in the eyes of God, and retrieved us from our life of sin and death.

I really like how the definition ends, prompting us to "see rescue". We need to "see", realize, every thing that has been done for us by Jesus Christ. He has "rescued" us from the world and the punishment that comes to those of the world, and in gratitude we need to lead lives of holiness and obedience, as "temporary residents in a foreign land".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Numbering Our Days - August 4, 2010

Psalm 90 (New International Version)
A prayer of Moses the man of God.

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn men back to dust,
saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."

4 For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death;
they are like the new grass of the morning-

6 though in the morning it springs up new,
by evening it is dry and withered.

7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.

8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.

10 The length of our days is seventy years—
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

11 Who knows the power of your anger?
For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.

12 Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.

16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

The other day my wife remineded me of how old I was getting to be. She made note of the fact that if I lived to age 70, as Moses indicates is the life span for man above, I only have about 5170 days left to live. Now that is not many days left of the approximately 25,570 we are given. I am praying for the extra 3,653 days that will get me to 80!

The sad thing I often wonder how many of those days I have wasted on the things of this world rather than the things of God. I often wonder what kind of legacy that I will leave behind, what have I really done for God and His kingdom? The wonderful thing is that God is in control of all things. He knew which day of those 25,000+ that I would seek His grace, mercy and forgiveness, and He knows the day that He will call me to be with Him.

Moses prays above for God's favor and asks for success at whatever he does. We too need to always seek God and His will for the days that we have on this earth. Our presence here is not a chance of nature; each and every person is here to fulfill God's purposes. It is our duty to learn what God's will is and to be obedient to His plan. So with the days I have left, I will commit to seeking Him in prayer, asking for Him to give me wisdom and guidance. I place my trust in His purposes for me, and know that they are meant for my good.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Holy Call - August 3, 2010

1 Peter 1:13-16 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
13Therefore, your minds must be clear and ready for action. Place your confidence completely in what God’s kindness will bring you when Jesus Christ appears again. 14Because you are children who obey God, don’t live the kind of lives you once lived. Once you lived to satisfy your desires because you didn’t know any better. 15But because the God who called you is holy you must be holy in every aspect of your life. 16Scripture says, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

There was a time for many of us that we were caught up in the things of this world. We sought riches and fame, and all the trappings of success that the world had to offer. Our goal was to grab that "brass ring" and get everything we could along the way. Unfortunately, the life we pursued was hollow and empty, and led us to a place where we had a desparate need to fill that emptiness. We longed for something better and asked if there was anything else to life. By the grace and mercy of God, He brought us searching to the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Now that we have become followers of Jesus Christ, we are no longer a part of this world. We are no longer a product of the culture or society or our jobs or anything that has to do with present things. Our acceptance of the salvation of our souls through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, sets us apart from anything that is earthly. God's forgiveness of our sins allows us to inherit a place of right standing in the presence of God when we die.

Since we have been given such a gracious gift through the mercy of God, Peter instructs us to live lives worthy of the call that God has placed on our lives. In these verses from 1 Peter, he gives us this instruction on what we are to do: "So prepare your minds for service and have self-control. All your hope should be for the gift of grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ is shown to you." We are to live focused, obedient and holy lives, ready to serve God in the all things, and to make ourselves ready for the return of Christ.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Personal Purity - August 2, 2010

Psalm 119:9-16 (New International Version)
b Beth

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.

13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.

14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.

15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.

16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

Purity. Now that is a word that you hear alot about, but one that is extremely important. In our society, because of the bombardment of impurity from things such as television, movies, fashion, even magazine racks, maintaining personal purity is a difficult thing to do. If you are married, purity is fundamental to the trust between a husband and wife. If you are single, it is essential to finding the "right one". God laid out a plan to keeping personal purity, which is important for all of us to follow.

His plan starts out with searching the word of God found in the Bible. The Psalter(the person writing the psalm)earnestly seeks the will of God and clings to what he finds there, and he looks to God as His teacher for righteous living. His approach to the Word is one of praise. He goes on to recount, rejoice, meditate, and delight in what God reveals to him. Finally he makes a commitment to consistently study and live out God's precepts(commandments).

So if you want to help your children live out a life of purity, or you want to clean up your own life, seek God and His word for direction, and follow the instruction that you find there. The best thing for us all to do is to pattern our lives after that of Jesus Christ, and it will help us avoid compromising our values. Remember the adage of "What would Jesus do?", and you will find that decisions of personal purity will be much easier to face.

Psalm 119 is a devotional poem from a very pious priest. This is the only psalm in The Psalms written by this author. This psalm is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Israelite priest sought to pass on godly instruction in his devotional study of the word of God.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Worthy Imitation - August 1, 2010

Philippians 3:17-21 (New Century Version)
17 Brothers and sisters, all of you should try to follow my example and to copy those who live the way we showed you.

18 Many people live like enemies of the cross of Christ. I have often told you about them, and it makes me cry to tell you about them now.19 In the end, they will be destroyed. They do whatever their bodies want, they are proud of their shameful acts, and they think only about earthly things.

20 But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. 21 By his power to rule all things, he will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body.

It is hard to find anyone whose life we can hold up as a good character example these days. Just ask any parent whose child follows sport heroes, or someone that follows golf. There was a time that we could hold up our politicians as that "selfless" individual that stepped up to serve their nation, as was portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Remember how we held up our President as someone that our children could aspire to imitate, like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? Forget any television personality; we don't even want to go there. Where are we to go to find someone who is a worthy example for our children or us to imitate?

Paul the apostle wrote extensively on the character of Christ, and he often discussed how he struggled to be a worthy imitation of Jesus. The problem is that often we are trapped in trying to be accepted by the world, in order to be seen as one acceptable by the crowd. This is especially difficult for our young people who have to fight this battle daily in school. It is also tough on college students, who when they are away from Christian home and family often fall into the temptations of the world. For anyone that calls on the name of Jesus Christ, getting caught up in following after the world, can become a burden that is too difficult to carry.

The good news is that the only true character example for us to imitate is Jesus Christ. He is really the only example available that we can follow and please God. In our culture we see examples of believers following Christ, imitating him and reaching out intto the world around them. They are oftentimes humble people serving in our communities, churches and schools. They are the devoted servicemen and women who risk it all to follow a higher calling for their Nation. They are the lowly missionaries who step into the world to help the poor in spirit and sustenance. They are the leaders in every aspect of life that boldy profess their faith in Jesus to the culture and imitate him in everything they do.

In every corner of our world, those who imitate the character of Christ are loving and serving their fellowman in order to show a better way to live. They are our heroes and examples of godly character that we and our children can be encouraged to follow.