Friday, November 30, 2012

Safe and Secure - November 30, 2012

Psalm 16 (New International Reader's Version)
1 God, keep me safe. I go to you for safety.

2 I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord. Without you, I don't have anything that is good."

3 God's people who live in our land are glorious. I take great delight in them.

4 Those who run after other gods will have nothing but trouble. I will not pour out offerings of blood to those gods. My lips will not speak their names.

5 Lord, everything you have given me is good. You have made my life secure.

6 I am very pleased with what you have given me. I am very happy with what I've received from you.

7 I will praise the Lord. He gives me good advice. Even at night my heart teaches me.

8 I know that the Lord is always with me. He is at my right hand. I will always be secure.

9 So my heart is glad. Joy is on my tongue. My body also will be secure.

10 You will not leave me in the grave. You will not let your faithful one rot away.

11 You always show me the path that leads to life. You will fill me with joy when I am with you. You will give me endless pleasures at your right hand.

In these verses, David meditates on his relationship with God. He rests in the knowledge that God cares and will always care for him. The picture is one of a close and intimate friend that brings safety, good things, joy, and guidance. You may have enjoyed this same type of closeness with a dear friend or parent.

Take a few minutes to think and meditate on these words; reflect on the picture it gives you in your mind. Seek comfort and rest in the Lord. As you settle down to another night of sleep, you can feel safe and secure in the loving arms of your Savior Jesus.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Slave for Christ - November 29, 2012

Romans 1:1 (Common English Bible)
1 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus who is called to be an apostle and who is set apart for God’s good news.

Galatians 1:10 (Common English Bible)
10 Am I trying to win over human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I wouldn’t be Christ’s slave.

Nothing has produced a deeper wound in our country than our history of slavery. Even today the mention of it produces hurt and pain to those whose forefathers were in bondage. A slave is defined as "a human being who is owned as property by, and is absolutely subject to the will of, another; bondservant divested of all freedom and personal rights", or "a person who is completely dominated by some influence, habit, person, etc."

Slavery has been around almost as long as mankind has roamed the earth, as spoils of war or people placed under subjugation. In many countries around the world, including our own, people are living in misery as a slave of another.

Because of such a connotation and such a history, it is amazing that the Greek word used in the Bible, to describe the apostle's relationship to Jesus Christ, translates to mean a "slave". What does it mean to be a slave to Christ?

When we surrender our personal will to God, and we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's payment on the cross for our sins, we need to give ourselves to the ownership of Jesus Christ. We now need to become His possession; fully God's to be used by Him as He wills. He has paid for us and bought us with a price. We are indebted to Him for what He has done, and for what He continues to do for us.

The fact is this: if we give ourselves in servitude, to be a slave to God through Christ, we then and only then can be totally free!

Photo "Hope" by Digital A, 5-20-2008 from stock.xchng

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

About Money - November 28, 2012

Proverbs 3:9-10 (New Living Translation)
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth(your money) and with the best part of everything you produce. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

Deuteronomy 26:1-2 (New Living Translation)
“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, 2 put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest(the first of the income, money you earn) into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored.

Malachi 3:10(New Century Version)
10 Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn(your income, your money) so there will be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord All-Powerful. "I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need.

Notations in parenthesis mine!

Whenever you place money and Christianity in the same sentence, you usually get very mixed opinions. Some of the loudest criticisms of the church are about the misunderstanding about money. Many often say that the only reason that churches want your attendance is for your money. In my opinion the teaching that God offers about money and income has been vastly distorted and misused by both those who take advantage of the unsuspecting, and those who have only a worldly perspective on the subject.

When God talks about money, income and what He blesses us with, as noted in the proverb and other passages above, He only requires one thing from us; our love. Our love? Yes, He ask us to show Him that we love him. That is what "honor" and "worship" are all about. His desire is that we think of Him first in all things, which includes the produce of our work. It is the un-conditional love of His creation, and we demonstrate this by our obedience and our gifts back to Him. He asks that we return but a small portion of what He blesses us with, to show our love for Him.

A human analogy best demonstrates this. When two people genuinely love each other, they will do things to show the other that they love them, and they are obedient to one another in order to build a closer relationship. So it is with God. How we handle what He blesses us with in giving it back to the Giver, exhibits our love. In addition we exhibit our love for God in our obedience to His requests. What God asks for is for us to show Him by our actions.

The beautiful thing is that God shows us His love in return. Each and every time He asks for an action from us, a demonstration of our love for Him, He returns that action by a promise of pouring out a blessing that shows His love for us. Take a few minutes and meditate on the promises above. It might just give you a whole new perspective on what you think about money.

Blessed Are You Lord - November 27, 2012

1 Chronicles 29:10-13(New King James Version)

10 Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said:

“ Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all.

12 Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.

13 “Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.

Monday, November 26, 2012

An Easy Fall - November 26, 2012

Genesis 3:8-13 (New King James Version)
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

It was so easy, knowingly doing wrong. I don't think I really felt anything when I would; it seemed so harmless. Better yet, I knew no one would ever find me out most of the time. I justified the things I did in my mind and believed that as long as I wasn't hurting someone else, it was okay. I started our small, and everyone who participated with me only made it more and more desirable.

Although I had learned about God, and knew the Bible stories, God was a long way off. I did enjoy hearing about Jesus, but he was a baby in a manger, a guy with his disciples, someone they hung on a cross and who rose again at Eastertime. I went through Confirmation, and actually went through the motions, but they were very easily forgotten. Truth was, I didn't really understand what it was all about.

So it went on and on, and the little things became bigger things. The bigger things slowly caused me to slip into a life of sin, a life of compromise and experimentation. Whatever spark of goodness, was guickly put out by the desire to do the wrong. And the wrong? It quickly seared itself into me until I no longer thought I was doing wrong. How easy it was to fall so deeply and so quickly; how easy it was to betray those early commitments I had made.

It was the same thing with the man and woman that God had made. It was easy for them to so quickly betray the God who had created them; so easy to go a different way, but the little thing they did, would doom us all. And true to our nature and character, the man and woman blamed someone else when they were confronted with their sin. How easy it was to fall; how easy it was to betray the love that had been given them by God.

Photo "Glow" by lumbix2004, 11-30-2005, from stock.xchng

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Murphy Mondays - November 25, 2012

Psalm 20:1-5(New International Version)
1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.

4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the LORD grant all your requests.

Well tomorrow is another Monday; you might call them Murphy Mondays, that dreaded day of the week when all that can go wrong mostly does. When you call around or meet different people and ask them about the day, you usually get the comments that, "It's a typical Monday!" or "I guess it's alright for a Monday!". Many of us then take it home and tell our spouses how terrible it was. Why does this one day have to be so hard?

Maybe it's because most of us just dive into our work week headlong; or it's because we enjoyed the holiday weekend so much that any day we go back to work would be a let down. I say that the answer is much simpler than that. I believe it's a spiritual problem. The first day of the work week is tough because we have not committed it to prayer. For most of us, the only time we pray about the week is after Monday is over, when we ask God for relief. I say that attitude and priorities are all wrong!

Our first inclination each week needs to be to first acknowlege God's hand in our lives by taking time for Him on Sunday. Next, we need to go through the work week in our minds, lifting every detail to God. If we will ask Jesus Christ to help us be more like Him and to be with us throughout the week, things will go much better, especially Mondays. If we take a Christ-like attitude to work with us and display it to all who we come in contact with us, their Mondays will be better too!

Above is a Psalm of David. The beginning verses are a great place to start. Let them be your prayer for yourself, your family and everyone you will come in contact with. Try it, and see how Mondays become the best day of the week!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Praise! - November 24, 2012

Psalm 146 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, my soul.

2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.

6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Making Thank You Real - November 23, 2012

Hebrews 12:28-29 (New International Reader's Version)
28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)

Hebrews 12:28-29 (The Message)
28-29Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

When we were growing up we learned to say please and thank you whenever we wanted or were given something. It was probably one of the very first gestures we learned, and it is something we passed on to our own children. These days, although saying please and thank you may have fallen out of favor for some, it is still a gesture that is very much appreciated and and is seen as being the proper way of treating another. As a parent, we love it when our children learn to always say please and thank you whenever the situation warrants it.

How much more is it important for our God to be asked and thanked in the proper way. I think we often forget that God has personality and feelings in the same way we do. We need to remember the reality that He has created us after His own image. God is all about proper relationship, as can be seen by how the Father relates to the Son, who in turn relates to the Holy Spirit, who relates back to the Father, and they all relate to one another. It is a difficult idea and relationship for us to fathom, but if we closely study the Word that He has given us, we can clearly see the relationship of the Godhead.

Our God loves to hear us ask Him for anything and thank Him for everything. We need to have a relationship with God that is as real as a parent relates to a child; a relationship that understands that He wants to relate to us. Just as an earthly parent, He enjoys our asking for things as much as He enjoys giving us good things. In this season of thanksgiving, let us not forget our source of everything and remember to always thank Him for all that He does for us.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful! Happy Thanksgiving! - November 22, 2012

Colossians 3:15-17 (New International Version, ©2010)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version, ©2010)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

In 1863, in the midst of our nations bloodiest conflict, President Abraham Lincoln gave the proclamation to set aside a day of Thanksgiving which has led to the Thanksgiving Day we observe. On this day, as you gather with family and friends, it is only right that we follow his admonition and give thanks to our Almighty God for the many blessings He has in His mercy and grace given to us, our families, our communities and our nation.

Let the words found in His word set us upon a foundation, where our praises and thanksgiving to God for the many benefits given to us become as constant as the beating of our hearts. Let us also be ever thankful for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has paid the price for our redemption, which is most worthy of our thanks. Let us join with Abraham Lincoln and not forget the Source of the many things that have been given us.

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
by the President of the United States of America

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

A. Lincoln

Provided by WallBuilders

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Forgetting God - November 21, 2012


Psalm 53 (New Living Translation)

1 Only fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!

2 God looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.

3 But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one!

4 Will those who do evil never learn?
They eat up my people like bread
and wouldn’t think of praying to God.

5 Terror will grip them,
terror like they have never known before.
God will scatter the bones of your enemies.
You will put them to shame,
for God has rejected them.

6 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
When God restores his people,
Jacob will shout with joy,
and Israel will rejoice.

What does God think when He looks down us? Too many of us have placed God on a shelf along with our Bibles to gather dust and sit until absolutely needed. We go through our days and barely give Him a thought. Worse yet, our Nation has forgotten where we have come from.

It is sad to know that within a year of his inauguration Thomas Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, used to attend services in the House of Representatives. Worship services in the House was a practice that continued until after the Civil War. Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings and the Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers. Today many in these same chambers of our government are openly hostile to anything that has to do with the God of the Bible.

Why has our Nation wandered so far away from God? Why do so many people in our country prefer to listen to the blather of those who prefer to ignore the One who helped establish this Nation? Why have we allowed them to have such influence on how we are governed and what we are allowed to do in the public square? Why do we allow our schools to teach our children half-truths about our founding fathers, and neglect the truth about the roots of our Republic? Why aren't we more involved making the dramatic changes necessary to correct the course of this Nation? What will happen if we continue to go about our daily lives and do nothing?

This Psalm of David reveals what our Father in Heaven thinks about those who care little for Him and deny His very existence. Let's be sure that we are not counted in that number. Tomorrow as you gather together with family and friends, be sure you remember the One who has blessed you with everything. Give thanks to the Provider of it all, and be sure that with a spirit of thanksgiving you make it known to everyone you know that God is the One to be honored, worshipped, praised and thanked.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sing A New Song - November 20, 2012

Psalm 40:3 (New International Version, ©2010)
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Psalm 98:1 (New Living Translation)
1 Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!

Some time ago, I heard a great message about praise and worship. In it I heard that when you study the Scriptures, its hard to find where praise and worship as singing is done by anyone other than mankind. If you read carefully, most of the time when we think that the angels are singing in praise and worship, they are actually speaking the words. Only in Job 38:6-7 is there a vague reference to the angels singing.

The message went further to explain that God has put the "song" in the hearts of those that He has redeemed. They then express their love and thankfulness to God through lifting up His praises in songs of thanksgiving. Singing praises and worship to our God has become such a part of the faith experience, that one can't imagine what it would be like without it.

If you are a committed Christian, its hard not to be joyful and to lift up praises in song to our God and Savior Jesus Christ for what He has done for us. Some day soon though, God will put a new song in our mouths, no longer about the suffering Servant who laid down His life for our sins, but a new song for our worthy and conquering King who will bring us with Him into His kingdom.

Revelation 5:9-10 (New International Version, ©2010)
9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Photo of Alexandra Yarrito singing at Fellowship Church 2011 by Jon Draper

Monday, November 19, 2012

Loving Like Jesus - November 19, 2012

Romans 12:9-10 (New International Reader's Version)
9 Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves.

Romans 12:9-10 (English Standard Version)
9 Let love (agape) be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection (philadelphia). Outdo one another in showing honor.

When I was young there used to be a fairly popular folk song, which was a written in 1968 by then-Catholic priest Peter R. Scholtes. They will know we are Christians by our Love was sung around many campfires at church camp to the strum of guitar, but I wonder how many of the young people understood what they were singing about, and how many then turned around and exhibited it in their lives.

In recent culture, Christians have earned a reputation, not for their love in action, but for being judgemental and legalistic. Even today society at large feels that all Christians want to impose a certain set of rules on everyone else, rather than being a loving group of believers of Jesus Christ, who want to live as His example by serving others. Although we sang alot about showing love to others, we really didn't live it out.

Paul calls us to show two examples of Christian love to others; agape, the self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love, and philadelphia, the love for brothers and sisters. He points out that we are to love each other genuinely, and treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. As Chistians, this is not always easy, but if we will try to see each other as God sees us, then it will make it much easier.

If we as followers of Christ will love each other and our fellow inhabitants of this planet in genuine love, treating them as a brother or sister, we would make a significant impact on the world around us. It is up to us to show fellow believers that the true message of Jesus and the apostles is that God loves us genuinely, and in turn we are to love those in the world the same way. Let us make it a point to change the world's opinion of Christians, from one of judges and legalists, to one of being loving, caring, followers of Christ.

Photo "Forward Together" by hotblack, 9-29-2007, from stock.xchng

Sunday, November 18, 2012

David's Prayer - November 18, 2012

Psalm 20(New International Version)

1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.

4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the LORD grant all your requests.

6 Now this I know:

The LORD gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

He was a "man after God's own heart"; he made the main focus of his life to be fully devoted to God. Not that he was always obedient, and not that he never suffered from human failures, but in all things he was totally devoted to God. That is why there are many Psalms from David. He spent his time seeking and crying out to God, and when he was rescued by God, he would give him praise.

I call this psalm "David's Prayer", because each of the first five verses are prayers lifted up to God. These are prayers as simple and substantive today as they were over 3000 years ago when they were written. They are prayers that we can pray for ourselves or for others.

After these prayers, David tells us what he knows about God; he simply states why he has trust in God, and he compares it to those who don't do the same. He tells us that God does good things for His people, and because of this we can ask Him to hear our prayers.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In Times of Trouble - November 17, 2012

Psalm 31 (New International Version)
1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.

2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.

3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

4 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.

5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
I trust in the LORD.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.

8 You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.

9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.

10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.

11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.

12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.

13 For I hear the slander of many;
there is terror on every side;
they conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God."

15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from my enemies
and from those who pursue me.

16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.

17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and lie silent in the grave.

18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.

20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from the intrigues of men;
in your dwelling you keep them safe
from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.

22 In my alarm I said,
"I am cut off from your sight!"
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.

23 Love the LORD, all his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.

24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.

When you are troubled who better to turn to than God? In the psalm of David above, he reflects on how God brought him through times of distress and anguish. I have found that if you read and pray through a psalm like this one, it helps put your situation in perspective. It helps you to know that as long as you seek God's help, He will carry you through.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Carved to Perfection - November 16, 2012

Psalm 138:8 (English Standard Version)
8The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:8 (New International Reader's Version)
8 Lord, you will do everything you have planned for me.
Lord, your faithful love continues forever.
You have done so much for us. Don't stop now.

When a wood carver looks to carve a piece of art, he goes through a number of steps to create a piece of art that can be enjoyed. First he visualizes in his imagination what he wants to carve. Then he usually will draw our what he has in mind. He selects a piece of wood that will fit the project, and then he begins. During the carving, he will often look at his drawing, but along the way, he will usually count on his mental image as he guides the chisel.

Sooner or later he will just let his mind and hands take over, and allows the inspiration within carve out what he has envisioned. Many times he will move around the object, taking off the rough pieces of wood, bit by bit. Only when he is finished can he stand back and admire what he has done, and have the satisfaction that he has created a thing of beauty.

In speaking to the prophet Jeremiah, God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”Jeremiah 1:5(NIV)God had a place and a time that he would be born, and a specific task that Jeremiah would do. He was made to fulfill God's purposes, and the words penned by prophet still speak to God's people over 2600 years later, testifying to the reason why every unborn life is precious.

God had a vision of what he you to be and what He wanted you to do. He has envisioned that all He has created would fulfill His divine will, and accomplish God's purposes. Just as a wood carver first envisions his work, God knew the beautiful work of art that you would be. The Bible tells us in Philippians 1:6,"that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". God has a plan to finish the work that He has started in you.

Perhaps something you will do, or write, or a child that you will have or inspire, will have an amazing spiritual impact for God many centuries from now. The only way is if you are obedient to His call, and you listen to His direction, and one day you will stand before Him, and He will admire that He has truly created a person of beauty.

Photo from Popular Mechanics Instructables website "Wood Chiseling"

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Key to Success - November 15, 2012

Psalm 1 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

1Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. 2Rather, he delights in the teachings of the Lord and reflects on his teachings day and night.

3He is like a tree planted beside streams— a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.

4Wicked people are not like that. Instead, they are like husks that the wind blows away. 5That is why wicked people will not be able to stand in the judgment and sinners will not be able to stand where righteous people gather.

6The Lord knows the way of righteous people, but the way of wicked people will end.

It is hard for me to believe that more people do not embrace the promises of God. It is probably because so many resist even to read and study the word of God found in the Bible. You may ask yourself, what are they afraid of? I believe it is because they are afraid to face up to their own personal sin.

When you look in the mirror, whether you are a believer or not, and if you are in sin, it will be hard for your to be comfortable with yourself. The Bible is such a mirror. When you read and study its teachings, it will reflect the good and the bad of your life; it reveals sin, and it rewards righteousness.

If you do not do so on a regular basis, it is time you picked up a Bible and started spending time reading and studying it. You will soon find that it will bring blessings into your life through the change of your mind and spirit, and you too will succeed in everything you do.

Photo "Tree at end of Summer" by bertythul, 8-23-10, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Living God's Way - November 14, 2012

Isaiah 2:2-5 (New International Reader's Version)

2 In the last days
the mountain where the Lord's temple is located will be famous.
It will be the most important mountain of all.
It will stand out above the hills.
All of the nations will go to it.

3 People from many nations will go there. They will say,

"Come. Let us go up to the Lord's mountain.
Let's go to the house of Jacob's God.
He will teach us how we should live.
Then we will live the way he wants us to."
The law of the Lord will be taught at Zion.
His message will go out from Jerusalem.

4 He will judge between the nations.
He'll settle problems among many of them.
They will hammer their swords into plows.
They'll hammer their spears into pruning tools.
Nations will not go to war against one another.
They won't even train to fight anymore.

5 People of Jacob, come.
Let us live the way the Lord has taught us to.

The world is a very troubled place these days. Although we hear mainly about the unrest in the Middle East, and the rumblings of trouble in our own country, there is much more going on than we even know.

Earthquakes, plagues, hunger, murder, war, all of these things go on somewhere on the arth every minute of the day on our planet. It is difficult to know how we fit into the scheme of things. Each day we wake up to one more overwhelming incident after another, and it is enough to cause fear for oursleves and those we love around us.

That said, God expects us to be His "light among the nations", to be that representative of His hope in this very troubled world. Not that we are expected to do something global for the Kingdom of God, but in our own little world that God has given us stewardship over, we must do our part.
We must fearlessly and boldy move forward towards the goal He has set before us.

It is not mere coincidence that you are doing what you do, in the place in which you are, at the time in which you find yourself. It is not by your own efforts that you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and if you are not, it is not by chance that He is drawing you to Him this very minute.

There will be a day when God will make all things right again. On that day, He will bring about justice and peace, and those who chose to turn their backs on Him will be dealt with. As for now, we are to "live the way he wants us to".

Photo "Up in the Mountains" by rolve, 7-8-2009, from stock.xchng

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lasting Benefits - November 13, 2012

1 John 3:21-24 (New King James Version)
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

For years I have heard from non-believers that they won't become Christians because there are too many do's and don'ts. Many see the "religion" of Christianity through the lens of what they have heard, not what they have learned. How many times have you heard the excuse for not believing is that the Bible is full of contradictions, and if you ask them if they have ever read it they just stare?

We do not chase after a "religion" to believe in, but a relationship to have. The next time you are confronted with this situation with a non- believer, why not share the "lasting benefits" that you have received through believing? Let them know that you follow the do's and don'ts not because you have to, but in gratitude because you want to. Share the fact that the love of God is easy to obtain; they just need to call on the name of Jesus. He will help them do the rest through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Right living assures us that God will bless us, and when we follow His commands, He lays the world before us. What else gives you anything you ask for just for believing?

Photo "Happy" by Godoflite, 7-10-2009, from stock.xchng

Monday, November 12, 2012

Staying Close to the River - November 12, 2012

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (New Living Translation)
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

If you have driven along the highways and farm roads on the prairies of Texas, you will notice the treelined paths that seem to break up the rolling grassy landscape. These delineate the many rivers that flow across Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. Along these rivers are lush green stands of firs and hardwoods that receive the much needed moisture that sustains them in the dry southwest climate of our state. If they did not grow close to the river, they would quickly wither under the summer heat, and you will notice that that the trees do not grow too far from the riverbank.

Much in the same way that the trees stay close to the river for its live-giving water, properly placed trust keeps us close to the life-giving spirit of God. As we stay close to Him, we receive everything we need, and we will grow deep roots that will provide us the strength through the times of "drought" in our lives.

If you need hope and confidence to make it through this life, place your trust along side the One who will provide life-giving "water" for your soul.

John 7:38-39 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
38As Scripture says, ‘Streams of living water will flow from deep within the person who believes in me.’ ” 39Jesus said this about the Spirit, whom his believers would receive. The Spirit was not yet evident, as it would be after Jesus had been glorified.

Photo "Riverside" by RedVari, 9-17-2009, from stock.xchng

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Praise! - November 11, 2012

Psalm 138(New International Version)
1 I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.

4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.

6 Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The LORD will vindicate me;
your love, LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Virtuous and Capable Wife - November 10, 2012

Proverbs 31:10-31(New Living Translation) 

10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm clothes.

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

I love the verses above, because they speak to the blessing I have had these last 22 years. God in His grace and mercy has blessed me with a very "virtuous and capable" wife. She has been with me through good times and difficult ones, and I thank God for each day that we have together. I pray that we will continue to help us grow our relationship and that He will grant us His wisdom for what ever lies ahead.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Salvation Living - November 9, 2012

2 Peter 1:3-11 (New International Version)

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When you come to belief in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, life takes on a whole new meaning. As new believers we are excited and have a hunger for God's word and anything that will continue your knowledge of Christian living. At the same time though, along with the joy of our new relationship with Jesus, we may find that there the more we try to do the right things, the Adversary(the Devil;Satan) will do all he can to trip us up.

You see, if your believe that there is a God, you have to believe that their is Satan. But Satan is no more than a fallen angel, created by God, that is always looking to torment those that are not following him and the ways of the world. It is his mission to lead as many as he can away from the love and grace of God as he can. Because of your new life in Christ, you may soon realize that many things you found desirable and appealing about your old life no longer are, and some of your old friends will no longer recognize you as one of them.

So how do you overcome these negative pressures and bad influences on your life? The answer is made very clear in the scripture verses from the Apostle Peter noted above. The step-by-step approach to "insulating" yourself is given starting in verse 5 where is states, "add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." What's even better is that God gives you the divine power and ability to follow through on the steps.

So if your ready to embrace "salvation living" and grow deeper and stronger in your relationship with God, follow the step-by-step instruction from Peter, and you will soon see that you will have a new perspective on what happens to you, and you will experience the joyful life of following Jesus.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Decision Time - November 8, 2012

Joshua 24:13-15(The Message)

13(God said:) “I handed you a land for which you did not work, towns you did not build. And here you are now living in them and eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.

14 “So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped on the far side of The River (the Euphrates) and in Egypt. You, worship God.

15 “If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living.

As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”

When the nation of Israel had journeyed far, after being established though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, after being led out of slavery in Egypt by Moses and wandering the desert for over 40 years, after crossing the Jordan and conquering all their enemies in the land, Joshua asked the people to make a decision whether or not they would follow the One who brought them through it all. He offered them a choice between following after the ways of other gods or The God who had done it all for them. For Joshua the decision was easy; he and his family would serve the Lord God, that had been with him and led them through it all.

For us, the situation has been very much the same; we have been living in a land that was established by our forefathers, blessed with every bounty imagineable, and existed in relative ease for over 236 years. We would not have come through the struggles that we have had as a nation, without the divine guidance of Providence. Our forefathers recognized this fact, and honored God through the written word found in our founding documents and laws, with inscribed praises to Him on our national buildings and monuments, and through acknowledgements in our Nation's motto and on our money.

Yet as we stand here in November of 2012, our Nation has a choice to make as well. Will it continue to turn its back on God who has given it all to them, and who has blessed them in most every situation, and choose to follow after the ways of the world, worshipping the idols and gods of wrath, greed, lust, gluttony, laziness, pride and envy? Or, will the Nation choose to humbles itself , ask forgiveness for its sins, and seek after the God who has provided it all? As individuals will we run after the ways of the fallen world or will we accept God and His provision for our salvation, Jesus Christ?

As for me and my family the decision is clear: We will serve the Lord! What will you choose to do?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Aftermath - November 7, 2012

© Copyright 2004 - 2012 Adventures of a GoodMan: Photography, Storytelling and World Travel by Greg Goodman

First, I want all of you to pray for everyone. Ask God to bless them. Give thanks for them.

2 Pray for kings. Pray for all who are in authority. Pray that we will live peaceful and quiet lives. And pray that we will be godly and holy.

Proverbs 11:14(New International Reader's Version)

14 Without the guidance of good leaders a nation falls. But many good advisers can save it.

After a very contentious election as the one that has just passed, there is a tendency to be angry, disappointed and discouraged about the outcome, especially when it is not in our favor. I myself felt a bit of disappointment, but I have to also admit that I was far more anxious before the election and the results than now. Although I am concerned that the continued disentergration of our Nation's principles and morals will continue unabated over the next 4 years, as it has over the last 4, I am resigned to believe that God knows what is going on. He is still on the "throne", and Jesus Christ is still the Lord and Savior of the world.

Sometimes things have to get "darker" in the world before the Spirit can do His work and turn the hearts of men and women back to God. We need only remember our conversion after recognizing our sheer "worthlessness" before a holy God, to understand that it is when we are in the depths of sin and despair that we humble ourselves and reach for the One who can save us. So too a nation must sometimes experience judgement and despair before it truly knows it is "One Nation Under God".

The stakes for our Nation are now higher than they have ever been, and since God is always in control, we need to remember that we must follow His direction when it comes to the believer. In Paul's letter to Timothy, we are instructed to pray for the king ( our President) and those in authority (our Congress, Governors, Legislatures and state officials), and pray that we will follow God ourselves and live holy lives as examples to other citizens around us. We need to also pray that those in authority will surround themselves with "good advisers" with which to govern the people.

Yes, we are disappointed; I am disappointed, but we don't need to be discouraged as long as we call upon Jesus as Lord and surrender to God's control. In His love, He will guide us and take care of us, and He will work out everything to our greater good.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rest In the God - November 6, 2012

Psalm 91 (New Living Translation)

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

As we all await the outcome of the election, let's rest in the continued blessings of God. He is our shelter, our refuge, our rescuer and our Savior. Rest this evening in the promises He offers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Give Us a King! - November 5, 2012

1 Samuel 8:4-22(New International Version) 

4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[a] us, such as all the other nations have.”

6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”

Four hundred years after Moses led the nation of Israel out of Egypt, and after the nation was ruled by prophets and judges appointed by God, the people decided they wanted a king. No longer would they follow after the leadership of God, but now they demanded that they be like other nations and be ruled by an earthly king. You don't have to read much further in the Bible to learn that their decision would ultimately lead their destuction and eventual dispersion throughout the world.

For over 236 years, we have been a special Nation; because we had based the make up of our governance after Judeo-Christian values and sought be live as a nation "under God", we have remained fairly unscathed from the turmoils that have long battered other worldy governments. But over that past few decades, we have blatantly turned our backs on God, and have sought to "be like other nations". We have desired to be like the many secular governments around the world and have pushed God out of every public place where He once "stood in vigalence" to protect us. We have scorned Him, mocked His Son, and denied the influence of His Spirit, and in doing so we stand at the brink of His long-overdue judgment.

Tomorrow we will select for ourselves a "king" as we head to the polls to vote for a President. We will also select men to leads us and make our laws to inhabit our Congress. This year, the choice before us is very stark, between two very different paths. One path desires to take us back to our founding values, to follow more closely after what pleases God's heart, and supports life and His desire for marriage; the other cries for freedom from anything having to do with God, openly scorns His definition of marriage and chooses to sacrifice the most vulnerable among us on the altar of "personal choice". One seeks to applaud hard work and build up those who choose to take responsibility; the other demands that it is only fair that those who have worked for their gain, should surrender it to others, and blame their lack on others.

There is a stark choice before us; a clear path back to God or further away from Him. Now all that is left is for the people to make their choice, and their choice will ultimately define if we will remain a blessed Nation or if we will eventually follow after the many nations and governments of men that are only mentioned in the history books.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Approaching a New Week - November 4, 2012

Psalm 150 (New International Version)
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

For many it has been a busy weekend, full of the busy-ness of life. There has been playing sports, and music lessons, and shopping, and kid's parties, and get-togethers, and attending church, and driving, and eating, and sleeping, and many more things than can be listed here. For everyone of us it has been a life filled with distractions that have taken our minds off of He who has provided it all.

As a perfect ending to this busy weekend and the start to the new week, take a few minutes to give God your praise and glory for the good things He has blessed you with during this past week. Remember Him as you plan out what you will do with these next seven days, and remember His purposes in your life as you move along the path He has established for you.

Oh, by the way, it is also the week of one of the most important elections in a generation. Be sure you vote, and that you vote for the candidates that hold-up biblical values and the things that are dear to God's heart, life and covenant marriage.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Who Is Like Our God? - November 3, 2012

Psalm 103 (New International Reader's Version)

1 I will praise the Lord. Deep down inside me, I will praise him. I will praise him, because his name is holy.

2 I will praise the Lord. I won't forget anything he does for me.

3 He forgives all my sins. He heals all my sicknesses.

4 He saves my life from going down into the grave. His faithful and tender love makes me feel like a king.

5 He satisfies me with the good things I long for. Then I feel young and strong again, just like an eagle.

6 The Lord does what is right and fair for all who are beaten down.

7 He told Moses all about his plans. He let the people of Israel see his mighty acts.

8 The Lord is tender and kind. He is gracious. He is slow to get angry. He is full of love.

9 He won't keep bringing charges against us. He won't stay angry with us forever.

10 He doesn't punish us for our sins as much as we should be punished. He doesn't pay us back in keeping with the evil things we've done.

11 His love for those who have respect for him is as high as the heavens are above the earth.

12 He has removed our lawless acts from us as far as the east is from the west.

13 A father is tender and kind to his children. In the same way, the Lord is tender and kind to those who have respect for him.

14 He knows what we are made of. He remembers that we are dust.

15 People's lives are like grass. People grow like the flowers in the field.

16 When the wind blows on them, they are gone. No one can tell that they had ever been there.

17 But the Lord's love for those who have respect for him lasts for ever and ever. Their children's children will know that he always does what is right.

18 He always loves those who keep his covenant. He always does what is right for those who remember to obey his commands.

19 The Lord has set up his throne in heaven. His kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels of his. Praise him, you mighty ones who carry out his orders and obey his word.

21 Praise the Lord, all you angels in heaven. Praise him, all you who serve him and do what he wants.

22 Let everything the Lord has made praise him everywhere in his kingdom.
I will praise the Lord.

This evening as we take the time to rest after a hard week of work, let's reflect on the goodness and mercy of God. Make it a point in your weekend to praise and worship Him for all He has done. Like Jesus, take time to seek Him privately and intimately. Everything we are we owe to Him. Take the time to rest in Him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Who's In Control? - November 2, 2012

Proverbs 19:20-21(New Century Version)
20 Listen to advice and accept correction,
and in the end you will be wise.
21 People can make all kinds of plans,
but only the Lord's plan will happen.

If for a moment you think that you are in control of your life, you are wrong. Yes, you do have a choice and a will to decide what you will do, but ultimately God has a plan and He will make sure that it happens as it should.

Sometimes this is hard to understand, especially when we face hardship or the death of someone we love, but often in His word God tells us that He will make things happen. We might as well focus on trying to do as we should, because the God will make sure we return to the plan He has for us. That is why many of us sometimes experience difficulty; if we are out of His will, He creates the way back into it.

Bottom line is this: listen to those God places in your life, and then commit your own plans to Him. Make sure that you seek Him and pray that what you plan to do is whay He desires. You will be better off for doing it His way.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Accompanied Joy - November 1, 2012

James 1:2-4;12 (New International Version)
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers(and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
12Blessed is the man(or woman)who perseveres under trial, because when he(she) has stood the test, he(she) will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
( )Parenthesis mine

There have been many times in my life where the circumstances and the burdens of this life have really weighed me down. During the darkest moments in my life, I reached out to God to find relief and comfort for the difficulty that I was going through. Everytime this has occurred, as long as I sought God for shelter, the situation was resolved for the better.

When we become a Christian, this does not automatically give you immunity from the difficulties of life. In fact Jesus told his disciples just the opposite when he said,"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."John 16:33 (NIV) What we are promised by God is that He will be with us through the situation.

In fact, each and every trial we go through is a test, meant for our own good. It may not seem so while we are going through it, but God has a good purpose that will come out of every situation that a Christian goes through. We need to remember, as I have said several times about Next Worth living, everything we go through has an eternal purpose. Although sometimes we can look back and see where God helped us through a difficult circumstance, and we have been better off for it, the results of the many of the trials we will experience in life will not be realized until we have passed from this life.

If you are facing such a trial or difficulty right now, seek God in prayer. Ask Him to guide you through the situation, and He will provide you the wisdom and comfort you need to sustain you.