Saturday, May 31, 2014

Heavenly Praise - May 31, 2014

 
Psalm 19:1-6 (New International Version)
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.

3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.


I found this amazing photograph from The World At Night project, a collection of stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against the celestial attractions. Above is the winning photograph from the "2nd International Earth and Sky Photo Contest on Dark Skies Importance 2011". As was announced in the British tabloid Daily Mail, "Stephane Vetter's 'A Starry Night in Iceland' won first prize in the Beauty of the Night Sky category. The arch of the aurora shines over Jökulsárlón, the largest glacier lake in Iceland while the Milky Way is framed by the dancing ring of the northern lights".(1)

In seeing this beautiful photograph, I was immediately reminded of the passage from the Book of Psalms noted above. Our God has created amazing things, yet of all of His creatures, it is only man that can enjoy these spectacular sights. Why is it then that so many on our planet deny God's existence, and in doing so deny the pre-eminence of man in Creation? God created these sights not only for our enjoyment, but more significantly so that we could know that we had a Creator, and in our awe of what He had created we would seek Him. In doing so we would offer Him praises for what He had done.

Does the image above convince you that God does exist? Does it cause you to be in awe of our Creator? Does it cause you to more deeply seek Him? If your answer is "yes" to these questions, be sure that you give Him your highest praise.

Photo by Stephen Vetter from www.twanight.org as featured in the (1)Daily Mail

Friday, May 30, 2014

Passing On Wisdom - May 30, 2014

 
Proverbs 2:1-15 (The Message)
1-5 Good friend, take to heart what I'm telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That's right—if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer, searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God.

6-8 And here's why: God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He's a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones.

9-15 So now you can pick out what's true and fair, find all the good trails! Lady Wisdom will be your close friend, and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion. Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, insight will keep an eye out for you. They'll keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions of those who are lost themselves and can't tell a trail from a tumbleweed, these losers who make a game of evil and throw parties to celebrate perversity, traveling paths that go nowhere, wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.


The best thing you can do for your children, especially the young men, is to give them their own Bible that is easy for them to read and understand, and to have them read the first chapters in the Book of Proverbs. It is rich in the wisdom of God, giving it a personality to allow the reader to better relate to the instruction.

If I would have had a parent or mentor encouraging me to read the Bible and especially the Proverbs, I would have been far more grounded, I would have come to faith in Jesus Christ much earlier. On top of that, I would have lived a far better and more disciplined life, and I would have avoided many of the pitfalls that the world and I myself threw me into.

I thank God though that I have been able to pass on God's word to my family, which has been evident in the life led by my children. There is no greater blessing that to see your children walk with Jesus and know God's plan for their lives from an early age. I praise Him the restoration that He has given me, and the mercy and grace He has shown me by the salvation of my children.

Isn't it time that you sat down with your children and opened up God's word with them? Believe me, they will be far more well-adjusted and able to face the world by you doing so.

Photo "Study Kids 3" by eurostilet, 9-19-2004 from stock.xchng

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Greatest Praise - May 29, 2014

Psalm 148:7 (New International Version)
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,...


The largest creature on the planet is the sperm whale. A full grown male whale can be up to 67 feet long, and it can dive up over 9,800 feet into depths of the ocean; that's almost 2 miles down. During the 18th century it was hunted for it's oil and blubber, and it became the source on many tales from the seafarers that hunted it. You might recall the tale from Herman Melville about Captain Ahab who had an obsession about killing a great white whale that took his leg. Published in 1851, Moby Dick went on to become a great American Novel.

Although this tale popularized this great animal, well before that the whale was a topic spoken of several times in the Bible. We read of it here in the Psalms 104:25-26:

25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

Such a magnificent creature can only bring praises to its Creator, for in all of creation's many wonders only the sperm whale can boast of being the largest in all the earth. When you wonder at the immensity of His creation, God has truly done a marvelous thing. Yet even the greatest and largest of God's creatures, does not have the opportunity to experience His love as we do. Only man in all creation can receive God's gift of love, our redemption through Jesus Christ.

With such a great love as this, shouldn't we give Him all of our praises?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Active Love - May 28, 2014

 
Luke 10:25-28 (New International Version, ©2010)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”


26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[Deuteronomy 6:5]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[Leviticus 19:18]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

When you look at the good fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 that reflect those who are Christians, the most important is love. Nothing is more important to God, than to have those who follow Him, reflect the love that He has so richly given us. There is no greater love, than what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross, so that we might be saved from our sins.

In turn, Christians need to be known for their love that they give to others unconditionally. We need to be the first to step into the scene to help when other are in trouble and hurting. We need to take the lead in serving others who are less fortunate. Our compassion needs to extend to all, even those who would rather harm us.

Does your love reflect the love that Jesus Christ has given you? Does it extend from your being as the first priority in all of your actions? Do you love your neighbor, including the ones you don't like? Do you take the actions that show that you love others as you have been called to? If you do, you are filled with the Holy Spirit and are truly trying to live your faith reflecting Jesus.

If not, you need to do a gut check, confess your shortcomings, and ask God to help you love others as you love yourself.

Photo "Indigenous People" by jonathan n, 4-4-2007, from stock.xchng

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gentleness - May 27, 2014

Matthew 18:1-5 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.


It is interesting these days that when religions are compared, they are all are given a moral equivalence in today's society. Unfortunately, those opinions stem from the fact that many so-called followers of Christ were very far from Him. Many remember atrocities that were carried out in His name and have associated that behavior with all Christians. If you have really walked with our Lord for very long, you know that those opinions are false. Whenever you hear someone associating those things with Christians, you probably think to yourself that true followers of Jesus are far from those things.

Fact is that Jesus Christ made it very clear how we should approach the kingdom of God, with a contrite and gentle heart. He likened the attitude that we should have with the attitude of little children; gentle of spirit and character, yet wide open with possibilities, and eager to embrace the simple truth of God's love message to His people. True believers filled with the Holy Spirit exhibit the good fruit of gentleness in all things, especially those of Christ. This is true in how we treat those around us, and how we deal even with those who would chose to harm us.

The true Christians will bear all and approach all with the spirit and fruit of gentleness; in doing so, they will reflect the strength of God and will win many to Jesus Christ.

Photo "Bunny Girl" by familylife, 9-9-2007, from stock.xchng

Monday, May 26, 2014

Control Yourself! - May 26, 2014

 
Romans 6:1-7 (New Living Translation)
1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

1 John 5:18 (New International Version, ©2010)
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.


Was there a time in your life when you were living in a lifestyle where "resistance was futile"? Have you been in a situation where it was almost unbearable to not give into temptation? I know many people trapped in the bondage of an addiction or sin where they simply can't give it up. It is an urge that is often very powerful, and the fear of giving up the addiction is sometimes stronger than the fear of death.

When you come to Jesus Christ and surrender yourself to Him, often the Holy Spirit takes away that urge and frees people from the bondage of sin, but sometimes it takes more than that. All who truly accept Christ's gift of salvation are filled with the Holy Spirit. He is our Comforter, our ever present presence that helps us on our daily walk with God. He gives us the good fruit of self-control.

Sometimes though, people are so trapped in their sin that they are resistant to gaining control over it through Jesus. They often become depressed and sometimes even disenchanted with God because their bondage doesn't leave them. Why is this? I say it is because they have not made a true decision to turn their back on the past. They hold on to it and embrace it because it seems more comfortable than the freedom of letting go.

If you truly desire the freedom gained by truly surrendering to God, and truly allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you with His presence and gifts, especially self-control, ask God for the strength to. He hears your prayers and He will answer you, but you need to first have a change of mind an allow Him to do His will with you. He will give you the self-control you need to conquer your sin, your addiction, and the bondage that has you trapped.

Photo "Praise the Lord" by ronibro, 11-16-2006 from stock.xchng

Sunday, May 25, 2014

True Peace - May 25, 2014


Psalm 119:165 (New International Version, ©2010)165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

John 14:27 (New International Version, ©2010)27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33 (New International Version, ©2010) 33 “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.”

James 3:17-18 (New International Version, ©2010)
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.


A true sign of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and following after Jesus is peace. The good fruit of peace means that you are calm and confident in the Lord, and you seek to be free from quarrels and disagreement. Your life reflects the desire to live harmoniously with all. You do not stir up strife for the sake of your own purposes, and you "bend over backwards" to restore peace in any situation that might be difficult.

Bottom line is that you see everyone as God's children and every situation as one in which you can bless others for the sake of Jesus Christ. Jesus brought us peace in our souls by restoring our place with God; in turn we need to pass on the peace that we have been given to those around us.

Photo "Sunrays" by MajaFoto, 11-25-2009 from stock.xchng

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Be Patient - May 24, 2014

 
Ephesians 4:2-3 (New International Version, ©2010)
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3 (King James Version)
2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


The Christian work requires a lot of patience, forbearance and longsuffering. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the focus of your life is no longer on you. It is one where the needs of everyone else needs to come before ourselves. Because of this, you might find out that you will receive a lot of abuse and persecution. But you need to always be able to bear it, whether it is given by those who hate and despise you, or by fellow believers.

Our example is Jesus Christ, who took the abuse of those around him and the weight of our sins, and bore them on the cross. We need to identify with Him and know that our good fruit of patience will reap a crown of eternal life with God.

Photo "Winter" by just4you, 3-1-2006 from stock.xchng

Friday, May 23, 2014

Always Faithful - May 23, 2014

 
1 Corinthians 15:58 (New International Version, ©2010)
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


Are you strong in your convictions? Do you stick with what you believe when you are under pressure to give it up? Do you continue to do things for God when there seems to be no earthly benefit? Are you obedient to following God's rules when no one is looking, or are do you stand up for Jesus Christ when everyone is looking?

As I have said many times, our Christian walk is not easy. It calls us to doing things and not doing things that seem bizarre to those in our society and the world. If we follow Jesus as we should, we will stand out, and we will encounter difficulty. Jesus said, 11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me."(Matthew 5:11)If we are a true follower of Jesus Christ and the things of God, we will experience persecution.

On our own efforts, we probably cannot stand up to that kind of testing. Many have fallen away from the Christian faith when they were subjected to all kinds of pressure, whether it is social or physical. Then how are true Christians able to endure? It is because the Holy Spirit indwells the believer which shows up in the good fruit of faithfulness.

If you are having difficulty because you stand out for Jesus and people make fun of you or give you a hard time, great! You are being faithful, steadfast, and you will be blessed by God. Stand up for Jesus and He will stand up for you, both in this life and the next.


Photo "Gospel Reading" by abcdz2000, 3-3-2008,from stock.xchng

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What's Good About Goodness - May 22, 2014

 
Luke 6:45 (New International Version, ©2010)
45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

3 John 1:11 (New International Version, ©2010)
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.


It is something that we are taught from the time we can understand our parents. After learning about the word "no", the first real rule we hear taught to us is to be "good". No one is naturally good no matter how hard we may try, and the older we get the harder it is. Jesus even made commented to one who called him good, 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone." (Luke 18-19)Being good is not something we are able to be on our own.

Thank God that when He gave us the Holy Spirit to inhabit our lives, He gave us the ability to produce fruit, and goodness is one of those. But being good is more than reigning in our own behavior. It goes much deeper than that. Goodness is best shown when in the purity of heart we "do good" to all those we come across. We cannot be good without God, and we cannot do good without God.

Be good and excercise goodness to all, and you will truly reflect the goodness of God, who above all us was good to us.

Photo "Helping Hand" from je1196,10-19-2004 from stock.xchng

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spiritual Joy - May 21, 2014

 
James 1:2-4 (New Living Translation)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.


When times get rough, do you remain confident in the ability of God to get you through it? Or do you worry and become anxious and wonder what God is doing to you? These two reactions are probably very common for believers in Jesus and non-believers. All of us have become concerned and worried when times get difficult, but the true test of whether you have surrendered yourself fully to God is in the fruit we produce.

When we study the fruit of the Spirit exhibited by a Christian as found in Galatians 5:22-23, we find that our lives become a reflection of our new life in Christ. The next good fruit mentioned in these verses is joy. What is joy? It is a calm in the eye of the storm. It is that excitement that you know that God is doing something good in your life. It might not be pleasant at the time, but you have that quiet confidence that everything will work out for good. It is a promise that God has made to us and we need not be concerned because God keeps His promises.

I am learning to be controlled by spiritual joy, to not give up and focus rather on what God wants me to learn in the difficult situation. I know that Jesus Christ is alongside me, helping me with my burdens in life. It gives me that calm and confidence to work through my problems. Not that I don't become anxious, because I do at times, but I know the end of my life's story. I know that tomorrow will be a better day.

Photo "Summer Joy" by porah, 5-1-2008, from stock.xchng

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bad Apples - May 20, 2014

Galatians 5:19-21 (New International Reader's Version)
19 What the sinful nature does is clear. It enjoys sexual sins, impure acts and wild living. 20 It worships statues of gods. It also worships evil powers. It is full of hatred and fighting. It is full of jealousy and fits of anger. It is interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups. 21 It wants what others have. It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties. It does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like that will not receive God's kingdom.


One thing about our lives and our characters is sure, we all produce "fruit". What I mean is this, our daily acts, the things we do, reflect what is at the root of our existence, and as we go about our lives we will show what we are made of. If we grow in the things of the world, the fruit we produce will be reflective of that worldly life-style. To the world, these fruits are seemingly okay; besides, "why not do whatever you want to do as long as your not hurting anybody", but to God these are in direct opposition to Him. Living in this way shows that you would rather turn your back on Him.

Reading this list of the "sinful nature" gives us a good picture of how to live a life in total opposition to being a Christian, but even for Christians, the "bad apples" can sometimes be found in the bushel basket of our lives. It is hard to always produce good fruit, but if we fully and completely surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, it will be much easier. Our aim should be to sink our roots deep into the Word of God, and allow ourselves to be governed by the Holy Spirit. If we do so, we will produce good fruit.

Photo "Adam's Apple; temptation was great" by Dimitri C from stock.xchng

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Tale of the Frog - May 19, 2014

James 1:14-15 (New Living Translation)
14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.


There is a anecdote about boiling a frog that has been used to illustrate everything from business to the human situation. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.[1]

In our own lives we tend to tolerate those little sins. It might be as benign as telling you kids to tell someone on the phone that your not home, or it could be as simple as speeding and breaking other traffic laws. Have you ever gossiped about someone at work or have you told someone that you were something you weren't? Did you "borrow" your neighbor's newspaper and failed to give it back, or did you keep the extra change a clerk mistakenly gave you? The list could go one and one, covering every aspect of life.

Yes, we tolerate those little sins, white lies, casual fibs, exaggerations, inerrant glances, and others. For some you might do these things so often that you forget that what you really are doing is wrong. You become so desensitized to that "little sin" that it seems to be okay. Sooner or later those little things catch up with you and soon becomes a very big thing. It's almost like your that frog in the cold water, waiting to be boiled to death.

Why do we allow this in our lives? In God's eyes, a sin is a sin. They are all equal; they all cost Jesus the same. If this seems to be touching you and these words seem to be an illustration of your behavior, it's time to stop. You can't continue to do this without consequence. You may wonder why your spiritual life feels like its of track, or that you are venturing far from God.

If this describes you, our merciful and loving God has an answer:

1Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. 2We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. 3Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

[1]"Boiling Frog" from Wikepedia
Photo "Frog 2" by Emma-frost, 8-16-2007, from stock.xchng

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Obstacles - May 18, 2014

 
Job 1:6-7 (Amplified Bible)
6Now there was a day when the sons (the angels) of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the adversary and accuser) also came among them.

7And the Lord said to Satan, From where did you come? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it.

Luke 22:31-32 (New King James Version)
31 And the Lord said,“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

1 Peter 5:7-9 (New Living Translation)
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.


If you ask many Christians, they would probably say that they have a pretty good handle on overcoming Satan. In fact, once they are "saved", accepting Jesus' work on the cross for salvation, many probably rarely think about the work of Satan and his fellow demons. But the fact is that Satan is alive and well, working overtime trying to defeat us. Yes, we are saved and will spend eternity with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, but it is at this time when the devil works overtime.

It really isn't important to him to focus on those who are already on his "team"; those unfortunate souls that have rejected Christ and have decided to go another way that is apart from the One true God. God loves us all intensely; we are the "jewels" of His creation, and Satan hates that. He desires for us to worship him and not God; so his entire mission is to snatch everyone away from God that he can. That is why those who are saved, true followers of Christ, are so very important to God. We become God's walking billboards, living testaments, ambassadors, witnesses to the grace and mercy only found through Jesus Christ.

As the god of this world, that is doomed to destruction at the end of time, Satan spends his time as we read about in the passages above. He is looking for those he can "sift like wheat"; "devour". He wants to keep us distracted by occupying the time we should be working on behalf of Jesus Christ and God's kingdom. How does he do that? He uses the obstacles in our lives that will slow us down and will distract us the most. They are different for each one of us, because we have all been created, and been saved for a specific purpose in God's plan.

Think about it. When you are fearful about things are you a strong witness for Christ? When you are angry with someone at work or home are you a Christ like example to others? When you worry about personal finances and money are you totally dependent on God? When you are focused on your own difficulties, do you have time for others that need to know Jesus? We fail in our responsibility to tell a dying world about the salvation found in Jesus Christ when we are occupied with the "cares" of this world.

Does this sound like your life? The solution is found in the verses below:

7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. James 4:7-8 (New Living Translation)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday Praise! - May 17, 2014

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.

Friday, May 16, 2014

His Best Benefits - May 16, 2014

 
Philippians 1:21(New International Version)
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.


Much is made these days of the benefits that you receive when you work for an employer. Benefits are very important when making a decision on a new job, or in the retention of employees for a Company. Whether or not there is something that takes care of our medical needs now, and our well-being later when we retire is usually pre-eminent in providing for our families. If you are a Company that has great benefits, you are almost assured that you can get and keep the best employees in the work force.

God offers us the best of benefits that we could ever imagine, because if we follow Him and accept His gift of salvation, we are guaranteed of being taken care of in this life and the next. In following Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity of demonstrating His love, mercy and grace to all those we encounter, and once we leave this planet, we are assured of a place with Him in Heaven. Our job is to make the decision to be the best "employee" there is, and to serve Him with our entire being.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Great Equalizer - May 15, 2014

 

Psalm 113 (New International Version, ©2011)
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, you his servants;
praise the name of the LORD.
2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.

4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.

9 He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.

Praise the LORD.

Luke 6:20-22 (New International Version, ©2011)
20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.


These days it is easy for those who are "well-off" to snub their noses at those who have very little. Our current generation has forsaken the things of God, and instead have embraced materialism. Unfortunately that is true for many Christians as well. We are just as guilty of seeking after the things of this world to build our self-worth, as those who have lost themselves seeking after worldly things. We can be just as covetous of the wealthy lifestyle of the "rich and famous" as everyone else is.

Fortunately this is not true of our God, and it was especially not true for Jesus. Our Savior spent much of His time with the poor, both those that were poor in possessions and poor in spirit. He leveled the playing field by the promise of His great blessing. In His departure He promised the gift of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to bring peace and well-being to all who would be "poor" in this world. We have the comfort of knowing that if we lose everything in life, we still have the joy and peace that He is with us.

Our God is an equal opportunity God; He is the "Great Equalizer". He offers His gift of salvation to all, the rich and the poor. Truth is that although we may be rich materially, because we have placed our faith in our own efforts and riches, we will usually end up poor in Spirit. Better to be poor in the terms of this world, because in following and serving Him, He will lift us out of our poverty and exalt us before all men.

Photo by Cristie Reiter post from Nicaragua, 3-31-2008, from The World Race

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The "How to Be" Attitudes - May 14, 2014

 
Matthew 5:1-12 (New Living Translation)
1 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.

6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.

7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.

10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.


When we make the decision to be part of God's Kingdom, there are certain behaviors, characteristics, and attitudes that He blesses. His hope is for all of us to approach the world with our hearts and hands wide open. He is looking for people to be in His Kingdom that have the "right stuff". We are to realize our utter need before Him and as life's struggles and problems weigh in on us, He will reward those who seek Him.

Jesus set out to help those around him understand who God really was. He was not an unapproachable Creator, that looked upon mankind to purely administer His justice, but He was also intricately involved in all that people would go through. Ultimately He would make the supreme gesture of love, mercy and blessing, by allowing the Son, Jesus, to be crucified on a wooden cross as payment for our sins.

In thanksgiving, we need to take on the right attitude, and be examples of God's goodness and mercy. We need to truly be His subjects and be ambassadors for the King.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

God's "Forbearance" - May 13, 2014

2 Peter 3:8-9 (New International Reader's Version)
8 Dear friends, here is one thing you must not forget. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years. And a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. He is patient with you. He doesn't want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins.


As I read through this chapter in 2 Peter, I was trying to come up with a word that described what is taking place; what God was doing through His actions towards us. What came to my mind (and I know it was through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), was the old word "forbearance". It is not a word used much in our everyday language today, and when I read the definition and its synonyms I understood why.

The word "forbearance" is defined as, "a refraining from the enforcement of something that is due; the capacity to endure what is difficult or disagreeable without complaining; kind, gentle, or compassionate treatment, especially towards someone who is undeserving of it; patience, long-suffering, tolerance, charity, clemency, leniency, mercifulness."

This is hardly a word that describes most of us today. We are quick to react whenever we are wronged or unhappy, or if someone does something that we don't like. Driving the busy freeways and getting cut off and you'll know what I mean. How about our attitude with work? How do we react when we feel that someone is trying to "steal or show"? And our kids are another thing; what happens when we are in the car talking on our cellphone and the kids are fighting in the back? No, I don't think "forbearance" is our best character trait.

But for God, this word describes his actions perfectly. He has delayed the return of Jesus for His people because of His "forbearance", His patience, long-suffering, tolerance, charity, clemency, leniency, and mercifulness; His love, mercy and compassion for us. The adjectives can't sufficiently describe His compassionate treatment, towards someone as undeserving as us. Year after year, century after century, God patiently waits until the last person that would accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, does.

I have often heard it said that "God is waiting for people to get on the bus"; for us to take the step to admit our shortcomings and get on board with Him. ...He won't wait for you forever. Isn't it time you took advantage of His "forbearance", and gave your life to Him right now?


Photo "Waiting Passenger" PKS in Krakow, Poland, by malpec 7-13-07 from stock.xchng

Monday, May 12, 2014

He IS the Light - May 12, 2014

John 8:12(New Living Translation)
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”


In our world many are trapped in a life of sin and death. Almost every place you turn, there is an undercurrent of evil that pervades daily life. Many times this remains hidden behind the scenes, but every so often it comes to the surface. Yes, we read and watch daily as bad things are shown happening in the media, but occasionally it boils over and is revealed in a big way. Those who live surrounded by evil will eventually reveal themselves out in the open.

Counter to this is exhibited daily by those who follow Jesus Christ. Because He has freed believers from sin and death, and defeated evil, they are free to "walk in the light". That means that the good thing they do can be done freely in the open, bringing God glory, and revealing to others what is available as a follower of Jesus. Life in the light of God brings joy and peace, and this fact brings "light" to every dark corner of this world.

How do we see this? It is seen in the face of those who have been suppressed and abused in places all over the world, where the only real good is brought to them by the followers of Christ. It is seen in the faces of those who come in from the street, to feel the warmth and caring of those who love Jesus and are willing to give them food for their bellies and their soul. It is also seen in the persistent prayers and smiling kindness of those who bring comfort in hospitals and hospice.

No matter where you turn, the darkness of tragedy and evil can be illuminated through the love of Jesus. Be sure that His love shining in your heart is shared with all of those who come in contact with you.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In Praise of Mother - May 11, 2014

 
Proverbs 31:1,10-31 (New Living Translation)
1 The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
...
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife(and mother)? 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.

This Mother's Day, let's take time to reflect on the mothers in our lives and give them the praise and honor that they are due. They do a thankless job raising children in a very difficult world, yet all of us who follow the Lord can probably thank our moms for reflecting the heart of God and the love of Jesus to us.

I would like to thank my wife for always living out the example of the Proverbs 31:10-31 woman that is shown to us in the verses above, and I want to especially thank her for being that example to our beautiful daughters. I pray that she knows how much we all love her, and that we show her our love daily. To my own mother, I would like to thank her for her love, and teaching me how to be a good son.

Let us all not only honor the mothers in our lives on this day, but throughout the year. If you are a mom, I pray that God blesses you and rewards you for the sacrifice, devotion and caring you always give us.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How to Succeed - May 10, 2014

 
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

Friday, May 9, 2014

Who is He? - May 9, 2014

 
Amos 5:8(New International Version)
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the LORD is his name.


Since mankind has been on the earth they have gazed into the heavens and wondered, "Who is He?" Who is He that made the heavens and the very earth on which we stand? Who turns the night into day and back again? Who cycles time through the seasons as the earth changes before our eyes, turning everything into Winter, causing the world to grow cold and lifeless, and yet before we know it brings it back to life again? Who causes the tides to ebb and flow, and cause the sea to rage, before it calms into gentle laps upon the sand?

Who is it who's creative genius caused Orion to watch over the night sky, and who has flung every star into its place, yet cares for the smallest of His creatures? Who is He who has given Himself to us in the person of Jesus, who cared enough to rescue us from our own failure and sin? Who is He who want to someday bring us to Himself to love us throughout eternity?

If you haven't answered that question for yourself, look up into the sky tonight and wonder as men have since long ago, and then discover the answer; it is the Lord.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

True Wealth - May 8, 2014

Psalm 49(New Living Translation)
1 Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
2 High and low,
rich and poor—listen!
3 For my words are wise,
and my thoughts are filled with insight.
4 I listen carefully to many proverbs
and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
5 Why should I fear when trouble comes,
when enemies surround me?
6 They trust in their wealth
and boast of great riches.
7 Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
by paying a ransom to God.
8 Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough
9 to live forever
and never see the grave.

10 Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
11 The grave is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
12 but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
13 This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise.

Interlude

14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave,
where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
Their bodies will rot in the grave,
far from their grand estates.
15 But as for me, God will redeem my life.
He will snatch me from the power of the grave.

Interlude

16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
and their homes become ever more splendid.
17 For when they die, they take nothing with them.
Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
18 In this life they consider themselves fortunate
and are applauded for their success.
19 But they will die like all before them
and never again see the light of day.
20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
they will die, just like animals.

Do you long after the riches of this world? Are your pursuits after those things that money buys? Is your first aim in life to do all you can to obtain wealth? Do you believe that in doing those things you will have satisfaction? Has God been relegated to a small corner of your life as you pursue after these things? Do we hunger more for power, wealth and riches than for the love and satisfaction found only in God?

Many times in God's word we are warned against worldly pursuits. We are told that by doing so we can never find satisfaction and happiness. Any of us who have spent a little time on this planet knows that this is true. No matter how much we seek after the world and its riches, there is never enough and we can never be satisfied. In God's economy, worldly wealth is fleeting and soon fades away, but He gives us supernatural wealth in Jesus that can sustain and satisfy us for eternity.

Only by seeking God first and foremost in our lives can we ever be truly satisfied, and He tells us as long as we put Him first, He will take care of everything else we need. Only in Him can we be rescued from the world and given satisfaction that lasts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Carved to His Perfection - May 7, 2014

 
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 planned for 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 for His will to be fulfilled is for you to be obedient to His call, and for 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"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On Your Mark - May 6, 2014


Luke 12:40(GOD’S WORD Translation)
40Be ready, because the Son of Man will return when you least expect him.”


Day in and day out, many of us spend a lot of time getting ready. No, I don't mean to go to work or school, but we spend a lot of time in preparation for what we are going to do. Athletes spend time at their sport getting ready for the big event. Musicians spend much of their time practicing for a concert or their recital. Artists and Architects do a lot of sketches and preliminary work before they render their creation to paper or canvas.

Sales people practice their "pitch" to be as convincing as possible when presented with a customer. The military drills, drills, drills and spend a lot of time on maneuvers before they go to war. Physicians spend years in school, residency and pouring through journals making sure they are prepared for that life or death case.

Attorneys study case law for years to make sure that the correct verdicts are rendered when they plead a case before judge and jury. Even ministers do a lot of research into the meaning of this or that before they preach the Word of God, to accurately give their congregations the truths of God. No matter the occupation or the endeavor, we spend a lot of time getting ready.

Do you make the same effort getting ready for the return of Jesus Christ? Do you take the time necessary preparing yourself and others for the coming of eternity. Are you just as focused on making sure that everyone you encounter is also ready to meet their Maker? If we are honest, for most of us the answer is "NO", yet we will spend far more time after life than before our death. And who knows, maybe Jesus WILL comeback in our lifetime.
Will you be ready?

Photo "Preparation Inspirational Picture 2" by Nabil Medawar, 11-24-2009, from Inspirationfalls.com

Monday, May 5, 2014

Oh Magnify the Lord! - May 5, 2014

 
Psalm 34:1-3(New King James Version)
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.

3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.


He alone is worthy of our praise! This needs to be our highest and best goal, because our ultimate purpose in life is to bring God glory. Whenever we do thing in the name of Christ, we magnify His name and point all those who may not know Him to Jesus Christ. Only in Jesus can we someday hope to spend eternity with God; so make it the aim of your present life is to bring Him glory in this one.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Praise! - May 4, 2014

 
Psalm 66 (New Century Version)
1 Everything on earth, shout with joy to God!
2 Sing about his glory!
Make his praise glorious!
3 Say to God, "Your works are amazing!
Because your power is great,
your enemies fall before you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you.
They sing praises to your name."

Selah

5 Come and see what God has done,
the amazing things he has done for people.
6 He turned the sea into dry land.
The people crossed the river on foot.
So let us rejoice because of what he did.
7 He rules forever with his power.
He keeps his eye on the nations,
so people should not turn against him.

Selah

8 You people, praise our God;
loudly sing his praise.
9 He protects our lives
and does not let us be defeated.
10 God, you have tested us;
you have purified us like silver.
11 You let us be trapped
and put a heavy load on us.
12 You let our enemies walk on our heads.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place with good things.

13 I will come to your Temple with burnt offerings.
I will give you what I promised,
14 things I promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will bring you offerings of fat animals,
and I will offer sheep, bulls, and goats.

Selah

16 All of you who fear God, come and listen,
and I will tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth
and praised him with my tongue.
18 If I had known of any sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened to me.
19 But God has listened;
he has heard my prayer.
20 Praise God,
who did not ignore my prayer
or hold back his love from me.


If you were to construct a song of praise to God, what would it be? Would it be as the one above, telling what God had done for you? Would you lift up praise for what He has given you, and how He has worked in your life? Would it tell all how He has saved you from your sins, or your difficulty? Would it praise Him for the blessings you have received? What words would you sing to Him? How could others be blessed by your testimony of praise?

I know that most of us do not think of how we worship and praise the Lord. Sure, we may participate in Sunday services, and for many of us in churches with contemporary, we may be moved to lift our hands and lift praises in song, but how do we really personally praise God? Have you ever really thought how your psalm of praise would read? Would it faithfully speak about what God has placed in your heart?

Yes, many questions and to some of you they may seem redundant, but I feel it is important that we personally praise the God who has created us, sustained us, and given us everything, including salvation from our sins through Jesus Christ. Our praises are our way of showing God that we love, honor, and revere Him. He has done more than we can imagine, and He continues doing so with each breath we take.

Think about it; meditate on it. Sit down and create your own psalm, or song of worship. Write down what God has done for you and let it be your prayer and song of worship to Him.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Being Like Jesus - May 3, 2014

 
Romans 8:28-30 (New Century Version)
28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan. 29 God knew them before he made the world, and he chose them to be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.

30 God planned for them to be like his Son; and those he planned to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified.

As parents, we are always mindful of who our children are looking up to. When we were growing up, there were plenty of heroes and it was easy to find an example of someone we wanted to be like. It's not as easy today, because many of the athletes or politicians or movie stars tend not have the character traits that we would like our children to exhibit. In most cases, the best heroes for our children are their parents. We need to lead by being the best example of holiness that we can.

That was part of God's overall plan for the lives of those who would believe in Jesus. He gave us the example of His Son, so that we would know what character traits would be pleasing to God and good for His people. God wants us to be like Jesus; our behavior, habits, and how we treat others need to be a reflection of Jesus Christ. God planned what would happen in our lives in advance for us to be able to be so, Everything that happens in our life has the purpose of making us more like Him.

With this in mind, we need to make sure that our pursuits in life are to be more like Jesus Christ. We need to try to reflect Christ in every thing we do, and to everyone we come in contact with. It isn't always easy, and there are many times when behaving like Jesus is very hard to do, but we need to be always intentional in our actions to try to be more like Him.

Photo "Just Watching" by emuman, 7-21-2008 from stock.xchng

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Fruitful Promise - May 2, 2014

 
Leviticus 26:3-13 (New Living Translation)
3 “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.

5 Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.

6 “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land. 7 In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.

9 “I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest!

11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.

13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.


The amazing thing in all human history is that our Creator, the God that made us has reached out to us and desires to commune with His people. Long ago as God was laying out the laws under which His chosen people would live under, He told them the blessings that would come from their obedience and the consequences of their failure to do so. What is special about His mention of the blessings is that He promised to live with them someday, and He longed to embrace them.

Centuries before God would send the Son to be our sacrifice for sin, due to our inability to keep the law, He made the promise of what our obedience would bring. In Jesus Christ, God walked among us to tell us what the future would be like with Him. He served as our example of the Way which would be available to all, and that would someday establish God's kingdom in Heaven.

As we accept the gift of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God looks upon us as being obedient because through the blood of Jesus, we take on the righteousness of Christ. In doing so, our lives will be truly blessed, and although circumstances may not always seem as such, God's promise will assure us that everything will work out.

Photo "Market Stall Fruit" by Scooterboy, 3-21-2007, from stock.xchng

Thursday, May 1, 2014

National Day of Prayer - May 1, 2014


 

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
Blessed are the people he chose to be his own.
 
Today, with barely a whimper from any media outlet is the National Day of Prayer. It is a day set aside that our Nation supposedly sets aside to call the citizens to pray for the country and where we are at this point in human history. Yet this day of prayer, and prayer in general is often forgotten and treated as just another day.

The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America, evidenced by the Continental Congress’ proclamation in 1775 setting aside a day of prayer. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.

Where are you today? Where are you in terms of your prayer life? Our loving God wants to hear from us, and He promises in His word that "14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2Chronicles 7:14(KJV)

Today please make time to pray for our Nation. Pray for wisdom for our leaders and compassion for our people. Pray for that life will once again be considered sacred, and that the things of God will prevail in our Nation. Pray that we will remain that shining light of help to all of those who desire liberty and freedom, and pray that the "Light of Hope", our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ will be embraced by all.

Photo "Let Us Pray" Posted by DFO, May 3, 2012