Archive for January 2011

God’s Timing

January 28, 2011

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 2.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. Ex 2:24-25 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I believe that too often we are discouraged and think that God has forgotten us because He has not answered our prayers yet. On the other hand, we would be in trouble if He answered everything that we ask of Him in the manner in which we ask for it to happen. It would almost appear sometime that we have taken on the role of God and appointed Him the puppet to respond as we ask. In this verse we see where God looked down on the Israelites and knew it was time to act. Any sooner may have caused the Israelites to miss out on lessons learned while they waited on God. Any later may have resulted in them losing faith and reacting negatively to the actions against them. God’s timing is always perfect; it’s our patience, humility and understanding that we need to work on. Let’s always remember that He is God, He is in charge, He has all the answers, He knows the future and what positive or negative results would occur if answers are not timely. Let’s do our part to be the obedient, patient, humble child of God waiting for His response and His action to our prayers.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Often we ask and we ask and we ask dear God, and sometimes we get impatient and think that our prayers must have hit a brick wall. Today I have been reminded that it is my job to be the child and ask, while Your job to respond when the timing is right so that everything will be just right. Thank You for being my God that I can come to with my concerns. Thank You for answered prayer. Thank you for answering on time, and in Your own way, not necessarily in the selfish and unintelligent way that I may do it filled with shortcomings and possible long-term negative results. You are God, and I thank You for that. Please help me learn to always take my role, and allow You to be God, to respond and act in ways that will ultimately bless me and/or the situation that I am praying for. You are God Alone, praise be to God!

We Shall Overcome!

January 27, 2011

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 1.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.13 So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy.14 They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands. Ex 1:12-14 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

God spoke to me in two ways in this chapter this morning:

  1. Jacob and his forefathers had been so devoted to God, showing such respect to Him and giving Him praise as they saw His hand at work, and they were blessed in so many more ways. I am overjoyed to be reminded here in this passage that Jacob’s ancestors are still being extremely blessed and protected by God. This tells me that while I strive to walk uprightly before God today, and may witness many miracles and blessings from God, still I may never know the full extent of God’s blessings. He may go on and bless through my family long after I am gone, because of my faithfulness. This is no reason to be faithful today though, for God deserves my very best today because of my commitment in allowing Him to be Lord of my life. What is returned to me and my descendants as a result of my faithfulness, is all considered ‘blessings’, praise be to God!
  2. Sometimes when we are burdened and feel mistreated, as in the case of the Israelites, we may be tempted to give up. However, like the Israelites, we must learn to always look to God, from whom our strength comes, and be overcomers. Sometimes in the depth of our burdens we become even stronger. There is a song that touches on this through the words “I Never Lost my Praise” and this is because we never lose our hope, our joy in the Lord, our blessings from God, even when we think we are going through the toughest of times God is still in control and will give us the strength and joy of overcoming. That’s just the kind of God that I serve!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Please God help me stay focused on this each and every day, especially those days when I feel like I must be handling all the struggles and setbacks alone. I know that You promised to never leave me alone, so help me to focus on the fact that You are there with me through all circumstances, and with You guiding me and looking out for me, what have I to fear? May You receive praise because of my faith, dedication and expressed love for You through everything that I say and everything that I do.

WWJS (What Would Jesus Say)

January 26, 2011

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 15.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

8 ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as

commands from God.’
Matt 15:7-9 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees who had come to analyze the man whom their people were so enthused with and following everyday to witness miracles and to be taught the principles of God. Jesus then told the Pharisees how He felt about their actions and their worship. My mind then reflected on ‘What Would Jesus Say’ to me about my words (the things that I say); my thoughts; the content of my heart; my act of worship and that of my church. Too often I believe that we carry on like we have no master, and often I’m sure that we say things that would not be words from Jesus’ mouth. Furthermore we often do well at going before God at select times and, using our ‘churchy’ intellect we tell Jesus how we love and adore Him, then as soon as we walk outside the doors of the church building, or get over the tragedy for which we were praying so hard, we quickly transform into the way of our friends or peers. Are we a ‘farce’? Can anyone look at us at anytime and truly see that we are representatives of God? Are we a part of the problem or working to solve the problems that Isaiah spoke of? I am convinced that the problem still exist today, but I am also convinced that we serve a God big enough to help those of us interested in overcoming the problem. God wants us to be more like Him every day. As we turn lose of self and grasp hold of the hand that could help us live out holy lives dedicated to Him and representing Him in every way, then our daily lives will look more like Jesus and we will have more of an impact for the kingdom in our daily earthly walk.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I wouldn’t dare point fingers at anyone, because I am a part of the crowd that Your fingers are pointed towards, for I often fail in living this life totally under Your control and guidance, and no doubt You look at me and consider me a ‘farce’ at times. Please accept this as my honest plea for help me to be a stronger, more committed child of the King today. Help me to never give in to the earthly thoughts of doing unkind things or saying unkind words just because I am in this world, for I serve a Savior that is way bigger – bigger than all the struggles I might face; stronger – stronger than any temptation that may weaken my witness; but praise be to God for You are also more loving than anything or anyone in this world; You are definitely more capable than anyone or anything I can turn to for help to overcome my weaknesses; and caring enough to grant my desire to represent You better in my every action, thought or deed. You are God, and I am Your servant, please grant me the strength to honor and obey Your commands.

True Unconditional Forgiveness

January 25, 2011

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 49-50.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept.18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. Gen 50:16-21 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I find it intriguing to see the sincere and unexpected forgiveness of Joseph towards his brothers, who hated/envied him so much because of the love of their father towards him, that they tried to kill him and almost as bad, sold him as a slave to strangers. But I am reminded of the love of my Savior who, in spite of the sin (hatefulness, wrong doers, murderers, liars, deceivers, lovers of evil, etc. etc.), yet God sent His Son Jesus, to die on a cruel cross, so that we may seek forgiveness of such sins mentioned. In other words, He still showed His love towards us and provided a means for us to overcome these things and still make it to heaven some day. We may think that this is evidence of the love of a father towards his children, and I feel like we are right on target with that belief, but I also know of families today where a father has not spoken to a son for years, because of some wrong doing along the way. In other words, the love of my Savior stands tall, and is way more that our minds could ever imagine. What I do know is, that no matter how deep in sin we are, or how bad we may think we are, we needn’t think that Jesus would never forgive us. God’s Word teaches in John 3:16 that “whosoever believeth in Him” and that includes any and every one that comes boldly before Him and asks His forgiveness and invites Him into their heart or life to rule and reign, that they too will become heirs to the Kingdom of God. Wow, that’s love! That’s true unconditional forgiveness! There is no greater love than that!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

I pray that everyone reading this blog will be prompted in their heart to accept this Savior that I love and cherish, and allow Him to truly and unconditionally forgive you of your sin, so that you may encounter real peace while still alive on this earth, and the assurance that your future is secured in Jesus. He is the answer for you today friend!

He Has Done Great Things!

January 24, 2011

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 48.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

15 Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked— the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day,16 the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm— may he bless these boys. Gen 48:15-16 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Jacob had built such a relationship with God over the years that he now asked the same God who had been with his father and grandfather, and the same God who had walked with and directed his path every day to bless these grand children now kneeling before him. I feel like this prayer would have been such a strong influence on these boys, because it was a very personal prayer in that it was not just asked of the God of that time, but of the God who had been very personal and shown his power in so many ways to Jacob over his lifetime. I believe that it would be so very powerful for us to pray in this way. Not only to go to God asking for this or that, but to stop and remind ourselves of all the miracles wrought by God in our lives and especially concentrating on miracles wrought by God in similar circumstances to that for which we are praying. In other words, as we pray for a sick person, reflect on the healing of someone like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. God’s Word is filled with examples of how He performed numerous miracles. We know of circumstances where Jesus performed miracles in our lives and/or the lives of our loved ones. Let’s once again give God the credit for what He has done, while at the same time building our confidence for the thing that we are about to ask for. Let’s always remember that God has ‘Done Great Things‘ and always will, as we look to Him for our needs in faith.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord, I come before the God that showed Your mighty power to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham, the God who healed the woman with the issue of blood, and the man lowered through the roof into the presence of Jesus, the God who brought Lazarus back to life and Jesus back to life after three days in the grave, the One who accepted me as one of Your children after cleansing me of my sin, the One who promised never to leave me or forsake me. As I come before You this morning I come with what appears impossible requests when looking at them through my human eyes, but after reflecting on the awesome God in whose presence I find myself, I realize that nothing is impossible for You when I place my faith and trust in You. I pray that You will move in a mighty way in my church dear God. The very vehicle that You have instituted to spread the gospel to a lost and dying world, yet we are plagued by the weaknesses of humans. Lord may Your church arise and be holy. May we represent You in every form today. May I and my fellow brothers and sisters be Your church, Your witnesses, Your representatives with all that we come in touch with. Lord may we be loving and kind to each other. May we learn to overlook each others’ weaknesses and instead look for ways to help strengthen those individuals instead of dragging them down. You have done GREAT things, and I believe that You would love nothing more than to continue doing GREAT things through Your church, so that Your will might be accomplished and lifted up before all me, for You have promised in Your Word that You will then draw them to Yourself. Please allow me to be Your representative today in ways that will be fruitful to the kingdom. Thank You for doing great things in my life and the lives of my family.

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

January 22, 2011

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 14.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matt 14:29-31 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

We are children of the King – the King of all kings! The One who is greater than all mankind! The Creator of the universe! Yet too often we let the things of this world worry us. In fact, the worries consume us. This means that we have our eyes more on the problem(s) than we do on our Master – the One who can solve ALL those things that concern us. Peter did exactly the same, he took his eyes off Jesus and allowed himself to worry about the waves around him. At the time he did this I believe that his worry was more on what he (Peter) could do to save himself or calm the waves, but that was not his problem, in fact that was way out of his control. This is the challenge we have, we worry about those things that we have no power to control or solve. We must learn to take our eyes off our inadequacies and instead focus on the power of Jesus, who overcame death and the cross. There’s a hymn that I am reminded of as I focus on this thought this morning, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus“, particularly one line that reads “..and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”. We need this so badly, to take our minds off the worries and instead focus on the Master.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I could only imagine that it must sadden You to see Your children burry themselves in worry and concern, after all that You did to prove Your love to us and after all You did to prove Your power to us. Please forgive me for taking my eyes off You so often. There is no reason for me to look at my inadequacies and shortcomings when my hand rests in the hand of my Savior. Please alert me to my power source when I feel downhearted and overcome by the concerns of this world. With my eyes fixed on You, I should find little time to focus on the ‘waves’ of challenging circumstances and tough situations. I appreciate Your love that You show so frequently for me. Thank You Jesus!

When You Give What You Have.

January 21, 2011

Scripture:
Matthew 14.
  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

17 “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.18 “Bring them here,” he said.19 Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people.20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.
Matt 14:17-20

(NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

This is a lesson of how when we feel like we have so little to offer in our efforts to serve Jesus, if we truly dedicate all that we have to Him with a mind that we truly want to see His work accomplished, Jesus will use our meager gifts and/or talents and do His work, and we will be blessed in return. I am convinced that Jesus could do the work without our two cents worth, but I believe that we see the effects of the work, and are blessed by the work, when we are a part of either praying for it, or giving sacrificially towards the work. Jesus’ disciples were not looking for a handout, because they had already scouted around the crowd and gathered what they had. Although impossible in the view of the disciples, yet they were willing to declare to Jesus that they were willing to give it all. There is such a lesson in this for us today. Give all that we have for the work or good of the kingdom, and watch God use it for His glory. He has blessed us with it all, who are we to selfishly withhold anything from Him?

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

I am reminded today that no matter how small or insignificant my offering of money, talent or physical gifts may appear to me, when I give them wholeheartedly to You Jesus, they can be used by You to accomplish Your work. Please help me to never moan about the little I have, but instead be thankful for it and always willing to give it up to You to use for Your glory. The little that I feel that I have to offer, can become great when used by You. Thank You Jesus for being so involved in my life and for Your assurance in this scripture today that if only I can surrender it all to You, much can be accomplished with it.

Who Are You Representing Today?

January 20, 2011

Scripture: Matthew 14.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

9 Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. Matt 14:9 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

We must be extremely careful what we say under the pressure of a crowd. We must take a stand for what we believe and then act in accordance with that, no matter who may be in our presence. In the excitement of a dance performed by Herodias’s daughter, Herod promised her anything she wanted, and he promised this in the presence of all those around him. He was forced to follow through with her request for the head of John the Baptist. I believe that folk around us will respect us all the more for taking a stand for something they have seen us believe in over time, and not cave in because of the moment or because of who may be in our presence. As we take a stand for Jesus in our everyday lives, we will be faced with decisions that will dictate us responding as Jesus would of, or whether we respond as the crowd wants. Quite often the two decisions can be very different. As followers of Christ we must depend on His power daily to help us be representatives of His in all our decisions, all our actions, all the words that blurt out of our mouths. The lost are paying close attention to determine if they can trust us in representing Christ in ALL that we do and say. Who are you representing today?

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I ask for strength today and everyday to help me represent You well to a lost and dying world. There will be many that cross my path today that will not know You personally. May they see Christ in my actions, through the words that I speak, through my mannerisms and may I be consistent and unwavering in my belief, regardless of whose presence I may be in. May I be a vessel that You can work through today to reach the lost and/or bless Your people.

Meant for Evil by Men, But Blessed of God

January 19, 2011

 

Category    Humility ; Follow Jesus ; Bible Believing ; Faith ; Pleasing to God ; Reflecting Christ

 

Scripture: Genesis 45.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

….. he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.6 This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. 8 So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. Gen 45:4-8 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Christians are often persecuted for their beliefs, and their stand on certain issues for which they have strong Biblical guidance. Like in the case of Joseph, sometimes people become very jealous or envious of us for taking such a stand and often they will react in such a way that we may become hurt and/or despondent. However, like we can see in this familiar story of Joseph, he showed his brothers that he had forgiven them for their actions because he realized, and now they should realize, that God had a purpose in it all. While I believe that we see very evident in the story the purpose why Joseph wound up where he was, I believe that if we look closer at the brothers we will see that God had some serious work to do in them, for they were extremely jealous of the relationship and love their father had for Joseph. Wickedness to the degree that they were willing to kill Joseph, which was mellowed down to leaving him in a hole to die from the elements or attacked by animals, then mellowed down even more to selling him to total strangers. This may all sound very far out, but friends in and of our own wicked selves, we will resort to many actions that may be displeasing to God. Our job is to seek His perfect will for our lives, stay in the center of His will, and allow Him to do His work in and through us. We can keep so busy doing all this that is ‘right’ in God’s eyes that we will have no time to think of schemes and wickedness against our brother or sister. Let’s not be so quick to retaliate against those that, we think, may persecute us. God may be allowing that to correct an issue in their lives and also preparing us for bigger and greater things ahead. Let’s remember, that when we stay in the center of God’s will, we are on the winning side, the victor’s side, God’s side!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord Jesus there is such a challenge in this concept for me, and I believe most Christians, for we are humanly prone to look for ways to retaliate instead of looking for the blessings in all that is being brought on us. Please help me to be more like Joseph and know that a blessing is coming, even if I never see it, but that I will serve You in spite of the circumstances. Growing up I learned a saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words never will” so please help me to stay focused on You, no matter what may be said of me. Please help me to stay so focused on You that my words and actions will automatically reflect Your actions and Your words. Please provide opportunities for me to ‘love my neighbor’ through multiple ways and actions today so that I may share Christ with them. As I do this, I’ll not have time to think of what is being said, by those not as focused, to tear me down.

Wheat or Weeds?

January 18, 2011

Scripture: Genesis 42-44; Matthew 13.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

37 Jesus replied, “The Son of Man
is the farmer who plants the good seed.
38 The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.39 The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world,
and the harvesters are the angels.
40 “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world.41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42 And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! Matt 13:37-43 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

In the words of Jesus we have a very clear understanding of His explanation of acceptable, versus unacceptable behavior or action by the people of this world. We can see very clearly how this behavior is still in place, because although the final judgment will come from God, we each know folk in each of the categories mentioned by Jesus in His above explanation of the parable just shared with His disciples. I believe that the decision is clear, and just as I was reminded, I want to share this with all that might read this devotional: at this point in our lives we have each made a decision. If Jesus should come at this very moment, He would know exactly how to order His angels. Will He usher us into His heaven, or will He have you thrown into the fiery furnace? Fortunately for you as you read this, you still have the very moment you are in to change your destiny by accepting Jesus as Lord. Unfortunately, without such a decision Jesus will have no choice when breath leaves your body here on this earth but to have you thrown into the fiery furnace. Which will it be for you, friend? Won’t you decide right now for the only ‘right’ choice? Accept Jesus and live eternally with Him in Heaven! Please contact me by responding to this blog, if the way to do this is unclear. I would love to share my faith with you!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I thank You for the faith given to me and your help to me in making the right decision many years ago. I pray that Your Word will touch the hearts of anyone that reads this blog today and that they will make a decision to accept You before it is too late. Please work in the lives of those that I hold dear that have still not accepted You as Lord of their lives. May this be the day of decision for them!