Choose Life

Wednesday, 2019-07-31

Bible Reference: Deuteronomy 30:19-20
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: 19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long……

OBSERVATION: From a heart of love and deep concern, Moses explained to the Israelites that their decisions and actions from that point forward would direct their future chances of survival, and that of their children. Doesn’t it seem like a very clear-cut, simple decision for the Israelites? I believe that in meditating on this today, our eyes will be opened on how challenging it is for us to make similar decisions.

APPLICATION: For a kid ridding down a path, that you know leads to a dangerous cliff, I believe that you will shout, run after, and call friends to help you stop that kid before it is too late. Agreed? That’s similar to the dilemma that Moses faced. God made it obvious to Moses that He had two choices on how He would handle the multitude of people, whose ancestors started on a 40-year journey with Him towards a Promised Land filled with milk and honey. Each promise came with predetermined results. 1). If they would simply follow the commands that Moses shared with them, and stayed true to the Living God, then they and their future generations would remain under the care and protection of God, who would continue to provide for them. 2). If they chose otherwise, in verses 17-18, Moses was very clear that they would not live a long, good life in the land, and they would be destroyed. However, this provided a choice that the people had to make for themselves. Now if I was to stop right at this point and ask you what should their choice be, I’m sure you would quickly respond that the people should choose life over the serious, dangerous, critical, ludicrous second choice that would lead to certain misery, harm, hurt and certain death. Seeing that Moses pleaded with his people to make the same choice, I would say that your answer was probably the only choice in the matter. HOWEVER, just like many who live all around you, and who sit all around you in church, the Israelites made the same decision as your friends do each time a pastor or teacher gives the invitation to accept Jesus as Lord. Unspoken responses will vary, but they probably sound something like: ‘I need to live my (worldly) life out before tying myself down to Christ only’; or ‘I heard there are beautiful ladies, or handsome men, in the town I am moving to and I must enjoy some time with them first’; or ‘Wow, let me list the fun things I will miss if I make this serious commitment’; etc, etc. Friends, is it not obvious that the Israelites must have had their minds centered on the many pleasures awaiting them in the Promised Land, that they didn’t want to commit until they saw if there was something better, or if there was going to be a need for God? Is it not very similar thoughts that our unsaved friends must ponder when faced with the same choice in our churches? Please allow me to suggest to you that only prayer will break the barriers that Satan presents to his followers, so if you love, and are concerned about a loved one or a friend standing next to you in church, pray, pray, pray. For God has the power to overcome Satan in every battle that he starts! For my unsaved friends reading this devotional today, allow me to plead with you to ‘choose life’ my friend!

PRAYER: Thank You Father for leading me to ‘Choose Life’. I have relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors, blog readers and even church attendees that are faced with this same choice today. Please, oh God, soften their hearts and draw them unto yourself. Please open their eyes to the truth of Your Word and to the love and promises that You offer. Oh that they may accept You as Lord and Savior today is my humble plea. I pray that my Christian readers will take priority in going before God today on behalf of all those in their circle of influence who are headed for Hell, begging with God for their salvation, and that they may ‘Choose Life’. AMEN!

Key Responsibilities for the Christian

Tuesday, 2019-07-30

Bible Reference: Hebrews 12:14-15
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 14 Try to stay out of all quarrels, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for one who is not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.

OBSERVATION: We hear a lot about family divisions, church splits, and of course divorces, but in God’s Word He tells us that we are to stay away from quarrels and always seek to live holy lives before the Lord. Oh, and while aiming for that perfection, make sure that no one in your group wanders away from God’s best blessing, and creates a point of bitterness, envy, distrust, that may therefore cause others to avoid the rich blessings of the Lord.

APPLICATION: In life, we hear a lot about how people look out for themselves – how they earn as much money as they possibly could, so that they could have everything they desire, and go places that others barely think of. This may prove to be a successful path for some, while for others the same path may lead them into selfish attitudes, who may think that they worked so hard, so that they could make it to the top, and they deserve everything that they have, so that they could enjoy travel and the other joys of life that they have dreamed of over the years. Very successful people, you might say, for they set their goals and worked hard to achieve them. I will not try to disagree with how you might feel about your friends that you identified in my description above, but as a Brother in Christ I feel compelled to draw your attention to what the Scripture demands of us individually, in hopes that we will never find ourselves in that ‘selfish’ corner. I believe that God created us to be successful, but first and foremost, I believe that God created us in His own image, so that we might never lose sight of our creator. In fact, I believe that He has built into us a deep desire to obey and imitate Him, and to even worship Him as our Creator. These things will cause us to always remember Him as our Father. When we place ourselves in the position of the created one, the worshiper and the obedient servant, why do you suppose that we would desire anything that displeases our Master and Lord? Friends, this whole devotional can be summed up in short by admonishing you to: Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; worship Him in humility as your Lord; Obey His every command; follow in His footsteps, guided by His Word, so that you may act, look and sound just like Him to a lost and dying world. When you do this my friend, you are bound to avoid the things He avoided, live the way He lived, and desire the ‘good life’ for others around you, just the way that He chose you and called you unto Himself. I love the way that verse 15 admonishes us to feel secure in our relationship with the Lord, and to show proof of our oneness with God by looking out for our neighbor – those around us, just like He did with us. If our neighbors neglect the Lord, or if Satan tempts them in ways that affect their good standing, then we had best look at supporting them and encouraging them, before their negativity, hatred or other hideous actions start to affect us. Furthermore, when that neighbor hurts, we should also hurt and we should be drawn to help them turn their life around. So yes, we must stay in close relationship with God so that we might mirror His goodness here on this earth, BUT we also have a responsibility to look on and help our neighbor as well. I trust that you will make every effort to help your neighbor along this tough road of life, just like God held out His hand and pulled you up from the sin that held you back.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for saving my soul, thank You Lord for making me whole. Thank You Lord for giving to me, thy great salvation so rich and free! Now I beg You Lord, to help my readers and I to not only boast in that oneness with You, but to share that love, and Your salvation, with all those around us – our neighbors. People need the Lord, amen? May they see our Savior so prevalent in our lives that they will want to know Him, accept Him and serve Him the rest of their lives. AMEN!

Whose Side Are You On?

Monday, 2019-07-29

Bible Reference: Luke 11:23
Translation: Good News Translation (GNT)

Bible Text: 23 “Anyone who is not for me is really against me; anyone who does not help me gather is really scattering.

OBSERVATION: In response to the question ‘Whose side are you on?’ most Christians will quickly respond ‘well of course, I’m on God’s side’. But I wonder how the response will change if asked ‘whose side will the world say that you’re on, based on your words and actions?’. Come, meditate on this small verse for a few moments with me today.

APPLICATION: Some will quickly argue that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks, you know what you believe and in whom you have placed your trust. But I want to remind all readers today, that if the world looks on and observes attitudes and outward expressions of a proclaiming Christian and they are made to question whose side we’re on, how much more will God know based on our heart, our desires, our actions behind closed doors, and our actions and words with unsaved friends? I believe that it is important that we remind ourselves that the God of this universe, is One who is everywhere and who knows everything. He is well aware of our thoughts, not just our actions and what might be shared through our lips. In this verse, Jesus reminds us that if we are not with Him in every sense of the word, then we are actually working against Him and scattering the sheep that He is trying to encourage and draw unto Himself. May I suggest that we take this opportunity to consider how badly it turns people off when we call ourselves followers of Christ, yet our lives display worldly actions, and every indication of the unsaved? When the world sees that sort of confusion, they run away from us, and from anything that we associate ourselves with. When that happens, we have scattered the sheep in a different direction than if they were following Christ. I can conclude with another Scripture where Jesus said that He wished that we would be either hot or cold. Meaning that we should be honest with ourselves and with Him, regarding who our Master is. God promised the Israelites a land filled with milk and honey – a Promised Land, if they would be obedient to Him and follow Him. Heaven is our Promised Land for those who are faithful and true to the One they have surrendered their lives to – Jesus Christ. Are you with me friend?

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we have invited You to be our Lord and Savior, but having been left in this world, we are constantly battling the temptations and tugging by the world and all followers of the evil one. Please dear God, give us strength to stand firm in our faith so that the world might see, know and believe on the One True God. We need You desperately Heavenly Father. AMEN!

To Become A Holy People Dedicated To The Lord

Saturday, 2019-07-27

Bible Reference: Deuteronomy 28:9-10
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: He will change you into a holy people dedicated to himself; this he has promised to do if you will only obey him and walk in his ways. 10 All the nations in the world shall see that you belong to the Lord, and they will stand in awe.

OBSERVATION: Listening to the evening news, I believe we will all conclude that Satan has overpowered the world and has taken control of the minds of our people. However, in reading our Bible, God reminds us of what He promised the Israelite people as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. Because God wanted this printed in His Word, I believe He is saying to each one whose country is represented by my readers, that He could do it again! What a glorious thought for us to meditate on today!

APPLICATION: Don’t you feel like our world can’t get much worse in terms of the evil that we hear about through a multitude of criminal activities; the hatred displayed and lived out by many; the prejudices portrayed against people of different races, countries and economic statuses; and the overall disrespect for life itself? I would highly recommend that each reader take time to read the entire chapter linked in the above Scripture, for we can see clearly how God responds to His people when they are obedient to His Word, and to the contrary, when they choose to do their own thing and ignore the instructions of God. Friends, it is clear that God honors His people when they love Him, honor Him, and obey His commands. It is also clear that since He brought us into this world, He could very easily take us out, at His command. In addition to this eye-opening Scripture, I would also refer you to 2 Chronicles 7:14 where we are taught by God that if we humble ourselves, pray, and honor Him, He will heal our land of it’s sin-sickness and set us on a good path. I am so convinced that it is time for Christians to wake up and honor God’s Word, so that He may hear our sincere cry and heal our land. Lord, begin this great work in me – PLEASE, and may this become the prayer of many reading this blog today.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for you many blessings on me! I’m sure that most of your children will easily echo that praise today, for You are so good to us precious Lord! With the eye-opening reminder from Your Word on the reason for our setbacks and our struggles, I pray that You will help us to seek You personally and commit personally to beg for Your work to begin in us. Yes, we can look at all those around us who fail, but let Your work begin in us. For one by one, under the influence of Your power and love, we can become more than conquerors as You heal our land and draw us unto Yourself. AMEN!

To Live Forever In Heaven

Friday, 2019-07-26

Bible Reference: Luke 10:25-28
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 25 Just then a religious scholar stood before Jesus in order to test his doctrines. He posed this question: “Teacher, what requirement must I fulfill if I want to live forever in heaven?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does Moses teach us? What do you read in the Law?”
27 The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’”
28 Jesus said, “That is correct. Now go and do exactly that and you will live.”

OBSERVATION: Some people will try to copy what successful people have done, because they hope that they could also become successful. The religious scholar in our story today knew what the Bible said about what one must do to gain eternal life, but hoping to entrap Jesus he asked Him the question anyway. I wonder if others gain a fair assessment of how they might get to heaven, by following in our footsteps?

APPLICATION: Don’t you find it fascinating to watch a child’s actions, and especially how they tend to imitate an adult that they tend to admire? I believe that each of us have a deep desire for success, and that depends on whether we are looking to improve our stance here on earth, or if we think about what happens after our struggles here on earth. Many believe in God, especially in times of personal crisis, but many tend to not surrender to Him in the prime of life, because they feel there might be something better here on earth. I believe that although this Jewish scholar initially started out to try and trap Jesus, he may have felt like he was challenging Jesus with the question in verse 25, with hopes of reassuring himself that he knew everything possible about securing his eternity. Fortunately, the scholar chose the right person to question, for Jesus not only knew the answers to his questions, but He also knew the details of this man’s life, and what in particular needed attention from God’s point of view. I believe that there are some today who might ask Jesus the same question that the scholar asked, because they want to make sure that they are doing, at minimal, everything to gain favor with God, in case they ever need Him during their earthly travail. Please re-read the above verses again, and notice that Jesus was emphatic about the relationship that the Scholar had with His Lord – Jesus Christ, and with his fellow man. Friends, you may hear about our Lord and Savior, and you may appreciate all the miraculous things He did for mankind when He was bodily upon this earth. Knowing that the Bible also teaches that You can only achieve heaven through Jesus Christ, you may be looking for a set of standards – rules that you can follow, to make sure that you never wind up in Hell after life on earth is over. Notice how God made it as simple as ABC: Accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior – this means that you surrender your self-will and stubborn determination to the simple act of trusting Jesus with every aspect of your life; Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ – that He died (was crucified) and He was buried, yet He arose from the dead so that we might have eternal life in heaven around the throne of God for ever and for ever; and Confess your sins before Him, knowing that He knows everything about you, then acknowledge your sin to Him and ask His forgiveness of your sin. If you are concerned about whether Jesus would ever accept such a sinner as yourself, please read John 3:16, for Jesus assures us that whosoever comes to Him will be saved. He loves us that much dear friends!

PRAYER: Thank You Heavenly Father for loving me enough to accept me, just as I was, and for cleansing me and making me as white as snow in the eyes of our Father. Only a God like You could do such an awesome work in love for even the worst of sinners. Lord Jesus, I beg You today to reach into the hearts of all those that might surrender their heart to You today in response to the Scripture presented, and the humble expression of simple faith shared by the writer. Lord, I lift Your name on high today. Please draw mankind unto Yourself as You promised in Your Word! AMEN!

A Reflection of Oneness

Wednesday, 2019-07-24

Bible Reference: John 17:20-23
Translation: God’s Word Translation (GW)

Bible Text:  20 “I’m not praying only for them. I’m also praying for those who will believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me. I did this so that they are united in the same way we are. 23 I am in them, and you are in me. So they are completely united. In this way the world knows that you have sent me and that you have loved them in the same way you have loved me.

OBSERVATION: The world will look to the church in hopes of seeing Jesus. Will they see enough oneness to know that Jesus abides there, or will they tell from the division and backbiting that Jesus has no place there? Let’s consider how well our church is doing today in the light of the desire of Jesus in the Scripture today.

APPLICATION:  In this chapter Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples and the church at large. In these verses He prayed in all sincerity that those (Christians) who know Him would be in such unity, that the people to whom they speak (the unsaved world), would believe in Him and accept Him as the Savior of the world sent by God the Father. Friends, I often reflect on what the opposite effect must have, and also how that must have an impact on the unsaved as they fight the will of God. That leads me into considering what happens to the ministry of Jesus Christ when children of God can’t agree – when they fight and bicker among themselves so much that the unsaved world wants no part of the confused mess they see occurring in and among churches. Is it any wonder sometime why we stop and ponder why our ministries are ineffective? It seems like even among ‘friendly’ denominations, we go out to minister in Jesus’ name, and wind up putting down another denomination. Oh my, friend, that is not a sign of ‘oneness’. When our job description dictates that we spread the love of God, and our lives reflect the joy of the Lord living inside of us, doesn’t that mean that we should be so busy praising and bragging on our Lord that there will be very little time or desire to find fault with another believer who may not show their Christianity in exactly the same way that we do? In fact, when I reflect on this prayer of Jesus and really gain the breadth and depth of His heart as He prays to His father, I see where He really wants us to reflect the ‘oneness’ that He portrays with His Father. There is no where in scripture that Jesus puts down His Father or speaks evil against Him or disagrees with Him. Instead, it is just the very opposite, for He respects the role of the Father in ultimately making decisions (especially about the second coming of Jesus), and He speaks as one and the same when conveying the truth and love of the gospel. So where do we get off at in being His follower, imitating Him in every way, yet being critical of fellow disciples who are working towards the same goal of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ? This type behavior or ministry will not serve the ultimate wish of Jesus in verse 21 when He prayed that we will go out and minister in such unity that the world (the unsaved) would know that God truly sent the One in whom we believe, and the One we are spreading Good News about. ‘Oneness’ points to us truly representing Jesus, who was sent in the likeness of His Father. Anything else tears down the ministry of Jesus Christ and promotes the intent and heart of Satan. I believe we all know what we should be busy doing today and every day of our life. Let’s get to work – unified in the Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ!

PRAYER: Father, please forgive us for our weakness in allowing so much of this world to indwell us, and interfere in the ministry, that You have assigned to us. As these verses today reflect, You actually prayed for us to be one with You and You are with Your Father. Our lack of success in ministry is a direct result of our disobedience to You and Your Word, and caused by our selfish desire to tear down another while trying to promote our selfish goals. Reading these verses today causes me to seriously consider keeping these pinned in an obvious place for daily inflection, and as a guide towards my daily goal. Lord, I need Your power to overcome the desire to tear another down in order to promote self. May I ask that You grant me strength to overcome this weakness, but also to touch the heart of Your followers today and embed a deep desire within them to also do the same. Please strengthen and guide us towards ‘Oneness’ – the kind that You exampled before us in being ‘One’ with the Father. I ask this knowing that Your desire is that through our ‘Oneness’ the world will know that You were sent by the Father to save them. May this be accomplished today in and through your earthly representatives, for this is my pray that I ask in the name of Jesus, AMEN!

Amazed By The Healing and Power of God!

Tuesday, 2019-07-23

Bible Reference: Luke 9:43
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 43 The crowd began cheering and discussing this amazing healing and the power of God….

OBSERVATION: Jesus had just healed the demonic filled son. at the request of his dad. All the people around Jesus that saw this shouted cheers of joy and amazement as they marveled over the power of God. Does that sound like the ending of your church service each Sunday morning? I believe that the excitement of seeing Jesus at work in the lives of our fellow worshipers will cause us to leave our services rejoicing and filled with hope that we could be next! Let’s meditate on why this may not happen often enough for us!

APPLICATION: I once had a discouraged pastor share with me about a parishioner who got on to him because he was allowing too much sharing time by members at our weekly prayer meeting. For the accuser felt like the pastor was being paid to teach and preach at the Wednesday night service, so in his opinion, he should do so. Unfortunately we may hear very complaints if we allowed something similar at our Sunday services. I wonder if we have become so used to the idea of being entertained at home, at the movies, and almost anywhere else we go, that it actually creates animosity when we are not entertained in the same way at church. Think with me for a moment about attending church each weekend and you are entertained by good singing and preaching, but back at home you sit back and wonder: was anyone in the congregation touched by God? Think about the fact that you were really hoping that you would have been encouraged in some way about the possibility of knowing that God was at work in at least a few fellow worshipers. Imagine how exciting it would be to end a church service in a time of celebration of how God miraculously healed a friend right next to you, and how a church member felt relieved from the burden they were carrying when they entered the service. Do you suppose that you would be more led to believe that our God is alive and well, and that there is great hope in knowing that He could also touch your life, heal your diseases, lead, direct and uphold you through every walk of life? Friends, our God has not changed. He’s still God and He is able to still do all that He promised in His Word. Won’t you consider drawing nigh to Him and allow Him to draw nigh to you? He loves you beyond anything you could imagine!

PRAYER: Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all thy hands have made… and all You have done for me, I can’t help but worship You and adore You for who You are. Thank You for the reminder in today’s Scripture that You are still in the healing business and Your wondrous works are beyond my comprehension. But more than anything, I know that You have not changed, and the same power I read about in Your Word is still available to us who believe today. Oh that we may worship You and honor Your holy name Oh Lord. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, for thine is the kingdom and the glory, for ever and forever. AMEN!

Your Rescuer

Saturday, 2019-07-20

Bible Reference: Deuteronomy 20:1
Translation: Good News Translation (GNT)

Bible Text: “When you go out to fight against your enemies and you see chariots and horses and an army that outnumbers yours, do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who rescued you from Egypt, will be with you.

OBSERVATION: The words in our focal verse today were spoken to the Israelites. However I don’t believe for a minute that God placed these words in His Book just for us to read an interesting story about our ancestors. No, I believe that God intended for us to have our eyes opened, and our minds re-energized to remember these words when we face our giants, our overwhelming circumstances, and to not be afraid when we appear as the underdogs in situations that appear much larger than anything we could tackle alone.

APPLICATION: If you are old enough to be reading this devotional, then I’m sure that you have encountered situations where you may have looked up and said to God ‘Where do I go from here?’, for you may have exhausted all of your efforts, all of your finances, your whole wishing well, and you had no idea where to turn to next in dealing with some situation that burdened your heart. If you have not been burdened in that way, I’m sure that you must have family or friends that you felt very sorry for, because they faced those challenges. Our country faces military challenges on a regular bases, much like the Israelites faced, but our personal battles might be quite different. A family losing a young daughter to cancer, and we can’t find the words to encourage that family, or advice for the doctors who have exhausted all efforts and knowledge that they have studied many years for. A husband, whose wife went to work yesterday to help soften the financial burden on their family, but she never returned home because some young man decided to use his gun on this fine lady and her coworkers. Then there’s plane crashes, murder, robbery, theft, automobile accidents and so much more, for which we might easily feel like the Israelites – helpless, especially in circumstances that seem monumental compared to anything we have dealt with previously. So what do we do? We may have heard that God can do all things, or that nothing is impossible with God, or that He has the whole world in His hands, but how might I apply that to the impossible situations at hand? Friends, it is always reassuring to read God’s Word and to be reminded that the same God that fought the many battles for the Israelites getting away from Pharaoh; who provided water, food and protection for a crowd of over 2 million Israelites as they walked through the wilderness; who raised Lazarus from the dead; who fed over 5,000 hungry people with just 5 loaves and 2 fishes; who walked on water; who arose from the grave and lives as Lord and Savior for all who have accepted Him – this is the One that we can look to with our small and big issues of life, Praise The Lord! Yes He did all of these things just mentioned, and a whole lot more, and I’m here to remind us that He could do it again – plus a whole lot more! So be assured of the One who stands ready to adopt you into His kingdom. In knowing Him, you will quickly learn to lean on Him and allow our awesome God to direct your path and provide for you in accordance with His perfect will. That my friend, is so reassuring and filled with hope, that our challenges become opportunities for us to place our needs before God knowing that He could do all things!

PRAYER: Lord, You created this world, and all mankind that were placed on this earth. Having been reminded of what You did for the Israelites, we have been reassured of what You could also do for us. So many things seem so impossible to us, for which we need Your touch and comfort today. We need our faith to be re-energized so that we might learn to trust on You for all things. Thank You Father for being patient with us while we learn to trust You more. AMEN!

Here’s What It Takes

Friday, 2019-07-19

Bible Reference: Luke 9:23
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 23 Jesus continued to say to all of them, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you every day for following me.

OBSERVATION: I have heard that to become a good military officer, you must be willing to give up everything, for military leaders consider you their subject while under their leadership. From the outside looking in, think about how you identify military guys and gals when they enter your town and a restaurant where you are having a meal. I believe that God wants us to walk into a business and recognize His followers in much the same way. Let us be reminded of what God requires of us.

APPLICATION: I’m not sure what the initiation stages of the military is in each of your respective countries, but I’m sure that the orientation is probably very similar. For young men and women are having to be taught the differences between selfish desires, wants and wishes, to one that is dictated by the leadership of their country. To do this you will find very regimented military leaders who will impress upon you the differences between the two wills. So compare that to what God is commanding in our focal verses today. If you say with your mouth that you are a follower of Christ, but you continue to do your own thing, whenever you want, and wherever you feel like doing it, will that display God’s leadership in your life, or will that truly convey that you are still fighting to be your own boss, making the same mistakes and committing the same old sin? We are considered a very privileged people, when we try to imagine that a pure and holy God would adopt us into His family, if we seek His face and commit ourselves to His Lordship. Do we become perfect at that stage? Not while we are here on this earth, beaten on every side by Satan and his evil followers. However, in His Word, God promises that one day we will unite with Him in glory, where we will bow at His feet and worship our perfect King, in a holy and righteous place called heaven, forever and forever! So with that in mind, can we commit, or perhaps recommit today that we will serve only our God, regardless of the distractions of Satan, so that it will become very obvious to anyone around us, that we are Christ’s followers? For those who are already followers of Christ, please stay true to your Leader, and indoctrinate yourself with His Word, so that you may follow His ways, obey His commands, and become more like Him in every way, every day!

PRAYER: Lord, You are, more precious than silver…… and nothing I desire compares with You! So Lord please shower Your blessings on my readers and I today so that we may become more like You in every way. People need the Lord, and unless they see Jesus in every fiber of our beings, they may always doubt if anything good could ever come to us. You are good oh Lord, and I would ask that our circle of influence will see You and Your goodness in everything that we do or say. It’s You oh Lord that the world needs today, please use us in Your service to help others find You and accept You as Lord. AMEN!

Our Part In Preparing For Our Blessing

Thursday, 2019-07-18

Bible Reference: Ezekiel 11:18–21
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text:  18 ….. I want you to clear the land of all disgusting idols. 19 Then I will take away your stubbornness and make you eager to be completely faithful to me. You will want to obey me 20 and all my laws and teachings. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 21 But those who worship idols will be punished and get what they deserve. I, the LORD God, have spoken.

OBSERVATION: Our Youth & Families Pastor recently challenged 28 youth to leave their devices at home so that they might truly seek God’s face in very primitive living conditions at a camp, while they worked hard to help the poor in that community. Do you suppose that this gave our youth some uninterrupted time with God? You may quickly respond that you don’t have that problem. May I suggest that you sign up for the next trip with our Pastor? I wonder if this would help us on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings and evenings? Read on as we meditate on this Scripture!

APPLICATION:  I have a relative who surrendered his heart to the Lord, and immediately went home and broke up his music records and tapes, and burnt up all of his cigarettes that he had on hand. He felt like these were ‘idols’ that would tempt him back into sin. In our scripture today, there are many Israelites that were scattered away from their home country and God told Ezekiel that He would bless them when they returned, provided that they first clear the land of the idols. This made me think about the idols that may be interfering with our blessing today. I know, we don’t have the huge idols that some people go up to and worship, as if they have power to help them overcome some issue they might be going through. But friends, these chosen verses today really spell out what types of idols may be applicable to us today, for God actually explains to Ezekiel what He will do to actually bring the people more in line with himself. Here are some of the things, with a few ideas from me:
—-Take away stubbornness – Isn’t this brought on by us wanting our own way? Wanting our own will, instead of totally surrendering to the will of a righteous and holy God?
—-Eager to be completely faithful to God – I wonder what all God would need to de-clutter from our lives so that we might be completely faithful to Him? How about things like: televisions; phones; tablets; cars; boats; finances; shopping; etc? Friends, when you stop and think real good about it, God (and the things that tend to draw us closer to God) often takes second place to many other things in our lives, some of which I just gave you as an example.
Isn’t it unfortunate that God really only moves into first place on our priority list, when a need arises that we can’t solve via Google, or that our TV shows really haven’t addressed yet? I realize that all of this probably don’t apply to all of my precious readers, but may I ask you anyway to consider the following: First thing each morning, do you reach for your Bible, or some idol (device)? After getting your cup of coffee or tea, do you stop and get energized for the day mentally through the Word of God, or do you depend on what you are fed from your idol (TV; Mobile Device; Newspaper; etc)? In spite of God’s Word declaring that we should assemble ourselves together for worship and fellowship on our Sabbath, which of your idols tend to interfere with that? God said that He would really bless when we get rid of our ‘idols’. May I encourage you to take a missions trip to a third world country where many of these idols are not readily available and see how this might feel? It’s amazing how we easily find uninterrupted quiet time with the Lord! It can be done friends! Are you ready for your blessing?

PRAYER: Father, You have blessed us beyond measure and I thank You. It is so unfortunate that we are now idolizing the very things that You have blessed us with, and often to the extent that we are excluding You, or at least distracted from all that You have to share with us. Please open our eyes to all that we have allowed ourselves to become, and please help us to become more in love with the One who sacrificed His very own Son so that we might have a way into heaven. Lord, be glorified in us today. Help us to place aside our ‘idols’ for very specialized and personalized time with You. I ask this humbly in the Name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, AMEN!