May the God of Peace be evident in Us!

Scripture: Genesis 26 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

26 One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander.27 “Why have you come here?” Isaac asked. “You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.”28 They replied, “We can plainly see that the Lord is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let’s make a covenant.29 Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the Lord has blessed you!”30 So Isaac prepared a covenant feast to celebrate the treaty, and they ate and drank together.31 Early the next morning, they each took a solemn oath not to interfere with each other. Then Isaac sent them home again, and they left him in peace. Gen 26:26-31 (NLT)

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

I’m sure that sometimes God must look at us in dismay and say, why are you being such a brat and acting this way, refusing to accept this person in love through faith in Me? After all didn’t I give you what you have to use for my glory, and isn’t this person approaching you with a peaceful intention? So often I’m afraid that we tend to feel like we are especially blessed by God and since our little feelings were hurt, why should we then share our blessings with the same person that forced us into a challenging corner in the first place. This lesson from Isaac shows me that even the same king that kicked him off his property and out of his town, which I’m sure must have created quite a stir for Isaac’s camp, yet Isaac accepted the king with open arms and in peace, agreeing to a treaty proposed by the king. What a lesson to learn here! Hopefully we will be called into a situation where we could make the difference between peace and separation; showing God’s love through our actions, rather than allowing Satan to take credit for the way that we respond to such peace offerings. May this be a year filled with God’s love expressed through us in ways that will shock Satan and his cohorts. May God win the battles though His people and may He receive glory for all that is accomplished in His name!

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

Lord Jesus, there are situations and scenarios in our lives that require Your power in our lives to help us make right and peaceful decisions. I believe that You are the same God today that You were when You helped Isaac overcome the challenging decisions he had to make when approached by the king. I believe that You can, and will honor our call for peaceful resolutions and treaties so that You may be honored and receive glory for the miraculous decisions that we make. Please help me to always think primarily like You would and then depend wholeheartedly on You for power to overcome the forces of this world and Satan. May the victories and/or peaceful resolutions that occur this year through my life, and those for which I may influence through my church, bring You glory and be a visible display of Your power to a lost world.

Be a Godly Example and receive His Blessings

Scripture: Genesis 13

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

14 After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west.15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession.16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.”18 So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to the Lord.  Gen 13:14-18 (NLT)

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

In an earlier chapter we saw where Noah pleased God when he created an altar and gave a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. In turn, he was blessed with a lot more than he thought he would have just coming out of the ark. In this passage we see where Abram was very open in being a peace maker. He was the key leader in this whole journey with Lot, yet when strife broke out, Abram was the one willing to step back and give Lot first preference in whichever land he wanted to settle on with his family, herds and belongings, and Abram settled for whatever was left. Although not specifically said in the passage, it is evident that this peaceful act, this display of family love and devotion, pleased God very much. In fact, so much so, that He met with Abram and showed him everything that would really belong to him. Abram, being the Godly man that he was, settled in and immediately built an altar to the Lord. Today it almost seems to be more important that we strive to be the revenger, the better man, the victor, the winner, to look bigger in the eyes of onlookers or those we try to impress, instead of being the peacemaker like Abram. I don’t believe that it ever hurts to eat ‘humble pie’ and always please God with our actions. This helps us be a much ‘bigger’ person in the eyes of our beholders, as they will realize that it must have been the power of God working in and through us, to face possible condemnation, possible defeat in the eyes of those looking for a fight, but to look and act more like God in what He would do in the same circumstance. In our passage today God has shown yet another example of what it means to represent Him and act in a Christian manner in our everyday lives. As we study His Word we will find more and more ways to look more like Him in all that we do and say instead of jumping in with both feet and doing what self, or the world promotes. Let’s be God-followers, even if it means eating the ‘humble pie’ like Abram did! In all circumstances let us be good examples of God in word and deed.

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

Your Word is filled with examples of how we should act and what it really means to represent You well while blessed to be here on this earth. Thank You for the example of Abram in this passage today. Today we are faced with equally as important decisions and/or challenges. May I not act in haste and respond in a manner outside of Your will or Your character. May I continue to represent You well in the good times, but may I also learn to represent You even more when old Satan rears his ugly head and tries to bring out the worst in me. May the worst in me be cleansed by You and replaced with qualities pleasing to You so that I may respond to life’s circumstances in a Godly fashion. It’s You I live for and You that I desire to please in all that I say or do, but I need Your constant touch on my life. Please continue to teach me Your ways and give me strength each day to be victorious in being Your representative in all things and in all ways.

Dt 11:22: (The Blessings of Obedience) – 22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

What do you want me to do for you?

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Mark 10 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

Mark 10:49-52 ~ When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (NLT)

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

We attend church and expect to see God answer prayer and/or move in our midst because of all that we read in His Word and have heard about Him. In this scripture, Bartimeus was the same way, only I get the impression that he would not have been considered a very religious person that perhaps many of us may consider ourselves, for he was a beggar along the roadside, and because of the reaction of the crowd, he may have made a pest of himself. However, like in the story of the children coming to Jesus, Bartimeus was calling out to Jesus for specific help/healing and in sincere faith. Too often we come to Jesus in such general terms and in such a way that we give the impression that yes it would be nice if Jesus would do this or that, but if not – well, we understand, and we will try again later on. This blind man had a very specific need that he didn’t have to think very hard about when asked by Jesus what He could do for him. In other words, I believe that Bartimeus was there at that time for the specific reason of having Jesus restore his sight, not because he thought that his begging to such a large crowd passing, may be financially beneficial to him. Jesus knows our most intimate thoughts and desires, so we could cut the chase and verbalize to Him specifically what it is that we desire in our hearts. It’s ok to share this with a friend so that they could join us in prayer and share our burden, but it is much more important that we stop, acknowledge Jesus for who He is, share our deepest thoughts with Him and ask Him for help and/or healing in specific terms, and in faith expecting His hand to be outreached to respond in a way that He knows is best for us. Let’s remember, we are His children, and He desires His very best for His kids. We just need to have the faith and ask for it!

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

Wow, what a lesson this is today! A time when it seems like more and more of us attend church out of tradition and because of habit. A time when we come to Jesus in prayer asking in such general terms about our group, our family or our friends. This scripture has reminded me that when I come to pray, I need to come prepared with the very thing that bears on my mind, ask specifically for that need, and ask with such assurance knowing that I am asking the Master of this universe, the Healer of the blind, the restorer of life, the King of all kings, the only one that has the power to respond to my requests. With that kind of faith and assurance, I can come boldly to the cross expecting God to respond in bold and marvelous ways. Thank you Jesus for being my healer, defender, provider and my salvation!

Anything is possible for someone who has faith!

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Mark 9; Mark 10 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

Mark 9:22-24 ~ The demon has often tried to kill him by throwing him into a fire or into water. Please have pity and help us if you can!” Jesus replied, “Why do you say `if you can’? Anything is possible for someone who has faith!” Right away the boy’s father shouted, “I do have faith! Please help me to have even more.”

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

Although a familiar story about Jesus casting out the demon from the little boy brought to Him by his father, yet I found two nuggets that spoke to me:

  1. Jesus’ disciples were unsuccessful in casting out the demon from the little boy, and when they questioned Jesus later about why this may have been the case, Jesus said that “Only prayer can force out that kind of demon”. I believe that too often in these days we see so much being said and done on television and in some of our churches that tend to lean on the abilities of man. I believe that healing comes from God alone, and until we humble ourselves and give God full reign over His people and their circumstances, then anything we do will be powerless. The power of healing comes from God, and in turn the glory of such healing must be given to God. We should never lose sight of that.
  2. Too often we approach God like this father did. We know what we want God to do, but we are filled with so much doubt that God must ask sometime, well why are you here then? I believe that deep inside this dad wanted to have faith, because as soon as Jesus told him about how doubtful he sounded, he shouted out about the faith that was deep indie of him and rightfully so, he asked for even more faith. It is too bad, and really too sad that today we find ourselves in the same position as this dad, we want to have faith, but our relationship with God is so weak that we are really not sure about the whole thing. Knowing the awesome power of our God, and knowing how much He loves us and would bless us in multiple ways beyond anything we could ever ask of Him, we should approach His throne in confidence knowing that God can do it, and having the faith to believe that He will do it. Without this kind of faith, are we coming to Him to just ‘test the waters’?

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

Lord I believe, please help my unbelief. Please help me to be so in tuned with You, Your Word, and Your will for my life that I can come boldly to the cross and seek Your face, knowing that as my father You will answer my prayers in very bold and responsive ways so that You may receive glory from everything accomplished, but also in ways that will best fit Your will for my life, not for the selfish desires for which I may pray. Please direct our paths today as we vote, may Your will be accomplished at the polls so that Your men and women who should have charges over Your people during this time will be elected today. Thank You for being my guide today, for always being my deliverer and friend, my healer and all powerful God to whom I can approach when decisions must be made and when healing is requested.