Our Lives – Reflective of Christ or……

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Titus 3

OBSERVATION

  1. Titus 3:1-2 ~ Remind your people to obey the rulers and authorities and not to be rebellious. They must always be ready to do something helpful and not say cruel things or argue. They should be gentle and kind to everyone.

APPLICATION

  1. Just as God the Father sent Christ into this world to minister, He also sends believers to be ministers in this world. Christ lived here and represented the Father well, in spite of all the sin that went on at the time. We too are told to be respectful and obey our rulers, to always be ready to do something helpful and say kind things. We are to be gentle and kind to everyone. In fact, by our fruit (our actions, our words and our demeanor) they shall know us. Verse 3 goes on to say that anything else from us would reflect our old stubborn, stupid lives that were slaves to all sorts of desires and pleasures. I would say that these are good indicators of how well we are doing in our Christian walk. We should take heed of the desires of our heart in today’s scenarios and be persistent in prayer asking God to help us do/say those things that would uplift Him and not destroy our witness for Him.

PRAYER

  1. Father, when we are not constant in prayer and Bible study, we are apt to follow worldly indicators. You have sent me to minister in Your name. Please help me to be obedient to those in authority over me, and to always be ready to do something helpful without ever saying anything cruel or being argumentative. Please help me to be gentle and kind to everyone with a spirit reflective of You in every way. You are my guide, and I want to follow You as my constant, accurate and only guide each and every day. You are the plumb-line that gives me proper direction in being the kind of minister You desire among Your people.

Your Reward – Blessings or…

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 3

OBSERVATION

  1. Isaiah 3:10 ~
    Tell those who obey God, “You’re very fortunate — you will be rewarded for what you have done.”

  2. Isaiah 3:11 ~ Tell those who disobey, “You’re in big trouble — what you did to others will come back to you.”

APPLICATION

  1. Isaiah the prophet had some encouraging words here for those who obey God. First of all he said that we are very fortunate, or blessed in obeying God’s commands. We are blessed in being provided God’s Word to guide us through this life. Just as God gave His Son Jesus so that we may have life eternal, He has also provided His Word, the Bible, to guide us through all of life challenges and daily situations. God then uses Isaiah to tell us here in this verse that we will be rewarded for all that we do in obeying Him. This makes it all worthwhile, as this helps me to understand that God is not only there seeing when I fail or falter, but also watching and helping me to succeed in following His commands and His will.
  2. I believe it is evident in this verse that we are either a person that obey or disobey God’s commands. In verse 10 we were given the outcome for those that obey. For those that disobey, God warns that they are in ‘Big Trouble’ and they will also receive their payment or penalty, they will have a payback for all that they did to others. I see this as a warning to those that disobey God and treat their brother, or their neighbor, or church member, or coworker in a way that displeases God. They will one day receive back the same treatment that they did to others.

PRAYER

  1. Thank You for being a God of love and for being there for me, not only through my failures or boo-boos but in the areas of my life where I may succeed. I have so much incentive to continue doing Your will: My love for You as my Savior and Lord; My appreciation for the wonderful sacrifice that You made for me so that I may have everlasting life; and especially on the day that I will see You face-to-face to hear You say ‘welcome my child, well done good and faithful servant’. I know that You will probably have lots more in store for me, but that is all the reward I could possibly want or expect. Thank You Father for Your everlasting love!
  2. Father, You have shown me in one verse here what I can expect if I obey You, but yet You have warned me of the outcome of disobeying you. My desire is to obey You and serve You each and every day of my life. Please be my constant reminder when I am tempted to do otherwise. Please give me the strength each day to draw closer to You and to do Your perfect will until the day that You call me home to be with You. I am reminded of the chorus: “Jesus draw me close, closer Lord to You, Let the world around me fade away, Jesus draw me close, closer Lord to You, for I desire to worship and obey”

Guidance to get us out of Trouble

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 3

OBSERVATION

Isaiah 3:8-9 ~ … you rebelled against your glorious LORD– your words and your actions, made you stumble and fall. The look on your faces shows that you are sinful as Sodom, and you don’t try to hide it. You are in for trouble, and you have brought it all on yourselves.

APPLICATION

  1. If I hadn’t read the whole passage, I would have thought that this passage was addressed to the church of today. However the thing that I am reminded of is that God has placed this passage in His Word so that it may speak to His people reading His Word at any time, especially today. So as I read this I was specifically challenged with the thought that I, my family, my Christian friends and my church, must be cautious about following God’s Word so that we may not stumble and fall. God has a warning for us and this is in spite of us being given His guide book to direct us and show us the way.

PRAYER

  1. Lord, may I be smart enough to follow Your instructions and do Your will in everything that I attempt. Thank You for providing your guidebook for me and giving me the understanding to follow Your instructions. Please give me the boldness and wisdom to follow Your will each and every day so that I may avoid the ‘trouble’ that You speak of in this verse. Please help me to be proactive in studying Your Word daily so that I may be well equipped with Your instruction and therefore avoid bringing trouble on myself. May I be an influence to others as I accomplish Your will, is my sincere prayer today.

What it takes for Pure Worship

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1:21-25

OBSERVATION

Isaiah 1:24-25 ~ I am the LORD All-Powerful, the mighty ruler of Israel, and I make you a promise: You are now my enemy, and I will show my anger by taking revenge on you. I will punish you terribly and burn away everything that makes you unfit to worship me.

APPLICATION

I wonder if God’s anger has been provoked by our country, our churches or even us as individuals, to the extent that He is ready to show His revenge, like He told the rulers of Israel in these verses? It seems like we have done an awful job at following God’s commands and truly being a church that He could use for His glory to do His will in a lost world. I know that we have done nothing to be proud of, so God has every reason to show His anger in order to awake us out of the self denial, lackadaisical attitude that we have permitted ourselves to fall into. I’m reminded of us simply standing by and watching a building burn while making no effort to extinguish the flame, although we have hoses in our hands filled with water. So it is in the spiritual world, we stand by and watch a world die and go to Hell while having the truth about how our sacrificial Lamb, our Savior, having the keys to the glorious kingdom of heaven and could save those destined for Hell. Oh that we may have surrendered lives and allow God to work through us to save the lost.

PRAYER

Father, You have warned us in Your Word that no one knows the time that Christ will return to take His bride, the church, away. Please help us to treat with urgency the awesome job of sharing Your grace and Your love with those around us that still need to know You as Lord. Please help us to live our lives so pure before You that You could inhabit our lives and work through us to reach the unsaved and speak very soberly to the uncommitted and unconcerned Christians. You sacrificed so much for me, please help me to sacrifice self pride and personal will so that I may be usable by You today.

The Invitation

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1:17-20

OBSERVATION

  1. Isaiah 1:18-20 ~
    I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool. If you willingly obey me, the best crops in the land will be yours. But if you turn against me, your enemies will kill you. I, the LORD, have spoken.

APPLICATION

  1. Just as Jesus gave the invitation to Israel as relayed to us in these verses, His Word explains to us throughout its pages that as we become obedient and totally surrender our lives to Him, then we will have that ‘new’ life that only He can offer, a life that will be filled with joy, peace, contentment and love, filled with confidence of life eternal with Jesus. The alternative is a life filled with despair, heartaches and a great absence of hope. Nothing to look forward to. A life destined for total destruction and Hell itself. The alternative is our worst nightmare. Praise God that He loves us so much that He invites us to join His royal family and become sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords! That’s the Jesus that I have accepted and that I love, adore and marvel over each and every day! I have a hope that helps me make it through each day and look forward to the next. I want so badly for each of my family, friends and loved ones to have that same hope, to have that assurance that on the day that Christ calls us home, that we can together look forward to the time with our Lord and Savior and not a life of Hell and damnation. Thank God for that hope in Him!

PRAYER

  1. Father I praise You for sending Your Son so that I may have the hope expressed in the above application. I have been reminded again from these verses observed, that the alternative to accepting You is not good. Please tender the hearts of each family member that have not surrendered their life totally over to You and therefore have no hope of You in their life each day here on this earth, nor any hope for eternal life with You. Please help me to share Your love and Your Word in meaningful ways to them so that they may catch a glimpse of You. Please tender their hearts and convince them of their sin even today.

Live Right

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1:6-16

OBSERVATION

  1. Isaiah 1:16 ~ Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need.

APPLICATION

  1. It is evident that God was very angry at Israel. Are we any different today? God has provided His Word so that it might be a light unto our path, He sacrificed His only Son that we may have life eternal, yet we continue on in sin, we ignore Him, and we crucify Him through our deeds and actions. We are far away from being ‘little Christ’s’ or imitators of Him. As God told Israel, I believe that He is telling us today – we must stop doing wrong and learn to live right. We must defend our widows and orphans and help those in need, as God has instructed us to do.

PRAYER

  1. Father, I am guilty, guilty, guilty, for I allow everything else in this world to take priority over serving the widows, orphans and less fortunate. In today’s society there is no shortage of folk that are in need. Please help me to follow Your commands and busy myself with the opportunities at hand. These folk are looking for Christ in our world. If I am to represent You well dear Lord, please help me to be the example of Christ to these folk. Hopefully as they see You exampled in practical and needy ways, they may realize how alive You truly are and how they need You in every aspect of their lives.

Cause and Effect, Yet the Power of Freedom

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 1

OBSERVATION

Isaiah 1:5 ~ Why be punished more? Why not give up your sin? Your head is badly bruised, and you are weak all over.

APPLICATION

It is evident from this verse that God disciplines those that sin against Him. Here on this earth, it is difficult for my neighbor to be punished without me feeling the effects. Therefore I believe there are times that we all suffer from the sins of those around us, whether it be our neighbor, our fellow church member or even our country. We often hear it asked: Why are we being treated this way? Why is God punishing us? Or even, How long, how long will You punish us oh Lord? The answer is evident in this verse, we are being punished because of our sin, because of our unrighteousness before a just, holy and righteous God. Cleanse ourselves of the cause, and the effects become understandable and bearable, without blaming the Almighty, who is only trying to get our stubborn attention.

PRAYER

Father I am almost ashamed to come before You knowing that You are such a righteous and holy God, but because of Your love for Your created ones and especially for those that have accepted Your plan of salvation, You have demanded that we cleanse ourselves before You and seek forgiveness. I feel like we are suffering as a family, as a church, as a city, as a state and even as a nation because of our sin and disregard for You and Your principles. Please forgive me of my shortcomings, my church for it has become ineffective in our community, my state because it has dabbled so much in the things promoted by Satan that it is far from right in Your eyes, and of course my nation as it has promoted every other religion or belief while making every effort to silent Your Word, Your people and any credit attributable to You for whatever You may do among us. As one leader once said, we are a ‘sorry’ people. Please help us to regain our vision for serving You in those ways that You desire and demand of us, so that Your will may be done and that we may see a turning away from sin and instead, a massive move towards reaching the lost for You. As we approach a weekend of celebrating our national freedoms, may we not lose sight of the freedom that we possess in having a loving Savior to turn to each and every day, for each and every situation. I am Your child dear Jesus, please help me to act like a child of the King and show love and compassion in all that I do and say.

Found Faithful

SCRIPTURE

Studied: 2 Timothy 4

OBSERVATION

  1. 2 Timothy 4:7 ~ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

APPLICATION

  1. Paul recognized and acknowledged that he felt his life was coming to an end, however he had no regrets for he felt like he had kept the faith and pleased God well during his time here on earth. No matter what we may, or may not accomplish here on this earth, we must remember that only what’s done for Jesus will last. For the times that we have helped a brother, or been there for a sister in trouble, or encouraged a teen who was looking for something substantial to hang on to and we may have encouraged her towards a decision for the Lord, these things would have had an impact that touched the heart of God and for which He will proudly say, “well done you good and faithful servant”. For me, this is what life is about. This is what success is all about. This is what God will look at when I stand before Him. Therefore this is what matters in the end.

PRAYER

  1. Lord, may I be found faithful to You to the end. May I find strength, guidance and fortitude to endure while here on this earth as I endeavor to do Your will and follow Your ways.

Make us strong, so that we may do Your work

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Psalm 80; 2 Timothy 4

OBSERVATION

  1. Psalm 80:19 ~ LORD God All-Powerful, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.
  2. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 ~ with God and Christ as witnesses, I command you 2to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient.

APPLICATION

  1. There are times in the life of believers that we may feel like we and/or the church is ineffective in our ministry for the Lord. These days, it would appear like the church is totally that way, as folk refuse to attend church because there are so many other things that pull them away. It is interesting to note the words chosen by David in this verse. First of all, he recognizes that he is talking/praying to the Lord God who is All-Powerful, for He is the maker and ruler of everything and because of that strength recognized in Jesus Christ, David asks that He make him and his people strong again. After all, when we are not feeling quite so strong, we would never go to the ‘weak’ for strength. David asked that God would smile on them and save them. In other words, please do us a favor and listen to our plea for help and save us from whatever we feel in bondage over or restricted by. Old Satan is busy these days, and he is extremely busy at work in the lives of ‘Christians’ and the life of God’s church. We must learn to be constant in prayer before the One that has all power, the only One that could save us from deteriorating any more in our witness for Christ.
  2. Often when we look to the grand stands and see those that are rooting for us, we gain strength and boldness to really pull from deep within to achieve the goal. This is the image I see Paul portraying to Timothy in these two verses. Hey God and Christ is there rooting for you, so be bold and preach the gospel message. While I may not be a preacher, I am one who has a message to share with others. Sharing that message knowing that God and Christ are there rooting for me the whole way, gives me strength for those times that I feel so weary and like I just can’t take my only open evening to visit the sick or shut-ins, or possibly a prospect that visited church this past Sunday, or perhaps the boldness to visit that friend that I’ve been praying for a long time would accept Jesus and attend church. Christ went to the cross in spite of how He may have felt – remember from the Word He pleaded that the Father would take away that cup, but yet He went to the cross anyway because of me. Why then would I look at excuses when it comes to doing something for Him?

PRAYER

  1. We are so easily led astray and pointed away from the only true and living God who has given us life itself, and who has brought us through so many battles in this life, yet we take our eyes off Him and allow Satan to have his way in too many areas of our life. Father, please forgive us, in fact please forgive me. Help me to stay focused on the cross – the empty cross, knowing that You sacrificed Your Son so that I may have life eternal with You. Please make me strong again as Your child, Your witness, Your representative in a world that often will not even recognize You because of how far they have allowed Satan to take them. Please smile on me, and all Christians willing to carry Your cross and follow You daily, and save us from the evil one, and all the things of this world that tend to cause us to stray. To be a better witness for You, I must be more like You in my daily walk and in my daily talk. Please grant me the strength and boldness to do just that each and every day, especially this day!
  2. Please smile on us and save us dear Lord. Save us from further deterioration in our walk for You, and instead remind us that You are always there for us, cheering us on as we strive to walk and witness for You. Please help us to never be ashamed of the gospel and always willing to speak up for You so that others may also come to know You as Lord. I am reminded again about the wonderful Lord that I know and serve! Sharing this good news with others should be easy, because You have blessed me in so many ways, especially with You rooting for me the whole way!

Punishment for those who disobey God.

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Amos 2

OBSERVATION

  1. Amos 2:4 ~ The LORD said: I will punish Judah for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They have rejected my teachings and refused to obey me. They were led astray by the same false gods their ancestors worshiped.

APPLICATION

  1. As a nation we have truly rejected God’s teachings and refused to obey Him in so many ways. Abortion, treating His day of rest like any other day, serving/worshipping other gods rather than Him – and while some may quickly think that they are not worshipping any golden images or other gods like that, I must remind myself that anytime we put God in second place when it comes to assembling ourselves to worship the one true God, then we have idolized that thing or person above God. God made us in His own image, and since we were so incapable of keeping His laws and following His commands, He then went a step further and provided His only Son as a sacrifice that we may have eternal life with Him. After doing all this for us, should we dare question why He would become upset when we reject His teachings and refuse to obey Him? Just like He punished Judah, I’m sure that He is punishing the USA for all that He sees going on with His people (church folk) and even more so with others that He created and now to hear them say that they are atheist, or that they are not pleased with the gender that they were created? Oh my, this is mockery in the face of the Almighty God that created us.

PRAYER

  1. Please have mercy on us oh Lord God. Thank You for reminding me day after day about Your love for me and how You carefully watch over me each and every day. Thank You for loving me so much that You gave it all so that I could be prepared to meet You in glory whenever You see fit to call me home. “Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, because He first loved me”! “There is strength in the name of the Lord, There is power in the name of the Lord, there is hope in the name of the Lord, Blessed is he who comes, in the name of the Lord”. Let us turn to Jesus for all that we may feel inadequate in handling on our own. Speak to Him as a brother or friend, for the Word says that He will stick closer to us than a brother, and He will hear our prayer.