God is still God!

SCRIPTURE Studied: Genesis 12

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants. ” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.8 After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord.9 Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev. 10 At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. Gen 12:7-10 (NLT)

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

At the beginning of this chapter it is so amazing to see God at work in Abram’s life, and also Abram being so obedient to leave his hometown and all the people that he knew, to move to a foreign land far away. In these verses, it is also interesting to note that during Abram’s journey everything was not rosy, no, everything did not go without a hitch and/or challenges. In fact, while passing through Canaan there was a great famine that hit the area. Now in a perfect world, most of us would say that if this was a journey destined by God, led and directed by Him, then why would there be obstacles. Friends this is the same way it is today. Just because we surrender our hearts to the Lord, we are not exempted from all the trials and tribulations of this world – at least as long as we live in this world! Often challenges will come our way – the question, or challenge for us is to determine is, which way will we go? A life totally surrendered to God will always do like Abram did, we will wait for further instructions, while during the interim challenge, looking to God for direction and depending on Him for strength to overcome. I believe that often our faith is determined by how we handle trials, not just on how well we do during the times of blessings and riches. God is still God during the highs, and during the lows of our lives. We must insure that our faith holds strong daily, because we don’t know what may be in store for us each day. Let’s think in terms of a partnership, we don’t jump ship on our partner on a day when things are rough, nor do we when our partnership celebrates its highs. A true partnership stays in tact during both good and bad times. So should our relationship with God. What are you facing today? Trust only in God and never lean on your own understanding, for only He knows what lies ahead for us. I love the words of that gospel song “God of the Mountain”, listen to it and be blessed as you reflect on the words of this Bible passage.

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

Like in the case of Abram, You bless me beyond measure each day oh God, and this morning I want to say thank You with all of my heart. Please forgive me when I worry about the challenges I see in life from the small perspective of my personal abilities. Please help me to stay so focused on You that I will always look through Your eyes and therefore face life’s challenges with the benefit of Your unlimited power and Your everlasting love for me. I believe that as I place my faith totally in You, I will always receive Your protection and You will bring me through life’s challenges in ways that will bring You glory. I know that this may not always come in the way that I may personally desire, but Lord I pray that You will help me to hide behind the cross and allow Your glory to shine through in all that I do or say. Self is insignificant in the whole scheme of things, for only those things that are done for Christ will last. May Your love shine through in all that is done in Your name this Christmas time! Thank You for sending Your Son as a babe, so that we may ultimately be re-born into life with You, and accepted into Your kingdom!

Make God First in Your Life, then……

SCRIPTURE Studied: Matthew 4

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too.22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind. Matt 4:18-22 (NLT)

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

While this seems like a miraculous thing for Jesus to call these men from what they were doing, and especially for them to leave their secular jobs and follow Him, I believe that this also occurs today. We were created by God, and while our flesh strives to live in and enjoy the pleasures of this world, I believe that our inward soul longs to be with Jesus and live a life pleasing to Him while here on this earth. Unfortunately I believe that the latter is not possible until we accept that deep longing to accept Jesus as Lord of our life. We can always stop and think of what life could be like if we weren’t so stuck on pleasing others. It is so unfortunate that we try so hard to please our peers, our family, our friends, our co-workers, our boss, our pastor and then with whatever is left in us we try to please God. Friend why not try and do this in reverse order – surrender your heart to God, give Him 100% of your effort to please Him and follow His commands, then watch how easy it will be to see others accept you for who you are. A life surrendered to, committed to and following the commands of Jesus will result in a happy, satisfied, fulfilled life with a purpose and a goal oriented mindset that will be fixed on Jesus Christ. Oh that we will do just that this Christmas season – a time on our calendar that we dedicate to the One whose birthday is the whole purpose of Christmas.

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

Father, I rededicated myself anew to You this Christmas. I pray that You will direct me each and every day, especially during this busy time on my calendar. I pray that You will help me place my life in perspective – You first, and all else to follow as You direct. May I be deep into Your Word daily so that I may learn of and subsequently follow the plan You have designed for my life. May I be an influence to others, especially those that have not yet accepted You as Lord of their lives. Like Peter, Andrew, James and John, may I be obedient to Your call on my life and serve You willingly every day. Please touch the lives of all readers today that they too may first of all accept You as Lord, then submit their lives totally to You and Your service. You gave Your very best that very first ‘Christmas’, may we in turn give our very best to You this Christmas.

Our Sword in Spiritual Combat!

SCRIPTURE Studied: Matthew 4

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Matt 4:3-4 (NLT)

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

If I was a carpenter, it would be important that I know carpentry so that I could use that knowledge to perform the best work possible for my clients. Being a banker would require that you know all the many banking regulations so that you stay within the guidelines of the law. Being the Son of God, it was important that Jesus not only knew the Scripture but also practiced, and obeyed it. As followers of Christ, it is important that we also know the Scripture and obey it. In fact, Ephesians 6:17 says that God’s Word is a sword to use in spiritual combat. Anytime we are challenged in our faith, tempted to do something we are not comfortable with because we know that it doesn’t line up with our spiritual upbringing or understanding, then we are in spiritual combat. I would dare say that for most Christians, especially those who are out in the working world, that we face spiritual combat each and every day. Here we are taught how to defend ourselves! Most of us will probably attest to the fact that we are poor at memorizing Scripture. I believe that as we do our part and stay in the Word daily, much like the carpenter or banker would have to do to stay on op of their regulations/trades, then we will gain the confidence and familiarity with our textbook to protect us in spiritual combat. Jesus did it, and as His follower I must also do it, God being my helper!

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

Lord Jesus, You have shown us in Your Word that Your Word is very powerful, not only as a guide for our everyday journey, but also a sword that we can and should use in our everyday challenges that we face in this world against Satan and his foes. Please help me to stay connected with Your Word in such meaningful ways that It will be effective and useful in all circumstances of my life. Please protect me from the evil one and guide me in Your path every day so that I may follow in Your footsteps and do Your will.

Speak in Boldness, But with a Humble Spirit

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Matthew 3

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Matt 3:8 (NLT)

13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Matt 3:13-14 (NLT)

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

Two things in particular caught my attention in this passage this morning:

  1. The boldness of John the BaptistHe was on mission for God and seems like he said what he felt led of God to say to the people that he preached to, without fear of repercussion from the government of that day, or the leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees). It seems like today we have become so politically correct in our churches in order to not hurt anyone’s feelings (and I don’t believe for a minute that we can only speak the truth if we know that someone’s feelings got hurt), but it just seems like we are afraid to say it like it is. An old saying that I always remember is that ‘if the shoe fits, wear it’, in other words if something that was said speaks to issues in your life, then obviously God is dealing with you through His spoken Word. As a people we have become so ‘thin-skinned’ that we retaliate when our feelings are hurt by holding back on our tithes, or not attending church, or gossiping about the preacher, etc, etc. Assuming that we have all prayed earnestly for the man of God, that he may discern God’s will and Word for us when he stands in the pulpit before us, are we then not challenging God Himself when we retaliate against the preaching or even God’s written Word? How dare us?
  2. The humbleness of John the Baptist – A man known for his boldness in speaking out, yet when Jesus comes to be baptized, John the Baptist said that in no way is he worthy to baptize the Savior of the world. How true this is. No matter how close we feel like we have become to God, we are but dirty rags compared to the only pure and Holy One of God. I believe that this is well worth keeping foremost in our minds so that we don’t let self pride come in the way. We are nothing without Christ, and we personally can do nothing miraculous, such as winning a lost soul or healing a sick person, but only through prayer and humble submission to the power and will of God. We should always pass any praise or glory straight on up to God for anything accomplished through us. It is encouraging for us to see lives touched by God because of something He may have said through us, but may our Words and actions be so filled with His love and His power that He may accomplish great things for the kingdom in spite of our human shortcomings.

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

I believe that much could be accomplished through us and our churches today if we used the boldness displayed by John the Baptist, yet the humble spirit that he displayed in the presence of the Holy Son of God. Lord Jesus, it is You that I serve and You that deserves all the praise for anything accomplished in Your name here on this earth. Please may I find boldness in serving You, but be ready to step aside and let the glory all go up straight to You. Please have Your will and way in my life today, and may  there be opportunities for Your glory to shine through in something that I may say or do today so that Your kingdom may be fulfilled. Opportunities will come and go, and so will my words, but I believe that as You use me as Your humble servant today, Your words spoken through me will touch the hearts of Your people with lasting power and effectiveness. To God be the Glory for all that will be accomplished in Your name today!

A Promise To The Righteous

SCRIPTURE Studied: Genesis 5 – 7 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die.18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives.19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood.20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive.21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.” Gen 6:17-21 (NLT)

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

Although I have heard and read the story of Noah many times before, I was touched by this again today. God made man in His own image and in these chapters studied I found where men were still having sons well over 100 years of age, plus living in excess of 900 years. However God became very upset over the increasing evil that He saw in man and vowed to maximize his life to 120. Still, evil continued to the extent that it angered God into wiping out all living things made by Him on this earth. However, He was able to find one righteous man, Noah. The covenant He made with Noah is similar to the one that he makes with those of us that accept Him as Lord and then strive to live righteous lives. Throughout all the destruction of all living things – water on this earth of more than 22 feet above the highest mountain, yet He kept Noah and his family plus a limited number of animals, safe. Later in God’s Word He provides another covenant for those of us that accepts His Son as Lord of our lives, and this covenant is that we may live eternally with Him in glory! I don’t know about you, but to have the love of the Father – our creator, poured out on me as a child of His here on this earth, plus to also be assured of eternity with Him in glory is enough to make this life tolerable and  worth every moment of every day facing the everyday challenges of this temporary world. Noah was saved, together with his family, because He followed the will of God and lived a righteous life in the eyes of God. We can do the same today if only we will follow the plan outlined by God. Do you know this Savior of whom I speak of here? The invitation is open to ALL who believe and accept Jesus as Lord of your life. Read John 3:16 to understand the full depth of God’s promise. Won’t you covenant with God today friend? Read though this help page for directions, or contact me by responding to this post. Jesus loves you, and so do I!

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

Father, You have shown in Your Word how important it is for Your creations to dedicate themselves to their creator. Thank You for the awesome job You did in wonderfully making me and then providing a means for me to have life eternally with You. I pray that everyone that reads this post today will be convinced of Your love, and that their hearts will be troubled enough to not let the sun set today before making a commitment to accept You as their Lord and Savior and to live a righteous life in Your sight, during the time they have left here on this earth. May You rule and reign in every aspect of our lives today!

Who Is Your Serpent?

SCRIPTURE Studied: Genesis 3-4

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” Gen 3:1-5 (NLT)

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

God provided a perfect world for Adam and his family to live in. He provided everything they would need to eat, and the beautiful garden/atmosphere in which to enjoy life. Although it is tough for us to recognize this today, but God has also provided everything we need today to feed ourselves, and He has also given us the beauty of this earth to enjoy. God established commandments/rules for Adam and his family to follow, much like we find in God’s Word today for us to follow. Adam’s family wasn’t satisfied with all that was provided, so Eve chose to follow what a serpent told her to do. Cain, out of jealousy for his brother Abel, and out of spite for the correction handed to him because of his giving to God, killed his brother. This is not much different to what we do today. Like Eve, we would rather listen to our daily horoscope or a palm reader, rather than looking into God’s Word for answers to our problems. Like Cain, we quickly find someone else to blame our actions on, and we will quickly eliminate anyone that stands in our way of progress or success. We may not murder, but we gossip about, or try to disqualify the individual in order to lower the acceptance of that person in the eye of the one we are trying to please. As in the day of Adam, God still provides everything we need today, and He has given us His book of instructions to follow. We often tell our child that we can give them direction from the advantage point of experience. In God’s Word we can read story after story about experiences such as this one today that shows us what happened when God’s commands were not followed. We have the advantage point of the experiences detailed in the Word, but like in Eve’s situation we allow some serpent to lead us instead of God and His Word.

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

Father, I realize this morning that I may try to cover up my deeds to those around me, but You know my inmost feelings and the desires of my heart. You know all about the ‘serpents’ that I allow to rule my day and guide my thoughts and actions. Please may You find me useful in Your kingdom and therefore constantly looking for ways to overcome the evil one. I must take this life very seriously, because You have only given me one chance to walk this road. May I not wander from the path You have established for me and may I always seek Your favor to overcome the ‘serpents’ that will seek to destroy me, my family, my church family and those that I love. You are greater than all the situations that I may face today, please be my guide, protector and lord so that I may stay focused on You and Your desire for my life. May You receive honor and glory for all things accomplished through me today!

Our God Who Cares For Us!

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Genesis 2

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one.20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening.22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.  Gen 2:18-22 (NLT)

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

A very familiar passage from Genesis, but I was reminded about how much my God really cares for us, His children. I could only imagine how often He must look down on us and see a need in our lives, then proceeds to provide for us, as He did in the case of Adam. We bring so much on ourselves, and we place ourselves in so many situations that could harm us or prove to be inappropriate for us  in our Christian walk. I can’t even begin to imagine how often God must shake His head and wonder why we are not listening to Him, why are we not doing what He told us in His Word to do, and then redirecting us back on the right path. I can only praise God this morning for a God that is patient with me, who loves me enough to redirect me and show me the right path, in spite of myself and all my personal shortcomings.

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

Thank you Father for loving me enough to get my attention from a world of sin and self, to see the need for a Savior and a hope for eternity. You created Adam, saw every need he had, and provided everything You knew that he would need to fulfill his life and I have no doubt that You still have that same love and caring for myself and Your other children today, and that You provide for us each and every day. I know that I could, and often do, make plenty enough mistakes on my own, thank You for reminding me that I have a Savior that watches over me every day and provides for me in ways that I could hardly imagine. I was reminded of this same things through a small comic-type photo this morning also, and I will attach it for all to reflect on!

He cares for the birds