Monday, October 12, 2015

"Our Footsteps"

Psalm 119:1-12

Blessed are the undefined in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord!

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!

They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways.

You have commanded us, To keep Your precepts diligently.

Oh, that my ways were directed, To keep Your statutes!

Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments.

I will praise You with brightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgements.

I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!

How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach Me Your statutes.

Lord, that we would be faithful witnesses in our generation to seek You and Your ways! Help us to always consult the wise counsel of Your word as we walk along the path that You would have us take. Lord, that we would strive to be the best examples in the choices we make as we serve You in all our ways.

Lord, that the footsteps we leave behind, in the lives of those we touch would lead their steps along a path that leads them closer to You!!!

Lord, that our footsteps would resemble Yours as we too, "always do the Father's will."

God Bless!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Modern-Day Judge

Then all the elders of Israel got together and came to Samuel at Ramah. "You're old," they told him, "and your sons don't live like you. Now, appoint us a king for us to rule over us; all the other nations have one." 1 Samuel 8:4-5

Most of my blogs for the past month or so have come from the book of Judges. You might say that I am kind of obsessed. The idea of judges enthralls me. To have a judge, a man appointed by God,to lead our nation, would be absolutely amazing. Please note that I am not going to make any political statements here, I just want to plant a small seed of an idea in your mind.

I think that the concept of judges fits America perfectly. The only places that we have ever seen this in history is Israel, a nation dedicated to God. America is "one nation under God." More so than any other nations, save Israel, the leaders that we put into office should reflect that spirit. Yet we look at so many other policies over a leader's faith and religious policies. Economics, foreign policy, immigration, guns, almost everything else seems to take priority, and that is the opposite of how it should be.

We need a leader that not only knows and believes in God, but one who listens to Him. If we have that, then the rest will fall into place.

It could be debated that God is ultimately in control in all situations, and that He puts people into authority. But the Bible shows time and again that He will let His people make bad decisions. Look what God says to Samuel right after the Israelites ask for a king. "Obey the people," the Lord told Samuel, "in everything they tell you; they haven't rejected you but Me from being their King." 1 Samuel 8:7

Guys, let's not reject God from being our King. The next time there is an opportunity to put someone in authority, let's put someone there who loves God, and let God sort that new leader, and our country, out. Making God a priority in our lives and our country is the best way to make a difference in it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Paid In Full"

   Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
   For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
   He is despised and rejected by men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
   Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
   But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
   All we like sheep have gone astray; We turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:1-6

Both our Salvation and Healing ... bought and paid for in full with the same act of sacrifice ... and the shedding of His precious blood!

  Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Those People

The harsh desert wind blew sand across his cheek. It was rough, and scraped across his skin.

Instead of sitting there and taking the beating, Jonah stood, grabbed two fistfuls of the rocky sand, and threw it back at the one who told the wind to blow.

The voice of God spoke to him then. "Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?"

"Yes," he replied without hesitation. "Even angry enough to die!" The plant had shielded him from the harsh sun and dry wind. It was his saving grace.

But God wasn't going to let the matter rest. "You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?"

Jonah spit the sand out of his mouth. God loved those people. For some reason he loved those lying sinners. He forgave them for all the trouble they had caused. In a lot of ways, he was no better. He knew that. He knew he had sinned, and yes, God had forgiven him.

God was asking him to forgive the people of Nineveh, like he had forgiven Jonah.

Based on Jonah 4:9-11

"Then God said to Jonah, 'Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?' 'Yes,' Jonah retorted, 'even angry enough to die!' Then the Lord said, 'You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?'" Jonah 4:9-11

Do you have people in your life that drive you absolutely crazy? People that make you want to scream and do something violent that a good and proper Christian wouldn't do? People that say, "Yes, Lord," and then do the exact opposite? People that anger you to the very core of your being?

Of course you do. We all do. For Jonah, those people were the people of Nineveh. They drove him absolutely crazy. The very mention of them made him livid. They lived a life of sin, and Jonah wanted them to reap the consequences of that sin. It was only logical.

The thing Jonah didn't understand, or was missing, or even ignoring was that God loved them, too. He did. Despite all the lies, sin, and manipulation He still loved those people.

Every time one of my annoying people makes me want to put my fist through the wall due to their double standards, I have to remind myself - or rather the Holy Spirit reminds me - God still loves them. He says, "I still love them. I still died for them. If they turn back to Me, I will still welcome them in the family."

"But will you?"

What a horrible question for God to have to ask me, and one that, a lot of the time, I answer begrudgingly.

God loves those people. Even when I don't. But in order to be like God, shouldn't I try to love them like He does? Not excusing or ignoring the sin, but looking past it when they come to Him in repentance.

Yeah, we all know the answer to that.

V. Joy Palmer

"Inside And Out"

Romans 12:1-2

   I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
   And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Ephesians 4:20-24

   But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
   that You put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
   and be renewed in the Spirit of your mind,
   and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.

Galatians 3:20

   I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Psalm 51:10-13

   Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
      And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
   Do not cast me away from Your presence,
      And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
   Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, 
      And uphold me with Your generous Spirit.
   Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, 
      And sinners shall be converted to You.

O Lord, Change us, inside and out, that we might be conformed into your likeness as witnesses who testify of You and Your glory ... to all nations ...even unto the ends of the earth.  Amen

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

God's Greatness Is Real Greatness

There was a part of him that wanted to go back in time. Back to before he’d accepted Christ as Lord. Back to when he was great, powerful, and important.

Back to when he was somebody.

But one couldn’t go back, could they?

Simon studied these new men. They had arrived a day earlier from Jerusalem. They were interesting characters. They certainly weren’t learned men based on their rough speech, and they certainly weren’t rich men based on the condition of their clothes. However, they did possess a certain quality about them. Strength? Confidence? Authority? Simon wasn’t sure.

One of them, Peter, spoke about a Holy Spirit that needed to fall on them now that they were saved. His eyes blazed with burning passion as he spoke about this spirit. It was quite a big deal to them because all the new believers had been asked to come see Peter and his companion, John.

Simon watched as Peter and John prayed for a man in an unknown language. At once, the man’s entire demeanor changed. It was like a mighty force had fallen upon him, and he staggered under the weight of it. Then, with his hands raised to the sky, he started speaking in another unknown language.

This power was the Holy Spirit?

His heart beat faster, and his thoughts took off running. This power, this was how he could be great once again! If he could become like Peter and John, he would be the greatest person in Samaria! He needed to get their gift. He needed to be able to bring the Holy Spirit down on people. A smile split his face as he pushed through the crowd towards Peter and John. He would be great once again.

Based on Acts 8:14-24

"But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great." Acts 8:9

"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.' And Simon answered, 'Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.'" Acts 8:14-24

Part of me always felt like Peter’s response to Simon the magician was a bit harsh. He was a new Christian and didn’t understand. That much is true, but the thing is, Simon was used to being a great man. He had spent a lot of time telling people he was great, and he was used to being treated like an important man.

He didn’t understand.

What he didn’t understand was that real greatness isn’t something that can be bought. It’s not even something we can achieve. Real greatness is God. God is great. When we serve God wholeheartedly, it’s not that He makes us great; it’s that His greatness is able to shine through us.

Simon didn’t understand, and sometimes I wonder if we understand. There is a difference. Are we striving to be great, and then tack on “for God” at the end? Or are we striving to show God’s greatness? 

P.S. Striving to show God’s greatness is the kind of servant’s heart that is greatly used by God.

V. Joy Palmer

"Choose Wisely"

  "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
   The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:9-10

I love these two verses! Thy contain so much "promise" and "potential" to the life of the believer. What I mean by that is this ... Jesus is the door! Choose to enter through Him and get to be saved, to have a life that you get to live even more abundantly!

See what I mean? What an amazing promise He makes to us. With it comes the promise to live our lives in and through Him which of course brings with it all kinds of limitless potential to live more abundantly because of the power of His presence in our lives.

Check out this meaning of the word abundantly according to the Strong's.

Abundantly - 4053 - (in the sense of beyond); superabundant (in quality) or superior (in quality); by implication excessive

We get to choose. The potential to live a superabundant, superior, amazing life is ours to have or we can let the enemy steal, kill, and destroy it by believing his lies.

Such promise! Such potential! AND it all depends on whether we will choose to enter through "the Door" or ... not.

Choose wisely ... live more abundantly!