Saturday, August 31, 2013

"God Knows!"

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. Proverbs 21:2

I love that God is in control and knows our heart! Here is a perfect example.

"And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, in this manner you shall speak to him, 'Thus says the Lord God of Israel: "Concerning the words which you have heard---"because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you," says the Lord. 2 Chronicles 34:26-27

These words were spoken to a young man named Josiah. You can find his story in 2 Kings 22:1-23:30 and in 2 Chronicles  chapters 34 and 35. As a youth pastor I love Josiah. He became king when he was eight years old and the word says, "He did what is right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 2 Chronicles 34:2 A young man true to his walk with God and as great as that is I love this point even more.

In 1 Kings 13:2 God spoke a word about him through a prophet of God and he named Josiah by name and told about what he would do because of his heart for God. He spoke of Josiah by name 300 years before he was born.

What about? "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." Psalm 139:16 or Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; And ordained you a prophet to the nations."

300 years before he was born he knew Josiah's heart! So, some food for thought?

"...who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 GOD KNOWS!

Friday, August 30, 2013

"SEE! What God Has To Say"

Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war"...So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country. Joshua 6:1-27

I love the story of Joshua at Jericho. I must confess it is a personal favorite. Although today I don't get to share any of those favorite little tidbits. Today I simply get to talk about this first verse and our need to "Walk By Faith Not By Sight."

It says that Jericho was securely shut up. The reason being, that they had word that the Israelites were coming and they had the time to prepare the city. It was shut up like a fortress, no one in or out and that is what Joshua saw with his eyes as they approached the city. With his ears and his heart something else was taking place. Faith, in his heart he believed the Words that God was speaking. "SEE! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor."

His first word to Joshua was "SEE!" What Joshua could SEE in the natural was an impossible obstacle. What he could SEE with his eyes fixed on God was a defeated city. By faith, he trusted, not in what his eyes perceived, but instead he trusted and obey every Word that God spoke to him and that securely shut up city fell.

We who call ourselves believers need to listen and obey as we deal with the obstacles in our life. We need to stop seeing the impossible obstacles and start seeing and trusting that He has the perfect plan to bring the victory! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"The Sower"

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the... Matthew 13:3-4
Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the...Mark 43-4
A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell... Luke 8:5

In three of the four Gospels we have an account of the parable of the sower. For most of us this parable becomes about the four different places the seed lands, the wayside, the stones, the thorns and the good ground. Which of course is important because Jesus not only took the time to teach it but to explain it to the disciples in detail.

Today I want to focus on the sower. It says that this sower had seed to sow and he went out with one purpose. To sow his seed. The definition of the word sower in the Strongs is - through the idea of extending; to scatter, sow. So here we have a sower out there with a purpose. He wanted to sow his seed for a reason. It wasn't to just get rid of the seed he had in his bag. He wasn't just throwing it out there. It mattered to him. You don't plant seed for no reason. You plant because you want to see the fruit.

Anyone who has scattered seed or anything else knows that as you scatter something it doesn't always land where your aiming. Some might fall from your hand as you taking it from the bag. Some might shoot to far or too close but the most goes where you want it to. As the sower scattered his seed some fell off to the side. Some landed in among some rocks. Some landed in the weeds and thorns. Some hit the mark and landed where he would reap a harvest.

The sower, he had a purpose, to scatter his seed and reap a harvest. He didn't worry about where every little seed landed, he just sowed his seed. Jesus said that the seed was the Word. That makes you and I a sower of seed. Are we faithfully sowing the Word daily in the lives around us. It is our job as the sower to have a purpose. We need to be faithful to sow and to know that we can trust Him with where it lands and to bring in the Harvest!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Midnight Hour

Ruth 3

Naomi tells her daughter-in-law, Ruth, that Boaz is a relative. A relative close enough to be a kinsman redeemer. She tells Ruth to go down to the threshing floor, and when Boaz laid down for the night, go, uncover his feet, and lay down at his uncovered feet. Ruth said she would do everything Naomi had said.

So Ruth found herself at the threshing floor. Searching for Boaz. When she found him, she did exactly as Naomi said. She uncovered his feet, laid down, and waited.

At midnight, Boaz woke up, and saw Ruth.

At midnight, everything changed. There was a twist. That season ended, and a new one began.

I don't know if you've noticed this, but midnight is a common theme in the Bible. It's often the time when something major happens. Good or bad. The battles were won-or started, the thief came, the Bridegroom came, praise, worship, preaching, love, and triumph---all at midnight.

This was a redeeming hour.

Guys, this can be your midnight hour, in a good or a bad way. This can be the hour where you give yourself to the True Redeemer, where you uncover His feet, where you lay at His feet. This can be the hour you experience true change in your walk with God. Like Ruth, we need to go to the threshing floor. We need to get with God. That's where our midnight hour will be waiting.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Notice The Exclamation Point"

Now Naaman, a commander of the army of the king of Syria, was agreat and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.

And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman's wife. 

Then she said to her mistress, "If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy." 2 Kings 5:1-3

This little captive maid is one of my favorite "Heroes" of faith. I know her name isn't David, Moses, Joshua, Daniel or one of any number of big name Bible heroes but she is still one of the giants to me. The truth is we don't even know her name, but name or not, she still gives us a great example of what faith looks like.

We have a little girl, taken captive, taken from her family, her home, and everything she had known, brought to Syria, and made to be a servant to Naaman's wife. It couldn't have been an easy experience to have gone through! I love her example because even though it must have been very hard to go through what she did she didn't lose God in the process.  She couldn't control being taken captive. She couldn't control being made a servant in a distant land far from her family. She was in no way in control of her activities. She was a servant being told what to do, when to do, and how to do things. The one thing that she could control is her belief in her God!

I've seen to many people lose heart and turn their backs on God over the years when something bad that was beyond their control happened in their lives. This little girl didn't do that instead she testified That her God could make a difference. "If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria!" I love the exclamation point. She spoke like she believed it would make a difference. She still believed in the faithfulness of God to meet needs. She didn't say, "Maybe he could try the prophet in Samaria." She said, IF ONLY MY MASTER WERE WITH THE PROPHET WHO IS IN SAMARIA! FOR HE WOULD HEAL HIM OF HIS LEPROSY." Again, notice the EXCLAMATION POINT. She said it full of excitement and full of faith that God would make a difference!

I love this little girl because even in the midst of tough circumstances beyond her control she was still faithful to testify about the goodness of her God!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Miss The Wedding Feast

"The kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come."
Matthew 22:2-3

Those who were invited would not come. As Jesus continued to tell the people this parable, you saw those once honored guests of the king, ignore the king. Some went to work, some went home, and some evil people seized the king's men, and murdered them. The king took sent his armies to destroy those evil people. Then he told his servants to go into the streets and invite as many people as they can find because those who were invited were not worthy. So the servants did as they were told, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came to look in, and visit, he saw a guest without a wedding garment. The king confronted the guest, but the guest was speechless. The king had to throw him out, into a terrible place.

This parable is still relevant today. Past, present, future. There is going to be a feast in honor of Jesus' marriage to the church. Those who were invited refused to come. They wouldn't believe in Jesus. They ignored Him, and killed Him. God is going to take care of those people.

Jesus wants all of us to be in Heaven with Him. Heaven will be filled with all kinds of people! Until that day, we, His servants, need to serve Him faithfully.

But just because someone believes in a "higher power" doesn't mean they can just waltz into Heaven. They need Jesus. They need to believe that God sent Jesus to die for them, and ask Him into their life. They need that covering to be able to come to Heaven.

Remember, my friends, it is very easy to let ourselves become the same type of guest that was invited, but would not come. They were His people, too. No matter how busy we are, when God calls, we need to go. Otherwise, the day may come and go, and we will never notice.

A wedding feast is a big deal. Especially to those who are getting married. I know it has been for me! But at the same time, it is pretty routine. Those people illustrated in the parable were caught up in the routine. They missed a life changing event because they were too busy with their routine lives. We need to pay attention!!!! We don't want to miss this. After all, we are one of the guests of honor.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

"What Profit?"

"Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary."

"Sell me your birthright as of this day."

"Look, I am about to die; so what profit shall this birthright be to me?"

"Swear to me as of this day."

So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

This exchange between these two brothers always causes me to take a moment to examine my heart, to check and see that I am still giving God first place in my life. The statement Esau made had a few words in it that are key to the choice he made.
"What profit shall this birthright be," was key because it shows that Esau was making a decision about which he wanted more. His birthright meant that, as the first born, he was given preference and a double portion. He decide that it was of less value in the long run then, having soup in the moment.

I find it interesting that they felt a birthright was valuable enough that it could be bartered and sold. It ends this exchange with these words. "Thus Esau despised his birthright." I looked it up in the Strongs and it simple means; to disesteem. Esau didn't esteem his birthright as being of "great value." He sold it for a bowl of soup. In that moment he desired soup more that his place of preference and his double portion.

How often do we not "Esteem" as His sons and daughters because of what we want and desire in the moment we are in? Jesus put it this way.

"For whoever desires to save his life must lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wedding Psalm

Psalm 45

The introduction in my Bible says, “Your Throne, O God, Is Forever. To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song.”

This psalm is very beautiful to me, as I am getting married today.

Verse 1:

“My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.”

I know my heart overflows with a pleasing theme today. I can’t thank God enough!

Verses 13-17:

“All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king. In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.”

Today I feel like a princess marrying my king. But today is so much more then me and my love. Today is the day God’s truest love triumphs in our lives! Today our covenant with God and each other reflects God’s truest covenant of love---the one with us, His Bride. Today remember that you are God’s love. His priceless love. Wherever you are today, whatever you are doing, remember that.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Steak and Precepts

Do you want the knowledge of God in your life? Do you sometimes wish God would just download it into your brain all at once! I know I have!

"To whom will He teach knowledge, and to whom will He explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little." Isaiah 28:9-10

These verses are very clear about who God is going to teach, and how He is going to teach them.

God is not going to force His people into spending time with Him or learning about Him. We have to want to learn about Him. We need to want to spent time with Him. It takes more then just sitting through church on Sunday. You know those people who seem super close to God? The reason they have such an intimate relationship with God, and why they seem to know so much about God, is because they took the time. If you want that kind of intimate relationship with God, then you need to go after it yourself.

And sorry my friends, much to our dismay, God will never do a super download on us. How would we learn? How would we see each lesson paralleled or literally played out in our lives? How would we develop that close, intimate relationship with God if we never needed to learn more about Him?All of that is precept upon precept, and line upon line in our lives.

All the Jane Austen fans out there, no matter how much we study her, her books, and the people in  her life, we don't really know her. It's not like that with God! We can spend time with Him, and we can really know Him. Just take the time. Be someone who can eat steak. Be someone God can teach something to, one precept at a time.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Springs of Refreshing

“Singers and dancers alike say, ‘All my springs are in you.” Psalm 87:7

One of the implications of springs in the Bible is spiritual refreshing. Think of the Israelites who spent three days in the desert looking for water, and then the water in Marah was bitter! God told Moses to throw a log into the waters, and they became sweet. What about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well? She had come to the well seeking physical water, and she left with spiritually satisfying water! A major lesson to be learned in both these stories is that God is the one who gives spiritual refreshment.

The writers of this psalm knew that. They knew that when they needed refreshing from the world, or when they were at a physical low, they needed to seek out God. It was probably a daily thing for them.

I know that when I feel spiritually refreshed, I am happy. Giddy even! There is a spring in my step that can not be denied.

When God refreshes your soul, there is a spring in your step! When you are brought to the springs, you drink, and you leave feeling incredible. Or we should! Is a passerby able to see how you have been changed, that you have a secret greater then the Mona Lisa, that you are refreshed?

All my springs God, from the spiritual to the physical, they are all in You, my God!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"He Simple Answered Back"

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"

And Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!"

So the donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?" And he said, No."

Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he say the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. Numbers 22:28-31

Can you believe this? A donkey spoke out loud and carried on a conversation with Balaam. The thing that strikes me is simply this. Balaam doesn't seem to notice. God doing something as miraculous as 'opening the mouth of a donkey' doesn't even seem to faze him. Is he so wrapped up in his own purpose and anger that he doesn't notice the donkey speaking? Or maybe he had grown so complacent about the miraculous things of God that something as amazing as a talking donkey is a normal everyday event? GOD gives the donkey a voice and Balaam's response is not awe, not amazement, not wonderment at such a thing. He simply answered it back telling it he wishes he a sword to kill it. He doesn't give any acknowledgement that he recognizes God in it until he sees the Angel of the Lord in front of him with his sword drawn.Only then does he hit the ground in awe.

In the next verse the Angel of the Lord tells him He has come because of "his perverse way." I wonder? Is his perverse way taking the things of God, what He says and what He does, for granted and being complacent about them?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In the Middle of the Night

Children can wake up in the middle of the night, and be scared due to a nightmare or a funny shadow. I know I sure did, and for the record, a strange noise will still weird me out! Do we ever really grow out of that? Do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, with questions? Worries? Burdens? The appearance of fear changes, but the fear does not stop.

The middle of the night is a vulnerable time. A perfect time for the devil to attack your faith.

"When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for you." Psalm 63:6-7

Even in the middle of the night, the key is to focus on God.

Think about Paul and Silas, when they were locked up in prison. At midnight they started praising God. When they could have been focused on their "lowest" point, they focused on lifting God up. When they could have been overtake by the glum of the night, they focused on praise and worship.

When you are upon your bed, or couch, or chair and you are worried, meditate on God. Praise Him. Lift His name up. The devil can not stay if God is there! In the middle of the night, have a mini prayer service with you and God! And instead of staying up all night fretting, you will get some awesome time with God. You may not fall back asleep, but the time with God will be worth the bags under your eyes.


Monday, August 19, 2013


Today I'd like to mention a few quick "Highlights" from Mark 6:45-52 that He showed me this morning. First a little background and then I'll show you the Highlights. It takes place right after the feeding of the five thousand. It says that Jesus sent the disciples in the boat to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. After He had that accomplished He went to the mountain to pray. Then when evening had come they were on the water and He was still on land alone.

It says that He says He saw the hard time they were having, "straining and rowing, for the wind was against them." and He came to them.(48)

It says that "when they saw Him walking on the sea they supposed it a ghost, and cried out; and were troubled."(49-50)

It says that He "immediately talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." (50)

It says that that when He entered the boat, "the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled."(51)

It says that "they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened. (52)

Five little highlights all in a row, each saying the same thing to me, "Trust Me!" He sees my struggles! He sees even when He isn't physically in the boat with me. He sees my "straining" and He sees what is against me. When He comes to rescue me, I don't recognize it or rather Him! I, like the disciples, "suppose" the answer to be bad because I assume I know what I am seeing happen is something bad like a ghost when in reality it is His solution to my need. As soon as I do turn to Him and He is allowed to enter the boat the "wind ceases." At that point I too, like the disciples am amzed at His provision. That He loves me enough to join me in the boat.

At this point the finale highlight jumps into place. Why? Why does it jump back to the feeding of the 5000. It goes from them being amazed at His walking on water, the wind ceasing, and them marveling at the whole thing to, "For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened. "I think it goes back to verse 42, "So they all ate and were filled." They had just been a part of when He made provision for a multitude with bread and fish! How quickly they forgot! How quickly I, like the disciples, forget to trust Him when the storm comes. How often does He have to highlight my hardened heart to me and remind me, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." before I truly trust Him with all my heart?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Waiting for Purpose, Even in Caves

In 1 Samuel 24 we see Saul pursuing David, to kill him. Now David and his men we sitting in the deep cave, and they realized they were not alone. Saul had wandered in there to relieve himself!

David's men started telling him to kill Saul, for surely this was God delivering Saul into his hand! But David wouldn't do it. He wouldn't strike down the Lord's anointed. He cut off a corner of Saul's robe, and immediately lamented such an action! Overcome, he ran out of the cave after Saul. His heartfelt speech and goodwill toward Saul, swayed Saul from evil-for a time. The bloodlust would eventually return...

For the time being, though, David and his men were safe. They returned to their stronghold home.

Later David wrote a psalm about this event, Psalm 57.

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. He will send from Heaven and save me; He will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out His steadfast love and His faithfulness! My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts---the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the Heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth! They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great to the Heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the Heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!"

David knew God would fulfill His purpose for him. So even though his men wanted him to kill Saul, and maybe even a part of him wanted to do it, he knew that God, and God alone would bring him to the throne. Not a cowardly attack in a cave.

David felt like he was among beasts who wanted to kill him, and he was! However, he didn't let that get him down. He thanked God in advance, for taking down those who would do him harm, and ended this psalm praising God, for His love, faithfulness, and glory.

When there are beastly obstacles standing between you and your purpose, thank God. He will fulfill His purpose for you. He ordained it. He won't leave you among the lions. He will take down those who oppose you. Don't try to force it yourself. Just be still and know that God will fulfill your purpose.


Saturday, August 17, 2013


I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

Have you ever had one of those days where it felt like nothing went right? Today I just want to Praise Him because no matter what kind of day I have He always has a word to encourage me! Maybe you need one too? I'll share the one He gave me with you and then we can both be encouraged! Praise God that His promises are ours to take hold of and to give us a life line to hold onto when hard days come along!

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way properous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

His Word is the lifeline that keeps us in the center of His will when trials and temptations come our way. It will lead us, guide us, and equip us in the way we should go. It is the lifeline that holds us fast an true to Him!

Friday, August 16, 2013

City of the Lord

“Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. Within her citadels God has made Himself known as a fortress.”
Psalm 48:1-3

These verses are really awesome. There are no enemies to worry about, no battles, no sickness, or trials. It’s just purely awesome. It’s like Heaven on earth.

 However, when we look at the world today, we don’t see this. We don’t see Heaven on earth. We see the junk in the world today, and it makes us want to go insane.

 It’s time we fight back. Until Jesus comes again, we are ambassadors on this earth. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us. It’s time to start proclaiming God is greatly to be praised. It’s time to proclaim Him as the joy of the earth. It’s time to declare within the cities that God is our fortress.

 It’s time for Believers to start claiming the earth for God again.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

"The Parable Of The Kids Book"

Did you ever have a feeling there's a ZAMP in the LAMP? Or a NINK in the SINK? Or a WOSET in the CLOSET? Sometimes I'm quite CERTAIN there's a JERTAIN in the CURTAIN. And when I hear a TOCK, I know a ZLOCK"S behind the CLOCK. And that ZELF up on that SHELF! I have talked to her MYSELF. I like the ZABLE on the TABLE. And the GHAIR beneath the CHAIR. But the BOFA on the SOFA acts if he doesn't care. etc., etc, etc.

At this moment I know that some of you have figured out the author of the above rhymes, especially if you have little ones that you read to every night! You guessed it. Dr. Suess is the author and it comes from his book of ridiculous rhymes, "There's a Wocket in My Pocket." I've written the above to illustrate a point. It is my very own, just thought of parable. We'll call it, The Parable Of The Kids Book.

Does your little one have a favorite book that he/she likes to have read to him/her? The above is a favorite of the two toddlers in my life at the moment. When I say go get a book its the one that 9 times out of 10 they will come back with. So I have become quite familiar with it! Sometimes I just read it in my natural voice, sometimes I use funny voices, sometimes its in a rap style rhythm, sometimes I sing it, and sometimes I use the fill in the blanks method. You know the one where you leave off the last word and they fill it in. My point being, it is their favorite and it doesn't matter how often they hear it, they just like it! They like it - In part because I try to make each reading fun. In part because they like the pictures. In part because they are familiar with it. In part because they are having time with me!  I love their excitement each time they bring me their favorite book. They shove it at me and climb up as quickly as possible to settle in with me even though they've heard it so often they can tell me what comes next. Their pure enjoyment over the same old story amazes me and the word I get to hear when I've finished is always the same, "Again!"

So here comes those famous words that Jesus always speaks, "Gods like that." or rather in this case, "God's Word is like that!"  Sometimes it speaks to me with a big booming voice. Sometimes its a still small whisper, and sometimes it makes me laugh, and there are even occasions that it makes me cry, and believe it or not, sometimes He even lets me fill in the blanks. Jesus said that we should come to Him as little children. His Word should be the book we grab with excitement everyday! Its never boring and its never the same. Its alive and active and it always accomplishes something in our heart and attitudes!

If as His sons and daughters, we truly approach our daily time with Him and His Word with that same expectation and enjoyment that my toddlers do their favorite book then we will always have a similar response. He too will get to hear,  "Again." or maybe even, "More."

Here is a fill in the blank for you from your favorite book! Do you know what comes next?

Blessed is the man who walks not in the _______________ of the ungoldly, nor stands in the way of ________________, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful, But his _________________ is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

He Will Take Time

The soldiers beat Jesus. They flogged Him. They made a crown of thorns for Him, and put a robe on His bloody, bruised body. He was brought before a mass of Jews-Jews that despised Him, for they had been deceived. Pilate tried to convince the people to let Jesus live. But the people threatened to tell Caesar that Pilate had spared a man who had made Himself a king. In the end he gave in to the Jews, and Jesus was delivered to be crucified.

Jesus carried His cross up to Golgotha, The Place of a Skull. There they crucified Him, with two thieves, one on each side of Jesus. Pilate also wrote a message that was placed on Jesus' cross. It said, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews," in three languages. The soldiers took Jesus' clothes, and casts lots for it.

People stopped and mocked Jesus, but among them were His mother, His aunt-Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, and at least one disciple. "When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home."
John 19

In the midst of all that was going on around Jesus, He took care of the woman who had been His mother on this earth. He wanted to know she would be okay. So He asked the disciple whom He loved (John) to take care of her.

Jesus was on the cross, dying, and He still took care of His earthly mother.

Have you ever felt like there is so much junk going on in the world that Jesus needs to worry about, He doesn't have time for you or your problems? You're wrong. This is proof. If Jesus loved His earthly mother so much that while He was dying, He could take some time to make sure she was provided for, then Jesus in Heaven, will take care of you. Even amongst all the other stuff going on in this world, He will take care of you.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Just Ask"

For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day."

But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him. Mark 9:31-32

As I was reading this morning this verse caught my eye or rather my attention.  Here we have Jesus trying to lay it out for them and they are not understanding. As His disciples today we know what His statement meant and what He was trying to tell them. "The Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of men." We know He was handed over to the Romans. "They will kill Him." We know He was scourged, nailed to a cross, and crucified. We know that there was a moment when He cried, "My God, my God, why has't thou forsaken me!" so that He could pay for our sins. We know what He meant when He said, "After He is killed, He will rise the third day." We know that the tomb was empty despite the guards that were placed to guard it. We, as His disciples today know what He was trying to tell them about. But they didn't understand and  they didn't dare ask for his help to understand and it was this statement that caught my attention.

This was a pretty important event that He was trying to prepare them for.  It says they didn't understand His saying and were afraid to ask Him. Why? Throughout the Gospels we see them asking Him questions and for explanations all the time. Why were they afraid this time?

The thing that I noticed is this. It was His heart to tell them, to let them know what was going on, just as it is His heart to help us and eguip us for the events in our lives. As His disciples, I think we should never be afraid to ask for understanding. Its His heart to tell us and to help us understand. He wants us to know Him, to understand Him. He has given us His Word and He has sent us the Holy Spirit. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to remembrance all things that I said to you." John 14:26

Don't be afraid, just ask! It is His heart that we know and understand!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Let The Trees Wither

"I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found." Psalm 37:35-36

So when I read this I immediately thought about Jesus and the fig tree.

Jesus had just arrived in Jerusalem, and He went to Bethany for the night. The next day, on His way back into Jerusalem, Jesus was hungry. Now there was a fig tree on the way, and Jesus saw an opportunity to teach His disciples. He looked for the figs, and but there was none, because they were not in season. And Jesus said to the fig tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And His disciples heard it.

The following day they passed by the fig tree, and the disciples saw that it was withered to its roots! Peter pointed this out excitedly. Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whenever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses." (The referenced story is from Mark 11.)

What do these two stories have in common? A tree. One that withered away.

How do these fit together? Spiritual warfare. The devil uses so much against us. He will put many obstacles in our path. He will use anything in anyway to hinder your relationship with God.

Believe what you pray. Let all the doubt in your life wither away. Let it die. Let the voice that whispers doubt die. If you believe what you pray, then the devil can't manipulate it into doubt and unbelief in your life. You CAN overcome any obstacle because you have God in you. You CAN do what Jesus did and more because you the same Spirit that Jesus had in you. Believe it. Stop praying for it. Believe it.

Believe it and let the stress that have taken root in your life wither away.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

"You Are My God"

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies. Psalm 31:14-15

I just really want to take this opportunity to praise Him for His amazing presence and for all the prayers these past few days.  It is awesome how He provides even in the midst of an ordeal! I am a foster parent and the little guy I have with me at the moment had some medical issues this week where we ended up being shipped down to the big hospital in the southern part of the state. As things unfolded each step of the way it was more than apparent that His presence was with us, going before us, and making a way for things in ways that at first glance could have been a problem but instead it turned out those same things went from being issues to blessings!

One such example is this.  Because we had gone down by ambulance I needed to call and find someone who could make the trip down and pick us up and bring us home. Its an hour and a half - two hour drive back.  My ride came and at 1:30 in the morning the ER decides we are free to go home.  Off we go to the parking lot of this huge hospital with lots of entrances. My ride doesn't know which entrance he came in so we need to find the car.  We are in the general vicinity that he thinks its in.  We are looking, haven't found the car yet. All of a sudden my little guy drops and is out. I scoop him up and run him back to the hospital where he now gets the help he needs. My ride is beating himself up and blaming himself because of the hunting for the car thing.

My immediate response is, " No, its a blessing. We were still in the parking lot and able to get him the help he needed quickly instead of being up on the highway in the middle of nowhere. Those of you who know the highway in New England know how long it is between exits!  My ride is someone who always knows! He is an extremely sharp guy. Never in a million years would he not know where he parked his car. There were three different times this happened during this whole experience. When something seemed to be a problem, a hindrance but it really turned out to be the provision that made help possible! 

It is so nice to know that He has me and mine in the palm of His hands and He is taking care of everything even when I don't see or recognize it right away!

"You are my God! My times are in your hand!"

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Before Temptation Strikes

"And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And He said to His disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.' And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And He said to them, 'My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.' " Mark 14:32-34

"And He came and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, 'Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.' And again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer Him. And He came the third time and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.' "  Mark 14:37-41

This can be a hard passage to read. You know what's coming. You know it's terrible. And to add insult to injury, they just could not stay awake!

They had a full day, and once they sat down all bets were off. Their eyes were heavy, and it was peacefully quiet for once. Focus was impossible. Their prayers were softly mumbled until their heads fell back, and snores escaped their lips.

The Bible says Jesus came and found them sleeping three times. They had been caught, and the disciples had no idea what to say to Jesus. Nothing seemed sufficient at a time like this.

Jesus told them to watch and pray that they may not enter into temptation, and He said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

While Jesus probably wanted His friends to pray with Him, His request wasn't self motivated. Jesus knew what was about to happen. He knew the temptations His friends were about to face. He didn't want to see them fall into temptation. He also knew their hearts, and that indeed, they were willing! However, their flesh was weak...

How true this is for all of us! We all have these different things in life, where we want to do better, but our flesh is weak. It doesn't hold up against temptation. We want to do better. We cry out to God for help to do better. But how do we do better?

Watch and pray. A good way to fight temptation is to avoid temptation. Watch for those things and situations. Build up your resistance. Pray, and then pray some more. When you find yourself in a situation where you need to make a choice, Lord willing, you will not only be willing, but your flesh will have the spiritually-built muscles to fulfill what must be done.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Taste and See

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" Psalm 34:8

How do we taste and see that God is good?

I looked up the words "taste and see" in this verse. And the Hebrew root words for both words mean "to taste; figuratively, to perceive...perceive, taste." The Hebrew root word for "perceive" meant the same thing. Then I looked up the regular definition for "perceive" and it had two definitions, 1) to become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses, and 2) to recognize, discern, envision, or understand.

This just showed me another way that God intricately works things.

So if we want to "taste and see" God in this sense, then we need to perceive God, and in order to perceive God we must:

  • Become aware of Him in our lives
  • Know Him
  • We can identify Him with our senses (Yes with all five senses. Examples in the Bible: Moses saw God, the Israelites heard God's army go before them, the Israelites tasted bread from Heaven, Mary wiped Jesus' feet with her hair, and the sweet smell in the Holy Place in the Temple.)
  • Recognize God in our lives
  • Discern what is of God, and what is not
  • Envision Him
  • Understand His heart

That's quite the list. But if all of God's people would focus on doing these things, there wouldn't be any doubt that God is good---among believers and un-believers!

And imagine the things that would happen if we would use even two of our sense to know God better!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A David Psalm

When you watch the news and hear about all the terrible stuff happening, does it freak you out at all? Does something like a plane crash make you declare, "We are never flying again," and then a car pile up makes you decide that you and your family are never leaving the house again?

When life gets scary, it is easier to put your trust in the physical things around you. This isn't a new problem, one that's only associated with our day and age, but a problem as old as time.

"The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue." Psalm 33:17

King David addressed this problem several times in his psalms. He had seen his fair share of battles and bad things, and he knew that the things on this earth wouldn't save him. He compared this to putting his trust in a war horse. The war horse couldn't save him in his lowest hour, nor could it rescue him.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7

David knew that the things associated with victory and safety in his day would never save him. They would never give him comfort and peace. They would never rescue him. David knew that he needed to trust in God. He knew that only God would fill him when life was scary, crazy, and hard.

Practical application: when those things start to suffocate you, start praying! Pray in the spirit, pray out loud, pray against the things that would frighten you. Declare the goodness of God. Claim His peace. Pray.

Sounds kind of like one of David's psalms.


Monday, August 5, 2013

"The Inscription Reads"

And this is the inscription that was written: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. Daniel 5:25

Daniel was brought before the king to interpret the inscription that had been written on the wall  because of his reputation. The king put it this way as he sought out Daniel, " I  have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you." Daniel 5:14
A pretty cool thing for the king to be declaring about Daniel in his hour of need.

Daniel on the other hand had different things to say about the king. He started his interpretation by reminding the king about Nebuchadnezzar and all that had transpired with him. He reminded him about how he had become full of pride, become like a beast until his heart attitude had changed, declared that God was the Most High God and that it was He who had given him his kingdom not his own efforts. After the reminder Daniel told him this key statement, "But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven."  Daniel 25:23

He knew! He knew what the right way was. He had made choices that put him in a place where a man's hand appeared and wrote on a wall. He knew in is heart that what it said wasn't going to be good. It says that 'his countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.' in verse 6.  He was afraid because in his heart he knew he had been doing wrong.

After saying this to the king Daniel then proceeds to read the writing on the wall. "Mene: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; Tekel: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; Upharsin: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."

'You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting' How would you like this to be the inscription written about you? Daniel and Belshazzar had very different reputations and the key to that difference is found in Daniel's statement to Belshazzar in verse 23.  "... but you have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.' Belshazzar made a choice not to walk in the way he knew in his heart was right while Daniel purposed to keep the ways of God. He chose to serve God no matter what.

As His people we know His word and the choice to be obedient to it lies with us. We know the right way and we need to choose to walk in it and to serve Him with all our hearts! The choices we make to do what we know is right will determine the inscription that can be written about us can be, 'Well done my good and faithful servant,' or 'You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.'

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Seek God's Faces

"You have said, 'Seek My face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, LORD, do I seek." Psalm 27:8

My Bible has two footnotes for this verse. The first note is for the first "seek," and it says, "The command ("seek") is addressed to more than one person. The second note is for the entire verse, and it says, "The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain."

From what we see in the verse and the footnotes, we can take the obvious context: God telling all of us to seek His face.

But there is more to it.

This verse is telling us to seek God's face, but God is more then just one. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The command is addressed to more then one person, because we need to seek the face of more then one person. This verse is telling each of us to seek the face of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It's not enough to zero in on just one Person of the Trinity forever. You will learn a lot, but you will never really know Him.  However, when you seek all of God, you will come to know Him as never before. You will see His faces.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Ask His Counsel"

In verses Joshua 9:3-6 we see where the people of Gibeon came up with a plan to trick Joshua and the people of Israel. 'But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins, torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they  went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us."

They had heard what had happened to Jericho and Ai and didn't want to go to war with Israel along with the rest of the inhabitants of the surrounding territories. They decided to trick them into making a covenant with them.  They thought it was a better plan for survival and the thing is, it worked. They were able to put one over on them by appearing to have traveled a great distance.

Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. So Joshua made peace with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. Joshua 9:14-16

Joshua and the elders fell for the craftily laid plan because they believed what they saw with their eyes. They believed the  worn clothes and the worn sandals. They believed the mended wineskins and the moldy bread.  They believed the evidence in front of them and they trusted in their own ability to make decisions, but they forgot to do the one thing we all need to do whenever there is a decision to make. It says they forgot the most important thing, '...but they did not ask counsel of the Lord.' We as His people need to not trust in what we see or in our own ability but we must look to Him to lead and to guide our choices each day.  We must, 'Ask His Counsel!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Secret Counsel of God

"The friendship (or secret counsel) of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant." Psalm 25:14

This is a cool verse! God is going to tell stuff to the people who have a healthy dose of respect and awe for Him. He will make covenants with them. He will give His friendship and secret counsel to them.

You see this all throughout the Bible. David was called a man after God's own heart. God made a covenant with him. Samuel was a prophet, and God confided His secret counsel in him. Abraham was called the friend of God, and God made a covenant with him. Elijah, Elisha, Moses, Joshua, Peter, Paul, Deborah, Simon, Anna, Jeremiah, and so many others experienced these things.

What did all these men and women have in common, that resulted in God choosing them?

They feared God. They had respect for Him. They loved Him. They stood in awe and humility before Him. They had real relationships with God. A true friendship. It was not mediocre or casual.

A lot of people think that kind of a relationship with God is dead. It's no wonder we hardly see the miracles of the days of old!

"For the Lord LORD does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7

However, Amos 3:7 clearly says God does nothing without first telling His people. Big things are going to happen, and God is going to be talking to His people about them. My question to you is, are you going to be in on God's secret counsel, His friendship, and His covenant?


Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Strike Three Times?"

Then he said, "Take the arrows;" so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, "Strike the ground;" so he struck three times, and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him, and said, "You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it. But now you will strike Syria only three times." 2 Kings 13:18-19

Joash the king of Israel had come to Elisha and asked him for help. Elisha told him to get a bow and some arrows and had him shoot one of the arrows out the window. As he did this he spoke prophetically and called it 'the arrow of deliverance.' He then had him take the arrows and strike the ground. The king did it three times. Elisha was upset that he ONLY struck it three times. He was upset that he hadn't struck it five or six times because that was how many times he would strike Syria.

As I was reading this today it made me wonder. How many times would I have struck? How many times have I stopped short of receiving the fulness of His provision in my life because of the limits I put on God's ability to answer my cries for help.  Joash is the one who went to Elisha for help.  He knew that Elisha was 'the prophet of God.' He knew that they were in a 'Prophetic moment.' When Elisha spoke and told him to strike the ground he should have struck it and kept on striking it till he was told different. Instead he stopped short and because he did it had an impact on his ability to overcome his enemy.

How often do we give ground to our enemy because we like Joash forget to embrace the answer He gives us? How often do we like Joash stop short of receiving all that He wants to do on our behalf when we cry out to Him for help?

Its time that we as His people decide to do more than to 'strike three times.'  We need to "Go Big" and start believing and receiving all that He has made available for us.  Remember, do more than 'strike three times' today!