BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Saturday, December 31, 2011

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 11

I have been taking care of my elderly father for the last month or so and in the course of that time we have been watching repeats of several sitcoms from about 10 years ago. Back to back episodes … can’t beat that with a stick. I noticed something very telling … in just about every episode the husband lies to his wife. Some would be considered innocent little lies, others were whoppers. In the end the wife always found out and in the end she always still loved him. It is meant to be funny and many times it is. The situations that the husband gets himself in is laughable to be sure, but it is a poor reflection of what real life should truly be.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m never lied. I am ashamed to say that I have lied about some pretty important things when it comes to spousal relationships. I am not proud of that, not even one little bit. There are consequences tied to everything we say and do. While these are depicted on the sitcoms, in real life, it doesn’t end up so pretty. Scripture clearly tells us that lying is wrong. At times the consequences were devastating. 

So what must we do? Tell the truth. Tell the truth always. Avoid temptations. Personal integrity is paramount in life. It’s bad enough in business … If people don’t trust you you’re sunk. But in your personal life, if you wife or husband doesn’t feel that they can trust you, you have lost something most precious.

1 Corinthians 6:12 (TNIV) “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.”

1 Corinthians 10:23 (TNIV) “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.”

Our freedom to do as we please is well documented. The results of our words and actions are also well documented. We all need guidelines regarding what to think, say and do. God offers a succinct guide throughout scripture of how to carry ourselves in life. We can either strive to live it or do things under our own steam. We botch things up because we don’t have a model to life by. Even if we do, it is born out of limited resources. God’s plan is based on His infinite wisdom and power. Our plans are finite at best and never allow us to reach our full potential.

Another thing about the two shows that we watch; the husbands are portrayed as dumb clods; doofuses, incompetent at best.  The wives usually are portrayed as being the sensible ones; the ones who use intelligence instead of brutish Neanderthalism.  It portrays a union that few women would desire and quietly undermines the marital structure. It’s all tied to what we feed our brains. Garbage in, garbage out.

In the end, it comes down to what we believe; where does our faith and trust lie? Is it in ourselves and our limited abilities or in an infinite, all knowing, all powerful unseen deity Who has chosen to create us and unconditionally love His creation, in spite of ourselves? You decide. As the New Year rapidly approaches, decide to tell the truth always and protect your personal integrity. It is something you can ill afford to lose.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

REST


Matthew 11:28 (TNIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”



weary  
1. Physically or mentally fatigued.

burden
a. Something that is emotionally difficult to bear.
b. A source of great worry or stress; weight:

burdened
1. To weigh down; oppress.
2. To load or overload.

rest  
1. Cessation of work, exertion, or activity.
2. Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.
3. Sleep or quiet relaxation.
4. Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance.
5. Mental or emotional tranquility.
6. Termination or absence of motion.

In all our running around, especially during the holidays, we need to hear a message like this. God wishes us to shed our burdens, those things which weigh us down, and find rest IN HIM. How is this done? It may sound easier than it actually is.

For some of us, it is nearly impossible to FIND rest. Our minds are whirling all the time. It gives us trouble sleeping at night. It causes us fatigue during the day; days that run into each other as we frantically race from one chore to the next. Slowing down doesn’t appear to be an option and stopping is out of the question. But is it really? Who says it is? Will the earth stop rotating on its’ axis if we stop our running? It may seem like it, but in actuality, it will not. There comes a time when we all need to just say a collective “no” to activity. We can’t be all things to all people and we are not omnipresent like God. We can only do so much.

The rest God offers from the wearying burdens of this life is transcendent thing … it “lies beyond the ordinary range of perception”.* It is something that is supplied by His Holy Spirit from within. It cannot be touched, yet can be felt. It cannot be tasted or smelled, yet it is very real. It is an ebbing away of tension. It is the essence of peace. Think of a placid lake … not a ripple in it. THAT is like the rest God offers. “Well, I could use THAT”, you say. “Where can I find that? I’d like to bottle it and sell it. I would make millions!” You can’t find it in any store. It isn’t for sale on QVC or at any Flea Markets. It is free for the taking. The only catch is you have to be willing to STOP. You have to physically stop. You have to stop thinking and stop running and stop supposing and stop fretting. It’s not easy, but it IS possible. You have to just ask God to help you quiet yourself down. Perhaps some quiet instrumental music will aid in the process. Let it all go. Trust me; it will still be there when you are through resting. Start small. 5-10 min. Shut out the world. If you have 6 screaming children running roughshod over your homestead, you will need to find a time when they themselves are resting. It may be a challenge, but it is quite necessary for your sanity and it can be accomplished if you seek it diligently and make the effort. God knows you need rest. He will provide a way for you to have it. Talk to God about it. Talk to Him the way you talk to anyone else. He is your Heavenly Father. You can level with Him. He knows it all already. Just tell Him your burdens and ask Him to give you rest. He promised He would. It’s in His Word. And He never goes back on His Word.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* definition courtesy of www.thefreedictionary.com




Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GOD'S BENEFITS

Psalm 103 (TNIV) “Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

David not only exhorts us in this Psalm to praise the name of the Lord, but also takes the time to list His benefits to us.  David, though very human as evidenced by his sins against Jehovah, was labeled by God Himself as a man after God’s own heart. Not only should that encourage those of us who are so much less than perfect, but should also remind us of who we are serving: a benevolent God who does not delight in the suffering of His children.

Christmas is over, however, the hallelujahs still ring out regarding the birth of the Christ child. It is news for the ages and not just for one season per year. In that news lies our salvation. Healing for our bodies and our souls. We were all bound for the pit of hell, which was created for the devil and all his minions. Trust and obey is all God requires of us. Surrender. Throw your hands up in the air as a sign of humble servitude to your God. Receive from Him everything He has for you. He wishes to bless you and never curse you. As the Psalmist says, God crowns you with love and compassion. Where on this earth can you find such an enduring love? … nowhere.

The desires He satisfies are not for temporal things, but eternal things; things that will last and be more meaningful as time goes by. God knows what we truly need. He is able to provide that which we most desperately require for survival in this life and the life to come. All the riches in the world cannot buy happiness or forgiveness of sins. A good man without Christ in his life and the Holy Spirit of God in his heart is nothing more than a good man, but a good man WITH Christ in his life and the Spirit of God in his heart is something much more: he is a righteous man. Without God in our lives we could never achieve the righteous standard required by God to enter into heaven. It lies in the acceptance of the gift. Salvation … forgiveness … justification; just as if I’d never sinned. Favor … mercy … hope. All because we have just a modicum of faith. Just a mustard seeds worth. Just enough to fit on a pin head. Faith. Trust. Obedience. Faith in action. Stepping out. Daring to live for God in the marketplace. Allowing Him to make a difference in your life. Letting Him change you from the inside out. You don’t need to tidy yourself up for Him. His Holy Spirit will do the job from your innermost core outward. God wants to change you for the better. He knows all that you can be. He wants you to surrender to Him. Allow Him to use you. Let Him change the way you look at things. Let Him change the way you act and react to things. We are all a work in progress … a building under construction, as it were.  Striving for perfection without any hope of attaining it this side of heaven IS a worthy goal. Being more like Jesus. Living like you mean it. Living like you care for someone, anyone besides yourself.  This time of the year causes us to pause and reflect on a whole lot of things. But nothing is more important that the condition of our own soul. Surrender.

We are to “praise God from Whom all blessings flow”. He is most worthy of all our praise. He is the only One worthy of any praise in this crazy, mixed up world. We readily praise performers and athletes and that is all well and good for what it is. They get paid handsomely for their talents, but have you ever considered who gave them those talents. Did they develop them all by themselves or did a higher power have something to do with it. Athletes who give praise to God are ignored or ridiculed, but they have the right idea. They realize and accept that if God had not blessed them with certain abilities, they would not be where they are today. This life is not all about YOU. It is about others; perhaps less fortunate, perhaps most fortunate. How would you tell the difference? I consider myself to be most fortunate, yet have no job and live on a shoe string budget as I care for my elderly father.  I consider myself of all men most blessed because I have been allowed this time with my Dad. All the money and fame in the world would only be a distraction. God provides what we need and we move on from here. God is faithful and He is good. His judgment is real, yet can be avoided if we simply follow the path He has laid before us. We must stick close to Him. We must know Him intimately, as He knows us. Trust Him to guide you into the New Year.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!!


Monday, December 26, 2011

KNOWING CHRIST


Philippians 3:7-9 (TNIV) “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Funny how at a time when people are getting so many things as gifts, Paul is talking about losing everything, or at least considering everything he has as garbage. Why would a person say that? When they are comparing their material possessions to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. God in all His glory far surpasses anything this world has to offer. Everything in this world has been created by God to begin with. Nothing created can be greater than it’s’ creator.

Everything in God’s economy is based on faith and trust. Anything worth having in this life is tied to the Creator of the Universe. Baubles and bangles and all the shiny things that attract the eye are all well and good, but they have never done for a person what Christ has done for the soul. “Dressing to the 9’s”, as the saying goes, is meaningless if the clothing adorning one’s body is nothing more than a fa├žade covering up the true man. Nothing is hidden from Almighty God. Nothing escapes His gaze.

It is frivolous to think that we could ever get away with anything in this life without God knowing all about it. Oh sure, there are many things that we do each day that are inconsequential … they hold no eternal value and have no real meaning. You know what I am talking about … dressing for the day, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, going through the rigors of the day and so on. No eternal value, yet things that need to be done nonetheless. Anything of true value tends to be well thought out. Spontaneous events can be beautiful and very rewarding as well. Things we say and do can have a lasting impact. What we do for ourselves out of need or selfish motivation in the end amount to nothing. It is what we do for others that make the biggest impact.

What in this life could possibly surpass the greatest of Christ? What in this life could possibly be greater than what He did at Calvary, Golgotha’s hill? Nothing else thrills the soul like that. The temporal things of this life are supposed to hold no attraction for us. The enemy of our souls is constantly wooing us with his temptations; drugs and alcohol to deaden the senses so we can muddle through our life. Just make it through the day and the week. Party hardy on the weekend. Recover the next week. Sex sells. It’s everywhere we look. Scantily clad women, leaving nothing much to the imagination slither through our lives via television and internet to get us to buy, buy, buy anything from cologne to liquor to clothing to cars. All temporal; none of it does what Christ can has already done. Oh make no mistake about it; sin is fun … for the moment. If it wasn’t no one would do it. Sin is to hold no attraction to us as believers. Fun can be had spending it with family and friends. The destruction that lies at the feet of temptation can be devastating. I know. And in the face of all this Paul stands up and says everything this world has to offer is dung … it is garbage compared to the surpassing greatest of knowing Christ.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


I have no problem mentioning Christ at Christmas time.  To me it is not Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings … it is Merry Christmas!!
So MERRY CHRISTMAS and may God bless you with every blessing He has apportioned for you.
And may you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in the Biblical sense … that you prosper even as your soul prospers.  For without the grace, mercy, peace, wisdom and guidance of Christ in our lives, where would we be?  I shudder to think of how my life would have turned out if I hadn’t heeded the call of God’s Holy Spirit over 30 years ago.  Reflect on how your life has been blessed.  Don’t focus on anything that you didn’t get or that didn’t happen. Focus on the things that God had a hand in and realize that He is your provider and sustainer.  Without Him we are nothing.  And to think the story all began for us gentiles with a heaven sent baby who grew up obeying his parents and his Heavenly Father. He freely ministered to those in need around him and brought healing indiscriminately. When the time was right, pre-ordained by the Father, the little baby, now fully grown and in his 30’s willingly suffered the horrors of a crucifixion to pay a price we could never afford.  His birth, life and death were God’s plan to save us all.  Do you trust Him today?  Notice, I am not asking if you are a Christian, I am asking you … are you trusting Him in your life? 

Our gracious Heavenly Father, help us to refocus our spiritual eyes on that which is important to us … You.  Let us quiet ourselves regularly and follow the leading of Your Spirit. Fill us with Your peace and let us truly be salt and light to those around us who do not know You.  We know You are our Provider and Sustainer, so we ask nothing material for ourselves, simply that our lives are a blessing to You.  Help us understand that it is NOT about us.  Gifts are nice, but let us never lose sight of Your gift of salvation, for it is truly more valuable than anything on this earth.  We ask all this in the name of Your Son, Jesus, who is without hesitation the reason for the season … amen.
God bless and WALK WITH THE KING EACH DAY AND BE A BLESSING!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 10

This time of year promotes pondering the true meaning of the holiday. Thanksgiving is a day of thanks, all the while pushing the concept of giving thanks to God each day the whole year round. Christmas is a day to give, all the while pushing the concept of giving to those in need each day the whole year round. I wonder if those concepts are lost on many of us. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season creates a joyful type of havoc that we tend to revel in because we get to see family and friends and share good times and memories. All the while a baby born in a manger remains in the deep recesses of our hearts and minds. That fact that Christ was born has been dismissed by millions who would rather worship anything BUT God. It doesn’t alter history … nothing can do that. Rewriting history seems to be popular lately. Perhaps that is what people are trying to do. Rewrite Christ right out of the Holiday Season. Don’t offend anyone by wishing them a Merry Christmas … my goodness man, the word CHRIST is in Christmas. You might offend someone with that kind of talk. But if the pagans of the world wanted to follow the ancient Druid practice of worshipping trees, well, then THAT would be alright. We could make it an international holiday. Usher Christ right off the stage. But Christ did come. He did grow up into a man who fulfilled God’s plan for the salvation of His wayward creation. No one else can do that. So let me hear it for Jesus. Christ is born! Praise His name! If it offends you, then tell me WHY it offends you. What about Christ offends you sir or ma’am?  Do I not have the right to worship as I please or must I crawl under my bed or into my closet to worship God as those in oppressive, government ruled, Socialistic countries must do? You say we are to LIVE AND LET LIVE as long as the way we live doesn’t offend your frail, oversensitive sensibilities. I shall proclaim my faith in Christ from the roof tops and you may proclaim what you wish for the rooftop of your choice as well. God will accomplish His plan with or without you. He is the great I AM. He WILL and in fact, already HAS won out over evil.  Glory to God in the highest and peace and good will to all men.
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Friday, December 23, 2011

NEW LIFE BEGINS

Luke 2:8-12 (TNIV) “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Hebrews 1:14 (TNIV) Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

Think of how it must have been. Shepherds tending their flocks at night and a messenger from God appeared before them.  It doesn’t tell us whether he was bright with heavenly glory or looked normal for the day, it simply says that He “appeared to them”. There must have been something about him that let them know he was sent from God. It is my humble opinion that he must have had a heavenly glow about him. Perhaps he was dressed all in white. It truly doesn’t matter about his appearance, but what I am trying to establish is that it must have been quite a sight. The sight of him “terrified” the shepherds. Apparently he appeared out of nowhere. That is a sure clue that something divine is transpiring.

The messenger brought incredible news to them. He brought them instructions of where to find their Messiah. The Hebrews had been seeking their Savior for quite some time and now He had arrived. A star would lead them to where He lay. It was a humble beginning for Jesus. The players in the scene were handpicked by God Himself to bring about His plan for the salvation of mankind. God could have easily wiped them from the face of the earth as He did with the flood in Noah’s time, for the heinous things they had done down through the ages since, but in His incredible mercy He relented, instead sending His Son to be the one true sacrifice needed to cleanse people of their sins once for all time.  

For the angel to say he was bringing “good news” would be a major understatement. Down through the ages we can look back at that night and that message delivered to shepherds standing in their fields and say, yes that is truly magnificent news. The weight of our sin no longer needs to be around our necks. There is a way, there is a hope. God, in all His compassion and love for His creation, knowing how prone they were to do that which was wrong, provided an escape from the cycle of sin. He provided the One who could, by using His own death, not just break, but shatter the link in the chain of sins that had weighed mankind down for so long. As a result, our chains can fall down at our feet, leaving us free from them forevermore.

And how would this tiny baby accomplish this amazing feat? Babies don’t stay babies forever. Anyone who has ever been a parent knows that. They grow up in young adults and then adults and hopefully become productive members of the society in which they live. Jesus was special. He was unique, as are we all, but He was different.

God guided Him through his life to the point where He would activate the most incredible act of mercy and grace this world has ever known. Why do so many people reject it? I wish I knew. There are a variety of reasons people shun Christ. But no one is beyond the reach of God. No one is beyond saving.

John 3:16 (TNIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 10:28 (TNIV) “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

2 Thessalonians 2:10b (TNIV) “(The wicked) perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”

Christ came to earth as a baby, but He rose up to be the Son of God who gave His life for the sake of our sins. Embrace the baby in swaddling clothes this day knowing full well that His eventual death can bring you new life.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!




Thursday, December 22, 2011

LESSONS OF LOVE

Luke 2:8-11 (TNIV) “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

It is a joyful occasion when a child is born. But THIS child was the One prophesied to come; the Messiah, the One who would come and free Israel. God’s plan differed quite a bit from theirs though. Israel was expecting a mighty King who would lead them in battle over their oppressors, not a babe in swaddling clothes born among beasts of burden in a manger. This flew in the face of their ideals regarding their Messiah. God knew what was required, they did not.

Today people want what they want, whatever their heart desires. Some think of God as this benevolent being up in the sky somewhere who will grant them untold riches just for the asking, like some type of Genie in a bottle. When things don’t turn out the way they want they decide to not believe in this “god” anymore. They can get what they want without His help. If only they could see that which is truly important, even vital to their survival. It is not in the things we acquire, but rather in the things we give away. And it is not in the material possessions given away, but rather in the non-tangibles.

We are to bless others as we have been blessed, not necessarily with money, because not everyone is able to do that, but with kindness and goodness. We are to treat others the way we would like to be treated, regardless of whether we are treated likewise. We are to love others as God loves us. We are to give away to any in need infinite portions of mercy and grace. We are to be patient and joyful. In spite of instructions to the contrary, we continue to strive for that which is unattainable. Money, no matter how much, will NEVER make a person happy, content or satisfied. For happiness is not in what we HAVE, but rather is derived from what we give to others.

Christ came as a meek and mild infant, born of a woman, born in a manger. He was a commoner by most standards. Because of who He was He should have been born in a palace with opulence all around Him, but God knew what was required, so He sent Him to earth to live among regular people, those who God knew would recognize Him for Who He truly was. He came to rule and reign over our hearts, not over our countries. His Kingdom is not seen by mortal eyes, but rather requires spiritual vision to see.

The journey to Calgary began in a manger among animals. He did not rise up and rule over man, but rather showed them over time how to love their fellow man. They were taught not to keep these lessons of love to themselves but rather to spread the word all the way to today, to you and me. Christ really started something when He came to earth as a baby over 2000 years ago. What are you doing with these lessons of love you have learned?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NO ROOM IN THE INN

Luke 2:5-7 (TNIV) “(Joseph) went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

It's a big deal to have a son be born to you even now, but back in the days of Christ it was a bigger deal because of the declaration the angel had made to Mary prior to the birth. This was to be the Christ child, the Son of Almighty God. Talk about pressure. They didn’t need ultrasound back then to know the gender of the baby, God orchestrated it and allowed Mary to know who she was carrying. Normally, the birth of a son would mean that there was now an heir to carry on the family name. In THIS case the son was the Son and His birth was far more important for all creation then just carrying on a family’s name.

Ever been on the road late at night?  You’re traveling and need a place to stop and rest for the night.  You have your very pregnant wife with you and you find that all the hotels are full up for miles around because there is not just ONE convention in town that day, but TWO. You really need to stop for the night. You are getting a little bleary eyed and your body needs to shut down for the night to recoup for tomorrows travels. You happen to run into a farmer at the gas station where you are filling up. You strike up a conversation. You end up telling him your plight. He graciously offers a stall in his barn to spend the night in. You gratefully accept.

You hardly notice the smell of animals and raw waste as you settle in for the night on a bed of hay.  You thank God for His hand of mercy and ask Him to bless the farmer for his generosity. Your wife is close to giving birth as sleep overtakes you and you drift off.

This is what it might be like if the birth of Christ were to take place today.  Would people believe in this miraculous birth any more than they did back then? Today, unfortunately, a pregnant, unwed mother would not be all that unfamiliar of a sight. If she insisted that an angel told her she was carrying the Messiah, the Chosen One of God, she might be carted off to a mental hospital or at the very least the emergency room to do some tests on her, some psychological. Ah, how things have changed. But God has remained the same. Well, hasn’t He? What about God has changed?

This time of year brings to mind many warm, wonderful memories for millions of people. However, to some it is the annual reminder of a lost loved one. To still others, it is a reminder of being mistreated by a parent. Through all this, God has remained the same. He has never NOT known all that was going on. If you probe the deeper recesses of your subconscious mind you just may find the ways He helped you cope with the bad experiences. Perhaps you were too stung or bruised to notice then, but God is always working on our behalf. We only need to surrender to His will and way.

The cool thing about babies is that sometimes they grow up to be pretty neat people. In the case of Jesus, He grew up to fulfill His Father’s plan for the salvation of all mankind. You and I will never do that, 1) because it has already been done and doesn’t need to be REdone; 2) God has other plans for us. Are you loving Him today? Are you available to be used by Him today? Is your life all about YOU or is it all about OTHERS, as God wants it to be. We all need to focus in on the bigger picture. Christ wasn’t JUST born to die so we could be forgiven from all our sins; no, He was also born so that we could see a living, breathing example of how we were to act and react in this world. His teachings are eternal; His examples of how to intermingle with others and tap into the Father’s Spirit to bring mercy, comfort, peace, healing and  hope are unprecedented. He was and is God’s only begotten Son; perfect in every way. Our responsibility as “little Christ’s” is to strive to be more like Him each and every day.
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE WICKED HAVE IT COMING


Psalm 37:12-13 (NIV) “The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked for He knows their day is coming.”

GNASHING OF TEETH (def): to show anger or dismay; angry complaining. *

Do you have people in your life that just seem to treat you with distain? They simply do not like you and you have no idea why. They treat you like you are beneath them. Do you find it difficult to love them with the love of Christ? Join the club. It is not easy to “bless those who persecute you” and “pray for your enemies”. The above verses in Psalms should give you hope.

It’s not as if we WANT the people who are a proverbial THORN in our flesh to die or be struck deaf and dumb, but we would like to know that the evil in the world will come to a just end at some point. Some may find it disconcerting that we don’t get to dole out the punishment, but we don’t. If we do, we will suffer the consequences of our actions … and there are ALWAYS consequences.

It should be pointed out that God doesn’t wish that any would perish, but rather than all would come to the saving knowledge of Christ. But having a free will, man can choose to surrender or not surrender to the will of God. So essentially, the plan in a nutshell is “surrender or die”. In a world where children are no longer taught how to act in the face of defeat or shown the lessons that can be learned from adversity, the concept of surrender is lost. But that is what God requires from us.

The wicked people of the world hate the righteous. If the truth be known, they are probably jealous because they can stand in the face of tribulation and remain relatively calm as they allow the Holy Spirit to guide them through. “How disgusting!” they must think. Weaklings; afraid to fight to the death. Not true. Believers fight for what they feel strongly about. They attempt to shun that which is against the will of God, sometimes with limited success, but they are striving toward that goal.

Those who plot against the righteous are heading for a major fall, unbeknownst to them. God is neither mocked, nor has He ever failed to do that which He has promised He will do. The Lord laughs at the meager attempts by the evil doers of this world to thwart His plans. NOTHING can stop the wheels that God has put into motion. God’s will WILL be done … on earth, just as it is in heaven. And those who continue in their vain attempts to trip us up will meet their end without chance of rebuttal. They will be found guilty by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is no one else that they can turn to for support or defense. Satan is a toothless lion whose only wish is to destroy them. They will find no solace there.

What this means in the end is that we never need to plan our revenge. Let it be known that Almighty God can revenge us far better than we ever could revenge ourselves. In the end, if the wicked never relent; if they never turn to God, their reward, as it were, will be a fire pit for all eternity. Hey, I didn’t write the book. There is a way of escape and it is through surrender. God is desirous of your company and the banqueting table in heaven. Shun God and His children no longer and instead, embrace them, for it is with God where true freedom, peace and hope lie.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* definition courtesy of www.thefreedictionary.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

GENUINE

1 Peter 1:6-8 (TNIV) “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,



gen·u·ine adj.
1. Actually possessing the alleged or apparent attribute or character.
2. Not spurious or counterfeit; authentic.
3. a. Honestly felt or experienced; b. Actual; real.
4. Free from hypocrisy or dishonesty; sincere.
5. Being of pure or original stock.

Ever met people who you would describe as GENUINE or perhaps authentic?  They seem down-to-earth; real; not pretentious; no hidden agendas? They weep with you when you are sad; celebrate with you when you are joyful.  After spending years looking for such a church with a congregation of GENUINE believers, I think I have finally found them. They are the type of folks who put feet to their faith and are always honestly glad to see you. Their faith is real and it shows. Why does it seem as though there are so few of them around?

I’m not sure that I can answer that last question, but based on the above portion of scripture, maybe too many of us are wilting under the pressure of the trials that come our way.  The way we come through our circumstances shows others how GENUINE our faith in God is. Do we cuss and fuss our way through them or do we silently endure them, seeking that which God would teach us to strengthen us for battle against the wiles of our enemy? If the truth be known, I have been a part of the former, rather than the latter team more than I care to admit.  Sometimes our faith comes under such immense pressure that we cave. We let our emotions get the better of us and we just go off screaming into the night. Okay, we don’t literally do that, but be honest, how many times do you wish you could have?

It is interesting that we can love and serve an UNSEEN God, yet allow our faith to buckle when the heat is turned up. Did we honestly expect that once we accepted Christ and were forgiven for our sins nothing bad would ever happen to us? Bad things happen to good people. We need to move past that.  I believe that everything happens to us for a specific purpose and it is our responsibility to find out from our Lord just what He wants to teach us in a given situation. It is meant to build up our faith and not frustrate it. Answers do NOT come instantaneously most of the time. It is ‘YES’, ‘NO’ or ‘NOT YET’.  We can deal with the Yes responses; however, it’s the NO’s and the NOT YET’s that eat our lunch. If you expected a cake walk, you are in the wrong episode. God is never taken by surprise when a trial befalls us. He has either caused or allowed it for a very specific purpose.

Once you weather your storm of uncertainty and realize that that which has befallen you is actually common to man in one form or another, you will begin to stand up to the pressure. When you are able to do that you will start to show others the genuineness of your faith. With God being the One who is capable of doing ANYTHING, we need to tap into that and live our lives in certainty, rather than fear and trepidation. What do you say? Surrender to God and let His will be done in your life today.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 9

There is a saying which has made it onto a bumper sticker. It says: “Life is fragile; handle with prayer.” You know, it really is. Just tweak your back sometime and you’ll find out real quick just how fragile it is. Infants and small children are probably the most fragile of God’s creation. Pets; elderly folks; all ones who cannot fend for themselves without someone’s help. They trust those around them to provide for and sustain them in their time of need. We become God’s hand extended as we do that for them.

That is exactly what God does for us. He provides for and sustains us as we traverse through life’s hills and valleys. He travels with us in the form of His Holy Spirit to lead us down the path God has chosen for us. The interesting thing to me is that we think we know what we’re doing, but we don’t. I am the care giver for my elderly father and I have no clue how to take care of most of the things that need to be done. There are services and folks willing to lend a hand, but I don’t even know who to ask. The rubber is about to meet the road as I go about bringing some changes that he may or may not like, but are most necessary. I shall go about it prayerfully.

God is always watching. He is here; He is there; He is everywhere … in the form of His Holy Spirit. We should never lose sight of that fact. He is not gazing off in another direction when troubles befall us. He is intimately aware of what we are going through and is ready, willing and able to lend assistance. We don’t even think about Him in our darkest hour. We try to figure out a solution by ourselves. All the while God is watching; kind of like an expert watches a neophyte stumble through his vain attempt to solve his own problem. God knows what we need but we insist on doing things ourselves. We cuss and fuss and finally throw our hands up in the air in frustration wondering why God has allowed this particular set of circumstances to fall down all around us.

Prayer; handle life with prayer. Lift up our needs to Him who is the prayer answerer. The One true God who cares for His creation so deeply and profoundly that He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place on a criminals cross. He voluntarily and willingly took as severe a beating as any man could and we didn’t even know Him. He gave His own life; He shed His very own blood to save those who couldn’t have cared less that He did. Christ gave unto death. Christ would do it all again if needs be, but the glorious fact in all this is that His sacrifice was done once for all for all time. Never again will a blood sacrifice be needed to cleanse us from our sins.

So life is a fragile thing. But God shores it up for us with His strength and fills us with His divine peace and comfort; the essence of His mercy and grace. We scarcely deserve it, but its there for the taking. Won’t you partake? His desire is that you will. When life becomes a little too fragile, look to God and ask Him for a hand. He loves you and cares for you more than you could ever understand. Nothing on this earth compares to the unquenchable love our God has for each of His creation. Thank You Lord for your indescribable goodness to us; may we never take You for granted again.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

GOD DESERVES ALL PRAISE


Luke 1:49 (NKJV) “For He who is mighty has done great things for me … holy is His name.”

might·y  (adj)
1. Having or showing great power, skill, strength, or force.
2. Imposing or awesome in size, degree, or extent

ho·ly  (adj)
1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
2. Regarded with or worthy of worship or veneration; revered: a holy book.
3. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy person.
4. Specified or set apart for a religious purpose: a holy place.

“He who is mighty” obvious refers to God Himself, for who else does truly MIGHTY things? Jehovah God is described in scripture as being Omnipotent, which is ALL powerful. There is no power greater than the power God wields. With ONE WORD God can alter the course of history. With ONE WORD He can change a person’s circumstances entirely. We have to believe He can and will do that on our behalf, but He is more than able. Our lack of faith in Him doesn’t negate His ability to do whatever He chooses.

His name is HOLY. He is a divine deity; a spirit being who was and is and will be. He is the great “I AM”. He has always been and always will be in existence; He will never cease to exist. Now I don’t pretend to understand that … not even a little bit, but the Bible says it and I believe it without hesitation. I know there is a higher power at work in my life each day and there is no reason for me not to believe it is a loving, benevolent unseen deity who always has my best interests at heart.

The above verse of taken from what scripture refers to as “the song of Mary”. She is extolling the virtues of her God.  Her song is a good example of how we too can praise our God whether we are in our car driving somewhere, in church, at home, taking a walk … ANYWHERE! We don’t have to meet with God at a church alter or even in a church building. WE are the church. The edifice we call the church is nothing more than a building. WE are the church. So it stands to reason that as long as we exist in THIS earthly tent of skin, we would want to praise, worship and glorify Jehovah God. Why? For no other reason than because He is worth it. Actually, He is MORE than worth it. Who else in the history of man has done the things that God has done? No one. Who else could possibly be worthy of any praise or honor whatsoever? No one. The greatest deeds done by man during his lifetime pale in comparison to that which God has done or will even THINK of doing.

As we reflect on our lives and that which we are experiencing during this Advent Season, remember that HE who is mighty has done great things for ME. His name is Holy. He desires and is worthy of our undying devotion and continuous praise and worship. As we go through each day, we should reflect on His goodness to us.  We ought to ponder what our condition would be if He was NOT in our lives. Frankly, if we ran our lives for ourselves we would be in trouble. We know it; we just don’t want to think about it. How can a created being who reportedly only utilizes 1/10th of their total brain capacity out perform a universal spirit being who undoubtedly has 100% of His mental faculties at His disposal. It is too impossible to comprehend. So just praise Him. You know He deserves all praise.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CHRIST'S REIGN

Luke 1:31-33 (Young's Literal Translation) 31 and lo, thou shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a son, and call his name Jesus; 32 he shall be great, and Son of the Highest he shall be called, and the Lord God shall give him the throne of David his father, 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob to the ages; and of his reign there shall be no end.”

in•fi•nite
1. Having no boundaries or limits.
2. Immeasurably great or large; boundless.*

e•ter•nal
1. Being without beginning or end; existing outside of time.
2. Continuing without interruption; perpetual.
3. Forever true or changeless.
4. Seemingly endless; interminable.
5. Of or relating to spiritual communion with God, especially in the afterlife.
6. Something timeless, uninterrupted, or endless.*

Christ was born to a virgin, conceived by God’s Holy Spirit. And of His rule there shall be NO END. Christ was there and an active participant at creation. (John 1:1-5) What this tells us is that He has the power and authority to follow through with His promises and the program He has designed for us; the Salvation Plan.

Christmas is a glorious time of year. We celebrate the birth of the Christ child. We decorate our homes, put up our tree, fulfill long standing family traditions, sing carols, exchange gifts and then it is done. But it doesn’t have to be. “Of His Kingdom there shall be no end.” The Kingdom of Christ is in the here and now and just as we should be thankful throughout the year and not just on Thanksgiving, we should likewise celebrate Christ year round as well. Christ isn’t just a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is our King. He is our Lord. He is our Savior. It is not a once a year thing; that is an everyday thing. Christ doesn’t stop being who He is after Christmas. He doesn’t vaporize once the decorations are put up. He is eternal and His reign has no end … it is infinite.

So many of us go into the new year with a sense of dread. What will befall me this year, we seem to ask ourselves? But life doesn’t have to be that way. Each new day can be just like Christmas if the risen Savior resides IN you by His Holy Spirit. His reign is endless and filled with hope and peace and glory. We can tap into that. We can know that peace and live with a sense of hope and purpose. It doesn’t come from living for yourself. It comes from being blessed and then in turn, being a blessing to those around you. It comes from knowing from Whom all blessings flow. It comes from a personal relationship.

I have people tell me from time to time, “Wow, you sound religious”. Did you know that the word “religion” or “religious” does not appear even one time in the Bible? I am not religious. Actually, I silently bristle at the implication. I have a relationship with the Most High God. It is not religious, but rather relational. I say that not to sound haughty, but rather as a means of identifying Whose I am. Anything good that is seen in me is because of Whose I am. You have heard people say “he acts just like his mom or dad.” Or “I see a lot of his mom/dad in him.” That is what I desire people to see in me … I desire for people to see my Heavenly Father in me, for that way perhaps they might just want to know Him too. “… and of His reign there shall be no end.”

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* definitions courtesy of www.thefreedictionary.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

UNMERITED FAVOR

Titus 3:3-8 (NIV) “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures … (God) saved us, not because of any righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.“

I encourage you to read the entire portion, verses 3-8. It is quite an eye opener for those who may not realize exactly what salvation truly is. It is nothing we have done or even have the ability to do. It is unmerited favor. It is like receiving something free just because you were standing in line. It is like winning the million dollar jackpot without even buying a ticket. The only reason I even mention it in that manner is to bring it down to earthly terms. However, it is so much more than that. It is an eternal, spiritual, powerful, matchless event that nothing on this earth can even come close to comparing to.

We humans are a proud lot. We have difficulty admitting that we are fools or slaves. I mean, would you readily admit to that? I doubt that I would. But in reality we were or still are if we are not true believers in Christ. Just like an alcoholic must admit to his drinking problem, so we must admit that we are sinners separated from God by that sin. We must admit that we are in need of someone to wash those sins away. It is not an easy thing to do, especially if we are riding the crest of a wave, so to speak. If everything is going our way and life is good we tend to blow off that which we most need. We are feeling cocky, self-assured, and ready to take on the world. We are not equipped to take on the world. The world will “eat our lunch”. We need help.

We wait until our darkest hour to even begin to seek help. We are in a deep pit looking for a “hand up”. God’s hand is extended, but we tend to blow that off saying “no, I don’t need religion, I just need a boost up”. My friend, it is not religion you need, I agree. It is a relationship.

We have done nothing to earn or deserve the mercy of God. That is what the phrase “unmerited favor” means. We receive something from God that we didn’t even know we needed in most cases, yet had at our disposal all along. God in all His wisdom and mercy designed a plan to save us from ourselves before we were ever born. That and the confounding truth that He loved us before we ever knew Him are humbling to say the least.

So what if we don’t choose to accept this “mercy”; what if we continue down the path that will unbeknownst to us lead to our own destruction? Our free will allows us to do that. Look at it like this: when a bridge is out, as in impassable, there are warning signs prior to the bridge entrance. Perhaps flashing signs, large striped road blockades, perhaps a flag man … God provides all that and more during our life to get our attention. Much of the time we are not paying any attention. We are having too much fun to notice. The sad part is that when it all comes crashing down, we blame God. “How could God DO this to me?” or “Why would God let this happen?” He had ways of escape littered all along your path, but you failed to take notice of them. It is never God’s fault when something bad happens to us. Life happens. It is a result of the fall of man. God is there. God is everywhere. It is only after we embrace the grace that He so freely offers us that we see things through different eyes … we see them through the eyes of the Holy Spirit.
Have you received the mercy and grace of God for yourself yet? Have you realized your hopeless state without Him? It is not too late to shed your old skin and surrender to God. Do it today, won’t you?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

GOD'S WORD


Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account.”

Now I understand that if you don’t believe in God believing in the Bible AS the Word of God is out of the question. If you say you believe in God you HAVE to believe that the Bible is His untainted, perfect word in written form. Scripture speaks of itself as God’s perfect inerrant word; without flaw, filled with instruction and truth. Above we see Paul writing to the Hebrews regarding the word of God. The Bible is like God Himself that it can penetrate into the heart of a man and reveal his true intent of thought, word and deed. There is no falsehood or innuendo with God. He comes right out and says what needs to be said. Man dances around a topic forever to avoid the inevitable consequences linked to a thought, word or deed, but God “cuts to the chase” as the saying goes.

I have said that God knows all about it many times. This portion of scripture bears that thought out. NOTHING is hidden from God’s sight … NOT ONE SINGLE, SOLITARY THING. You may be an expert at hiding the truth from everyone on the face of the planet, but you are unable to hide ANYTHING from God. That is not meant to intimidate or scare you … but it SHOULD scare the bejeebies out of you. If we honestly considered that fact prior to thinking, saying or doing the things we think, say and do, we would behave much differently than we do.

God is trying to make us aware that He is watching us and that there is a better way to go through this life than the way we may be going. His word is there to instruct and educate us. It is vibrant and alive and speaks to us if we allow it to. But for that to happen we must spend some time in His word. We all have busy schedules and that is a fact, but there has to be a modicum*of time that we can spend with God and His word. If we start small and work out way up to something perhaps more substantial, we will find out for ourselves how easy it is to do.

God is a patient, loving, benevolent spirit being Who wishes for us to receive all the blessings He has in store for His children. He is not an eternal “candy man” who is at our beck and call or gives us whatever we so desire. He is an unseen deity Who seeks our praise and worship in exchange for an eternal pardon for our sins.** That may be a rather innocuous way of explaining the grace of God, but essentially is that not what it is. Stripped of all the familiar church jargon and theological phraseology, is it not in its’ simplest form our eternal pardon for ungodly deeds done and in exchange God desires our worship? I believe it is.

Dig into God’s word. Take it on a verse at a time if needs be. Begin digging with a hand trowel to start with and slowly work your way up to a long handled work shovel. Don’t take on too much at first. Just like with prayer, don’t start out by going to an all night prayer event at your church. Start out with 5 min of prayer time. Cultivate your relationship with your God. Begin to listen for His still, small voice. Become familiar with His will for you as you move through life with Him. Find yourself a spiritual mentor; someone who is perhaps older and more mature in the things of God. Tap into their wisdom. Seek their advice. Fellowship with them. Discuss God’s word with them. The word of God is there for our education and edification. Allow it to build up your faith and trust in God. It will do wonders for your daily disposition and demeanor.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* A small, moderate, or token amount.
** Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God.
(www.thefreedictionary.com)

Monday, December 12, 2011

IT'S ABOUT TIME

Galatians 4:4-5 (MSG) “But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV) “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven ….”

God is in ultimate control over all things. He loves us and cares for us and knows the right and appropriate time for things to take place in our lives for us to receive the greatest benefit and for Him to receive the greatest glory. Perhaps there is something you need and need badly. A job, money, a healing … something you deem to be very important. There has seemingly been no response from heaven except silence. Do you think God is unaware of your circumstances? You are wrong. God knows all about it. We are speaking of an infinite spirit being who has no beginning and no end. I don’t understand that or even know how that is possible, but I have chosen to believe it. You may call it blind faith if you like, but it is faith nonetheless.

I will go so far as to say that I know in my heart that everything that has happened in my life has been orchestrated or allowed by God. I believe He puts individuals in our lives, sometimes for a short time, to bring about His plans for us. I refer to them as 'life chapters'. When one chapter of our life closes, another one invariably opens. When I moved from NJ to NC some 20 years ago, one life chapter closed and another one opened. That is just one example of what I am referring to. Your life changes. Your life arena changes. Your friends and life associates change. Your employment changes. Your financial structure is altered. Everything is different. Sometimes it happens because you wished it to, sometimes it is forced upon you by some unforeseen set of circumstances, but time moves on and nothing can stop that. How much more comforting is it to believe that God is Omnipresent, which is to say that not only is He in your circumstances as they unfold, but He is IN you by His Holy Spirit if you are a true believer.

God knew that His Son Jesus Christ would need to come to this earth, grow up with earthly parents hand chosen by God Himself and when fully grown minister His Father’s message of hope through forgiveness of sins committed. Talk about your delay in answered prayers. It took 33 years for this plan of salvation to unfold and be realized. We are peeved when it takes hours or days to receive our answer.

When God knew the time was right He sent His Son to rescue mankind from themselves. I don’t understand all the whys and wherefores of it all; I just know that God knew what was needed and when to administer the salve to heal our brokenness. Our free will allows us to reject this gift and millions do every day. This holiday season is meant to be a joyful time of celebration at the coming of Christ our Lord, yet it has, for many, turned into nothing more than a huge party where materials are wrapped and exchanged and soon forgotten. The Christmas season is so much more than that. To the true believer it is a time of reflection, giving and celebration. The Messiah has come. God be praised, His plan of salvation is coming to fruition. It had been put in motion from the very beginning of time. Why did everything that took place throughout the ages as written in the Old Testament need to take place before Christ would come? I don’t rightly know the answer to that question, but I know what I know and that is that Christ DID come at a time appointed by God for the atonement of our sins. He paid a debt He did not owe … once for all time. It is something that is worth celebrating.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 8

I grew up in a Presbyterian church in Red Bank, NJ. I sang in the children’s choir from age 7-17 and enjoyed it immensely. Through the years I have sung in various church choirs, but it seemed that the larger the church the less likely they were to want me to sing with them. It was nothing personal and I didn’t take it as such, however, a church holding auditions as if it were for a Broadway show was a bit much in my opinion. It is my feeling that anyone who loves to sing and would like to for the glory of God should be welcome. Most of the folks who can’t carry a tune in a bag know it, but what harm is it if they want to sing to God’s glory anyway?
 
Through the years I have attended Pentecostal churches, Baptist churches, Independent churches and Churches of Christ. They were all fine churches that preached and taught the Word of God with gusto. They are where I acquired my faith and knowledge of God. Today I attend a Presbyterian church in Middletown, NJ, the town I now live in and the one I grew up in and am finding it to be a wonderful experience. Denominations were man’s invention. You will not find the word "denomination” or the word ‘religion’ in scripture. It matters not where you attend church, as long as they preach Christ and Him crucified. Salvation is the crux of our faith and this Presbyterian Pastor is a bonafide born again man with faults and foibles just like me. I love this man for his down to earth approach to ministry and inner fire of the Lord.

Now back to singing in the choir. I have missed not singing in a church choir for years now. I was never quite able to find a place. Once I came to Westminster Presbyterian a month ago and they heard that I could carry a tune, it was up to me whether I wanted to join their choir or not. In many churches, it is a requirement that you be able to read music. I can’t read a lick, but have the ability to follow the notes by sitting next to a fellow bass who can and singing the note a split second after I hear it coming out of my neighbor. I suppose many people do that. Hey, whatever works, right?

This choir is made up of approximately 20-25 men and women who love the Lord and love to sing praises to Him. Many of them cannot read a lick of music. Doesn’t matter. We can all carry a tune reasonably well. The main requirement, perhaps the only one, is that you have a desire to sing and are there when you are supposed to be. During my first practice session this past Thursday evening, I realized how much I have missed singing in a church choir. I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I sang along with songs I had never sung in my life. But my heart was fully in it and I felt blessed to be a part of such an eclectic group of believers.

Scripture speaks of making a joyful noise unto the Lord. I believe that it matters not what you sound like, like everything else with God, it is a matter of the heart. Any sound of praise or worship unto God is sweet music to His ears, no matter what others may think. For it is from the heart that our truest, most heartfelt feelings emanate.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND MAY HIS NAME BE PRAISED FOREVER AND FOREVER!!




Friday, December 9, 2011

DO U KNOW GOD?

John 15:5 (NIV) 5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Luke 6:47-49 (NIV) 47As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Do you involve God in all your important life altering decisions? You should. Why? God knows you intimately. He knows you far better than you even know yourself. What type of decisions am I referring to? What career path you take; where you go to college; where you go to church; who you marry … life altering decisions that will impact your life as you know it.

I once roomed with a Christian guy who literally asked God if it was alright to brush his teeth at that particular moment. Now in my opinion THAT is going WAY overboard. It’s not that God isn’t interested in personal hygiene or dental health, but He gave us a brain and the ability to cognitively process our thoughts. I suppose I am assuming that God trusts our ability to know when it is time to brush our teeth and take care of our own personal hygiene.

I have long understood that anything that I do for God would not take place without the assistance of His Holy Spirit. When Jesus says in John 15:5 “apart from me you can do nothing” I take that quite literally. I honestly believe that any good thing people see in me is due to the presence of God in my life. Without that I would be nothing of any consequence. Oh I would exist. I would still get up in the morning, eat breakfast, do whatever it is that I do, come home, eat dinner and go to sleep, but without God in my life I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I wouldn’t be going to church. I wouldn’t know some of the incredibly neat people that I have met. I wouldn’t think the way I do. I wouldn’t act and react to things the way I do. I would be on my own. What a lonely place to be. But I DO know God and I am a better man for it.

The portion of scripture in Luke has always intrigued me. It causes us to pause and reflect on our life. It causes us to ponder our belief system. It causes us to question what our foundational beliefs truly are. Do we simply go to church on Sunday morning and announce to the world that we belief in God or do we have a relationship with the Almighty Living God that is a vibrant and living thing? What is your life built on? What do you believe? It is an important question to ask yourself. Your eternal destination depends on your answer. This life is not purely by happenstance. It is by design. If your life is not what it should be or could be, whose fault is it? Do you feel it is God’s? Why? Is it because He didn’t blessing you beyond your wildest dreams? Is it because you prayed to Him that you would win the lottery and you didn’t so now you don’t believe in Him anymore. What is your belief in God based on, fact or conjecture? Are you believing what you are told or seeking the truth on your own? You shouldn’t even believe a word I have written without scoping things out for yourself.  What do you believe and why do you believe it? It’s important to know. You can ask God to reveal Himself to you and speak to your heart whether you have a relationship with Him or not. What are you afraid of? Do it. Talk to God the way you talk to a friend. He’s there. He’s always listening and He loves you more than you could ever even begin to comprehend.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

EMBRACE THE TRUTH


John 14:6 (NKJV) “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Are there many different ways to get to heaven? Is the road to heaven a 6 lane expressway or a narrow path? Jesus own words reveals much to us. Jesus is not only saying here that He is the way, truth and life, but that He is the ONLY way, the ONLY truth and the ONLY life worth embracing. The entirety of scripture points to it.

It refers frequently to the “way of God”. What is the way of God? Truth and life. There is no greater truth then the truth of God.

truth
1. Conformity to fact or actuality.
2. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.
3. Sincerity; integrity.
4. Often Truth is that which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence. (*)

life
1. The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.
2. The characteristic state or condition of a living organism.
3. The interval of time between birth and death
4. The interval of time between one's birth and the present
5. A particular segment of one's life
6. A spiritual state regarded as a transcending of natural bodily death. (*)

God’s truth is the ultimate truth. If you believe in God, you tend to accept His Word as the truth. Bible believing preachers preach that it is the truth. The Word itself proclaims it is the truth. In a world where the truth is so hard to find at times, it is a comfort to know that in God there is no falsehood. As I have said, He is the one constant in a sea of inconsistency.

A life worth living is a life worth living well. God offers a life full of abundant blessings and all He asks for is complete surrender to His will. Having said that, your own FREE will plays into the equation. You can love and serve God yet still turn to the left or the right and wander off the path He has chosen for you to take. We have that right however, Proverbs is clear regarding our going our own way.

Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV) “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

It is amazing how dull witted we can be at times. We go off seeking whatever it is that strikes our fancy never realizing that it is a trap. God has laced the Bible full of warnings and directives to assist us in living a fulfilled life, but for some reason we feel that we know better. We become short sighted and have no idea what the right thing to do is because we have the thing we seek to blind us. We fail to realize that it will kill us in the end.

Proverbs 3:5-7 (NKJV) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.”

Any analyzation of these verses is for another time, but understand it for what it is: a God given equation for achieving God’s unmerited favor and blessing in your efforts. Do you consult Him regarding His plan for you? There is no other way, truth or life to be found this side of heaven. Embrace it today.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!