BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Friday, September 30, 2011

TRUST IN THE LORD

Luke 12:15-34 (NIV) “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

It is curious to me how I can spout seeming words of wisdom from scripture and yet, when it comes to actually putting feet to my own faith, I fail so miserably. I have several financial needs that are looming large on the horizon. It seems as though our money is never sufficient to meet our needs. I have asked the Lord to work things out with regards to this need and while I believe He can do it, I find myself wondering if He WILL do it. Perhaps He has another plan. Perhaps there is yet another lesson to learn. I have no idea. It behooves me to practice what I preach, yet I struggle. God understands. His love for me has no limits. In the midst of this trial I must stand tall and trust God. I must. For if I do not, then my words are nothing. God has never failed me. Not even one time. And He hasn’t failed you either.

Proverbs 3:5-7 (NIV) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.”

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

WHY WERE WE CREATED?


Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”

Why were we created? The answer is simpler then we might guess. According to the Bible we were created for several very important reasons.

We were created to glorify God ... "I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever." - Psalm 86:12

We were created to enjoy God ... As a result of our glorifying God, we find that we enjoy God and delight in knowing God. The Bible says that we were also created to be filled with joy.

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

"In your [God's] presence there is fullness of joy, in Your [God's] right hand are pleasures for evermore." - Psalm 16:11
“In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.” - C.S. Lewis

And God rejoices in us ... As a result of our glorifying God and enjoying Him, God in turn rejoices over us.

"… so shall your God rejoice over you." - Isaiah 62:5

God "will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you in His love; He will exalt over you with loud singing as on a day of festival." - Zephaniah 3:17-18

What does it mean to glorify God? How do we glorify God? It means to bring Him honor through what we say, how we act, and how we think. To glorify God means to acknowledge His glory and to value it above all things. To glorify God means we make it known to others. To glorify God means we have a heartfelt gratitude. We glorify God through our faith (trust). We glorify God through our love. We glorify God through our desire to obey Him (our obedience). We glorify God through our desire to know Him.

"We are cruel to ourselves. We try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and Who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. In this way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” - J.I. Packer (Knowing God)

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

(The information for today’s devo was taken from www.mtainfo.com, aka, Mission to America.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ANSWERED PRAYER

PSALM 143:7-8 (NIV) “Answer me quickly, LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

Do you know the phrase “it was as if the heavens were made of brass”? When referring to our prayers to God this phrase is intended to mean that it is as if our prayers go up and simply bounce off an invisible barrier, keeping them from reaching God. Have you ever felt like that? That your prayers to God weren’t making it all the way to His ear? That something was keeping them from reaching Him? I have. In this age of immediacy we tend to grow impatient very quickly. If you think waiting for a waiter to acknowledge that you’ve been waiting for 5 minutes without receiving a menu yet is frustrating, try waiting on God.

Not waiting for God can take you on a tangent you will wish you had never taken. Patience is required. Lessons must be learned. Fretting is counterproductive. Scripture teaches us to ‘fret not’, to ‘cast all our cares on Him’. Easier said than done. Our eyes do us a disservice at times, as we seek anything that will bring about a desired answer. Once our answer is achieved, we attribute it to God and move forward. But was it really God’s answer? How can we know for sure?

The only way to truly know if God is providing your answer is to truly KNOW God. Without an intimate knowledge of Him and His word it is fairly easy to be led astray by the enemy. Intimate knowledge takes time … possibly your entire life, but it is a journey worth taking. God will never leave you off in a ditch, nor will He remain silent forever. He has a perfect plan for you. He has a perfect place for you. He has a perfect time to reveal to you all that you need to know . We just need to wait … patiently. While it may not be YES just yet, it also may not be NO … your answer may reside in the land of the “NOT YET”. It is a place where God is at work preparing events and circumstances that will bring about the proper, perfect answer to your prayer. God is never late. He is never wrong. He is never silent forever … just long enough to accomplish His purpose in your life. Yield to God. Surrender to His Spirits leading. Know Him. It is a matter of ‘determining’. Determining that you are going to know God as well as you possibly can. Want answers to your prayers? Tap into the great ‘I AM’ and watch things happen.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WISDOM

Ecclesiastes 1:16-17 (NIV) “I said to myself, ‘Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.’ Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.”

Many people have spirited debates regarding the existence of God. Each side acquires “facts” to lie down as the foundation for their argument. What each one believes in their heart IS their reality, so how can a true debate occur? The two verses in Ecclesiastes shine a light on this dilemma.

Solomon was a son of King David. His wisdom knew no limits for he had asked his God to make it so that he might judge the people fairly. From the accounting of his life experiences in scripture, one could say he experienced all there was to experience and then some. Yet, in the end Solomon realized that all these “things” were pure vanity and all acquired knowledge and wisdom is absolutely meaningless. Why on earth would he say such a thing?

Solomon came to the realization that God is above all things and anything gained outside of Him is like “a chasing of the wind”. True, his incredible wisdom came from God Himself, but the mere attainment of wisdom is shear nothingness without a relationship with the God Who gave it. It is like a teen that grew up in the church and yet felt he was missing out on all the world had to offer, so he “backslid” into the “secular” world only to realize, sometimes many years later, that he had wasted his time. Time wasted can never be retrieved.

Be mindful of this … the gospel is not a complicated message. It is a faith based belief system. Sticking close to God and allowing Him to lead you thru life is not a weakness, but rather an acquired strength. The only true reality we know as believers is the love of God and the gift of salvation (and all the truths that follow them.). You cannot explain it away.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE NOT WISE IN YOUR OWN EYES.

Monday, September 26, 2011

GOD SAID IT


Isaiah 40:8 (NIV) “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

ENDURES (def): to continue in existence; to carry on through; to undergo without yielding; to bear patiently; to remain firm; to last.

FOREVER (def): for everlasting time; eternally; without end; without interruption.

After you have accepted that the Bible is God’s flawless, divinely inspired word to His people, you need to understand that it “endures forever”. By definition, this means it remains true for a period of time that has no end; eternity.

Psalm 90:2 (NIV) “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Like God Himself, His word will stand the test of time. Like God, it never changes. Man may read into it and draw out what he would like it to say, but the true meanings are only known through the Holy Spirit revealing them to the believer.

Once you have accepted that, you can stand on His word as a guide for living. It deals with every circumstance and issue life brings a believers way. Scripture instructs, rebukes, challenges and reveals. We cannot grasp the depth of its’ wisdom for it represents the very wisdom of God. To understand His word, you have to know the author … intimately.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

The best way to summarize all this is with a statement you may have learned many years ago: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”
Amen? Amen!

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Friday, September 23, 2011

GOD IS WITH US



Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV) “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.”

When young David went out onto the battle field to face the giant Goliath, champion of the Philistines, he was armed with only a sling and 5 smooth stones. At that moment, he knew his God was with him. When Joseph, son of Jacob, was wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife and sent to prison, he knew his God was with him. When Moses stood before the Red Sea and boldly reached out his staff and stretched out his hand over the sea as God had instructed him to do, he knew his God was with him.

Do you know that your God is with you? He is you know. Not only does He reside within you by His Holy Spirit, but has an ever watchful eye on His children at all times.

Even when Peter’s focus shifted from Jesus to the wind and waves that were rising up all around him, he was in no danger. His faith wavered, but God was with him. Were He not Peter would have drown, but we know he did not.

Paul and Silas knew God was with them. This is why they could sing praises to Him in spite of their circumstances. No matter where you are or what you are doing. God is with you. There is no failure in Him; no falsehood. He is genuine and pure; holy and righteous. He cannot be fooled and cannot be defeated. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. In Him there is no shadow of turning. He knows all our thoughts and motivations. He knows our heart. He has unconditional love for all. Our Lord administers peace where it is needed and heals the sick and brokenhearted with a touch. He is all things to all people. He is very much with us as we go through our day. When we pray, He hears and provides what is needed exactly when it is needed, regardless of the need.

Faith and trust are required to believe any of this. Believing in a supreme being with unlimited powers is difficult enough at times, but going through life relying on that eternal entity can be near impossible. We strive for autonomy, yet continually find ourselves in need of assistance. Our pride impedes our progress. If only we could see what is in store for us, but that wouldn’t require faith. So we must take God at His word.

Looking back on our lives, if we are honest with ourselves, we can see evidence of divine direction and foresight that we could not have done on our own. Things may not have worked out the way you had planned, but they worked out in a way that turned out to be best for all parties concerned. This is God’s providence. His will being manifest. God may allow us to go our own way if we insist, but He is still with us watching and protecting us; only allowing certain events, anonymously steering us from others. God cares for us and is indeed with us always.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FORGIVENESS



Psalm 130:3-4 (AmpBible) “If You, Lord, should keep account of and treat us according to our sins, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You … that You may be reverently feared and worshiped ….”

God doesn’t keep a count of wrongs. God doesn’t remember our sins against us once we have sought forgiveness. Scripture tells us in Psalm 103:12 not only that He removes our “transgressions from us” , but removes them “as far as the east is from the west”. I have heard it said that it is as if God places our sins in the one place a person cannot reach … in between the shoulder blades.

Isaiah 43:25 (NIV) “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake and remembers your sins no more.”

This is done so that He receives all glory. No one else in existence can do what Almighty God, the Creator of all that exists, can do. Scripture tells us that He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) … in other words, what He does for one, He will do for all. This act of mercy does not allow us to continue sinning, for we are expected to be changed by this gracious act and not view it as a shower which we dry off from and then go about our business as nothing has happened to us. It is meant to humble us. For who can forgive on an eternal scale but God? Pastors and Priests are mere conduits to the forgiving power of God. They have no forgiving power and authority on their own.

We are to revere and worship our God. He has done fearful and wonderful things on our behalf. In the OT, God had man use the blood of goats and lambs to COVER the sins of His people. In the NT, He used the blood of His own Son to REMOVE sin completely and totally. As bleach removes an ugly stain from clothing, so Christ’s blood removes the ugly stain left by sin. And we must turn from it; do a 180 and walk away from it, that it not call to you again; causing you to fall into the same sin you had already been forgiven for. Progress. We must strive to make progress in our walk with God.

Discipleship is a progressive act. When saved we become members of God’s family, however, it is only through continuous, deliberate effort that we become more like the Christ we seek to emulate. Just as an athlete must hone his God given talent to become the best that he can be, so the Christian must hone his spiritual talents.

Do not become lazy, complacent, and weary of doing good. It’s an easy place to reside. I fight it all the time. Seek the face of God and do that which is right in His sight. It is what we have been called to do. You want to know His will for you? That is a huge part of it. Do that and the rest will become crystal clear.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HOUSE BUILDING 101



Psalm 127:1 (NIV) “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain to try at all, building anything not according to his call. Unless the Lord wants it done, you better not work another day, building anything that will stand in His way.” ( “Unless the Lord Builds the House”, Keith Green )

Proverbs 14:12 (AmpBible) “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.”

Did you know that you can actually hinder the plans of God in your life? It’s true. You pray, seek God’s face, ask for His will, yet in your heart you want a certain thing to take place. You see an opening for that certain thing to become a reality and jump at it, telling yourself that it is God’s will. The reality of it is that you have pushed your own will in front of God’s. If this is suggested to you, you deny this to be the case. God has allowed you to have your way. He is there watching, yet not interfering with what you have talked yourself into believing was the only right choice for you to make.

I believe this scenario is quite common in believers lives. I suppose I don’t see it as disobedience as much as I see it as obstinance and spiritual immaturity. We haven’t come to the place of giving things up.
Our way, if unbridled, can lead us into a real mess. In all these situations that God has allowed to take place in our lives, there are lessons to be learned. We must learn those lessons well or we will be destined to relive them over again until we understand what God is trying to reveal to us about ourselves in relation to God.

God is a willing teacher, however, we are not always listening. It is God’s desire to be a part of every decision and plan you are making. Where you work, where you go to college, where you go to church, for starters. Who you date and who you marry are important to God as well. God’s way is the right way every time. There is no fault or failing in Him. His wisdom is reliable, His plans steadfast and true. Wherever the Lord leads you is where you need to be for that time. The only way you can know this is to truly know God. You can only know God by spending time with Him. If you spend time with Him, no matter how great or small, you will be less likely to labor in vain building something that “seems right to you” yet only ends up standing in His way. Submit to Him with a willing heart and spirit and watch the scenery change.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BE TRANSFORMED


Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

CONFORM (def): To correspond in form or character; be similar; to act or be in accord or agreement; comply; to act in accordance with current customs.

TRANSFORM (def): To change markedly the appearance or form of; to change the nature, function, or condition of; convert; to alter or be altered radically in form, function.

Paul tells the Romans they are to be “living sacrifices”. The only problem with a living sacrifice is that it is always trying to climb off the alter. Let’s face it, sin is enjoyable. If it weren’t, there would be no enticement to do it. The one serious problem the individual involved in sin has is an eye sight problem. They are short sighted. They are living for the here and now and not thinking about the consequences that they will have to deal with when their ‘house of cards’ collapses … and it WILL collapse.

The devil dresses sin up to look appealing, but in the end, it is nothing more than pain and heartache wrapped nicely with a pretty bow on top. Sinning is a selfish act. Everything in the sinner’s life becomes about them. Christ desires for us to focus not on ourselves but rather on Him first and foremost and others second. We come in 3rd and that is where God wants us. If we focus on God we will know Him better and if we know Him better we will be inclined to act and react more like He would in a given situation.

Conforming is complying. Acting in agreement. But how can we act in agreement with a world that is, in large part, diametrically opposed to all that God stands for and is. Good question. We can’t. That is why the scripture tells us you cannot serve two masters. You will serve one and neglect the other. We are called to neglect those things around us that are not in line with the word of God. The enticements abound as Satan tries continually to trip us up. The closer we are to God in our relationship with Him, the easier it will start to become to turn aside from the temptations that dart at us from all directions.

Being transformed comes from renewing your mind. It should be pretty apparent how this is accomplished. You can never renew your mind by neglecting the things of God. You must read scripture, fellowship with believers, find one or several accountability partners to help keep each other in check. These are all suggestions that enable you to stay properly focused. The world comes calling each and every day. Don’t answer the call. Don’t open the door. If we resist, we win. But it will continue to come calling for the rest of this life. Be a conformist and strive each day to be a little bit more like Christ. Then you will be able to discern what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

BE SET APART


1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV) “… you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

WASHED (def): To rid of corruption or guilt; cleanse or purify.

SANCTIFIED (def): To make holy; purify; to set apart for sacred use; consecrate.

JUSTIFIED (def): To declare free of blame; absolve.

Paul not only makes a point of addressing the Corinthians in his greeting in Chapter 1 “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus”, but brings it up here in chapter 6 and again in chapter 7. There were quarrels among the leadership in the Corinthian church and it was leading to division. Paul felt the need to remind them that they were washed, sanctified and justified, just in case they had forgotten that they had been set apart for God. Their behavior had caused Paul to chastise them for acting like “mere humans” (1 Cor. 3:3) and not children of God.

I fear we, as modern day believers, need that same reminder. We tend to forget the simplest, most basic teachings and thus make our decisions based on our own acquired worldly knowledge, which is far inferior to that which God has imparted to us.

Proverbs 14:12 & Proverbs 16:25 (NIV) “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

Our ‘slate’, so to speak, has been wiped clean. We have been cleansed of all wrong doing; made free from sin; justified … “just as if I’d never sinned”. Yet by our thoughts, words and deeds, we appear to have forgotten this. We have been made pure and holy, set apart for God’s use and yet often give the appearance that we remain unregenerate Godless souls.

Once “saved”, we are instantaneously sanctified or made holy. However, our sanctification, while instantaneous, is progressive as well. God sees us as holy because He sees us through the blood of Christ, yet our normal, human inclination will be to strain against God’s yoke. Just like we must LEARN to be patient, kind, compassionate and humble, we must learn to live holy lives. Like everything else in God’s economy, it is acquired through having a willing, teachable spirit. There is no place for stubborn, stiff necked individuals in these life classes. We must allow ourselves to be broken so that we might be built up once again on the new foundation that is Christ. If we are to BE LIKE JESUS, we must strive to understand the purification, consecration and absolution process.

I leave you with this illustration: think of yourself as a used, dirty drinking glass. You are washed; cleansed of all your dirt. This would be representative of your sanctification. You are then set aside to dry. Once dry you are fit to be placed back in the cabinet, absolved of any and all grime; this would be representative of your justification. Now you are to be used to hold liquids that are meant to refresh and hydrate. This would be representative of our being used by God to encourage, edify and invigorate others. Allow yourself to be used of God. He has made you ready for use through salvation. Have a teachable, willing spirit, that you might be God’s blessing to the world. It is one of the things God has called you to do.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

BEING HUMBLE



Colossians 3:12 (NIV) “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

CLOTHE (def): To cover as if with clothing.

HUMILITY (def): Humble; meek; subdued; submissive.

HUMBLE (def): Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.

It can be difficult to be submissive in this life at times. In a world that teaches us to stand up for yourself and fight back, submissiveness comes across as weakness. However, in God’s economy submissive behavior is where our greatest strength lies. It is the humble, meek, modest individual who exemplifies Christ. Taking things by force or pushing to make things happen is not God’s way. We were created with a free will and do not have to listen to God at all if we so choose, but if we submit to His lead and meditate on His precepts, we will find what we are truly looking for in this life. We will find peace.

PEACE (def): Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations; inner contentment; serenity; tranquility.

It takes diligence and patience to achieve a peaceful spirit. In my experience with God, when you ask for peace, many times He will allow a chaotic set of circumstances to test us. In this test He provides a lesson if we are paying close attention. A peaceful, humble spirit is acquired progressively, not instantaneously. We must work for it. Sure, there are times when it is needed right then and there and God certainly does provide it when necessary, however, generally speaking, it is a gradual process.

Being humble or submissive doesn’t mean we ‘roll over’ for someone if they are bullying us or chiding us. We can defend ourselves, but even in our defense we can exhibit meekness. Acquiring a gentle, kind, subdued spirit is a way to show the world Christ. As we strive to be more like our Savior, we will seek to put on these qualities. Ask God to show you how to be humble. Ask Him to show you when and where to be submissive and when not to be. We are precious in God’s sight and He wants us to succeed at being more like Him. God knows it is what will bring us the greatest blessing and Him the most glory. And there is nothing wrong with that.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BEING GENTLE



Colossians 3:12 (NIV) “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

CLOTHE (def): To cover as if with clothing.

GENTLENESS / GENTLE (def): Considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender; not harsh or severe; mild and soft.

CONSIDERATE (def): Having regard for the needs or feelings of others.

DISPOSITION (def): One's usual mood; temperament; a habitual inclination; a tendency.

Matthew 7:12 (NLT) “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

I have always tried, with the help of God, to follow the instruction found in Matthew 7:12. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It always made so much sense to me. I didn’t follow it solely because I wanted people to be considerate to me in return, but it just seemed like a better way to live your life; a more positive way to behave. Trust me when I tell you that the majority of the time I did NOT receive from people in like manner. Humans are, generally speaking, a selfish lot. It is their natural proclivity; they seem predisposed to it. It’s as if their credo was “do unto others to your own ultimate benefit”. Should that keep me or anyone else from showing consideration and kindness to others, absolutely not.

I will admit that it isn’t easy to live this verse in the face of all this world throws in your face. Our reward will not be found in this world, but rather in the world to come. And we don’t act this verse out solely for the reward that is awaiting us. We act it out because Christ instructs us to. God has a reason for everything He instructs us to do. As we strive to become more like Christ it behooves us to practice those characteristics that represent a Christ-like life. While He was not a pushover or a door mat, as evidenced by the casting out of the money changers in the Temple courtyard, He has served as a living, breathing example. He was the embodiment of mercy, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

The reason we study the life of Christ is so that we become intimately acquainted with Him in every way. It requires intense focus to the exclusion of all else. Now I am not saying that we are all to cloister ourselves away in seclusion and study God’s word 24/7. What I am saying is that it is supremely important to carve out a slice of time to hone your focus on the Lord. Perhaps a sliver of time at first … gradually working yourself up to a larger amount of time. Throughout my life I have not been very good at this, but my plan is to make a new attempt to shut out that which is around me as I re-focus, fixing my gaze upon my Heavenly Father again. It isn’t an easy task. Your enemy will try to distract you big time. But anything that is truly worth your time is worth your attempt.

Seek to be gentle in spirit. Treat others as you would have them treat you not for any gain you might receive, but because it is a good and right way to live and it is directed by our Lord. He knows what is best for us. Follow His lead and see how the Lord uses you. You will never lose or be a failure in life if you follow in the footsteps of God.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BEING PATIENT



Colossians 3:12 (NIV) “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

CLOTHE (def): To cover as if with clothing.

PATIENCE (def): Tolerant and even-tempered perseverance; the capacity for calmly enduring pain, trying situations.
PERSEVERANCE (def): continued steady belief or efforts, withstanding discouragement or difficulty; persistence.

You have no doubt heard the statement “I want patience Lord, and I want it RIGHT NOW!” While this is meant to be a joke, it is many times not far from the truth. In this ‘instant’ society we live in, where waiting for anything is considered a “bad” thing, we struggle to grasp the significance of the word patience.

Here is another opt repeated statement: “Anything good is worth waiting for.” In the realm of sight it means one thing, but in the realm of the spirit, it means something entirely different. With the former, we more than likely have that which we desire in our sights and are just waiting to accumulate the money to purchase this item. Perhaps a new car or a new home. Or perhaps something not quite as expensive, like a new stereo or new television. We know these things exist because we can see them; we just can’t afford them right now. In the realm of the spirit, those things which are ‘good’ are NOT seen and cannot be touched or tasted. Faith is required to wait. Patience is much more difficult in these situations because we have to work at it. Our world has conditioned us to expect an instant return for our efforts. And we all know that it is harder to believe in something that you cannot see, touch or taste, let alone have the patience to wait for it to transpire. We know all the scriptures that tell us God is never late, but rather right on time, every time. We understand that He will leave us or forsake us. Yet there is something about believing in the unseen that unnerves us at times.

God exhibits patience in dealing with His creation. Since He made us from scratch He knows everything about us; our thoughts, our words, our actions … even our inclinations. What’s amazing about God is that He knows these things about us prior to us thinking, saying or doing them. He exhibits patience as we stumble around trying to figure out what He wants from us, all the while trying to interject our own plans into the middle of His will.

The more time we spend with the Creator, the more like Him we will become and one of the characteristics He desires to pick up from Him is patience. It is a by product of having faith and trust. Let me put a different spin on my first statement from above: “Anything that has eternal value is worth waiting for.” Now THAT is a truth worth remembering.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?



Luke 12:6-7 (NIV) “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

What do you think you’re worth? What is your worth to your family, your friends, your employer, your fellow church members … can you put a value on it? It’s tied into how you feel about yourself as a person, isn’t it? Do you like yourself? You should. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “you’re special, cuz God don’t make junk”? Well, it’s true. Did you know that you are priceless to God?

PRICELESS (def): of inestimable worth; beyond valuation; invaluable; having incalculable monetary, intellectual, or spiritual worth.

If He takes care of everything in His creation and nothing escapes His ever-watching eye, then why would you think he doesn’t know you and care for you? There is nothing about you that could make God turn away from you. He created you and loves you without any conditions being placed upon the relationship. Couples may sign “prenuptial agreements” prior to marriage just in case things don’t turn out well for them, however, no such agreements are needed with God. You may turn from Him, but He will NEVER turn from you.

NEVER (def): not ever; on no occasion; at no time.

Almighty God is our Healer and Sustainer; Provider and Advocate. I believe He is disappointed with some of our thoughts, words and deeds, but it never catches Him by surprise and never causes He to NOT love you. He is a thoughtful and kind Heavenly Father who chastises to teach us and shows mercy and compassion when necessary. His Holy Spirit may operate through another or be that still, small voice that ministers wisdom, guidance or peace.

So no matter what you have done in your life, know this, the world may turn its’ collective back on you, but the Creator of the Universe and of you will NEVER, EVER leave you lying in a ditch. His love surpasses anything our finite minds can comprehend. There aren’t enough words in existence to describe Him. He loves you no matter what. Get used to it, because that truth will never change.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

From my random mind ...

The difference between 'frustration' and 'anger' is interesting. I was conversing with a friend last week and he asked me what the difference was. I thought about it and couldn't come up with a coherent answer. So here is the definition of the two words and some examples of them used in sentences.

FRUSTRATION (def): the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals; a feeling of annoyance at being hindered or criticized; an act of hindering someone's plans or efforts.

I am frustrated; I feel like a blind dog running around in a meat house.

I am so frustrated that it's as though I were peanut butter that was forced into a hypodermic syringe.

Do you see the wonderful pictures those two statements paint in your mind. Through those statements you have a pretty vivid picture of what frustration would feel like, don't you?

ANGRY (def): A strong feeling of displeasure or hostility; to enrage or provoke; a feeling of great annoyance or antagonism as the result of some real or supposed grievance.

Anger is flowing out of me like lava.
Anger spread through me like a malignant tumor.
Angry words fan the fire like wind.
Anger was running all through his blood and bones like an electric flood

Again, there are pictures created via words that make it clear what anger feels like. Check out these two statements re: the result of being angry:

A Chinese Proverb: "Anger is as useless as the waves of the ocean without wind."

"A fit of anger is as fatal to dignity as a dose of arsenic to life" —Josiah Gilbert Holland*

Can anyone honestly say that being angry and acting out as a result of that anger has ever paid dividends in their life? Scripture tells us the following about anger:

Psalm 4:4(NKJV) "Be angry and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still."

Ephesians 4:26(NKJV) “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, ...."

I feel like being frustrated is just part of life. It is important to know the difference between being frustrated and being angry. It is equally important to not let our frustration erupt into anger, because when that happens, no one wins.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

*Josiah Gilbert Holland (July 24, 1819 – October 12, 1881) was an American novelist and poet who also wrote under the pseudonym Timothy Titcomb.

Friday, September 9, 2011

BROKEN - Part 2


1 Samuel 2:9-10 (NIV) “He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.”

Psalm 37:17 (NIV) “… for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.”

Job 4:10 (NIV) “The lions may roar and growl, yet the teeth of the great lions are broken.”

1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

There is more than one way to look at being ‘broken’. When a believer is ‘broken’, he/she could be grief stricken, weary of spirit, filled with overwhelming sorry to name but a few. The enemies of God shall be broken as well, but in a different way. God will restore the ‘broken’ believer. He will administer the breaking to His enemies.

During the course of our lives we undoubtedly have encountered those wicked people who tormented us in one way or another. They never got caught as they physically, emotionally or psychologically brow beat us relentlessly day in and day out. Perhaps he/she is related to you, perhaps you work with him/her, or perhaps you meet in a chance encounter on the road somewhere. Without the stabilizing force of scripture and the Holy Spirit and with ‘no shame on their face’ they lie, cheat, steal and generally make peoples lives miserable in the process. They have no conscience, for if they did they would feel some remorse for their words or deeds. They revel in their dominion over those around them. They are of all people to be most pitied, for they speak and act out of their own internal turmoil which drives them. Scripture tells us the we speak out of the abundance of our hearts. Their words and actions speak volumes about the bitterness, anger, hatred, insecurity and overall chaos that eats away at them.

Our task is to pray for them. Pray that God will reveal Himself to them. That He will show them the same mercy that we now enjoy as His children. However, should they shun that which can save them, retribution will come by God’s own hand. We do not need to seek or even desire revenge, for God knows how to repay those who oppose Him far more appropriately and effectively than we ever could. Our repayment would come from an anger base that would never minister grace and mercy. It wouldn’t even bring us a sense of satisfaction, for the Spirit of God would bring conviction upon us for not acting as a good and proper representative of Almighty God. God doesn’t need our help to dole out His justice. God will guard you and break in two those who oppose Him at the right time. The breaking process shall be administered in such a way as to allow for redemption. Free will exists and comes into play here. So even when breaking our enemies, our Heavenly Father, acting with justice and righteousness, provides a way for them to turn and repent.

Matthew 5:44 (NIV) “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, …”

This instruction from Christ in the gospel of Matthew is easier said than done, but as we strive to be more like Jesus in our daily lives, it is something we must work at. With the help of the Spirit, we can overcome any obstacle.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BROKEN


Job 17:1 (NIV) “My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.”

Psalm 34:17-19 (NIV) “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all …”.

Psalm 147:3 (NIV) “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 37:16-18 (NIV) “Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.”

BROKEN (defined) - Crushed by grief; financially ruined; bankrupt; having been violated.

BROKENHEARTED (defined) - Overwhelmed by grief or disappointment; grievously sad; full of sorrow.

There are times in every persons’ life when circumstances become too difficult to bear. I honestly don’t know what non-believers do at a time like that. I suppose they do all that they know to do, which would be to rely on their own accumulated mental faculties and physical abilities to overcome or endure their brokenness. However, a person’s natural mental and physical capabilities are limited to what knowledge they have acquired.

A believer in Almighty God is able to tap into the infinite resources available to them through their Heavenly Father. In the various scriptures above we see Job, who of all men had more than his share of grief, yet in spite of his broken state, in the end continued to believe in His God to deliver him. The Psalmist reveals to us that the Lord God is close to those who are broken and grief stricken and delivers them from their troubles. Being Omnipotent (all-powerful), our God has limitless resources of power at His disposal to bring us through our brokenness to the other side of it.

One thought that should not be lost in all the discussion about being broken is that God, who by His very nature controls all things, has either caused or allowed that which you are now experiencing for a specific purpose. Some folks may have difficulty accepted that God would allow something evil or bad to occur, but look at it this way: If something occurred without God’s knowledge or was out of His control, then how could He be who He says He is. He would be flawed. Something was beyond His control.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

I choose to believe that God causes or allows things for a specific purpose. That doesn’t make sense to the logical mind, but there isn’t a whole lot in God’s economy that makes sense to the logical mind. God’s whole plan of salvation boggles the logical mind. So whatever state you find yourself; whether it be grief stricken, sorrowful or crushed in spirit, know that your Heavenly Father is mindful of your circumstances and is working to bring you through it to the other side. Yield to His Spirit and be healed. Don’t look at those things around you and thus sink as Peter did on the Sea of Galilee, but rather re-focus mind, heart and spirit on your God and He will bring you peace and comfort in the midst of your chaos and pain.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE BLESSING!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

EXALT THE LORD


Psalm 117 (NIV) “Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.”

EXTOL (def): to praise, glorify, or honor; to praise lavishly; to exalt.
LAVISHLY (def): to give in abundance; shower.
EXALT (def): to lift up; to praise highly.

ENDURES (def): to continue in existence; to last.

We live in a world where praise is literally heaped on star athletes, actors and actresses, scholars, entrepreneurs and the like. We idolize them, admire them, take pictures of them and seek their autographs. When they stumble and fall, as many do, we either choose to emulate their bad behavior or toss them aside as a sham. There is One who truly deserves our praise and adoration. He is perfect in every way. He created those that we idolize. He is more powerful than anything you can imagine and brighter than 100 billion watts. He is Jehovah, the Lord God Almighty, creator of all that you see.

Man will fail you and does on a regular basis. Even your best friends; even your spouse, will stumble and fall flat on their faces as they attempt to achieve the unachievable. However, God has no faults or failings in Him. Nothing negative exists in His presence. No sin can abide within His Shekinah* glory. He existed before time and still exists today. He loves perfectly and unconditionally. He forgives when no one else will. He judges fairly and justly. He is truth, for there is no falsehood in him. He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient; meaning He is All-Powerful, everywhere at one time by His Holy Spirit and there is nothing that is not known to Him.

If anyone in the history of man ever deserved to be praised, it is Almighty God. Yet man continues to seek idols that they can see, touch, taste and smell. Given a free will to choose whom they will follow and serve, they naturally gravitate toward that which is ungodly and base. It is their sinful nature, a byproduct of ‘The Fall’.

If only those lost would yield to the glory and grace of Almighty God, they would be set free from those things that bind them. However, their eyes have been blinded; their hearts seared over. The enemy of their soul has led them down a ‘primrose’ path that leads them, unknowingly, to their destruction.

God is the only entity that is deserving and worthy of praise. So lift His name up to the heavens; enjoy the fruit that comes from knowing Him.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever.” - 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*Shekinah (def): A visible manifestation of the divine presence as described in Jewish theology.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

WALK WORTHY


Colossians 1:9-11 (NKJV) "For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy …"

If I am filled with the knowledge of God, then it stands to reason I will walk worthy of His calling. We are all called to play a part in His Kingdom. We are all given gifts, skills and talents that can be used to encourage and edify the body of Christ. However, if we do not cultivate our relationship to Him, we will be incapable of utilizing the gifts given to us.

We cannot use our gifts if we do not know what they are. We only need to ask the Lord to reveal this to us. Some requests are answered immediately, some dwell in the land of the “not yet”. God’s timing is impeccable; perfect in every way. We must trust in Him to use us how, when and where He deems necessary, for He knows all things and is able to place you where you need to be to accomplish the most good.

If we submit to the will of God for our lives, we WILL “please Him” and “be fruitful in every good work”. We tend to grow impatient as we walk down the narrow path set before us. The Lord can show us how to be patient in any situation if we allow Him to. God never forces Himself or His will on anyone, but we need to come to the place where our trust and faith feed into our actions so that we make our decisions with “all wisdom and spiritual understanding”. There is always a right and wrong way to do anything. You wouldn’t screw 2 pieces of wood together with a hammer or clean a piece of glass with steel wool. In like manner, you wouldn’t honor the Kingdom by judging or criticizing the non-believers or BELIEVERS, for that matter, that you encountered each day.

Through Godly patience and longsuffering* with joy we can “walk worthy” of our God, and thus be pleasing to Him.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* - can be defined as “enduring with patience” or “passively tolerating”.