BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Friday, August 31, 2012

FACTS CAN DECEIVE

Psalm 95:3-5 “For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”
 
“It is in its original a truly Hebrew song, directed both in its exhortation and warning to the Jewish people … .” – Charles H. Spurgeon
 
          The Spirit of God moved upon David to write this song of exhortation regarding the greatness of God. All creation was made by His own hand. The seas, the hills and mountain peaks. Those who don’t believe in God are constantly seeking scientific facts to prove or discredit Christianity. They don’t realize that facts are not required here, but simple childlike faith. Trusting only in what we can see, taste, touch and smell isn’t really trust, and what if our senses deceive us. We are relying on our own intellect and understanding regarding what a smell, taste, texture or appearance truly is. What if we are wrong? Who has determined these things? Are they trustworthy? Faith doesn’t rely on our senses, but instead relies on a quickening of the spirit within us to see things that are unseen to the naked eye. If we could see God belief in Him wouldn’t require faith. Yet seeing His handiwork all around us seems insufficient for some.
          Throughout scripture, which we must believe is wholly true and wholly the flawless, infallible word from God to His people, the virtues of Almighty God are presented. He is great and above all other gods for He never fails. He speaks to His children by the Holy Spirit and keeps any and all promises He makes. The individual who doesn’t use eyes of faith will never see God for who He truly is. They spend their time looking for hard, cold facts to base their beliefs on. All things that could be considered factual have been determined to be so by mortal men. There is nothing spectacular about these men other than they have conjured up formulas and theories which are, in and of themselves and by definition, not facts. Exercising ones faith is to read or hear something regarding God for instance and choose to either believe or reject that which you have read or heard. We all have that right based on the free will we have been given. To reject God is to say that everything around us just happened and was not formed by an unseen force prior to our very existence.
          In the end, it only takes intellect to believe in facts and figures. Those with imagination and a sense of things which are greater than themselves and inexplicable, choose to exercise faith. God was and is and always shall be. I choose to believe that. I accept that there are many things that I don’t understand, but also accept that I don’t have to. Believing in God takes courage and a certain boldness. We allow our faith to give birth to hope and hope is what sustains us in our darkest hour. Exercise your faith.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

THE SHOWER

Ephesians 2:1-2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
 
          Did you know that you were once dead? Dead in your own sins that is. There are millions of dead people walking around the world today and there’s no doubt they have no idea of their present condition. It’s their sin. It drags them down and wears them out. That’s just the way the devil likes them and wants to keep them. The devil is the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” and “the spirit” working overtime to drag folks to hell. Whether people believe in a literal hell or not, one thing I know, it’s eternal separation from God and that is one place I do not want to be. People get so hung up on the minutia related to God and His word and let the major issue slide right by. Without Christ’s redemption, we are all dead. And if we never accept the forgiveness that is readily available just for the asking, then we shall be twice dead.
          Let me explain. If we are born once and once only, we live our lives without the redemption Christ so freely offers mankind. If we live our entire lives never accepting this gracious gift we will not only die physically, but die spiritually as well, a second death separated forever from Almighty God. If we receive Christ’s forgiveness and allow the Spirit of God to mold us into all we can be in this life for His glory then we shall experience a second birth and only die once, our physical death. It’s not at all complicated. We can live for ourselves and not for God and others or we can live for Him and with Him for all eternity.
          There are those who feel they will be missing out on all the pleasures that life has to offer if they restrict themselves and follow this unseen deity. Everything in this world is temporal in nature and substance. If time could be accelerated right before your eyes, things all around you would grow old, decay and eventually turn to either dust or a pile of rubble. Over time you would be left standing alone with nothing to show for all the time and money you have spent throughout your life. Life isn’t about money or things. It isn’t about seeking pleasure and cramming as much fun into your life as possible before you die. It’s about a cleansing. If you went about your day and along the way got all grimy, sweaty and gross, at the end of the day you would want to take a hot shower and get clean again. What if the water wouldn’t get you clean? What if only a special shower would get you cleaner than you’ve ever been? What if you didn’t have enough to pay to use this shower? What if you stayed dirty your whole life until you accepted the free token being offered to take that special shower? Would you do it or would you not want to thank the one who paid for the shower and then owe Him your life? Isn’t that really what salvation is? If you are a believer reading this, rejoice. You place at the banquet table has been set up in heaven. Now let’s go offer the free shower to others.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FAITH REPLACES THE LAW

Galatians 3:23-25 “Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”
 
          The Galatians had fallen back into living by the Law of Moses and not by the faith they had originally embraced. Paul is not overly pleased with them. In the beginning of chapter three he first calls them “foolish”, then asks them who had “bewitched” them into clinging once again to the Law over faith. Paul likens living under the Law as being held in custody of a guardian. This was necessary in God’s economy until faith in Christ was introduced to man. (As a side note, when I refer to God’s economy I am referring to anything and everything that falls under the control of Almighty God, which would happen to be all of creation.)
          Justification came in the form of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born, lived among us and died a criminal’s death in our stead. That death erased our sins, not just covered them as the Old Testament blood sacrifices did each year. Christ’s death cleansed us once for all time. Do we still sin? Yes! Is forgiveness still available to the contrite heart? Yes!! Are we living under the guardianship of the Mosaic Law? No, we are not. Christ’s death freed us from the Law forever. This is seen in the renting or tearing of the veil or curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place in the Jewish Temple (Matthew 27:51). That represented our open access to God. No longer were we required to go through a High Priest, but rather could approach God ourselves due to the death of Christ on Calvary’s cross. We are now able to have a personal relationship with Almighty Jehovah God directly, where once a go-between was necessary. This fact may mean more to a Jew who receives Christ as their Messiah, then a gentile who never had the Law to live by, however, we can still embrace this gift of freedom by making ourselves aware of what the Jews were required to do previously. Many Jews still live by the Mosaic Law to this day, not realizing that their Messiah had come.
          A relationship with God, which may seem impossible, is made possible by a single death. God dwelling within us in the form of His Holy Spirit, made possible by a single act of love. Christ’s death on a wooden cross shall stand for all time as the most selfless act of love and mercy known to man and yet millions reject that act each day. There is no other hope of redemption. Without forgiveness, sin goes unpaid and all hope vanishes. Living for God gives life, freedom and hope for all our tomorrows.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CHECK YOUR PRIDE AT THE DOOR

Romans 12:14-16 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
 
          Could it be that God wants us to develop into ‘everyman’; someone of no particular stature, who doesn’t think too highly of themselves? Someone who can relate to those around him or her in an intimate sense. Perhaps. God wants us as believers to remove all masks, take down any facades, destroy any walls that surround us and relate to our fellow man. Be happy for them when they are happy, be sad with them when they mourn. Live in harmony despite any differences of opinion. Agree to disagree regarding conflicting thoughts and live harmoniously based on our mutual love for God. Living in the spirit is a powerful life lived. Don’t be boastful about it. Associate freely with those around you. Don’t judge lest you be judged in like manner (Matthew 7:1).
          Blessing those that ridicule you for your beliefs can be extremely difficult. They are not doing it to you, but rather to the God you serve. They don’t understand their own need or what you believe so they come down on you. It’s the job of the mature Christian to see through the mocking exterior into the heart of the man. What pain are they experiencing? God wants to use you to touch a life, to mend a broken heart. He wants to flow through you by His Spirit and minister to a wounded soul. If they reject you they reject God. They are ignorant of what they need and what you have. The sin sick soul craves unsavory things and cannot stand in the face of Almighty God, for God reveals our true nature to us. They are at a crossroads and probably don’t even realize it.
          We are not to be prideful or conceited when used of God. God can use anyone He chooses. He even used a braying donkey (Numbers 22:28-31) to speak to Balaam, so if He uses you it is truly no big thing. Don’t judge people by their external appearance. In the end those in lofty positions shall be made low and those who are low shall be made high. It’s the condition of a person’s heart that matters to God the most, not their outward appearance. If that were not true God would require us to clean up before we could know Him. The truth of the matter is that our sin has us so filthy that no amount of scrubbing could ever get us clean. Allow God to use you today to make a difference in this lost and dying world.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

INCLINE YOUR HEART TOWARD GOD

Isaiah 26:3 Amplified Bible (AMP) “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."
 
          I like the Amplified Bible translation of this verse. It’s filled with positive words and phrases that are designed to give those living for God encouragement and hope. “Guard him – keep him – perfect and constant peace”. We need to let such things soak into our psyche*.
          We see a conditional situation here. God will guard the individual and keep him perfectly and constantly at peace if his mind is focused on Him. While the word ‘if’ doesn’t appear in the scripture, it is implied with the phrase ‘whose mind is stayed on You …’ It could have easily been translated ‘if his mind is inclined toward You’, for God is not going to do those things for just anyone. He is going to do them for those whose mind is focused on Him, thus making it a conditional statement. God knows the heart of a man; therefore He would absolutely know the inclination and character of any individual heart’s motivation. All this transpires because the individual is committed to God. He is relying on and hoping in Him who controls all things.
           Why would a person lean so heavily on an unseen entity? Nothing can be proven, but rather is believed by faith. Even that which can be seen can deceive us, just like an oasis in a dry desert. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what life without God truly is; a dry, desolate, lifeless desert with no hope. Faith believes in the unseen as if it can be seen. Faith gives people hope. Faith is cool water in a dry and thirsty land. We believe in God by faith based on what the scriptures teach and add to that our own experiences as God fills our lives with answered prayers and blessings unseen to the naked eye. Some of the greatest gifts cannot be seen, but rather are felt within.
          We are the beneficiaries of such a commitment to God, for His promises are ‘yea and amen’ (1 Corinthians 1:20). What He says He shall do, He shall do at the proper time and in the proper manner. We are never left standing uncovered out in the icy cold rain. God makes provision for us and sustains all who commit their way unto Him, lean on Him and place all their hope in Him.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* 'Psyche' is one of a group of words that come from Greek psukhÄ“ – ‘life, breath, soul'; defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the human soul, mind, or spirit’.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 40


          I realized something the other day. The book I just wrote is for people who already believe in God. It’s for Christians … to encourage, edify and challenge them.  I thought what about the non-believers I encounter? There are people I know who would love to read my book, but may be put off by it because they don’t understand it or accept it to be true. My mind wandered (which makes me recall a tee shirt I used to have which had sprawled across the front of it “Don’t let your mind wander … It’s too small to be out by itself” … sorry, I saw an opening and I went for it.) … as I was saying, my mind wandered, as random minds tend to do and I thought IT’S A GOD THING; just popped into my head. ‘I like that’, I thought. I think I’ll try to write a book about God for non-believers. You know, something they mind be able to wrap their mind around without getting too deep. The Layman’s Series I had planned to do next will have to wait. It’s a God thing.  I believe God moves within me by His Holy Spirit in just that way. So I am excited to say that the next writing I will be doing will be for my unsaved friends and hopefully it will reach out once published and touch the world for Christ.

Romans 16:27 "... to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen."

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

 

Friday, August 24, 2012

HE HEARS OUR CRY

Psalm 116:1-2 “I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.”
 
          Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), noted British Baptist Preacher, suggests that this non-Davidic Psalm shows evidence of being a song sung during the Israelites flight from Egypt. David Dickson (1583-1663), Scottish theologian states that the writer is expressing thanksgiving “for his mercy unto him, and in particular for some notable delivery of him from death, both bodily and spiritual.” The great thing about God is that all this is relevant for us today. This is because God is not only no respecter of persons, but also that time is completely irrelevant to Him. So when we find ourselves in a place where we need Him to hear our voice as we cry out to Him, God does hear and will act on our behalf. As always, it is done His way and in His time. We can confidently call out to God anytime of the day or night in any situation we happen to find ourselves in and He will hear us. He is not like we are, half listening and not hearing, but rather is attentive to our cry and ready to take care of any need we may have.
          I would like to point out that the writer’s phrase “because he turned his ear to me” shouldn’t be seen as a conditional response. This is all figurative language for we know that God, being a spiritual entity, doesn’t have a literal ear to incline towards us. I believe this verse should be looked at from a slightly different perspective: Using history as his proof, the writer will always call on God because he always gets results. Would you continue to contact someone if you could never get a hold of them? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t. At some point I would stop trying, figuring that person on the other end doesn’t want to be bothered or is busy. Neither would ever be the case with our God. We are never, ever bothering Him, neither is He ever too busy to hear us and act or react on our behalf. God’s consistency is one of His greatest attributes. He is always the same. He has never and will never change. We are the only ones who can circumvent His will for us by willfully marching off in a different direction than He intended us to go; free will allows for that. When we finally wake up and realize we have stepped in it again, He is right there to pick up the pieces and help us move on. God is the only one who truly cares and is able to do something about the situation we may be in.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

GOD IS THERE

Psalm 94:18-19 “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping’, your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
Matthew 14:30-31 “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’

          Here we have two examples of how God saves His children from harm. In Psalm 94, an anonymous writer cringes under the oppressive hand of his adversary and wonders when God will bring retribution. When I think of a foot slipping I imagine in my mind’s eye an individual climbing a rocky incline. When someone walks on wet, mossy rocks by a watery venue they might also have the occasion to slip. The writer proclaims something that the Bible makes abundantly clear throughout it’s’ pages: the unfailing love of God. There is nothing that compares to the unconditional, eternal love of our creator for His creation. That love, says the writer, supported him.
          Have you ever been anxious about anything? I know I have. While we are instructed not to, worry, doubt and anxiety plague us as we struggle to trust God in difficult situations. Our humanness gets in the way of His greatness and we have difficulties. The writer of this Psalm did as well. It is in knowing God and who we are in relation to Him that we will find our consolation. The mere fact that He is watching and cares what happens to us should bring us joy. That is all tied up in what we place our faith in.
          Shifting gears to Peter in the gospel of Matthew: the disciples were in a boat on lake heading to Gennesaret when they spied what they thought to be a ghost coming towards them walking on the water. It was Jesus. He told them not to fear. Peter, in all his boldness, said that if it was truly Jesus, bid him come to Him on the water. Jesus bid him come and the rest of the story is shown above.
          The wind and waves in the gospel story represent life’s turbulence and troubles. We can become terrified as Peter did at the sight of them or we can remain calm and trust our Savior. He panicked, a very human response, and was saved by Jesus’ own hand. Notice the word ‘immediately’ in verse 31. We should be thankful that while our help may not always be immediate, when the situation is critical and immediacy is warranted, God is there with His hand extended. Joy may be an understatement for the feelings we might experience in the face of trouble that has been either remedied or averted altogether. God is always there watching, loving, caring. Yield your life to His care.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ALL THINGS GIVEN

Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

          We have some interesting words in this verse: Spare, gave up, graciously. The He that Paul is speaking of is obviously Almighty God. This is much easier to see in context. Sparing someone is simply to refrain or relieve the need of doing this or that. So God didn’t refrain from giving up His own Son, Jesus Christ, for all of mankind. What did He give Jesus up for? Death -And not just any death, a cruel, torturous death. It was a death that involved 39 lashes that tore His flesh. It was a death that saw half inch Judean thorns beaten down into His scalp and forehead. It was a death that saw Him carry His own vehicle of death through the streets of Jerusalem up to Golgotha’s hill. There He was nailed to the cross He carried and hung there before God and man to suffer, bleed and die. The words gave Him up don’t seem to do this supreme act of love justice.
          Paul is telling the Roman believers that they are more than conquerors in all things. That God will not withhold any good thing from them who love and serve Him. The fact that He did all this for us graciously shouldn’t be any surprise to us. The gracious comes from the root word grace and we all know what grace is: unmerited or undeserved favor. God, in all His love and mercy, gave us a way of escape from our own sinfulness. He sent His own Son to the cross to die for the multitude of sins we had committed. Think of the weight of all those sins. We are not speaking of the sins of one man, but rather the entirety of mankind. The sins of billions and billions of souls down through the ages, crossing the span of time, were heaped upon Him. The weight of that must have been excruciating; the agony of being separated from God for even a moment must have been horrifying. However, He willingly gave Himself up. God, the Father, didn’t have to force Jesus to go to the cross. In His humanity, Christ did ask if there was any way the cup of wrath could be taken from Him, however, He quickly relented and acquiesced to the Father’s will.
          If our God would not spare His own Son a cruel death, would He not give us anything we needed and required for provision and sustenance in this life. Christ had to do what He did for it was the only way to expunge all the sin in existence. His blood is the only red that can turn something white. God will enable you to do that which is required of you and you shall be victorious in His name.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make a Difference

Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”

          This is another Psalm written by King David. It is supposed that David is in flight from his own son Absalom, who has rebelled against him. Let’s focus on verse one and the deer seeking water.           Dehydration is not a good condition to allow yourself to be in. The southwestern states offer this problem on a near daily basis. Think of a yearning for liquid refreshment in the form of a cold bottle of spring water. It flushes your body of toxins and feeds you with much needed hydration. When a person’s hydration is nearly depleted, they are weak in the knees, light headed and start whiting out. Now think of a deer, enduring a drought perhaps. They would indeed be panting for streams of cool water. This is the mental picture David is painting for the readers.
          When an individual gives their life to Christ, something happens within them. Their spirit is activated, their soul is reborn and their heart is jump started. They have new life. According to scripture, they are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old has gone, the new is here. We are like new born babies and spiritually speaking we are starting life all over again. We have new things to learn. We begin to see things through spiritual eyes. We start to understand the things of God that were hidden from us before. To maintain this phenomenon and begin to grow spiritually, we must pant after God as a thirsty deer pants for streams of water. It is only through the seeking after God that our spirit will grow. We will shrivel up and die spiritually if we don’t search His word for replenishment. Avoid fellowship through finding and attending a solid, bible-based, Christ centered, preaching and teaching church and we will eventually dry up and blow away. To make a difference with this new life we have been given, we need to cultivate it just as we would cultivate a garden. For it to bear food we have to fertilize it, keep weeds and pests out and water it. Water is a life force. Water is one of the main staples of life along with bread. We must feed our spirit regularly to become all we can be for God. We haven’t been redeemed to simply kick back and relax our way through life as if nothing had happened to us. We’ve been given a second chance. We need to learn all about the One who gave us that chance. Our slate has been washed clean by the blood of Christ. We should pant after God the way we pant after a delicious meal or tasty drink. God is waiting for us to make a difference in our own personal life arenas. Embrace the challenge, drink deep from the spring of living water and go make that difference.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Focal Point

Psalm 16:1 “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.” Psalm 16:8 “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

          A refuge is like a safe house, which is a structure designed to provide shelter and protection for someone under threat. The enemy of our souls threatens us on every side. God provides us with protection from ourselves and the wiles of the devil if we stay very close to Him. It’s in our staying close that we find our safety. It’s necessary for us to always keep our eyes on the Lord. He needs to be our focal point. A focal point can be defined as a center of interest or activity. Without a focal point we would be looking everywhere except where we needed to look. For example, everything in a painting should lead your eye to a certain point in the picture where the artist wants you to place your focus. Our focus is to be on the center of the universe from which everything emanates and that would be God. We will be safe and not be shaken if God is the center and main focal point of our lives.

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

          As our gaze continues to center on our God, He will make the path we are to take clear to us. The way in which a Christian is to go is not a secret, but rather can be known to anyone who seeks it. Those who find serving God restrictive have deluded themselves into believing that they actually know what they are doing in life. Their decisions are largely incorrect and the paths they take typically lead them either to a dead end or into trouble. What the believer has is within them. What people see is the outward manifestation of it. It is the peace and hope that comes from believing and having trust in someone the world refuses to accept as real – God. Secular society tries to come up with the next new technical accomplishment so that they can survive more easily and quickly. Achieving a WOW factor nowadays seems to be the focal point of the world. Little do they realize that on their best day, their greatest accomplishments will still pale in comparison to the One who gave them life to begin with. A frenetic pace will never bring someone joy or peace. Eternal pleasures mean little to those who don’t believe in eternity. In fact, they don’t truly know what they believe, so they numb their minds not wanting to deal with it.
          True life is in serving God and as a result of that serving others. True joy and peace partner up and provide fulfillment. Doing things for others is very satisfying. We need to shed our comfort zones to do it, but once we do the joy that comes from it is real. Focusing on God and allowing Him to take control of the direction of your life gives us purpose. We are no longer living for ourselves but for others and that can be immensely rewarding. We must not be the center of our own universe. There is no lasting satisfaction in that.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 39

          I came across a question that caused me to stop and think. I didn’t have to think long before I came up with an answer to the query. “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence for a conviction?” It was a startling question; the kind that catches one off guard. I stumbled across it and then sat staring at it. My near immediate mental response was “No, no. I don’t believe their would be.” I was ashamed to have to admit that, but understanding all that I do about scripture, I have to admit I am not much of a threat to the devil at all. My comfort zone is so large and well lived in that I scarcely think of leaving it. Faith, love, mercy, grace, forgiveness; it’s as if they mean nothing. I write about them and believe in them, but have they truly transformed my life? Truly?
          I must also say that I am very hard on myself. I always have been. That’s not to minimize or cast aside my concerns; no, not at all. I don’t consider myself to be a very good Christian. However, having said that, I realize that God is not through with me yet and better days are coming as I allow Him to continue His work within me, for you see it is not the exterior things that others can see that matter, but rather the inward working of the Holy Spirit who creates the change that can ultimately be seen outwardly that really matters. This spiritual surgery which extracts undesirable traits and replaces them with Godly ones is quite necessary in all believers. Without it we are the same person with the same worldly desires and the same penchant for wrong doing.
          How would you answer that question up above? Have you allowed God to have His way with you? Do you even feel the need to do so? God loves you. Let Him move freely about you by His Spirit, reconstructing you into all you can be for His glory.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Comparison

2 Corinthians 10:12 “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

“Comparing oneself with oneself is like shooting an arrow and then drawing a target around wherever it lands.” (1)

          Those in society who deem themselves good find themselves setting a standard to live by that is solely devised by themselves. They feel they have a firm grasp regarding what is good and what is evil and act according to those standards which they themselves have set. They never consider God, but rather feel no need to due to the supposed logical nature of their thinking. How could they possibly be wrong in their assessment. It makes sense to them and is something that they can live by without breaking a sweat. It is mind boggling how people can conjure up all sorts of ways to work their way to heaven in their own minds. They feel no need to trouble themselves with the untidy details of the crucifixion or the resurrection. That is for the weak minded. God is nothing more than a myth or legend. Something people need as a crutch to survive. However, measuring ourselves by ourselves is very dangerous. It is like sailing close to a rocky shoreline without the aid of a lighthouse. We cannot see the reality of our danger without first surrendering our will. Only then do the blinders come off.
          We are to compare ourselves to God so that we realize our current state. Those who compare themselves to themselves fail to realize that attempting to go through life without God is like taking the helm of a great sailing vessel without ever having ventured out of dry dock before. They have no idea how to direct their lives successfully by any standards other than our own contrived set of rules. Free will allows us all a choice. To follow a path of our own choosing is unwise. Some Christians even talk themselves into believing their own definition of good. If we would only let go of the wheel and let God take over. We are foolish to think we can do anything pleasing to God without knowing Christ for He made it clear in John 15:5 when He says emphatically “without me you can do nothing”. We are incapable of being consistently good according to God’s own word.

Luke 18:19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good— except God alone."

Rom 3:12b "… there is no one who does good, not even one."

          Anything a believer does that would have any eternal implications or value must be done in conjunction with Christ, for without Him we are nothing. We can do our own thing or do God’s thing. It’s our choice. When we compare ourselves to Christ rather than ourselves we see how far off the mark we truly are. God loves us and seeks to guide and direct us into blessing and fulfillment by His Spirit. We cannot achieve this on our own.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

 
(1) The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources; www.bcbsr.com

Thursday, August 16, 2012

God's Grace in Action

2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

          The grace of God is His undeserved favor towards us. We deserve nothing from Him at all, yet He has seen fit to bestow upon us His favor. Christ willingly stepped down from the right hand of the Father to be that grace in bodily form as He allowed Himself to be brutally beaten and nailed to a cross. He was rich in all the attributes of God, yet made Himself poor and of no regard for our sake. By receiving Him we have become rich in a manner of speaking. It’s not monetary wealth we’re talking about. Money is used as an expression of love, but plays no part in this redemptive story. God made the decision to graciously save us from ourselves and our own devices, knowing full well what condition we would end up in from the start. He gave Adam and Eve everything they would ever need for survival and still they allowed themselves to be tricked into disobeying God. God displayed mercy in casting them out of Eden rather than destroying them and starting over.
          Our constant weakness and disobedience should cause our being cast out as well, however the love the Creator has for His creation is so intense and everlasting that He will not cast us aside. He rather has provided a liaison, if you will, in the form of His Holy Spirit. Once we receive Christ we receive in us our comforter and advocate, our liaison to God, the Holy Spirit. It’s a manifestation of God’s continued grace towards us. He gives us every advantage for the taking; however we tend to feel strong enough to take on certain situations on our own. Our own poverty comes in the form of understanding. We don’t grasp the seriousness of our circumstances and therefore fail to avail ourselves of the great riches of His grace and mercy to succeed in life.
          Success in God’s economy isn’t as the world sees it with monetary riches, prestige and power. Not at all. This is possibly one reason why some folks shun Christianity altogether. Humbleness, humility, grace, mercy, love, peace, hope and forgiveness are foreign concepts to the non-believer. These very same attributes make the believer rich in a way that is far more lasting and satisfying than any wealth or power ever could. The things of this world are temporary and shall crumble and disappear in time. The riches God gives are eternal in that they shall never pass away.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Who God Chooses to Use

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not —to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

          There are those in this life who consider themselves wise, yet their wisdom pales in comparison to the wisdom of the One who made them. Others spend countless hours in fitness centers pumping iron to get strong only to strut their stuff in public as a means of showing off their new found muscles. Their so called strength is nothing compared to the power of Almighty God. God has chosen to use the things considered weak and foolish to advance the kingdom. He has chosen to use those that society has cast off as less desirable to proclaim His goodness. Perhaps it is because they are the most pliable, the most easily molded into what He seeks to use. Those who see themselves as wise or strong do so to their own discredit. Their conceit is their undoing. They take credit for things that they haven’t done and therefore diminish the role of God. God shares His glory with no one (Isaiah 48:8 &11).
          It should be made clear that we are not talking about literal fools and weaklings, but rather those that are perceived by society to be so. God can use what and whom He so chooses to get a point across. Humbleness and humility are two traits Christians are to have. Those who think themselves wise or strong are hardly who God is looking for to complete His mission, for their wisdom and strength are self-proclaimed and therefore of little use to Him. It is the meek, the humble, the passed over who God delights in using. They think little of themselves and doubt their own abilities regularly. God can lift them up and speak through them. Moses was a murderer with a speech impediment, David was an adulterer and also a murderer, Noah was a drunk, Jacob was a liar, Rehab was a prostitute, Jonah ran from God, Peter had a quick temper – they have one thing in common: they were all used mightily by God.
          As already stated, God shares His glory with no one. Those whom He chooses to use are flawed, fault filled people who, as a result, seek no glory for themselves. They seem to understand who God is in the grand scheme of things and realize that they are incapable of anything without His guidance and assistance. We are to be humble as well. It is truly an honor to be used by God. He could have chosen anyone in creation and He has chosen you.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GODLY ALTERATIONS NEEDED

1 John 5:13-15 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

          This is the crux of prayer, not that we merely ask for anything we desire, but rather that we ask for anything according to His will. If we truly know God in an intimate way, as He knows us, then we will inherently ask for that which is in His will for us. It is in the knowing that we find common ground. God desires for us to know Him. We must desire to know Him ourselves. We mustn’t clutter our minds and lives with trivial nonsense that is temporal at best and harmful at its worst. We don’t want to be so heavenly minded so as to be no earthly good, but conversely, we don’t want to become mired in the things of this world so as to be of no use to God. Satan is clever. His devious ways are meant to entrap us so we do nothing of any eternal value. We are to set our focus on that which is good and right and just and shun that which serves us no good purpose. God promises us that He will not only provide for and sustain us throughout this life, but will make sure we have that which we ask for as long as it is within the parameters of His will for us as individuals. He has a general and very specific will for us all. Generally speaking His will is to love and worship Him and spread the gospel message to the far corners of the earth. His specific will is not for us to say, but to be determined and manifest before us as we serve Him. It will become apparent once we get to the place where we need to know.
          John makes sure to encourage his readers first off by acknowledging and confirming that those who believe in the name of the Son of God can know that they have eternal life with Him. We know from the remainder of scripture that there is more to it than just believing for the devil believes in the existence of Jesus. It is in the change that takes place in us that the difference comes. Many say they believe in Jesus, yet never allow the Spirit of God to make any alterations to the fiber of their being at their core. Nothing changes for them. Their value system remains unchanged as does their moral structure. They profess and then go about business as usual, as if nothing had happened. It is in the changing that we become very different. We see things differently; from a different perspective … a Godly perspective. Just like an expensive suit needs alterations to fit us properly, so our own mind, soul and spirit requires alterations so as to fit us for heaven. We must submit to these alterations and allow them to change our behavior. It is not just in the believing, but in the living that people notice the change and are drawn to it. God loves us and has great plans for us if we will just submit to His work in us.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, August 13, 2012

GOD'S GREAT LOVE!!

Ephesians 2:4-5 “… because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved.”
Romans 5:8 “… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. who loved me and gave himself for me.”

          How great is God’s love for us? Scripture is clear on the subject; before we ever knew Him God loved us. Nothing we could ever think, say or do could alter that one unchanging fact. We know what God considers love to be from His own definition in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Mercy is compassion shown to an offender who is subject to one in power. Grace is unmerited or undeserved favor. We were dead men walking; dead in our own sin. The mercy and grace of God was offered to us before we knew our own condition. Traditionally, man has figured that he was good enough because of the scant ‘good’ things they had done in their lives which they felt negated the ‘bad’. Unfortunately man’s definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is horribly askew. Unregenerate man has no standard to measure by, no plumb line from which to judge one’s performance. The Bible tells us that all have fallen short of God’s glory and are therefore sinners (Romans 3:23). Without God’s word as a measuring stick we would have no idea what good or bad or love truly was.
          The cruel death suffered by God’s own Son is something we could never understand or appreciate in its’ totality. The ‘why’ of it is too much for us to comprehend. Are we that bad as to cause someone to actually die in our place to secure our own redemption? Truly? Yes, the Bible declares essentially that on our best day we are nothing more than grubby sinners who are self-seeking and self-absorbed. We do good when it suits us and do bad just the same. We are inconsistent in our living and have no real desire to serve anyone but ourselves if the truth be told. What God sees in us that is redeemable strikes me personally as pretty amazing in and of itself, but He does. He made us with His own hand and knows our immense potential for good, Godly living. His Son willingly died a horrible death to pay for our sins so that we might have life. There was no hesitation on God’s part to do it and Jesus’ desire to please the Father is obvious in His surrendering to the Father’s will.
          What will we do with such a gift? Will we keep it all to ourselves? Place it on a shelf and dust it off every once in a great while? Or will we proclaim the glory and majesty of Almighty God and tell others about the gracious gift that is available to all men for the taking. Submission is required; giving up one’s control. God asks us to trust and believe in Him by faith. It’s a small price to pay for the life we have been given and the eternity that awaits us.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 38

          Where do people in the world today find hope? Is it in themselves and their own abilities? Is it in the government? Is it in family and friends? Superheroes came out of someone’s imagination, so they aren’t real and therefore are of no use to us. Our government can’t seem to get things right so we can’t count on them for hope. If we are painfully honest with ourselves, even on our best day our efforts and abilities don’t quite cut it in the long haul. It is my contention and strong belief that God is our only source of hope in a lost and dying world. Any other hope is imagined and not real. Any other source of hope is temporal at best; fleeting hope is no hope at all.

Romans 15:12-13 “… Isaiah says,‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule   over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

          The Root of Jesse is Jesus Christ. Jesse was the father of David and Jesus is in the line of David, therefore He is considered in scripture to be the root of the family tree. In Christ we find our hope. It is not a passing hope that will pass away, but rather a hope that is eternal. Paul declares in Romans that in Christ the gentiles will find hope. The Holy Spirit of God infuses us to overflowing with hope. The return of Christ in the clouds for His people, referred to as ‘the Rapture’ of the church, is called the Blessed Hope of the church. We have hope in things yet unseen. Hope is a by product of faith and trust. We believe in God to begin with out of faith. We trust that He is who He says He is. We finally realize that that light at the end of life’s tunnel is the light of God and not an oncoming train. We can find rest in our hope. The world is striving, pushing, pulling, lunging forward constantly and in the process, is seeking hope and peace. Hope is found only in God. When hope is found, can peace be far behind?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

OUR IMMUTABLE GOD

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. “
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; …”

          A refuge is a safe house or haven; a place where we can feel safe and actually be safe. David announces that God, Himself, is our refuge. When we are weak and cannot go on, God is our strength. When we are down and out, so low we can barely see light, He is our ever-present help. He is omnipresent, as in everywhere at the same time. It is by His Holy Spirit that He can be all places at the same instant. His Spirit pierces the darkness that exists in this world. His presence is as a bright light turned on in a pitch dark room. No matter what trouble we may find ourselves in, God is there in the midst of it. He always provides a way of escape from each and every temptation or difficulty. It is our responsibility to be attentive and in tune with Him so that we might recognize that escape route. The words used are words that are definitive and unchanging. It is not that God was or will be our refuge and strength, but rather is. It’s like the name that He gives Himself; He is not I WAS or I WILL BE, but rather I AM (Exodus 3:18). He is our ever-present help. The word is encompasses past, present and future. He is constant; He never changes (Malachi 3:6).

“God is constant. He does not change: He does not grow; He does not evolve; He does not develop—He is immutable (not susceptible to change). All His perfections are without variation, without addition or subtraction and without progression or mutation. He does not increase nor decrease in strength and wisdom. His glory does not fade nor become more glorious; His righteousness and truth are not added to nor diminished. His knowledge does not expand, and His decrees do not change. His promises are steadfast; His word remains unadjusted for all eternity.” (1)

          Christians struggle through life just as non-Christians do. The difference is that we have chosen to believe that there is a God that loves us and cares for us. For seekers of the truth, it is the one thing that seems to make sense though at the same time illogical. God’s Spirit created a spark in our soul igniting the faint ember that exists deep within every man. Relying on an unseen deity doesn’t make us weak as some would say for it requires faith and everyone has faith in something or someone. Christians happen to believe in an unseen God as if He could be seen. His works are all around us, yet can only be seen by those who are using their spiritual eyes. It is in the stillness that we sense the presence of God, not in the chaotic cacophony of sound that so frequently surrounds us. God’s presence can be felt sitting on a porch in your own backyard listening to the sounds of nature. He can be found in the silent meditation of His word. It is our choice to believe as we choose. There is a right choice and a wrong choice. Only we can know in our soul what the correct choice is. It is not a heart decision, for that allows emotion to dictate the choice made. It is not a choice of the mind, for intellect is not ultimately required. Our soul cries out for love, peace and forgiveness and our soul knows from whence that comes. It only comes from the One who created it.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

(1) www.embracedbytruth.com; Embraced by Truth … Reflections on Theology and Life; author unknown.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

WHAT'S YOUR WORTH?

Luke 12:6-7 “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? Let me tell you, you are of incalculable worth to God, who created you to begin with. Think about how insignificant 5 sparrows would be. Let’s take a brief look at the sparrow. There are five species of sparrow in the world today. The largest species group is referred to as True Sparrows. There are 27 different types of True Sparrows flitting about the earth. Generally speaking, sparrows are small, plump, brown-grey birds with short tails and stubby, powerful beaks. The different species can weigh anywhere from a 1/2 oz to 1-1/2 ozs. Sparrows, which are primarily seed eating birds, have an extra bone in their tongues to help stiffen it giving them the innate ability to hold their seed firmly in their mouth.
          The first thing that could be said is regarding the intricacy of the birds skeletal structure, especially the extra bone in it’s tongue to aid in eating. Do you seriously think that just happened? I choose to believe that it was by grand design and the designer was Almighty God.
          Like the tiniest seed, the mustard seed, being the perfect example for the amount of faith that is required to believe, so one of the tiniest birds is a perfect comparative example of worth. If God, in all His power and wisdom, values the sparrow and doesn’t neglect them in any way, how much more does He value you? Luke makes a good point in saying that every single hair on your head is numbered. He knows how many hairs you have on your head!! With that in mind I would venture to say that God also knows the number of grains of sand there are on the earth’s beaches. It is meant to show that God cares and not just in a casual way. He cares for you intimately. He cares about everything that matters to you. He loves you and wants you to know it. You may be down and out and how nothing positive going in your life at this very moment, but God still loves you. If you seek His face and trust in Him He will never fail you. We have nothing to fear. We are not worth more to God than one sparrow, but rather many sparrows. If He takes good care of the little birds of creation, He will most assuredly take good care of you. But you must have faith; you must believe. You must place your complete trust in Him. It is easier if you know Him and to know Him comes from reading the words He has left for us. In it we find promises of His never ending love and the fact that He will never leave or forsake us. God cares deeply for you as an individual. Never forget that. Call out to Him regardless of your situation. He’s there waiting to hear from you.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

HAVING A HUMBLE SPIRIT

Psalm 149:4For the Lord takes delight in his people; He crowns the humble with victory.”

ar•ro•gant 1: exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner; 2: showing an offensive attitude of superiority : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance.

hum•ble 1: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive; 2: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission.

          Arrogance is an unattractive characteristic that many people display. They think they are above it all and see themselves as superior in either intellect or economic status (or both). They dare not mingle with those they deem lesser then themselves. Because of arrogance, people become judge and jury over the socioeconomic status of all who are around them. They determine who is worthy of their association and who is not. It is an unseemly trait that is all too common in society today. God doesn’t honor such an attitude, nor does it please Him. Seeing themselves as higher than the vast majority of society, they wouldn’t waste their time believing in an unseen god, since they would see no need for him. That is frighteningly sad, for their own attitude is the affliction that will take them down. They cannot see that their thoughts, words and deeds are self-centered. They have reached the pinnacle of self-absorption and yet are unaware that from this lofty position can come a mighty fall and it will come. Why are people like this? Is it insecurity? Is it being spoiled at a young age? Is it a borderline mental illness? Perhaps a little of all that, but nonetheless, it is displeasing to the Lord and needs to be extracted.
          A humble spirit is quite the opposite. Humble folks are not at all arrogant, but rather submissive to another; in the Christian’s case, God. The humble person seeks to please and places others before themselves. Since faith is required to please God (Hebrews 11:6), we must first believe and place our trust in the unseen deity known to us as Almighty God. Once we learn how to live for Christ, we slowly develop a spirit of humbleness and humility. Arrogant people view those that are humble as weak and tend to take advantage of them. Arrogance doesn’t consider the feelings of anyone else but themselves, while those that are humble consider the feelings of others before themselves. It is the humble individual who pleases God and not the arrogant for it is not all about ME, but rather about God and others. If we believe that God provides and sustains those whom He loves then we have no concerns and submission comes somewhat easy. The arrogant person believes that he alone provides and sustains for himself without any outside assistance. What a shock they will receive on the last day when they will be required to bow before Almighty God and profess Him as Lord. Do for others with a spirit of humbleness and humility and God will crown you with victory.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE

Titus 3:3-7 “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

          Paul writes to Titus this instructional letter so that he will know what needs to be “put in order” in Crete, where Paul had left him. Chapter 3 begins with the great Apostle telling Titus that we were saved to do good for the kingdom of God. He points out that those who are now saved were once slaves to sin, hating and envying each other. It is no different today. Those who have received the forgiveness God freely gives were once disobedient to all that the Lord stands for. It is shown here that there is nothing we could have ever done in and of ourselves to become saved, but rather, it was solely by the mercy of God. And how did this salvation occur? By being washed in the blood of Christ which acted as a bleaching agent, removing the darkest stains from our souls. If we have been washed under this blessed fount, we have been reborn and renewed by the Spirit of God. Our lives shall never be the same. The price paid for the forgiveness we now enjoy is too great to ignore. There is no way that we should pass it off as just another event in our lives. It should be a landmark day in our existence; the day our soul was set free so that our spirit could soar to the heavens. It is the day our lives should have changed for the better. We are never to return to our past practices, but rather reach for the higher ground the Lord provides for us.
          By the grace or unmerited favor of God we are seen by Him as if we had never, ever sinned in our lives. Are we to go back into the pen with the other pigs as if we were never cleaned? We have been made righteous in God’s sight. This is no small thing. God wishes to instruct us and guide us. The main object of our existence is now to become more like Him each day. We have been awakened from our sin induced slumber. It is now necessary for us to run the race set before us. We must not sprint ahead, but rather pace ourselves so as not to stumble. God provides the encouragement through His word. He provides the strength and guidance through His Holy Spirit. Eternal life weighs in the balance. We are not to take our salvation lightly. Something is required of us. Christ didn’t die for us to receive forgiveness and then go about our merry way as if no change had occurred in us. We are to strive to live worthy of the price paid for the pardon we’ve received. Salvation is a wonderful blessing and gift from God. Rejoice and live life to the fullest for you are loved unconditionally and nothing you do will ever change that.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

LETTING GO

Psalm 119:1-2 “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD (1). Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart (2) …”

          The Psalmist is speaking of his love for the laws of God. The law he is speaking of is the Law of Moses or the Pentateuch; the first five books of the Old Testament. Pentateuch comes from the Greek words penta - meaning five and teukhos - meaning scrolls. Jews refer to these same five books as The Torah or “the law” since Jewish law is contained there. They are referred to as the Law of Moses because it is generally accepted that the Spirit of God inspired Moses in writing them.
          Those who follow the law and incorporate it in their daily lives are considered blessed by God. Since we have been grafted into the family of God due to the Jews rejection of Christ, the same would apply to us. However, there is one major difference: we are no longer bound by the law. When Christ allowed Himself to be crucified His blood became the source of forgiveness for all who would receive. Even one drop of His blood was enough to bleach out the deep red stains our sins had painted in our souls. It is in our own souls that we must search for what is needed to receive this precious gift of forgiveness. When we are all alone, we need to look deep within ourselves to see what we really, truly believe. To believe in God requires faith. It is impossible to please Him without it (Hebrews 11:6). We must then trust that He is all that He says He is in scripture.
          Seeking God comes from that same faith we just spoke of. To believe in something or someone that we cannot see and trust that this unseen entity can and will provide for and sustain us in any and all circumstances throughout our life is a tall order for some. They simply don’t want to relinquish control of their own lives. However, there is no forgiveness without a letting go.
          When someone does bungee jumping, there is a large amount of trust involved. First of all we must trust that the cord will hold our weight when we jump; secondly, we have to trust that we won’t have a heart attack on the way down. Trust is an important ingredient to knowing and serving God. We seek Him because in our heart of hearts we believe that He will not fail us, but rather look after us and bless our efforts as we look to serve Him. It is no longer solely about us when we receive the salvation Christ offers. It is about God and others. We become 3rd in line. Selfish living is no longer an option. Selflessness is the rule of the day. If we seek God with all our heart and walk according to His decrees from scripture, we will achieve all that God knows we can for Him and be blessed.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

(1) A metaphor for the activities of daily life. – Reformation Study Bible on Ps. 119:1
(2) The psalmist is not speaking of a mere external adherence to the law. He calls for obedience that comes from a deep-seated faith in the Lord. – Reformation Study Bible on Ps. 119:2

Saturday, August 4, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 37

          I am taking a trip down memory lane tonight. Going to see Chicago & The Doobie Brothers in concert. Takes me back to the 1970’s when both groups broke onto the music scene. This is my first opportunity to see them in concert. Should be fun. Yes Virginia, Christians are allowed to have fun. God will be with me by His Holy Spirit which resides in me. I don’t expect that anything will take place that will be offensive to God so I believe I am going to be in for nothing more than an evening of good music.
          Having said that, I realize that good music varies according to the ear of the listener. I have a rather eclectic gathering of favorite music that I listen to. All sorts of classical music from various eras, such as, Baroque, Romantic and Classical; I enjoy smooth instrumental jazz the likes of Earl Klugh, Richard Elliott and Acoustic Alchemy; I love 70’s rock, but also enjoy music from each decade starting in the 1920’s on through current day pop. I spend most of my time listening to Contemporary Christian music and Alternative Christian Rock, however, when one is looking to chill, nothing beats smooth jazz to relax to. Of course, that is only my opinion. Some people have the ability to relax to Led Zeppelin, I just don’t happen to be one of them.
          If you want a good listen, check out a Christian group called Telecast. They are mild blend of soft rock and pop combined with Christ centered lyrics which make for a very worshipful listen. If you want to listen to something with a little more zip that deals with boy/girl relationships, love songs and thought provoking, insightful songs related to our relationship with God, then give Relient K a listen. There style of music is for those who like a faster beat. If you want to rock out with some harder stuff you could crank up any number of good Christ-centered groups; here are a few: Pillar, Kutless, Thousand Foot Krutch, Red to name just a handful.
          That’s all I have to say for today …

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A MATTER OF THE HEART

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

          The Lord God sent Samuel to find the one He had chosen to replace Saul as King of Israel. Samuel was to take a heifer for sacrifice and invite the family of Jesse to go with him. Samuel was to look over each of the sons of Jesse and the Lord would let him know which one God wanted him to anoint as the successor to Saul. God rejected all of Jesse’s sons in attendance, but there was the youngest son off in the hills tending to the family flock of sheep. Surely this could not be the one the Lord was looking for? Scripture clearly tells us that God never looks at the exterior of an individual, but rather at their heart. David may have been young and slight in stature compared to his bigger, stronger, elder brothers, but God knew David had the faith required to do great things for the Kingdom. When someone was needed to go up against the mighty Goliath, God used David to stand up and defeat the Philistine champion. Goliath was a monster of a man told to be six cubits and a span, which is nine feet nine inches tall. David proved himself to be up to the task by never flinching; his unflagging faith enabled him to rise to the challenge set before him. He used a weapon he was familiar with, a sling and some smooth stones to bring the giant down.
          It matters little what an individual’s physical stature is. God, who knows us intimately, knows our deepest thoughts, dreams and desires. David truly was a man after God’s own heart. When we are confronted with an obstacle do we panic or fret as King Saul did regarding Goliath or do we call out to God and move forward. The Holy Spirit of God will enable us to go through it rather than avoid it. Such times are character builders. If we are paying attention, we can learn valuable lessons from our trials. David stumbled, fell and made some poor choices during his reign as King of all Israel, but God’s anointing was on him and he remained till his dying day a man after God’s own heart.
          God knows what is necessary in any given situation. When He chooses us to step forward for Him, He has not made a mistake. He sees the potential in us and though we may think ourselves incapable of anything honoring to God, He knows much better than we do what we are capable of. Despite our faults and failings, we can rise up and be used to do great things for God.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

LISTENING vs. HEARING

James 1:22-25 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Those who listen to the word but do not do what it says are like people who look at their faces in a mirror and, after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget what they look like. But those who look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continue in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

          There is a major difference between listening and hearing. We listen to things being said all day long, but at times hear very little of it. What we hear should have some impact on us, whether positive or negative. That which we hear should cause us to reflect, to ponder, even for a moment. We sit in pews each Sunday morning and would probably be hard pressed to tell someone afterwards what the sermon was about. We were listening but not hearing. It seems preposterous to us that we could look at ourselves in a mirror, walk away and seconds later forget what we looked like, but that is exactly what James is saying to those who listen yet do not hear. The word of God gives freedom. It provides instruction when things are difficult and hope in the most desperate of times. We are largely guilty of not allowing it to change us. God’s word brings us freedom. It gently massages the heart of the reader and gives it new life. We cannot begin to understand all that God has in store for us, yet because His return is delayed in our eyes and the problems of life have weighed us down, we slow down to a crawl and eventually sit by the roadside exhausted. The word of God, when intently digested a little at a time each day, is designed to make us a little more like Christ. We are to remember what we read and hear so that it can serve us well at a time when we need it most.
          We are also not to be hearers alone, but doers. With all the societal pressures and family responsibilities we take on throughout our lives, doing the word of God can be a challenge. However, we are not asked to do it all immediately. Hearing the word of God should begin to slowly make changes in our moral fiber and in our value system. We should take the lessons scripture provides and apply them to our own lives so that we are changed from the inside out. Our outward man means little to God; it is what is in our hearts that makes our engine run. Will our engine run efficiently or will it sputter from disuse. Our Heavenly Father promises us that we will be blessed if we do as we are instructed. I can guarantee you it will not be a blessing that the world will find any use for, but it will be a blessing that we can utilize to the glory of God and the building of His kingdom. All blessings are not necessarily visible. Many times the blessing could come in the form of peace or joy which is bestowed upon our spirits. God knows what we need and when we need it. His timing is precise and His wisdom is infallible. Being inspired is one thing, but allowing change to come into our heart, mind, soul and spirit is imperative to our spiritual growth. Allow God to work on you this very moment. Don’t just listen, hear and be changed.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

OUR PROTECTOR

Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.”

          Chapter 119 of Psalms is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. In the 114th verse above we find four words that stand out: 1) refuge, 2) shield, 3) hope and 4) word. The Psalmist is declaring first of all that God is his own personal refuge. What is a refuge? A refuge is a fortress of sorts, a safe haven, a shelter from danger. Not only has the writer stated this, but also that God is his shield. This is typically a piece of armor that is used to protect the combatant. So the first portion of the verse deals with protection. Since there is nothing God is incapable of (Matthew 19:26; Job 42:2; Jeremiah 32:17, 27 & Luke 1:37), I can think of no better protector then Him.
           The Psalmist states clearly that he has put his hope in the word of God. What is hope? It is a strong desire with anticipation. Hope is born out of faith and trust. If we have faith we believe in things unseen as if they can be seen. If we have trust we have an assurance that we can rely on that thing or person we have placed our faith in. It is with that in mind that we have hope. When we place our hope in the Bible, we are placing our hope in all the statutes and promises that are within its covers. By stating that he puts his hope in God’s word, the Psalmist is in fact also stating that he has faith in Almighty God and through trust is relying on Him to make all things as they should be. God knows all things and is able to bring about His perfect will for each one of us. His plans for us are for success and His timing is impeccable. There is nothing we cannot do if we rely on God fully. He can open closed doors, provide sustenance where there is none, bring hope to the despondent. God is our protector and our helper in the most desperate of times.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!