God’s Help Monday, Jan 30 2017 

Where do you go when you need help? Some of us go to our parents, our friends, our pastors, our teachers.

How many of us go to God? Not as a last resort, but as our first source of help.

Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

If we want God to help us, how can we get him to help us?  We call him. I don’t mean dial him up on the phone, I mean get down on your knees and pray!

Psalm 30:2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
    and you healed me.

It’s okay to ask God to hurry up. If you are in an emergency you need to speak up!

Psalm 40:16-17 16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    you are my God, do not delay.

and Psalm 70:1 Hasten, O God, to save me;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

God does not want us to be afraid to ask him for help.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Hebrews 4:16 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

You might think your situation is impossible today. Nothing is impossible with God.

Psalm 46:4-6 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

God says in his word over and over that he will help us.

Isaiah 49:10 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 Timothy 5:5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.

God even helps those who tell you about him in their blogs every day. (like me)

1 Thessalonians 2:2 but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel.

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God’s Energy Sunday, Jan 29 2017 

After winter comes spring.

People in Christ have new life. Just like the cactus flower they have new beauty and new fragrance. Spring brings new sounds: Chirping of new birds, the trickling sound of water moving as the snow melts away.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

That is how it is with us when we are converted.  All things become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

We have new energy.

Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

We have new life.

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

He was the first to live the resurrected life.

Colossians 1:18-20

18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;

20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

God’s Process Saturday, Jan 28 2017 

Long  ago, I was born in flesh and blood in the town of Ephrata. In Hebrew the word Ephrata means “fruit of the vine.” Thousands of years before, Jesus was born in flesh and blood in the town of Bethlehem Ephrathah. In Hebrew Bethlehem Ephrathah means House of Bread and Fruit of the Vine. Prophets predicted his birth long before it happened in the old testament. God knew that his body and his blood would be given before he was born. We commemorate this with communion: the bread and the cup.

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

God knows the beginning from the end because he is the beginning and the end.

Revelation 21:6-7 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

God knew before I was born that he would call me into his glorious light.

Romans 8:29-30 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

The process by which we are conformed to the image of his Son is called sanctification.

1 Corinthians 6:11 But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

He knows our beginning and our end: even the exact time and place we are to live. Remember that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem just before the birth of Jesus.

Acts 17:26 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

He knows who will be called, who will be justified, who will be sanctified, who will be glorified in Him.

This is my prayer for you:

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

So may it ever be.

God’s Attitude Friday, Jan 27 2017 

Before I even started school my mom taught me about the “attitude of prayer”. She would say, “Kneel by your bed, put your hands together, bow your head, and repeat after me: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the LORD my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the LORD my soul to take. Bless Mommy and Daddy, …long list of names of sisters, brothers, grandparents, etc. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

I remember thinking at the time. “What do you mean, die before I wake?” It was a little scary to me but I wanted so bad to please my mom that I would pray it just the way she said.

Kneeling is a symbol of humility. God humbled himself.

Psalm 95:6-8 Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,[a]
    as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,

In Hebrew Meribah means “place of strife.” Massah means “testing or temptation”.

A mindset is an attitude.

Philippians 2:3-10 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

God’s attitude is humble. We should take on his attitude.

James 4:6-10But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”[a]

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

God’s Path Wednesday, Jan 25 2017 

Getting around from place to place these days is a lot easier than it used to be. As we all know, the shortest distance between two places is a straight line. This is true in the physical world and in the spiritual world. Walking in the Spirit means walking the “straight and narrow”. There is no wavering or wandering off of the path. If you are following more than one leader you become inconsistent and easily get “off course.”

Getting off course can cost lots of time and energy.

Remember how it took 40 years for the Israelites to make it through the desert? Have you ever looked at a map of the area? From the bird’s eye view, it is hard to even imagine how it could possibly take so long.

The Spirit of God is not only a disciplining parent but also a demanding coach who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined. Although we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory, we will be able to accomplish it as we follow Christ and draw on his strength. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13. Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling.

Remember this is true in the spiritual and in the physical world.

God said it through the prophet Isaiah this way:

Isaiah 40:3-5 Isaiah 40:3-5New International Version (NIV)

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b]
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

God said it through the book of Hebrews this way:

Hebrews 12:1-13

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Whatever doesn’t line up with your calling, faith, convictions, and purpose you eliminate from your life. Eliminate it from your actions, words, and thoughts. In other words, “don’t go there.”

When you walk in the Spirit, everything lines up; your actions, faith, life and heart. Because of this you become good, upright, pleasant, and prosperous. Both you and the world see the change. You become the shining light that gives the example for good for others to follow.

God’s Revelation Tuesday, Jan 24 2017 

If you go in your bible to the very last book in the bible you will find the book of Revelation. In the very first chapter of the book, in the very first verse it states where the revelation comes from… Jesus Christ and the purpose of the revelation…to show his servants what must soon take place.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love getting a heads up on stuff. I mean isn’t it easier to handle a situation if you know what is coming?

In the morning, I listen to the weather report so that I know what to wear and what to expect for the coming day or week. I listen to the report of a meteorologist. This individual is an expert on the weather.

There is no better prognosticator of what is about to take place than Jesus Christ himself when it comes to the kingdom of heaven.

In the first three chapters of the book of Revelation you will find the letters to the seven churches.  In each letter he reminds the reader: “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

When what you are saying is important you usually begin with, “Listen up! Everybody!”

This message is for all of us.

Proverbs 1:5 New International Version (NIV)

let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—

His brother admonishes us to listen and do what He says.

James 1:22 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

We are the sheep of His pasture.

John 10:26 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

God himself tells us to listen to Him.

Luke 9:34-36 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

God’s Reminders Sunday, Jan 22 2017 

As we age, we have to create reminders to ourselves to do the things we need to get done. Some people put string on their fingers while others set alarms on their smart phones. I’m a list maker. I make “To Do” lists and check them off one by one each day. One of the things I often do is blog.

The reason I blog is in the bible:

Psalm 107:1-3 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.

Recorded in God’s Word are many reminders of his deeds toward men.

It isn’t where you are in your journey of life, but rather how far you’ve come. Looking back helps us to see just how far we’ve come.

I’m not going to post the whole chapter here but I hope you will take the time to read it for yourself. I will just highlight a few of the verses.

Before we are saved, we all have different circumstances that draw us to God.

Psalm 107:4 Some wandered in desert wastelands.

Psalm 107:10 10 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
    prisoners suffering in iron chains.

Psalm 107:17 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
    and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.

Psalm 107:23 23 Some went out on the sea in ships;
    they were merchants on the mighty waters.

Wherever you started, whatever you’ve done, God knows and loves you. God reminds us of our past so that we can “give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

God’s Knock Saturday, Jan 21 2017 

When I was a kid, we used to play hide and seek.  The younger kids always had trouble finding the older ones. But the older ones soon grew bored because the younger ones didn’t know yet that their giggling could be heard.

That’s how it is at church.  We all get together to find God, find others, and find ourselves.  There are all different backgrounds, levels of knowledge, and relationship with God.

When we are baby Christians, we are oblivious to the ways God reveals himself to us.  We have the joy of the LORD in our hearts and are excited to serve him but can’t figure out where he is hiding.

Then as we mature and begin to see God’s hand working in our lives, we find it hard to understand how the world can miss something so obvious.

In the book of Revelation chapter 3 verse 20, Jesus is speaking to the “angel of the church at Laodicea. Laodicea means “place of people of common fairness.”

20″ Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

You see, He isn’t trying to hide anything. If you seek him, you’ll find him.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

2 Chronicles 15:2 The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you.

Psalm 15:2 The Lord looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.

 

 

God’s Tears Friday, Jan 20 2017 

When I was in the eighth grade, I had a day of mourning where I cried all day in class. The teacher never made me quit, nor said I was disturbing the others in class. He just let me sob.

From Genesis to Revelations, we can find instances where people wept. Even Jesus wept.

John 11:34-36 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

They were speaking of Lazarus, Jesus’ friend.

Luke 19:40-42

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

He wept over a city.

David also wept.

Psalm 6:5-7 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?

I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping
    and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
    they fail because of all my foes.

Jeremiah wept.

Jeremiah 9:1 [a]Oh, that my head were a spring of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night
    for the slain of my people.

God keeps track of our tears.

Psalm 56:8 Record my misery;
    list my tears on your scroll[a]
    are they not in your record?

We are called to mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:14-16 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

 

God’s Light Thursday, Jan 19 2017 

When I graduated from the eighth grade, our neighbor across the street gave me a bible. It had a white cover, a zipper, and it was a red letter addition of the KJV. I remember the excitement of finally having my own bible. Up to that point, I had been using the family bible which was also my mother’s bible.

Right away, I started reading my bible, memorizing verses, so excited about what God had to say. The more I got into it the more I loved it. In a few short years that bible began to fall apart so I made a new cover for it out of a floral print fabric and used the same zipper. It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I finally got a new bible and yes it too is falling apart. I still have the old one on the headboard in my room.

Jesus tells us in the book of John that he is the “light of the world”:

John 8:12 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The enemy goes about blinding unbelievers to this light.

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

God made this light to shine in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

The enemy masquerades as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

We are the children of light.

Ephesians 5:8-9 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)

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