Friday, July 31, 2015

Fond Memories

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. (Psalm 143:5 NAS)

Fond Memories
Fond memories are often all that is left after visiting a place faraway that we have no intention to revisit. The only few things that help keep our memories alive of such a place are photos and souvenirs.

There was a time I used to fill up my closets with photo albums before the digital camera was popularized. Till this day, my wife and I have showcases and containers of the many souvenirs we purchased during our vacations and family retreats. All these photos and souvenirs are fondly loved by all of us in the family because of the precious memories we treasure of the fun time we spent together.

In a sense, the word of God is like a souvenir given by God to help us remember His teachings and what He had done for us. Like photos of imagery in our minds, God’s word showcases His expressed love to us through the scenes of the Old and New Testament, the works our Lord had done to save us, and the future that awaits us.

God’s word exhorts us to remember the days of old, to meditate on all His doings, muse on His deeds and the work of His hands, and to understand His precepts. We are to treasure God’s word in our heart that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 143:5; 77:12; 119:11, 15, 27).

Do we treasure God’s word like the way we cherish our photos and souvenirs? Do we love the word of God enough to spend time to meditate on it and refresh our minds with what we learn from within? Are we keeping and treasuring God’s word in our hearts to muse, meditate, and understand the precepts of God? 

God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. In His word is where we gain understanding of His precepts. Let us not forget the word of God but open our eyes to behold wonderful things from it (Psalm 119:104-105, 16, 18).

Dear Lord, thank You for the Holy Scriptures that You have placed in our hands so we might remember the days of old to meditate on it and muse over Your doings so we might know You more intimately. Your word is eternal and stands firm in the heavens, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We treasure Your word in our hearts that we might not sin against You.

Friday, July 24, 2015

If

If
Tough economic times try our patience, reveal our priorities and test our faith … Families minimize frivolities, count and roll pennies and try to stay in the black … Business declines, stocks fluctuate and consumers hesitate to make major purchases. Yes, we personally know the meaning of the tight squeeze and it does not refer to squeezing from the top or bottom of the toothpaste roll.

We do have financial needs and feel the strain of meeting them; it would be irresponsible to ignore them. A loving parent wants to put bread on the table and ability to pay creditors; is money pulled from thin air; what are they to do? The Father above tests our faith; Satan tempts our soul. His tactics have changed little since his one-on-one with Jesus in the wilderness.

“And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4:2b-4 NKJ).” Jesus was hungry; Jesus understands our temptations to satisfy hunger and need, yet opens our eyes to the greater sustainer of life.Pam Ford Davis

Heavenly Father, forgive me for listening to Satan’s twisted taunts; if Jesus was the Son of God he would do this and that to prove it. Keep me focused on reality and my urgent need to slice the bread of life. In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Idols of the Heart

Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. (Ezekiel 14:3 NIV)

Idols of the Heart
By definition, an idol is anything regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion. In Exodus, God is very clear that we are to put nothing before him; no idol in the form of anything. Jesus said we are to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds.

Most of us would not form an idol of materials and worship it with adoration and devotion. But what about our hearts? What things in our lives do we regard with adoration and devotion? For each of us it will be something different. For some, sports and entertainment may have become a form of idol worship, coming before their worship of God. For others it may be money, material things, or family. But what about deep in our hearts? Are there things we put before reading and studying God’s word? Have we replaced a consistent prayer life with the busyness that often consumes us? Sometimes it is the “little” things that become idols in our hearts keeping us away from a close relationship with our Lord.

In Ezekiel 14:8, God tells Ezekiel what he will do with the person who sets up idols in his heart, "I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord." (NIV)

We need to search our hearts and demolish any idols established there. God will not be mocked. Sharon Dow

Friday, July 10, 2015

More than a Silhouette

More than a Silhouette
In 18th century Europe, the art of silhouette cutting began as a form of entertainment for the royal elite.  With the grand Lords and Ladies as his subjects, the artist would use scissors to sculpt a head-and-shoulders profile from black paper. The finished portrait would usually be mounted against a white or light-colored background. These were completed quickly, within a matter of only a few minutes. This beautiful art form showed the outline of the subject but not the detail.

Many people have a similar relationship with God. They know who God is and what He can do, but they don’t have a personal, “one-on-one” relationship with Him. The intimacy that God desires to have with them is missing. They have a silhouette of God, but there is no detail.

Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, however, we begin the best relationship we will ever experience.  When we talk to Him, He listens. When He talks to us, we should listen. Any close relationship requires an investment of our time. Spending time with the One who loves us best and most brings “detail” to our silhouette portrait of God. Denise Ferrell

Lord, help us to spend time with you, getting to know you, and talking to you throughout every day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

More Than Worth It

More Than Worth It
“That’s not fair!” shouted my seven year old daughter. She was right. It wasn’t fair that her brother had taken the last Nutty Bar, when I had told her she could have it. But it’s also not fair that some children go to bed hungry every night. It’s not fair that couples who want a child are unable to have one. It isn’t fair that tornadoes and hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes, forest fires and floods level towns and villages throughout the world, devastating people’s lives. It isn’t fair that soldiers are wounded and killed every day. It isn’t fair that some of us are diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Sometimes it’s hard and painful and overwhelming. 

My Dad has a poster that reads: “I never said life would be easy, only that it would be worth it,” signed God. God has promised He will be with us always. Always. No matter what we face. He promises He will never leave us, never forsake us, regardless of our circumstances. He has promised to work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Despite how we feel, in spite of our circumstances, God promises us hope for today, and eternity for tomorrow. It isn’t our circumstances that make life worth living. It’s God.

Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” The apostle Paul adds, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) 

In 15 years of marriage, my husband and I have faced a few trials, some we kind of expected—broken bones and stitches; a few took us by surprise—my husband’s job loss and relocation, twice; the death of my brother, my father-in-law, and several other close family members; a seriously ill young child; an auto accident and permanent injury, and a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer. It’s been quite an adventure, but when I look back, it’s not pain or fear, heartache or loneliness, sorrow or anger I remember, but hope. Every step of the way, through every unexpected circumstance, God continued to grow and shape and refine us; to strengthen and deepen our faith; to encourage us and give us hope; to make Heaven very real; and to teach us to trust Him more.

When change happens, we can either fear the worst and focus on what isn’t fair, or we can step back, slow down, breathe deeply, and accept what God has allowed into our lives. The hottest fire refines the purest gold. The toughest trials teach us the greatest lessons and change us most profoundly. For in the midst of pain, we learn to persevere, our perspective is changed, and our faith deepened as we begin to understand the depth of pain Christ endured, the amazing price He paid for our salvation. Then can we begin to say with conviction, “Life isn’t fair, but because of God, it’s more than worth it.” Cindee Snider Re

Friday, June 26, 2015

He Delights in the Details

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalms 37:23 NLT)

He Delights in the Details
Having grown up in the church, I never had a problem believing that God directs the steps of the Godly. You can see that just in the way Godly people live their lives. It’s the second part of this verse that I sometimes struggle with. “He delights in every detail of their lives.” Every detail? Really? Does God really pay attention to which brand of toothpaste I choose to buy? Does he notice that I’ve been trying to eat better lately and that turning down the donut at church on Sunday was really difficult? Does he see that my budget is pretty tight in this difficult economy and that my wardrobe has gotten a bit threadbare, my car is making a funny noise and my boss is getting on my nerves at work?

I think he does. I imagine that it’s a bit like the way I delight in my children. Sure, raising them is difficult and sometimes they get on my nerves, but then I see them doing something that makes me smile. For example, my son is reading the directions on his new toy, very diligently trying to assemble it the right way. He puts a few pieces together, realizes it isn’t right, gets frustrated, takes it apart and tries again. I could jump in and show him exactly how it should be done, but then I’d rob him of the opportunity to figure it out, manage his emotions and complete it himself. I enjoy seeing him get to his accomplishment.

Another example is my daughter choosing a piece of fruit instead of chips for her lunch. What she really wants is a piece of chocolate cake, but she makes a healthy choice. She struggles to cut up the apple and get the core out but I let her do it on her own because it’s good for her to learn that she can do these things and be self-sufficient. The struggle makes her stronger, and the next time she’ll be more confident and it will be a little easier.

I don’t rescue my kids from every challenge that they encounter, but I’m there to help when they need me or to guide them when they don’t know what to do. Just like parents who love to watch their babies learn to crawl, walk and talk, so also does God loves to watch us grow and learn and overcome challenges that life throws at us. He delights in seeing us live our lives the way we were designed to live them. He knows that the struggle is necessary, because without it, there is no accomplishment. It’s in the details that he truly directs our steps. Angelique Snow

Friday, June 19, 2015

Watching Over Us

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11 NAS)

Watching Over Us
My wife and I waited at the airport for the arranged transportation, but it never arrived. We decided then to take the public transport to the bus station nearest where we were supposed to stay for the next few days. With our luggage in hand, we eventually reached the station, only to find out our destination was still a distance away. Not knowing where we were or the phone number to call a cab, we were totally helpless as to what we should do next. Thankfully, someone at the bus stand offered to call a cab for us using his mobile phone.

In our time of need, a kind soul came to our rescue and helped us, and we were wondering later on whether he could be an angel sent by God to direct our way. That was just one of the many situations my wife and I experienced which we remembered vividly because of the unusual circumstances. 

More recently, I have seen time and again how God changed situations to put things right whenever I encounter situations I knew I could do nothing about on my own, and I am bearing up to trust Him more. In the face of difficulties that could lead to dire consequences, frequently at the right time, things fell together to allow me to handle the circumstances in a manner only God could have made a way where there seemed no other way.

Looking back at the time of my youth in the faith till today, I could see the wonders of God working through people and perhaps angels who led me and my family out of difficult situations. I could not imagine how I would have continued the journey without their help. Surely, God had given His angels charge concerning me, to guard me in all my ways. My foot has never slipped because He who keeps me does not slumber (Psalm 91:11; 121:3). 

As a chosen people saved by God, we can rest assured that God will not leave us to our own situations without help. He cares for us too much not to see us through the circumstances we may face. At times, He may bring us out of difficult situations, and at other times He may choose to let us go through them to let us know His presence and care or to fulfill His purpose in us. 

We who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty for the Lord is our refuge and our fortress, our God in whom we trust. He is the one who delivers us from the snare of the trapper and from deadly pestilence. Under His wings we will find refuge, for His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. He has given His angels charge concerning us and they will bear us up in their hands so that we do not strike our foot against a stone (Psalm 91:1-12).

There is therefore no need for us to be afraid of what lies ahead. We can confidently take the steps necessary to fulfill the plans God has for us. Whatever the situations we are facing right now or awaiting us, we can count on God to be with us and to lead us. Knowing that His angels are guarding us in all our ways, we can rest assured God is on our side. What can people do to us? The LORD is with us and He is our helper. In triumph we will look on our enemies without fear (Psalm 118:6-7).

Thank You, dear Lord, for being our shield and bulwark, our refuge and our fortress. In You, O God, we trust! Guide, lead, and see us through our situations and circumstances. Deliver us from the snares of our enemies and from deadly pestilence. Grow in us a greater measure of faith as we walk closer to You each day. Grant us Your perfect peace that surpasses comprehension so that we might not worry too much or feel apprehensive of the things coming our way, but knowing that You have given Your angels charge concerning us, we will bear up to trust You more and more.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Have You Lost Your Flavor?

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. (Matthew 5:13 ESV)

Have You Lost Your Flavor?
God's purpose for each of us is to make a lasting impact. We are to have a spiritual influence in the lives of the people we meet. This is not an option; it is a command. And the power of our impact is going to be determined by the character of our life. The Bible uses a very common item to describe what our character should be - we are to be like salt.

Food is flavored by salt. We are to season the lives of the people around us in such as way that they will come to know Jesus Christ. Salt also creates thirst. When we enjoy a big slice of hickory smoked ham for breakfast, we need a glass of water to go with it! When we are at work or among friends, people notice our joy and contentment and desire to have those things for themselves. Their heart thirsts for God.

Salt has unique healing properties. One treatment for a sore throat is to dissolve salt in warm water and gargle with the soothing solution. In the same way, we can be a healing element in the lives of others. Take a moment to listen to people's hurts, and you will have their attention. Then you can share with them the truth that heals a broken heart.

Salt loses flavor when it becomes mixed with impurities. In other words, when we let sin into our life, we lessen the strength our witness. So to preserve the power of our "saltiness," we must guard the way we live. Then our impact can be strong and lasting. Karen McKenney

Friday, June 5, 2015

Has the Lord's Arm Been Shortened?

And Moses said, 'The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet you have said, 'I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.' Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?' And the Lord said to Moses, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not. (Numbers 11:21-23 NKJ)

Has the Lord's Arm Been Shortened?
The children of Israel had been complaining, as usual: this time because they wanted some meat; this time because the food that was being provided, the manna, was not good enough. The people were weeping, and complaining, until Moses could not take it any longer. Moses inquired of the Lord, wanting to know why he had to carry the burdens of all of these people. He told the Lord that the burden was too heavy for him and he would rather God kill him.

However, God told Moses that He would supply meat for the children of Israel for a whole month. Moses wanted to know, how was God going to provide food for 600,000 men for a whole month!! What a silly question ... He's God! God said, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened?' In other words, 'Did I loose some of My power? Do I not still own everything? I am not still sovereign? Am I not still able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you can ever ask or imagine? Am I not still the Lord who delivered you from bondage? Has the Lord's arm been shortened?'

The question to you today is this ... Do you think the Lord's arm has been shortened in your life and situation? What is facing you that is so big that you are wondering, "How God?" Stop trying to figure out God ... Stop trying to fix the situation yourself ...

"With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." God does not change, He is a miracle working God. We do not have to carry burdens for ourselves or for others. God's Word says, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

God has not lost any of His power and ability. You do not have a need that God cannot meet today. You do not have a situation that God cannot change today. You do not have a sickness that God cannot heal today. You do not have a problem that God cannot solve today. You do not have hurt that God cannot comfort today. You do not have an addiction that God cannot deliver you from today. The Lord's arm has not been shortened.

God is still the God who called the world into existence; He is still the God who said, 'Let there be ...' and it was; He is still the God that loved you so that He called you out, set you apart, sent His Son to give you life, made you new, cleaned you up, turned you around, and made a way for you. 

Sure, it may seem that what you are asking of God is big, but God is BIG! 

God is speaking ...

He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7)
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ... Who determined the measurements? ... Or who stretched the line upon it? .. To what were the foundations fastened. Or who laid its cornerstone?..Or who shut up the sea with doors? ... Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who can give understanding to the heart? (Job 38:4-6,8,36)
Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Rev Toni Brown

Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review: Trials and Triumphs II

Trials and Triumphs II
Living the Christian life is not all smooth sailing, and like everyone else, the authors of this book have gone through some extremely difficult times. The difference is, rather than dwell in despair, their relationship with God flourishes as a result.

My heart is deeply moved and stirred within me reading some of the testimonies in this book. The experiences shared in this book lets us know we are not alone in our pains and sufferings because God is always with us.

This book is a good read especially for those who have gone through or are going through difficult times and for those seeking to know God more deeply and how to help others in their pains.

Get a copy of the book @ Xulon Press or Amazon.

ShareThis

Related Posts with Thumbnails