Friday, August 11, 2017

Live In Love

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)

Live in Love
The New Testament reduces the laws of the Old Testament to one overriding rule: love. If you want to know what true love is, you only need to study God's behavior toward you. God is generous, forbearing, kind, faithful, supportive, nurturing, forgiving, and just. He is everything you want and need.

You exist in God and know God through your own acts of love in the world. He is in the face of everyone you reach out to, no matter from what station in life he or she might come. His love is in your gentle word to a friend in pain, in the simple work of making a home for your family, and in the kindness you show a stranger. When you live in love, you become more and more like God. Faith Daniels

God, fill my heart with love for you and for those whose lives I touch each day. Thank you for first loving me and showing me how to love others. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Live Like a Favored Child

"Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate." (Luke 15:22-23 NIV)

Live Like a Favored Child
The fact that Jesus would die so we could be forgiven is an astounding act of love on God's part, but sometimes we overlook the fact that God then places us in the position of being a favored son or daughter.

This is seen so clearly in the story of the prodigal son. The son would have been happy to have become one of his father's hired men (v. 19). This is reasonable, considering he had prematurely demanded his inheritance, and then wasted it living an unacceptable lifestyle. The son figured the best he could hope for was to gain employment with his father. But the father doesn't just forgive him, he restores him to the position of a favored son.

So often as Christians we act like God's hired men. We know that God has forgiven us, but now we seem to think we have to work in order to be acceptable to God.

The Bible tells us we are not God's hired workmen or women but rather we are his "dearly loved children" (Ephesians 5:1) not because of anything we have done, but simply because God chose to put us in that position.

So let's accept that the robe, the ring and the sandals are really for us, and live like God's favored children, celebrating his amazing grace. Susan Barnes

Friday, July 28, 2017

Living Proof

Living Proof
I was just standing at my sink washing dishes when the thought occurred to me that about 20 years ago, I had completely turned my back on God and was running as hard as I could the other direction. Had it not been for God's grace and my best friend's obedience to Him, I don't believe I would be alive today.

Not only am I living proof of God's patience, forgiveness, love, grace, mercy and redemption, but also of His bountiful blessings to those who love and trust Him. Ephesians 1:7 says, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
God's grace abounds. Look at this:

    "Main Entry: abound
    Definition: exist in abundance

    Synonyms: be alive with, be all over the place, be knee deep in, be no end to, be plentiful, be thick with, be up to one's ears in, crawl with, crowd, flourish, flow, have a full plate, infest, overflow, proliferate, swarm, swell, teem, thrive" (from Thesaurus.com).

We are alive with God's grace, knee deep and up to our ears in it, there is no end to it. It is plentiful and thick. It crowds and flourishes, flows and overflows. WOW!! How great is our Father's love for us!!

I said all of that to say this ... if you are running from God: STOP!! He will not stop pursuing you, so you might as well give up and surrender. He loves You so much and just wants the very best for you. Not only will he heal your mind, heart and soul, but He will bless you beyond measure.

If God is telling you to do something: OBEY! Someone's soul may depend on your obedience to Him!

You may not like what I have to say right now ... but I am being obedient to the One who loves me with an unconditional, everlasting love. He has given me the gift of salvation and blessed me with so many things that I cannot count them all. I can never do enough to repay the debt I owe Him, but I will serve and obey Him as long as I live on this earth. Then I will worship Him for eternity when I see Him face to face.

I pray this gets to the person it needs to get to, but even if it didn't, it reminded me of how blessed I am to have everything that I have right now!! Teresa Schultz

Friday, July 21, 2017

Living in God

He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. (Luke 20:38 NAS)

Living in God
God was living before the “beginning”, lives today, and will live forever. He will still be living after the last grain of sand pours out of the hour glass of eternity. Jesus was with and within God throughout all yesterdays, is with and within Him today, and will be with and within Him for ever more. The Holy Spirit who is our daily guide has been alive and well through all ages, times, and seasons.

God in His various personas has always lived and never died. All of His creation has always existed in one form or another. You and I and all of mankind have been with God forever. When our time on earth ends, we will not die but simply continue living in God.

Abraham first became aware of our Creator: He realized that there is no other God beside the all powerful and loving One. Abraham still lives in God. Moses who spoke with God in the burning bush and atop Mt Sinai still lives in God. Jesus who died on the cross and rose on the third day still lives in God. You and I also live in God and will forever more. God is the God of the living, with death and resurrection being the proof. Arthur Hill

Father, live in us and help us to live in you. Amen.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Listening for the Bell

Listening for the Bell
Clock watching is futile and frustrating; I cannot rush time in my anticipation for an activity to end, or for one to begin. As a young child, and into my teens, I frequently turned my attention to huge clocks hanging on classroom walls. At the beginning of class, it seemed that I had such a long time before I would be allowed to leave. Yet, I remember most the regularity of craning my neck to watch the second hand move at a snail’s pace just before class dismissal. As if an athlete involved in stiff competition, I wanted the clock to run out. I listened for the bell.

“My time has almost run out. Very soon now, I will be on my way to heaven. I have fought long and hard for my Lord, and through it all I have kept true to him. And now the time has come for me to stop fighting and rest. In heaven a crown is waiting for me which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And not just to me, but to all those whose lives show that they are eagerly looking forward to his coming back again (2 Timothy 4:6b-8 Living Bible).” Class is dismissed!
PamFord Davis

Friday, July 7, 2017

Live Stress-free

Take my yoke upon you … For my yoke is easy. And my burden is light. (Mathew 11:29-30 NIV)

Live Stress Free
The instructions and responsibilities God gives you are not burdensome at all. 1 John 5:3 says His commandments are not grievous. He’ll never ask you to do something that’s beyond your ability. All He asks is that you trust in His Word and act your faith. That’s how simple the kingdom life is; you don’t have to toil.

Think about it: All the sins you ever committed were automatically blotted out by the blood of Christ! As numerous and terrible as they were, all you had to do was to confess with your mouth the Lordship of Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you became a new creation (Romans 10:9). You became righteous in an instant, and were translated into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Now, you have dominion over Satan and the cohorts of darkness; glory to God!

If it was that simple for you to receive salvation and have eternal life imparted to your spirit, then you have to agree that life in the kingdom is that way too. All you have to do is receive and appropriate for yourself all the wonderful blessings of salvation: wholeness, preservation, health, peace, deliverance, safety, security, victory, success, and prosperity! All these and more are included in the salvation package!

The Word "Lord" doesn’t only mean boss; it also means bread-provider, protector and caretaker. So when you declare that Jesus is Lord of your life, you’re saying His your bread-provider, Protector, Caretaker and the One who has responsibility over your life. It’s that easy. Don’t think it’s too simple to be true. Live without stress today and always. Godlove Njut Tabi

Precious Father, I thank you for your goodness and the opportunity you’ve given me to bask in your blessings and live the good life you’ve freely made available to me in Christ. I lay all burdens at your feet, and choose the stress-free life! Thank you for taking charge of my family, health, finances and all that concerns me; I live in absolute joy today, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Misinformed Decisions

So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them. (Joshua 9:14-15 NAS)

Wrong Decisions
Have you ever committed yourself to someone or something without seeking the blessing of God and then regret later, especially after finding out there is a catch to it? Regrettably, hidden agendas, deception and scams are common these days, and such are often accompanied by consequences you and I have to bear for the decisions we make, sometimes for the rest of our lives.

When the Gibeonites deceived Joshua and the men of Israel into making a covenant with them, it was without the counsel of the Lord before Joshua entered into agreement with them. The consequence of that agreement was a burden Israel had to carry for a very long time. Years later, when King Saul breached the agreement and had some of the Gibeonites killed, the consequence Israel had to suffer was a famine for three years before King David found out the cause from the Lord. An atonement was then made by David with the Gibeonites to hand over seven children of Saul to be hanged (Exodus 34:12; Joshua 9:14-20; 2 Samuel 21:1-14 NAS).

Despite the consequence for an unwise decision made without seeking the counsel of God, the Scriptures did not record in any place that God was displeased with Joshua or the leaders of Israel for the mistake. It was recorded, however, that Israel suffered when the covenant was breached.

As followers of the Lord, it is always good when making ‘big’ decisions, not to rush into it, even if we are hard-pressed for time. Where a contractual agreement is required, we need to be very careful to read and understand the terms, lest it becomes a snare. Right from the start of any planning to close a deal or to commence a project, let us have the Lord in mind to seek His counsel, leading and guidance. Even if we fail to make the right decision, rest assured God still loves us. He is not out to punish us. Be prepared, nevertheless, to fulfill our end of the agreement.

Place in our heart, dear Lord, to always remember You in our planning and making decisions. Lead and guide us in all we do. Prompt us and give us a nudge way before we make any unwise decision so that Your child need not have to bear the scars and suffer the rippling effects of grave consequence.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Little Things in Life

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:2-4 NIV)

Little Things in Life
Reading the reports of the unusual weather in Iraq, I was reminded of a similar experience when I was growing up in Galveston, Texas. You may remember that it snowed in Iraq for the first time in most people's recent memory, going back even as far as eight decades! Without turning our attention to any possible prophetic analysis, I wanted to look at the “little things of life.”

When I was in elementary school, perhaps the third of fourth grade (way too much time has passed to be sure), while sitting in class and looking outside on a cold January day, it began to snow. For those of you who live in the colder climates, that wouldn't seem so unusual. However, for Galveston that was a jaw-dropper! Class was immediately dismissed so that we could go outside and experience the “snowstorm.” Of course it didn't last long, but it was quite an experience.

Today, living in a climate where it does snow a few times each year, I must admit I only think about how bad the roads will be and the difficulty of getting to and from work. In fact, I find that is true with many of the little things of life that are so easy to take for granted. A beautiful sunset. A child's smile. A delicious meal. A restful night's sleep. An encouraging word. All of these and more are such wonderful gifts. Our jobs, relationships, birth, sickness and death, these get our attention. That's not surprising. These are the things that affect us on a deep level. They can often be life threatening or life changing. However, it's how we handle the little things in life that help us deal with the big things.

You can find lots of inspiration and guidance from the "little things" that make up your life. And, they add up. Try to live life aware of your moments. Be involved in the little things and watch your life change. Don Emmitte

Friday, June 16, 2017

Singing Over Me

On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, ‘Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. (Zephaniah 3:16-17 NLT)

Singing Over Me
Just reread these two verses one more time. It is a wonderful picture from God’s word of His great love for us. There is also an incredible promise found in these words.

What is God saying to us? Cheer up, don’t be afraid! Why should we ‘cheer up ... don’t be afraid’; because our Lord has arrived and is living not only among us but with in us! When we really understand that God Himself lives within us we don’t need to be afraid or dismayed. All powerful, all knowing God, the Creator of everything has chosen to make His home with you; that is an awesome reality when we really consider it!

I love the promise in this section “with his love, he will calm all your fears.” I often amaze myself at how afraid I can allow myself to get; but when I ponder those nine words I am blown away. It’s really simple, yet somehow the fact that God’s love calms my fears seems to escape me at just the wrong time. Yet His love is perfect, complete, steady, and huge enough to relax me and take away all my anxieties and fears. There isn’t any reason for me to ever allow fear to consume me as long as I remember God’s love!

The next part of this section is mind boggling. I have such a low opinion of who I am; but here I am told that my Savior actually SINGS over me. I am certainly not a gifted singer, but I love singing; I especially enjoying singing when I feel happy. The fact that God sings about me, because of me, just leaves me amazed.

Oh to comprehend God’s great love for us. To get that revelation knowledge of His thoughts towards His children brings with it an incredible power and change in the heart of His people.

He LOVES you! His love isn’t because of who you are, who you know, how rich you are; His love isn’t based on how good you have been. He loves you because He created you, because Jesus died for you, He loves you because He is love.  Tracy Finney

Friday, June 9, 2017

Light the Fire

Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (1 Kings 18:38 KJV)

Light the Fire
I have heard the CEO of a media consulting company use the example of Mohammed Bouazizi as an example in allegory of what it takes to get noticed on social media. Not that this sad and tragic death of a young man in the small north African country of Tunisia was done for the sake of social media publicity, but that it is events like this that spark hugely massive interest and attention. Other famous tweets include hard fought reelection results, celebrity deaths, and challenges from pop stars. It is amazing the things that we are either willing to set on fire or describe as recently ignited in order to garner mass attention.

This greatly interests me as this speaks volumes of rich understanding in the heart of Elijah when you pause and consider exactly what was involved in the challenge that he openly offered to the priests of Baal. It is the miracle that I personally like to refer to as not the day that God turned water into wine, but when He turned water into kerosene. Granted, this is probably not strictly accurate nor is it relevant in the sense that even kerosene still needs a spark to ignite. The real miracle here is that no matter how urgent the need to visibly demonstrate the specific presence of a hearing, seeing, and living God; Elijah lays everything at God’s feet and waits for His answer. We know this not only by the fact that Elijah did not light the sacrifice, but made it the sole condition of the entire demonstration. Furthermore, he did everything he could to illustrate that his sacrifice was not worth being lit.

Similar to the peace that Noah had in knowing that it was God’s hand that closed the door on the ark and not his (see Genesis 7:16). A knowledge that whoever was left out and whatever last minute animal may be missing, that God was able to make that judgment call. So, Elijah thoroughly understood that although he had a great task to work through in getting the scene set, it would be God who has to reach down and take the actions that He wills. There was no attempt to take credit for what God did, and there was no attempt to generate a man made demonstration that had an appearance of God’s power. Elijah did the work required of him in gathering a situation together that would allow God’s name to be glorified, allow people the opportunity to make a very necessary individual choice, and show himself to be the least worthy of any possible ensuing glory.

As Elijah’s knee bowed to ask God to make Himself known, he effectively illustrated the most powerful tweet that can ever be sent in God’s kingdom. He let God light the fire and never even managed to construct something flammable in the process. The greatest fire that we can ever light is to say in complete surrender within our own hearts, Lord let thy will be done in such a way that others may know you! Jeff Beneze

Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. (1 Kings 18:37 KJV)

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