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)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane
It was 8:05 p.m. Memorial Day evening. I was on the freeway with two of my five kids – the oldest and the youngest. The oldest was listening to his iPod. The youngest was indignantly watching cars go by her window, announcing with much emotion, “Speeder. Speeeeder. Definitely a speeder! Mom, do motorcycles have to go the speed limit too, or do they get a free pass?”

I laughed. “No free passes. Motorcycles have to obey the speed limit too.”

“Double speeder!? Pause. “Mom?”

“Yeah, Honey?”

“Why is everyone in such a hurry? Can’t they just slow down? Where are they all going in such a rush? And where are the police?”

Good questions. Where are we all going in such a hurry? Why do we feel the need to rush from one thing to the next without regard for the speed limit, our health, our safety, or our lives? Living at such a frantic pace, we fail to live in the moment. We miss the laughter, beauty and joy in our midst, trading them for stress and frustration, anxiety and anger. We forge ahead consumed with the destination, completely missing the journey. In a sense, we’re taking God’s precious gift of time and life and telling Him it isn’t what we want, that we don’t have the time. Ouch.

A few weeks ago, I was on the back of a Harley riding through Alaska. The mountains rose 50 feet from one side of the road, and the ocean inlet fell away 100 feet from the other. An eagle soared overhead. Snow capped the peaks and descended into valleys. Glacial ice fields chilled the air. Ice bergs floated in the bay. As we rode through this wild, untamed country, I felt closer to God than I had in months, and Megan’s questions resurfaced in my mind. Why are we in such a hurry? Where are we going in such a rush, and why do we think it’s OK to break the law to get there faster? Why do we wait and hope and plan for tomorrow or next week or next year to slow down and enjoy our lives? Life isn’t awaiting us at a destination, it’s happening right here, right now, and we’re missing it.

“Lord,” I prayed, “I’m in Alaska, on the back of a Harley, behind the man I love most in this world, and I don’t want to miss a single minute. Teach me to slow down and experience the immensity of who You are. Teach me to be fully present in every moment; to savor this precious, priceless gift of time and life you’ve given me. Teach me to laugh easily, love abundantly, and to be content no matter where I am, for I’m beginning to understand that the only way to taste and see just how good You are is to slow down and experience life as You created it to be: Life lived abundantly, richly, deeply in the slow lane, where we find purpose and meaning and joy in every moment along the way.” Cindee Snider Re

Friday, May 26, 2017

Life and Death Promises that are True

Death and life are in the power of the tongue … (Proverbs 18:21 NKJ)

Life and Death Promises that are True
The words we speak are very powerful. They can effect our environment, they can alter our surroundings.

In Genesis we are told we are made in God’s image. How did God create? “In the beginning God said …” Everything we came into existence because of God’s word. He spoke creation into being. Just like God had the power to speak the whole of creation into existence, likewise He created us in His image and with that has come a “power” in our words.

This verse from Proverbs tells us we have the power of life and death in our words. We can choose to speak uplifting, edifying, life-giving words to those in our lives. Or we can tear down and beat others in with what we speak.

I have experienced both realities in my own life. Many times, when I’ve been anxious or stressed, I have resorted to speaking words of death my family. “Hurry up, get that math problem done. Are you stupid?” All these words I have spoken in my selfish flesh nature have effected those receiving them; not only that but they have effected me too. I hate every time I speak something to bring sadness or sorrow to not only someone I love, but anyone.

On the other hand, I have witnessed the difference when I speak words of life into those around me. “Wow, you’ve done a great job!” or “Let me see if I can help you with that problem.” These kind words causes the recipients face to light up. They produce a feeling in their heart of love and acceptance. They also make me feel really good inside knowing I am not wearing down someone’s emotions, but rather sowing seeds of peace, love, and joy! I have also seen how just a few simple kind words to strangers makes their day!

Today, remember you have the power of life and death in the words you choose to speak. Marriages, relationships, and working environments can and have been changed by simply changing the words we say to those around us. Today, let’s choose to speak the words that God would have us say, let’s choose to build up others! Let’s speak words of life!

Meditate on the things of God! Tracy Finney

Friday, May 19, 2017

Letting Love In

Letting Love In
“You’ve got to let people love you!” I had seen the young man at work before but I didn’t know him, and I didn’t think he knew me. Yet his words, spoken with such tenderness, slipped past my pride and my anger. But what did they mean? As a teenager I thought I had correctly concluded that people didn’t care about anyone but themselves, and I was purposely living an isolated existence. But was it possible that I was actually the source of my problem, not other people?

Looking back, I believe God sent that message to me, through a stranger, to unlock the door of the internal prison I had built. Those words broke me down, just enough to set me free. And even though I still walk back into that cell from time to time, due to a poor attitude or poor choices, God is always there to gently guide me out again.

How is it we forget that we are loved and sometimes choose to isolate ourselves, or do other self-destructive behaviors? Don’t we think we’re worthy of love? Isn’t that why Jesus died on the cross? Michael Mann
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – Deuteronomy 30:19-20

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