Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016

Malachi 3:10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Nor more need..... Can you imagine that?  A world where everyone has all they need?  Doesn't that sound like the end of our governmental programs, our charities, our food banks?  Have you ever equated that with tithing?  It certainly is food for thought.

But that is what God tells us in His word.  Bring the full tithe.....He will bless us until there is no more need.  Pray about that, won't you?

Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

Genesis 32:26  Then he said, "Let me go, for the day has broken."  But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

Most biblical scholars agree that the man who wrestled Jacob was a manifestation of God (theophany).  In this wrestling match Jacob emerged the victor by clinging to God for a blessing.

I think this could be a good example - cling to God until you see the blessing, and you will emerge the victor.  For one thing if we cling to God looking for a blessing, we will have our eyes off the situation we are in, and on God.  That is always a good thing.  Try it the next time you feel like you are wrestling with God.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

Ezekiel 48:35b  And the name of the city from that time on shall be, "The LORD Is There."

As we finished studying the book of Ezekiel this morning, we all breathed a sigh of relief.  We were glad to have successfully completed our study, but also loved that it ended with such hope.
After all the exiles went through, God continued to bless them with hope.  There is a day coming when we will see the city named The Lord Is There.  What a glorious day that will be.

As you go to bed tonight, and your head rests on your pillow - ponder that city.  May the Lord bless you as you sleep thinking of the future He promises His children.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27, 2016

John 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.   Do you believe this?"

I just came home from being with a family as they gathered around their husband's and dad's hospital bed as he took his last breath.  Though the situation is very sad - they all knew their husband and father was a Christian and at peace.

He is now in heaven with no more sorrow or pain.  He is whole.

You know these verses we use at funerals, and they bring comfort.  But the important thing to know is that we don't share them because they bring comfort; we share them because they are the truth.

Do you believe this?  I hope so.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26, 2016

II Corinthians 12:7  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

I can't say I have had greatness of revelations, but I can say I have had a thorn in my flesh before. However, I rarely have seen it as an instrument to keep me from becoming conceited.  Maybe if I had seen it for what it was, I wouldn't have had to go through some embarrassments due to my conceit.

Isn't if interesting that oftentimes it is our perspective that causes us additional grief.  We need to see things as they really are.  Generally if we need to adjust our perception of things, we need to get into God's word and see what He has to say about things.  I always can see more clearly after seeking God in His word.

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

Isaiah 57:15  For thus says "the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:  "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite."

Isn't this a wonderful promise?  The One is high above all others - is willing to come down to dwell with the lowly in spirit and contrite in heart.  

Are you struggling today?  Is your spirit low?  Does your heart ache with remorse?  Then God is with you.  You are not alone - to wallow in your mire.  God is with you.  You are not the only one going through whatever it it that you are going through - God is with you.  Talk to Him; tell Him how you feel (He already knows).  Once you tell Him, wait for Him to minister to you.  He will not fail to show up and help you in your need.  Praise God! Bow the knee now.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 24, 2016

Ezekiel 33:11  Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

As people near death, so many people seem to blame God.  They see death as some punishment, when really if we are saved - it is a reward.  As the word states - God doesn't enjoy the wicked dying.  Oftentimes the wicked are to blame for their death:  wrong choices, evil deeds, careless living etc.

The answer is the same for all of us: repent and you will be saved.  As God tells us in this verse, to repent is to turn back from your evil ways ( walking in the opposite direction of God).  Turn back toward God and you will always find his arms wide open ready to embrace you.

What are you waiting for?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 23, 2016

Exodus 9:23  At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out.  (ESV)

I read this verse, and I thought the issue was obedience.  Oh, that I were obedient!  But upon further consideration, I thought about all the "things" that keep me from being able to pick up and move to where the Lord is working.  Someone once told me that we should be like the Israelites and not get our tent pegs in too deep.  Many people have so much debt that they couldn't follow where the Lord is leading.  Some people have too many attachments to where they are that they couldn't follow Him.  Think about it.  What is keeping you from being "free" to set out on the path the Lord has called you to?

As we seek to de-clutter our homes, maybe we should de-clutter our lives too.

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22, 2016

Exodus 4:12  Now therefore go and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.

As I was reading this verse this morning, I thought this is a promise I ought to claim daily.  You might say that God told Moses, but I am convinced if we were to take every thought captive to the Lord, and listen for His voice - He would tell us what we are to speak.

I know there are times He has been nudging me to keep still, and if I did not listen to Him, I ended up wishing I had.

Especially when we feel like the Lord has sent us somewhere or given us a job to do - He will be with our mouth and teach us what we need to speak.  This should be assuring and comforting to us.  It is just another indication that we are not alone and He is with us at all times.  Remember that He promised He would not leave us nor forsake us.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21, 2016

Acts 4:10  Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who you crucified, whom God raised from the dead- by him this man is standing before you well.

In May of 2005 my husband was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.  I was told no less than 5 times that day that he would not live.  It was a very rare strain and there had only been 3 cases in history, and all had died.

But God....... had the last word!  He is alive and doing well.  God continually took care of us as we went through that ordeal.  He brought Christian, praying nurses to our bedside; a maintenance man who happened to be a minister and came into the room when I was falling apart.  He prayed for us. He brought our previous pastor all the way from Ukraine to pray over Dave on a day when he was delirious.  I could go on and on.  The point is God will have the last word always.  Don't give up when things appear to be hopeless, that is exactly when God will show Himself strong!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20, 2016

Read and compare:  Acts 2:14-41  with Luke 24:13-35

I have decided how we see the crucifixion is what determines what we do with Jesus.
In the Acts passage Jesus is seen as the Lord and Christ.  In Luke:  a man, a prophet, and a guy who did some mighty deeds.  In Acts, Peter makes his listeners see that they crucified the Lord.  In Luke the two gentlemen on the road to Emmaus says the chief priests and rulers crucified Him.  There seems to be no "ownership" in that.  The listeners in Acts were cut to heart and asked what they needed to do?  The other two guys were described by Jesus as foolish and slow of heart.  They had seemed to lose hope.

The Lord's response in the Acts passage was to add 3000 souls to the fold.  In Luke, He teaches an amazing Thru-the-Bible Bible study.  (Don't I wish I could have been there!)  But when the two guys hear the Word of God, they ask Him to stay.  That is the way it should be. 

Finally, after Jesus broke the bread ( and I assume He mentioned it was broken for them) their eyes were opened and they saw Jesus for who He really was.  The broken body refers to the crucifixion.
How do you see the crucifixion?  Do you see the part YOU played in it?

I hope so.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016

Nehemiah 8:3  He (Ezra) read it (the Word of God) aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand.  And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.

This is AMAZING to me!  These people were hungry for the word.  Did you notice that this Bible Study went from daybreak until noon?  Wow!  Did you notice the people listened attentively?

How many of our churches are dwindling in attendance?  How many of those who do come complain if the sermon is too long (over 17 1/2 minutes)?  How many of those who come are attentive?  

I don't mean to be a pessimist, but what on earth has happened to God/s people?

This week make it a point to tell your pastor you appreciate his/her diligence in sharing the Word of God.  At the very least stay awake during the sermon.

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016

Psalm 62:1  My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.

Do you have seasons when you feel like you are running on empty?  Deadlines are looming over you?  You ask yourself, "why on earth did I agree to do all these things?".  Those are the times I find myself closest to my God.  I have discovered over the years that the first thing in the morning I seek His face and His voice, and He never fails me.  Then I am prepared to make it through the rough day.  At night, before I go to bed, if I will still my heart and read His word, He never fails to join me.  There is absolutely nothing like being "tucked in" by the Lord's good and loving hand.

We can search for rest in all kinds of places, but the rest that is accompanied by peace can only be found in God.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 17, 2016

Psalm 133:1  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Yesterday we had our annual Men's Breakfast at our church.  Our basement was full of the smell of fresh cooked breakfast and the chatter of over one hundred people.  For a tiny fellowship, it was refreshing and invigorating.  People from the surrounding fellowships were there eating together and discussing the Lord, as we are in this Spring season.  I looked around and my heart was so blessed, and I thought of this verse.  It is indeed good and pleasant when brethren get together as one Body of Christ.  I know it must have blessed the Lord even more than it did me.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 16, 2016

I Chronicles 6  The sons of Levi:........

When one reads this 6th chapter of I Chronicles, he/she finds a long list of people with names he/she can hardly pronounce.  Why on earth did God feel the need to include all these names in the Word?  What can it possibly mean to me?  Why should I read through this long list of long-gone people?
Aha!  These were the first of the people to whom God entrusted the sacred service of his temple and worship.  These generations sought the face of God.  These are the beginning of the priesthood, of which we are now called as Christians.

These are our spiritual "parents".  We are joined with them by the mortar of the covenant God made with them and us.  Though we are tempted to skip these names, instead let us take time to think of them, even thank them for some of the examples they have set for us.  Even some have shown us a way to not worship the Lord, like with "strange fire."

As we worship the Lord today let's remember the duration of the worship and the service of our God.  Let's take our calling more seriously as we go forth to serve our God and remember from whence we came.

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 15, 2016

Nehemiah 2:4  Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?"  So I prayed to the God of heaven.  (ESV)

Isn't it interesting that the king asked Nehemiah a question and before he utters his answer - he prayed to God.  Even the fact that the second part of the verse starts with the word - so.  It is written so matter of fact.  Someone asks something of us, SO the automatic response is to pray to the Lord and check in with Him before we open our mouths.  

Oh my, how much better would some of my relationships be if I had followed the example of Nehemiah!!  

God, teach me to come to You before I open my mouth.  Help me to bring every thought captive unto You.  Thank You, Jesus.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 14, 2016

Ecclesiastes 1:9  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done and there is nothing new under the sun. (ESV)

You might say that this verse is no longer relevant.  After all we have all this new technology.  We have instant messaging, wireless internet, twitter and email.  I know there are more, but you get my drift.  Why do we want wireless connection?  To communicate with others. You can send and receive messages, no matter where you live.  It is fast ( sometimes before I get done with one of my messages the person I am texting texts me.)

I am telling you there is nothing new under the sun.

Prayer is the original wireless connection.  We can do all the things we listed above...communicate with the others, send up prayers no matter where you live, and it is definitely fast.    The extra bonus is you never have to worry about your Wi-fi being down, and you may not be encouraged to text while driving, but you can certainly pray (just don't close your eyes).

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

Psalm 25:11  For your name's sake , O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Have you ever experienced a time when your guilt was great?  So great - you couldn't eat, or sleep?  You couldn't think of anything else?  Even after you confessed your guilt to God, it didn't feel like it was gone.  Those are those times when you realize you don't deserve God's pardon, but praise God - it is for His name's sake that you receive it.  To His name be the glory and honor forever and ever.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 12, 2016

Isaiah 55:16 -17  "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

I don't know in what capacity you share the Word of God, but don't ever become discouraged.  Whenever you proclaim the Word of the Lord, it is His business to make it accomplish whatever His purpose is in sharing it.  He guarantees success.  The problem is that we get impatient and want to see results immediately.  It doesn't always work like that in God's economy.  It all had to do with God's sovereign timing.  

So keep sharing the Word with others.  That is what you are called to do - and let the Lord work out the rest.

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016

Matthew 9:36  When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

I don't know about you, but I oftentimes feel harassed and helpless, but I don't equate it with needing Jesus' compassion.  It is too easy for me to have my own private pity party.  I almost find it comforting to wallow in self-pity.

The sooner we run to the Savior for His comfort and compassion, the sooner we can get on with life, and the feeling of being harassed and feeling helpless will go away.  He is always ready to open His loving arms to welcome us, embrace us and love on us.

Running to Him is so much more productive and so much less hurtful.  Why do we wait so long?   Don't waste another second if you are feeling less than loved.  Run to Jesus now!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10, 2016

John 20:11-12  But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.  And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been.

Doesn't this bring to mind the picture of the two cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant?  There they were on top of the mercy seat, one at each end, and here they are on top of where we found our mercy - an empty tomb.  I don't think this was a coincidence.

I love it!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 9, 2016

I Kings 2:12  Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established. (ESV)

When I read this verse this morning, I thought how much this could apply to our hearts.  If the kingdom of God is anywhere He reigns, then that qualifies our heart to be the kingdom of God.  If that is the case, then I think it is worth asking ourselves - is it firmly established?

Give it some thought.  Are you easily shaken?  Are your absolutes on shaky ground?  Or are you firm in your resolve?

I want the Lord to say of me and my heart that His kingdom is firmly established.

Friday, April 8, 2016

April 8, 2016

Job 40:3-4  Then Job answered the LORD and said:  "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?  I lay my hand on my mouth."

There are times I just need to shut my mouth.  I can get myself into trouble more often than not by speaking when I should be listening.

The same can be true in my conversations with God. I need to be still and know that He is God.  I need to learn to listen instead of always talking or offering God suggestions on how to fix things.  Sometimes in prayer, once I have made my concerns known, I just need to rest in knowing that they are in good hands - God's hands.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016

Ezekiel 37:7-8  So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.  And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them.  But there was no breath in them.

Isn't it interesting that there seemed to be a great deal of activity going on - rattling, bones coming together - probably a little noisy BUT there was no breath in them.  I think this can happen in our Christian walk.  We can have a lot of activity - going to church, going to Bible study, joining the praise team, etc. etc. etc.  but without the Spirit (breath) of God having His way in our activities, they will have no real life.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to breath life into you afresh and into everything you do.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6, 2016

Psalm 115:1  Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

How often we need reminded to give glory to God, and not to us.  It seems to me that society promotes just the opposite.  So often we find ourselves in a position that almost demands we tout our accomplishments, but fail to recognize without our God-given talents we could do nothing.

If we just think upon God's steadfast love and His faithfulness, we will be compelled to give all the glory to Him.  There is none like Him.  His name is above all else.

Let's agree with the psalmist - Not to us, O LORD, not to us - but to your name, alone, we give all glory, honor and praise.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 5, 2016

I Kings 19:3  Then he (Elijah) was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

This verse by itself doesn't reveal much, until you go back and read what has transpired just before this.  Elijah has just had a major victory.  He had challenged the prophets of Baal to see if they could get their god to outdo the God of Israel.  In an elaborate show of might the God of Israel prevailed and shamed the prophets of Baal.

This whole scene had enraged Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab.  She threatened Elijah and we see in the above verse - he was afraid and ran for his life.  Why is it that after a victory with the Lord, we can let someone or something scare us so?  Had God not just proven Himself to be strong on the behalf of Elijah?  Yes!  How soon we forget the strength there is to be found in the Lord, and we cower down to the threats of man.

As you read on you will find that God did not let Elijah down, but ministered him back to a better frame of mind.  Satan loves to attack us right after a victory, and we need to be aware that it is coming.  Remember that and stand strong and firm in the victories the Lord gives you.  Don't give Satan a foothold.

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016

I Corinthians 15:19  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

As I am contemplating the resurrection of Jesus in this Easter season, I realize this is where my hope lies.  Without that we would have nothing.  It was the single most important event in all of history.

As Paul says, if it is only for this life, then we are to be pitied.  If we can't believe and count on our own resurrection because of Christ's, we have nothing.  I would go so far as to say that as we encounter people in this world who obviously have no hope, they do not understand the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Maybe that is where we need to begin when we tell others about Jesus.

He is risen!  Hallelujah!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April 3, 2016

Hebrews 12:14  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

Unity, peace with others, is something that the Lord prayed for before going to the cross, and commands us to pursue throughout the Scriptures.  Why is this so hard for us?  It is bad enough when the "world" can't get along, but when it is the "body of Christ," it hurts Christianity beyond description.

I am always  intrigued how we pray the Lord's Prayer frequently, asking for God's will to be done "on earth as it is in heaven," while we know that there are no divisions or walls in the body of Christ in heaven.

We need to take God at His word and take to heart the fact that it says without peace and holiness we will not see the Lord.

Give it a try......pursue peace with all people.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April 2, 2016

Psalm 63:6  When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.

There is no sweeter way to drift off to a restful night of sleep than to be meditating on the Lord.  I have often found when I think of the Lord as I go to sleep and recount the many blessings He has bestowed upon me during the day - that in the night I have sweet dreams, or He will answer a prayer or things I have asked Him in my quiet times of devotion.

If you are like me and talk too much, your sleep is a great time to be quiet before the Lord.  He will let you know that He is God by visiting in the night watches.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

Psalm 14:1  The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."  They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

This may be April Fool's Day, but it is no joke that only a fool thinks there is no God.  The verse makes sense that if a person doesn't believe in God, he will become corrupt, commit vile deeds, and see no reason to do good.  Don't be a fool!   Tell God right now that you believe that He is God, and give Him your life.