Sunday, October 4, 2015

Faith is Rewarded


We've all been there right? Stuff keeps happening against us. "Why God?, we ask. I'm still waiting for answers to many of those why's I've cried out over the years. And the Bible keeps encouraging us to take joy in our afflictions. What, take joy? I'm hurting to my core.
So is there a reason for all this anguish? What about showing our trust in the Lord? When we trust him, we know he loves us and will not bring anything upon us that we can't endure, with his help. Too often when in pain folks turn to everyone and everything beside the Lord and scripture. Well I found some comfort this morning while studying for BSF in one of the supplementary verses suggested.
" In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."(1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What is Your Hope?

What do you hope for most? Is it a new house, a vacation, your child finishing school, new job, more income, health, wisdom, peace? Have you ever wondered why Jesus used parables about sight as illustration for what he was teaching? Do you get the meaning? " As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied. Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God." Luke 18:35-43 What have you lost sight of? What do you hope for? Jesus answers prayers through his wisdom. He gives us sight. He is our hope.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Delivered Messages


Scripture is filled with stories of messages from God to chosen people. In the first chapter of Luke, Zechariah and Elizabeth were chosen to be parents of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Christ. It was in their later years when child bearing was considered less than possible by most. Zechariah was a religious man who spent much of his time serving in the Temple. But when Gabriel, God's angel, visited him, he did not believe the message given him about a son, John's birth. As a result of disbelief, he was not allowed to speak until after John was born.

"And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.  But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”Luke 1:19-20

When have you not believed a message given you from God? Was it through answered prayer, the Holy Spirit, a dream or other evidence? How did you respond? What happened? Is it important to listen carefully, believe and respond favorably when the Lord asks you to do something?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Words


How important are words? They can be uplifting or demeaning. They can be positive or negative. They can inspire or they can impede. Our words definitely say something about us that perhaps we have not yet discovered. We are either building ourselves and others up or tearing ourselves and others down.
We are all know what James 1:26 reminds us: "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive thmselves and their religion is worthless." James 1:26
When we speak are we lifing others up? Are we showing praise to God? What are we telling about ourselves? So before we open our mouths to speak, we can say a short prayer asking the Lord for help"
"Gracious God, place your grappling hook of grace over my tongue so I will only speak words of wisdom, praise, comfort, love and edification. Bring on your power and grace and help me to demonstrate what speaking from you means and the doors it will open in lives needing to be touched by your love and forgiveness."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sharing the Peace


Good news for all persons. We are not condemend when we are in Jesus. He assures our freedom. It is through him that we can give up sinning and live according to the Spirit. This is the message we are to give to others so they, too, can live in the peace he brings. Share God's peace.
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4 NIV

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wisdom is Found by Those Who Seek Her


Where do you go when you seek wisdom? Do you have a Spiritual Advisor, pastor, close friend, book or author that you depend on? Besides prayer, I seek and find wisdom from scripture and inspired writing. The Aprocrypha is composed of books that are inspired writings, but were not accepted for inclusion in the Bible. One of the books, Wisdom of Solomon, includes much of the same discussion of wisdom that we discover in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes..
"Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her.
One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate.
To fix one's thoughts on her is perfect understanding and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought." 6:12-16.
It is so comforting to know that when we seek wisdom, it will find us on our path and in our thoughts. Lord, make me worthy of our wisdom and guide my search and understanding through you and your Holy Spirit. Protect me from thoughts that enter through other paths and help me to disregard what the enemy throws in my way.
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Friday, August 7, 2015

Hidden Gifts


Recently I was on a committee to select a property for a confernce. As we met with the various convention planners, they each offered "favors" to gain our business. The oldest property was the one that gave us the most. We really liked the planner and felt we coud work well with her, but in reviewing the property, it seriously lacked options the group had decided were important to them.
When being tempted by generosity intended to sway a decision, we have to rely heavily on the purpose and goals we want to accomplish. It's very hard not to be swayed by gifts and "sweet talk". Have you ever let gifts make decisions that you later regretted? So many temptations can be hidden in generosity.
"Many seek the favor of a generous man,
and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. jAll a poor man's brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them." Prov. 19:6-8 ESV