Finding Security

Are you thinking about building a new house? Pouring everything you have into a “safe” place? Wanting to fortify your life against fire, flood, whirlwind and earthquake? Yet you have the itch to be free of the worry of building strength that you know can still fail. You realize you will be trapped by putting all your dreams in one jar, and one act of violence in nature or war can sweep it away. Is it possible your true desire is to step away from what your fears say is safe? The alternatives are exciting; perhaps not as risky as they seem.

Have you considered spending instead to give kindness and encouragement to others? In the present emotional climate, most people are afraid of what is ahead, and anger, the secondary emotion, is rising up. It’s result is to stir up more fear. Step away from that hamster wheel. Pick up your phone, call someone and tell them that you appreciate them, and give a specific reason why. Post a positive statement on social media today. Tell the world wide web that you are thankful for your friends out there, and why. When you go to the market, engage your neighbor in the checkout line in cheerful conversation. You have now stepped into the joy of encouragement. Now move forward into a wider circle. Buy an extra jar of peanut butter and donate it to a food bank. Go to a park with a case of bottled water and share them around. I think you are now ready to go wider. Start planning your adventure of giving and encouragement:

1. consider your best talents and how they would fit this new lifestyle.
2. consider what you can sell off or donate to give you the freedom from possessions you need to use you talents for others
3. make a list of places you can serve immediately and start the ball rolling
4. make a list of places you can serve with more experience when you have attained the freedom from safe stuff
5. set a current budget and a goal budget based on your serving prospectus
6. set a timeline of one year to be full swing in your new fearless place and itemize short term goals along that line
7. Start taking care of business today, not tomorrow and you will achieve your goals.
8. keep in mind at all times it is the work that gets you there, not the money

Times are dark, but you have an opportunity in every darkness to bring light to many situations. God is near; ask him every day for help. Hear what he says about shaking that leads to fear and shaking that leads to life:

See to it that you do not refuse him (Christ) who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:25-29

A starting place to find valuable insight into what Christ wants us to do is in the book of Matthew, chapters 5, 6, & 7. After that, John chapters 13-17.

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Where Is Babylon?

God knows and teaches us that our best manner of life comes from him, and not from ourselves. He says that when we trust him with all our hearts and don’t lean on our own understanding, he takes care of keeping us straight, so that we always go the right direction.

This morning, I am watching a news program broadcast from the new One World Trade Center observation deck. The similarities between this place and a place in the Bible struck me immediately, especially when it was revealed that every visitor is greeted in their own language. There are several declarations that this building is a victory over evil. I understand the feeling, but I know it is dangerous and foolish. Man does not overcome evil with pride. Man overcomes evil with good. And we know that we know; only God is good all the time. Only God can provide lasting victory over evil, and he has done this by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to overcome death and overcome the world. Our faith must be in him.

Genesis 11:1-9
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.
They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”
In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.

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You Are An Arrow

You are an arrow made by God for a specific and detailed journey to the target of eternal life. You are not mass-produced with cheap materials and poor direction. There are many liars and a father of lies who desire you to believe you are cheap, but that is not true. You are beautiful and priceless.

Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

God makes only the best of everything, including you, Your design is perfect, and you have a purpose. This is who you are in Christ, the Son of God, and you will find your way to your design and purpose through Him.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not die but have everlasting life.”
You are God’s special arrow. If you stay in the quiver, you will not find your destiny. Ask him to be sent forth. Ask for your path to be straight and true. When you are set free from God’s bow, you will not fall short of the target. He is both your archer and your target. His is a no fail system. You can trust him, but you can’t trust yourself.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.”
Start here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+1&version=NLT

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Seeking Wisdom?

“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” Psalm 111:10

“”Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7

‘If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:5-6

When we concede to God in all things, acknowledging him before any other consideration, he says, this is where wisdom comes from. We must trust God and only God in this matter. There are no alternatives.

Examine the world around you. What is taken for wisdom in the world will be proved to be foolishness instead. For example, you may know someone who stockpiles groceries and household items. They firmly believe they are saving money wisely by buying up all the “deals” in the stores and storing most of what is bought because it cannot all be used immediately. Think of what could happen to the stored items. Fire, flood, wind, theft, moth, rust, and corruption! Foods expire and paper products get damp and moldy. Fourteen bottles of shampoo are a waste of money, even if they were only 25 cents apiece, ($3.50)  if your hair falls out from sickness.  God has promised to provide everything we need for daily life. He will keep this promise faithfully; when we trust him to do it, then we are wise. If we look at someone’s stockpile and think, “I need one of those,” because we fear we will run out of these things, then we are not trusting the Lord.

Fear of the LORD, that is, trusting him completely in all things, is the foundation for wisdom. Jesus Christ is the Rock of our salvation, and we build upward from him. Read Luke 7:46-49. The storms of life cannot shake the Lord. The storms of life easily wipe out what is made by men.

Fools despise wisdom and discipline. It takes discipline to be able to trust God completely. He will bring you through each test to success, but you have to believe he is doing it! Wavering back and forth between what you know the Lord says and what the world around you is saying will just make it harder to get through. Double-mindedness causes more storm tossing.

To know what God is saying about a subject, search the scriptures. Be patient! Even if  your mind is in a turmoil today, listen as you read with your heart, and the Lord will lead you to the truth. Reminder – the scripture in James chapter one says to ASK our very, very, very generous God for wisdom, and he will give it to you. He wants to give it to you.

Thank you, Father God, for your generosity and gifts of wisdom. Thank you for teaching me right disciplines to operate in your wisdom and never be swept away by foolishness again. Bless all who read this now with a desire to trust you completely and seek you today, in Jesus’ Name.

 

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Choosing for Change

Psalm 123:1-2 “I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. We look to the LORD our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master; as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.”

How do we look to the Lord? As the slave girl looks to her mistress for the slightest signal. Maybe you aren’t sure exactly what your relationship is with God. Maybe you don’t like who you are. By looking to the Lord you will know him better, and you will change for the better.

How we see God depends on him. Unless God looked at us first, we would not be able to know him. We were born slaves to sin and all kinds of righteousness. God the Father sent Jesus his Son to die for us and take away our sin. Through Jesus Christ, we can see God. We can look upon him without looking away!

When we have agreed with God that we have sinned and accept Jesus Christ as the one sent to take away the sin, God gives us his own Holy Spirit to live inside us. The Holy Spirit teaches us to see and hear the Lord clearly. We grow in grace and truth, able to look more and more steadily at perfect God. The Holy Spirit is sent to seal us to God for eternity, and he is also sent to help us. Whatever we need, we reach for him and he is as close as he can get, inside us. Always right here, always ready to help.

Romans 6 tells us that whatever we obey is what we are slaves to. Think about it. Whatever or whomever you follow has your attention, and your full cooperation. We can choose whom to follow, right? Or what to follow. When we belong to Jesus, lover of our souls, who will never let us down, and keeps us unto eternal life, it makes sense to stop following the world and follow him.

John 8:12 “Jesus said to the people, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’ ”

Have you ever tried to walk through a field at night? It is easy to get disoriented by the dark and walk in circles. However, if there is a light at the point of your destination, you can look at the light and find your way. Jesus is a bright, close up light before you and all around you and in you. He puts the darkness right out so you can see clearly.

To obey the Lord, to keep our eyes focused on him, we need to know what his will is; what is right to do. What pleases him. God’s will is not a mystery! He has given us plain instruction, but we have to obey it or it becomes obscure to us.

An example of God’s will made plain to us is Romans 12:1-2. “Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.”

Another example is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all you ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

Our human bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We can walk in love and worship, or we can walk like the world. When you are at church, lifting your hands and voices in praise and worship to God, you probably have a better attitude toward God than when you are running to work and someone in the street asks you for money. When your life focus is on the Lord, however, you will be tuned in to the Holy Spirit and have the wisdom to respond appropriately to people, according to God’s will for them and for you.

We can keep looking intently at Christ by studying the scriptures. Jesus is the Word. When you read your Bible, you are looking at him. The longer you look, the better you will be able to see him. In the scriptures, your mind is renewed by God.

When we get focused on Jesus, he becomes the highlight of who we are, and distractions fall away. He is our treasure. We know him, because we see him and follow him. Everyone who comes into contact with us will have his light shed around them, too.

Choose to follow Jesus Christ. Say it out loud now, “I choose to follow Jesus. I will never turn back. The world is not what I want. Jesus is what I want. Now matter what, I am a follower of Jesus Christ.” Now you have verbalized your decision. It’s out there. It’s in the air. The reward of knowing God will last forever, and your life will be surrendered to Christ to have all the fullness you desire. Now follow him.

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How to Handle Snakes

A small child found a snake in some tall grass. It was lying still, quiet in the sun. The child didn’t know anything about snakes, and he was very interested in seeing one so very close up. He decided to pick it up and look it over. Now, this particular snake was not poisonous, but when the child picked it up, it immediately bit him and then slithered out of his grasp and away across the grassy field. The child screamed. His daddy was close by and came to him. The child kept screaming and screaming and his daddy could not even hold him. “It bit me! It bit ME!” the child screamed, as he writhed and kicked and turned red from anger and hurt. “I HATE it!” His daddy could do nothing for him in that rebellious state. Finally, after several minutes, the child wore out from screaming and then his daddy took him in his arms and examined the bite mark, which had not even broken the skin, and then he quietly carried the child to their house. They sat down in a rocking chair on the porch, and the daddy rocked and rocked the child until he was calm. Then they just sat there together, the father holding the son, resting together.

The next day, the daddy took the child to a book store and they bought a book about all the creatures who live in grass and pond and ground. Each day they studied the book until the little boy understood the ways of small creatures, and how they protect themselves. He learned about being safe around wild things. He learned that it is always safest to ask his daddy first before picking up something he does not know about yet. And he learned many other things as well, for after they read together, the daddy would speak to him about many other things, teaching him his own wisdom.

No matter where we go in this world, we will find snakes in the grass. Some will be poisonous, and some harmless. Before we pick one up, we should know how to handle it so that it is not afraid and does not bite.

Have you listened to your Heavenly Father today, learning his wisdom? Are you able to discern the manner of creature you see in the grass upon which you walk?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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The Practical Presence of God

Today we must all walk ourselves into the whole environment of the Lord’s Presence. No matter what. There will be people clamoring for attention: submit our responses to the Lord before we allow the persons to take us somewhere because it will be out of the Presence. They only know they want attention and do not know they are being needled by the enemy to take us out. Therefore, when we submit to the Lord before we start walking where these people want us to go, He will have compassion on us and them and all will come out right for all good and God’s glory.

Have you ever been lied to and found out much later after it has caused great harm because you accepted the person speaking the lies at face value? As you continually submit yourself into the Presence of God in Christ Jesus, lies become more and more evident and that kind of thing does not go far with you any more.

Have you ever had to make a decision you felt would not be right if you base it on the facts available? Submit yourself to the Lord and he will give you wisdom and insight beyond all facts. Understand what it means to make your decisions based on the Lord and not on what your own sight. His eyes are available to you, and he sees perfectly.

Coming into his Presence requires continual submission to him on our part; someone said it takes 21 days to make a new habit………….you are challenged now to start making his presence your habitation for the next 21 days………. I think you will be moving in permanently.

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The Yoke

Psalm 52 explains that we who trust in God’s unfailing love are like olive trees thriving in the house of God.  Our trust is a forever trust. It does not have limitations of time and space, because God’s love never fails. It lasts forever.

To grasp a sense of the everlasting love of God, close your mind off for a few minutes and rest in the perfect communication of the Spirit of God into your spirit. Psalm 46:10 says to be still and know that He is God. His love cannot be measured because it has no beginning and no end. It has always existed. It will always exist. Apart from Earth and the universe and any man, woman, child;  God is Love, and His love cannot change or stop.  That He should pour His love into us and through us and send Jesus to die to place us back into the center of His love from which we had turned away is proof of His love.

Psalm 52 also discusses the turmoil on earth. There are mighty warriors who do not trust God. They do not accept that He could be right in His love and they want to keep control of their own lives. A mighty warrior is anyone who spends his life working to keep a grip on his life. Such warriors may appear small and mousy but fight fiercely in the spirit. God says these people will trust in their wealth and grow more and more bold to do whatever it takes to survive apart from God’s love. Their efforts result in great hurt to other people and themselves. The truth is, God loves them anyway. Surrendering to the Lord of love removes all the shades of wickedness and terror from their lives.

Psalm 53 says terror will grip the ones who do wickedness. Those who return God’s love will put them to shame.  I Timothy 1:5 – 2:1 instructs us in being right with God. To be filled with right love, we will have a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith. Each of these things is a free gift we receive from God through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. For God so lived the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Everlasting life means living in the eternal presence of God’s unfailing love. We die to sin and wrong and live to God.

Is your conscience defiled and you feel you do not know God’s love?  I Timothy 1:19 says that people who deliberately violate their consciences SHIPWRECK THEIR FAITH. We are all given faith to believe God and the choice to do so. Doing what we know is wrong –  and it is built in to us that we should know – sends our faith to the bottom of the ocean. The good news is that Jesus Christ resurrects us from the shipwreck and restores us completely.

God knows that our only way to have a glorious life is to be who we are created to be – His children, living in His unfailing love. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (John 11:28-30, NLT)

The yoke is like a training yoke where an adult oxen is hitched to an immature oxen to train it to pull the plow. The adult takes the greater share of the burden while the child walks alongside learning its way. Yokes are made specifically to fit the oxen who wear them so there is no chafing or pain to their necks.

Picture yourself in a yoke with Jesus. You are walking side by side, and his arm is around your shoulders keeping you safe and upright. You do not have to worry about anything because you accept his yoke and he accepts your burden.  While you walk together, he talks with you about everything you need to know and do. When you pray, you are asking him for things that you are absolutely certain he will do because you are always yoked together and you know him intimately. You aren’t going to ask him for silly or irrelevant or wrong things. He makes sense to you, and you are sensible and in agreement with him. If you are not, you feel the yoke pull on you, and step right back into agreement.

Now, some may say that being tied to God is to live with rules and regulations you do not want in your life.  I Timothy 1 says that the rules are not made for people who do right, that is, what God knows is right and keeps us walking in His love. The rules are made for people who rebel against God and do what is evil in His sight.

Therefore, walk with Jesus and see with his eyes the direction you should go. He took the weight of the rules and judgment when he died on the cross for you. In him, your burden is light. I Timothy 2:1 – Pray for God’s mercy, then, on other people, and give thanks.  This is the way of the Lord, and it is not difficult; he makes the way.

God bless you.

 

 

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The Cry of Your Heart

Is there trouble in your life? Are you seeking God’s mind on the matter, or are you just fighting your way through the experience?

Present day culture is so raddled with evil and desperation, it can be very difficult to choose to go to God for answers to a problem.  The problem and its impossibility of a good outcome focus our attention on the problem. God wants our attention focused on Him. We don’t think He is going to do anything right away, so we don’t want to look at him.

Consider a small child who has accidentally spilled water on the carpet. Over and over, the child has been told not to carry food or liquids across the carpet. The child doesn’t see why that applies to water because water dries clear. So he fills his little cup and focuses on walking carefully across the carpet. Suddenly the water spills.  It just happens. He wonders if the water will dry up before his mom sees it. What he doesn’t know is that the water has seeped through to the floor underneath and will cause harm to the floor.

Often we have a problem because we do something but don’t know all the facts of a matter and can’t predict the end result if we run into difficulties. We assume we can get by and things will work out even if we spill the water. Remember that God knows all end results and has put boundaries in place to help us avoid the ripple effect of a problem.

Okay, so water has been spilled and dried up without anyone being the wiser – we think. Then six months down the road, there is a creak in the floorboard under the carpet where we spilled the water. We take a look at the spot and see it isn’t real bad and shrug it off. We didn’t realize that all the while that board was moist, fleas got in there and made a nest. Next summer, when the weather becomes hot, those fleas come up through the now rotted board and right up through the carpet and start causing a very big problem. Everyone who walks through the room is affected and not just ourselves.

We spend all our time for days and weeks trying to get rid of the million tiny problems that are a result of one spill of water. We can’t eliminate the fleas; they reproduce too fast, and we become sick from the bites they lavish on us.

Finally, we cry out to the Lord in extreme agony. He hears. He knows. He takes us step by step through the process of redemption as many times as we need to get free. Because we are sick from a million bites, He heals us and removes that torment so we can focus on Him again. Then He reminds us that when we know what to do and don’t do it, it is sin. He leads us to repentance. He washes us clean. He shows us how to replace the rotten floor and seals the cracks. He sets us upright on our feet and puts a light in front of us so we can’t miss the way again. God hears your cry and heals your heart. Always. He never fails.

Now stop carrying water across the carpet.

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Worshiping God Together

Nehemiah 8:10 “This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

May I recommend that you read the entire book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, and especially chew on chapter 8. The context of the verse quoted above is instructive! The people of Israel had been hearing the Law of God read aloud to them and a group of them called the Levites also explained what they were hearing. These people had been reunited in Jerusalem and the surrounding area after long years of captivity away and were only re-discovering God’s Word. They were astounded and awed. His Word resonated in their hearts and minds and later in the book you will read that they vowed to follow the law and be blessed by God.

Chapter 8 gives us a nice pattern for meeting together to meet with God and give Him our complete attention.  There are five specific steps included, whcih we can easily follow in our church meetings today. The guidelines are simple! God always makes things simple to understand, even how we can have unity and worship Him!

1. A time of praise. The people stood, with their hands lifted, offering praise to God. The book doesn’t say that they sang, but as singers were an integral segment of Temple staff, singing and music could certainly be included.

2. There was a time of worship. The people bowed low to the ground and offered their complete selves to God in worship. There was no lolling around in easy chairs presuming equality living room time with God for this kind of serious worship. Purposeful reverence required involvement of body, mind and spirit all reverently bowed before the Lord their God.  More than likely, the people were also dressed in their very best garments. God deserves our first and best of everything.

3. Next came a time of preaching. The Levites, God’s appointed priests to the people explained the Word of God.

4. Following the preaching came a time of repenting. The Word of God entered into the hearts of the people and revealed what they needed to do to be right with God and they did this immediately.

5. Finally, a time of celebration. The people were told to feast and share what they had with people who did not have anything prepared. This precedent deserves much meditation by all believers!  Today, as Christ commanded we remember Him,  we would most certainly include the Lord’s supper, or communion following the time of repentance. Many millions of people in the world come to communion unprepared. They do not understand any of the Lord’s commandments regarding the bread and the cup, and so they take it unworthily, thus sinning against the Lord.  All you who do know what the Lord has said and follow Him in truth have the right and the obligation to prepare others.  Recommended reading further on this:

I John 5:13-21, 2 John

Being prepared to celebrate Christ and being forgiven of sin means that you must know and receive the truth that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, that he came to earth to die for the sins of all, and that he rose from the dead.  Review the pattern given to us in Nehemiah, practice it for yourself, and you will find that the Lord will raise you up to bring others in!

God bless you with His mighty joy as you worship God today.

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