Sunday, July 29, 2012
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (2 Samuel 15: 22 NIV)
God had commanded King Saul to go and attack the Amalekites and totally destroy them in retaliation for what they had done to the children of Israel (2 Samuel 15:2). Saul was told not to spare any of the inhabitants, not even the animals. He attacked the Amalekites but he spared the king and the best of the sheep, cattle, calves and lambs, everything that was good. God was grieved by the disobedience of Saul and sent Samuel to tell him that because he had rejected the Word of God, God too had rejected him as king of Israel.
There are several examples in the Bible of God giving instructions to His people either directly or through one of His prophets. No matter how ridiculous the instructions were, when obeyed, there was victory. God gave Joshua specific instructions concerning Israel’s capture of Jericho (Joshua 6:2-5). The same God instructed Gideon to reduce the number of his fighting men and told him how he would determine the three hundred that should go with him into battle against the Midianites (Judges 7:2-8). On both occasions, because they followed God’s instructions, they were victorious. In 2 Kings 5, Naaman was healed of his leprosy when he obeyed God’s prophet Elisha and washed seven times in the River Jordan.
In the New Testament, every time Jesus gave instructions which were followed, the person concerned got a miracle. At the wedding in Cana, the servants obeyed and filled the water pots with water just as He instructed and the water turned into wine (John 2:7-10). Again, in John 21:1-7, the Bible tells us that the disciples had gone fishing and caught nothing all night. Jesus, who had been watching from the shore, commanded them to cast their net on the right side and when they did, they caught so much fish that they were unable to haul in the net. Finally, we must not forget that Jesus Himself was obedient to the Father, even unto death (Philippians 2:8).
Has the Lord spoken to you concerning a matter and given you specific instructions? Have you obeyed Him? Remember that God speaks to us in different ways. For example, He speaks to us through His Word. If we are not living according to His Word, we are disobedient and will suffer the consequences. Or like King Saul, are you partially obeying Him? With God, partial obedience is disobedience. If we are to experience God’s favour, blessings, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, we must learn to obey Him.
May we too harken to the words of Mary, the mother of our Lord, to the servants at the wedding in Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Remember, obedience to God is the key to our miracle.
Lord, you desire that your people serve you with all of their heart and all of their soul. You have made it clear in your Word that the reward of obeying you brings blessings and that disobedience brings curses. May our desire be to obey you and be pleasing to you so that we might live a victorious Christian life in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
By: D. Hilliard
You wouldn’t give your 5-year-old a 12-gauge shotgun or a big Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Shotguns and motorcycles are great – but they’re for adults. You need maturity to handle them. Giving such gifts to your child would endanger them, and everybody else around them. The gifts just don’t fit the person.
Perhaps you’re a talented individual. God’s given you some large gifts like the ability to speak well, or organize things, or create and design. But we sabotage ourselves when our gift becomes bigger than we are. How does this happen?
When we begin to lean on the talents God gave us and don’t mature emotionally and spiritually – we ruin our chance to use those talents as God designed them. When our character doesn’t keep up with our talent, we learn to “wing it” through life. We live on the surface but lack real strength underneath. And it shows up when the crisis hits, the storm comes, or we are under pressure. You can’t “wing it” when it comes to character building.
The greater the size of your gifts, the more you must dedicate time to developing your character.
Eugene Peterson paraphrases the Psalmist in The Message: “God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list? Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this” (Ps 15:1-5 TM).
So, do you live that way?
"O Lord, who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with Integrity." - Psalm 15:1-2 (NAS)
Friday, July 27, 2012
By: J. Osteen
Back in Bible days, if you would have asked Jacob "Who are you?" he would have said, "I'm a cheater. I'm a deceiver. I'm a liar." But really, that's not who he is, that's what he did.
We've all done things we're not proud of. We've all made mistakes and said things we didn't mean. But because of the blood of Jesus, God isn't holding that against us. When we repent, scripture says He takes our sin and casts it as far as the east is from the west and remembers it no more. Always remember, God looks beyond your behavior, beyond your performance, and He sees you for who you really are: a person of destiny created in His image with a purpose to fulfill.
If we are going to be all God has called us to be, we have to separate our "doing" from our "being". If you live in guilt and condemnation, it will keep you from receiving the mercy and blessing of God. It will limit your life. That's why it's so important to shake off the past and say, "No, I am not what I did. I may have failed at my marriage, but I am not a failure." "I may be struggling with alcohol, but I am not an alcoholic. I'm a child of Almighty God, and I know my destiny is bigger than my mistakes. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and I will overcome!"
I think about Moses. As a young man, he had a big dream in his heart. He knew God had called him to help deliver the people of Israel. He started off great. He was passionate and enthusiastic. But one day, he saw someone mistreating one of the Israelites. And in his zeal to fulfill his purpose, he went over and killed that man. He made a mistake. His heart was right, but his actions were not right.
Someone saw him, and he had to run for his life. He ended up spending forty years on the back side of the desert. He went through a detour. He missed Plan A, but the good news is that God had Plan B. God didn't say, "Too bad, Moses. You blew it. You had your chance." No, and He's not saying that to you, either! If you will stay in faith, your destiny will supersede those poor choices.
Forty years later, when God was ready for someone to deliver His people, He didn't go find a younger man. God didn't go find someone who had never made mistakes, someone with a perfect record. He went right back to Moses and said, "Hey, Moses, I haven't forgotten about you. That mistake didn't cancel your destiny. I'm ready for you now. It's your time. Go out and deliver My people."
Today, you may have made mistakes or missed good opportunities. It looks like the dream has died or the promise will never come to pass. But God is saying, "Get ready. Just as I did for Moses, I'm about to open up a new door. I'm about to unleash My favor. That setback that was meant to destroy you is a setup for a comeback. That failure that's clouded your future is not the end." It's a new day, so rise up and move forward into the victory God has prepared for you!
Thursday, July 26, 2012
By: J. Meyer
Smith Wigglesworth was a great preacher. But before he was a preacher, he was a plumber who wasn’t a Christian—nor a very nice man.
Fortunately for him, he had a godly wife.
He didn’t want her to go to church, but she went anyway. When she did, he’d lock her out of the house, and when she came home, she’d have to sleep on the back porch. In the morning he’d unlock the door and she’d come in and say, “Good morning, Smithy!” and make him breakfast.
She was a godly example for him. She prayed for him and God gave her the grace to be good to him in spite of his rude behavior. And because she continued to be so good to him, he eventually came to know the Lord and was radically changed. As a result, he became one of the greatest preachers who ever lived.
That’s the power of prayer.
Understand What Prayer Really Is
Prayer is simply conversation with God. It’s asking Him to meet your need or someone else’s. It’s praising Him and thanking Him. It’s about committing things to Him and consecrating things to Him. We need to pray about everything and anything.
I think some people don’t pray much because they don’t understand how powerful prayer really is. The truth is it’s one of the greatest privileges we have as Christians.
“ When we pray, we open the door for God to come into our problems and situations and work on them.”
When we pray, we open the door for God to come into our problems and situations and work on them. Prayer makes us partners with God. And while we can’t really change people and make them love God, He can minister to their hearts and reach them.
I also believe that prayer is easier than we think it is. And it can be so much a part of our life that we don’t even realize how much we pray – like breathing.
What Makes Prayer So Powerful?
The Bible teaches us in James 5:16 that “the earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” Prayer is passionate. It’s about sincerity of heart and putting your whole heart into it.
Prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent or long. And prayer isn’t better if it’s loud or if you’re on your knees, folding your hands or bowing your head. It’s good to humble yourself, but it’s not your posture or how long you pray that makes it effective.
I remember a time when God challenged me to ask for what I wanted and needed in the least amount of words possible. This was hard at first. For example, when we do something wrong, it’s hard just to say, “God, I know that was wrong and I admit it. I ask You to forgive me. Thank You, Lord. Amen.”
Instead, it’s common to hear something like this, “Oh, God! I need You to forgive me. God, forgive me. Please, God, forgive me. Oh God, You’ve got to forgive me! Please, God…I promise not to do it again.”
Hebrews 11:6 says that faith pleases God, and if we believe He exists and seek Him, He will reward us. We don’t have to beg and plead with Him to help us. God is a good God! He loves you and wants what is best for you.
Spend time with God. Talk to Him sincerely and honestly. Cast your cares on Him. Then find out what He wants to do and then follow His lead.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
By: M. Lucado
One of my friends recently took a heart-stopping mission trip to Vietnam. He and two companions set out to smuggle Bibles and money to Christians there. Upon landing, however, he was separated from the other two. He spoke no Vietnamese and had never traveled in Hanoi. Imagine his thoughts, then, as he stood in front of the airport, holding a bag of Bibles, wearing a belt of cash, and knowing nothing more than the name of his hotel.
Taxi driver after taxi driver offered his services, but he waited and prayed. Finally, knowing he needed to do something, he climbed into a taxi and spoke the name of the hotel. After an hour and a thousand turns, he found himself deposited at the designated place. He paid his drivers, and they went on their way.
That’s right, “they” drove off. The front seat of his taxi had been occupied by two men. Only later did the uniqueness of this fact strike him. He saw hundreds of taxis during his days in Vietnam, but not another one of them had two drivers.
Angels minister to God’s people. “[God] has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you wherever you go” (Ps. 91:11 NCV).
Billy Graham reminds us, “If you are a believer, expect powerful angels to accompany you in your life experience.” But what if you are not a believer? Do angels offer equal surveillance to God’s enemies? No, they don’t. The promise of angelic protection is limited to those who trust God. Refuse God at the risk of an unguarded back. But receive his lordship, and be assured that many mighty angels will guard you in all your ways.
God sends his best troops to oversee your life. Imagine the president assigning his Secret Service to protect you, telling his agents to motorcade your car through traffic and safeguard you through crowds. How would you sleep if you knew D.C.’s finest guarded your door? How will you sleep knowing heaven’s finest are doing just that? You are not alone. Receive God’s lordship over your life. Heaven’s many, mighty angels watch over you.