Friday, November 8, 2013

Good Ideas vs God Ideas

By:  K. Hee

We all need to have dreams, plans and visions for our lives. The Bible tells us that if we fail to plan, we’re essentially planning to fail! But it’s not enough just to have your own dreams for your life. Just because the plans that you come up with are “good,” it doesn’t mean they’re from God!

“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.’” ~ Luke 1:30-31

Just like Mary, it’s important for you to have a revelation of God’s destiny for your life. And when you learn to align your dreams with God’s, then it becomes more than just a “good idea”; it becomes a “God idea”! And when it’s God’s vision, He will make sure that you have the grace and anointing to endure tough times until it’s fulfilled for His glory.

Do you want a God-given vision for your life? Seek Him today in prayer and in His Word, and patiently wait on Him. In God’s good timing, you will discover His plans and purposes for you. And He will anoint you with the power, gifts, and grace you need to live out your calling!

Prayer for the day:   

Ask God to reveal to you your destiny, and to give you the grace and anointing you need to live in it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Aging Outside the Box

By:  S. Mitchell

The popular phrase “think outside the box” gave me the idea to “age outside the box,” living with power, style and vitality.

Satisfy us in our earliest youth with your loving-kindness, giving us constant joy to the end of our lives. (Psalms 90:14 – TLB)

Many people over 50, with their toes barely inside the new millennium, are discovering ageless living and endless energy. They are neither imprisoned in the past, nor refusing to embrace the present. People who are aging outside the box do not fear the future, but rather capture each moment as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to become increasingly all that they were designed to be.

Power

Think of the people in your life who are aging with power. There is power in living through the Word of God, The Holy Bible. Rev. Rick Warren has taken me and millions of people deeper into the understanding of having power through the bible with his book The Purpose Driven Life. Hopefully, as we age, we enjoy spiritual maturity as we live in God’s abundance.

There is power in the blood of Jesus. My stuttering Paw Paw (Grandfather), who is now walking the street of gold, sang with gusto, “There’s Power In The Blood,” directing our church choir. He loved to sing, because he did not stutter while singing. As a ten-year-old girl, my Paw Paw put me in his church choir. I vividly recall him turning red in the face as he belted out his song, “THERE’S POWER IN THE BLOOD, POWER IN THE BLOOD!” That song and my Paw Paw implanted forever in my heart and head that the power of the blood of Jesus IS above all powers.

There is also power as many aspects of aging become positive. It is possible older people may have more financial flexibility to glorify God. With an empty nest, many are experiencing more self-time and time to enjoy one’s passions. It’s a good time to start a new career, enjoy a hobby, or live and travel to a geographical area of one’s choice.

Style

What style of life has God planted inside your DNA? Many times, as we age, we flow into the life God has planned for us. My passions are God, family, Country, writing, speaking and traveling. I feel I have lived many years to get into my flow of life that feels good in my spirit. I am enthusiastic about my style of aging. Your style of life will certainly be personalized.

Life in Christ is unfading,

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not whither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3 KJV)

Vitality

(1) The power to live and develop.
(2) Power of continuing in force of effect.
(3) Physical or mental energy. (Webster’s Contemporary Dictionary)

And Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. (Deuteronomy 34:7 KJV)

Wow! Moses enjoyed vitality in his later years.

The 76 million baby boomers are focusing on aging with vitality! In their quest for the fountain of youth, they are changing the way we age. They have learned that exercise is the golden egg of aging. It slows down aging by positively effecting your cardiovascular system, your immune system, your musculoskeletal system, and your emotional well-being. Exercise rekindles and re-sparks our fire for live.

Fighting aging is all about high self-esteem and self-confidence, feeling good about yourself, and living a happy balanced life.

By the end of this century, more people will be over 50 than under in thiscountry. It’s important that we age outside the box, with power, style, and vitality.




Monday, October 14, 2013

The Real Safe Sex

By:  F. Kong

One day, a conversation between a teenager and his grandfather was heard. The young man said, "Gee Grandpa, your generation didn't have all these social diseases. You did not have AIDS during your time. What did you wear to have safe sex?"

       The wise old gentleman replied, "A wedding ring."

       Now, doesn't that make sense or what?

       Sex today is presented as a fulfillment of the animal lust inside every man and is hardly ever presented as a sacred bond of union inside the institution of marriage. You don't even need to go to church or attend a service to hear your priest or pastor say this. Just watch the movies and all those television shows and you will see that sex has been degraded.

       The young people of today are confused like never before. The more we still have to remind them that sex is God's invention. It is a beautiful thing as long as it is kept within the bounds of marriage. It enhances the relationship of husband and wife and it is within God's design for all to follow.

       It is my responsibility, therefore, to guide my kids and explain sex to them even as they reach their age of maturity. If I don't teach them early in life, then somebody else will and most often, it will come in a distorted form.

       Many business people I know are very good in their product presentations and are good communicators. Yet when it comes to talking about sex with their kids, they stutter, they stammer and worst, they stop communicating. A fundamental principle in good management says that we are to give importance to proper communication. There is never a moment more important than this--to communicate to our kids what God's design is for sex and marriage.

       I knew a guy some years ago. He was very intelligent. He knew a lot about computers long before I ever knew how to punch the keyboard. He was good looking, articulate and had a photographic memory. One look at him and you know he has all it takes to succeed in life.

       Later on, when he got married, the truth about him came out. He couldn't remain faithful to his wife. He would go into flings with various women and then end each relationship with a bitter aftertaste. Never satisfied with any woman, he continued having sex with one after another.

       I later discovered the reason why. As a kid, he was taught sex in a very wrong way. His family owned a massage parlor and almost every night, his father brought him there to watch him "do it" with different women. This was his father's idea of "sex education." When he reached 15, the father gave him his first woman. He never recovered after that. To him, sex is nothing but a cheap thrill. Because of that, he was never able to live a normal life. He would be successful in his career until such as time when he would mess up his life by having affairs with the girls he was working with. You know what? The man is practically a handicap. And I certainly know the reason why.


       Sex is beautiful. It is God's design and invention. Sex is not something you do every time you attend a convention somewhere. Sex is not messing up with the people you work with whether in the office or in the field. Sex is not a purchase order given to one of those poor young girls making a living along Quezon Avenue at night. Sex is not a peep show you watch through the convenience of the Internet or Pay TV. Sex is to be an expression of great intimacy with the person God has given you within the bounds of marriage. Times are difficult as it is and you don't need another messy liaison to complicate life. Watch your kids, too. You don't want to have another sexual handicap walking the streets of our city, not now nor in the immediate future.

A Sovereign Turnaround by the spirit

By:  D. Cerullo

“Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied.” 1 Samuel 19:20 NASB

Saul had ordered that David be hunted down and killed. After learning where David had fled, Saul sent men to seize him. But when they entered the town, these men saw prophets prophesying. Probably to their amazement, “the Spirit of God came upon the messengers,” and they began to prophesy!

This result must have angered Saul. Not willing to give up, he sent another group to capture David, but these men also came under the power of the Spirit. Then he sent a third group, with the same result!

Finally, Saul decided to go himself. But he, too, came under the power of the Spirit! And he prophesied “continually,” controlled by the Spirit.

We know that the flesh soon regained control of Saul. Yet for that one day, he had experienced the power of the Spirit in his life.

Here we have a powerful example of the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that God’s Spirit does what He wants, for His reasons (John 3:8). He can fall on anyone, at any time. His power is unlimited. He can open closed doors. He can move in the lives of kings or presidents, men or women, young or old.

Beginning with the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), Christians in the early church experienced the sovereign work of the Spirit. They discovered that the Spirit could empower them to do mighty miracles. He could give them unimaginable wisdom and understanding. And He could turn around any situation.


In your life, seek to walk in the power of God’s Spirit. Let Him fill you anew. Pray in the Spirit, and allow Him to empower you. Remember: He can change your life and turn around any situation you face.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

God’s Mission for You

By:  J. Cash

God had a mission for Jeremiah. Would it be fun? No! Would he become famous? Yes, but not for the reasons most people want to become famous. God commanded Jeremiah to go to his brothers and sisters in his home country in Israel and demand they repent and return to God.

Jeremiah knew it would make a lot of people angry. He figured that he might be executed for treason. Therefore, he made many excuses to God for why he wasn’t the right man for the job. “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.” Jeremiah 1:6-9

Even though Jeremiah was making excuses why he couldn’t serve the Lord, God didn’t give up on Him. He encouraged him by saying, “I am with you and will rescue you.”

It’s natural for the Christian today to do the same thing. We come up with clever excuses why we shouldn’t follow the mission the Lord has given us “to go unto the ends of the earth and spread the gospel.” We say to ourselves and God, “I don’t know enough about the Bible. What will they think of me? I don’t want them talking behind my back. I might lose my job! Let somebody else do it."

Fear is a great motivator and a greater inhibitor. God immediately saw the fear in Jeremiah’s heart and said, “Do not be afraid of them.” The Bible teaches that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and the fear of man is a stumbling block.” (SeeProverbs 9:10 and 29:25.) Allow faith to overcome your fears and be obedient to God. He will not let you down if you are obedient to His calling. He has your back!

Has the “Lord reached out His hand and touched your mouth?” Has he “put His words in your mouth?” Without Him doing this, you are powerless to accomplish the mission set before you. It would be like a general assigning a private in the Army on a special ops mission for the elite Navy seals. How can we realistically have Him put His words in our mouth? Read your Bible! Study your Bible! Hide His Word in your heart! Take time to have Him talk to you through Bible study and prayer. As His Spirit richly indwells your heart, His Words will reach your mouth and fear will fade.

God never calls us to do something for Him that He doesn’t empower us to do if we are willing to do the work and time. Please, take the time to get to know God in an intimate way. As your relationship with Him grows, you move up in rank and are assigned harder missions. Your purpose on earth is to shine God’s love to a lost, dying world. Your mission, if you should choose to accept it, is waiting for you! Open your ears and your heart to the Lord and be excited about your new future serving Him in truth and spirit.


Orig Title:  God has a Mission for YOU!

Friday, October 11, 2013

All Things Are Pure

By:  Blackaby

“To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15).

Your heart’s condition will be expressed through your life. It will be evident by your attitudes, your words, and your behavior. Jesus said that you can clearly see others only when your own eyes are unobstructed (Luke 6:42). If your vision is hindered by sin, you will not look at others properly.

If your heart is pure, you will approach life without malice. You will not question the motives of everyone around you; you will not doubt the truth of everything others tell you; you will not look for fault in others. Instead, you will look for the good in others, finding what is praiseworthy. You will not be naive or gullible, but you will seek what is good rather than what is evil. If your heart is pure, you will see others the way God sees them (Matt. 6:22).

If your heart is defiled, everything with which you are involved will seem corrupt as well. You will assume evil motives in others because you know what you would do given the same circumstances. You will be cynical about what you hear because your own words are deceitful. You will be drawn to evil people and evil things.

How do you look at the words and actions of others? Are you critical of them? Are you judgmental? If so, ask God to purify your heart. Once He has, you will be free to see yourself and others as God does.



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Undefiled in the Midst of Wickedness

By:  D. Wilkerson

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).

The word defile here suggests “freeing through repudiation.” Daniel was saying, “Any compromise of my standards will rob me of my freedom.” So he committed to eat only beans and drink only water for ten days.

When the chief of the eunuchs learned this, he told Daniel, “You are going to cost me my life! You will look sickly at the end of ten days. Your cheeks will be sunken, and the king will surely notice. Here, eat just a little meat. You need the protein. Drink the wine to build up your blood. Eat some of these sweets to give you energy!”

I believe Daniel and the three Hebrew men had something more in mind than avoiding being ceremonially unclean. They had been taken captive along with thousands of their countrymen. What they saw when they first arrived in Babylon must have shocked them beyond belief. It was a society so loose, immoral and full of wickedness, these four men’s spiritual sensibilities were assailed.

They made a commitment with each other: “We dare not compromise. We will be separate from society and disciplined in our walk of faith.” They did not go about preaching their way of life to others. It was strictly a matter between them and God.

When you are in a crisis, do you cry out in unbelief and frustration? What if the Lord should answer, “I need strong voices in these sinful times through whom I can speak. Where are you when I need a voice? You say you want Me to come to your crisis—yet you remain a part of the wicked, worldly system. Tell Me—are you committed to My purposes?”

Daniel and his friends’ witness was a testimony that turned all the people’s heads around. They were delivered from the lions’ den and the fiery furnace—and the whole society knew it was God who did it.

How to Stand Up and Fight

With all the talk going on in churches about spiritual warfare, Christians still have not learned how to stand up to the enemy. We are pushovers for the devil!

I do not believe every misfortune that befalls a Christian comes from the enemy. We wrongly blame Satan for a lot of our own carelessness, disobedience and laziness.

Let me tell you something of Satan’s strategy: If he cannot pull the Almighty out of His throne, he will try to tear God’s image out of you—turning worshipers into murmurers and blasphemers.

Satan cannot attack you at will. God has put a wall of fire around His children, and the devil cannot go beyond that wall without God’s permission.

Satan cannot read a Christian’s mind. Some people are afraid to pray because they think the devil can read their every thought. Not so! Only God is omnipresent and omniscient.

Scripture commands us to stand up, be strong and do battle against our flesh and the devil: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). “Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Simply put, we have to become fed up with being held down by the devil—fed up with being depressed, joyless, empty, harassed.

In Judges 6:1 we see the Israelites at their lowest point ever. They were driven to living in dark caves, starving, scared and helpless. Then something happened. It started with Gideon and spread throughout the whole camp: Israel got sick and tired of hiding in those dark caves!

Something rose up within Gideon—and he finally said what God was waiting to hear: “We serve a mighty, victorious God. Why do we go on, day after day, taking this abuse?”

God will not do anything until you are thoroughly disgusted with being oppressed by the enemy—until you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. You have to do as Gideon did—cry out to the Lord!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What are Your Intentions?

By:  D. Matthews

“What do you want with us, Jesus from Nazareth?” (Mark 1:24)

Heads turned as the man’s cries pierced the subdued atmosphere in the synagogue. One look and the worshipers knew that this tortured soul suffered from demon possession. “Oh, no! What do you want with us, Jesus from Nazareth?” the demon screamed. “Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24, God’s Word translation)

Many of the people had witnessed or heard of exorcisms involving incantations, strange rituals, or props. But Jesus spoke only a few simple words: “Keep quiet, and come out of him!” His word was enough to silence the demon. The evil spirit threw the man down on the floor in convulsions and left his body with a shriek.

Only a few minutes earlier, Jesus had amazed the people in the synagogue with the way he taught with such authority; now they were stunned by his power over demonic spirits.

“What kind of command is this?” they asked each other. “With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits, and they come out.” (Luke 4:36)

During his time on earth, Jesus spoke and taught about God with wisdom and authority. He demonstrated power over the weather, evil spirits, diseases and infirmities of all kinds, and even death. Yet most people refused to do what every demon Jesus ever encountered did—acknowledge him as the Holy One, the Son of God. Although demonic spirits strive to carry out the wishes of Satan, they instantly obeyed any command spoken by Jesus.

Today, many Christians call Jesus “Lord” but refuse to submit to his authority in their daily life. Jesus taught that verbal expressions mean nothing if we don’t also obey him. “Why do you call me Lord but don’t do what I tell you?” he asked (Luke 6:46). Being a follower of Christ means so much more than saying the right words or singing the right choruses; it demands a life fully committed to obeying God’s Word and submitting to Jesus as our Master.

James made a convincing case that faith is more than mere intellectual assent. “You believe that there is one God,” he wrote. “That's fine! The demons also believe that, and they tremble with fear.” (James 2:19) His letter explains that true faith will always result in a life marked by godly living and good deeds.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he commissioned his followers to make disciples on the basis of the authority given him by God the Father. As we obey that command, our life becomes infused with his authority as we tell others about God, teach from the Scriptures, confront evil in the world, and bring healing to wounded people. If we are fully submitted to Jesus’ lordship over us, then people will see his authority through us as well.

[Jesus said] “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)


Ask yourself: Does my life reflect Jesus’ authority over me and through me?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Disappointment Is No Match for God

By:  W. Odum 

Have you ever been disappointed? Either someone lets you down or circumstances don’t work out the way you thought they would. A woman in Terre Haute, Indiana, called the local police station to report a skunk in her cellar. The police told the woman to make a trail of bread crumbs from the basement to the yard and to wait for the skunk to follow the line of crumbs outside. A little later the woman called back and said, “I did what you told me. Now I’ve got two skunks in my basement.”

We have all experienced the truth of Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”That kind of disappointment can touch every area of our lives. Jimmy Evans, teaching on marriage, points out that there once were three major causes of divorce: money, sex, and power (or control). Now, however, the number one cause of divorce is none of those three. It is disappointment. “You’re not who I thought you were.”

One of the major causes of disappointment is promises that are not kept. A church choir director was being driven out of his mind at the rehearsals for the Christmas choral concert. It seemed that at least one or more members of the choir was absent at every rehearsal. Finally they reached the last rehearsal and he announced: “I want to personally thank the pianist for being the only person in this entire church choir to attend each and every rehearsal during the past two months.” At this, the pianist rose, bowed, and said, “It was the least I could do, considering I won’t be able to be at the concert tonight.”

Cartoonist Rob Portlock, in Leadership Journal, portrays a pastor making a Sunday morning announcement: “We have a special gift for a lady that hasn’t missed a service in forty-five years. Eleanor Smith! Where is Eleanor sitting? Eleanor? Eleanor ...”

Not all occasions of disappointment, though, are due to someone intentionally breaking a promise. Sometimes circumstances beyond anyone’s control interfere with our plans. That was the case in one of the most disappointing times of my life.

My dad had bone cancer. He lived two years with the disease. During the last year of Dad’s life we planned to ride Amtrak together to Oregon to see my sister, Rosalie, and my brother-in-law, Mac. Knowing how ill Dad had been, I was looking forward to that time with him. In April of his last year he went into remission. We went to a train station together, planning the trip in August. Then in August, when we thought we would be traveling to Oregon, Dad died. I not only was broken up by his death, but I felt that my last chance to be with him without distractions was stolen. It wasn’t Dad’s fault. The circumstances were beyond his control.

Here is the problem with disappointments. They can color our outlook on life, and can even change the way we see God.
Jimmy Harris said, “A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.”

I have met any number of people who have allowed their disappointments to color their view of God. They see God as an extension of people who are either short on commitment or are short on the power to control things.

Here is the good news. God is faithful. I have often been encouraged by Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)

When I face my weaknesses, whether those weaknesses are character issues I have or are just my powerlessness in the face of events, I am encouraged to know that my destiny rests on the faithfulness of God.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that I have no responsibility. I do. But it does mean that while I am growing in faith and obedience God’s faithfulness protects me.

As the psalmist says, “His faithfulness will be your shield.” (Psalm 91:4)

When I understand the faithfulness of God, I can rise above every past circumstance that left me disappointed. I can take His promises seriously and can put my life and my future in His hands.

William Penn, the founder of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was well liked by the Indians. Once they told him he could have as much of their land as he could encompass on foot in a single day. So, early the next morning he started out and walked until late that night. When he finally went to claim his land, the Indians were greatly surprised, for they really didn't think he would take them seriously. But they kept their promise and gave him a large area which today is part of the city of Philadelphia. William Penn simply believed what they said. If William Penn found the Indians to be faithful to their words, I can certainly expect God to be faithful to His.

Moses pointed that out to Israel a long time ago: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19) 

If God said it, His character stands behind it. He is in control of circumstances and will never have to say, “I never saw that coming.” He not only intends to fulfill His Word. He is able to fulfill His Word.

God’s commitment to us is more extensive than most of us imagine. Author and business leader, Fred Smith wrote about an experience that helps us understand this. He wrote, “One of my treasured memories comes from a doughnut shop in Grand Saline, Texas. There was a young farm couple sitting at the table next to mine. He was wearing overalls and she a gingham dress. After finishing their doughnuts, he got up to pay the bill, and I noticed she didn’t get up to follow him.

“But then he came back and stood in front of her. She put her arms around his neck, and he lifted her up, revealing that she was wearing a full-body brace. He lifted her out of her chair and backed out the front door to the pickup truck, with her hanging from his neck. As he gently put her into the truck, everyone in the shop watched. No one said anything until a waitress remarked, almost reverently, ‘He took his vows seriously.’ ”


God takes His vows seriously. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When I am weak, and even when my faith is weak, He is faithful. We can depend on that.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Healing Word

By:  J. Meyer

God loves you. And because He loves you, He wants the best for your life—restoration and wholeness. That’s why Jesus Christ willingly laid down His life, died, and rose again. His sacrifice has provided the way for us to find and experience the healing and restoration we need.

God has a plan for your life, and He wants to heal you everywhere you hurt. John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us abundant life, and part of that abundant life is making sure you are healthy and whole—physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

But the truth is you cannot “catch” health like you can disease. For example, if you're around somebody who has a cold, you don't have to do anything to catch it. You can get it by just by being around them because that's the nature of sickness and disease. But you can be around a healthy person and you won’t catch their health. You have to choose health.

Choose Life

One of the ways we can choose life is through prayer and by speaking His truth over our lives. I want to help you do that. You can speak scriptures and confessions over your life to strengthen your faith in God for the healing and wholeness you need.

Think about it like this: If I have a headache, I take an aspirin to get relief from it. I have to swallow the pill for it to work. If I put it on top of my head, it won’t do anything for me. God’s Word is medicine for our spirit, soul and body, and the way we experience its power is by speaking it out loud, praying it to God, meditating on it, and believing it. When you speak His Word over your life, it releases that power into your life. It won’t work for us if we just have a Bible and leave it on the shelf. We have to use it.

God wants to make you whole, and what He’s asking you to do is believe what His Word says more than you believe what you think or how you feel. Keep speaking His Word over your circumstances and in His timing, He’ll complete the good work He’s begun in you!

Applying the Medicine of God’s Word

Depending on your situation, one or more scriptures or confessions may apply to a need you are facing right now. Take time to read them, meditate on them, pray them, and memorize the verses that will encourage you to trust God for the healing you need. Or write them down on a note card and carry them with you so you have them on hand wherever you are, whenever you need them.

You can search out the scriptures you need in the Bible and make them your confession. As you do, you’ll be amazed at how God’s Word will give you more of the abundant life you can have in Christ, and you’ll experience the wholeness and healing it brings.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

How Could Such an Evil Thing Happen?

By:  D. N. Matthews

Just how low can a society sink when the people reject God’s truth and try to live by their own standards? The book of Judges leads us through a dark period in Israel’s history. (Read Judges 20:1-14) When Joshua and the elder generation died, the Israelites had no appointed leader to rule over them. Just as Joshua had feared, the people let themselves be influenced by the Canaanites they had allowed to remain in the land. The Israelites intermarried with the pagan people around them and worshiped their gods, breaking the covenant vows they had sworn to uphold. The last two chapters of Judges especially show the disastrous results of each person doing whatever seems right to them.

A Levite traveling to his home in Ephraim stopped for the night in Gibeah, accepting hospitality from an old man. That night some of the local men surrounded the house and demanded that the Levite come out and have sex with them. When they refused to leave, the Levite gave them his concubine; they abused her all night until she died. The next morning, the Levite cut her body into twelve pieces and sent the pieces throughout Israel.

At a special gathering, the Levite told his story (conveniently leaving out the fact that he pushed his concubine out the door to save his own skin). As immoral and sin-hardened as the nation of Israel had become, the news of this crime outraged the people. Men were sent to confront the tribe of Benjamin. “How could such an evil thing happen among you?” they asked. “Now hand over those worthless men in Gibeah.” The men of Benjamin refused to listen to the men of Israel. The Benjamites’ refusal to hand over the guilty men led to civil war and their tribe’s near annihilation.

When people reject God’s standards, they begin a downward spiral into sin and degradation. This process may be gradual and go unnoticed at first, but one compromise with the truth leads to another. Eventually, the culture becomes so hardened to sin that it takes something horrific to shock people and make them ask, “How could such an evil thing happen among us?”

The book of Judges paints a sad picture of what can happen when a culture rebels against God’s authority. As people reject his standards of right and wrong, gross immorality and chaos result. Judges explains much of what we see happening around us in the world today. It also serves as a personal warning of how our mind can become darkened when we substitute our own personal ideas of morality for God’s clear-cut instructions in the Bible.

It’s dangerous to rely on our own reasoning and judgment rather than God’s Word. Our minds and emotions are easily deceived. Our thinking can become so distorted that we have a hard time recognizing evil. How much better our life—and our country—will be if we choose to be ruled by God rather than by our deceitful mind.

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 21:25 (NLT)

The human mind is the most deceitful of all things. Jeremiah 17:9 (GW)


Ask God to reveal any area of your life where you’ve drifted away from his standards of right and wrong.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Responding with the Unlovely

By:  T. Meeuwsen

As a parent I want my children to be gentle and generous of spirit in their evaluation of others. It’s easy to be critical of people who are unlovely or annoying; it’s inadvertent and spontaneous for us to compare ourselves to people whom we encounter, read about, or even see in the media. This activity leaves us feeling either superior or inferior. How should we react to people who are unlovely or annoying to us?

I took my daughter, Tory, to Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Miss American Pageant. A big reunion of former Miss Americas was planned, and forty-four of us were returning. A special book had been commissioned to commemorate the anniversary. Tory went armed with the book and a pen, determined to get every autograph.

As we walked along the board walk, I was struck by the incredible dichotomy before us. Flashing lights and glittering displays lit the boardwalk. Pageant attendees were dressed to the nines in tuxedos and dresses that sparkled. In the midst of it all, homeless people curled up alongside the buildings. Beggars, many of them handicapped, were playing harmonicas or holding out hopeful cups.

As I watched my daughter look with admiration and awe at all the “beautiful” people, I prayed, Lord, help her to see past the trimmings. Teach her to find her identity in You – not in her family or her possessions or her accomplishments. Help us both, as women of God, to see people the way You see them. And, Lord, when we come upon people who’ve lost track of who they are, help us to slow down and acknowledge them.

James 1:22-27 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

It’s easy to love the lovely, but speaking gentle words from a kind and forgiving heart when you’ve been wronged or provoked is a work of the Holy Spirit. It happens when we give up our agenda and grab hold of God’s.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Lord, forgive me for judging others harshly and speaking critically. Help me to remember how much You have forgiven in my own life. I want to reflect You to all I meet, and especially to my children. Use my words to bring wholeness and healing.

Note:


Orig Title - Love Bears All Things

Monday, September 23, 2013

Star Gazing

By:  J. Devlin 

I attended a high school that had its very own planetarium. As a kid who would rather do anything than chemistry, I was excited to see the option for stargazing hiding in the course descriptions for senior year. Could it be? Can I get out of high school with credit for taking astronomy instead of chemistry? It’s worth a try, I thought to myself. With the guidance counselor’s approval and class schedule in hand, I wove my way through the hallways until I found the subtle enclave with the right room number affixed above the door.

The first day of class, we all filed into the covert hideaway nestled between the library and the main hall. Each row of reclining seats beckoned the new students with a comfort we had not been given in any other class on campus. It was almost too much to bear when the instructor asked us to lean back in reclining chairs in a pitch dark room and look at the projected scene on the ceiling. We all looked at each other and just knew this was the best-kept secret of the school.

For a whole semester, we began our day in easy chairs and dim light—almost as if we were still at home under the covers hitting the snooze button one more time. Amidst the comfort and constant presentations, we learned many things about the universe the Father created, and now I’m grateful for that class. Not only because I could check a block for graduation, but my semester in astronomy also gave me memories and a love for the sky that would have eluded me without the need for a high school science credit.

For as long as there have been stars in the sky, there have been people fascinated with the starry hosts in view each night. Centuries of star gazers and galactic researchers have brought us detailed explanations of the placement, qualities, and intricacies of the solar system. While the nighttime display is beautiful and majestic, the excitement for the unknown treasures above the earth’s atmosphere has caused quite a stir. In their zeal for understanding the things above, some people over the ages have misplaced their focus of worship from Creator to the created stellar objects. May we never fall prey to such deception.

We are never to worship the celestial creations. We are created to worship the one true God who created the vision we see in the sky. The vastness of the nighttime display pales in comparison to the unending power and majesty of our God. He is big—real big. The Father’s presence is greater than the furthest reaches of the universe. As we look to the sky in wonder of sun, moon, and stars above, let us be mindful of the God who gave us the massive display.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Who Am I?

By:  K. C. Tate

“I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2).

“Who am I?” That’s the question we’re seeking to answer. Admittedly this is my passion, that people know who they truly are. Everything flows from that—your mindset, your choices, your outlook, your mood, and yes, your eternity. A great many go through life believing a lie. They only know the deceiver’s version of who they are. But when you know the truth—God’s version—and you walk in it, you’re set free to live the abundant life He intended for you.

God called Abraham out of Ur. He left behind his native land, family, and his very identity to follow God and the promise of a new land, a new family, and a new identity. In fact, God promised to make an entirely new nation through Abraham—the nation of Israel.

Abraham had a son, Isaac, and Isaac had Jacob (also known as Israel). Jacob had twelve sons, and the entire clan ended up in Egypt due to a famine, where they multiplied in number and then were subjected to slavery for four hundred years. God had told Abraham this would happen, but He also promised that He would bring them out (Genesis 15:13).

Through Moses, God did deliver them from Egypt by a strong hand. But four hundred years was a long time. Generations had lived and died. For those living at the time of the exodus, Egypt was all they had known. Egyptian culture had become ingrained, from the food to the form of worship, which encompassed all manner of gods. God not only had to get them out of Egypt; He needed to get Egypt out of them. What’s more, they were headed to Canaan, another land filled with people whose practices were sinful to God. God told them through Moses, “‘I am the LORD your God. You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you…’” (Leviticus 18:3).

The Israelites needed to know that they weren’t like other people. They’d been set apart unto God. They were different. As God’s people, they had their own identity, their own customs and practices, and their own form of worship—true worship. Much of the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy is about grounding them in their new identity as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, where they were to be a light and an example of holiness and righteousness to the world.

You probably know the story. As a people, they never quite settled into the higher identity to which God had called them. Instead, they kept identifying with the cultures around them, aligning themselves with people who didn’t know the true God, adopting their ways. There were bright lights among them, such as Joshua, who declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). But the people as a whole drifted from God. Worse, their spiritual leaders led the way. Instead of speaking God’s words, they spoke their own (Jeremiah 23Ezekiel 34).

God had promised blessing for obedience, but because of their unfaithfulness, God allowed His people to be conquered and led into captivity (2 Kings 17:24-25).

Is any of this relevant to us? Absolutely! If you’ve been saved, God has brought you out of slavery too—slavery to sin (Romans 6:17-18). But although God has delivered us “out of Egypt,” there’s still a need to get “Egypt” out of us. All we’ve ever known and believed about ourselves and the world has been filtered through the evil one (Ephesians 2:1-2). But just as God taught the Israelites, He teaches us through His Word so that we can renew our minds to the truth of who we are and whose we are. We have been set apart unto God, and the more we walk in our divine identity and in His divine ways, the more we will enjoy God’s blessings…and shine the light of Jesus to a lost world.

Heavenly Father, thank You for delivering me from being a slave to sin. May I no longer walk or think as I used to. Renew my mind, O God. Make me know Your ways, teach me Your paths. I desire to walk in truth, for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Pleasing God is Paramount

By:  Blackaby

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

At times you will have to make a choice between pleasing God and pleasing those around you, for God’s ways are not man’s ways (Isa. 55:8–9). As important as it is to strive for good relations with others, it is even more important to maintain a steadfast and obedient relationship with Christ. Disobeying God to keep peace with other people is never wise. Peace with God is always paramount.

Jesus warned that obeying Him might cause division in your relationships (Matt. 10:35–36). If Paul’s primary goal had been to please others, he would never have become an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul went completely against the wishes of his colleagues in order to obey Christ.

At times, obedience to God sets family members at odds with each other (Matt. 10:35–36). When you follow Jesus’ Lordship, your family may misunderstand, or even oppose you, yet your obedience to God reflects your identity as His child. Jesus said that those who obey His will are His brothers and sisters (Luke 8:21). God does not intend to divide the home, but He places obedience before domestic harmony.

It is important to get alone in quietness with God so that you understand what pleases Him. The world’s thinking will mislead you more easily when you are not clear about what God desires.

It broke Peter’s heart to know that the opinion of a servant girl had mattered more to him than the approval of his Lord!

If the desire to appease others tempts you to compromise what you know God wants you to do, learn from Peter’s mistake. Determine that you will please your Lord regardless of the opinions of others.

Note:

Orig Title - Pleasing God, pleasing Men  


Thursday, September 19, 2013

If I Were The Devil

By:  F. Kong

Paul Harvey wrote this thought provoking article entitled: “IF I WERE THE DEVIL.” Listen to this carefully.

If I were the devil, I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;

I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;

I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;

I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;

I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies; I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;

I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;

I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit;

I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them; I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda; I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.

I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable.  If the family crumbles, so does the nation;

I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art; I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled; I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;

I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;

I would dull the minds of religious folks, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;  And then Paul Harvey ended his material by saying his last line.

“I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are. ”

Darwin’s theory of evolution says that man came from animals and that they are forever progressing into a higher form. One look at our headlines and we realize that mankind is not getting any better. The sad fact is that there are many heinous things that human beings do to each other that even the animals do not do.

I guess Ruth Graham said it correctly. She said that if God does not pronounce judgment on America then He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. Strong statements. God is merciful and He is still currently extending His grace – inviting people to come to His kingdom. But this does not go on forever.


And yet the person who has connected into a personal intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ no longer fears His coming. He knows Christ is coming yet his lips say: “Even so come Lord Jesus.” God has written the first chapter of human history. He writes the last one too. And by the way, before we forget. History essentially is His Story. And for that reason alone, I am glad and comforted.