Are you a treasure hunter?


Do you go places? Do you do research? Do you read? Do you watch shows?

What types of treasures do you seek? What makes it a treasure for you?

Do you realize you can find treasures without leaving your home? Do you realize you can see treasures based on a book?

Consider the Bible…I started back in 2005 and probably a bit before that to find a devotional to read for a year to get through the Bible. I have read many versions King James, New King James, New International Version, New Living Translation, The Message and others. I have read the Chronological version which breaks up things from their books and puts it all in alignment based on when it took place in history. Even with all this time, God continues to reveal things to me through His Word. God has treasures in there that I have found during specific times in my life when those Words had such power. The Bible is loaded with treasures. When I consider that Sept in 2013 when I read about Peter getting out the boat and walking on water and the implications it had on my career. When I consider that May in 2013 when I read about Job and on my last day of working for the first company since I started my career and the encouragement it spoke over what the second half of my career would be. When I prayed one morning to God if I would have a son or if I would have 4 daughters and God’s Word that morning was about Abraham and Sarah and the promised son Isaac and how I now have a promised son too and I have named him Isaac. God continues to speak life and truth and hope through His Word. There are treasures that will appear when you take the time to spend it with God and allow Him to speak into your life thru His Word in Jesus’ name. Want to find treasures, prepare your heart, give your life into His hands, and spend time reading from His Word and see how treasures will be found that will change your life forever.

And you know what? As long as we are alive and make time, there are still more treasures that will be found in and thru God’s Word. Sometimes I find them while at church and listening to the sermon. Sometimes I find them while driving to work and listening to someone preach on the radio. Sometimes I find them when I am alone reading thru God’s Word. Don’t miss out on all God has for you, take time to spend with Him daily! And see how if you will seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness that you will discover treasures!


How to Discover the Bible’s Inexhaustible Treasures — Day 170: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 75, Acts 13:13-41, 1 Kings 6, 1 Kings 7:1-22


  1. Powerful metaphors … Psalm 75

    • Something can be ‘true’ without being ‘literal’. In this psalm we see examples of truth expressed in metaphor.

      God’s justice is the foundation of our universe. In today’s psalm we find at least four metaphors about the justice of God.

      Evil and its effects

      The psalmist knew as well as we do that the earth is not held up literally by pillars. He is deliberately using metaphorical language that needs to be read as such. This is the language of poetry and it is every bit as true as ‘literal truth’.

      The quaking of the earth (v.3a) and its peoples is a metaphor for the effects of evil. Immorality undermines the stability of earth and society. The Lord proclaims that he graciously upholds his creation: ‘It is I who hold its pillars firm’ (v.3b).

      Power and its problems

      ‘Horns’ (v.4) symbolise power. Again the word is used metaphorically; this is poetic language. God exalts the horn (that is to say, power) of the righteous, and cuts off the horn (the power) of the wicked (v.10). Power can so easily corrupt and lead to arrogance. God says to the arrogant, ‘Boast no more’ (v.4).

      Ministry and its might

      The ‘hand of the Lord’ (v.8) is used as a symbol of his might and power. This is anthropomorphic language: words that are used to ascribe human form or attributes to something that is not human.

      When we ‘lay on hands’ in ministry – our hands themselves can do little, but they symbolise God’s mighty power working through us.

      Judgment and Jesus

      Likening God’s judgment to ‘a cup’ is another metaphor. ‘God has a cup in his hand, a bowl of wine, full to the brim. He draws from it and pours; it’s drained to the dregs. Earth’s wicked ones drink it all, drink it down to the last bitter drop!’ (v.8, MSG).

      On the cross, Jesus bore in his own body the cup of God’s judgment. He spoke about it beforehand (Mark 10:38; Luke 22:42; John 18:11), and took the judgment that we deserve upon himself.

      –from Day 170: Bible In One Year 2017

  2. Historical facts … Acts 13:13-41

    • How can you be sure that you have been forgiven? How can you know that death is not the end? How can you be assured that you will have eternal life?

      You can be sure of all this because of the historical facts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

      Luke was writing history. At the beginning of his two-volume work (Luke and Acts), Luke says that the evidence of ‘eye-witness’ accounts have been handed down to them. He has carefully investigated everything and written an orderly account ‘so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught’ (Luke 1:3–4).

      Today’s passage describes the history of Paul’s travels and reports his speech. Likewise, in his speech, Paul talks about historical facts. He retells the history of the people of God: the historical facts of the exodus, wilderness years, conquest of Canaan, the judges and the kings – all leading up to David, from whose descendants would come the historical Jesus.

      Then Paul focuses on the historical facts of the death and, in particular, the resurrection of Jesus. He makes four affirmations about the resurrection:

      God’s action

      ‘They took him down from the cross and buried him. And then God raised him from death’ (Acts 13:29–30, MSG). What God had promised in the Old Testament, he fulfilled in the New Testament, by ‘raising up Jesus’ (v.33). It had been prophesied in the Old Testament (v.34). ‘He raised Jesus, exactly as described in the second Psalm’ (v.33, MSG).

      Historical fact

      ‘The fact that God raised him from the dead…’ (v.34). The resurrection is not a metaphor. It is not something that is only experienced existentially within our hearts. It is, Paul says, a historical fact. The physical resurrection of Jesus actually happened. Jesus rose bodily from the dead.

      ‘There is no disputing that – he appeared over and over again many times and places to those who had known him well in the Galilean years, and these same people continue to give witness that he is alive’ (v.31, MSG).

      Unique event

      The resurrection of Jesus was a unique event in history. Paul contrasts Jesus with David, who ‘has been in the grave, dust and ashes, a long time now’ (v.36b, MSG). Others may have been resuscitated (and then later died), but Jesus was resurrected and his body never saw decay: ‘When he raised him from the dead, he did it for good – no going back to that rot and decay for him’ (v.34a, MSG).

      Good news

      This is the good news (v.32) that Paul preached. The resurrection means that the cross was effective, and forgiveness of sins is possible (v.38). Everyone who believes is justified (v.39). Your past has been dealt with and you can live in a right relationship with God.

      The historical fact of the resurrection has huge implications for your life and your future. If Jesus died, was buried and then raised by God, it means that one day, those who believe in him and have died, will be raised by God to eternal life (see 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18).

      –from Day 170: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Symbolic representation … 1 Kings 6, 1 Kings 7:1-22

Advertisements

Made the change?


Have you decided to join Jesus’ team? Have you decided to make Him Lord of all of your life? Have you decided to follow Him all the days of your life?

Have you decided to plant yourself in a church where you can grow? Have you decided to get involved and serve in the church? Have you decided to be an outreaching, embracing, and discipling person?

Have you decided to pursue the call on your life? Have you decided to answer the call to accomplish God’s purpose in your life? Have you decided to live for His cause?


The Three Conversions Everyone Needs — Day 169: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 74:18-23, Acts 12:19-25, Acts 13:1-12, 1 Kings 3:16-28, 1 Kings 4,
1 Kings 5


  1. Passion for God’s cause … Psalm 74:18-23

  2. Pursuit of God’s cause … Acts 12:19-25, Acts 13:1-12

  3. Purpose in God’s cause … 1 Kings 3:16-28, 1 Kings 41 Kings 5

    • Solomon was called to serve the cause of God in a special way.

      David had served God’s purpose in his own generation (Acts 13:36). However, he was not allowed to build the temple. God gave that calling to Solomon: ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name’ (1 Kings 5:5).

      Solomon needed great wisdom in order to fulfil his calling. He had prayed for wisdom. God answered his prayer more than he could ever have asked or imagined. God promises to give you the same kind of wisdom if you ask for it (‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you’, James 1:5). Ask for wisdom in all these areas:

      Wisdom in decision making

      God gave him wisdom to administer ‘justice’ (1 Kings 3:28). When given the impossible task of deciding to which mother a baby belongs, he comes up with an ingenious idea.

      The threat of the death of the surviving baby is enough to reveal who the true mother really is: ‘When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice’ (v.28).

      Wisdom in choosing a team

      Solomon gathered around him a leadership team for his government. This included priests, managers, friends, secretaries, historians and the commander of his army. There were eleven in all, making a team of twelve. It is a similar size to Jesus’ core team (the twelve disciples). It seems to be about the right size for a leadership team.

      Wisdom in delegation

      In addition to this, Solomon had another team of twelve regional managers distributed through Israel. This included two of his own sons-in-law (4:11,15). Delegation is absolutely key to avoiding burnout and carrying out a leadership role.

      Wisdom in peacemaking

      Under his leadership there was so much growth that the people became ‘densely populated’ (v.20a, MSG). Nevertheless, ‘All their needs were met; they ate and drank and were happy’ (v.20b, MSG) and they ‘had peace on all sides… [they] lived in safety’ (vv.24–25).

      Wisdom in insight and discernment

      ‘God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore (v.29)… his fame spread (v.31)… He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five’ (v.32). Psalm 72 and 127, Proverbs 10:1–22:16; 25:1–29:27 are attributed to him. People from all nations came to listen to his wisdom (1 Kings 4:34).

      Solomon had the wisdom to know when to accept help from those who were not part of the people of God (chapter 5). ‘The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him’ (5:12).

      Wisdom in pursuing God’s cause

      Solomon had the vision to build the temple in order to see God’s name honoured (vv.4–5). One of the ways in which you can pursue God’s cause today is by seeking to see the church (the new temple) built up in order to bring honour to God’s name.

      –from Day 169: Bible In One Year 2017

Want to make a difference?


You know what the people around you need? You know what you can do about it? PRAY! Be the one who will pray for them! Be the one who will pray when they are struggling! Be the one who will pray when they are troubled! Be the one who will pray when they are in need! Be the one who will pray for breakthrough! Be the one who will call down the love and the power of Jesus into their very situation! Be the one they can ask for prayer when they need it! Be the one who will offer prayer when you find people in a tough position! Pray quietly if or when they chose to not want you to! Be an intercessor! Be an advocate! Be a friend!

Worry changes nothing! Prayer changes everything!


Your Prayers Make a Difference — Day 168: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Proverbs 15:1-10, Acts 11:19-30, Acts 12:1-19, 1 Kings 2:13-46, 1 Kings 3:1-15


  1. Pray and bless

  2. Pray with passion

    • The church faced a seemingly impossible situation. The very existence of the early church seemed to be at stake. What did they do? What are we to do in situations that are seemingly impossible? We see the answer in verse 5: ‘The church was earnestly praying to God for [Peter]’.

      Pray together

      ‘The church’ (v.5) joined together in prayer. ‘Many people had gathered and were praying’ (v.12). The New Testament teaches a lot about private prayer, but there is even more about praying together.

      Pray earnestly

      There are two reasons why they might not have prayed at all. First, James had been executed (v.2). God had not answered their prayers for James; we don’t know why. But it did not stop them praying.

      Second, Peter’s situation seemed impossible. Their choice was either to give up praying or to pray passionately. The Greek word ekten≈çs(translated here as ‘earnestly’) was used to describe a horse made to go at full gallop. It denotes the taut muscle of strenuous and sustained effort as of an athlete.

      The imperfect tense suggests that they prayed not as a one-off, but for a considerable length of time. They persevered.

      Pray to God

      When you pray, you are not just talking to yourself, or praying eloquent prayers to impress those who hear you. Prayer to God means having an audience with God. It means actually coming into the presence of God – asking and receiving.

      Pray for others

      They prayed for Peter (v.5). There are many types of prayer: worship, praise, thanksgiving, petition, and so on – but here we read of intercessory prayer. They prayed for him because they loved him. Intercessory prayer is an act of love.

       

      This was an extraordinary prayer meeting and the results are evident (vv.6–15). In answer to their prayers God acted supernaturally. Peter was freed the night before his trial. God’s answer involved visions, angels and chains falling off (vv.6–9). Obstacles were removed. The guards did not bar the prisoners’ escape, and the iron gate to the city opened in front of them (v.10).

      Peter then turned up at the prayer meeting but his release was so extraordinary that Rhoda, the girl who answered the door, forgot to let him in, and no one else believed it was actually him (vv.12–15)! They told Rhoda that she was out of her mind (v.15) but actually God had done what seemed impossible in answer to their earnest prayers.

      The word of God continued to increase and spread (v.24). This chapter opens with James dead, Peter in prison and Herod triumphing; it closes with Herod dead, Peter free and the word of God triumphing.

      –from Your Prayers Make a Difference

  3. Pray for wisdom

    • If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
      –from James 1:5

 

 

 

Following or Resisting…


So do you know what you are supposed to be doing? Are you doing it? Are you resisting it? Are you obeying the call?

Will you use the gifts and talents you have been given for good? Will you use them and mature them for the glory of God? Will you share the gifts and talents with the people God brings into your life? Will you share the joy of the Lord? Will you be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you?

Don’t resist God! Follow after Jesus!

When in need turn to God! Ask Him! Seek Him! Knock on the door!


Following and Not Opposing God — Day 167: Bible In One Year 2017

DevotionalPsalm 74:10-17, Acts 10:23-48, Acts 11:1-18, 1 Kings 1, 1 Kings 2:1-12


  1. The power of God … Psalm 74:10-17

  2. The Spirit of God … Acts 10:23-48, Acts 11:1-18

  3. The anointing of God … 1 Kings 1, 1 Kings 2:1-12

Do you get it?


There are so many things we don’t know! There are so many things that don’t seem to make sense! There are so many things that just don’t seem to add up in the moment! The more you know the more you know you don’t know!

The good things is we don’t need to know it all! We can just hold onto the truths of God and trust Him no matter where we are at or what we are going thru! We can know that He loves us, but we know that God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life! We can know that He loves us so much that Jesus went to the cross and to the grave to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! We can know that no matter the situation we are in, God can use it for good! We can know that no matter what we are going thru right now, God’s plan for us is good, it is to give us a hope and a future!

We need to also realize we have freewill and we need to make good decisions! We need to walk in alignment with God’s plans and purpose for our lives! That won’t make it perfect, but it will make it easier! It rains on the good and the evil! In this world we will have troubles! When we are walking it out with Jesus, we can consider it pure joy because we know the work it is doing in and through us!

Will it always make sense? Probably not! Does that mean we need to give up hope and walk away? Definitely not! So what does it mean? We need to lead on God even more for in our weakness, His strength is made perfect!

So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Put your trust in Jesus! Here what He is saying and walk it out! Don’t wait on it, put it into action! Don’t wait on it, obey Him now! The sooner we do, the shorter the test or the trial or the challenge! And the better we listen, the faster we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds!

The joy of the Lord is my strength! On the mountain tops! In the valley lows! I put my trust in God for with Him all things are possible!

I pray for you today in Jesus’ name that you will allow the peace that goes beyond all understanding to come over you no matter what you are facing today!

Not understanding what is going on? Turn to God! Ask! Seek! Knock! Open the door and let Jesus into your life! God wants to have an intimate relationship with you! Be honest when you speak to Him! Be open when you speak to Him! Be mystified by God as you build and develop your relationship with Jesus!


When You Don’t Understand God — Day 166: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 74:1-9, Acts 9:32-43, Acts 10:1-23, 2 Samuel 23:8-39, 2 Samuel 24


Today’s devotional speaks to this reading as follows…

  1. Be honest with God … Psalm 74:1-9

    • Are there times in your life when you simply do not understand why certain things are happening to you? Does it almost feel like God has rejected you? If so, your experience is common in the history of the people of God. This psalm opens with this question: ‘Why have you rejected us forever, O God?’ (v.1).

      Sometimes it may seem as if God is silent and not intervening to help you in any way. As the psalmist says, ‘There’s not a sign or symbol of God in sight, nor anyone to speak in his name, no one who knows what’s going on’ (v.9, MSG).

      When you go through times like this, you never know ‘how long’ this will be (v.9). You might have questions about why a part of your life is working out as it is. Or perhaps you just feel that God is distant. St John of the Cross (1542 – 1591) referred to these times as ‘the dark night of the soul’.

      What should you do in times like this?

      Ask the questions

      The psalmist does not beat around the bush. He pours out his heart to God. He asks God the difficult questions. ‘You walked off and left us, and never looked back. God, how could you do that? We’re your very own sheep; how can you stomp off in anger?’ (v.1, MSG).

      Ask for answers

      ‘Refresh your memory of us… you actually lived here once! Come and visit the site of disaster…’ (vv.2–3, MSG).

      You are not alone when you have these kinds of experiences and emotions. One of the great blessings of the psalms is that you can turn to them in times of mysterious suffering and echo these prayers in your heart.

      –from Day 166: Bible In One Year 2017

  2. Be open to God … Acts 9:32-43, Acts 10:1-23

    •  Jesus told his disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead and preach the gospel. The early church got on with doing exactly what Jesus told them to do. They must have been very surprised by what happened. Yet they were open to his leading.

      The mystery of healing

      They continued to see God’s extraordinary power at work. Peter said to a man who was bedridden for eight years, ‘Jesus Christ heals you’ (9:34). He immediately ‘jumped right out of bed’ (v.34, MSG). ‘Everybody… woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them’ (v.35, MSG).

      Yet not all are healed. Why doesn’t God heal everyone? I don’t know. Sometimes it is really hard to understand why God has not healed someone we have prayed for so much. It is a mystery.

      The mystery of raising the dead

      Next, Peter raised the dead! Accounts of the dead being raised are rare in the Bible. It happened twice in the Old Testament – once with Elijah and once with Elisha. Jesus raised the dead three times, Paul once, and Peter raised Dorcas from the dead. The command to raise the dead occurs only once (Matthew 10:8).

      In almost every case, it was a young person who was raised from the dead. None of them lived forever – but their lives were not cut off prematurely. Very occasionally God intervenes in this way. We don’t know why. It is a mystery.

      Here God did intervene. Dorcas, ‘who was always doing good and helping the poor’ (Acts 9:36), became sick and died. Peter got down on his knees and prayed. She opened her eyes, sat up, and Peter took her by the hand and helped her to her feet! As a result, ‘many people believed in the Lord’ (v.42).

      The mystery of the gospel

      The apostle Paul was later to explain, ‘This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 3:6).

      Up until this point in the book of Acts, all the followers of Jesus had been Jewish. In fact, they did not think it was possible to become a Christian without being a Jew. But God surprised them. He prepared Peter with a vision. In a trance he saw heaven open and he was told to kill and eat ‘impure’ and ‘unclean’ animals and birds. His response was, ‘Surely not, Lord!’ (Acts 10:14).

      The vision, and God’s voice that accompanied it, challenged Peter not to make distinctions between clean and unclean food (vv.13–15). However, Peter also realised that this vision meant that he should not make distinctions between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ people – that is, Jewish and non-Jewish people. In tomorrow’s reading, we discover that Peter says, ‘No race is better than any other’ (v.28, MSG).

      At the time, it was a mystery. ‘Peter, puzzled, sat there trying to figure out what it all meant’ (v.17, MSG). He did not realise what God was doing. Only later did he understand. God had plans that were far bigger than theirs. The good news of Jesus was not to be confined to the Jewish people – it was for everyone in the world. Thankfully, Peter was open enough to respond to God’s guidance, whether through a vision or even when ‘the Spirit whispered to him’ (v.19, MSG).

      –from Day 166: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Be mystified by God … 2 Samuel 23:8-39, 2 Samuel 24

    • This is one of the most mysterious passages in the whole Bible. All seemed to be going well. David had good people around him. He was greatly helped and supported by his three mighty men, as well as a wider inner circle of ‘the Thirty’.

      Yet something terrible happened. Who incited David to count his fighting men? In this passage it appears to be God. Yet in the equivalent passage in Chronicles we are told, ‘Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel’ (1 Chronicles 21:1). This is one of only three times in which Satan is mentioned in the Old Testament.

      David apparently knew that what he was doing was wrong (‘because he had counted the people, replacing trust with statistics’, 2 Samuel 24:10, MSG). He was ‘conscience-stricken… and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing”’ (v.10).

      Given the various options, spoken by the prophet Gad, he chose to fall into the hands of the Lord, for ‘his mercy is great’ (v.14). He refused to offer a sacrifice that cost him nothing (v.24). After his sacrifice, ‘the Lord answered prayer on behalf of the land’ (v.25).

      There is still much here that is difficult to understand. But the passage finishes on a note of hope and renewed relationship.

      –from Day 166: Bible In One Year 2017