The Story of Job. – Day 14


Ever wondered why? Ever gone looking for answers? Ever questioned the reason or the logic? Ever questioned the intentions or the purpose? Ever asked for an explanation? Ever questioned the perspective?

What is keeping your spirits up? What is keeping your keep going attitude? Is it God’s divine care? Is it God’s supervision? Is it God’s gift of life? Is it God’s loving kindness?

We don’t know the reasons but we do know that by being believers that:

‘And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. ‘

Romans 8:28

Imagine a life that is without the knowledge of Jesus. Imagine a life that is unaware of who God really is. Imagine a life that is void of the truth of God.

So even in the midst of the trials and the troubles, the challenges and the struggles, lets let our lives shine for God and allow our faith and hope and love overflow in order that others would see when we come out the other side how great our God is. Let’s be more than just an attitude of gratitude and be thankful FOR THE. Let’s step it up to even be more than the EVEN THOUGH gratitude and thankfulness. Let’s press on into being thankful when we are in the midst of it all and thank God BECAUSE OF what we are going through, because we can take hold of Romans 8:28 and know that in and through all of this will be for good. Don’t lose hope, keep your trust in God! Don’t lose faith, keep your trust in God! Don’t lose your will to persevere, keep your trust in God and consider it all pure joy when we face trials of many kinds so that through the process we will get to the end with God’s work being complete so that we will persevere and be complete and lacking nothing!


Today’s reading comes from Job 10:

‘“I am disgusted with my life and loathe it! I will give free expression to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me [and declare me guilty]! Show me why You contend and argue and struggle with me. Does it indeed seem right to You to oppress, To despise and reject the work of Your hands, And to look with favor on the schemes of the wicked? Do You have eyes of flesh? Do You see as a man sees? Are Your days as the days of a mortal, Are Your years as man’s years, That You seek my guilt And search for my sin? Although You know that I am not guilty or wicked, Yet there is no one who can rescue me from Your hand. ‘Your hands have formed and made me altogether. Would You [turn around and] destroy me? Remember now, that You have made me as clay; So will You turn me into dust again? Have You not poured me out like milk And curdled me like cheese? [You have] clothed me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your providence (divine care, supervision) has preserved my spirit. Yet these [present evils] You have hidden in Your heart [since my creation]: I know that this was within You [in Your purpose and thought]. If I sin, then You would take note and observe me, And You would not acquit me of my guilt. If I am wicked, woe to me [for judgment comes]! And if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head. For I am sated and filled with disgrace and the sight of my misery. Should I lift my head up, You would hunt me like a lion; And again You would show Your marvelous power against me. You renew Your witnesses against me And increase Your indignation and anger toward me; Hardship after hardship is with me [attacking me time after time]. ‘Why then did You bring me out of the womb? Would that I had perished and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not existed; [I should have been] carried from the womb to the grave.’ Would He not let my few days alone, Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go—and I shall not return— To the land of darkness and the deep shadow [of death], The [sunless] land of utter gloom as darkness itself , [The land] of the shadow of death, without order, And [where] it shines as [thick] darkness.”’

Job 10

Today’s study of God’s Word comes from these two bible studies:


Study Notes:

We see as today’s reading begins that Job identifies himself as not wicked. We also see him using that innocence to start accusing God. We see how Job even starts to speak out in a flippant , flip , glib , frivolous , tongue-in-cheek , waggish , whimsical , joking , jokey , jesting , jocular , playful , roguish , impish , teasing , arch , mischievous , puckish , in fun , in jest , witty , amusing , funny , droll , comic , comical , chucklesome , lighthearted , high-spirited , bantering , frolicsome , sportive , jocose way. We see how it is even somewhat acerbically, acrimoniously, bitingly, caustically, maliciously, sneeringly speaks out. He asks if God is seeing thru human eyes, like his friends were, his spiritual condition. Job knew that God is the ultimate authority and so the decision would have to come from Him. We know because we saw how this all got started that it is the devil that is testing Job in an attempt to get Job to curse God. We know because we read in the beginning the limitations as well as permission that had to be given by God for this to even take place. But that hasn’t been revealed and so neither Job nor his friends can realize the purpose or the plan of God in and through this. Job’s friends similar to the disciples base their questions and their questions and reasons on what those in the past had said or expressed. The disciples learned from Jesus how their initial thoughts were wrong when He shared the reality of why the man was born blind and it wasn’t because of guilt but it was rather in order to show God’s glory to the world.

We learn in our reading how instead of cursing God, Job questions what the purpose of him even being born was, why was he alive. We learn through Job’s Word how incredible creation of man is and how it begins at conception. Job was unable to understand all the time and effort to create him, care for him, and then to put him thru all of this and destroy him and so questioned it. His expression is very similar to Psalm 119:73 which says “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands”. Our life is finite and we came from the dust and will return to it. His comparison to milk which given time curdles and is thrown out points to his uncertainty and questions. We see how he compares that with the creation that takes place in the womb in the forming of a person.

Through it all we learn:

‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your providence (divine care, supervision) has preserved my spirit. ‘

Job 10:12

And yet, Job questions or wonders if this testing wasn’t something God had planned in His divine purpose.

‘Yet these [present evils] You have hidden in Your heart [since my creation]: I know that this was within You [in Your purpose and thought]. ‘

Job 10:13

With what Job was going through, we learn how he is asking God for a peaceful journey to death.

‘Would He not let my few days alone, Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go—and I shall not return— To the land of darkness and the deep shadow [of death], The [sunless] land of utter gloom as darkness itself , [The land] of the shadow of death, without order, And [where] it shines as [thick] darkness.”’

Job 10:20-22

So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

Thanksgiving … It’s not just a day and it’s not just an attitude!


Today there was a great sermon message speaking to being thankful. It spoke of three stages of thankfulness and many biblical examples of how they can and have been applied. Thanksgiving is to be something we do all the time, continually, in all our ways, in all circumstances. Thanksgiving is something we should have because we allow the peace of Christ be the controlling factor in our hearts.

Scriptures:


The Grumble Free Year – imagine that. Imagine the experiment which was written and shared thru The Grumble-Free Year: Twelve Months, Eleven Family Members, and One Impossible Goal (Book by Tricia Goyer).


Complaining and grumbling come naturally, no need to teach or train how to do that. Sometime it becomes so common place in our lives that we diminish the affect it has on the relationships around us by driving a wedge between us and who or whatever we are complaining about it. It also is something that affects and offense to God. Everyday God gives everything we need. We have new mercies every morning from God. Imagine the impact of grumbling on an 11 day trip to the promised land became 4 decades of wandering in the desert.

‘The L ord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I put up with this evil congregation who murmur [in discontent] against Me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites, which they are making against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the L ord , ‘just what you have spoken in My hearing I will most certainly do to you; your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness, even all who were numbered of you, your entire number from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against Me. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, not one of you shall enter the land in which I swore [an oath] to settle you. ‘

Numbers 14:26-30

Just because you think you are grumbling against others doesn’t mean that it isn’t being heard or offensive to God. Don’t you want to give God the glory He so deserves? Grumbling and complaining it keeps us out of the promises God has for us. It is important to not only try to change our attitude without starting in the heart but it doesn’t end there.

Gratitude and thankfulness take practice and efforts. How can we grow and develop in this area? After the 40 years and the new generation is getting ready to enter into the promised land, we see how Moses speaks to them to not forget what God has done for you.

‘When you have eaten and are satisfied, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. ‘

Deuteronomy 8:10

Consider these words of Moses as the people were about to enter into the promised land: “FOR THE

This is the basic level of gratitude. Looking back and giving God thanks for the blessings He has already given into your life. Thanksgiving begins in the heart.
Thank You God FOR THE _______________.

Inward grumbling can still be known and heard by God! Can you be thankful for what you have, for the abilities you have, for the time, for the provision.

‘Bless and affectionately praise the Lord , O my soul, And all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name. Bless and affectionately praise the Lord , O my soul, And do not forget any of His benefits; Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle. ‘

Psalms 103:1-5

We need to look back and be thankful. We need to share and learn of the stories of what God has done so that we can not only be thankful but also share reasons to be thankful. Don’t stop at this level.

Consider the words of David in the midst of the valley: “EVEN THOUGH

‘Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord .’

Psalms 23:4-6

We can now take our gratitude to the next level, EVEN THOUGH. David is thanking God even though he is in a dark time in his life, even though he is walking thru a valley, even though his enemies are after him. What might try to get you ungrateful, discourage, depressed, or even angry that would be considered enemies of you? Enemy of insecurity? fear? doubt? illness? sickness? challenge? difficulty? In the midst of it all God wants to commune with you. Looking back is the FOR THE, in the middle of all that is going on right now, EVEN THOUGH, even if everything is going bad around me, God is with me through it.

‘Though the fig tree does not blossom And there is no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive fails And the fields produce no food, Though the flock is cut off from the fold And there are no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord ; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility]. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.’

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Even though … Habakkuk says that he will choose to rejoice, to shout in exultation for God’s salvation.

‘Even though He kills me; I will hope in Him. Nevertheless, I will argue my ways to His face. ‘

Job 13:15

Job has a maturing level of thankfulness and gratitude. LIke Paul and Silas in prison – they choose to sing at the midnight hour, the darkness part of the night and God opens the doors of the prison. We need to sing praises to our Jesus! We need to sing praises to our God! God brings a new aspect when we are generous with our praise!

Consider the words of Paul: “BECAUSE OF

‘Now I want you to know, believers, that what has happened to me [this imprisonment that was meant to stop me] has actually served to advance [the spread of] the good news [regarding salvation]. My imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ has become common knowledge throughout the whole praetorian (imperial) guard and to everyone else. Because of my chains [seeing that I am doing well and that God is accomplishing great things], most of the brothers have renewed confidence in the Lord, and have far more courage to speak the word of God [concerning salvation] without fear [of the consequences, seeing that God can work His good in all circumstances].

but the former preach Christ [insincerely] out of selfish ambition [just self-promotion], thinking that they are causing me distress in my imprisonment. What then [does it matter]? So long as in every way, whether in pretense [for self-promotion] or in all honesty [to spread the truth], Christ is being preached; and in this I rejoice. Y es, and I will rejoice [later as well], ‘

Philippians 1:12-14, 17-18

The next level of gratitude is BECAUSE OF what we are going thru. It is thanking God because of His purpose in the midst of the challenges. We might not understand the situation and we know that God in and through it all is doing something in and thru me that I am going to trust are going to be good! Paul shows how because he was in chains people were coming to Jesus. He is getting prison guards saved because of him being in prison. The message of Christ is being preach and so Paul gives God praise and thanks BECAUSE of it all. He is grateful and gracious level. We can take holder of

‘And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. ‘

Romans 8:28

God’s Word speaks to how God works all things together for good for those who love God! We know from God’s Word that he works all things together for good for those who love God and called according to His purposes. We can be grateful for each element of our lives no matter how good or bad, because He knows the bigger picture and how they are all working together, the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to come out with purpose and good. A BECAUSE OF attitude isn’t that we are thankful because of each of the bad things that happen, but because of God’s truth that we read in Romans 8:28 and can take hold

‘While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health.” Now having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed or with a visible display; nor will people say, ‘Look! Here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For the kingdom of God is among you [because of My presence].” ‘

Luke 17:11-19

We can look and find good in everything, no matter how bad things get. God keeps his eyes on us, just like He did like the lepers. Jesus gave them instructions to follow before He healed them. We need to follow God’s basic instructions. As they were going to show themselves to the priest, all 10 were cleansed and one saw that they were healed, they kept walking and believing while they were headed to the priest. One turned back and fell to his knees and cried out to Jesus “Thank you”. How many cry out for help but don’t turn back and cry out Thank you? They were probably all thankful of the healing in their hearts. Only one returned to express his thanks to Jesus.

Challenge today grow in our expression of gratitude rather than just our attitude of gratitude. What has God done to you and how are you going to express it?

Sing your praise to the Lord! Praise all that you have to be thankful for!

Starts in the heart but don’t let it end there, let it be an expression of gratitude! Let’s not neglect to express our gratitude to God!


Thank you for such an incredible message Pastor Larry Murrell (@sermon8tor) Thanksgiving … It’s not just a day and it’s not just an attitude! https://www.facebook.com/eastridgechurch/videos/551859588966793/


What type of attitude are you walking around with?


How is it impacting your behavior? How is it impacting your frame of mind? How is it impacting your health? How is it impacting your words? How is it impacting your responses?

What is your posture saying about your attitude? Body language tells people a lot more than words and tone. (55% body language, 38% tone, 7% words) – Do words matter? Yes. Does how you say it matter? Yes. Does your attitude about it expressed your body language matter? Yes. Are you smiling? Even when you write an email? Even when you are on the phone? How about when you are in person?

It matters!

So what type of an attitude are you living with? It will impact you and the people around you either way. Is it positive or negative? Is it filled with gratitude or is it filled with criticism, disapproval, admonition, or condemnation? Is it filled with gratitude or is it filled with disregard or neglect?

Do you realize what Jesus already did for you? Do you realize what He is able to do for you now if or when you walk out this life in relationship with Him? Are you grateful? Is your attitude walking thru life reflecting your gratitude? Are you able to let His light shine through your life? Are you inviting Him into every area of  your life? Are you allowing Him to be Lord of all your life or is He not Lord at all in your life?

Don’t walk around with worry or regret! Let’s do what God’s Word through the apostle Paul recommends…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

–from Philippians 4:6

Not just some situation, not just the easier ones, not just the harder ones, it says EVERY SITUATION! So let’s take hold of this truth and in every situation, let’s invite God into it so that you can celebrate with Him the good ones and be encouraged and receive wisdom and discernment when they are hard ones. Let’s talk to God about it! Let’s intercede about the situation! When we don’t know what to say or what to pray, let’s lean on the Holy Spirit as we are moaning, groaning about the situation to be our intercessor to the Father! He knows what we have need of even before we ask, so it become more a matter of humility and being able to turn to Him and invite Him into the situation! Let’s be willing to appeal to God about the situation! Let’s be willing to call on God in our situations because we know He loves and cares for us! Ask Jesus to help! Help you and be grateful! Help others and be grateful!

So will you live out today with an attitude of gratitude? Will you live out today with thanksgiving and praise? Will you walk out today with God, talking with Him and not running away from Him? Including Him in every conversation, decision, and get direction from Him?

This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Let’s take time to get filled up with God’s Word for today…


Attitude of Gratitude

Day 277: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Publicly offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving … Psalm 116:12-19
  2. Continually give thanks to God … Colossians 1:1-23
  3. Beware of neglecting thanksgiving … Jeremiah 7:30-9:16

Are you ready?


We are supposed to be prepared in and out of season! We are supposed to be prepared to give an answer! We are supposed to be prepared for every good work! We are supposed to prepare our hearts for God! We are supposed to be prepared to do what we have been called to do! We are supposed to be prepared for the battle that is coming our way! We are supposed to be prepared to present ourselves to God! Are you prepared to protect and guard what you have been given? We are supposed to be prepared to complete the good work that God prepared in advance for us to accomplish! Are you ready? Let’s get ready!

Do you realize how ready God is? Each day He goes before us, preparing in advance the good work He has for us to do.

Nothing surprises God! He is prepared!

Are you ready? Will you be ready? Are you going to start getting ready?

God’s Word to me speaks on the topic of being ready. His Word puts it this way:

Watchful Servants

35“Be ready for whatever comes, dressed for action and with your lamps lit, 36like servants who are waiting for their master to come back from a wedding feast. When he comes and knocks, they will open the door for him at once. 37How happy are those servants whose master finds them awake and ready when he returns! I tell you, he will take off his coat, have them sit down, and will wait on them. 38How happy they are if he finds them ready, even if he should come at midnight or even later! 39And you can be sure that if the owner of a house knew the time when the thief would come, he would not let the thief break into his house. 40And you, too, must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him.” –from Luke 12

Jesus is coming back. We may not know the day, the hour, the minute, but He is coming back. If He comes back today, are you ready? Are you prepared for His return? What would you want to have ready in advance of His return?

Are you prepared to help others? Are you prepared to finish the Word God has prepared in advance for you to do? Have you prepared enough so that on that day you will hear “well done my good and faithful servant”? Are you living each day as though you are working for God rather than man? How does that change your preparation? How does that change your attitude? How does that change your effort? Do you realize all that God has given you to take care of? No matter how big or how small, it is given to you so that you are able to complete the good work God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish. To whom much is given, much is required! God’s Word continues with …

The Faithful or the Unfaithful Servant

(Matthew 24.45-51)
41Peter said, “Lord, does this parable apply to us, or do you mean it for everyone?” 42The Lord answered, “Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant? He is the one that his master will put in charge, to run the household and give the other servants their share of the food at the proper time. 43How happy that servant is if his master finds him doing this when he comes home! 44Indeed, I tell you, the master will put that servant in charge of all his property. 45But if that servant says to himself that his master is taking a long time to come back and if he begins to beat the other servants, both the men and the women, and eats and drinks and gets drunk, 46then the master will come back one day when the servant does not expect him and at a time he does not know. The master will cut him in pieces and make him share the fate of the disobedient. 47“The servant who knows what his master wants him to do, but does not get himself ready and do it, will be punished with a heavy whipping. 48But the servant who does not know what his master wants, and yet does something for which he deserves a whipping, will be punished with a light whipping. Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given. –from Luke 12

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s be prepared to complete the good work He has prepared in advance for us to do! Will you take what you have been given and multiply it? Will you take what you have been given and bury it? Will you take what you have been given and share? Will you be a good steward of every good and perfect gift that God has given you? Let’s not be lazy, but let’s be energized to glorify God in all that we do! Help the light of the Lord shine wherever you are! Let the joy of the Lord be your strength! How can you make a difference in someone’s life today?

The Obligation to Work

6Our friends, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to keep away from all believers who are living a lazy life and who do not follow the instructions that we gave them. 7You yourselves know very well that you should do just what we did. We were not lazy when we were with you. 8We did not accept anyone’s support without paying for it. Instead, we worked and toiled; we kept working day and night so as not to be an expense to any of you. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to demand our support; we did it to be an example for you to follow. 10While we were with you, we used to tell you, “Whoever refuses to work is not allowed to eat.” 11We say this because we hear that there are some people among you who live lazy lives and who do nothing except meddle in other people’s business. 12In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command these people and warn them to lead orderly lives and work to earn their own living. 13But you, friends, must not become tired of doing good. 14It may be that some there will not obey the message we send you in this letter. If so, take note of them and have nothing to do with them, so that they will be ashamed. 15But do not treat them as enemies; instead, warn them as believers.

–from 2 Thessalonians 3

Don’t grow weary in doing good work! Don’t grow tired in doing good work! Don’t stop doing what is good, what is right, and what is beneficial to God! Love everyone! Be ready! Be prepared to speak life into everyone you encounter!

Let’s let everything we do, all of our lives be a praise to God!

1Praise the Lord! Sing a new song to the Lord; praise him in the assembly of his faithful people! 2Be glad, Israel, because of your Creator; rejoice, people of Zion, because of your king! 3Praise his name with dancing; play drums and harps in praise of him. 4The Lord takes pleasure in his people; he honors the humble with victory. 5Let God’s people rejoice in their triumph and sing joyfully all night long. 6Let them shout aloud as they praise God, with their sharp swords in their hands 7to defeat the nations and to punish the peoples; 8to bind their kings in chains, their leaders in chains of iron; 9to punish the nations as God has commanded. This is the victory of God’s people. Praise the Lord! — from Psalm 149

If you don’t get it now, will you keep a hold of it for later?


It’s interesting how sometimes you will have conversations and wonder to yourself, “what did that mean?” When that happens do you just dust it off or do you take a hold of it to see what it could mean later? Do you put that in your back pocket for later? Today’s reading is interesting as just such a situation arises where Jesus says something but his parents don’t fully grasp it, but His mother put that into her memory chest (in her heart).

41Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the festival as usual. 43When the festival was over, they started back home, but the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. His parents did not know this; 44they thought that he was with the group, so they traveled a whole day and then started looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45They did not find him, so they went back to Jerusalem looking for him. 46On the third day they found him in the Temple, sitting with the Jewish teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47All who heard him were amazed at his intelligent answers. 48His parents were astonished when they saw him, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you.” 49He answered them, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand his answer. 51So Jesus went back with them to Nazareth, where he was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52Jesus grew both in body and in wisdom, gaining favor with God and people. –Luke 2:41-52

Ever been somewhere and heard someone say “out of the mouth of babes”? It’s interesting how the filter that seems to build up as we get older doesn’t exist with children. They speak what they believe and trust. As I even say that it reminds me of how Jesus spoke of how we are to have the faith like a child. We are to be more like children! Ever had the conversation, when are you going to grow up? Ever heard a response that well I know I am getting older, but do I have to grow up? It’s a fine line because we also need to mature in our knowledge and trust of God so that we can go from milk to the meat of the matter. We see this spoken to in 1 Corinthians as well as in Hebrews. So do you see the difference? Do you notice what was being spoken and the truth of the situation? Will you hope and trust God like a child? Will you take your wisdom and knowledge of God and share it with others like an adult? How will your light shine in the world around you? How will you allow God’s process to work in and through you? What will be seen as you build your life on the foundation of Jesus with Jesus as your cornerstone? When we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we became new! We were born again, but this time into the spiritual realm. So let’s allow our thoughts to come into alignment with God’s thoughts! Let’s allow His will to be our will. Let’s allow time with God daily to renew our minds! Let’s allow time with God daily to build our relationship with Him. Let’s live the transformed life God has given us as a gift!

17In the Lord’s name, then, I warn you: do not continue to live like the heathen, whose thoughts are worthless 18and whose minds are in the dark. They have no part in the life that God gives, for they are completely ignorant and stubborn. 19They have lost all feeling of shame; they give themselves over to vice and do all sorts of indecent things without restraint. 20That was not what you learned about Christ! 21You certainly heard about him, and as his followers you were taught the truth that is in Jesus. 22So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy. –Ephesians 4:17-24

Let’s get rid of things that distract, destroy, deceive us! Let’s hold onto the truth and renew our minds, getting rid of the junk and replacing it with hope, love, and truth. Let’s devote ourselves to living in alignment with God’s plans and God’s will for our lives!

57You are all I want, O Lord; I promise to obey your laws.
58I ask you with all my heart to have mercy on me, as you have promised!
59I have considered my conduct, and I promise to follow your instructions.
60Without delay I hurry to obey your commands.
61The wicked have laid a trap for me, but I do not forget your law.
62In the middle of the night I wake up to praise you for your righteous judgments.
63I am a friend of all who serve you, of all who obey your laws.
64Lord, the earth is full of your constant love; teach me your commandments.

–Psalm 119:57-64

It’s not the size, it’s a matter of the heart!


Some give out of the excess, but others give out of their need!

Some give to make a show, others give privately!

When you give to make a show, you have gotten all the reward that you are going to get!

We need to not only give, we need to love!

It’s not a matter of size, it’s a matter of the intent of the heart!

This came to mind from this morning’s reading where we hear from Jesus…

The Question about the Messiah

(Matthew 22.41-46; Luke 20.41-44)
35As Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he asked the question, “How can the teachers of the Law say that the Messiah will be the descendant of David? 36The Holy Spirit inspired David to say:
‘The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit here at my right side
until I put your enemies under your feet.’
37David himself called him ‘Lord’; so how can the Messiah be David’s descendant?”

Jesus Warns against the Teachers of the Law

(Matthew 23.1-36; Luke 20.45-47)
A large crowd was listening to Jesus gladly. 38As he taught them, he said, “Watch out for the teachers of the Law, who like to walk around in their long robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplace, 39who choose the reserved seats in the synagogues and the best places at feasts. 40They take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers. Their punishment will be all the worse!”

The Widow’s Offering

(Luke 21.1-4)
41As Jesus sat near the Temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; 42then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. 43He called his disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. 44For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had—she gave all she had to live on.”
— from Mark 12:35-44

It’s a matter of the heart! Are you expressing your attitude of gratitude for God? Are you giving out of a joyful heart? Are you giving from your excess or the little you have? Do you realize what you have been given? Check your heart, don’t give out of compulsion, but give willing what God’s Spirit puts in your heart!

Ever seen someone missing a smile? Do you give them yours?

Ever seen someone needing a hug? Do you give them yours?

Do you realize you don’t lose by giving? Do you realize it is a multiplication factor?

Do you realize that it’s not what we think about ourselves that matters, but what God thinks about us?

Today’s reading continues with Paul defending his ministry…The powerful weapons used to destroy strongholds, to destroy false arguments, to pull down proud obstacles. Taking every thought captive in order to make it obedient to Christ. Being loyal!

1I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you—I who am said to be meek and mild when I am with you, but harsh with you when I am away. By the gentleness and kindness of Christ 2I beg you not to force me to be harsh when I come; for I am sure I can deal harshly with those who say that we act from worldly motives. 3It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives. 4The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds. We destroy false arguments; 5we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ. 6And after you have proved your complete loyalty, we will be ready to punish any act of disloyalty.

7You are looking at the outward appearance of things. Are there some there who reckon themselves to belong to Christ? Well, let them think again about themselves, because we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8For I am not ashamed, even if I have boasted somewhat too much about the authority that the Lord has given us—authority to build you up, not to tear you down. 9I do not want it to appear that I am trying to frighten you with my letters. 10Someone will say, “Paul’s letters are severe and strong, but when he is with us in person, he is weak, and his words are nothing!” 11Such a person must understand that there is no difference between what we write in our letters when we are away and what we will do when we are there with you.
12Of course we would not dare classify ourselves or compare ourselves with those who rate themselves so highly. How stupid they are! They make up their own standards to measure themselves by, and they judge themselves by their own standards! 13As for us, however, our boasting will not go beyond certain limits; it will stay within the limits of the work which God has set for us, and this includes our work among you. 14And since you are within those limits, we were not going beyond them when we came to you, bringing the Good News about Christ. 15So we do not boast about the work that others have done beyond the limits God set for us. Instead, we hope that your faith may grow and that we may be able to do a much greater work among you, always within the limits that God has set. 16Then we can preach the Good News in other countries beyond you and shall not have to boast about work already done in someone else’s field.
17But as the scripture says, “Whoever wants to boast must boast about what the Lord has done.” 18For it is when the Lord thinks well of us that we are really approved, and not when we think well of ourselves.

So today, let’s come together! Let’s walk in unity with Christ and one another! Let’s allow the hope that is within us to glorify God!

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good…Remember all He has done for you! Testify of His great love and work in and through your life!

God and His People

(1 Chronicles 16.8-22)
1Give thanks to the Lord,
proclaim his greatness;
tell the nations what he has done.
2Sing praise to the Lord;
tell the wonderful things he has done.
3Be glad that we belong to him;
let all who worship him rejoice.
4Go to the Lord for help;
and worship him continually.
5-6You descendants of Abraham, his servant;
you descendants of Jacob, the man he chose:
remember the miracles that God performed
and the judgments that he gave.
7The Lord is our God;
his commands are for all the world.
8He will keep his covenant forever,
his promises for a thousand generations.
9He will keep the agreement he made with Abraham
and his promise to Isaac.
10The Lord made a covenant with Jacob,
one that will last forever.
11“I will give you the land of Canaan,” he said.
“It will be your own possession.”
12God’s people were few in number,
strangers in the land of Canaan.
13They wandered from country to country,
from one kingdom to another.
14But God let no one oppress them;
to protect them, he warned the kings:
15“Don’t harm my chosen servants;
do not touch my prophets.”
16The Lord sent famine to their country
and took away all their food.
17But he sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, who had been sold as a slave.
18His feet were kept in chains,
and an iron collar was around his neck,
19until what he had predicted came true.
The word of the Lord proved him right.
20Then the king of Egypt had him released;
the ruler of nations set him free.
21He put him in charge of his government
and made him ruler over all the land,
22with power over the king’s officials
and authority to instruct his advisers.
23Then Jacob went to Egypt
and settled in that country.
24The Lord gave many children to his people
and made them stronger than their enemies.
25He made the Egyptians hate his people
and treat his servants with deceit.
26Then he sent his servant Moses,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27They did God’s mighty acts
and performed miracles in Egypt.
28God sent darkness on the country,
but the Egyptians did not obey his command.
29He turned their rivers into blood
and killed all their fish.
30Their country was overrun with frogs;
even the palace was filled with them.
31God commanded, and flies and gnats
swarmed throughout the whole country.
32He sent hail and lightning on their land
instead of rain;
33he destroyed their grapevines and fig trees
and broke down all the trees.
34He commanded, and the locusts came,
countless millions of them;
35they ate all the plants in the land;
they ate all the crops.
36He killed the first-born sons
of all the families of Egypt.
37Then he led the Israelites out;
they carried silver and gold,
and all of them were healthy and strong.
38The Egyptians were afraid of them
and were glad when they left.
39God put a cloud over his people
and a fire at night to give them light.
40They asked, and he sent quails;
he gave them food from heaven to satisfy them.
41He opened a rock, and water gushed out,
flowing through the desert like a river.
42He remembered his sacred promise
to Abraham his servant.
43So he led his chosen people out,
and they sang and shouted for joy.
44He gave them the lands of other peoples
and let them take over their fields,
45so that his people would obey his laws
and keep all his commands.
Praise the Lord!

What will you do with what you have been given?


What is your attitude about what you have been given? Is it thankfulness or gratefulness or greed or need? Are you being a good steward of what you have? Are you being grateful and being a conduit of the blessings to others? Are you walking in an attitude of gratitude? Are you feeling the fullness and wanting more? Are you hoarding it or sharing it? Are you needing more or caring more? When you are put in such a place at such a time as this, what will you do? What purpose do you find? What purpose will you fill? You have been given talents and skills that only you have! You have been given opportunities and connections for a reason. What will you do with what you have been given?

Imagine if …

Once there was a man who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press, and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to tenants and left home on a trip.

What would you do? How would you respond? What if you were the person who got it all setup? Let’s follow along what happens next…

When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to the tenants to receive from them his share of the harvest. The tenants grabbed the slave, beat him, and sent him back without a thing.

How would that make you feel if you were the owner? How would you respond? Would you ever respond to such an opportunity with such negativity to the one who was so generous to you? Let’s see how the story continues…

Then the owner sent another slave; the tenants beat him over the head and treated him shamefully. The owner sent another slave, and they killed him; and they treated many others the same way, beating some and killing others.

Imagine the pain of the owner. Imagine the consideration of the owner. Imagine the expectations and the betrayal of the owner. What would you do? How would you respond? Well let’s see how this story continues..

The only one left to send was the man’s own dear son. Last of all, then, he sent his son to the tenants. ‘I am sure they will respect my son,’ he said. But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the owner’s son. Come on, let’s kill him, and his property will be ours!’ So they grabbed the son and killed him and threw his body out of the vineyard.

So would this be the last straw? What more would you or could you do? What have they shown you in regards to respect and stewardship? What message are they sending you as the owner? If you were those people, what would you expect now? Are there any lines that couldn’t or shouldn’t be crossed? Let’s see what happens next…

“He will come and kill those tenants and turn the vineyard over to others.

So where are you at today? What have you been given stewardship over? How are you responding to the one who has given it to you? Are you being a good steward, multiplying what you’ve been given so that when He comes back you will glorify Him? Are you rejecting Him? Are you burying it so that you don’t lose it? Are you investing it so that you will get a multiplication or increase from it? You have been given talents as a gift, what will you do with them?

Talents

God is trusting you with talents and gifts! He is looking for you to be a good steward!

Today’s reading continues after the story of the owner of the vineyard with the following:

Surely you have read this scripture?

‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all. This was done by the Lord; what a wonderful sight it is!’

The Jewish leaders tried to arrest Jesus, because they knew that he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
–from Mark 12:1-12

Jesus has come to open the door to salvation. He has come and given His life that we could be reconciled to God. It is by grace we have been saved, not by works so that nobody can boast. For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! We can’t do enough to be justified and made right. It is only by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus that we are saved and can get the blessings of living in heaven with God for eternity. So let’s do all we can to shine the light of Jesus into our communities. Let’s not just let it ride on what He has done, but let’s allow our faith shine so bright that we do things to glorify God and allow others to see Jesus working in and through our lives and into our communities. For faith without works is dead! Works don’t save us, it just shines the hope, the love, and the truth of God into the world around us!

Today’s reading continues into 2 Corinthians 7…

1All these promises are made to us, my dear friends. So then, let us purify ourselves from everything that makes body or soul unclean, and let us be completely holy by living in awe of God.

Paul’s Joy

2Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one; we have ruined no one, nor tried to take advantage of anyone. 3I do not say this to condemn you; for, as I have said before, you are so dear to us that we are always together, whether we live or die. 4I am so sure of you; I take such pride in you! In all our troubles I am still full of courage; I am running over with joy.

5Even after we arrived in Macedonia, we did not have any rest. There were troubles everywhere, quarrels with others, fears in our hearts. 6But God, who encourages the downhearted, encouraged us with the coming of Titus. 7It was not only his coming that cheered us, but also his report of how you encouraged him. He told us how much you want to see me, how sorry you are, how ready you are to defend me; and so I am even happier now.

8For even if that letter of mine made you sad, I am not sorry I wrote it. I could have been sorry when I saw that it made you sad for a while. 9But now I am happy—not because I made you sad, but because your sadness made you change your ways. That sadness was used by God, and so we caused you no harm. 10For the sadness that is used by God brings a change of heart that leads to salvation—and there is no regret in that! But sadness that is merely human causes death. 11See what God did with this sadness of yours: how earnest it has made you, how eager to prove your innocence! Such indignation, such alarm, such feelings, such devotion, such readiness to punish wrongdoing! You have shown yourselves to be without fault in the whole matter.

12So, even though I wrote that letter, it was not because of the one who did wrong or the one who was wronged. Instead, I wrote it to make plain to you, in God’s sight, how deep your devotion to us really is. 13That is why we were encouraged.

Not only were we encouraged; how happy Titus made us with his happiness over the way in which all of you helped to cheer him up! 14I did boast of you to him, and you have not disappointed me. We have always spoken the truth to you, and in the same way the boast we made to Titus has proved true. 15And so his love for you grows stronger, as he remembers how all of you were ready to obey his instructions, how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16How happy I am that I can depend on you completely!

And I will close today’s reading with Psalm 102

The Prayer of a Troubled Youth

1Listen to my prayer, O Lord,

and hear my cry for help!

2When I am in trouble,

don’t turn away from me!

Listen to me,

and answer me quickly when I call!
3My life is disappearing like smoke;

my body is burning like fire.

4I am beaten down like dry grass;

I have lost my desire for food.

5I groan aloud;

I am nothing but skin and bones.

6I am like a wild bird in the desert,

like an owl in abandoned ruins.

7I lie awake;

I am like a lonely bird on a housetop.

8All day long my enemies insult me;

those who mock me use my name in cursing.
9-10Because of your anger and fury,

ashes are my food,

and my tears are mixed with my drink.

You picked me up and threw me away.

11My life is like the evening shadows;

I am like dry grass.
12But you, O Lord, are king forever;

all generations will remember you.

13You will rise and take pity on Zion;

the time has come to have mercy on her;

this is the right time.

14Your servants love her,

even though she is destroyed;

they have pity on her,

even though she is in ruins.
15The nations will fear the Lord;

all the kings of the earth will fear his power.

16When the Lord rebuilds Zion,

he will reveal his greatness.

17He will hear his forsaken people

and listen to their prayer.
18Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done,

so that people not yet born will praise him.

19The Lord looked down from his holy place on high,

he looked down from heaven to earth.

20He heard the groans of prisoners

and set free those who were condemned to die.

21And so his name will be proclaimed in Zion,

and he will be praised in Jerusalem

22when nations and kingdoms come together

and worship the Lord.
23The Lord has made me weak while I am still young;

he has shortened my life.

24O God, do not take me away now

before I grow old.
O Lord, you live forever;

25long ago you created the earth,
and with your own hands you made the heavens.

26They will disappear, but you will remain;

they will all wear out like clothes.

You will discard them like clothes,

and they will vanish.

27But you are always the same,

and your life never ends.

28Our children will live in safety,

and under your protection

their descendants will be secure.

How can you help with the little that you have?


Ever been in a position where you are hearing people asking for help, but you think to yourself, how can I help? I don’t have much? I only have a little, how could I help such a big cause? Do you realize a little can go a long way when you happen to mix it with faith? Do you realize a little can make the difference between nothing and a miracle? Do you realize that it’s not a matter of how much, but it’s a matter of the heart? Do you realize that we are all put in situations where we can help? Do you notice the impact you can have and make with the little you have available?

Consider the widows mite and Jesus’ response…

The Widow’s Offering

(Luke 21.1-4)
41As Jesus sat near the Temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; 42then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. 43He called his disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. 44For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had—she gave all she had to live on.”
~from Mark 12 (GNT)

Jesus could see beyond the little she gave to the huge heart to give that she had. Are you willing to express your attitude of gratitude today? Are you willing to do your part? You may not think you can make a difference, but the truth is…you can!

Imagine being surrounded by a huge problem. Imagine being a kid and the adults are all thinking the issue is too big for them. Imagine that food is scarce and a call is put out to look for food and you happen to have your lunch bag with you. Would you give it up for the greater good? Would you keep it so that you can keep yourself going longer? The problem might be bigger than you, but we need to keep our focus on the right thing, because God is bigger than our problem. Let’s see how the story plays out and how doing it God’s way can produce abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

(Matthew 14.13-21; Luke 9.10-17; John 6.1-14)
30The apostles returned and met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught. 31There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat. So he said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest a while.” 32So they started out in a boat by themselves to a lonely place.
33Many people, however, saw them leave and knew at once who they were; so they went from all the towns and ran ahead by land and arrived at the place ahead of Jesus and his disciples. 34When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd, and his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things. 35When it was getting late, his disciples came to him and said, “It is already very late, and this is a lonely place. 36Send the people away, and let them go to the nearby farms and villages in order to buy themselves something to eat.”
37“You yourselves give them something to eat,” Jesus answered.
They asked, “Do you want us to go and spend two hundred silver coins on bread in order to feed them?”
38So Jesus asked them, “How much bread do you have? Go and see.”
When they found out, they told him, “Five loaves and also two fish.”
39Jesus then told his disciples to make all the people divide into groups and sit down on the green grass. 40So the people sat down in rows, in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty. 41Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42Everyone ate and had enough. 43Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left of the bread and the fish. 44The number of men who were fed was five thousand.
~from Mark 6 (GNT)

That little boy was willing to give up his lunch into the hands of Jesus. He had faith to trust in Him and give up the little food he had. And Jesus took it, blessed it, gave thanks to God and then started to divide it out. It was multiplied to the point where everyone had enough to eat. It multiplied enough that there were leftovers. God is able to take the little you have and use it in ways that are exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. He goes beyond beyond!

So are you grateful for what you have? Are you expressing that attitude to those around you? Gratitude needs to be expressed, so how are you choosing to do it?

Not sure what to do? Not sure where to turn? Go to God! Talk with Him! Ask Him for help!

A Prayer for Help

1Listen to me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am helpless and weak.
2Save me from death, because I am loyal to you;
save me, for I am your servant and I trust in you.
3You are my God, so be merciful to me;
I pray to you all day long.
4Make your servant glad, O Lord,
because my prayers go up to you.
5You are good to us and forgiving,
full of constant love for all who pray to you.
6Listen, Lord, to my prayer;
hear my cries for help.
7I call to you in times of trouble,
because you answer my prayers.
8There is no god like you, O Lord,
not one has done what you have done.
9All the nations that you have created
will come and bow down to you;
they will praise your greatness.
10You are mighty and do wonderful things;
you alone are God.
11Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
and I will obey you faithfully;
teach me to serve you with complete devotion.
12I will praise you with all my heart, O Lord my God;
I will proclaim your greatness forever.
13How great is your constant love for me!
You have saved me from the grave itself.
14Proud people are coming against me, O God;
a cruel gang is trying to kill me—
people who pay no attention to you.
15But you, O Lord, are a merciful and loving God,
always patient, always kind and faithful.
16Turn to me and have mercy on me;
strengthen me and save me,
because I serve you just as my mother did.
17Show me proof of your goodness, Lord;
those who hate me will be ashamed
when they see that you have given me comfort and help.
~from Psalm 86 (GNT)

Each of us has a purpose and a role to play! Each of us has to remember the calling and not allow pride to get in the way of accomplishing God’s Word in and through us!

Thankful for so much!


Thankful that God brought me from where I was to a divine intersection where I could come to know Him personally.

Thankful that God brought me an encourager who will love me no matter way in my wife.

Thankful that God gave me the greatest gifts that are worth so much more than any money could every buy in my children.

Thankful that God has provided me with time each day to go through His Word in order to be encouraged, strengthened, and prepared for each day.

Thankful that God has given me friends from around the world and that technology has allowed me the opportunity to stay in touch no matter where we go.

Thankful that God’s plans are so incredible that He knows even before I ask what I need and how to provide.

Thankful that God provided me with an incredible set of career experiences and that through His Word I know that even though I had some great times in my first 19yrs+1day, that God has shown me that the second half of my career is going to be twice as good as the first half.

Thankful for an incredible parents who raised me and trained me up in the way I should go, they were great role models for me so that I know the difference between right and wrong.

Thankful for an incredible sister who I love dearly!

Thankful for an incredible extended family!

Thankful that God isn’t done with me yet!

Love feeds gratitude. Gratitude expresses itself!


Last night this was one of the points discussed when Pastor Pete spoke to the congregation. His Word resonates with me as I read in the book of Deuteronomy this morning because a lot of what is spoken in the law speaks to love, speaks to gratitude, and speaks to the expression or way to express it.

As I finish the reading from Deuteronomy from the past week, one thing that came to mind was that God provided the law not to punish nor to prevent people from doing thing, but to protect out of love and keep them from getting off track to a place where they would be hurting themselves and others. It also speaks of God’s love that brought them out of slavery, that provided for them through the wilderness, and prepared them for going into the promise land. It gives us ways to see and understand how we can express our love and our gratitude for all that God has done.

Notes from Deuteronomy 26-34:

1“Earth and sky, hear my words,
listen closely to what I say.

2My teaching will fall like drops of rain
and form on the earth like dew.
My words will fall like showers on young plants,
like gentle rain on tender grass.
3I will praise the name of the Lord,
and his people will tell of his greatness.
4“The Lord is your mighty defender,
perfect and just in all his ways;
Your God is faithful and true;
he does what is right and fair.
5But you are unfaithful, unworthy to be his people,
a sinful and deceitful nation.
6Is this the way you should treat the Lord,
you foolish, senseless people?
He is your father, your Creator,
he made you into a nation.
7“Think of the past, of the time long ago;
ask your parents to tell you what happened,
ask the old people to tell of the past.
8The Most High assigned nations their lands;
he determined where peoples should live.
He assigned to each nation a heavenly being,
9but Jacob’s descendants he chose for himself.
10“He found them wandering through the desert,
a desolate, wind-swept wilderness.
He protected them and cared for them,
as he would protect himself.
11Like an eagle teaching its young to fly,
catching them safely on its spreading wings,
the Lord kept Israel from falling.
12The Lord alone led his people
without the help of a foreign god.
13“He let them rule the highlands,
and they ate what grew in the fields.
They found wild honey among the rocks;
their olive trees flourished in stony ground.
14Their cows and goats gave plenty of milk;
they had the best sheep, goats, and cattle,
the finest wheat, and the choicest wine.
15“The Lord‘s people grew rich, but rebellious;
they were fat and stuffed with food.
They abandoned God their Creator
and rejected their mighty savior.
16Their idolatry made the Lord jealous;
the evil they did made him angry.
17They sacrificed to gods that are not real,
new gods their ancestors had never known,
gods that Israel had never obeyed.
18They forgot their God, their mighty savior,
the one who had given them life.
19“When the Lord saw this, he was angry
and rejected his sons and daughters.
20‘I will no longer help them,’ he said;
‘then I will see what happens to them,
those stubborn, unfaithful people.
21With their idols they have made me angry,
jealous with their so-called gods,
gods that are really not gods.
So I will use a so-called nation to make them angry;
I will make them jealous with a nation of fools.
22My anger will flame up like fire
and burn everything on earth.
It will reach to the world below
and consume the roots of the mountains.
23“‘I will bring on them endless disasters
and use all my arrows against them.
24They will die from hunger and fever;
they will die from terrible diseases.
I will send wild animals to attack them,
and poisonous snakes to bite them.
25War will bring death in the streets;
terrors will strike in the homes.
Young men and young women will die;
neither babies nor old people will be spared.
26I would have destroyed them completely,
so that no one would remember them.
27But I could not let their enemies boast
that they had defeated my people,
when it was I myself who had crushed them.’
28“Israel is a nation without sense;
they have no wisdom at all.
29They fail to see why they were defeated;
they cannot understand what happened.
30Why were a thousand defeated by one,
and ten thousand by only two?
The Lord, their God, had abandoned them;
their mighty God had given them up.
31Their enemies know that their own gods are weak,
not mighty like Israel’s God.
32Their enemies, corrupt as Sodom and Gomorrah,
are like vines that bear bitter and poisonous grapes,
33like wine made from the venom of snakes.
34“The Lord remembers what their enemies have done;
he waits for the right time to punish them.
35The Lord will take revenge and punish them;
the time will come when they will fall;
the day of their doom is near.
36The Lord will rescue his people
when he sees that their strength is gone.
He will have mercy on those who serve him,
when he sees how helpless they are.
37Then the Lord will ask his people,
‘Where are those mighty gods you trusted?
38You fed them the fat of your sacrifices
and offered them wine to drink.
Let them come and help you now;
let them run to your rescue.
39“‘I, and I alone, am God;
no other god is real.
I kill and I give life, I wound and I heal,
and no one can oppose what I do.
40As surely as I am the living God,
I raise my hand and I vow
41that I will sharpen my flashing sword
and see that justice is done.
I will take revenge on my enemies
and punish those who hate me.
42My arrows will drip with their blood,
and my sword will kill all who oppose me.
I will spare no one who fights against me;
even the wounded and prisoners will die.’
43 “Nations, you must praise the Lord‘s people—
he punishes all who kill them.
He takes revenge on his enemies
and forgives the sins of his people.”
~from Deuteronomy 32
  • Share God’s message, God’s instruction, God’s wisdom, God’s word with the children so that it won’t be lost or forgotten.

Is your life falling apart? Do you know how to keep it together?


This morning’s reading trigger the above questions. The readings today came from Titus 3, Philemon 1, and Psalm 34. The title that trigger today’s topic is “He Put Our Lives Together“. God put you together, so turn to Him, give Him all the pieces, and allow Him to not only heal you and your life, but to restore and strengthen and encourage you. Let’s live with respect! Let’s be law-abiding! Let’s be ready to lend a helping hand! Let’s be people who help bring reconciliation through our relationships rather than being people who throw insults and start fights! Let’s be big hearted and courteous!

Remember how we used to be? Remember how much we needed forgiveness and grace ourselves? Remember how when Jesus stepped in and saved us the transformation that took place? We didn’t do it ourselves, but He did it all! He cleaned us up…inside (through the Holy Spirit) and out. He poured new life into us! And He wasn’t stingy, He generously poured His love into our lives. And there are still greater things yet to come! Eternity with Him! He is dependable!

So let’s put our foot down and take a firm stand so that we don’t become a distraction from the things of God, but rather allow people to focus on and keep their eyes on the main thing, the essentials that are good for everyone. Let’s avoid mindless, pointless, quarreling over family and fine print that will get us nowhere. Warn quarrelsome people once or twice, but if they won’t listen to you then they probably are out of alignment with God too.

So let’s be diligent in our work so that all the necessities are met, especially among the needy and they don’t end up with nothing to show for their lives.

Let’s live lives of faith so that it brims over, it overflows into the lives of the people around us. Let’s live lives that make a difference beyond ourselves. As I have heard many times of the years from the I-90 corridor to the ends of the earth! Let’s make ourselves embracing, outreaching, and discipling people! Let’s people who love and through love we bring reconciliation as ambassadors of Christ. Let’s live lives that allow others to see Christ in us!

Over the years, in many occasions, when I want or need someone to do something, I put it as a question. I have always felt people prefer to be asked to do something rather than to be told to do something. In most cases this works and meets both our needs. In today’s Word I see this reinforced when rather than commanding something, they make a personal request.

Let’s live this life by doing good deeds. Let’s make sure that we are working together for the greater good. Will you be a point of reconciliation in the lives of those around you? Will you speak hope and life into their lives so that they may be able to receive and pass along that love and hope to others? Will you be a light in your world that points people to God? Will you be a light in your world who helps others to see and to be able to get up and become the person they were created and designed to be? Will you be someone who encourages others to meet their full potential?

Let’s live lives where people feel better after they meet us! Let’s be up lifters and encouragers rather than people who take and suck the life out of people.


Psalm 34…

A David Psalm, When He Outwitted Abimelech and Got Away
1I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.
2I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:
3Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.
4God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.
5Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.
6When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.
7God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.
8Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
9Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.
10Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.
11Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.
12Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?
13Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.
14Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!
15God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.
16God won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.
17Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.
18If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.
19Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.
20He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.
21The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.
22God pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.

Do you need help with directions?


Wondering where your next step should be? Wondering which direction to head? Wondering which way to turn? Wondering what way to go? Need help? What’s the plan? What’s the message? What’s the purpose? Turn to God and ask Him for wisdom, help, direction, discernment, a plan. We may come up with a plan but God will direct our path! God’s ways may not be our ways, however, His ways are better than our ways! Listen attentively to His direction! Be obedient to His calling on your life! See His hand do incredible things in and through your life!

1-3Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.
4-5As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.
6-8They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.
9-10That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.
11-12Putting out from the harbor at Troas, we made a straight run for Samothrace. The next day we tied up at New City and walked from there to Philippi, the main city in that part of Macedonia and, even more importantly, a Roman colony. We lingered there several days.
13-14On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed!
15After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, “If you’re confident that I’m in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests.” We hesitated, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
— Acts 16

 

Just because you do something that takes a burden off someone’s shoulder doesn’t mean everyone will be happy about it! Know who you are! Remember who sent you! Worship God in the sun and in the storm! Let the joy of the Lord flow out of you that others may come to know the hope that is within you. Let the worship of the Lord open eyes and hearts to receive the message of Jesus Christ. Stay where God wants you to be, He will get you through it. Be the instrument God wants to use to forward His plan and purpose. Let your light shine! Like a city on a Hill! Like a lighthouse that warns about the traps that are around you. Focus on God’s will and plan for you! You may be the one that saves the life of one or the lives of many. Don’t allow the devil to rob you of your joy and hope that is inside of you. Make sure you know who you are dealing with before you get yourself into hot water!

16-18One day, on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl ran into us. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to us by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And it was gone, just like that.
19-22When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.” By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood.
22-24The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black-and-blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. He did just that—threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.
25-26Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
27-28Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!”
29-31The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!”
32-34They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part. They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn’t wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family. There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration.
35-36At daybreak, the court judges sent officers with the instructions, “Release these men.” The jailer gave Paul the message, “The judges sent word that you’re free to go on your way. Congratulations! Go in peace!”
37But Paul wouldn’t budge. He told the officers, “They beat us up in public and threw us in jail, Roman citizens in good standing! And now they want to get us out of the way on the sly without anyone knowing? Nothing doing! If they want us out of here, let them come themselves and lead us out in broad daylight.”
38-40When the officers reported this, the judges panicked. They had no idea that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They hurried over and apologized, personally escorted them from the jail, and then asked them if they wouldn’t please leave the city. Walking out of the jail, Paul and Silas went straight to Lydia’s house, saw their friends again, encouraged them in the faith, and only then went on their way.
— Acts 16

 

God will give you a stage! God will give you a platform! Will you step up? Will you step in? Will you speak what He has for you to say? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Thessalonica
1-3They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. He opened up the texts so they understood what they’d been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that “this Jesus I’m introducing you to is that Messiah.”
4-5Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.
5-7They broke into Jason’s house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn’t find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, “These people are out to destroy the world, and now they’ve shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!”
8-9The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.
Berea
10-12That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul’s message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence.
13-15But it wasn’t long before reports got back to the Thessalonian hard-line Jews that Paul was at it again, preaching the Word of God, this time in Berea. They lost no time responding, and created a mob scene there, too. With the help of his friends, Paul gave them the slip—caught a boat and put out to sea. Silas and Timothy stayed behind. The men who helped Paul escape got him as far as Athens and left him there. Paul sent word back with them to Silas and Timothy: “Come as quickly as you can!”
Athens
16The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols.
17-18He discussed it with the Jews and other like-minded people at their meeting place. And every day he went out on the streets and talked with anyone who happened along. He got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations. Some of them dismissed him with sarcasm: “What an airhead!” But others, listening to him go on about Jesus and the resurrection, were intrigued: “That’s a new slant on the gods. Tell us more.”
19-21These people got together and asked him to make a public presentation over at the Areopagus, where things were a little quieter. They said, “This is a new one on us. We’ve never heard anything quite like it. Where did you come up with this anyway? Explain it so we can understand.” Downtown Athens was a great place for gossip. There were always people hanging around, natives and tourists alike, waiting for the latest tidbit on most anything.
22-23So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with.
24-29“The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?
30-31“God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.”
32-34At the phrase “raising him from the dead,” the listeners split: Some laughed at him and walked off making jokes; others said, “Let’s do this again. We want to hear more.” But that was it for the day, and Paul left. There were still others, it turned out, who were convinced then and there, and stuck with Paul—among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris.
— Acts 17

GOD’S LOVE NEVER QUITS!!

1-3Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
His love never quits.
4-22Thank the miracle-working God,
His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light,
His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day,
His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
His love never quits.
The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn,
His love never quits.
And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression,
His love never quits.
Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand,
His love never quits.
Split the Red Sea right in half,
His love never quits.
Led Israel right through the middle,
His love never quits.
Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea,
His love never quits.
The God who marched his people through the desert,
His love never quits.
Smashed huge kingdoms right and left,
His love never quits.
Struck down the famous kings,
His love never quits.
Struck Sihon the Amorite king,
His love never quits.
Struck Og the Bashanite king,
His love never quits.
Then distributed their land as booty,
His love never quits.
Handed the land over to Israel.
His love never quits.
23-26God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
His love never quits!
— Psalm 136