TENNYSON, THE PRINCESS…(The Bible’s Impact on Literature [August 7])


Is there a time when you shouldn’t obey what you are being asked or told to do? Are you prepared for the consequences of that decision? How severe might the outcome be and how broad might the impact be? How do you determine if the risk is worth it? How do you know which response is right? Do you have a standard or a measure to help you make decisions that are good, are right, and are just? Do you have a standard or measure that helps you ensure you are walking out life in alignment to God’s will?

Today’s reading comes from Esther 1

The King’s Banquets

1Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, 2in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa, the citadel, 3in the third year of his reign he gave a feast for all his officials and servants. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were before him, 4while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness for many days, 180 days. 5And when these days were completed, the king gave for all the people present in Susa the citadel, both great and small, a feast lasting for seven days in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. 6There were white cotton curtains and violet hangings fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rods and marble pillars, and also couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones. 7Drinks were served in golden vessels, vessels of different kinds, and the royal wine was lavished according to the bounty of the king. 8And drinking was according to this edict: “There is no compulsion.” For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired. 9Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women in the palace that belonged to King Ahasuerus.

Queen Vashti’s Refusal

10On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. 12But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.
13Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, 14the men next to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom): 15″According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ 18This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will say the same to all the king’s officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. 19If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.” 21This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed. 22He sent letters to all the royal provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, that every man be master in his own household and speak according to the language of his people.

–from Esther 1

Although the book is about Esther, have you ever considered Queen Vashti? What about her decision to refuse to go to the king? What about the impact having refused the king’s command? What do you think drove her decision? Do you think she considered the consequences? Do you think she might have had a different response had she known?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on literature brings us the topic of Tennyson, The Princess. We learn in today’s devotional how there are many retellings of the story of Esther. We also learn that there aren’t many about Vashti. We learn in today’s devotional how she wasn’t forgotten by Alfred, Lord Tennyson where he mentions her in his narrative poem The Princess.

She paused, and added with a haughtier smile
‘And as to precontracts, we move, my friend,
At no man’s beck, but know ourself and thee,
O Vashti, noble Vashti! Summoned out
She kept her state, and left the drunken king
To brawl at Shushan underneath the palms.’

–from The Princess

The parallel between Vashti and Ida, the poem’s heroine was in their saying no. In the poem, we learn that Ida says no to marrying the prince so that she may start a university instead.

His name was Gama; cracked and small his voice,
But bland the smile that like a wrinkling wind
On glassy water drove his cheek in lines;
A little dry old man, without a star,
Not like a king: three days he feasted us,
And on the fourth I spake of why we came,
And my bethrothed. ‘You do us, Prince,’ he said,
Airing a snowy hand and signet gem,
‘All honour. We remember love ourselves
In our sweet youth: there did a compact pass
Long summers back, a kind of ceremony—
I think the year in which our olives failed.
I would you had her, Prince, with all my heart,
With my full heart: but there were widows here,
Two widows, Lady Psyche, Lady Blanche;
They fed her theories, in and out of place
Maintaining that with equal husbandry
The woman were an equal to the man.
They harped on this; with this our banquets rang;
Our dances broke and buzzed in knots of talk;
Nothing but this; my very ears were hot
To hear them: knowledge, so my daughter held,
Was all in all: they had but been, she thought,
As children; they must lose the child, assume
The woman: then, Sir, awful odes she wrote,
Too awful, sure, for what they treated of,
But all she is and does is awful; odes
About this losing of the child; and rhymes
And dismal lyrics, prophesying change
Beyond all reason: these the women sang;
And they that know such things—I sought but peace;
No critic I—would call them masterpieces:
They mastered me. At last she begged a boon,
A certain summer-palace which I have
Hard by your father’s frontier: I said no,
Yet being an easy man, gave it: and there,
All wild to found an University
For maidens, on the spur she fled; and more
We know not,—only this: they see no men,
Not even her brother Arac, nor the twins
Her brethren, though they love her, look upon her
As on a kind of paragon; and I
(Pardon me saying it) were much loth to breed
Dispute betwixt myself and mine: but since
(And I confess with right) you think me bound
In some sort, I can give you letters to her;
And yet, to speak the truth, I rate your chance
Almost at naked nothing.’

–from The Princess

So how about you? Do you have a standard that you live by? Do you have an immovable measure that helps you make your yes be yes and your no be no? Do you have something that helps you know the difference between right and wrong? Do you have something that helps you live out life in a way that is just and so that justice is served?

For me it is the Bible. For me it is pursuing Jesus and His will and His way for my life. I say yes to Jesus and so it help give me the wisdom and discernment into how to live my life. I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that I can not respond out of my human desires but out of God’s plan and purpose. I wish I could say I get it right every time but I can’t. I wish I could say I have gotten it right when prompted by the Spirit in the past but I can’t. I am getting better and the strong my relationship with Jesus gets the more clearly I hear the Spirit who reveals Jesus’s will and purpose and plan for my life in a way that will bring God praise, honor, and glory.

Let’s pray…

Prayer of Salvation Example

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything in it. I praise You Lord for the incredible purpose and plan You have for me. Help me Lord to be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit so that my response will not be of my flesh but aligned to the directions of the Spirit. Help me Lord to live out today and all of my life in a way that will bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

A SERMON, A NARRATIVE, AND A PRAYER…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 22])


Will pressure transform you and reveal who you are? Will you walk in the Spirit and speak in love and in wisdom? What if because of your good works through the Spirit others turn against you and then start to lie about you? What if they started to attack you? How will you respond? How will you withstand such attacks? Will you put your hope and your trust in God and allow your faith in Jesus to be stand through it all? Will you be salt and light until the end of your days? Will you live with grace and power till the end?

Today’s reading from Acts 6-7 capture an interesting story of Stephen and his trials and how his faith filled him with grace and power in order to perform great wonders and signs among the people, yet there were some who came against him. Let’s catch up with the story and consider how we would respond or what lesson we can take away from the impact of this story on the rest of our lives…

Seven Chosen to Serve

1Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen Is Seized

8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Do you remember your past? Do you remember what you have learned through your past? Are you now living with the past behind you not holding you back from all that God has prepared and planned for you? Are you now living full of faith so that God is able to work in and through you in the world around you? Are you being God’s hands extended? Are you being God’s arms embracing? Are you sharing the love and grace of God with all those God has brought into your life? Will you take the gifts and the talents God has given you and multiply them that you will be a good and faithful steward? Are you able to speak the truths of history in order to point people to greatness of God? Are you able to share your story and the testimonies God has provided in and through your life? Consider the speech that is given by Stephen and the response of the people and his response of forgiveness in and through it all till the very end…

Stephen’s Speech

1And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2And Stephen said:
“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. 6And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. 7‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9“And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him 10and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 11Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit. 13And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all. 15And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, 16and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
17“But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. 19He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. 20At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, 21and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
23“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. 24And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. 26And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ 27But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
30“Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’
35“This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’ 38This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us. 39Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:
“‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices,
during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
43 You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’
44“Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. 45Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, 46who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?’
51“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

The Stoning of Stephen

54Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Will you resist the promises of heaven? Will you resist the gift of God? Will you resist the intercessor of God? Will you resist the Son of God? Will you resist the prompting of the Spirit – His wisdom and discernment, His direction and correction?

OR

Will you receive the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord? Will you be transformed by the Word of God and the renewing of your mind? Will you be born again into the kingdom of God so that you can live out the rest of your life on earth with God and then spend eternity with Him?

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

If this was the first time you have prayed this I join with the angels in heaven celebrating your decision to follow after Jesus and be born again. If this was a recommitment, I join with the angels in heaven celebrating your return like the father of the lost son who celebrated his son’s return. Let me know – leave me a comment – would love to pray with you, talk with you, and answer questions or point you to local resources that might be able to help you as you begin this journey.

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of the Bible’s impact on music speaks to us about Igor Stravinsky, the Russian composer. We learn about how our reading from Acts 6-7 inspired him to write the 1961 cantata A Sermon, A Narrative, and a Prayer which has three movements.

The Sermon is based on the book of Romans. The Narrative is inspired by the story of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 6:8-7-59. The prayer comes from the writing of Thomas Dekker and starts with “Oh My God, if it be thy pleasure to cut me off before night.” He closes the cantata with stringed instruments and voices singing “Alleluia.” (excerpts from STRAVINSKY, A SERMON, A NARRATIVE, AND A PRAYER / ACTS 6-7 – The Global Impact Bible – p. 1458)

So let’s go out today in the power of the Spirit, in the love of God, with the grace of God and make an impact for the glory of God in the world around us! Let’s help God’s kingdom to grow – let’s be going beyond knowing about Jesus to knowing Jesus, let’s be going from telling people about Jesus to making disciples, let’s be bringing the message of hope and love through Jesus Christ into the world around us that it may be transformed for the glory of God!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that is within it. I thank You Lord that Your ways are better and higher than our ways and that through You even what the enemy planned for evil is turned around and used to glorify You. Help me today Lord with all that is coming down the pipe  (some of which is a surprise to me but nothing is a surprise to you) so that Your wisdom, Your discernment, Your love, Your grace, Your mercy is new every morning and so I grab hold of that as I prepare for this day in hopes that through my words and my actions You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obedience over Sacrifice. Mercy over rituals. …(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 15])


How will you answer the call? Will just say no? What if the call was part of God’s plan? What if God had planned to take you out of a situation in order to get you healthy and strong so that when He sends you back you would be ready for everything and anything that would come your way? What if that person asking you if you would consider something was just a seed being planted that the idea may come down the pipe later? What if it was a stranger who reached out to you with an opportunity that you wouldn’t have ever looked for? What if the Holy Spirit gave you peace about the idea? What if He gave you such peace that your answer was less about the move and more about the opportunity?

Would you be obedient? Would you be obedient even if that meant that impact your sacrifice? Would you be able to do it because it was the right thing over because you figured you could give better if you didn’t? Would you be able to see beyond the rituals and into acts of faith? Would you be able to go beyond rituals and routine and step out in faith through relationship with God? What area(s) of life does this fall into for you? What would the impact be on you and your career? What would the impact be on you and your marriage? What would the impact be on you and your family? What would the impact be on you and your friendships? What would the impact be on every other relationship you have? What would make the decision? What would make you move on it? What if it was a conversation about a new project someone was being offered? What if it was your wife’s care for another? What if it was a spontaneous message from a social network?

For me it would require confirmation from God. For me the peace that surpasses all understanding that the Holy Spirit would put over me and my family. For me the joy of the Lord that gives me strength. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. If God is in it then I want it! If God calls me to it then He will get me through it! Nothing is impossible with God! And God’s confirmation be it through my wife, my kids, my pastors, my workplace, and my friends will point me towards God’s plan. His plan is perfect! His timing is perfect! His plan is to give me hope and a future! So I can’t lean on my own understanding and so instead I trust God and in all my ways will acknowledge Him for He will make my path straight. So God I give all this day and all the thoughts and all the ideas up to You to help lead me and guide me to walk in obedience to Your will and plan for my life, in Jesus’ name.

Today’s reading comes to us from Hosea 6 which reads…

Israel and Judah Are Unrepentant

“Come, let us return to the Lord ; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord ; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me. Gilead is a city of evildoers, tracked with blood. As robbers lie in wait for a man, so the priests band together; they murder on the way to Shechem; they commit villainy. In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim’s whoredom is there; Israel is defiled. For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed. When I restore the fortunes of my people,

–from Hosea 6

What speaks to you in this? What does it say? What could it mean? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you? Will you allow Him to give you wisdom? Will you allow Him to take you from where you are today to where God wants and needs you to be in the future?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of Acts of Mercy picks from Hosea 6 verse 6 which says:

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

–from Hosea 6:6

Our devotional today speaks to the opposing of the death penalty by John Greenleaf Whittier who was a 19th century poet and abolitionist. He wrote the poem “The Human Sacrifice”. He not only opposed but argued against the death penalty. He was wanting to change the heart of the executioner. He used our verse (alludes, infers) from today in his poem when he says…

Soften his hard, cold heart, and show
The power which in forbearance lies,
And let him feel that mercy now
Is better than old sacrifice!

–from The Human Sacrifice

God’s Word has global impact in all areas of life! God’s Word has influenced so many people and so many things throughout history.

Are you letting God’s Word impact you and influence you daily? Are you allowing it to take you and meet with you right where you are in order to hear from God? This is the day that the Lord has made so let’s rejoice and be glad in it. This is the day God has put a Word, a verse, a message into your mind, your heart, and your actions. So take hold of what the Holy Spirit is saying and resist the lies and attacks of the devil. Don’t worry – pray! Don’t fear – believe!

Are you wondering how to get started and how to allow God to make a change in you? Let’s pray together…

Sample Sinners Prayer


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You for Your perfect timing and positioning that I would be ready to hear what could be. Help me Lord to walk out in obedience Your purpose and Your plan so that in and through it all You would receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’ name. Lord just as it was from Your promise that I am where I am today help me Lord to not turn to the left or the right but to return to Your Word and Your promise so that my words and my actions will lift You up and point people to You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Family Relationships

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.

–from Ephesians 6:1-3

and

12″Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

–from Exodus 20:12

Who is in charge?


Who is making decisions? Who is putting the ideas out there? Who is in control? Who is in charge?

We all get to play our part and we get to choose how we will do that! Does being in charge mean ordering people around or does it mean being a servant leader? Does being in charge mean you get to do anything you want be it for good or evil? Does being in charge come with any boundaries that should be lived within? Does being in charge comes with any character requirements? Does being in charge require higher visibility and perspective?

Shouldn’t our decisions be lead by love? Shouldn’t our decisions be lead by truth? Shouldn’t our decisions be lead by good character? Shouldn’t our decisions keep us on the right path? Shouldn’t our decisions take into consideration the realities of what has happened, what is happening, and what could happen?

Do you know of anyone who has such oversight and ability?

As far as I can tell it would be God! He knows the beginning and the end! He is love! His plan for us is to give us a hope and a future! He loves us so much that He sent Jesus so that we have a way to be saved! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and our right path back to God! God’s character is flawless! God is gracious! God is merciful! God is all powerful! God is all knowing! God is everywhere! God is in charge!

Now just like in the microcosm of life, just because someone is in charge, it doesn’t mean people don’t obey! Everyone has been given the freewill to choose if they will live for God or not! Will you choose to obey your parents? Will you choose to obey your teachers? Will you choose to obey the law? Will you choose to obey the politicians? Will you choose to obey God?

You know the lines that are drawn! You know there are consequences to those decisions! So how will you choose?

Consider the power of obeying your parents in the Lord…

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

–from Ephesians 6

Consider the power of obeying those in authority over you in the Lord…

17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

–from Hebrews 13

and

All of you must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. So whoever opposes the authorities opposes leaders whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged. If you do what is right, you won’t need to be afraid of your rulers. But watch out if you do what is wrong! You don’t want to be afraid of those in authority, do you? Then do what is right, and you will be praised. The one in authority serves God for your good. But if you do wrong, watch out! Rulers don’t carry a sword for no reason at all. They serve God. And God is carrying out his anger through them. The ruler punishes anyone who does wrong. You must obey the authorities. Then you will not be punished. You must also obey them because you know it is right.

That’s also why you pay taxes. The authorities serve God. Ruling takes up all their time. Give to everyone what you owe them. Do you owe taxes? Then pay them. Do you owe anything else to the government? Then pay it. Do you owe respect? Then give it. Do you owe honor? Then show it.

–from Romans 13

and

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters,not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you,leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

–from 1 Peter 2

Jesus was a great example of it! He didn’t stand for what was going wrong but He did well in order to glorify God and accomplish God the Father’s plan. Even back in the Old Testament we read about how they knew what was yet to come even before Jesus was born where it reads…

4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

–from Isaiah 53

So let’s live our lives in a way that will glorify God! Let’s live under His covering and in alignment with His will! Let’s seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! Let’s receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and then live under that covering in a way that will glorify God and point others through our faith and good works people back to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!

So who will you come under and obey? Who is in charge in your life? Will you give Jesus the wheel? Will you do it before things get out of control from disobedience? Will you take that step and trust all of your life in Jesus’ hands? Will today be the beginning of your journey of pursuing Jesus for the rest of your life? (want to talk about it, don’t hesitate to reach out to me)

I pray you will choose before it is too late! I pray you will decide to follow Jesus before it is too late! One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! There are two destinations – one will be eternity with God and the other will be eternity apart from God – please choose to spend eternity with God by receiving Jesus Christ before it is too late!


Your King

Day 353: Bible In One Year 2018

Will you walk out the plan God has for you?


Will you walk in the peace that goes beyond all understanding through the highs and the lows of being obedient and walking out God’s plan? Will you walk in the joy that goes beyond happiness for a moment by walking out obedience knowing that you are in the will of God? Will you walk out the plan God has for you trust Him and continuing to follow Him even when you get to experience the mountain top highs or the valley lows? Have you had an encounter with God yet? Have you started your life long relationship with Jesus yet? Have you received direction? Have you received confirmation? Have you seen the signs and wonders? Will you align with the voice of truth?

Will you walk out the plan God has for you and your life?

What vision has God given you? Will you take hold of it and pursue it? Will you seek His wisdom and discernment to be able to go for it? How will God use you to transform your community? How will you bring Jesus to the people God has brought into your life? How will you share the love and joy of Jesus with the people around you? Will they notice the difference? Will they experience God’s presence in and through you?

Without vision the people perish! Do you see where you are at? Do you see where things could be? Will you share the vision with the people around you in order to help lead them forward into the presence of God?

Will you take it beyond a dream or a hope by putting your vision into action? Will you take the vision and take action in order to transform the world around you? We need God’s vision because without God’s vision, action is leading to nightmares!


Today’s devotional:

From Vision to Action

Day 336: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. Importance of vision … Proverbs 29:10-18
  2. Power of vision … 1 John 2:28-29, 1 John 3:1-10
  3. Fulfillment of vision … Daniel 8:15-27, Daniel 9:1-19

Today’s reading from God’s Word