Thursday, January 17, 2019
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
First of all, I encourage you to go read this whole chapter of I Samuel 17. It is a great a great detailed story of how Daniel faced the big bully, Goliath. I love this story and it was so hard for me to just pick a small portion of this chapter to write about but I will do my best to fill in the story. So here we go!
There was this big bully named Goliath. Goliath was a Philistine and a giant. Yes, I said a giant! He was over nine feet tall. Well the Israelites warriors had set up camp on one side of the mountain and the Philistine's army were camped on the other side with the valley dividing them. Goliath, their champion warrior, would stand and taunt the Israelites and call them names and pretty much terrified the Israelites. He challenged them to send out their best warrior to fight him to the death and who ever won would reign over the other tribe.
Goliath just didn't trash talk; he was dressed to the nines for battle. Goliath was very intimidating to say the least. Even Israel's King Saul was afraid of Goliath and the Philistines.
While Israel's warriors were getting ready to go to battle, some of the warriors' families would send food and supplies to their loved ones. Jesse sent his youngest son, David, with food to his other three sons. David was a teenager and he took care of the family sheep. David brought the food up to the camp and he then heard Goliath calling the Israelites names and taunting them. He started asking questions about this guy and the whole situation. he found out that the King offered this huge reward if someone would go fight Goliath and take his head. David asked another person and verified the information. at this time David's older brother heard David asking questions and he got mad! He basically reminded David that he shouldn't be there, he should be back at home tending the sheep.
David didn't let this discourage him. Someone told the King about David and King Saul sent for David. David went to the King and told him, "Let no man's heart fail because of him (Goliath); your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." Saul told David that he was young, with no experience and Goliath had warrior credentials. David then listed his credentials! He told the King that while he tended the sheep the Lord had delivered him from a bear and a lion! God would save him from Goliath! King Saul then gave him the go ahead and the "Lord be with you!"
Let's stop right there for today and review the story so far and tomorrow I will pick up where I left off!
David was some one's little brother. He had the job of watching the sheep, not an impressive job. However, David did his shepherding job well. When a lion came to steal his sheep he killed it! When a bear came to steal his sheep, he killed it and realized that it was the Lord that him the protection and ability to do it and David gave the glory to God. David spent time with the Lord and the Lord equipped David for a bigger job.
When he went to the front lines of the war, he heard the bully mouthing off at God's people and he accessed the situation. After he asked a few questions and verified the information he was given. He didn't let his brother discourage him when his older brother reminded him that he was just a sheep tender! He let the insult and put down run off his shoulders! Then King Saul asked for David. David went before the King and volunteered to fight the Giant Warrior man! King Saul told David that he was young and inexperienced and that the enemy was a trained, skilled warrior.
David didn't let other people's views of him, discourage and defeat him. David took God's view of himself. We need to not let other people's opinions of us, determine our worth! We need to listen to what the Lord sees in us! We need to take stock in God's word on our worth. When we spend time with Him, He equips us for His work.
David build up Saul's faith when he shared what the Lord had done through David's personal experience in the sheep fields! We need to share what God does for us in our lives! Other people will then see what God has done in our ordinary lives and start to believe. What did King Saul do? he then gave his approval for David to fight the Giant and then said, "The Lord be with you!"
Tomorrow we will pick up right here! I love this stuff!
Friday, August 3, 2018
Motive, noun, 1. a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.
Trust, noun, 1. the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to say it is guilty. He sent His Son so the world might be saved from the punishment of sin by Him. 18 Whoever puts his trust in His Son is not guilty. Whoever does not put his trust in Him is guilty already. It is because he does not put his trust in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18 NLV
Have you ever had someone doubt your motives? I have, and when they doubt you it hurts. Today I was reading Chapter three in John and something stood out to me that I had never pondered before in verse 17, "For God did not send His Son into the world to say it is guilty. He sent His Son so the world might be saved from the punishment of sin by Him." Wow this stood out to me today! How often do we doubt the motives of God? I see the world doubting the motives of God everyday, everywhere. Just take a look! Who do we question first when times get hard? When tragedy strikes what do you read on social media? "How can a loving God do this?" or "God, why did you do this to me?" Now we have gone from doubting his motive to blaming him in that one simple question. I cannot even imagine how much that hurts Jesus. It literally is spitting on his sacrifice. He gave his life for us out of the motive of love. Not only did he give his life, but he was tortured before being executed. You see, it wasn't the big spikes that held Jesus to the cross, it was his love for us that held him to the cross. He was providing salvation for us, a way of escape from our sins, from our death sentence. Before he was arrested he was praying and asking God if there was any other way because what he was about to do wasn't going to be easy. He had to think about his mother, Mary. The hurt she would experience when having to watch her son be beaten, his skin torn to shreds only to be nailed to the cross and watching them mock him only to see him take his final breath. It makes me cry just to think of what hell she went through that day and the following three days. Jesus did all of that for the world just so that we would have the choice to choose life. We have been given the gift of free will to choose to accept or reject Christ! Yet how many of us choose to doubt his motives? The choice is ours to choose to trust him or choose to not believe, to doubt him. But let me reassure you that his motive, to face abuse and torture to only die, is love. He loves you so very much. He wants you to choose to believe, to trust him, and his motive of love.
Trusting and Choosing Him,
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Paul’s First Missionary Journey
4 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. 5 There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.
9 Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.
12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord. Acts 13:4-11 NLT
Okay this was Paul's first missionary journey. I love it because this is where it is first mentioned that Saul, was sometimes known as Paul. If you start reading in verse nine you get to see Paul truly minister what he knew! Before Saul served God he was traveling on the road to Damascus to torture and kill the Christians. The word says that a bright light blinded Saul and that is how God got his attention, it was a pivotal moment for him. It was when he was blinded for three days that he was desperate and prayed to God for help. If you want to read the story it can be found in Acts 9. So fast forward to Acts 13 and now Paul is on his first missionary trip to tell others about Christ. So how did Paul minister? Paul shared what he knew that worked for him! He basically prayed or used the authority of the Lord. to make this man BLIND!
Let's shift gears for a moment. Let's say that I am struggling with my weight and someone really heavy tries to sell me this amazing weight loss program but they are still heavy, why would I want to invest in that program? However if someone who used to be heavy, and lost weight with this amazing program then shares with me her before and after pictures, wouldn't I be more inclined to invest in the program for myself? Same thing with our walk with Jesus. We need to experience it for ourselves and then share what we have learned!
Paul ministered what he knew and what he had been through. Isn't this how we should minister? When we spend time with God, in word and prayer, He teaches us in how we can apply his word to our lives. It is what we have learned through those experiences that we can share with others because we have lived it out for ourselves! When we spend more time reading books and listening to sermons about other's experiences (not that it isn't good to read books or listen to other pastors) than we do reading the word, we are regurgitating someone else's stories. When I read stories on Facebook about "someone's neighbor's cousin" how do I know if it is true? When all we have to share is other people's testimonies it does not have the same effect, because we haven't experienced it for ourselves firsthand. When we spend time with the Lord we are developing our own relationship with him. When we live out our own encounters with God first, then we can effectively share what we have learned with others!
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
8-11 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. I Peter 5:8-11 Msg (the Message is a paraphrase)
I remember writing a devotion years ago about the devil is like a lion roaring, seeking whom he may devour. Did you know that the purpose of a lion’s roar is to transfix and actually paralyze its prey? Well, that is what the enemy would like to do to you. Paralyze you in fear, so much, so that it consumes you, instead of picking up your sword of faith and going forward into battle. He likes to distract us from prayer, from ministry, and from focusing on Jesus. The enemy would love to do nothing more than kill, rob and destroy you. If he can simply conquer you by making you afraid (paralyzing you in fear) then he has nothing to worry about.
The second thing that I noticed is that most usually, the Lion represents Christ, however the enemy loves to counterfeit the King. He has counterfeited so many things of the Lord, twisting them about until they are so distorted and nothing like the original, our Abba Father. The Word of God says that he comes as an angel of light (total counterfeit). It says in 2 Cor. 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
This morning I was reading from Reality Exercises to Develop the Inner Man, by Janice Seney. I found it funny that just as God reminded me about my devotional that I had done before, that this would be one of the first things that I read in her booklet. I would like to quote her prayer.
“Knowing that my enemy roams about like a lion seeking someone who will allow him to devour them, I bring myself under the mighty hand of God, casting all my care over on Him. I am calm and watchful. As the enemy approaches I stand firm and resist him because I understand he uses the same methods on us all. As I stand firm in faith, under pressure, then my God will make me mature, establish me, strengthen me and settle me.”
If the enemy has been roaring in your life know that he is looking for an opportunity to scare and distract you. Keep your focus on Jesus and keep praying. God’s Word will prevail and it never fails. I hope that this speaks to someone today. God is faithful and bigger than any circumstance.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Mark 5:1-20. 1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.Jesus is a life changer if you let him. Let’s start in verse 15 where it says, “When they (the towns people) came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” Funny how a person’s response or reaction, to a situation, can vary so much and that reaction or response can affect your life so greatly. This tormented man, who even chains couldn’t control or contain, was sitting there in his right mind! If you have ever lived with an insane person you know the full impact of this statement.
I wish that I could have been there in person to see this! The towns’ people were afraid! Some may have been afraid of Jesus healing a lot more people like this and killing off their economy (by killing their pigs,) or they could have been afraid what Jesus might do in their life or perhaps they were afraid of what this now sane man might say about them that he had observed in the past? I don’t know why they were afraid but all I do know is that they were afraid and they begged Jesus to leave their whole region.
What will your response be when “you run into Jesus?” Will you see change that freaks you out and beg Him to leave your area? Or will you face your fears and see what change He will do in you? Or will you be like the healed man who was sitting there with Jesus, now dressed and in his right mind and go and tell others about Jesus and let them be amazed?
It is just something to think about. Today I do know this…Jesus is a life changer. It is your decision on how you will react or respond. It is your decision on how you will let Him change your life, but He is a life changer for sure!
Me? I want to hang out with Jesus!
Thursday, September 25, 2014
40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”
50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. Luke 8:40-56
I love this passage. Perhaps it is because it happened near Capernaum and I loved that part of Israel, but I don’t think so because I loved this passage before traveling to Israel. I have always read this passage as two separate stories but really it is one story because today when I read it, the first part had to impact the second part. Let me explain. Jairus had already collapsed at Jesus’s feet begging him to come to his house because his daughter was dying. Jairus was desperate. It makes me cry when I think of how he would have felt, his baby girl was dying and this was his only hope of saving her. There were so many people. They probably all wanted something from Jesus! But the desperation of a Daddy of a dying girl…then someone touched Jesus.
It is very clear that there were many pressing in on Jesus but yet He knew that someone touched him? Another desperate person, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, touched the edge of his cloak. He knew that someone touched him because he felt the power go out from him. Then the woman came forward, once knowing that He knew that she touched him, and told him (in front of everybody) that she was instantly healed! He responded in love and told her that her faith had made her healed and to go in peace (without guilt.)
Today I realized that this was not two separate storied but one! Jairus had witnessed this whole event! He was there and witnessed the miracle and the compassionate response of Jesus. And while Jairus was taking this all in, the bad report came of his daughter dying and the messenger telling him not to bother Jesus. Jesus heard this! Jesus, once again, responded with compassion, “Don’t be afraid; just believe and she will be healed. “
What Jairus just witnessed had to boost his faith a bit, after all, if Jesus had healed another woman who was in a dire situation why couldn’t He heal his only daughter? He heard her say that she had been bleeding for 12 years! And all she did was touch his garment? Jesus told him to don’t be afraid, believe and she was going to be healed! Out of desperation and he had nothing to left to lose. Jesus was kind and loving to this woman (who was unclean in the Jewish culture) and healed her and then He told him that to believe…don’t be afraid and believe (Jairus’spart) and then Jesus would do his part (heal her.)
Jesus went to Jairus’s home. He only let Peter, James and John go into the room with him. He put out all of the mourners. Jesus told them to stop wailing. The people who were wailing laughed at Jesus in disbelief. (BTW Jairus lived very close to Peter’s house so I am pretty sure that Peter knew Jairus and that means that Jairus probably knew Jesus. Jesus had been to Peter’s home, after all.) Jesus healed the little girl and then told them to feed her.
While I have always loved these accounts of healing separately today I connected them together. When you are desperate, it is okay for others to know you are hurting as long as you reach for Jesus in faith knowing that He is the source that can answer your need. Don’t flail about and be all drama, reach for Jesus, even if all that is in your reach is just the hem of his garment. Reach for Him! He will respond to you with love and compassion when you are seeking him as the answer to your need.
Don’t think that he is so busy with other desperate situations that he can’t take time for you! He is BIG! He is big enough to handle every situation even in the midst of a sea people, He knows when you are reaching for him. You might not even have eye contact with him, but he knows when you are grasping at the hem of his garment!
If you are Jairus’s situation, and you find out that something precious to you is dead and you are told not to bother him with a hopeless situation, don’t be afraid and have faith! He will respond to you with love and compassion! You are not a bother! He will take time for you. Now he might have you “put out some mourners and wailers” that are surrounding the situation! But he will go right in to where your problem is and heal it!
Even after the little girl was healed, he had them feed her! There are times when Jesus heals an area of your life but you have a responsibility to continue practical and healthy practices, like feeding the little girl. But he will direct you! Isn’t God good? He is so big that he can meet your need and cover all of the bases!
So today I am reminded that even though not everything seems connected that Jesus can use your situation to help others. You might feel that your situation is so unrelated to anyone else’s situation but God can use your need and miracle to help someone else and you might not even be aware of it! He is that big!
So continue to reach for Jesus! No matter how desperate you feel that your situation is remember this: Your part is to reach for Jesus, don’t be afraid and believe and He will be faithful to respond to you with love and compassion.
Reaching for Him,