“Your Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far”

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So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. — Joshua 4:8 NLT

Often when a major event had occurred in the lives of the children of Israel, God would instruct them to set up stones or build an altar.  These stones or altars were built or erected as a token of remembrance for God’s help in bringing them safely this far. It was also a reminder to tell future generations about the goodness and the mercies of God. They were unique in that they were always built with natural, uncut stones.  Crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land for the first time was a once-in-a-lifetime major event. The Israelis put twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan to mark the spot of the crossing and carried twelve stones to Gilgal and erected them there to mark the spot of their first encampment in their new homeland.  We need to be aware of the major events in our lives and construct mental and/or physical landmarks as a way to remember these events.  We need to point out these times to our future generations as a remembrance of what God has done for us.  When Samuel erected the stone between Mizpah and Jeshanah (1 Samuel 7:12) to mark the spot where God had defeated the Philistines for the Israelis, he named it “Ebenezer” which means a stone of help.  It is by the help of God that we have come this far safely.  Let us stop, set up an Ebenezer, pray, worship and celebrate God’s goodness and mercies in our lives.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 11-12-2018

Fully and Totally Committed To Him

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28 “The Lord heard the request you made to me. And he said, ‘I have heard what the people said to you, and they are right. 29 Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever. — Deut. 5:28, 29 NLT

God chose the children of Israel to be His people and as long as they were obedient, He blessed them and provided for them.  But, oftentimes, they were disobedient and God had to discipline them.  He has chosen us to be His peculiar people in today’s world.  It is His heart’s desire to bless us daily and provide everything that we need to live Godly lives.  We, like the children of Israel, often require discipline.  Because of choices we make, a just God cannot bless us during our times of disobedience.  This does not mean that every rough patch we go through means we have sinned, some of those times, God allows so that we can grow spiritually.  God is not looking for times to discipline us, He is looking for times that He can pour out His blessings on us.  He is looking for those whose hearts are totally committed to Him.  As we read in verse 29, God says “Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they would fear me and keep all my commandments.”   If we have that kind of heart, then God promises us that we will prosper forever.  He is still looking for those with that kind of heart today, hearts that are fully committed to Him.

9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. — 2 Chronicles 16:9a NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-31-2018

Touch Me Again

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23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”  24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”  25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. — Mark 8:23-25 NLT

John tells us that if all the miracles that Jesus did were written down, all the books in the world would not be enough to hold them (John 21:25).  What we read about is a sampling of the things He accomplished while He walked the earth as one of us.  Those samples are given to show us not only His great love and mercy toward us but, also to show us that He uses all kinds of methods and people to demonstrate that love.  Sometimes the healing was immediate, sometimes they were a process.  Some required only a touch of the hem of His garment, others required a word and others a word and a touch from Him. He has the authority to answer our requests in any way or time frame He chooses.  But know this, He always answers.   Just because the answer wasn’t what we wanted to hear or did not come in the expected time does not mean that He didn’t hear and answer.  Paul prayed three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed.  Paul could have said that God didn’t answer his prayer, but after the third time, Paul accepted “No” as the answer.  God’s answers can be compared to a traffic light, green is “go”, yellow is “go slow” and red is “no”.  We always want the green light, but when we have the red light, it gives others the opportunity to move.  We must wait our turn.  When we see the yellow light, we know that there is danger in proceeding, so we must be careful and prepare to wait, but be prepared to go when God gives us the green light. (Isaiah 40:31)  The old saying that hindsight is 20-20 is true.  When we look back over our lives, we can see clearly that God’s answer was the correct answer. The times we refused that answer is the times we experienced our troubles and sorrows.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-24-2018

“You Feed Them”

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35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”  

37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months .”— Mark 6:35-37a NLT

Jesus is still saying the same thing today — “You feed them”.  We are still doing the same thing the disciples did, we are asking –“With what?”  When we have a worldly view of things, we see the impossibilities, when we are focused on Jesus and see through His eyes we see the possibilities.  What an opportunity and what an honor it is for us to be asked to feed the multitudes.  This situation with the huge crowd and little resources was an opportunity for Jesus to teach the disciples.  Even though they had walked with Jesus for quite a while and had seen all the miracles that He performed, they still had not gotten the message. I am sure that if Jesus had said “tell them to sit down and I will feed them”, the disciples would have had little trouble believing that, but when He instructed them to feed the crowd, that was a completely different issue. We, like the disciples, sometimes hear the words but misunderstand our part.  Jesus needed their hands and feet to walk and hand out the food, He would provide the food.  When Jesus instructs us to do something, just obey and watch the miracle happen.  When you look at your resources, they may seem too little to accomplish the task, but there will be more than enough.  There were plenty of leftovers after everyone had eaten their fill and in the Old Testament, the widow’s cruse of oil did not run out, there was always plenty to fill the next vessel.  God’s Spirit will not run out, there will always be plenty to fill the next person. Our part is to be carriers, God is the supplier.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-18-2018

The Lover and the Loved

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27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live! — Luke 10:27, 28 NLT

In any love relationship, there is the lover and the loved.  For the relationship to work, each participant must be both at all times.  You can’t choose to just be the lover today and the loved tomorrow.  That would never work, because the flesh would want to be only the loved everyday. Being the loved is easy, being the lover can be hard work. This is true in human relationships and it is true in our relationship with God.  He loved us first and He loves us more than we can love Him, but He still wants and desires all the love we can give Him.  He desires to spend time with us alone, just the two of us.  God, as our lover, sent us His Son as a gift, the greatest gift ever given by any lover to His beloved.  He also gave us a book containing many love letters, statements of His love for us and reminding us of the many things He has done to show His love for us.  In that book, He assures us that He will always be with us and never forsake us.  In a true, legitimate love relationship, when one party says to the other “I love you”, that requires a positive response from the other party, namely, “I love you, too.”
Have you ever just said “I love you, Lord”  for no other reason than the fact that you love Him and not because of something special He did for you?  Is he the last person on your mind before you go to sleep and is He the first person you speak to when you wake up?   Just try it in the morning.  Before your feet hit the floor, just say “I love You, Lord, I love You, Father, I love You, Holy Spirit, I love you, God.”   He will always respond with a gift of peace and joy.  He can’t help Himself, He will do it just because He is God and God is love.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-10-2018

“For You Have Been Born Again”

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23 For you have been born again-1 Peter 1:23a ISV
Having received Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are being purif

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ed by His grace and His love. He has placed His Spirit within us to teach us to love others as He loves us.  This change will not come overnight, but it will come if we practice listening to and following the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us and to teach us all truth.  As we obey that voice of truth that is within us, we will learn to appreciate the love that Jesus has for us and we will reciprocate by showing that love to others.  At first, it may just be words that we speak, but as we allow the Holy Spirit to be a bigger part of our life, we will find that we really do love and care for others.  With humility and patience, that love will evolve into something similar, but not nearly as great as the love that Jesus shows to us.  As John the Baptist said about Jesus “He must increase, I must decrease”. so, it must be true in our lives as well.  We must think of ourselves less and less and of Jesus and others more and more. The flesh perishes and decreases while the Spirit is imperishable and increases.  This is the Word that was preached to us and is alive and living in us.  Everything will perish except the Word of Jesus, it will stand forever. Just as Jesus was determined to go to the cross knowing that glory awaited Him on the other side, we need to be firm in our stand regardless of the personal cost knowing the hope that we have to spend an eternity with Him in His glory.

 

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. — Luke 9:51 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 08-21-2018

Recall – Rest – Rejoice – Repeat

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3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. —– 1 Peter 1:3-5​ NIV
 
We should spend as much time as possible each day praying and praising God for all that He has done and is doing for us. We should make every effort to start and end our day with a conversation with God.  That prayer will lead us to praise and we will find that our days go so much better.  We, of all people, should be filled with praise and joy all day long.  We are the only ones with a hope of eternal life with a living Savior and Lord.  We have received this hope as a gift from God that was purchased with the death and resurrection of His Son.  Through the blood of Christ, we have become sons and daughters of God and we have an eternal inheritance that “can never perish, spoil or fade”. No religion on this earth can make such an offer, a gift that is available to everyone but only received by those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are kept and shielded by God’s power.  That resurrection power will keep us until our “the coming of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.  Until that comes for each of us, we should practice the three Rs of Christianity:

 

Recall all the good things that God has done and is doing for us.
Rest in His everlasting arms that will never fail to catch us.
Rejoice because you are filled with the Holy Spirit and have eternal life.

 

If this doesn’t fill our hearts with joy and our mouths with praise, perhaps we need to re-examine our relationship with Jesus.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-17-2018