Best Friend Ever!

even-smaller-bug-light1

1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. 2 I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. — Psalm 9:1, 2 NLT
 
 

As we tell and retell the Gospel story and talk about all the marvelous things God has done for us, we are filled with joy. The more we tell the old, old story, the more sure our hope becomes and the more joy we have to help us get through each day.  That old liar, satan, comes around every day telling us how bad things are and pointing out all the things we don’t have.  But all we need to do is stop and consider all the things with which God has blessed us. Then we need to thank Him and praise Him for all that He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us. We need to remind ourselves and satan about Paul’s admonition to us in Philippians on the things we need to focus on in our daily thought patterns.


Philippians 4:8, 9

God tells over and over that we should not worry, fear or be discouraged, yet, we spend more time considering what we are going to do when bad things happen than we do praising God for what He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us.  Just as we don’t want to hear our kids complaining about what they don’t have all the time, neither does God want to hear our murmurs and complaining every day.  It was this kind of behavior by God’s chosen people that caused Him to be angry with them on their trek through the desert. Do we want best friends who only tell us about their problems or those who share their concerns and their victories with us?  God is our best friend, let us treat Him like we would our best friend.  Talk with Him, not just to Him every day and praise Him for all of His goodness, then we will be filled with His peace and His joy, which is His gift to us.

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

Post 12-19-2018

From Mourning to Joy and Dancing

even-smaller-bug-light1

11  You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,  12  that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!– Psalm 30:11, 12 NLT
 

God is so good to us all the time.  He is always working for us, turning evil into good and our times of mourning into times of joy and praise.  It is His heart’s desire for us to live lives full of joy.  Not happiness and pleasures, which are fleshly and temporary, but abiding joy deep down in our hearts.  Joy that no one can take from us.


John 16:16-24

Joy, that is not pretended or unrealistic, but joy that is the fulfillment of the promise that Jesus made to His disciples and to us.  It isn’t because we deserve it or have earned it in some way.  It is simply because He loves us and wants us to love Him.  He gives us His peace and joy so that we can be free to praise Him in every situation.  So, that we can sing praises to Him and not be silent.  It is true that there are roaring lions out there and one.in particular, that is trying to destroy our joy and us physically.  It is hard to ignore a roaring lion, but as Spurgeon points out, Samson’s roaring lion yielded honey.  God can produce joy and sweetness from the worst of situations.

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

Post 12-02-2018

Mount Zion Brings Life

even-smaller-bug-light1

2  “The Lord came from Mount Sinai and dawned upon us from Mount Seir;  he shone forth from Mount Paran and came from Meribah-kadesh with flaming fire at his right hand. 3  Indeed, he loves his people; all his holy ones are in his hands. They follow in his steps and accept his teaching.. — Deut. 33:2, 3 NLT

This is beginning of the last blessing that Moses gave to the children of Israel.  It was a reminder to the people of how God had chosen them and brought them through the desert to the Promised Land.  Because of His great love for the people, God remained faithful to His promise even though the people were often disobedient and ungrateful. It was also an admonition to continue to follow in the steps of their God and accept His teachings.  Moses blesses the tribes of Israel, then leaves them.  As God instructed, Moses climbs Mount Nebo up to Pisgah Peak where God allows him to view all of the Promised Land.  There, at 120 years of age, Moses passed away.  God came to the children of Israel from Mount Sinai, a mountain that was covered with smoke and fire, touching the mount brought death.

God comes to us from Mount Zion, “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem”. (Hebrews 12:18-24)  Touching Mount Zion brings life and joy to those who love the Lord, to those who accept His teachings and follow in the steps of Jesus.  Today, spend some time in the presence of Jesus, just loving Him and marinating in His love.  If you do, you will touch Mount Zion and receive true life and an abundance of joy.

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

Post 11-10-2018

He’s Coming Back – Be Ready

even-smaller-bug-light1

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world? – Matt. 24:3

Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven with His promise of returning, people have asked the question — When?  The disciples had even questioned Jesus about this before His death and resurrection.  Is when important and if so, why is it important?  If we knew for sure Jesus was coming back at the end of this month, would it make a difference? Would it cause us to be more diligent in witnessing to our family, friends and neighbors?  Would we be more committed to living a Holy lifestyle?  Would it change our priorities?  Would we gather our families around us and hold on to them tightly?  Would we mourn or rejoice?  Would we say. “even so, Lord, come quickly” or would we ask Him for a few more days to be sure our families were all saved?  If we are truly honest with ourselves, would it really make any difference?  If it would, then why doesn’t it make a difference even now?   Only the Father knows when Jesus will return and only the Father knows when each of us will leave here.  Since we don’t know either of these times, doesn’t it make sense to assume that it is today and live our lives accordingly?  Shouldn’t we live each day seeking first the Kingdom of God and trust God to take care of the rest?  If we could get to that point, then peace would overflow our hearts and life here on earth would be  “joy unspeakable and full of glory”!  Then “when” would become unimportant.


You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. — 1 Peter 1:8, 9 NKJV

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

Post 10-19-2018

The Lover and the Loved

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

Living Water

even-smaller-bug-light1

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? — John 4:10, 11 NLT

This Samaritan woman had gone through five husbands and was now living with a man that was not her husband and she still had not found the peace and the happiness for which she was looking.  How many of us have chased after what the world calls happiness and found it to be emptiness?  We turn to the world looking for something to fill that emptiness and that void in our hearts.  The pleasures and happiness brought by a new possession or a new experience turn out to be short-lived.  All the fads and the “new” things promising eternal joy turn out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  The devil tells us you just need a little more of this or a little more of that.  Happiness is just around the corner, he promises, and we continue the chase.  And it will always be a chase, because what we are looking for and what we really need can not be bought.  It has already been purchased lock, stock and barrel by Jesus at the Cross and it isn’t for sale.  He owns the whole supply and it is given freely to those who give up the worldly chase and turn to Him for forgiveness.  Stop running and chasing every new thing.  Sit at the feet of Jesus and drink in the living water.  Don’t take a little sip and leave, grab the bucket and pour the water on your head. Immerse yourself in His Word and peace and joy from a never ending stream will flow through your mind and body continuously.  Get under and stay “under the spout where the glory comes out”.  That is anywhere the unadulterated Word of God is preached and taught.  Find a place where you can immerse yourself in God’s Word every day and joy and peace will chase after and overcome you.

 
165 Those who love Your law have an abundance of peace, and nothing along their paths can cause them to stumble. — Psalm 119:165 The Voice

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

Post 10-04-2018

Spreading the Word Produces Joy

even-smaller-bug-light1

You became imitators of us and of the Lord. In spite of a great deal of suffering, you welcomed the word with the joy that the Holy Spirit produces.
​- 1 Thess. 1:6 ISV​

God has chosen each of us and has a plan for each of us.  We are sanctified, set apart, for a particular purpose.  Our faith produces works that are a part of that process. We show our love for Christ by laboring and helping others. We are able to endure because of the hope we have in us, the hope that we have because God has poured His love into us. When the Gospel is preached, it goes forth with power to accomplish whatever purpose God has intended for it.  The power is the Holy Spirit which can cut us to the bone and convict us of our need for redemption.  This is the message Paul and his companions preached among the Thessalonians and in all the other places they traveled.  They were successful, not because of their powers of persuasion, but because they were completely obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the same message that each of us should be preaching every day with our lifestyle and as St Francis of Assisi encouraged us to do: “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”  We should follow the example of Paul and live lifestyles that are worthy of imitation, just as we have become imitators of Christ.  Then those who are suffering will receive the message with great joy.  Their joy will be observed by others who will want to know the source of such great joy.  The kind of joy that endures in the midst of suffering and persecution, the kind of joy that is caught, not taught.

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

Post 07-09-2018