“Because They Trust In You”

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3 You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever,  for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. — Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV

The eye of a hurricane is the calmest part of the storm, there is usually no wind and the skies are clear.  It is usually true that the stronger the storm the better defined the eye of the hurricane will be.  The eye is surrounded by an eyewall of thunderstorms that contain the most dangerous weather.  When a hurricane is at sea, the eye is still calm except at sea level where waves may reach a height of 130 feet.  If we can compare the violence of the world around us to a hurricane, we can see that there is a place of peace and calmness in the middle of all that chaos. But we can’t just sit on the surface and wait, we have to prepare for the storm by keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on the world.  By trusting completely in Him, we can rise above the waves and live in peace in the midst of the storm. When the storm starts to dissipate, the eyewall will start to break down and we will experience some winds but they will not be strong enough to harm us.  There will be some rain but only enough to water us and make us grow, not enough to wash us away. If we choose to focus on the world and its carnality, we will find ourselves in the eye-wall of the storm. But if we repent and pray Peter’s short prayer. “Lord, save me”, He will stretch out His hand and pull us to safety.  We can’t stop the hate and violence in the world, but God has provided a place of peace and safety for His children. The choice is ours.  We can choose to stay focused on Jesus and live in the peace that He gives us or stay where we are and live in the chaos.

10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, ​ yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,”  says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  ​ — Isaiah 54:10 NIV​


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

“The Field Is the World”

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37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. — Matt 13:37-39 NIV

We are warned over and over in the Bible, that as the end draws nearer, there will arise more and more false prophets even in the church. They will seem genuine to those who do not have the Holy Spirit abiding in them and therefore, have no discernment.  They will preach and teach a “cheap” grace.  A grace based on head knowledge and not on what we have in our hearts.  They will expound doctrines that do not require holy lifestyles or they will add man-made rules that require more than the Bible requires for salvation.  Whether they add to or subtract from the Biblical requirements for salvation, they are both wrong.  When we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and He gives us the Holy Spirit, we are saved.  We are clothed in His holiness and righteousness.  There is nothing we can do to make ourselves more holy or more righteous than He made us. A Christ-like lifestyle is the external proof of what we believe in our hearts not what we know in our minds. Our thoughts and actions are the fruit of the Spirit, a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit.  It is a natural and a spiritual law that we cannot change.  For fruit trees to bear an abundant crop, they require a lot of care.  So, everyday, fertilize the tree with scripture and wash it with the water of the Word.

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

“The Winds Blew and Beat Against That House”

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4 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. — Matthew 7:24-25 NIV

In the early days of aviation, long before the technology that produced GPS and other navigational aids, pilots would fly using only visual references. Using nothing but their sense of direction, the location of the sun and familiar landmarks, they were able to go from point to point.  They would often pick out a road and follow along that route.  Pilots kept the aircraft upright, straight and level by watching the horizon and the pressure they would feel on their posterior to determine if they were ascending or descending.  This type of flying became known as “flying by the seat of your pants”.   Because the pilot used only his physical senses, he would, at times, become slightly disoriented.  Needless to say, this type of flying often ended up with the pilot flying or following a path that was not always a straight line.  If the pilot became too disoriented and confused, the result was a crash often ending in the pilot’s death.  The pilots could only fly in clear skies so that all the physical landmarks would be visible to the human eye.  At that time, it was impossible to fly above a cloud layer or through storms. Aviators had to wait until technology was developed to help them navigate and maintain orientation to fly above the clouds and through the stormy weather.
How many of us live our lives “by the seat of our pants” depending only on our feelings and the things that we can see to guide us?  Like the old pilots, we may do all right as long as there is clear weather, no storms, no clear air turbulence and no major wind shifts to blow us off  course.  But what happens when the storms of life come? What happens when our feelings lead us off course? We have Someone that we can trust to carry us safely through the storm.  When our sense of purpose fails us, we have One who will keep us on course and fly us straight to safety.  But, God is not satisfied with being our navigator or our copilot, He wants to be our Pilot and He does not need a navigator.  He doesn’t want to be our Pilot just in the storms, He wants to be our Pilot in the clear skies as well.  With God, the plan is always “all in” or it won’t work.  Build on the Solid Rock and trust Him with every part of your life.

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

“My Peace I Give You”

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27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 NIV

In our daily lives, why do we not experience the peace that God has made available to us? Is there a secret to finding and holding onto that peace?  Is it necessary to do something special or quote a particular verse to access the peace that God has so freely given to us?  Is that peace for now or for some time in the future?  Is that peace even real?  If we could discover how to find and hold onto that peace, wouldn’t it be a great blessing to us and a great message to a world in chaos? Maybe, it starts with our definition of peace.  God’s peace isn’t the absence of troubles or violence or loss or storms.  It is learning to have peace while we live in and go through those times.  Jesus, as a man suffered rejection, ridicule, betrayal, and tremendous persecution, yet He did not sin by worrying or being afraid, but held onto the peace that the Father gave Him.  We say,”Yes, but Jesus was _______”  and you can fill in the blank.  The truth is that while He was on earth, Jesus was fully human.  He walked, talked, grew tired, rested, became hungry and ate common food. He was, in fact, just like us, except that He didn’t sin. He is our example that peace is not a lack of certain issues but a gift that we must learn to experience everyday.  When He was in the boat with the disciples in the midst of the storm, He slept.  The disciples became anxious and feared for their lives. Jesus spoke, the storm dissipated and peace was restored to the sea. Jesus is with us in the boat as we sail through life.  When the storms come, ask Him to speak to your storm and experience His peace. So, it is not some secret formula, it is complete faith in believing what Jesus said.

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

“I Will Give You Rest”

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28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  — Matt. 11:28-30 NIV

God has made precious promises to us if we will learn to lean on Him.  We get so wrapped up in our work and making our own plans for the future, that we have no time left to enjoy today.  We carry all this baggage with us all the time, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We say we trust God, yet, we worry when the bank account is low and we feel we have to have weeks worth of food stored in the house. Remember when Jesus sent the disciples out?  He told them not to take anything with them, no food, no money, not even a change of clothes.  I must ask myself, “would I be willing to start out on a trip like that?”  Sadly, the answer is no.  We are so concerned about things that we rarely ever get a good night’s rest. We worry about things over which we have no control and a lot of those things never happen anyway.  The scriptures above are not meant to be just some “pie in the sky”, future event.  They are for now. They are the way we should be living our lives today.  We wear ourselves out trying to do God’s job.  Just as the Israelis who refused to believe and were not allowed to enter in Canaan physically, we never reach a place to rest here on earth because of our unbelief.

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. — Hebrews 3:16-19 NIV

When life seems more than we can bear, we have a place of quiet rest prepared for us, near to the heart of God. “Come unto me and I will give you rest”.

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

“603,550”

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 46 The total of all those who were numbered was 603,550. – Numbers 1:46 ISV 

Numbers 1:44-49 ISV

When reading the Bible, I always find Numbers a hard book to get through and not just because of the names that are hard to pronounce but also because of all the numbers.   But the upside of Numbers for me is that when I need encouragement about how big my God is, I can read a few verses from Numbers and realize how great and majestic my God is.  The number above, 603,550, is a fact and it does not include the tribe of the Levites or any women.  It does not include any males less than twenty or older than 50/60.  So, it is very easy to see that there were well over a million people on this camping trip. Some estimates go as high as 3,500,000. Even if we take the low end, just imagine the logistics, the materials and the food supplies needed for the journey.  Imagine taking all the population of Albuquerque, NM and leading them on foot through the desert past Gallup, NM.  You have got to lead them, feed them and keep them clothed.  If my God can do this and He did, then He can take care of me.  It is puzzling to me that I can trust God with my soul for eternity but not for tomorrow’s lunch.  So, once again, I must make the same request the apostles made:

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  — Luke 17:5 NIV

And He is always faithful to do exactly that!

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

“But By the Will of God”

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2 so that he can live the rest of his mortal life guided, not by human desires, but by the will of God.– 1 Peter 4:2 ISV 

1 Peter 4:1-13 ISV

We may look at the list of things that pagans choose to do and with great relief, say “I never gave in to any of those things.”.  But let’s take another look.  A synonym for debauchery is decadence which is defined as excessive self-indulgence. How much time and money do we spend on things that benefit no one but ourselves?  At what point do our “needs” actually become only our “wants”?   Then there is lust, usually taken in the sexual connotation, but let’s spread that out a little further.  How about the desire to control and to have a high position?  Or the desire for things? And then there is that ugly word, idolatry.  No statues or figurines in the house? How about things that we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to acquire?  How about persons on whom we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to please and/or appease?  How about things and events that we spend way, way too much time talking about?  If there is anything or any person in our lives that we feel so strongly about that those feelings would cause us to be unkind to and/or hurt others, those are idols. If we are guilty of any of these things and suffer in any area whether it be financially, emotionally, or spiritually, then we are not suffering for Christ, we are suffering from bad decisions and there is no reward for ourselves and no glory for God.  We need to decide that we are done with sin, commit to doing God’s will and then when we suffer for His sake, Christ will receive the glory and we will receive the reward in heaven. We have all seen those dirty cars where someone has written on them “Wash Me”.  When our lives become so cluttered and covered with things and issues, maybe we need someone to write on our hearts, “wash me”.

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. – Isaiah 1:18. 

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

“Send Out Workers”

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38 So ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” – Matt.9:38 ISV

Matthew 9:35-38 ISV

When we read this and similar passages about the lifestyle that Jesus led, what are our thoughts?  Does any part ot this passage jump off the page and grab hold of us? Do we think “good stuff, but that is what Jesus was sent to do” or do our hearts beat a little faster and we think “I want to be like that, I want to be like Jesus”?  Or do we think “I could never do that, I am not a great speaker and I am not a healer.”?  God has a plan for each of us to bring others to Him with our words and our actions.  God had a plan for Moses and spent eighty years training Him to lead His people out of bondage and through a desert to a land flowing with milk and honey. God made a huge investment in Moses so that Moses could lead God’s lost sheep out of Egypt.  What investment has God made in our lives and are we willing to allow Him to use us to lead the lost sheep around us?  If we are “waiting for the call”, we have already received it.  Not in the sense of being full time ministers, missionaries, etc, but in the sense of being full time Christians. Our every word and every action is a mini-sermon to those around us.  What message are we preaching?

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! — Romans 10:14-15 NIV

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

“And Puts Them Into Practice”

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24 “Therefore, everyone who listens to these messages of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. ​ Matt. 7:24 ISV

Matt. 7:24-27 ISV 

We can read the Word, study the Word and memorize the Word, but as long as it remains head knowledge only, it will have little, if any, effect on the way we live. James tells us that even the demons believe there is a God and we know that satan quoted scripture in his attempt to deceive Jesus.  Until we receive the Holy Spirit and He interprets those Scriptures for us, we have little or no heart knowledge.  It is out of the abundance of the heart that we speak and act.  Just as the anointing oil that Moses poured on Aaron’s head ran down on his beard, and onto his tunic, the message must run down from our brain to our heart.  James tells us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.  We will not practice doing the teachings and Words of Jesus until it affects our hearts.  So, in those times when we feel God isn’t in control and the house seems a little shaky, perhaps, we should check the foundation.  Is our lifestyle based on the Word and do our thoughts and actions reflect heart knowledge of the Word of God?  If not, maybe we need to ask God to help us remodel from the ground up. Tear out all that fleshly, worldly stuff and build on the Solid Rock. Then when the wind blows and the storms come, the house will not be shaken. Then, we will stand like a lighthouse in a storm and bring others safely to the shore.

58 My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. — 1 Cor. 15:58 The Voice 

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

“God Had Promised Him”

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1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.  — Genesis 21:1-3 NIV

 A year earlier when God had made His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son, Sarah had laughed because she could not believe this would happen. (Genesis 18)  But, here it is, a year later and the promised son was born.  In an earlier appearance to Abraham, God had told him to name the son, Isaac. (Genesis 17)  In Hebrew, Isaac means laughter.  His birth was certainly a time for joy and laughter. But every time Sarah called Isaac, she was reminded that she had doubted the promise of God and had laughed at it.  But she was also reminded that God is faithful and nothing can prevent His promises from being fulfilled in His timing.  God had changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which in Hebrew, means the father of many nations.  That certainly came true as well.  From his two sons came twenty-four tribes of people, twelve from each son.  God has made many promises to the church in general and they will all be fulfilled in His timing.  If He has made specific promises to you, you can be sure that in due time, those promises will be fulfilled.  Our part is to wait on God.  Not in the sense of sitting and doing nothing, but in the military sense of the word. Wait, watch and secure the area where you have been placed.  We are in a spiritual battle every day.  Is your area secure?  Is it covered by the blood and marinated in prayer every day?  If not, the enemy is at the door and if there is a crack, he will come in.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. — Matt. 24:42​-43​ NIV

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