“And You Will Bite His Heel…”

15  I will make you and the woman enemies to each other.Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.” — Genesis 3:15 NCV

Genesis 3:13-15 NCV

God made satan a promise before He cast him out of the garden.  God always fulfills His promises. That descendant of the woman that God spoke about was Jesus.  When Jesus died on the cross and said “It is finished”, the final blow was dealt to the head of all evil at the foot of the cross. It was crushed by the weight of the love of Jesus as He died for all mankind.  We need to bring all of our sins, doubts and fears to the foot of the cross and allow Jesus to crush them for us.  Lay them down and leave them there, Jesus will take care of the rest.  But there are some good things that we need to bring to the cross and ask Jesus to watch over them and protect them.  When we bring these things to Jesus we don’t leave them at the foot of the cross, we place them in the palm of His hand.  When He receives those things from us they are placed under the loving care of the Father and legions of angels.

16  “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. — Isaiah 49:16 NASB

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

“I Will Rescue Those Who Love Me…”

14  The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. — Psalm 91:14 NLT

Psalm 91:14-16 NLT

What  an encouraging thought to know that God has promised to rescue those that love Him and protect those who trust in His name.  No other entity of any kind can make such a brash claim and then live up to it without ever failing.  There will be times in our lives when our parents can’t rescue us. our friends can’t protect us but God will be there to deliver us from every evil.  Nations have trusted in other so-called gods only to find that they have no power.  Man-made idols have hands but they can’t touch or feel us, they have feet but they can’t run to your assistance in times of need. They have mouths but they can’t speak to us.. They have ears but they can’t hear us. Only our God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it is able to do exactly what He says He will do and nothing or nobody can stop Him from fulfilling every promise.  So, let us run to Him and allow Him to protect us and provide everything we need.  He is waiting with open arms.“

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

“The Earnest Prayer of a Righteous Man…”

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. — James 5:16b NLT

James 5:13-18 NLT

As small tots and children, we were taught prayers word for word.  There were prayers to say before the meals we ate and prayers to say before we went to bed at night.  These are wonderful experiences and great memories. But just as we moved from the “Dick and Jane” books, there comes a time when our prayers should become more personal.  We are still presenting the same issues to God but now instead of rote memory, they should be from a heart that understands and knows that God not only hears our prayers but He answers them.  Most of us may have had more faith that God would answer our prayers then than we do now.  Those were prayers from innocent hearts and minds.  Now, we have a lifetime of sins and doubts to overcome.  But God is still the same God we prayed to when we were children and we must approach Him with that same childlike faith.  We must become as little children in the Kingdom of God.  Part of that process is to understand that all of our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus.  God sees each of us as the righteousness of Christ.  So, when we pray let us believe that we are righteous people, that God hears our prayers and  that our prayers do have great power.  Not because of us, but because of Jesus and His work that He finished at the cross.  We can know that our prayers have great power because Jesus is at the right hand of the Father praying with us and the Holy Spirit is praying through us and for us.

Romans 8:26, 27 NLT

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

“I Need Someone…”

21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends.  22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return. — Job 16:21-22 NLT

Here and in other verses in this book, it is as if Job gets a glimpse of the future and the plan that God has in place to redeem fallen man.  Job realizes that it is useless for a man to argue with God.  We need a mediator and God had a plan in place to provide one for us.  We are certainly free to state our case in any situation.  When we are speaking to God, we should always be as honest as both Job and David.  They were not afraid to pour out their disappointments to God.  They did not blame God.  However, just as we do, they questioned why God allowed certain things to happen in the life of His children.  But when we do this, we must realize that we are in the presence of the Almighty God.  We can be bold but at the same time, we must be humble and ready to accept His answers.  God listens carefully, but He does not negotiate.  In the end, we, like Job and David, must come to the conclusion that God is God and He truly knows what is best for us. We all must go through the valleys and the dark nights.  But the key thing for us to remember is that we are going through, we are not going to be there forever.  For every valley, there are two mountains and for every dark night, there is light on both sides.   As the McKameys sing, “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley and the God of the daytime is still God in the night”.  Do not be discouraged or dismayed, our God will never leave us alone and He will never forsake us.

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

“Do You Understand…?”

30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  — Acts 8:30 NLT

Acts 8:30-38 NLT

When the persecutions of the Christians started in Jerusalem, the believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  Philip had  been preaching and teaching about Jesus in Samaria. When Peter and John arrived, an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip and told him to go south along the road to Gaza.  On his way, he met an eunuch from Ethiopia.  This eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship.  He was reading aloud from a scroll of the Old Testament.  This particular scroll contained the book of Isaiah.  Since he had been to worship in Jerusalem and was in possession of a Biblical scroll and reading it aloud, we can safely assume two things.  He was familiar with the Jewish religion and he was searching for something.  So God had been preparing the heart of this eunuch to receive the Good News for some time.  I think we can safely assume that God had big plans for this eunuch when he returned to Ethiopia, but whether God had big plans for the eunuch or just wanted to save the eunuch is not the point.  The point is that God’s plans for Philip and the eunuch intersected at this point.  The eunuch was seeking understanding of the Scriptures and God sent a man to him who could explain those Scriptures.  Every day, our live intersect with other lives.  This was, is and will always be God’s plan for spreading the Good News.  Are we prepared to instantly obey?  Are we prepared to explain God’s plan of salvation to those whose paths we cross?  If not, why not spend some time today preparing to do just that? There is a heavenly reason that you are where you are today.  It didn’t just happen.  Look around you, there are lost people that you have been sent to speak to. God has prepared their hearts to hear and He has given you the words of life to speak to them, therefore speak.

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

“…You Will End With Much…”

7  And though you started with little,  you will end with much.. Job 8:7 NLT

Job 8:1-7 NLT

Bildad also wrongly assumes that Job has committed some transgression and God is disciplining Job for  that sin.  But Bildad is correct in the statement that he makes.  “But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home”.  And his statement in verse 7 above turns out to be a prophecy for Job.  Job definitely ends up with twice as much as he had in the beginning.  If we faithfully persevere in the times of testing, we will be blessed here on earth.  The greatest of these blessings is not material possessions or anything that money can buy.  It is the peace and the joy that comes from knowing that we are pleasing our heavenly Father. From my own personal experience, I can testify that there is a peace that each of us can access that is different from what the world knows as peace. It is a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds.  It is a peace that keeps from thinking those thoughts that satan would use to destroy us. It is a peace that assures us that we are not alone now and we will never be alone.  Although the peace you have now may be little, focus on Jesus and you will have abundant peace and joy that is truly unspeakable.

Phil. 4:4-8 NLT

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

“Consider the Joy…”

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!  Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. — Job 5:12 NLT

Job 5: 17-27 NLT

Eliphaz was wrong in assuming that Job was being punished for some hidden sin that Job had not confessed. God was allowing satan to test Job’s love and loyalty to Himself.  But those of us who have sinned and are being disciplined can receive great encouragement from these words of Eliphaz. God not only allows us to be tested and disciplined, but when that time of testing and/or disciplining is over, He heals us.  Eliphaz lists several ways that God takes care of us and protects us and our families from dangers.  He blesses us in times of distress and provides everything we need to live Godly lives {2 Peter 1:3,4).  We are disciplined so that we can share in His divine nature and become more like Him.  And James tells us that “we should count it all joy ( James 1:2-5 ).  Some say “Life is a marathon”.  I prefer to think of it as a series of short sprints with some refreshing stops in between. Testing-joy-testing-joy, you get the idea.  Whether we consider it a marathon or a sprint, the point is there are hills and valleys, there are times of testing and there are times of refreshing.  Those times are means to an end.  That end is to arrive at our heavenly home after we have run the race.  Some of us will run all the time and some of us will need to rest more often.  Either way, press on to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”.

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

“And the Lord Listened…”

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. — Malachi 3:16 NLT

Malachi 3:13-18 NLT

It is both comforting and frightening to understand that God hears every word we say and knows every thought that we think.  It is frightening to think that the King of Kings hears some of the things we say to each other.  Our unkind remarks and thoughts that we have surely displease Him.  They are a sin in His eyes.  We must pray that we never get to the point that our consciences are seared over and we are not convicted of our foolish remarks. We must learn to fear God in the correct way.  The fear that we should have of God is a feeling of respect and reverence that is so deep that it causes us to be in complete awe of Him.  It is comforting to know He hears when we pray and knows our thoughts when we just think a prayer.  Think a prayer?  Yes, we have those times when we don’t verbally pray but, instantly, a thought that serves as a prayer crosses our minds.  It is also comforting to note that God records the names of those who revere Him and always meditate on His name.  It is also comforting that He says nothing about recording our sins, just our names. Thank God for His mercy that He does not give us the punishment we have earned, instead He gives us grace, a gift that we do not deserve.

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

“Blessed Is the Man…”

1  Blessed is the man  Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
– Psalm 1:1 NKJV

Psalm 1 NLT

Verse 1 of Psalm 1 shows a progression of acts;  walking, standing, sitting.  Isn’t this how we usually progress in making friends with people?  First, it is a casual meeting where a few words are exchanged.  If we find that enjoyable, the next encounter, we spend a little more time with them. After the casual greeting, we start a conversation about something that is of interest to both of us so we stand around and chat.  After a few of these sessions, we decide to have coffee (or whatever your preferred beverage is) and we sit together.  By this time, the relationship has developed to the point that our words and opinions are influencing the other person.  Either they are influencing us to agree with them or we are influencing them to agree with our opinions and beliefs.  We may do this without any conscious knowledge of it as it happens.  That is the warning in verse 1.  Don’t do these things with the wrong people.  As new Christians, we need to spend our time meditating on God’s Word so that we will be prepared to witness to sinners.  Once God has prepared us, then we can sit and talk with sinners for a while.  As we mature spiritually, there are still times that we need to withdraw from worldly conversations to pray and meditate, just as Jesus did on several occasions.  We need to refuel for the next encounter that God has planned for us. On this earth, there will never be a time that we are so mature spiritually that we can abandon the reading of God’s word.  If we think that we have reached that point, that is pride and we are headed for a fall.

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

“But I Press On…”

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. – Philippians 3:12 NLT

Philippians 3:7-14 NLT

God created a perfect earth.  When Adam and Eve were tempted by satan and chose to disobey God, the earth was no longer perfect.  Then the earth, along with humankind, started to age and decay. God became the perfect man to redeem earth and all mankind from that fallen state.  When Jesus ascended, there was no longer anything left on this earth that was perfect. Then God came as the Holy Spirit to abide within us.  Since that time, those of us who accept Christ as our Savior and Lord have been given both the command and the desire to strive for perfection. Though we understand that as long as we live in this fleshly tent, it is impossible for us to achieve perfection, nevertheless, as Paul says we “press on to possess that perfection”.   Why would we or Paul strive to achieve a seemingly impossible goal?  If this temporal dwelling and life were the end, then we would be foolish.  But we, who believe in Jesus, have knowledge and a hope of eternity. That knowledge and hope will not be perfected while we participate in the activities of the Kingdom of God here on earth.  We press on because we know that when the Perfect One comes to reign again, we will be like Him.  It is then that our hope will be fulfilled and we will reach the goal of perfection.  We press on for a few years to win the prize of eternal perfection, following the One who has always been, now is and will always be Perfection.  Impossible in this lifetime? Yes. Impossible in eternity?  No!

1 Peter 1:13-16 NLT

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