God Is Still Blessing

even-smaller-bug-light119  God is not a man, so he does not lie.  He is not human, so he does not change his mind.  Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
20  Listen, I received a command to bless;   God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it! — Numbers 23:19, 20 NLT

God is the Creator, we are the created.  We are bought and paid for with the blood of His Son, Jesus.  He has every right, legal and anywise, to do with us as He pleases.  He can, and does pour out blessings on those He chooses to bless and curses on those He chooses to curse. However, being a just God, He does not make random decsions out of anger or fits of jealousy.  His decisions were made before the foundations of the earth were laid ​and they are based on HIs foreknowledge of our actions. He is never taken by surprise by any thoughts that we have or any actions that we commit. ​ He can only reveal those decisions to us after the fact, so they often seem to be made in haste, but nothing could be further from the truth.  ​Because of His​ great love for all of His creation, He has and still does warn us over and over about the consequences of unbelief and disobedience.  The fact that He has complete foreknowledge of how we will respond has never and will never keep Him from warning us over and over and weeping over our disobedience.  Recall what Jesus said about Jerusalem, how God had sent all the prophets to warn them and yet, they refused to be obedient and even murdered the prophets. Jesus wept bitter tears over Jerusalem saying “how often I have wanted to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not” (Matt. 23:37).  He still gives us those warnings about greiving, bringing sorrow or rejecting the Holy Spirit. 

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

​. — Ephesians 4:30 NLT​
So, let each of us today, make a new commitment to listening to and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit so that God will be pleased with us.
Post 02-27-2016

Under the Spout!

even-smaller-bug-light110 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 anyhwere 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
Post 02-07-2016

Blessing and Being Blessed

even-smaller-bug-light110 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generouson every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.  — 2 Cor. 9:10-13 NIV

Starting today, we need to prove to God that we are truly thankful for all the blessings He pours into our lives.​  We can do that by sharing those blessings, whether they be talent or time, words or worth, things or thoughts.

Someone you see today and every day needs a kind word,  Take a second to smile and greet them. Someone you see today and every day needs someone to just listen to their story.  Stop and listen, really listen. Someone you see today will be hungry and/or homeless. Feed them, naturally and spiritually. Someone you see today is feeling worthless and unloved, take the time to assure them of their worth and value in God’s scheme of things. If we make it a habit to do these kinds of things daily, we will not only be proving to God that we are truly thankful, but the world will know that we have been with Jesus.  When we share our blessings, at the end of the day, each of us will find that we are the one who was truly blessed and received the greatest blessing.
 

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ — Matt. 25:40 NIV

Post 11-27-2015

My Cup Overflows!

even-smaller-bug-light16 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Colossians 2:6 7 NIV

The most important thing to be thankful for is salvation.  So, from the very moment we are saved, our hearts should begin to be filled with gratitude.  From that point on, all the blessings that we receive daily should continue to fill our hearts with thanksgiving and praise for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. ​ To the extent that we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, our evil thou​ghts and desires are changing to good thoughts and desires.  There has/will come a day when we should be overflowing with joy and gratitude because of the goodness and greatness of the God that we serve.  ​ ​Each day should bring less complaining and more reason to give God praise and thanksgiving. The praise and gratitude that fills our hearts will be reflected in the words that we speak.

 
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. — Luke 6:45 NKJV
 
​Every time​ we bring our petitions before the Lord, we need to remember to bring with them an offering of thanksgiving and praise!  
 

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.  — Psalm 100:4, 5 NKJV

​This is for now and  all generations, not just the future when we enter into the gates of heaven and the courts of God.​ Every time, we speak His Name, we are entering into His gates and His courts. Let our hearts and our mouths overflow with praise for His goodness and mercy!
Post 10-24-2015

Good Works

even-smaller-bug-light15b He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. — Titus 3:​5b-8 ​NIV

Paul started chapter three by asking Titus t​o​ remind the church at Crete of certain things, such as

​”​be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone​.”  In verses 2 and 3 ,he reminds them of how they used to act and in verses 4-9, he tells them why they should act differently now and in the future.  They have been saved from the wrath to come, redeemed from their sins and justified by the grace of God.  They are now heirs of God with the hope of eternal life. The same is true for us today. Because God has placed the Holy Spirit in us as an earnest of this hope, we can be sure of its fulfillment. These things still need to be stressed in today’s world, so that we will also devote ourselves to “doing what is good”.   Jesus said that He did the works of the Father and in the book of Acts, we read this verse:
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. ​ —  Acts 10:38 (emphasis mine)
​So, “doing what is good” means to follow the example of what Jesus did while He was here on earth. The “works of the Father” are accomplished by living a lifestyle modeled after Jesus. A list of “works” would be very long but would definitely include witnessing and disciplining. We can’t do these works alone but, just as Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, so are we. 
Ask God today, what “good works” He has planned and purposed for your life. Then be obedient in following the leadership of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing those “good works” ​. Do not become disappointed if you don’t see immediate results. Just remember three things:
1. Not everyone accepted the message when Jesus gave it, so not everyone will accept it from you.
2. We are not responsible for the results, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
3. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we are witnessing for good or for evil, which one will we choose?
Post 11-06-2015

Working Is Witnessing

even-smaller-bug-light122 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. — Colossians 3:22-25 NIV

Most of us do not have jobs that are commonly considered to be “full-time” work for the Lord.  But, what we need to remember is that whatever our vocation is, that is where we are planted and where we need to bloom. Where we are right now is our mission field.  We have more opportunities to witness every day than those employed by the church.  The pastors and other staff are there to encourage us in our daily lives and minister to the flocks that God has given them.  Most of their conversations are with other Christians, whereas, we are on the battle front everyday. Their job is to equip us to minister in our workplaces. When we are out in the world working for others, we must do so cheerfully and efficiently.  We should be working to please the Lord.  If our work pleases the Lord, it will be found to be more than acceptable by man.  Will we always be recognized and rewarded by our employers and/or our fellow workers?  No, but that should be of very little concern to us. God sees all of our works and stores up rewards for us in heaven. When we are faithful in serving God in the workplace, we can be assured that He notices it.  We live in a work-a-day world, but we are bondservants to Jesus Christ.  He is our Master and our Provider.  When our work pleases Him, we can be assured that we will receive the promotions and rewards in His timing. Be thankful for the provisions that God has made for each of us. If we have a grateful attitude, we won’t need to “put on a happy face”, we can just let the joy of the Lord shine through us and that will attract others to Him.
Post 10-19-2015

Living In Glass Houses

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1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Cor. 4:1​, 2  ​NIV

When we hear the word minister or ministry, we tend to think of pastors. evangelists, missionaries and offices of that sort.  But, God has given each of us a ministry. Each one of us has been called to service by God. Our mission field is where we live, work or go to school.  Our congregations are our families, neighbors, fellow workers and/or fellow students. Just as surely as a pastor is responsible to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and His resurrection to his congregation, we are to do the same for those God has placed in our circle of influence. Just as surely as a pastor should pray for those in his congregation, we are responsible to pray for those around us. Just as surely as a church staff should minister to the needs of the congregation, we should minister to the needs of those God has put in our “congregations”. Whether those needs be spiritual, emotional, physical or financial, we have a responsibility to use the resources God has given us to comfort others.   

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.– 2 Cor. 1:3, 4 NIV

​Our lifestyles should reflect the truth that we are letters sent from Christ written on hearts of flesh by the Holy Spirit and read by everyone who knows us.
2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. — 2 Cor. 3:1, 2 NIV
We should use every ministry opportunity to contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us by God Himself.​
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.– Jude 3 NIV
Post 09-19-2015

Casting Crowns

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32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. – Hebrews 10:32​-3​6 NIV

As Christians living in the “free” countries, we need to be very thankful that we do not have such memories of persecution as the writer of Hebrews has listed here.  At the same time, we need to be cognizant of the fact that our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in other nations are enduring these kind of persecutions right now.  We need to suffer along with them as they are beaten, driven from their homes and imprisoned under false charges. Some of them stay in prisons for years awaiting a trial date and suffering things that we can’t even imagine.  We need to be faithful in supporting them in our prayers and other ways that are available to us.  These brothers and sisters have beautiful testimonies of how God strengthened and sustained them through these times. The ones that were not executed speak of the joy they received because they were counted worthy to suffer with and for Christ. They have and are persevering and their reward will be great.  We also need to be cognizant that such times are approaching for us in our own “free” countries. When we go through these times, are we prepared to “count it all joy”?  Will we persevere and be awarded crowns in heaven to cast at our Savior’s feet? Or will we stand before our Lord empty-handed and receive few or no crowns to cast at our Savior’s feet?
 

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4 NIV

 

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12 NIV

Post 08-29-2015

Don’t Look Back

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.—Gal. 6:7-10 (NIV)
​While Jesus was hanging on the cross, He was mocked by the crowd, the soldiers and even one of the thieves that was hung with Him mocked Him.​ That thief died and went to hell. The other thief asked for forgiveness and ended up in paradise with Jesus. This is a glaring example of immediately reaping what we sow. Just as God spoke the world into existence, we can speak words that create and build up or we can speak words that destroy. Let us be sure that we are speaking words that edify one another and that our actions prove the words that we speak. We will not always receive immediate punishment for bad words and deeds nor will we always receive immediate rewards for good words and deeds. But if we are faithful in doing good works, we have a reward laid up in heaven. So, let us continue to do good works, not for earthly rewards, but because we love our Lord and Savior.
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”—Luke 9:62 (NIV)
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.–2 Tim. 2:12a (NIV)

Post 04-19-2015

Heirs and Joint Heirs

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,​ ​for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.—Gal. 3:23-29 (NIV)
​Before​ the resurrection of Jesus Christ, man had lived in sin and bondage ever since Adam committed the original sin. For a few hundred years man lived without a tutor or guardian, the the law was given to teach us until the great mystery of the Good News was revealed.
25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.–Romans 16:25-27 (NIV)
​We are ​all saved by “grace through faith” and we are all one body, the body of Christ and are therefore the seed of Abraham. If we are the seed of Abraham, then we are heirs and members of the “heir force”. And one glorious day, we will all fly home to be with our Lord and Savior for eternity!

Post 03-31-2015