As For Me and My House!

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!  It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” Joshua 24:15-18, 20 NIV

Looking at Joshua’s adamant stance regarding serving The Lord, we should be reminded of how God functions through those who truly love Him.

If we serve other gods–whether people or things–we cannot love God of all Creation. Not once has a “thing” ever created anything. All the things that people worship are made by the hands of man. And man–has never created anything from nothing. All man has invented was with all that had already been created. It doesn’t take much to invent when materials are already accessible. But show me–one thing–created from nothing by the hands of man.

Since not one thing has ever been created by man, my household will serve The Lord.

I pray all will read Joshua’s experiences with God and God’s promises to Him and make a determination to serve Him and Him alone. When we seek Him for answers and direction, He will provide them–for His glory, not our own.

To God be all glory and majesty forever and ever.

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His Faithfulness and Our Determination!

His Faithfulness and Our Determination!

Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:23 NKJV

Instead of being fearful, we need to be wise and courageous, knowing our God is faithful to all who love Him.

This applies to anything we do–whether in the church or anywhere else–we must know–not believe–we serve a faithful God. And when we know, we can proceed with courage to do all we need to do–knowing we will accomplish the goal.

Yesterday, as I was walking around our high school track, in the midst of a sprinkle, strong winds, and chilly temperatures, I thanked God for being faithful to us. Though the sprinkles continued, I said to Him, “Daddy, I know You love me and I thank You for moving the clouds and warming our bodies as we do this for the kids.

Within minutes, the sprinkles stopped and before long, the clouds moved and the sun shone brightly and more kids came out to participate. Although the temperature rose slightly, so did the wind, but through it all–we were determined and we stayed the course. My personal goal was to walk 20 laps (5 miles) and I walked 26 laps (6.5 miles), not because of who I am, but because of Whose I am. His faithfulness and my determination made it all possible.

God’s faithfulness to us–His children–is never-ending, but what makes the difference between our experiencing victory or defeat is a matter of our own determination. It is our determination that wavers–not God’s faithfulness. So if we want to see victory–in all areas of our lives–let’s work on our determination to endure until the end–because His faithfulness–never wavers.

Be courageous and brave and determined in all you do and His faithfulness will bring it to pass!

Now Is Not The Time To Get Tired!

Now Is Not The Time To Get Tired!

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.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. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7-10 NIV

No matter what happens–locally, nationally, or globally, we must keep our focus on doing what God has called us to do–promote His love and love others.

Let’s face it–none of us has any control over anything that happens in our communities, our nation and certainly not in the world at-large. What we do have is an ability to seek God and His wisdom and the power to love others–continuing to always seek what is best for all.

However, what is best for all–according to The Word–will not be what everyone wants to see, especially the enemy. For what is best for him–is for all mankind to cease to exist. Therefore, he will always stir up confusion and strife among mere mortals because he loves to see us at odds with one another. The devil wants us to hate one another because God wants us to love one another. The devil wants people confused about their gender because God has a specific purpose in making men–men and women–women (male and female). God was not confused when He created the universe or mankind nor is He the author of confusion, but we know who is.

And this is why we (who have a relationship with God) must continually, without fail or getting weary of repeating the same message–God is love and we–as human beings–can only receive His best in our lives when we choose to do things His way.

If the only thing people care about is what pleases their flesh, then they have nothing coming from God for He has said in His Word that the flesh is enmity against the Spirit. In other words–what the Spirit desires for us is what God wants, but what the flesh craves is what the flesh craves and the satisfaction is temporary at best, while the benefits from allowing Holy Spirit to lead us are eternal.

Let me say it this way–giving into fleshly desires–leads to obesity, sickness and disease, sexual depravity, addictions of all kinds and crimes of all nature–theft, murder, extortion, and more. Allowing Holy Spirit to lead us–keeps us from all harm because He wants us to do all things–decently and in order. Holy Spirit will never steer us wrong or in doing wrong and when we get tired–weak from fighting against the demonic forces we face on a daily basis–He is right there–empowering us to keep going and we find we can accomplish more in His strength than in our own.

This then is what we must remind ourselves on a daily basis–God is not fooled by anything the devil influences anyone to do. He is not fooled by fake conciliatory pronouncements by foolish politicians; He is not fooled by the phony rhetoric designed to deceived others; He is not fooled by anything and the only thing the devil does is to make himself in those he has influenced. The devil is a master of deception, but those who know God can spot the deception because we know The Word.

Remember the enemy works to defeat all God loves and when we get tired–physically and spiritually–he’s ready to pounce to convince us our efforts are in vain. Our efforts in promoting The Gospel of Jesus Christ are never in vain and when we feel we’re getting weary, we need to be refreshed and restored, by constant re-visiting of The Word. We can do all things through Him who loves us and with Him, nothing is impossible! He will not withhold any good gift from those He loves and no weapon–not fear or tiredness or anything else–formed against us shall prosper. Nothing the enemy attempts to do to deter us will work. We have victory in Jesus!

A Word of Encouragement!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:6,8 NIV

We know why Moses had to encourage the children of Israel. They were afraid of change and Moses was no longer going to be with them. But he reminded them that The Lord would always be with them and they were not to be afraid.

Those words ring very true today. We need to be strong–strengthened daily by Holy Spirit, determined to move forward knowing that God is going before us and He will never leave us.

Whatever the challenge or obstacle that attempts to get in our way of obeying God and promoting the Gospel, confront it–head on–with love and know that whatever The Lord has put on our hearts to do, He is faithful to see it completed.

So move out–in faith–very courageous and determined–to get it done.

 

Everything Serves A Purpose!

I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.”Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.  Ecclesiastes 1:13-18 NIV

Some days, no matter how much we want to see the “point” of what we do, it simply escapes us.

After a great start on a rainy day, yesterday, the enemy made himself known and though I retained my composure and restrained from reacting to a situation until I could get a better handle on it, I understand–some things that happen are just meaningless and have no point.

Therefore, I will attempt to search deeper to find the meaning that I am obviously missing since I don’t believe that things happen for no reason. Actually, I know exactly why things happened the way they did–it was the written proclamation and exhortation to prayer so we might all see changes in our society.

And just like that–it occurs to me that what I wrote yesterday frightened the enemy into action, hoping to silence me. Well, not a chance!

Thank You, Holy Spirit for revealing understanding even though I thought there was no point in what happened. There is always a point–some meaning–sometimes hidden, but worth seeking.

Hallelujah! I’m on the right track or the enemy wouldn’t bother putting obstacles in my way. Now, I understand and will continue this journey with gladness–no frowns, just smiles, and joy in my heart for the peace I have been given in order to keep moving forward. This just proves that even when we think–the events in our lives are meaningless–when we seek God, He shows us just how relevant everything that happens to us–really is.

My help comes from The Lord and nothing the enemy ever does will stop me from proclaiming God’s goodness--from the rooftops and the valleys–in the streets and in the classroom, wherever I go, He goes and when I allow Him to show out–He does! Glory!

No weapon formed against us shall ever prosper and though we may feel defeated for the moment, victory in Jesus is still ours! Looking to Jesus for all we need!

Moving Forward With Greater Determination!

The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, and this is what it said: “There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’ “You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.” I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination. Nehemiah 6:5-9 NLT

Most Believers know the story–Saballat’s envy and deceptive ploys to stop Nehemiah from building the wall. And for those who don’t know–any good translation of the Bible will reveal the plot to deceive and thwart, but when God has put something on our hearts to do–nothing the enemy does, will matter. When Nehemiah, the king’s cupbearer, prayed and repented for the people, he went before the king with his request to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. “And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.” Nehemiah 2:8 NIV.

The first chapter of Nehemiah contains his prayer and why he was praying. The second chapter reveals his requests and the king’s response. After that–the story unfolds as the challenges, the belittling and persecution those who were working on restoring the wall endured. And when Sanballat conspired to stop the rebuilding, God strengthened all the workers involved and by His spirit–kept Nehemiah encouraged and determined to complete the mission.

Perhaps, there are some people today who want to have something restored in their lives and need the courage to complete the mission–regardless of the challenges set before them. Perhaps, there are some already in the process of completing a mission and need encouragement to keep going to finish the task.

Perhaps, what is getting in their way, is the lack of repentance and submission to God’s Will. Prayer–for all involved in the task–and repentance is in order. When we speak to God in sincerity, recognizing our shortcomings and the wrong paths we’ve taken, He is faithful and just and will hear and honor our requests.

Now, we have a job to do. God has put on our hearts a variety  tasks that only we can do and those tasks vary for every individual. Hear God and know what He wants done in your life and then–be determined to move forward. When obstacles get in the way, pray–asking God for strength to endure and move forward with greater determination to get the job done to the glory of God.

Gather your courage, pray for endurance, and keep moving forward with greater determination to do all God has put on your heart to do!

 

On The Journey–SHIN!

Princes persecute me without a cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your word.

I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.

I hate and abhor lying,
But I love Your law.

Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

LORD, I hope for Your salvation,
And I do Your commandments.

My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.

I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You. Psalm 119:161-168 NKJV

The 21st letter and stanza–acknowledgement, praise and hope in the midst of any trial.

How many times has someone who has authority over us–attempted to misuse their authority and persecute us, simply because we would not conform to doing things their way-in opposition to God’s Word? We were not the first to experience this ploy to get us to be deceitful and dishonest and we won’t be the last.

Whenever anyone expects us to lie or cheat in order to keep a job or to stay in their favor, we should have the same attitude the writer has. We should abhor lying and deceitfulness with a passion and openly denounce it.

Are we in awe of God’s Word enough to keep it–no matter what others do? The more I study and seek God for understanding, the more I realize just how much His Word is so much better than the dictates of man.

In God’s Word–there is Life and Liberty–freedom to live according to God’s Word, knowing we are pleasing God, whether others find fault with us or not.

In God’s Word–there is Justice and Mercy. God’s Word is just–not fair–for His righteousness is just and there is nothing in it we can debate–that will change His intent for our lives. This is why we are constantly reminded in His Word that the wicked shall have their judgment for all the world to see and we are regarded–His righteousness, for we have none of our own.

In God’s Word–there is Love and Grace–God is love and therefore everything He has done, is doing and will do is based upon His love for us. If we follow His commands–to love Him and one another–the world will be filled to overflowing with Love and we shall peace upon the land because of His favor shown towards us.

In God’s Word–there is Peace–His peace that surpasses all understanding. And because we belong to Him, we too can enjoy blessed peace in the midst of chaos and confusion when we live according to His Word.

In God’s Word–there is Light–that overcomes the darkness that hangs as clouds because of the wicked imaginations of those who oppose God. Wherever there is darkness, light dispels it and exposes the deeds of darkness. We cannot hide from God, no matter what we think we can do that He won’t see or know.

In God’s Word–there is healing–for our bodies and for nations under siege–due to differences of opinion and the ravages of war. By His stripes we are healed of illnesses, diseases and with His peace we are healed of frustration and depression over things we cannot control. If those of us who believe Him would simply pray–earnestly–believing He will answer– and repent of our waywardness, He will heal the land.

In God’s Word–there is Truth–for His Word is Truth and His Ways are the true way by which we should live. Whenever God’s Word is not revealed as Truth, peace is disrupted and chaos reigns.

How often we pray to God or communicate with Him on any level is not a matter of prescription or formula, but it should be a way of life for every Believer. I pray throughout the day–thanking God and praising Him for His goodness–and I have no idea how many times I do it; I just do it.

My soul loves Jesus and all my hope is in Him for there is no hope in any other! How about you?

On The Journey-TSADDE!

Righteous are You, O LORD,
And upright are Your judgments.

Your testimonies, which You have commanded,
Are righteous and very faithful.

My zeal has consumed me,
Because my enemies have forgotten Your words

Your word is very pure;
Therefore Your servant loves it.

I am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget Your precepts.

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your law is truth.

Trouble and anguish have overtaken me,
Yet Your commandments are my delights.

The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting;
Give me understanding, and I shall live

The 18th letter and stanza of this acrostic expression of the writers deep-seated emotions about their circumstances.

When we do everything we can to do what is right, do we get tired when we see our efforts fall short?

This is what I’m getting out of this stanza–the writer knows that God’s laws are right, he’s trying to live by them, but all around them, people are living by their own standards and codes of righteousness. He’s getting tired–of being harassed because of his zeal to do things God’s way, instead of the way people consider to be just.

I’ve often felt that way myself. Not that I’m so perfect, but when I try to live according to God’s Word and then watch all those who don’t–appear to prosper–my flesh gets weak and I want to angry and want to tell people off. However, when Holy Spirit speaks to my heart, I calm down and continue to seek God’s Word, with my mind made up to do things God’s Way.

I know many Believers who have encountered some of the same things I have in this regard–we are criticized, ridiculed, and persecuted because we refuse to go along with the status quo–accept everything everyone does and ignore God. We won’t do it.

Our opposition–or at least mine–has come from two primary sources–those who don’t believe in God and those who promote living in opposition to God’s Word because it is politically expedient.

Though I get weary and spiritually weak in this continuing fight, I won’t give up. I won’t allow those who choose not to Believe, to deter me or dissuade me. They have a right to believe or not believe just as I do. When they choose to cite science as a standard, I know they have forgotten--if they ever knew–that God created all that was ever created and the goal of science is to try to explain–why–science does not create anything from nothing, which is why scientists are yet puzzled by Creation and are forever trying to discover–the how and why. That’s what they do–discover–not create.

On the other hand, I am appalled at Believers–those who proclaim to be Christians or at least know something about The Word–those who encourage living in opposition to God’s Word and promote ungodliness. It is this group that has the most to worry about when they stand before God on That Day. It is because of sin running rampant and approved by Supreme Court Justices and any other legislative body or persons–who refuse to see the benefit of God’s Word as His intent for mankind that the world is in the shape it is.

We must call sin–sin! Liars (and this covers most politicians) are sinners! Thieves–in high places and low places are sinners! All sexual behavior outside the parameters of marriage as God defines it–is sin! Having respect of person (giving people advantages over others for no reason other than association)–is sin! Allowing self-pride–in thinking we know more than we do to reign–is sin and usually leads to problems! When we don’t know something, we should own it, and seek to learn it.

This is what the writer has concluded–without God’s Word to guide him, there can be nothing but chaos and destruction. Have we reached that conclusion? Are we going with the status quo–anything goes? Are we cementing our relationship with the God of Heaven or the god of this world?

We have choices to make–if we haven’t already made them–and I choose to Believe God and live according to His Word--not the dictates of man. What about you?

Twelve Days of Kindness-Day 9!

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 NKJV

From what Paul expresses here, in order to show kindness, we must be rich in mercy in our attitudes towards others.

Are we rich in mercy–being kind even when people have done nothing to warrant our kindness?

For that is what mercy is and does. Had it not been for God’s mercy–His willingness to not give us what we deserved for our sins, where would we be? I’m not saying we should pretend to be God, but we can act Godly in our relationships with others. Think about it! If we had been given what we deserved by God, none of us would have an opportunity for eternal life with Him.

So, if we understand mercy and have received His mercy, can we not show mercy towards others and therefore extend kindness whether warranted or not? There are some people who are so mean, their jaws might break if they attempted to smile, but smile at them anyway. Some won’t return a morning greeting, but greet them anyway. And still others might turn up at their noses when you treat them with kindness, but be kind any way.

On this ninth day of showing kindness, be vigilant and very determined to complete the mission whether others understand it or not, appreciate it or not, and whether they are receptive or not.  Remember, we are not responsible for their response, but in what we do and how we respond to them.

Have a great day showing kindness!

Looking To The Word!

Looking To The Word!

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-23 NIV)

In times like these, when we look at senseless violence and hatred, we cannot turn to man or woman or even military might; we must look to The Word–for comfort, direction, instruction, and peace–gaining confidence in Him and boldness to proclaim our faith in Him.

No logical mind can explain or receive illogical behavior and we cannot justify it by simply praying or being fearful. We must understand the enemy’s attack (all destruction is influenced by Satan), and stand firmly on God’s Word, seeking what He would have us to do, before responding–illogically. This is a spiritual war against humanity and we must resolve it in the Spirit–with faith enough in God so He will move on behalf of all those who proclaim to love Him. Now is not the time to cower and retreat, now is the time for Believers all over the world, to step up their prayer-life, knowing that we have the power to transform lives by our faith and confidence in Jesus Christ.

For The Word tells us when we pray–BELIEVE–WITHOUT DOUBTING and we shall have what we say when we ask in the name of Jesus.

Father,

I cannot imagine the heartache that exists right now in Paris and in other places due to destructive cowardice of a few led astray by Your arch enemy–the hater of mankind. My heart is heavy, but my spirit soars in the knowledge that You will avenge the cowardly acts and restore faith, and peace in all nations when they turn to You.

I pray that all who are hurting will put their hurt into Your hands and watch You give them peace and joy that no enemy–in no form–can ever take from them. I pray this act of senseless violence will result in greater faith and confidence and boldness for all who know You to persist in promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We know that without You going before us, we can accomplish nothing, but with You–we can accomplish all things and know that victory is ours.

Speak to the hearts of leaders everywhere, providing them wisdom from You–giving them direction and resolutions that will lead to peace on earth.

Loose the shackles that bind minds and cause the scales of blind ignorance to fall from the eyes of those who willingly perpetrate crimes against all humanity for a cause that cannot won on this side of heaven.

Let the tears that have already fallen form a pool of determination and as deep as the pool is–so shall our joy in You be, knowing we can count on You and our love for others–gets stronger, nullifying hate.

This I ask and thank You for in the name of Jesus, and declare it done. Victory is ours!

SPEAK THE WORD OVER ALL SITUATIONS AND SEEK GOD’S WILL!