Archive | September 2013

Ohana

Jeremiah 24:7 – “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

I think that most everyone has seen the movie with the toys that come to life in the little boy’s bedroom. The little guy writes his name on his toys. This makes the toys feel special and loved. They feel that being lost or forgotten is the worst punishment a toy could endure. Just like in another children’s movie the phrase is made: “Ohana means family. And family means no one gets lost or forgotten.”

God has created a very special “Ohana”. He has written His name on our hearts. He has given us a heart to love and seek after Him.

We have a lot of people wandering around out there in the world that feel lost and forgotten. The devil has convinced them that they are of no use or value to anyone, especially God. Even followers of Christ can get lured into this false idea. They might find themselves in a valley that seems to have no way out and they feel all alone. Friend, remember, you never walk anywhere alone when you have chosen Jesus as your Savior. Some times He is just waiting for you to come to Him. Maybe you have run off and left Him. Turn around and run back.

Remember in that movie I was talking about? The toys got lost and they set out on a journey to get back to their owner and their family. Today, if you find yourself floundering around in the world and you feel like a fish out of water, go back. Find your “Ohana” and seek shelter with your Owner, the Owner of your heart and soul. Let Him comfort and keep you.

I just wanna be a sheep, baa, baa, baa, baa!

Genesis 22:1 – “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied.”

How available are we to hear the call of God? If He were to call your name right now, would you hear it?

If you are like me, most times you are so busy, caught up in the to-do list that you would just tune Him out. We are like that. We think we are too busy to stop and hear that still small voice speaking to our heart.

But when God called to Abraham, Abraham stopped and listened.
John 10:27 – “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Sheep. Do you know why Jesus used the analogy of sheep in the Bible? Well, there were two reasons. One, every one knew what it was to be a shepherd. That was a primary occupation in those days. Another reason, sheep are not the brightest crayon in the box. They are not known for their problem solving skills or high intelligence. But they do following really well. And not just following anyone or anything. No, if there is one thing a sheep will do, it is follow their shepherd. Oh, they wonder off at times and the shepherd has to go and get them. But generally, they follow.

Jesus wants us to follow Him like that. He doesn’t want us to be unintelligent or ignorant. No, He wants us to choose to follow Him and to do so intelligently. Why do you think He left us this Guide Book? He wants us to attempt to understand Him and follow Him because we love Him. We will never truly understand all the facets of God but we are supposed to give it an honest shot and do our best.

This weekend, princess, listen. Listen to hear Him speak to you. Don’t wait until Sunday morning sitting at church during invitation to listen. Do it today. Listen when He encourages you. Listen when He instructs you. Listen when He tells you “I love you.”

The Scope of Eternity

Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

Is this a recipe for a magic genie? Nope. God is not a genie that grants wishes. He is the All-Knowing, All Powerful, God of the universe. And he cares about you. Little old you sitting here reading this blog. No matter where you are at or what you are doing, God has a vested interest in your life. That is pretty amazing isn’t it?

My kids were fighting yesterday over who gets to sit in the front seat. I remember those fights with my brother. I asked them this, “Does it really matter in the scope of eternity who gets to sit in the front seat?” My son, being the character he is, said yes. My daughter wasn’t so sure.

The point of this and the verse is to remind us that when we make plans, when we decide to do something, we need to look at it from the scope of eternity. We all have one of those in our hearts, we just rarely get it out.

We are constantly asking God for something. 1 John 5:14, 15 – “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we known ow that we have what we ask of him.” This may look like another genie verse, but there is a key to this verse that transcends to the other verse as well – “according to his will”. Hum, how about that?

If we are going to ask God for something, we had best make sure that it is in His will. If we are going to commit our plans out Him, shouldn’t we make sure that we got those plans from Him in the first place?

We would do well to remember that God sees things in the scope of eternity. He sees the beginning and the end. And everything in between. That is why it is so important to let God direct the things we ask for and the direction we go. Without Him, we are a dog chasing our tail.

So today, princess, my challenge to you is to see things in the scope of eternity. Check your motives for what you ask and what you choose to do today. Make sure that God is directing the cart.

I am convicted

Ezekiel 33:30-32 – “As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.”

I heard this verse yesterday on the radio. It moved my heart. I was convicted. How many times do we go to church, hear the message and walk out the door unaffected? Oh, there might be a moment when we listen and let God move in our hearts, but something happens at the threshold – we loose it. We somehow let go of the change God wanted to make in our life.

We invite people to church. We encourage them to go and read their Bibles. But do we? Do we take the time and truly apply what we have learned when we do take the time to read our Bible?

Are we just giving God lip service? Do we express devotion with our lips and then act greedy and unjustly when we are outside the building? Am I just sitting in service to be entertained in some way or am I truly there to worship?

My heart is saddened. I am sad because I know that at times I am guilty. I am sad because I see it happening Sunday morning after Sunday morning. If I am guilty, I know someone else is too. And that makes me sad. Sad because of all the missed opportunities to serve. How many people have wondered in and out of my life without me saying a word to them about my Savior? How many will today?

I know I have written about obedience before but it is a topic near and dear to my heart, probably because I know I need to work on it. I just see so many people floundering, myself included. Obedience is a choice. Applying what we have learned from Scripture is a choice. We all have choices to make. Some are easy and some are not so easy. Obedience may mean getting out of your comfort zone. It may mean putting yourself out there a bit more than you want to. But as I heard yesterday, obedience is an opportunity for a blessing. God wants to do amazing things in your life. Are you willing to obey to see what will happen? Or are you content to stay on the sidelines and wait for Judgement Day to find out what you could have done?

Tesing vs. tempting

James 1:12-14 – “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt any one; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

Today I want to look at the difference between being tempted and being tested. There is a difference.
First, let’s look at temptation. Temptation is from the devil. Temptation is the opportunity to sin. And sin is of Satan. He is the one that wants to see us fall. As a child of the King, he cannot take us from the Father’s hand, so he is out to destroy our testimony. This is not a new tactic. He did the same thing with Jesus. Look at Matthew 4:1 – “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Jesus was presented with the opportunity to fail. He had the opportunity to take Satan up on his offers. But He chose to stop Satan in his tracks. What did He use? Scripture. He knew the Words that would send the devil packing. We need to employ this same tactic. We need to say, “Get behind me Satan! I don’t want any part in what you are offering!” Get him out of there. Don’t give him a foothold.

Next is testing. Testing takes on a whole different light. Testing can be used to show us what is in our hearts.
Psalm 138:23,24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God can and does use testing to show us sin in our lives. Just as a metal smith uses fire to purify a metal, so God uses testing to purify our hearts to better serve Him.
Deuteronomy 8:2 – “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Now, did God really not know what was in their hearts? No, I think He wanted them to know what was in their hearts. God tested the children of Israel out in the desert to show them that He is God and to show them their desire within their hearts to serve Him. Sometimes we need that reminder.

This week, as you are going through things that come up on you, remember to identify if it is a test or a temptation. God will bring the testing and Satan will bring the tempting. Just remember who to say “no” to and who to say “yes” to.

Daniel

Daniel1:8 -“Now Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way.”

The world is hounding us. Daily we are bombarded with images that attempt to tell us how to look and act, what to eat and drink even what to drive and where to live. There are people out there that would like nothing else than to tell us how to live each and every aspect of our life. I don’t know about you but I do not like that. The rebellious part of me wants to do just the opposite because I don’t want to be told what to do.

But let’s take a look at Daniel. This verse in the book of Daniel shows us so many characteristics about Daniel that we can apply to our life today.
1. He resolved. That means he decided firmly. When you resolve to do something, good Lord willing, it will get done. Nothing short of Him will stop you. This is what happened with Daniel. He resolved that he was not going to defile himself by eating the food that he knew he should not eat, according to God’s law. How many times do we “resolve” to do something? If you are like me, not too often. You really don’t want to put forth that much effort into something. So sad. So sad that we don’t have that kind of passion any more.
2. He asked permission. This is a sign of respect. He knew in his heart what needed to be done. He knew what was right, but he had been taught to respect authority. Too many people today do not respect authority according to God’s word. God wants us to be respectful of people, especially those who have been given authority over us. Remember, their power over us came from Him and ultimately, they have to answer to Him for all that they do and the choices they make.
3. Remember Daniel’s age. He wasn’t very old here. Verse 4 calls the people the king chose from among the Israelites “young men”. Young people would do well to read the book of Daniel and study his life at this time. They should study his way of presenting himself and see what was really important to him and his 3 friends.

In conclusion, just be on your guard, princess. The world is out to control you. To ruin your testimony of Jesus in your life. You have to resolve to let God guard you and show you the way to go. Don’t let someone tell you otherwise. Choose to be different but be respectful when you do so – that impression will go a long way.

Be a light

Matthew 5:14-16 – “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Does the light come on in your oven when you open the door? How about the fridge? The microwave? How about your Bible? Oh, caught you off guard with that one, didn’t I?

I hate it when a light goes out in my house. Especially at night. It is really, really dark where I live at night. So when a light goes out, my house feels dark, at least in that one area.

How is the light in your heart? Does it come on when you open your Bible? Do you think about the Word of God any other time during the day or do you just consider it when it is the scheduled time for Bible reading? Can Joe Blow off the street see the light of The Lord in your life just as you walk down the street? Can people easily see that you are different?

In today’s world, we sometimes want to stay hidden. Get out of the spot light and just cruise. I know I do. That’s part of the reason I love where we live, I can easily get away. But God does not want us to stay hidden. Jesus called us a “city on a hill”. How many cities on a hill can stay hidden, especially when the lamps are lit? He wants us out there. He wants us showing His love to everyone.

I’ve been watching old episodes of a tv show that has people with lots of money going undercover to find worthy individuals who are helping others that could use a donation to their cause. Although the show is not centered around Jesus, He is definitively there. Most of the recipients that I have seen have mentioned something along the line of “praying for something like this” to happen. They are out there trusting God to provide exactly what they need. They are being a light in someone’s world. Now, I know that we don’t all have the calling from God to go and start a non-profit organization that reaches out to those in need. But we do all have the calling to reach out to the needy – physically, emotionally or spiritually needy. We can all do something to help someone around us.

Today princess, it is my challenge to you to find someone in need of you help. It may be as simple as praying for someone or maybe you need to get your hands dirty today and really do something. Either way, let God move you to the one He has set up for you to help. Be willing and ready to be a light today for your Savior.