Tag Archives: Inspiration

Our Reasonings Or God’s Secrets?

20 Jun

photo-1436228625646-f30c3e8447b0There are differences in imaginations, reasonings and the secret things of God. Do you know the difference?

Dan 2:22-23   22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you. . .NIV

When adversity and/or great tribulation comes our way – suddenly and unexpected at times – our first reactions will speak loudly of what we believe about God and how much we trust Him.

2 Cor 10:3-5   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  NKJV

At times, circumstances arise for which we have no control and no knowledge of how to handle them or cope with them.  Our imaginations begin to run wild. We begin to let the events play over and over in our minds. We lose our composure and our emotions are completely unstable. Our peace goes out the window. Confusion sets in and we find it difficult to focus on any one thing. We find ourselves in the midst of a dreadful storm. The waves are high all around us, the water is rough and our boat is being tossed uncontrollably.  We have to do something, but what? This is where our reasoning comes in.

I found myself in similar circumstances recently.  I am a child of God. I serve Him and walk with Him daily.  I know His Word teaches me to keep my mind stayed on Him and He will keep me in perfect peace.

Isa 26:33 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. NKJV

Keeping our minds stayed on God during trying times is a deliberate action on our part. It is not always an automatic response on our part.  Walking with God doesn’t come naturally to us, as does walking in the flesh. It always comes down to choice. It is never easy, as we determine what easy means. The difficulty lies in giving all of it to God. Easy to say, hard to do. The struggle within us is almost unbearable at times.  While God is telling us to be still and trust Him,  the turmoil within us is screaming for us to do something quickly!

Our faith and trust in God is tested in these life events.  As we walk with God, on a daily basis, constantly acknowledging Him and seeking Him, we being to be more aware of His presence. At times, we feel that He isn’t nearby, that He is far away and we are alone in our situation. The way we “feel” doesn’t determine the truth. Jesus IS the truth and He is THE WAY. What that means is HE is the one we focus on during these trying times. Only He can guide us to the answers we seek. As we begin to develop our relationship with Him and turn to Him in all things, from the smallest action to the most important, the faster we can  overcome our own reasonings and imaginations.

Ps 119:105-107  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. NIVP

119:108-109  108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.  NIV

Picture a lamp at your feet in the darkness. It lights up only a small portion of what is ahead of you. We can’t see what is ahead or around the corner. We can only see where the next step is. That is how to follow God daily; especially in the midst of trials and tribulations. We should grab our lamp and let God lead. Otherwise, we will stumble and fall in the darkness. Of course, we can get back up and stumble some more. Or, we can pick up God’s lamp (His Word, His guidance) and avoid the pitfalls.

God has the answers. He IS the solution. His timing is perfect. He knows the way we take.  He knows the pitfalls. Why not take His hand and “The Lamp” and let Him show us the way?

Merriam Webster’s Definition of “Reason” (ing)  

  1. a (1) :  the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways :  intelligence (2) :  proper exercise of the mind (3) :  sanityb :  the sum of the intellectual powers

  2. 3archaic :  treatment that affords satisfaction

This is what faith is:

Heb 11:1  11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  NIV

As God’s children, we don’t live and walk by what we see. The circumstances can change. We can change our minds or make wrong decisions. God is the ONE who IS the Way.

When trials come (and they will)  God wants us to run to Him FIRST, not last. He alone knows what we should do. We can’t expect Him to bless our decisions if He is not in them.  He wants our love and our friendship.  Do we want it as much as He does? Or would we rather stumble around in the dark hoping we miss the pitfalls? He leaves the choice to us.

 

 

 

 

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God Knows Where You Are Going Even If You Don’t – Part 3

30 Sep

Boaz, The Son of a Harlot, Ruth, a Pagan – Brought Together by God and Became Part of the Lineage of Jesus Christ! 

Continued . . .

How great is our God! He took ordinary people – sinners – saved them and turned their lives around and made them part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King!

So, we find Ruth under the blanket, at the feet of a strange man. She did not sleep, she waited. It must have seemed a long time to Ruth. Finally, Boaz was startled and woke up! He asked who was there. Ruth replied, giving her name, and announcing she was his servant girl. She requested that he spread his cover over her. She told him she was a relative and reminded him that he was supposed to take care of her. The more we learn about Ruth, the braver she seems to get! Obedience certainly takes courage.

“Boaz was an older man, possibly a leader in the city. Naomi was certain that he would do the right thing and redeem her as was the custom of the day. If there was anything improper about this action, the fault must lie upon Naomi. . who knew or should know, the laws of Israel better than Ruth. It is true that Boaz, being near of kin to Naomi’s oldest son, and then nearest of all now alive, was obliged by the divine law to marry the widow of Mahlon, who was the eldest son of Elimelech, and was dead. Her coming to lie down at his feet, when he was asleep had such an appearance of evil. . . It is dangerous to bring the spark and tinder together; she (Naomi) knew Boaz to be not only an old man, but a grave sober man, a virtuous and religious man, and one that feared God.” (Bible Commentary)

Just imagine what God can do with one so dedicated and obedient. Here we are today, a couple of thousand years later, reading about a young woman born into a pagan land, submitting herself to one of God’s own and reaping such a mighty reward, here on this earth, in her lifetime – -God’s grace – His mercy – His blessing! Amazing!

Boaz blessed her! Wow! He realized Ruth was once again being obedient to Naomi by being there. He told Ruth he thought this was the greatest kindness that she had shown Naomi even from the beginning. Boaz was so intuitive. He told Ruth of his respect for her because she had not sought after a husband to marry, either rich or poor. Even more amazing, Boaz told Ruth he would do all she asked. He went so far as to tell her that all the people in their town knew she was a good woman. Then he then told Ruth that there was another kinsmen who was a closer relative than he. This meant there was a problem. Well, isn’t that the way life is?

This was an open door for doubt and unbelief to come in. We all face this in our daily lives. Many give up at this point and begin to murmur and complain. But, we can look back at how the path God had prepared for Ruth and know that He is still in control. His plan is still in operation. This is just a slight detour.

Boaz told Ruth not to be afraid. He told her of his plan to go to the other relative to see if he would take care of Ruth and if he refused, Boaz would do it. He then told her to stay there until morning. Ruth slept at his feet, not at his side, and got up just before daylight while it was still too dark for anyone to recognize her. “But as soon as the day broke, that she had light to go home by, she got away, before one could know another, that, if she were saying, yet she might not be known to be abroad soul unseasonably. She was not shy of being known to be a gleaner in the field, nor ashamed of that mark at her poverty. But she would not willingly be known to be a night walker, for her virtue was her greatest honor, and that what she most valued”. (Bible Commentary)

Ruth returned to her mother-in-law and told her what happened. Naomi advised Ruth to “wait”. She said that Boaz would not rest until he took care of the matter. And, as Naomi predicted, Boaz went to the city gate and waited there until the other close relative passed by. Boaz invited him to come and talk. He also gathered ten of the older leaders of the city as witnesses and told them about Naomi’s return to Bethlehem from Moab. He told the men that Naomi wanted to sell the piece of land that belonged to their relative, Elimelech. He offered the nearest relative the opportunity to buy the land and asked for an answer. The other relative said he would buy back the land. Goodness, another bump in the road of God’s plan. To be expected – right?

Boaz continued to explain that if he (the nearest relative) purchased the land from Naomi he must marry Ruth, the Moabite. That meant the land would stay in the name of Naomi’s son, which was customary in that day.

This changed everything! The close relative said he could not buy the land because it might interfere with what he could pass on to his own sons. So he told Boaz to buy it himself. Finally!

We all face bumps in the road as we wait upon God. Many times we give up – or take matters into our own hands. We live in a world where most things we want are instant, so waiting on God is not easy for any of us. But, the Scripture tells us that “Good things come to those who wait”.

So, Boaz declared to the older leaders that they were witnesses as to his purchasing from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons. He also announced that he was taking Ruth, the Moabite, as his wife so that her property would stay in his name and not be separated from his family. The older leaders testified to their witness of Boaz’s claim and blessed Boaz and Ruth.

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife. They had a son and Naomi was praised by the people of her town. They all gave credit to the faithfulness of Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who loved her. The child’s name was given to him by the people of the town. They call him Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David from whom our Lord Jesus descended.

To make this story even more amazing, Boaz was the son of Rahab. Just think about it. Rahab was a harlot. God saved her and blessed her and she became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. And Boaz, born to Rahab, a fine man of God married a Moabite woman, called “strange” in that day due to her heritage. Yet, God saved her and brought her together with Boaz. Together they brought forth a son and became a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. “Ruth is hereby brought in among the ancestors of David and Christ, which was the greatest honor. The genealogy is here drawn from Pharez, through Boaz and Obed, to David, and so leads towards the Messiah, and therefore it is not an endless genealogy”. (Bible Commentary)

Only God – – -only God – – -could bring about such an amazing, miraculous plan. As we were promised in the beginning of this story, “all things worked together to those who loved God. . .”

This is not the end of Ruth’s story – it’s a new beginning!

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

My Inspiration to Blog

19 Jan

I have been working toward writing more. In that regard, I was “studying” about blogging at The Daily Post – Blogging 101. They requested we submit an article to them as to our inspiration for blogging. Following was my response. Thought I might as well share it with my followers.

What inspires me as a blogger: People – All people, everywhere inspire me to blog. I want all people to know God in heaven, like I do. Not that I’m special. I certainly am not. I’m just the opposite. I’m ordinary. Probably not even ordinary; below ordinary. But, I serve a God who loves me just like I am, warts and all. Really. How do I know this? Because day after day, no matter what goes on in my life, He is there to encourage me and lift me up. He is there to let me know I am special – special to Him. That’s all that really matters to me. It’s all that matters because I’ve tasted so many other things that don’t satisfy.

The one constant in my life, the one person who is always there with an open hand for me to come and sit a while, is Jesus Christ, my Lord. He’s not only my Lord, He’s my friend. It’s not as quirky as it might sound. It is so real. That’s the reason I’m inspired to blog. I want everyone to know that God loves them just exactly as they are and has open arms to welcome them – no requirements other than to acknowledge Him, ask His forgiveness of sins, and accept Him. It’s that simple.

There aren’t a list of rules to follow after that. Simply be. One day at a time. Listen with your heart and your spirit. Listen to your conscience. His burden is easy, His yoke is light. I blog to give hope to everyone who might not have any, and acceptance to those who don’t feel accepted by anyone. This inspiration is constant – never-ending.

You May Have The Gift of Prophecy If . . .

12 Oct

SPIRITUAL GIFTS (23)

The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

  • Rom 12:3-8
  • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
  • The word “Prophecy” can bring about many different reactions in people. The main reason is because it is misunderstood. Some of the misunderstandings include the belief that prophecy passed away after Jesus came. Others just simply believe that prophecy is not necessary today.
  • The dictionary gives us a couple of different definitions: 1) A statement of something that will happen in the future; 2) The power or ability to know what will happen in the future; 3) An inspired utterance of a prophet; 4) the function of a prophet; specifically: the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose. (Merriam-Webster)
Inspiration is a technical term for the Holy Spirit’s supernatural guidance of those who received special revelation from God  . . .
The end result  . . . the truths which God wants His people to know  (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
Definition – PROPHECY, PROPHESY, PROPHESYING
Propheteia ^4394^ signifies “the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God”
  • • “Though much of OT prophecy was purely predictive, see <Micah 5:2>, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling.
  • •It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, <Matt. 26:68>
  • •It is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see <Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3>….
  • •(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
  • . . . But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  (2 Pet 2:1) (KJV)
  • •The difference is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures.”
  • •(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

More characteristics of the Motivational Gift of Prophecy:

They can sometimes “see” something going on in someone else’s life
They are  able to discern and foresee the consequences of that decision
They are interested in correcting the decision – NOT their feelings -NOT their attitude
They are NOT interested in whether they accept him/her or not. . .Just in getting that thing corrected in your life before you really blow it!
They are NOT interested in the details – they want to keep you from making a mistake
According to Strongs and Brown, Driver, Briggs “Discern” means:
  1. To know
  2. To perceive
  3. To perceive and to see
  4. To discriminate, to distinguish
  5. To know by experience
  6. To recognize
  7. To have knowledge, to be wise

The person with the gift of Prophecy has a very strong sense of discernment. God teaches them how to discern truth. He uses His Word from Scripture to teach this discernment. The better a person knows the Word of God, the sharper their discernment will become.

They have:

  • The capacity to identify, define and hate evil – Romans 12:9, I Timonty 3:7
  • The willingness to experience brokenness to prompt brokenness.
  • The dependence on Scriptural truth to validate their authority.
  • A desire for outward evidence to demonstrate inward conviction – I Peter 4:11
  • They look at outward expressions or verbal responses. – I Corinthians 14:25
  • They have a directness, frankness and persuasiveness in speaking.
  • They are honest and want others to be honest. (Titus 2:8)
  • They have a concern for the reputation and program of God
  • They have an inward weeping and personal identification with the sins of others.
  • They care for others.
  • They have a real love for the lost.
  • They have an eagerness to have others point out their blind spot(s).
•(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

  • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
  • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
  • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
  • Biblesoft Libraries
  • Sandy Trice
  • David Francis

Who’s Voice Are You Following?

21 Aug
Spiritual Gifts (14)

The gifts we are discussing in this series are the Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:3-8:

  • Rom 12:3-8
  • 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV
PROPHECY, PROPHESY, PROPHESYING
Propheteia ^4394^ signifies “the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
  • “Though much of Old Testament prophecy was purely predictive, see <Micah 5:2>, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling.
  • It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, <Matt. 26:68>
  • It is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see <Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3>.
  • “With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy apparently passed away, (1 Cor. 13:8,9)
  • In his measure the teacher has taken the place of the prophet. . .
  • But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  (2 Pet 2:1) (KJV)
  • The difference is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures.”(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)

Continued below are more distinctions of the person whom God has bestowed the Gift of Prophecy – They are:

  • Deeply concerned about the reputation of the church
  • Quick to give advice; sometimes impatient with people and their problems
  • Speak with authority, especially about the Bible
  • Sometimes viewed as negative; have to work to be positive
  • Often accused of talking too much, but just can’t seem to help it!
  • They edify (build up), encourage (exhort), and console (comfort)
  • Their message is incomplete if it stops short of these goals
  • This gift is intended primarily for believers, though an unbeliever who hears their message may come under conviction
The person God uses to serve with the gift of Prophecy is inspired by the Holy Spirit – if they are walking in the Spirit and not the flesh. Inspiration is a technical term for the Holy Spirit’s supernatural guidance of those who received special revelation from God  . . .the end result  . . . the truths which God wants His people to know. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
  • Inspiration . . . is a statement about God’s greatness. God is intelligent and able to communicate with man, whom He created in His image. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

God does not only give inspiration to those with the gift of Prophecy. His Word tells us that His sheep know Him and they hear His voice, and the voice of another they will not follow. I didn’t say it – God said it. To me this means that God is speaking to us but we may not be listening, or we may not realize we are hearing God speak to us.

It is important that we develop our hearing – we can do that. It’s like making a new friend and not yet recognizing their voice when they call you. You must get to know them better to immediately recognize their voice.

To know God’s voice it is vital to know His Word through the Bible. God’s voice is not the only voice we hear. If we are not acquainted with His Word to know His ways, we won’t always know where the voice in our hearts or our minds is coming from.

I believe that the person with the gift of Prophecy has a very strong desire to know God’s Word through the Bible. And, I believe that in giving this gift to a person, God causes them to yearn for truth and for understanding of His Scripture. Please understand that God wants this same thing for all of us. The person with the gift of Prophecy is not singled out for this blessing. We are talking about motivation. In order for God to reach us and minister to us, He puts stronger desires in each heart, customized if you will, to meet the needs of His people.

We are all very different – that is a given. We didn’t have to ask for the gift that God gave us, it is part of our personality. Remember, Psalms 139 tells us that God knew us before we were ever born. He knew all about us. He knew what our personalities would be and the circumstances that would surround us, that would influence us and that would define us.

God works all things for our good, if we belong to Him. That means that everything about us makes up our personality and affects us in some way. God takes all of life’s situations to create us into the person He wants us to be. Obviously, we don’t yield at times. But, if we truly love God and want His best for our lives, we seek Him and ask Him for guidance. When we pray for patience, how are we to learn it if we don’t experience situations where patience is needed?

Following God is not easy. But, it’s the most rewarding thing we will ever do. We will understand what true love is all about. He ALWAYS knows what is best for us. He knows our hearts much better than we do. It may take some time to adjust to things that happen in our lives but if we acknowledge Him in all we do (which we are told to do in His Word) we will be molded and shaped into the person He wants us to be.

Another Sinner – Used By God!

12 Jun

Lydia was a woman of substance. She grew up in paganism and became disillusioned with it. She wanted more. Lydia had something very special – an open heart. God had a plan for her life and saw to it that she was at the right place at the right time to receive Him into her life.

Scripture tells us that “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” We are all called, some just don’t answer.

Lydia loved her family. It has been determined that she was a widow. We pick up her story when she was away from home on a business trip. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatire, famous for its dyeing trade.

It is interesting to note that Lydia had not yet accepted Christ. She was not a child of God. Or, was she? We have the advantage of seeing Lydia’s story from start to finish, through God’s Holy Scripture. We read it in God’s Word, after the fact. God is omnipotent, He sees it before it happens! As a matter of fact, He orchestrates all of the events.

God is always in control. Sometimes, it doesn’t appear that way to us. Circumstances become overwhelming and we just can’t seem to get a handle on things. We do all we can. We take the steps we know to take. This is the point where Scripture tells us to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. We are told to rest in Him as we go about our daily routines.

It is too far out of reach for us to understand how God can orchestrate –arrange our lives – everyone – so that all things work together for everyone’s good. Just think about it. That is exactly what He does. Knowing this should help us to rest in Him, as we are told through the Scriptures. We don’t actually take that as a profound direction. But we should. This story of Lydia and Paul will help us understand a little about how God works all things together for good.

Paul was a mighty man of God by the time he met Lydia. He had been forbidden to preach in her hometown. Interestingly, God arranged for Lydia to be on a sales trip in the same city where Paul was ministering. Had she not been away from home she would never have been where God had arranged for her to meet Paul and be introduced to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.

On that day, Lydia was at the gate on the Sabbath for her own purposes –to gather with her people to pray. Paul and Silas also journeyed to the gate on that Sabbath. Paul, Silas and Lydia were brought together by the providence of God. This is an example of how God’s plan is working together to bring about good. Paul was shut out of Bithynia and silenced in his journey through Mysia and was now in the same place as was Lydia!

In this case, all circumstances were changed in their lives. God brought them together, and Lydia was introduced to Jesus Christ and became the first European convert. God had prepared Lydia’s heart and opened it to hear and receive Paul’s words.

Why is this story important enough to be in the Bible? Lydia is only mentioned briefly in the Scripture. She was enough of an example for us that she was mentioned by name that we might follow her example.

Meditation upon God’s word is important. If we read through it quickly without understanding, we can miss valuable insights that God has for us. As God gives us revelation to these insights our faith is increased, our trust in God becomes stronger, and we learn more of how to walk in peace and not to fear our future. God is always in control.

God brought His mighty Apostle, Paul, together with this widow proselyte by rearranging both their circumstances. As soon as Lydia heard Paul’s message and believed in Jesus, her heart was at rest. Her destiny had been changed for eternity!

Lydia immediately, with her family, took a stand for Jesus. Her heart was full of excitement and gratitude. She wanted to give back. It did not take weeks or months, it was immediate. The joy of the Lord was now in her heart. Her life had been changed forever. It now had meaning and purpose. Some people never apply the truth they hear. They are hearers only, not doers. Some think what they hear is for others and not for themselves.

Lydia wanted to show her gratitude and invited God’s servants to her home to abide there. God knew Lydia would respond and step forward to provide what his servants needed. Once again, we see God providing for His own.

It is said that actions speak louder than words. Although there aren’t many verses of Scripture in the Bible about Lydia we can learn many things from her example. In fact, Lydia sets an example for all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives.

Amazing is the fact that one individual made such an impact that the Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Acts to tell her story. Of major significance here are the actions of Lydia upon her conversion. We get a glimpse of how we are to behave in the world around us to show our love for God in our actions. We don’t have to be someone special. Like Lydia, God can use as in a mighty way even if we are a salesman.

There are many people today who only learn about Jesus through our actions. We are not always free to discuss our beliefs with those we love or those we see on a regular basis. When we do try to “preach” at someone and they are not receptive, we are then scrutinized with our every move, and especially every mistake or failure. This indicates clearly that our actions have made more of an impression than our words.

Additionally, we need to realize that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts – not an individual. It is not our words, or our prayers – really, it’s not even our actions that change a person’s heart. It’s the Holy Spirit of God who tells us in his Word that He knew us while we were being formed in our mother’s womb. Still, our actions as we listen and obey God, following His lead, show the world there is something different about born again believers. Even we, as believers, recognize other believers by their actions, as well as their words.

Continued Tomorrow. . .

If God Promises Me That I Am An Overcomer – Why Do I Still Have Problems?

11 Jun

Spending time daily in prayer and with God’s Word is the answer to developing our relationship with Him and allowing Him access to our hearts so that we can make necessary changes in the way we think and feel about the circumstances that surround us.

God’s Word tells us that in this life we will have trouble, but Jesus came that we might overcome the trouble that faces us in this world. Being a believer is like having on an invisible armor that shields us from every kind of evil that we can imagine. God’s grace is sufficient for everything we need. Our part, our responsibility, is to spend time with our Lord, loving Him, acknowledging Him in all we do. As we keep our mind stayed on Him throughout the day and turn to Him when we have a question or concern, He is there for us.

• 11 For he will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Verses 11 through 13 of Psalms 91 tell us that God commands His angels concerning us, that they are to guard us in all of our ways. It is so! Angels unaware are around us, to guard us, to keep us from harm, to help us when we need it. Verse 13 is God’s way of telling us that He will protect us from the dangers around us that would try to destroy us. Further, he is telling us that we are the ones who will be victorious!

Our God gives us every reason to trust Him. It won’t take long to realize that God is real. He is alive today, here, now! If we will be sensitive to the situations around us every day, we will see God in action on our behalf. We must make a choice to be aware of God’s work in and around us. That is one of the ways we acknowledge God in everything we do.

• 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue Him; I will protect Him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer Him; I will be with Him in trouble, I will deliver Him and honor Him. 16 With long life will I satisfy Him and show Him my salvation.” NIV

God tells us in verse 14 of Psalms 91, that it is because we love Him that He rescues us, and protects us, because we acknowledge His name. And, in verse 15 He says that if we call upon Him He will be with us in trouble and He will deliver us and honor us. Wow! How awesome is that! Further, He says He will satisfy us with a long life and show us His salvation. This means that God will show us, He will teach us His ways.

This one chapter in the Bible is so powerful! They are not just words – they are WORDS OF LIFE! These are God’s Words – His promises to us. Meditate on these promises – memorize these words and turn to them when any of life’s difficulties try to hinder you in any way.

Acknowledgement of His Word is a powerful way to pray. Repeat this to God in prayer. He encourages us to “prove Him” – meaning God Himself will demonstrate to us that we can trust Him, that His Word is real, it is true – it works! God will confirm to us in many ways that He is listening and that we can trust Him.

If God Promises Me That I Am An Overcomer – Why Do I Still Have Problems?

All throughout history we read of the trials and tribulations of God’s people. They struggled in so many ways. When they were obedient to God, they were victorious. When they were rebellious, they paid consequences.

Some believe that the Old Testament is not relevant to us. That could not be further from the truth! It is in the Old Testament that we learn so much about who God is. The Old Testament is just that – it is a testament, evidence of our beginning. We learn from the recordings of the scribes how the people of that time lived, how God led them, protected them, provided for them and corrected them.

The world has obviously changed – it has progressed in tremendous ways. However; God’s children today are basically the same. We share the same struggles, the same victories, and the same rebellion. The Old Testament was given to us as an example. It is full of truths that will impress upon our hearts what God’s ways are like – yes, they are the same. He tells us He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – Circumstances may have changed, but basically, the root causes are the same.

How Can I Be Triumphant When Circumstances Are So Difficult?

There are some people who believe that once you accept Jesus and become born again, you are instantly changed into a new personality. Once we accept Jesus and invite Him to rule and reign in our lives our hearts are instantly changed and our names written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life. However; our personalities do not change instantly. At this time our lives do become new and we begin a new way of life. God has no expectations of our becoming immediately changed. He accepted us just as we are. God is aware of our past our present and our future. The blood of Jesus covers our sin — past, present, and future. We are the reason He gave His life upon the cross. It was our sin that sent Him to that cross to die.

It is extremely important that we know right up front that our enemy, satan, will come immediately to try to steal, kill, and destroy. He cannot. We are now in God’s care, under His wings of protection. His Word tells us that “there is therefore, now, no condemnation to those who love the Lord”. This means that we, now being born again, have all of God’s promises, His word, God Himself to protect us. God loves us with an unconditional love. The depths of His understanding are beyond measure. After all, remember, God gave Jesus, His only son, to die on our behalf. With such an act of love and unselfishness as that, how could we question whether or not God will do anything else for us, as long as it is in His will, for our good!

His Word also tells us that God came to give us abundant life. We cannot interpret this to mean, “Oh boy, now I can have whatever I want”. Another important fact we need to understand from the beginning of our new walk is that God’s ways are not like our ways. For this reason, we acknowledge God in all we do day by day.

God is definitely on the cutting edge. We sometimes think we’re way ahead of God, that He is old-fashioned. Nothing could be further from the truth. Walking with God is the most exciting thing you will ever experience in your life. Nothing can compare to it. Having God in our lives is bigger than any problem, any heartache, and any trouble of any kind that we can experience. His love is so dynamic, so powerful, so exciting, and that far exceeds anything else we can think or imagine.

Who’s In Control?

So many people believe that we have no control over how we feel or how we act. Therefore, we can be tossed back and forth, wavering, undecided, and confused. Our feelings may change from one day to the next, depending on our surrounding circumstances. We may give in to whatever circumstances are present at the time. We may be completely unsettled. We could be unpredictable and difficult to be around.

God wants us to be on an even keel. He wants us to trust Him in all things and to be at peace no matter what the situation. It is possible – – it can happen! We may still have questions and that is OK with God. We may have concerns and that is OK. Fear may try to grip us, that is not OK. This is where we call upon God and take Him our questions, our concerns, and even our fears.

Reading and meditating upon God’s Word will allow our hearts to be in a position to receive what God has to say to us. His Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts and bring comfort and possibly, direction. The direction He gives us may simply be to wait on Him. That does not mean that we do nothing. It means continuing our daily lives and allowing Him the time He requires to “make all things work together for good according to His purpose for our lives”.

God Is Not Like Grandma, He’s Not Old Fashioned or Behind the Times!

7 Jun

Many of us don’t think much about the spiritual side of things. We believe we have our lives under control and we are ready for what comes our way. Conversely, we are experiencing more and more stress and frustration. We have been taught by the world around us that we need to be strong. We dare not let anyone see us as weak.

Perhaps our spiritual condition doesn’t seem like much of an issue. Some of us may even think that our spiritual lives are separate from our daily lives. Definitely not! We may try to keep it separate thinking it isn’t part of daily living. Besides, it’s not cool to be spiritual. Exactly the opposite is true. Our spiritual condition (our heart of hearts) is where our true character resides.

• Prov 16:9 “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” NIV

• Matt 15:18-20 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart , and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.” NIV

The ways of God obviously are not the ways of man. If man had his way there would certainly be no suffering. It is imperative that we realize how much we need God every day with every step. We could not take another breath, or another step if He did not allow it. Whether we believe it to be true or not doesn’t matter. Our denial of God’s truth doesn’t invalidate it.

God is always with us, not just for our bedtime prayers, but as we get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, and in all else that we do. We can talk with Him at any time about any and every issue. It’s kind of like being at home with a loved one. We are busy in one room and they are busy in another. We know that we can call out to them at any time and they will answer. Only God is not in the other room, He is right with us – wherever we are.

Our conversations with God are not one way. He will speak to our hearts. He will take away our fears and direct us through our every concern, if we will allow Him to.

• John 10:26-27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” NIV

God has His own time-table. It most often does not agree with ours. He is not intimidated by our deadlines. Don’t think that just because He does not work like the high-speed internet that He is old-fashioned and out of date. To the contrary, His ways far exceed that. He created the universe out of nothing. He knew us before we were formed in our Mothers’ wombs. He can handle today’s technology. God is actually the one who gave knowledge to the creators of our technology. What? You think they did it on their own?

Scripture tells us that there is nothing new in the world. Technology was part of God’s plan from the beginning. Don’t think for a moment that we have moved on without Him. No, Friends, He is the one who made it all possible. He is not just our Grandma’s God. God’s miracles and ancient stories of the Bible didn’t stop when the Bible was made into a book with a cover. God is the reason we have progressed to where we are today.

• Eccl 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” NIV

His ways are not outdated. He is the author and finisher or our faith and the reason that we are who we are. We need to recognize His authority. When we read the Scriptures we will find that events do not just happen on their own. God is the force behind them. He places people where He wants them and uses them according to His plan.

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, still operates in our lives as it did in the lives of those ancient men and women of the Bible. They are not fictional like Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland. Rest assured you will not meet those characters in heaven one day. However; you will meet many of those ancient men and women of the Bible there. You will hear from their own lips of their awesome adventures.

God is just as real today as He was when all the events of the Bible took place. He walks with us, covers us like a shield. He goes before us, behind us, beside us. We cannot go anywhere that He is not there.

So, You Think You Are Not Good Enough!

4 Jun

After we read the story of Ruth and Boaz, none of us can say we are not good enough to be a child of God. Or, that we are not good enough to serve Him in some way. We look at our past – our history – where we came from. We look at all the mistakes we made and we are aware that all our friends and family know just what a mess we made out of our lives. So, we let our enemy, satan, convince us that we are not good enough to serve God in any special way.

Ruth was born into a pagan world, serving and worshiping idols. God presented Himself to her and to her sister-in-law, Orpah, by way of Naomi and her son. Ruth chose to follow God, Orpah did not.

Boaz was the son of Rahab, the harlot. God used Rahab to help His men at Jericho. She recognized that God was at work there and helped His people. As a result, God saved her and her family. Boaz, came from that family.

If you have asked Him to forgive you and invited Him into your heart, He has heard you and you are His. Scripture tells us that He scatters our sins as far from Him as the East is from the West! God remembers our sins no more. When you try to bring them up to Him, He doesn’t know what you are talking about.

Even if your friends and family remember every mistake you have made. God doesn’t. Just keep walking the walk. Listen to what God says about you. Keep reading His Word and let Him show you what He thinks about you. If you have invited Him into your life, you are born again. You are a new person in Christ. He sees you as whole and complete, through the blood of Jesus.

Jesus was persecuted, too. He did not defend Himself. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures tell us that “He spoke not a word” when people mocked Him and spat on Him. He knew who He was. He knew whom He belonged to. Let Him be your example.

Walking with God takes courage – He will provide that courage. You will find your strength in Him. Be constant. Keep walking with God and listening to Him. Be obedient, no matter how hard. In time, God will prove Himself to you and you will know that you know that you know, He is real. No one will ever be able to take that from you.

Ephesians tells us to stay away from silly arguments. A non-believer does not understand and will never understand until they give their lives to God. You be their example. You be their light. They are watching – no matter what they say, they will see God at work in your life.

Be encouraged. God loves you. He is not like us. We cannot come close to understanding His love. Let Him love you. Accept His forgiveness and forgive yourself. Trust God and let Him make you whole again.

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