Thursday, March 22, 2018

When You Come Back to God

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Israel, you have rejected me, but my anger is gone; I will heal you and love you without limit.   I will be like the dew-- then you will blossom like lilies and have roots like a tree.  Your branches will spread with the beauty of an olive tree and with the aroma of Lebanon Forest.  You will rest in my shade, and your grain will grow. You will blossom like a vineyard and be famous as the wine from Lebanon.  Israel, give up your idols! I will answer your prayers and take care of you. I am that glorious tree, the source of your fruit.

Hosea 14: 4 - 8

When you come back to God, He will heal you and love you without limit!  Your life will blossom and you will grow deep roots like a tree!  When you come back to God, your branches will spread like a olive tree and the aroma of the Cedars of Lebanon will grace your presence.

When you come back to God, you will rest in the shade of God and watch the grain you planted grow and become ready for harvest!

When you come back to God, the fruit of your vine will produce wine that everyone will desire!  When you come back to God and give up your idols, Jesus will answer your prayers and always take care of you!  Then the fruit of your life will come from God Himself!

When you come back to God, praise His Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

God is not Deceived!

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My people are determined to reject me for a god they think is stronger, but he can't help.  Israel, I can't let you go. I can't give you up. How could I possibly destroy you as I did the towns of Admah and Zeboiim? I just can't do it. My feelings for you are much too strong.  Israel, I won't lose my temper and destroy you again. I am the Holy God-- not merely some human, and I won't stay angry.  I, the LORD, will roar like a lion, and my children will return, trembling from the west.  They will come back, fluttering like birds from Egypt or like doves from Assyria. Then I will bring them back to their homes. I, the LORD, have spoken!  Israel is deceitful to me, their loyal and holy God; they surround me with lies, and Judah worships other gods.

Hosea 11: 7 - 12

When men lie to each other the results are confusion, distrust and turmoil.  But when men lie to God there is much more at stake!

It is certainly possible to deceive a man and cause him to believe that the lie you tell him is indeed the truth!  But no such thing is possible with God. When you lie to God, He is not deceived.  He knows that there is no truth in every deceitful word you speak or promise you make.

When a small child has cookie crumbs all over his shirt and then tells his mother that he was not the one who got in the cookies, the lie can be humorous.  But when a man or woman lies to Almighty God, there is nothing to laugh at. 

Adam and Eve began humanity's fruitless journey of trying to lie to God and every man and woman continues on that path today!  When you attempt to tell God something that is not true it is always because you want to conceal an idol of some kind!  Something in your life is more important than being honest with God! When you are tempted to lie to God about anything, stop and look for the idol in your life that is more important than God Himself.  And when you find it, get rid of it!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to be completely honest with You about everything in my life.  I want to only tell you the truth about everything!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."   

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Don't Play With Fire

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But the Scriptures say that sin controls everyone, so that God's promises will be for anyone who has faith in Jesus Christ.  The Law controlled us and kept us under its power until the time came when we would have faith.  In fact, the Law was our teacher. It was supposed to teach us until we had faith and were acceptable to God.  But once a person has learned to have faith, there is no more need to have the Law as a teacher.  All of you are God's children because of your faith in Christ Jesus.  And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes.  Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.  So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham's family, and you will be given what God has promised.

Galatians 3: 22 - 29

When my six children were small there were many rules in our house.  Almost all of the regulations related to keeping them safe from harm.  It is very easy for children to hurt themselves, even badly by disobeying rules like: "Don't touch the stove," "Don't play with fire," or "Don't hit, your brother or sister, especially in the head!"  Of course, there were as many rules as seemed necessary to keep them safe and teach them how responsible adults would act.

But now, even the youngest of my precious children is more than thirty years old and all the rules no longer apply.  

Before Jesus died on the Cross and His followers were given the Holy Spirit, the Law of Moses gave those who were God's people many "rules and regulations."  But after the Crucifixion, like children who become adults, the rules no longer apply.  Faith in Jesus Christ is now the essence of life as a Christian and we put away the old robe of obeying the Law and put on the New Robe of Jesus!

When you are clothed with Jesus Christ and by Faith walk as you are filled with His Holy Spirit, everything is new and your life is what God wants it to be!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for the Cross and for making it possible for us to live without the rules and regulations of the Law! May Your Holy Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Instruction Manual from God!

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When God is angry, money won't help you. Obeying God is the only way to be saved from death.  If you are truly good, you will do right; if you are wicked, you will be destroyed by your own sin.  Honesty can keep you safe, but if you can't be trusted, you trap yourself.  When the wicked die, their hopes die with them.  Trouble goes right past the LORD's people and strikes the wicked.  Dishonest people use gossip to destroy their neighbors; good people are protected by their own good sense.  When honest people prosper and the wicked disappear, the whole city celebrates.  When God blesses his people, their city prospers, but deceitful liars can destroy a city.  It's stupid to say bad things about your neighbors. If you are sensible, you will keep quiet.  A gossip tells everything, but a true friend will keep a secret.  A city without wise leaders will end up in ruin; a city with many wise leaders will be kept safe.

Proverbs 11: 4 - 14

If you read and put in your heart the Book of Proverbs you will have at your command many very practical ways of making good choices in this life!  Verse 14 of Proverbs 11 says that not having wise leaders is a big problem for a city, or I suppose a country as well.

If you live in a country that allows you to be part of selecting your leaders then consider this: The number one thing to consider in selecting a new leader is whether or not that person has wisdom.  With "many wise leaders" you will be kept safe and without them you will end up in ruin.

Too often people choose their leaders by how much "free stuff" they promise, or by how many problems they guarantee they can solve.  Then after they assume the power of being a leader all they do is point at others who are "not letting them keep their promises!"  And of course all the "free stuff" comes with unbearable obligations and limits on personal freedoms.

Here is the reason I bring all this up.  Don't just go to the Bible for "spiritual advice" and the way to Heaven.  The Word of God is also filled with wisdom that will not fail you as you live here on earth!  Where do you think many countries got the idea that it should not be legal for a man to have more than one wife, or a woman to have more than one husband?  The Creator gave men an instruction manual telling us how to live this life as well as how to get to Heaven when we leave this world! 

"Lord Jesus, thank You for giving us everything we need to live here on earth and to live with You forever in Heaven.  May Your Name be praised now and always.  Amen."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

At Peace in the Valley!

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God has turned my life sour.  He made me eat gravel and rubbed me in the dirt.  I cannot find peace or remember happiness.  I tell myself, "I am finished! I can't count on the LORD to do anything for me."  Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable.  That's all I ever think about, and I am depressed.

Then I remember something that fills me with hope.  The LORD's kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.  Deep in my heart I say, "The LORD is all I need; I can depend on him!"  The LORD is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys him.

Lamentations 3: 15 - 25

Why is life so hard?  We seem to spend so much time in the valleys of despair and only brief moments on the mountain tops of ecstasy.  The climb up to those heights is often slow and painful, but the descent into despair is quick and dangerous! 

As human beings our peace only comes from the circumstances of our lives.  When "things" are good and there seems to be no threat to our lives then we can be calm and quiet and at rest!  But when circumstances threaten we find ourselves back in a life of turmoil and distress!

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I can, as did the author of Lamentations "remember something that fills me with hope!"  It comes to my mind that "the Lord's kindness never fails, He shows His mercy every morning, the Lord is all I need and I can depend on Him!"

My circumstances may or may not change, but my peace returns and joy fills my heart even during the trials and troubles of this life!

"Lord Jesus, You are all I need, in this life and forever in the life to come.  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Don't Support the World!

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Dear friend, you have always been faithful in helping other followers of the Lord, even the ones you didn't know before.  They have told the church about your love. They say you were good enough to welcome them and to send them on their mission in a way that God's servants deserve.   When they left to tell others about the Lord, they decided not to accept help from anyone who wasn't a follower.  We must support people like them, so that we can take part in what they are doing to spread the truth.

3 John 1: 5 - 8

It is a good thing to help people who are spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!  These verses clearly say that when we do that we become part of what they are doing.  That means we should be very careful about who we support and how.  

I suppose the question to ask yourself when you hear the report of a missionary is this: "Would I want to be partly responsible for what he or she is doing?"  If the answer is "yes," then I should help them without reservation.

But if the answer to that question is "no," then I should support them in prayer by asking God to guide them to find His Will!

A very sobering application of this truth relates to whether or not I support the world and it's rebellion against God and His Will!  A Christian boycott of the world is not to change the world, only the Holy Spirit can do that!  But to refrain from supporting the world around is so that you don't "take part in what they are doing!"  

So I must ask myself:  Am I part of what God is doing in the world, or am I part of Satan's rebellion against God and His Son, Jesus Christ?
Determine this day to do nothing that will further the kingdom of the Devil!

"Lord Jesus, I want to be part of what you are doing today, and not part of what Satan is doing!  Give me the wisdom to know the difference and the will to do it!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."   


Friday, March 16, 2018

Nothing is Too Small For God?

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Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes.  God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.

1 Peter 5: 6 - 7

I have a friend who used to say that some things are too small for God to care about.  He would sometimes make fun of a follower of Jesus who prayed about needing a parking place close to the store.   From a human standpoint, I suppose it made some sense, that Almighty God would not concern Himself with my need for a convenient place to park my car.  But the "Almighty" adjective before the Name of God means that He has the ability to concern Himself with even tiny aspects of our lives.

If God knows the number of the hairs on my head, and He does, then how foolish it would be to assume that He doesn't know or care about the small details of my day!

Truthfully, I spend very little time "worrying" about the major issues of life, but I let "little" aggravations occupy much of my attention during the day.  And I have many opportunities to show the Grace of God to others in "small" ways, but very few times I can extend His love to others about the big things in my life.

Never assume that something is too small to concern the Creator of everything there is! Praying without ceasing means that you will ask God about everything in your day!

"Lord Jesus, help me to recognize my need for Your wisdom in every situation I encounter today. Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."