Archive for the ‘heaven’ Category

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.
I cannot remember a time in my life where I have seen this Country in such turmoil. It’s seems as though every time I turn around, people are expressing their shock about it. I’m not shocked at all! We turned our back on God, and this is what we get. It’s not complicated, we were warned, and given examples of Nations that did the same throughout the Bible. We knew what would happen, yet we did it anyways. We took God out of schools, aborted a future generation, became complacent. So here we are, surprised at how far down this Country has gone.
So how do we turn it all around? Easy, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
That’s all there is too it. Repent, and turn back to God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
 
If you’re not reading your Bible daily, your like a four legged bar stool with three legs. It’s our guide, our instruction manual, and without it, we cannot grow closer to God. It, that plain and simple, it’s that important.
Okie Dokie, it’s that time of day. It’s time to look at the lesser known Books of the Bible, and a little background on them. Today we look at the Book of Numbers.
 
Numbers: Learning to Walk the Walk
 
Along with the other four books of the Pentateuch, tradition attributes Numbers’ authorship to Moses. He is central to the book in recording events in detail. There are so many details—statistics, census data, and other data—some people avoid the book altogether. Moses also records the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert after leaving Egypt.
 
The book’s events begin at Mt. Sinai and end in the plains of Moab. Because everyone 20 years and older died as a result of unbelief and disobedience, Moses earnestly addressed the younger generation before his death. As an extra surprise, readers who brave all the details in this book will discover numerous significant events mentioned later in scripture, showing biblical continuity.
 
The book shows God’s people failing Him many times, yet the Lord continued to manifest His faithfulness. In the desert, He taught the Israelites how to walk with Him and live with integrity in front of the surrounding nations. Even today, God expects us to “walk the walk,” not just “talk the talk” of faith.
It’s that time of day again, today we look at another great Book of the Bible that most people very seldom read…🙂 And without further adieu, Here’s our Minor Prophet with a Major Message…
Nahum: God Judges but Remembers Mercy
Other than his message about God’s justice, not much is known about Nahum. He likely lived in southern Judah near another prophet, Micah—who also spoke of justice. Nahum is considered a sequel to the story in Jonah. For a time, the Assyrians heard Jonah’s message of repentance and received God’s mercy, but that all changed during the time of Nahum. The Assyrians conquered Israel in the north and bullied Judah in the south; so God instructed Nahum to announce His plan to judge wicked Nineveh.
The Assyrian Empire was ruthless, and Nineveh was its capital. Israel’s evil King Manessah ruled in Judah at the time, and Nahum preached during this especially dark and idolatrous period before Manessah turned to the Lord.
Nahum—whose name means “comfort”—also held out a ray of hope for the faithful remnant in Judah. His message was to declare God’s slowness to anger, goodness, and power to restore. This can encourage us, too. God is still at work in the darkest of times.

 

So, today we look at the Prophet Zephaniah, and his Book that focuses on purity and righteousness. When you read through this book, you’ll notice that there are no punches pulled, for an example, Chapter 1, Verse, 12 starts out reading “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad.’ No beating around the bush here, and sometimes we need a blunt answer to a blunt word. Let’s continue on.

This prophet came from royal stock. his family tree hailed back to his great-great grandfather, Hezekiah, one of Judah’s best kings. He prophesied in Jerusalem and made many references to temple worship. Familiar with both political and religious traditions, his message carried a great deal of weight for his countrymen. He prophesied at the end of King Josiah’s reign in Judah, sometime after Josiah’s high priest discovered the lost scrolls.

In childhood, Zephaniah grew up under wicked kings: Manasseh and his son Amon. Zephaniah had to deal with many evils—idolatry, child sacrifice, and murder—along with temple desecration, which likely contributed to Zephaniah’s hatred of religious hypocrisy. He grew into a strong man of God, ready to proclaim God’s message of judgment for sin and calling Israel to reflect, repent, and return to God.

Many scriptures refer to the “day of the Lord”—not only concerning Zephaniah’s day, but eventually in the whole world. Zephaniah also spoke hope to his people, reminding them that God would dwell among, save, and rejoice over His people (Zephaniah 3:17).

So, how do you think this applies to our world today? How does it apply to you personally?

Take the time today to read this very special book of prophecy today, and see what God says about the past, and the present

Stay safe in Jesus

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I struggle with anger and patience issues. It’s not uncommon, but admitting it is. So while I was trying to write about the topic of self-control this morning, someone was trying to lure me into an argument. My first instinct was to jump in and let them have it with both barrels, then I looked at today’s verse and realized this was a perfect opportunity to practice what I preach. It was an opportunity to take the higher moral road and resist the temptation of being lured into a foolish argument. It was an opportunity to practice self-control.

When I’m at the pizza buffet and I’ve already had more than enough to eat, and I know there’s a good chance another slice will make me miserable for the next 3-4 hours and I eat it anyway …. I lack self control.

When I decide to stay up late and  surf the internet, knowing full well that I have to be up early the next morning and I’ll be so tired I’ll feel sick all day …. I lack self control.

When I procrastinate doing my taxes, leaving myself in a last minute panic to get it done …. I lack self control.

When I spend, spend, spend and never save … I lack self control.

When I watch 5 hours of TV a day, but spend only a few minutes in Bible study and prayer …. I lack self control.

When I choose the pleasures of sin, enjoying them for a short time … forfeiting the long term and eternal blessings of living in obedience to Christ, I lack self control.

Self control is the ability to choose wise actions. If we are going to put our hope in heaven, we will need to make wise choices…

What do you struggle with when it comes to self-control? We all face our own Demons, and Satan knows how to use them against us. He knows how to put temptation right under our noses so he can get our minds of of being holy. The struggle is real, but so is the chance to call upon God to give you the strength to resist it. It’s not easy, I say this from personal experience. Flee from the Devil, and run to God. Practice makes perfect.

 

Have an amazing day

Bless us with rest tonight, Jesus, and a good night’s sleep. Forgive us for the things we did today that did not honor you. Thank you for loving us so much and that you know us through and through. We need your help every day, and we thank you for the strength you give and for helping us know that with you, even hard things are possible. Bless our family and our home, and keep us safe through the night. May your angels guard us and watch over us, just like you promised.

You’ve told us we are just like sheep. And that you lead us and guard us like a shepherd. You know our names, and you make us feel special and loved. When we hurt, you help us feel better. Thank you, Jesus, for your good care and for giving us [mom/dad/parents/foster parents/pastors] to help. Thank you for the Bible, and for teaching us stuff in life that helps us grow. Bless the people in our world, and help them to know you love them, too. Thank you for all the people who help us so much: teachers, doctors, policeman, and fireman—and so many more.

Thank you for your good plan for our lives. Help us to obey you and love you more and more. When we awake in the morning, put a smile on our face and your purpose in our hearts, ready to start a new day. We love you, Jesus. Good night. In Jesus’s precious name, Amen.

Not too long ago, I heard someone list three things that tell the truth: small children, drunk people, and yoga pants. I’m not sure if there was an inference in there that all others lie, but the statement itself seems to be true (at least on its face).


In this day of fake news and alternative facts, it’s always nice to know when the truth is being told (as long as it’s not some negative truth about yourself). If you read the reactions to my e-letter from last week (see below), you’ll note that even I was called on my facts.


That is as it should be. None of us should toss around inaccurate statements. In this case, my general assertion was true, but way overstated. I’m glad it was pointed out to me. It will cause me to be a better writer in the future. Kudos to my diligent readers!


But back to the yoga pants. Truth tellers are not always met with overwhelming joy. Take Jesus, for example. As is also ascribed to George Washington, he could not tell a lie. It always got him into deep doo-doo. Eventually, it got him crucified.


Jesus’ problem was he often spoke out when silence would have helped him avoid most messy situations. Of course (had he done that), he could not have carried out his role as Messiah. Then where would we be?


While I can avoid yoga pants (and drunk people, sometimes), I can’t avoid the truth of Christ–at least not without negative consequences. He once said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) While it’s one thing to know the truth, it’s entirely another to be the truth. If what he says is correct, he is the very embodiment of the truth. There is no truth without him.


A preacher once told a congregation, “If God would strike every liar dead, where would I be?” After everyone stopped laughing he added, “I’d be preaching to an empty house. That’s where I’d be.” I guess we’re all guilty of not having enough truth within us.
The Apostle Paul wrote these words. “
Let God be true, and every human being a liar.” (Romans 3:4) We seem to be on a neverending quest for the truth. If Jesus is the truth, it might be a good strategy to begin with him.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. (Luke 2:15-16 ESV)

God chose Bethlehem for Jesus to be born. He did not choose a major city like Jerusalem or Rome. Even today, it is still not a likely city one would associate with a place for the Savior of the world to be born. God did not seek super stardom for his son’s arrival. Nor was there a Facebook entry with thousands of followers and press reporters that converged on the sight.

Humble shepherds saw the angelic messengers and then paid homage to the Child that would become the Savior of mankind. Joseph did not have an internet reservation at a five star hotel. He had to make do with what one would least expect: A manger and animals! Imagine the outcry of child abuser activists today if one would use a manger as a crib.

Even two thousand years ago an earthy royal prince and future king’s birth would have been remarkably different from this. There would be the best materials for baby care: a cot, clothing, fine linen and woolen blankets and nursing care. There would be a royal doctor and midwives of the Court.

Joseph and Mary followed through with the honor God had bestowed on them to be the earthly parents of Jesus Christ. They trusted God to provide when there was not even accommodations and a place to put the baby to rest.

This biography tells us that opulence and materialism, especially shopping sprees at this time of year, draw our attention away from what God wants us to focus on, namely the Savior that was born into this world and stripped bare of what one would regard as basic essentials.

Prayer: Almighty God. We thank you for the greatest and most precious gift ever given to mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior from our sins. Help us to look beyond all the distractions of the material world and to focus on the real value of worshipping Jesus

Going a little further he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but you will.” (Matthew 26:39 ESV)

How often are we faced with something in our lives that troubles us, grieves us, or simply we don’t want to do? I face this situation almost daily. Whether it’s not wanting to deal with someone at work, face rush hour traffic or do a necessary chore around the house. Most the time I think to myself that it would be nice if I did not have to deal with such things. They tend to be interfering with my plans or my will and bring about frustration.

When I reflect on the reading above (Matthew 26:39), I am immediately shamed into realizing how petty my so called trials and tribulations of life are.

Here we find Jesus asking God the Father to take away the immense physical pain and death he will be suffering. However, it is what Jesus says next that provides the most important lesson. He says, “Yet not as I will, but you will”. In other words, “God please don’t let me suffer a horrible death and find another way for me to save all of mankind, BUT only if that is what you want. If not, I am want to carry out your will.”

These 8 words from Matthew 26:39 shifted my entire paradigm of what it meant to be a Christian. I have struggled, continue to struggle and will probably always struggle with trying to assert MY will over God’s WILL. Yet, I want him to remove all life’s trouble and pain. It is inherent in our fallen nature as human beings to think this way. However, meditating on this verse helps me truly understand that God has a plan for me (us) and in end it is His WILL that we should be praying comes to pass.

Be sure to ask yourself daily, whose WILL shall be done?