Every WORD

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4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Matthew 4:4 (NLT)

 

The context of this passage is when Jesus, prior to His ministry launch, was led in the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil.

 

The devil tried many methods to trip up Jesus. Of course it never worked.

 

But, in one particular statement when the devil tried to get Jesus to turn stones into bread, paraphrased, Jesus said people don’t  survive by just food, their lives are sustained by God’s WORD!

It is amazing to find out that very few Christians actually read the Bible.


“80% of Churchgoers Don't Read the Bible Daily”
- Lifeway Survey

 

“80% of Churchgoers Don't Read the Bible Daily”

- Lifeway Survey

 

If the Bible is the most crucial part of hearing God for Christians in this era, why are Christians not reading it?

 

Could it be that this is why so many believers are struggling with the attacks of the devil?

 

We will never be free from the schemes of Satan, but it would be very beneficial if believers could win!

 

The WORD of God helps us WIN!

  

Watch this: 

After the devil came at Jesus three times and tried to get Him to fail……and Jesus quoted the WORD……..

 

11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
 

What would it look like in our lives if we would fill ourselves up with the WORD of God?

 

James, the brother of Jesus tells his readers what would happen if we tried this:

7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (NLT)

  

The devil cannot handle the WORD of God.

 

When we speak the WORD, he has to flee……he can’t stay where the WORD of God is active!

 

This is why reading the BIBLE is so important!

 

In the above survey:

 “90 percent desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do, only 19 percent personally read the Bible every day.”

 

The writer in Psalm states:

105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)

 

We live, survive, and resist the Devil by God’s WORD!

Prayer

"Lord, put a desire in Your people to long for Your Word. Your Word is the light for our path and our guide to make it in this life. We cannot survive or live without Your WORD!
Thank You for Your spoken Word that gives us instruction, guidance, and hope. We thank You in Jesus name, Amen.  "

God's Ambassadors!

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20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT)

 

Here in this second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul was communicating to the church the role of the Believer; an Ambassador of God.

 

 The Dictionary defines an Ambassador as:

An authorized messenger or representative.

We are God’s messengers and representatives!

How are we doing with this?

 

How would you say Believers are doing with this ROLE as messengers and representatives for God?

 

Here are 3 Things we need to know about our responsibility as Ambassadors.

 

11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others

 

1. We work hard to persuade others that Jesus died for them!

God has trusted us to preach the Gospel; to persuade others about what Jesus did for us at the Cross.  

 

14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

 

2. We work hard to persuade others that they can have a new life!

 God has a better plan for them.

3. We work hard to persuade others that they can be made right with God through Christ!





 

Prayer

"Lord, we know that we have a responsibility to be Your messengers. You have trusted us to be Your voice.
God, I believe we need to revisit our role as believers. Revisit our methods and ways of displaying our lives as your representatives.
Forgive us for not always carrying out our responsibilities. Help us in our weaknesses and give us strength and power to fulfill Your plan. We love You and want to do Your will.   
In Jesus name, Amen. "

For the Sake of Others!

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For the Sake of Others!

 

4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

 

The Apostle Paul begins this letter to the church at Corinth by stating a phrase that sets the temperature for the Believer in the next idea.  

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3

First, Paul gives all praise to God. He spends some time praising and worshiping Him; showing God honor for Who He is.

 

Then, Paul makes a statement which becomes the overarching attitude of God, one of His characteristics and His acts of service toward humanity.

  • He is “merciful”

  • He is “comfort”

 

Paul is stating this first because he wants the reader to understand God’s pattern and if we understand God’s way, we can adjust our lives to pattern it after God.

 

If He is merciful and if He comforts us in our trouble, then, “we can comfort others.”

I believe that is what God intends for His people to focus on; helping each other.

 What would it look like if the Church would truly follow through and make sure everyone was comforted in their time of need.

 I believe we see this many times through individuals, but how many other times do we neglect the chance to comfort someone because we are too busy?

I don’t believe that Christians’ intentions are to neglect people on purpose; it is that our lives get so consumed with our everyday agendas that we don’t have the time to put toward others.

 

Watch This

God created each one of us to be a certain functioning member that has a particular role in helping others.

 

The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 12:

 

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.
26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

 

Paul is saying, each part of the body has been placed in his/her position to honor and comfort each other!

 

Our lives are truly designed and positioned “For the Sake of Others.” 

Let’s focus on others and fulfill God’s desire and plan!  
 

Prayer

"Lord, put people in our path daily who we can comfort. May we never just say we will, but that we follow through with honoring and comforting others.
Lord, we do get caught up in our daily schedules and we do stay busy. Jesus, helps us become unbusy and focus on Your will for our lives.
We love You and want to do what is pleasing to You. People are important to You, so they are important to us. We thank You for having mercy and compassion on us.
In Jesus name, Amen. "

Its all about the Heart!

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1 Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”
3 But Joab replied, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?” 4 But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem 5and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. 6But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do. 7 God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. 8 Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”
9 Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message: 10 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’” 11 So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the Lord has given you. 12 You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.”
13 “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”      
1 Chronicles 21:1-13 (NLT) 

In this passage, David sinned!

 

He knew he wasn’t supposed to take this census and he did it anyway.

 

He was even warned, but did not listen.

 

How can someone who is chosen by God who loves God greatly and is loved by God unconditionally blatantly disobey?

 

How can someone who has seen God do miraculous things and has done many great things because of God’s hand follow through with this out-right sin?

 

Answer:

David was Human!

 

How many times have you and I done something that we knew was not right, but we did it anyway?

 

How many times have we made decisions or just blatantly did something in spite of being warned?

 

Most of us could say “If only I had listened, I would not be in this situation today!”

 

However:

We are Human!


Wrong choices result in consequences!

 

Here is what I love about David……

  • He always admitted when he messed UP!

  • AND….He Repented!

 

“Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”


It wasn’t David’s prestige, power, good looks, stature or perfection that
positioned him as a man after God’s own heart; it was his heart of repentance.

 

God’s grace extends well past whatever you I and can think or imagine!

 

Does this allow us to continue to make dumb choices just so God’s grace can be displayed?

 

The Apostle Paul speaks to this very thing:

 

1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Romans 6:1-4 (NLT)

 

The answer is “NO WAY!”

 

A person who has a heart for God will STOP IT and Repent! 

 

God is looking for those who have a heart for Him.

 

If we have a heart for God, it is easy to REPENT and move on.

 

Those who are alive in Christ, LIVE NEW LIVES!

 

 

Prayer

"Lord, send your Holy Spirit to convict us when we are wrong. Let Him bring us into the Truth.
For those that are listening or reading this today, convict their hearts to become what You want them to be.
We love Your ways and want to serve You the best that we can. Thank You for Your grace and mercy
In Jesus name, Amen."

Run Your Race with Purpose!

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So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.                                   
- 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (NLT)

 

There are a lot of references in Scripture that refers to sports; especially running a race.

 

Here is 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul is using a race as a metaphor for doing what he is called to do in his life and finishing well.

 

The juxtaposition in this text is the contrast of an earthly prize compared to an eternal prize.

 

Earthly athletes focus on a medal, a trophy, or some sort of accolade that will be placed on a shelf or thrown away or maybe the person completely forgets about its meaning……What’s the Purpose?


When a Believer is running his race of Purpose, it has an eternal meaning!

 Paul states in verse 22,

“When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ.”

 

Running a spiritual race with eternity in mind, it changes our perspective and what is most important.

 

When a Believer runs the eternal race, there is a spiritual formation that is taking place in that person. However, the metamorphosis is not just for that particular person.

  • He is transformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others!


Spiritual formation is "the process of being conformed to the image
of Christ for the sake of others" - Robert Mulholland

What is YOUR Purpose?

  • Are you looking to complete your calling for your sake?

  • Or, do you want to bring people with you as you GO!

 

Our spiritual journey is like rungs on a ladder.

 

The higher you get on the ladder, the tougher it gets to maintain balance.

 

If you go at it alone, you will experience insecurity and fear.

 

If you put your trust fully in the Lord, you will always feel that hand of security.

  

Let me ask you this:

Have you ever climbed a ladder by yourself and the higher you get the ladder seems to get more unstable….And you get more unstable!

 

You start getting a funny feeling in your belly and you get dizzy and if you do not grab hold you will fall.

 

But, if you have help and that person is holding the ladder steady and holding on to your ankle, you are more confident.

 

Don’t take a step without the guidance of the Lord.

 

To run your race with PURPOSE and run it well, it is to be steadied by the hand of Jesus.

 

Let Jesus hold the ladder for you and steady your steps.

 

When Jesus has your steps steady, then you can take people up the ladder with you. You can take people on your journey with you!

  

Don’t follow your PURPOSE alone. There are people in your circle that have been placed there for you to bring up.

 

PURPOSE involves others!

 

Run Your Race with Purpose!

 

Finish Your Race Well!

 

 

Prayer

"Jesus, I believe everyone that is hearing this or reading this devotion wants to run their race with purpose and finish well.
Lord, give us a desire for people. Help us acquire a desire to nurture and bring people up the ladder with us.
Help us in our journey as we complete our purpose.
Be patient with us as we fail and teach us to run with the purpose that You have created in each individual.
Thank you for being our Hope and helping us in our journey.
In Jesus name, Amen."

Wait on the Lord!

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And again David asked the Lord what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” the Lord replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” So David did what the Lord commanded, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.                                 
- 2 Samuel 5:23-25 (NLT)

 

One of the most difficult things is to be patient when we are waiting on God to do something in our lives!

 Here in this passage, the Philistines heard that David was King and they mobilized troops to go after him. David heard they were coming and he found a fort to protect him and his army.

 David inquired from the Lord as to whether he should go fight the Philistines or not.

 

  • What if we were to ask the Lord for His advice before we made any decision?

  • Would the OUTCOMES be different

  • Would we be more successful?

 

The Lord told David, “Go for IT! I will be with you!”

I believe our lives would go so much smoother if we would just invite the Lord to be a part of our decision making.

We can accomplish anything when we invite the Lord into our decision making!

God gave David the specifics as of how to defeat the Philistines.

Circle around the back of them, He said!

But, there was one crucial element that the Lord ask of David to be able to defeat the enemy; Wait on Me!

 

“When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” 

 

The #1 thing we need to grab a hold of when we are making decisions, Wait on the Lord!

 

I believe sometimes, we get impatient and make moves that are not good for us.

 

If God is not moving fast enough, we get antsy and when we move without Him, things, normally, go wrong.

 

  • There are times when we might get lucky and things work out okay…….


Taking a chance without the Lord's help is RISKY!

Wait on the Lord! He knows what is best for us. Before making any decision, ask for His help.

 

Prayer

"Lord, we are impatient people. We live in a microwave world and we think we need IT right now!
Help us understand that Your ways are perfect and You want to help us in all of our decisions. You want to be a part of our lives.
Lord, I pray for everyone reading or listening to this devotion today. Instruct them. Give them wisdom. Teach them. Guide them.
Lord we love You and honor You with our lives. In Jesus name, Amen."

I put my trust in You!

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O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:1-3 (NLT)

 

How many of you feel like this a lot of the times?

 

It may seem like you pray all the time about those who are attacking you.

 

You may feel like it never ends! There is always someone causing problems all the time.

 

“I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?”

- Psalm 56:4 (NLT)

 

Ever wonder, “If I trust God, then why am I afraid?”

  

King David in this psalm is struggling with this very THOUGHT!

 

David asks, “What can mere mortals do to me?”

  

Really, what can people really do to you?  

  • Talk bad about you?

  • Twist what you say?

  • Lie about you?

  

We might even pray the way David did……

      "Don’t let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger,
O God, bring them down.” 
Psalm 56:7 (NLT)

 

It sure does feel better sometimes to know that God might bring them down at our request……

 

In reality, we are not really fighting those around us!

 

It seems like we are battling against our friends, family, co-workers!

 

It seems like they are our enemies.

  

The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Ephesus and uncovers our real enemy.


For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but
against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers
in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
- Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

 

KNOW THIS!

 

“My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know:
God is on my side!”
- Psalm 56:9 (NLT)

 

God is your Source, not PEOPLE!

 

Keep your eyes on Him. He will protect you and bring you through your Storms.

 

When we GET THIS!  When we understand who we are fighting, we understand that it is spiritual, not physical.

 

When we recognize this……

“So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.”
Psalm 56:13 (NLT)

 

Walk in His light. Follow His path.

 

Prayer

“Lord, sometimes it seems that so many people are against m; out to get me!     
I don’t understand why people do it sometimes and why people are so mean and conniving. But, this I know, You are God and You care about me. Why should I be afraid of what people think and do?
I trust You!  You are my light. I walk in Your presence.   
Thank You for being by my side. I love You and thank You.    
In Jesus name, Amen."

Be You!

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A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
- Acts 19:13-16 (NLT)

 

In this chapter of Acts, Paul was traveling through Ephesus preaching and all kinds of signs and wonders followed him.

 

Miracles were taking place. Handkerchiefs were being prayed over and when people touched them, they were healed. Evil spirits were being exorcized.   


When God is doing some amazing things in and through people,
there will be those who get jealous and will attempt to copy!

 

 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”
- Acts 19:13 (NLT)  

 

They were trying to copy what God was doing through Paul.  


When we try to copy something someone else is doing, we become actors!

 

God doesn’t need actors; He needs people operating in their own gifts and talents.

 

What did it look like when these men begin to copy Paul in trying to cast out an evil spirit?

 

But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 
- Acts 19:15 (NLT)

 

When we try to copy someone else and what God is doing through them, we become unknown!

 

It just doesn’t look right!

It doesn’t fit YOU!

You will look odd!

You will look out of place!

Watch this………

 

Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
- Acts 19:16 (NLT)

 

What they were trying to do became unproductive!

 


You can only be you, well!

 

God did not create you to be someone else.

 

Be who God created you to be.

 

Don’t  worry about what God is accomplishing through others; let Him accomplish through you what He has for YOU!

 


Sometimes we miss what God has for us because we are so focused
on what he is doing in someone else!

 

 Sometimes we miss what God has for us because we are so focused on what He is doing in someone else!

 

Don’t let the enemy beat you up! He is trying to get you distracted.

 

Every time we get focused on someone else and how God is working through them…..

We try to be LIKE THEM!

 

The enemy says, “I know them! I know their name! I know who they are, but WHO ARE YOU!

 

When we don’t know who we are and we get offline in what God wants for us personally, this is the opportunity for the enemy to BEAT US UP!

 

Refocus on your calling.

 

Refocus on who God has called you to be!  

 

Prayer

“God, I want to know my part. I want to know what You want for me     
Lord, we need to be who You have called us to be. We need to know your will and plan for our lives. Help us to hear You clearly.
God, we don’t want to be actors; we want to be who You created us to be. God speak to us. Give us clarity.  
We seek You today.   
In Jesus name, Amen."

He is my God!

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Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”
“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 5 He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.
Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”                   1 Samuel 3:10-10 (NLT)

 

In this passage, Samuel was a young boy who had been given to the service of the priest by his mother to serve in the temple.

 

During this era, not many people were hearing the voice of the Lord.

 

Samuel had never heard God’s voice! He didn’t know what God even sounded like.

 

When the Lord called out to Samuel, the only voice he had been hearing was that of Eli the priest. So, that is who he thought it was.

 

Do you know what God’s voice sounds like? Would you know His voice if He summoned you?

 

What does God’s voice sound like?

 

I have heard some say that they actually have heard an audible voice from God. They literally heard His voice out loud.

 

I have talked to a lot of people about this very thing and most will tell you that they have never heard an audible voice.

 

I think if God spoke audibly to some, it would scare us big-time! We would freak out!

 

So, what does His voice sound like? 


"God's voice sounds like you!"
-Dr. Mark Rutland

 

For the most part, God speaks to our spirit. When it is our spirit speaking from God, it will sound like you talking to yourself.

 

How do you know that it is not just you thinking these thoughts?

 

Usually, when God speaks, it is something that you normally would not be thinking and it is like, WOW!

 

And, if God is speaking to you to make a decision, do something different in your life, speak in to someone else’s life, or speaking something about His Word, there are things that will confirm that it is God and not just you thinking it.

 

Ask this. “God, if this is You and not just my thoughts, bring some things into alignment that will clarify and confirm this is from You.  

To get to this point of speaking back to God and getting clarity, a person has to be where they are ready to hear His voice.

 

Samuel did not know God’s voice. Finally, Eli realized that it was God speaking and he instructed Samuel to go back to bed and this time, tell God you are listening.

 

Samuel had to know God for himself, not the God of Eli.

 

We have to know that He is our God; not the God of our mom and dad or grandparents.

 

You have to know He is your God!


He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, your parents, and grandparents.
But He is also your God!

  Know Him for you!

 

Be sensitive to hear His voice and He will speak to you. He will tell you secrets. He will give you instructions. He will talk to you as his child.

 

He is Your God!

 

Prayer

“God, I want to hear Your voice. I want to know it is You speaking to me.     
Lord, I need to hear from You. I need to know your will and plan for my life. Help me to remain silent in those times when You are trying to speak to me.
God, teach us to hear You. Help those who are reading this or hearing this devotion to be open to Your voice.
We know You have many things to tell us. We open our hearts and ears to hear.   
In Jesus name, Amen."

Discipline

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People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.   Proverbs 10:17 (NLT)

 

It doesn’t matter who you are, at one time or another, you will experience discipline.

 

Discipline is not a pleasant experience!

 

Correction means that a person has done something wrong and needs their path corrected.

 

An adjustment has to be made and most individuals will see this as a harsh thing.

 

“How dare he correct me?”


"Most people want to avoid, and discipline is usually painful."
John C. Maxwell

 Illustration:

A few years ago, on one of Oklahoma’s turnpike bridges a barge was moving down the river and the ship captain was not paying attention and ran into the bridge collapsing it. Before anyone could warn the drivers on the turnpike, cars traveling at speeds of 75 plus begin to go over the edge into the swift moving river. Some made it out, some perished.

 

If a person was waving people down before making it to the bridge to keep them from going over the edge, do you think the drivers would want to know that? Would they want to be corrected?

 

I know I would!   

 

The writer in Proverbs was stating that there is a way to Life or there is a path to death. Those that accept discipline and correction will live. This who ignores correction will die.

 

Discipline is waving his hand to warn you! If you ignore it, you go astray, over the edge into the swift moving currents of death.  

 

The person waving their hand to correct you cares whether you live or die.

 

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12 NKJV


For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and punishes each one he accepts as his child.
Hebrews 12:6 (NLT)

 

There are some things that we as Christians just need to stay clear from.

 

Not everything we do is beneficial.

 

I’ve heard many Christians say, “I doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that I can’t do this!”

 

Maybe the Bible is not blunt on some topics, but maybe there are some things that are just not beneficial for a believer to do!

 

“Nobody is going to tell me what to do!”

 

That is true. If you are a grown person, you can pretty much do whatever you want and get away with it, unless it’s illegal.

 

But, what if it hurts someone else? If a believer is doing something that is hurtful to another person is some form, is it okay to continue?

 

Sometimes we have to accept the correction of refraining from doing certain things. Sometimes we need to be disciplined so that we stop doing certain things that are nor beneficial.

 

As believers I believe we need to be aware of our actions when it comes to those who are watching us; those who are counting on us to help them in their journey.  

 

I encourage you today to inspect your life. Are you doing things that are kind of in rebellion? Do you demand your right to do whatever you want? Do you ignore God’s discipline?

 

Stop for moment and think! What am I doing that could cause someone else to get the wrong idea?

 

Discipline is good!  Correction is needed!

 

Let the Holy Spirit discipline or correct you today and seek God’s best for you.

 

Prayer

“Lord, teach us Your ways. Your way is a path to life. Our way is a path to death. What seems right to us sometimes is not right in Your eyes.     
God, help us see the path. We know that Your Word is the light that makes the path visible. Teach us. Instruct us. Guide us.   
Jesus, we want to be like You. We want people to see You in us.
Give us Grace and have patience with us.
In Jesus name, Amen."

Sticks and Stones!

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Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.
So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.” This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council. The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
- Acts 6:8-14 (NLT)

 

In this passage, Stephen was a man in the church full of faith and God’s grace. He was going about performing all kinds of miracles and signs and wonders followed him.


Know this. When God is doing amazing things in your life, there will be
some individuals that will be jealous of you and will say and do things that
are intended to hurt you!

  Know this. When God is doing amazing things in your life, there will be some individuals that will be jealous of you and will say and do things that are intended to hurt you!

  

The lying witnesses against Stephen were telling the Jewish religious leaders all kinds of things to get him in trouble. Not all of what they were saying was false, it just wasn’t communicated in the correct manner; it made Stephen look like he was speaking against God.  

 

Have you ever had people say things about you that seems like they are trying to harm you in some way?

 

It is really difficult to believe that individuals will do and say things to hurt people, especially, other Christians.

 


It seems like some Christains want to say and do things to hurt their own!

 

It seems like some Christians want to say and do things to hurt their own!

 

Sometimes what they say about you may be kind of true. Or, maybe it is something in the past that they bring back up just to hurt you!

 

I want to encourage you today. Don’t let your one start critics determine your daily outcome.

 

Don’t let those who may be envious of how well your life is going now that you have Jesus in your life determine your destiny.

  

Listen to what Jesus says about you!

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.     
- Romans 8:14-16 (NLT)

 

You are a son or a daughter of God!

 

That’s who Jesus says you are?

 

Abba, Father, means that when you need affirmation, you can crawl up in His lap so-to-speak and He will wrap His arms around you and confirm that you are His!

 

Shut down the voices that try to mess with your thoughts!

 

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to cast down every thought that is not of Christ.

 


Words do hurt!
However, don't listen to voices that try to tear you down.
You are who Christ says you are!

 

Words do hurt! However, don’t listen to voices that try to tear you down. You are who Christ says you are!

 

Finally,

“At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.”   - Acts 6:15 (NLT)

 

When we determine that we are going to let the Holy Spirit lead us, no matter what people say or do to us, Christ will be what they see!

 

Prayer

“Lord, its tough sometimes dealing with people whose agenda is to hurt you. It is so difficult to remain silent or express love to them.    
God, help us to remain strong and keep our words from hurting back those who hurt us.
Jesus, we want to be like You. We want people to see You in us.
No matter what people say about us, we can be strong in You. Thank You for Your grace.  
In Jesus name, Amen."

Barriers that block Gods Plan for You

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So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai chased the Israelites from the town gate as far as the quarries, and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope. The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away…  
“Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.  
Joshua 7:4-5; 13 (NLT)

 

In this context Joshua and the Children of Israel had just conquered Jericho. This was the first city that God had given them to defeat as they made their way to their promised land.  

 

God had instructed them to take everything that was confiscated from the city and give it to Him as first’s. If they would give God the FIRST, He would give them everything else.  

 

We see a similar scenario with Adam and Eve in the garden when God told them that there was ONE tree that was His and everything else was theirs. He said; Give me everything from the ONE tree and you can have everything else! (Genesis 2:16-17).

 

During the time the Children of Israel were taking over the city of Jericho, without anyone knowing, a man by the name of Achan stole some of the things. Everything was dedicated to God. God was not happy!  


Everything that we have is given to us by God. If He asks for a small
portion, I think that is a pretty good deal

 

 Everything that we have is given to us by God. If He asks for a small portion, I think that is a pretty good deal!

 

 

God does not ask for these portions for His benefit; He asks for them because of His Word. He can never go back on His Word and His Word is to get His people in a place of Redemption.

 

He asks for our heart so that He could REDEEM the rest of our life for eternity.

He asks for the first of our household increase (the 10%) to REDEEM the other 90%

 

What if we gave Him the first of our TIME in our day? What would happen if as soon as our eyes opened in the morning we gave the first few minutes to Him?

  • I believe God would REDEEM our Time for the rest of the day!

  

Sunday is the first day of the week. What if we gave God the first of our week? What if we didn’t neglect coming to His house to worship every Sunday?

  • I believe God would REDEEM the rest of our week.

 

I believe God’s plan is to give His people GOOD things!

 

But, God can’t give us things if we are so stingy and closed fists. Our fists are so tight that God can’t put anything in our hands.  

 


"God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands
are too full to receive them!" -Augustine

  

Here are 3 BARRIERS that will block God’s plan for us.   

 

1. Greed

 

Most people will reject the idea that they are greedy. They will say things like, “I’m not greedy, am I?” I guess they are trying to convince others….or maybe they are trying to convince themselves.

 

In the passage in Joshua, Achan got greedy. God had asks for everything from the 1st city. Everything meant everything.

  • Achan’s view of everything was different than God’s.

 

I think sometimes our EVERYTHING is different than God’s as well.

 

We determine what is EVERYTHING!

 

For many, giving God ANYTHING begins with the thought of “If there is anything left!”

 

THAT’S GREED!

 

If we will work GREED out of our life, God can bless the rest of it!

 

2nd BARRIER that blocks God’s plan for us.

 

2. Arrogance  

 

As soon as the Children of Israel took the city of Jericho, they begin to plan for the next city, Ai.

 

When they scouted the land, it was not even close to the fortified city of Jericho. They got arrogant.

 

When they returned, they told Joshua, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.”
Joshua 7:3 (NLT)

 

Arrogance breeds self-glory!

 

When a person puts themselves above anyone or above God……Pride and ARROGANCE becomes the driving force!

 

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (NLT)

  

3rd BARRIER that blocks God’s plan for us.

 

3. Fear

 

When things begin to fall apart in our lives…. FEAR sets in, not FAITH!

 

In the passage in Joshua, when 3,000 men were killed by this small amount of forces in Ai, FEAR set in.

 

When FEAR rules, we forget about our past VICTORIES!

 

The Children of Israel had just defeated a POWERFUL city by obeying God!

 

It was not an isolated event. God had already spoken the Word concerning giving them the LAND!

 

When we mess up, the process is not to become FEARFUL, the process is repentance and move forward in VICTORY!

 


"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidy, but
of power, love, and self-discipline" 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

  

Discipline – to train by instruction and exercise.  

 

When fear tries to grip you, know that God has not created in us FEAR; that’s from the Devil. God has given us power over fear and has given us (Discipline) instructions….our part is to EXERCISE the movement of carrying out the INSTRUCTIONS.

 

Don’t let greed, arrogance, and fear rule YOU!

 

Listen to God. Obey His instructions. Act on His behalf and watch what He will do for you and through you.


 

Prayer

“Lord, thank You for Your Word.
God, it is in our human nature to embrace greed and arrogance. We are by nature fallen humanity. But, through Your Son Jesus Christ, we have been made right.
Help us see those things in our life that we need to change. Things that need to be dealt with, repented over, and removed from our life.
Thank You for being patient with us. Help us to see with clarity Your plan. We give You full authority over these barriers.
In Jesus name, Amen."

Truth

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Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
John 18:37 (NLT)

 

We have just celebrated the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ. The Gospel! The Good News!

 

This Good News will set you free! Free from everything that keeps you in bondage.

 

Free from:

  • Guilt

  • Shame

  • Fear

  • Past failures

  • Past bad choices

 

The TRUTH of the Good News will set you free!


I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life! -Jesus Christ

 

In the passage in John 18, Jesus was facing death as He was questioned by Pilate the Roman Governor.

 

As Pilate was attempting to clarify that Jesus had done nothing wrong to deserve death, he questioned Jesus as whether He was a king. Of course, Pilate was referring to an earthly king.

 

It was confusing to people to hear a person talk about a kingdom, especially Jesus talking about His kingdom but never referring to Himself as a king.

 

Pilate was confused!    

 

Jesus’ agenda was not here on earth…..It was to make ready the kingdom on earth to one day be in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Jesus was about the TRUTH, not popularity; not fame.

 

The TRUTH is……..The Kingdom!

 

Jesus said that those who love TRUTH will recognize the TRUTH of the Word!

Why do we ask God for His advice when we are determined to do what we want anyway!

 


If God said it, I don't have an opinion!

  

The WORD is the only true, precise, objective TRUTH that we have.

 

There are so many voices in the world that attempt to discount the truth and create a subjective agenda.

 

There is only One Truth. The TRUTH has guidelines to protect us.

 

In 2 Peter chapter three…..The writer says that in the last days there will be those who will come mocking the TRUTH and teaching and following their own desires.

 

The writer continues by encouraging the reader to be on guard and not be carried away by this nonsense; this is created by wicked people.

 

How do you do this? Grow in knowledge. Grow in the TRUTH of the Word!

 

The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy that there will come a day when people will fall for anything they hear. In fact, they will seek out whatever they want to hear instead of the TRUTH!

 

I never understood why a person would only seek what they wanted to hear. As soon as they hear what they want to, then they say, “Here is the TRUTH!”

 

What good does that do?

 

That would be like looking up at the blue sky and asking 20 people who walk by what color the sky is. 

When the 20th person says “blue” and you say, “No it isn’t!” He says, “Yes, it is!”

Finally, after a period of time arguing the guy asks, “What do you want it to be?” “Green!” you reply. Staring he says, "Okay, it’s green then" and he walks away.

 

Hello! The sky is still blue. It didn’t change just because you wanted it to!”

 

They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.   
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT)

 


Truth is, you can't change the TRUTH

 

Jesus says that those who love the truth will know the TRUTH.

We can’t change the TRUTH by just believing something different.

Jesus is the TRUTH!

 

The TRUTH is, “He died, was buried, and rose on the third day to be seated by Father God and there is a place prepared for you and me to be with Him forever.

 

TRUTH is, He doesn’t want anyone to miss this!

Be ready to meet Him face-to-face one day.

 

Prayer

“Lord, thank You for Your Truth.
Help us be on guard for those who try to twist the Truth.  
May we be diligent in seeking Your Word and coming to know the Truth. Your Truth will surely set us Free!
Thank you for being patient with us and loving us unconditionally. Amen"

Be Still!

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Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.”
Psalm 37:7a (NLT)

 

David is communicating to his audience concerning a method of acting in a certain manner to receive provision.

A restlessness of one’s spirit…… opens him up for acting on temptations.  


There is a peace of mind, a peace with God and a peace in God through patience

Restlessness causes bad choices and devastating decisions.

 Most decisions do not have to be made immediately.

 If it is a moral, ethical, or honorable choice……those are made long before the situation surfaces.

However, most decisions such as purchases, relationships, investments, and other family or life resolutions, do not have to be made instantaneously.   

 

 Be Still!

 Take your time and seek God.

 

I have found that when a lot of Christians really want something, they will justify it in every way possible to make it sound godly!

When I am asked about certain things and what they should do, I pose this action.

 

“Take a few days, spend time reading the Bible and praying to God and see what the Holy Spirit says about the decision that you are getting ready to make.”
 

I have made decisions just like most.

“Well, God really wants me to have this!”

 

I have made every excuse there is to justify what I am getting ready to do no matter what anyone says.  

I have found that the reason most people will make every excuse to justify their actions, including me, is that they don’t want to hear what God’s answer is going to be.


Why do we ask God for His advice, when we are determined
to do what we want anyway?!

 

God gets a lot of credit sometimes. “Well, God told me to go ahead and do that!”

 When the bottom falls out of the decisions, then, we blame the Devil.

 God and Satan get a lot of credit on our dumb choices.

 

The writer in Psalm states,

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.”

 

I know, this is extremely difficult at times, but God’s plan is perfect.

 

Wait on Him!

 

He wants you to be blessed, but there are some things that He wants to protect us from!

The Hebrew word for “Be still” means to be silent or to listen to God in silence.

 

Sometimes, we talk and pray so LOUD that we couldn’t hear God if we wanted to.


“To be silent to Jehovah, is that of waiting in silent patience or confidence
for his interposition; or, in other words, of leaving the whole matter with him
without being anxious as to the result.”
- Barnes Commentary

 Why would God do this to me? Why does He wait so long?

Maybe the reason He is waiting, the result will be much better due to the delay! 


God's timing is perfect!

 

Finally, verse 5

“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”
Psalm 37:5 (NLT)

  

Prayer

“God, it’s tough to be patient sometimes! It does not always seem practical to wait.
However, Your ways are not our ways and Your thoughts are not our thoughts.  We see the now, You see the future.
Help us understand and wait on You.
We want the best for us and I know You want the best for us. Thank You for being patient with us. We love You. Amen"