Out of the Storm

Standard

Devotion:  Job 38:1-3

“In the middle of the storm; you remain in control.  Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm.”  While driving to my friend Becky’s house; I was singing along with this familiar song. I kid you not; a raging storm blew up in the middle of my ten minute drive.  Two huge branches broke off, in two different neighbor’s front yards.  There was lightening, thunder and hail pelting my car.  I could hardly see the road in front of me.

Like this physical storm; poor Job went through a horrific storm in his own life.  Lost all he had, his children, his cattle, his sheep and donkeys, his camels, his servants.  How did Job reply to all of this loss?

Job 1:21-22 tells us, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there  The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

Satan had desperately tried to steal Job’s lifestyle of worship. God proved the devil wrong; when He allowed Job’s arch enemy to take everything, accept his own life.  God proved the devil wrong!  Job and God had a daily, close relationship.  He knew how to draw nigh to his God and God always drew nigh to Him.

Job began to question the LORD his God.  God answered him in chapters 38-41.  Job answered the LORD in the last chapter of the book bearing his own name.  In chapter 42:2  Job replied, “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”

Are you in your own personal storm right now?  God speaks in the storm.   Listen for His voice.  He is with you dear one.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, hear my cry to You.  I want to hear Your voice in the middle of the storm.  I know You remain in control.  “You can do everything.  No purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”  Thank You my Blessed Assurance.  I trust You in the storm.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Fifteen Minute Blessing

Standard

Devotion:  Acts 20:35

A gazillion trees shade the natural area of our front yard. When the summer wind storms blow and the rains pour down; the sticks fall to the ground in droves.  I try to pick them up once every couple of weeks.  It’s been dreadfully hot; so I haven’t picked up sticks in almost three weeks.

There was a bit of a breeze; albeit hot breeze, blowing late Thursday afternoon.  The temperature had dropped from 100 degrees to around 95; so I changed into my work clothes, donned my rubber gloves and went out to pick up about a thousand sticks.  Well, it seemed to be at least that many.

I had a pile about waste high, when this dark van pulled up along side of me.  I thought I was about to be kidnapped.  (Just kidding.)  Who wants a sweaty old woman, with hair glued to her face?  Ugh!

One daddy, four boys and one little girl jumped out of that van and said, “We’ve got about 15 minutes; may we help you pick up sticks?  In that 15 minutes, those dear neighbors made another pile as large as the one it had taken me an hour to make.   How perfectly unselfish of the Madeiras to bless me with such an act of kindness.

                  You see; it doesn’t take very long, to                                              bless someone in a huge way.  

Will you look for opportunities to give a 15 minute blessing?

I prayed the Lord would bless this family in an unusual way. I pleaded with Jesus, to grant them their petitions and requests.  I asked Him to enlarge their territory and increase their borders in their work, their ministry, as well as everything they put their hands to do.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, please bless those who do random acts of kindness for others.  it’s such a rare thing in today’s world.  Pour out blessings upon them so that there is not room enough to receive it.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 

 

Let the Church be the Church

Standard

Devotion:  Matthew 16:18

There’s an old hymn entitled; The Church Triumphant.”

Below is the song’s refrain and one verse.

“Let the church be the church, let the people rejoice.
Oh, we’ve settled the question,
We’ve made our choice.
Let the anthems ring out, Songs of victory swell
For the Church triumphant is alive and well.”

Verse:
“This ship’s been through battles before
Storms and tempests and rocks on the shore
Tho’ the hull may be battered,
Inside it’s safe and dry
It will carry its cargo to the port in the sky.”

A website known as ProCon lists thirty five different denominations through out American Christian churches..  That’s a shout out to the religious freedom we have enjoyed since the formation of our nation.

Jesus died for our freedom in Christ. According to Ephesians 5:25:b Christ “loved the church and gave himself for it.”  If you are free in Christ; you are free indeed.

People of the church, let us pray that our “one nation under God,”  will not lose it’s freedom to worship.  Thus far; we have been triumphant in these United States of America.  Christians have been victorious in life and will be victorious in death.  We find ourselves in a win-win situation.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.”  We are called the bride of Christ.  He is our husband.  We are betrothed to Him until our wedding day when our Bridegroom comes for us.

According to Philippians 3:20; our ultimate citizenship is in heaven; however, we belong to Christ while we remain here on earth.  Oh church, let the world see us living triumphantly.  May we be victorious until death do we part.

Prayer in Motion:

Jesus, thank You for being our Bridegroom.  God help us to remain faithful to You, until you come for us.  We are Your people that are called by Your Name.  We humbly beseech You by Your great love for us.  May you find us faithful.

 

God of the Whole Earth

Standard

Devotion:  Isaiah 54:5

Five attributes of the Lord our God are listed in this verse.

God is your Maker.  He is the One who knew you before the foundation of the world.  He created you for such a time as this. He knew every day you would live; before you were planted in your mother’s womb.  Bless the Name of the LORD for making you in His image.  The One who spoke the world into existence; knows ever single detail of your life.  Bring Him blessings and honor and glory and power; until death do you part.  Glorify Him as your Maker.

The LORD of hosts is His name.  He created legions of angels to do His bidding.  He also created the heavenly host of stars. God, You are LORD of all.  The LORD of hosts goes before us, behind us and is with us every hour, every minute, and every second of the day.

God is your Redeemer.  He redeemed you from the sin that is ever before you.  One day He alone will redeem you to your heavenly home.  “Blessed Redeemer, Jesus is mine.  Oh what a foretaste of glory divine.  Heir of salvation, purchase above. born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long.” If you know that song, why not sing it right now?

Jesus is: the Holy One of Israel.  Conceived of the Holy Spirit; inside of a Jewish mother, your Savior was born in Bethlehem of Israel.  Lift up your heads, for one day He will return from the same place He left.  What a day that will be.  Be watchful my friend.  All eyes will see Him.  Every knee will bow and every tongue confess Christ as the LORD.

God is the only “God of the whole earth.”  There are many little gods who are worshipped regularly in this world; however, our God is the only One true God.  Allah is NOT our God’s name.  Our Jehovah has never been in competition with any other god.   He has always been the God of the whole earth. Worship Him now in Spirit and in truth.

God says He inhabits the praises of His people.  Acknowledge these five attributes throughout this day.

Prayer in Motion:

I worship You and acknowledge You are Maker of heaven and earth.  God Almighty, You are the LORD of hosts.  I glorify You my Redeemer and precious Lamb of God.  You alone are the Holy One of Israel.  I choose to honor You, God of the whole earth.  You are still on Your throne.   You know exactly what’s going on in the world.  Even so; come quickly Lord Jesus.  It’s in Your Name I offer up this prayer.  Amen

 

 

 

Get Out of Debt

Standard

Devotion:  Romans 13:8

There’s a reason God said to “Owe no man anything  Debt is a curse to your mind, your body and your spirit. It brings anxiety. God says anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down.

For twenty years, Larry Burkett warned Americans to get out of debt. Our nation is in massive debt to other nations.  Millions of Americans are in a debt that seems impossible to repay.  We have made our dream homes, our dream vacations, our children’s college aspirations come true with credit; using money we did not have.

We’ve all seen the license plate tag that says, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”  So sad.  Our debt outweighs our gains.  Dave Ramsey stepped up to fill Larry’s big shoes.  Those who have listened and obeyed God’s mandate; are thriving in scary times. God is honored when we follow His plan for our lives.

The Holy Bible says more about money; than almost any other subject. The way we handle our money is a huge indicator of how we trust our God.  His ways are higher than our ways.

To quote my friend Danny Benton, “God still sits on His throne; where He’s been all along and He knows what’s going on.”  Let’s begin to ask Him to help us restrain our spending habits and get out of debt.  He will teach you delay your own need for self gratification.  Delayed gratification will be worth the sacrifice, when you are able to freely give to those who are in need.

Middle class America is not used to waiting.  Isaiah tell us “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings as eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint.”  Debt can bring you down.

Lift up your heads.  You redemption draws nigh.  It can take some time to get out of debt; however,  “All things are possible to those that love the LORD and are called according to His purpose.”

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.  We repent in dust and ashes for our debt level in America.  We have spent hard earned money on the foolish things of this world, things that will burn up in the end.  Forgive us Jesus.  May we follow You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

Is It Raining Yet?

Standard

Devotion: Genesis 6:13-22

Summer of 2016 has brought us lots of rain, which is good for all the gardens.  This has been the year; for lots of produce; beans, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash.  Many plans of afternoon swimming at the pool; have been interrupted by the accompanying storms.

                Rain comes down and waters the earth.

Prior to the flood of all floods; only dew watered the earth.  The world had forgotten the God who created them for His glory. Yahweh was sorry he had made man.   The Lord found one man whose life He was willing to spare; allowing human kind to keep going.  “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

                     The first rain brought destruction…

but God had his man Noah; create a means of salvation through the building of the ark.  Remember; there had not been one drop of rain on the face of the earth.  Logically; we human beings can understand why Noah was ridiculed.

Human beings are still here because in the midst of ridicule; Noah obeyed. Because he obeyed; God gave him specific instructions. Although a daunting task for Noah and his family; God made a way for every single step to be accomplished. Many days and years passed; while they sawed and hammered away at this ginormous future floating boat.

Read Genesis 7 for every glorious detail about this great flood. The key to mankind’s physical salvation is found in Genesis 7:5:

                  “And Noah did according to all that                                                the LORD commanded him.”

Obedience is the very best thing.  “To obey is better than sacrifice.”  Are you being ridiculed for your faith?  Disregard those insults and do what God has told you to do.

Genesis 7:16 tells us, “So those that entered…went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.”

The rain came down and the flood came up.

Dear friend, if God has shut you in; hedged you in, with His protection; you are protected.  This one thing I know to be true. There are many times of rain; past, present and future.   When your soul is flooded by the daunting tasks of life; do the hard thing.  Obey God. The LORD will shut you in.  He will be your protector, your provider, your ark of safety.

Is it raining yet?  My pastor recently exhorted us to “Get an umbrella and walk with God.”

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I know the rain is coming.  Help me to be prepared. I trust You Lord.  You will provide an ark.  You provided the covenant ark of Jesus on the cross.  You will make a way where there doesn’t seem to be any way.  You always have and You always will. Bless the Name of the Lord.  It is In Jesus Name, I offer up this prayer.  Amen

Driven to Distraction

Standard

Devotion: Genesis 39:10

What drives you to distraction?  For me; it doesn’t take a lot.  Is it lack of responsibility?  I hope not.  Maybe it’s lack of character? I pray not.   Could it be lack of discipline?  That one is convicting. Come on overcomer; overcome.

While studying Joseph’s story via Liz Curtis Higgs; Bad Women of the Bible; I asked myself the following question about Potipher’s wife:  “Was she bored to distraction or driven there from his lack of attention?  Was she a member of Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band?  Does boredom = lonely?  It really doesn’t matter.  It was against God’s law, as well as the law of the land.  (In those days, they were one in the same.)

In Biblical times; men could have multiple wives, while women were bound to absolute fidelity.  We must surmise Mrs. Potipher was not a God follower.  What was handsome Joseph’s secret ability to resist her advances?  Joseph put off his flesh and put on godly breaks to what is unholy.  He did not take God’s commandment concerning adultery lightly.

Mrs. P chose to dishonor her wedding vows; the ones she took before God and all the people at their marriage ceremony. Instead; she mocked her own husband by following the lust of her own flesh, determined to have her husband’s right hand man.  Potipher trusted Joseph with all that he owned.  Joseph would not dishonor his God nor his boss by taking the bate of Mrs. P’s repeated flirtation. This made her furious.

After many failed attempts; her all consuming unmet passions, turned into hatred.  Hatred turned into scheming and plotting for Mrs. P; so she set out to ensnare godly Joseph.  If he would not have her; she would make him pay; royally pay for his refusal.

Sinful lies and accusations against this man of God; will not turn out the way Mrs. P had hoped.  Potipher could have had Joseph killed, but he only imprisoned his right hand man.  Even from prison, Joseph rose to the top.

“If God is for us; who can be against us?”  “No weapon formed against us shall prosper.”  Joseph was strong in character and determined to be strong in the Lord his God.

          “The Lord was with Joseph.” Genesis 39:2

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2

Prayer in Motion:

Jesus, forgive me for my distractions.  I need to keep my focus on You, the author and finisher of my faith.  My eyes are on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith.  Thank You for your unfailing love.  May I be strong in You and in the strength of Your might.  “It is not by might, nor by power, but by Your spirit that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  In Jesus Name. Amen