You have to love Gideon. Israel is in bad shape. They have abandoned God. Not just a little but completely. Absolutely, positively left Him for good. The Midianites have devastated them and humiliate them for sport. It is embarrassing.
Gideon carries out his daily work in a pit so the Midianites won’t harass him. It works but God knows where he is.
So … God shows up on the scene one day. Just like God when you think He can’t find you. The angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!” Really? Seriously? Gideon is hiding in a pit. You just have a sense this is going to be rich.
Nehemiah was an amazing man of God. He had a big yes going on in his life. He knew how awesome God is. He understood loyalty. He was humble at the core, seeking to get God’s work done.
Like Nehemiah, we have come back to God. God has put us back in right standing with Himself. God accomplished that through our Master Jesus. Now we get it.
May we be a mighty prayer warrior like Nehemiah. May we do God’s work and restore His people.
“I said, ‘God, God-of-Heaven, the great and awesome God, loyal to his agreement and faithful to those who love him and obey his commands: Look at me, listen to me. Pay attention to this prayer of your servant that I’m praying day and night in intercession for your servants, the People of Israel, confessing the sins of the People of Israel. And I’m including myself, I and my ancestors, among those who have sinned against you. ‘We’ve treated you like dirt: We haven’t done what you told us, haven’t followed your commands, and haven’t respected the decisions you gave to Moses your servant.
All the same, remember the warning you posted to your servant Moses: ‘If you betray me, I’ll scatter you to the four winds, but if you come back to me and do what I tell you, I’ll gather up all these scattered peoples from wherever they ended up and put them back in the place I chose to mark with my Name.'” Nehemiah 1:5-9 MSG
There is my way and there is God’s way. What happens when we live God’s way? Imagine an orchard and the fruit that it produces. That is what God does for us. It is a gift because He loves us so much and is so very good. His gifts are like fruit just showing up one day. Bam!!!
So what are some of the gifts he gives us so freely? A real affection for others. Nothing fake at all. How about that amazing exuberance for living every day for Him? Remember the serenity that comes from knowing that Jesus is so great? How about that compassion we sensed one day when normally we wouldn’t even care? And that conviction that we have never experienced before. A sense of being set apart for God and God’s purpose.
Now here is a gift worth receiving. Finding ourselves involved in loyal commitments we have never imagined before.
May we marshal our energy wisely taking full advantage of His gifts.
God’s love never fails. It just doesn’t stop. We see Him some days through our own eyes and we know our love can fail. But not God. And so, we can ask for mercy because we know God is merciful and His love doesn’t fail.
God’s compassion is really amazing. Even though we don’t deserve it, he just wipes the slate clean.
Jesus bleaches out every stain when we miss the mark. Some days the stains are overwhelming. How could I have done that? Jesus turns the worst stains into a white like we can’t imagine. God’s bleach never loses it’s ability to turn the worst stain white.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my missing your goal (sin).
Because of what Jesus did, we can walk right up to God. We don’t even have to hesitate. We can just go right in to His presence and the place where His absolute perfection radiates completely. Jesus, the anointed Messiah, made the way clear. It was by His blood and His sacrifice. Nothing I could do to make it happen. This is God’s new plan for us. He has a whole new strategy for how we can be with Him and His awesome love.
So … let’s do it. Let us believe and be confident that we are in fact presentable. We don’t have to be ashamed at all. We are clean inside and out. Let’s get a firm grip on the promises that keep us moving in to His way. Has God ever not kept His word?
In fact, let’s get creative in how we can encourage love and helping each other out. Let’s be really inventive coming up with entirely new ways to show it. The Big Day is coming. Let’s get ready for it.
May we spur each other on. May we help each other out every time we get a chance.
What happens when I live God’s way? (I am pausing here to think on this!!!)
Jesus, the Messiah, brings gifts into my life. If I plant fruit in an orchard, I will reap some really tasty treats. That is the way it is. I live God’s way and He gives me fruit.
What kind of fruit is it? Things like affection for others. True caring for them. A passion for life. Serenity and peace. I have a willingness to stick with things. No starting and not finishing. Compassion for God and my friends.
I get God’s gift of a basic holiness that permeates everything I do and the people I know. I find myself involved in extremely loyal commitments. I don’t have to force my way through anything. I am able to marshal my energy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to the Messiah Jesus have crucified the nature that misses God’s goal (sin) with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26
God has given us an amazing gift. Sometimes it is hard to describe. What we know is that God is in a good mood. God gives us stunning gifts. Through Jesus, his son and our Messiah, we have life that will never end.
What can I do? I can be thankful. And so, I am!!!
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15
Jesus will not be molded into someone who makes me feel comfortable. I must be absolutely devoted to my Master Jesus. I must mold myself to do what Jesus wants.
God is God. God is in complete control and given all authority to his son Jesus the Messiah.
God doesn’t negotiate.
God doesn’t make deals.
I must get over those ideas and change my mind (repent).
Why worry? God has a plan. God is working his plan. We can trust in Him. He is in a very good mood. He will do what He says. He never abandons us at all. He is always looking out for our best interest. That is just the way He rolls.
With worry, if it is not one thing it is another. Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.
Why worry? God has a plan. God’s plan is Jesus.
Worrying is a nasty habit ..you’ll notice if it ain’t one thing it’s another.
God has been talking to me a long time. I can go way back. Dr. Pirtle spoke the word of God that lead me to Jesus. Jay Fesperman led me into a disciplined life in God. Bob Mumford challenged me to submit to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Derek Prince helped me see how fully I am redeemed. Most recently, Bill Johnson has shown the way to how good God is. Jack Graham shows the way to the goodness of fellowship. Sally Fesperman on how intercession is the way to Gods absolute perfection. On and on it goes. His word right out of the mouths of those I know.
It is a long line of men and women who have addressed me in different ways. And it started way before me. Thousands of years going back to the beginning, the word has come to me through those who went before me. And there were those who proceeded Jesus. In the scheme of things, that wasn’t that long ago. Jesus word holds true today coming to me directly.
It was through Jesus (and the word He spoke) that God created everything that we know as the world and the universe. God created it and it will all be His in the end. It will all belong to Jesus for sure. Jesus absolutely perfectly mirrors God.
Everything God is is stamped into who Jesus is now. Because God spoke it to begin with. God is now holding it all together today by the same word He spoke so long ago. He has such powerful words. Oh my goodness, God’s word blasts forward to make it all happen.
I have a decision to make. I get to make it every day. Is it a bad thing to worship God? I can worship something else. I can worship someone else. Now would be the time to choose.
Jesus, the Messiah and our Master, challenges us to worship God and God only. Jesus knows that we cannot serve two Masters.
I also get to choose for my family as well.
I choose to worship God. Me and my family.
“If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.” ~~Joshua 24:15
We all know it deep down. Our hearts are very fragile. It can be broken. We get depressed and angry. It is all so unfair, we cry out.
We are people with hope, however. Jesus, the Messiah and our Master, has won the day. He is guarding our hearts. The victory is his and can also be ours. Jesus has given us a new heart. No need to be depressed. No reason to be angry.
We have someone guarding our heart. It is Jesus the Messiah. Now that is some good news.
Great story from Max Lucado. We never know how our faith in Jesus will pay off. Even when it makes us look foolish.
by Max Lucado
I’m writing to say thanks. I wish I could thank you personally, but I don’t know where you are. I wish I could call you, but I don’t know your name. If I knew your appearance, I’d look for you, but your face is fuzzy in my memory. But I’ll never forget what you did.
There you were, leaning against your pickup in the West Texas oil field. An engineer of some sort. A supervisor on the job. Your khakis and clean shirt set you apart from us roustabouts. In the oil field pecking order, we were at the bottom. You were the boss. We were the workers. You read the blueprints. We dug the ditches. You inspected the pipe. We laid it. You ate with the bosses in the shed. We ate with each other in the shade.
Except that day.
I remember wondering why you did it.
We weren’t much to look at. What wasn’t sweaty was oily. Faces burnt from the sun; skin black from the grease. Didn’t bother me, though. I was there only for the summer. A high-school boy earning good money laying pipe.
We weren’t much to listen to, either. Our language was sandpaper coarse. After lunch, we’d light the cigarettes and begin the jokes. Someone always had a deck of cards with lacy-clad girls on the back. For thirty minutes in the heat of the day, the oil patch became Las Vegas—replete with foul language, dirty stories, blackjack, and barstools that doubled as lunch pails.
In the middle of such a game, you approached us. I thought you had a job for us that couldn’t wait another few minutes. Like the others, I groaned when I saw you coming.
You were nervous. You shifted your weight from one leg to the other as you began to speak.
“Uh, fellows,” you started.
We turned and looked up at you.
“I, uh, I just wanted, uh, to invite … “
You were way out of your comfort zone. I had no idea what you might be about to say, but I knew that it had nothing to do with work.
“I just wanted to tell you that, uh, our church is having a service tonight and, uh … “
“What?” I couldn’t believe it. “He’s talking church? Out here? With us?”
“I wanted to invite any of you to come along.”
Silence. Screaming silence.
Several guys stared at the dirt. A few shot glances at the others. Snickers rose just inches from the surface.
“Well, that’s it. Uh, if any of you want to go … uh, let me know.”
After you turned and left, we turned and laughed. We called you “reverend,” “preacher,” and “the pope.” We poked fun at each other, daring one another to go. You became the butt of the day’s jokes.
I’m sure you knew that. I’m sure you went back to your truck knowing the only good you’d done was to make a good fool out of yourself. If that’s what you thought, then you were wrong.
That’s the reason for this letter.
Some five years later, a college sophomore was struggling with a decision. He had drifted from the faith given to him by his parents. He wanted to come back. He wanted to come home. But the price was high. His friends might laugh. His habits would have to change. His reputation would have to be overcome.
Could he do it? Did he have the courage?
That’s when I thought of you. As I sat in my dorm room late one night, looking for the guts to do what I knew was right, I thought of you.
I thought of how your love for God had been greater than your love for your reputation.
I thought of how your obedience had been greater than your common sense.
I remembered how you had cared more about making disciples than about making a good first impression. And when I thought of you, your memory became my motivation.
So I came home.
I’ve told your story dozens of times to thousands of people. Each time the reaction is the same: The audience becomes a sea of smiles, and heads bob in understanding. Some smile because they think of the “clean-shirted engineers” in their lives. They remember the neighbor who brought the cake, the aunt who wrote the letter, the teacher who listened …
Others smile because they have done what you did. And they, too, wonder if their “lunchtime loyalty” was worth the effort.
You wondered that. What you did that day wasn’t much. And I’m sure you walked away that day thinking that your efforts had been wasted.
So I’m writing to say thanks. Thanks for the example. Thanks for the courage. Thanks for giving your lunch to God. He did something with it; it became the Bread of Life for me.
God has so much energy and the desire to give me a life filled with every good thing. Jesus, the Messiah’s, absolute perfection is almost incomprehensible.
May God’s love smother us all today!!
Jesus challenges people. If He is speaking through you, some are definitely going to get mad.
Jesus is reaching people. If He is speaking through you, some are going to be very glad.
Are you making people mad? Are you making people glad? Both are a sure sign God is speaking through you.
God is talking to us. Just like Jesus did with Peter when Jesus was walking on the water in the middle of a storm. They all saw Jesus but thought it was a ghost. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come ahead.” Two words. “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink.
He cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
Peter received the blessing. First doubt, then faith, then fear, then restoration and then the lesson that leads to maturity.
Water longs to be walked on again. Will you step out? Will you receive the blessing? Be bold!! Have courage!!
Feel like you are missing God’s blessings? Try stepping out in faith on what you have already heard Him say.
There are so many things we can’t understand. Every day. So … what to do?
We have many choices. There are so many ways we can respond or react.
Do we see this challenge as an opportunity?
Having a challenge understanding? This is the opportunity to trust God, who is in a good mood.
Give thanks to the Lord, Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good, He is above all things
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
With a mighty hand and outstretched arm
His love endures forever
For the life that’s been reborn
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise
Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever and ever, forever (2X)
From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
And by the grace of God we will carry on
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise
His love endures forever (8X)
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise
The silence around this one is deafening.
There is nothing God can’t do. Nothing is impossible with Him. Not a single thing. Nada.
May we all have supernatural courage. Let’s give it up for God!! He is so good. He is so great.
God is God.
Nothing is impossible for God.
Everything is possible with God.
News flash. God can handle things with out my help!! God doesn’t need me to correct believers. This can be very tough for religious people who steeped in religious instruction year after year.
I follow one person on Twitter who specializes in this area. All of his blog posts are about how wrong certain pastors are. He is bright but I don’t think he gets this part of God’s word. I know I fall into the trap sometimes as well. It isn’t pretty and I am ashamed of myself when it happens.
My only assignment from Jesus, the Messiah and Master, is to love. That, on any given day, is plenty. No need for anything else to focus on at all. That is my assignment. Everything else is for God to take care of.
Jesus challenges us here as well. “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged” (Matthew 7:1) Pretty clear. Just love.
Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently. . . If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help. Romans 14:1-3;8
Jesus is passionate. He is not Mr. Rogers with a beard. His objective is not to be a nice guy but to do what God wants him to do. Am I a man of passion or apathy?
There are worse things than caring too much. Lots worse. Like caring too little. Like not caring at all. Like caring about the wrong things.
When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength. Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” He was angry. He was passionate.
Jesus leads a life of passion. He drove a bunch of crooks out of church. “His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’” (John 2:17).
May I be consumed with passion for being in the presence of God. May I burn with that kind of love.
We place a great deal of emphasis on individuality. It is “our right”!!
Not really. What is important is for us to do what God wants. That is it. And what God wants is for us to love Him without reservation.
“But our individuality must be yielded to God so that our spiritual life may be brought forth into fellowship with Him.” ~~Oswald Chambers
This says so much. And I think St. Augustine knew something about this. God wants us to love him like we love no one else. That is the main thing about the main thing. Do we long for Him?
“The whole life of the good Christian,” said Augustine, “is a holy longing.”
I am forever before Him. That is the truth. Anything else I hear is a lie.
I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16
Jesus knows what is in God’s heart. He was obedient to the point of giving everything up, coming to live with us, perfectly following everything His Father wanted Him to do. Jesus understands what God’s goal is at any given moment.
Jesus honored God.
What was the result of this perfect obedience? God answered Him. Jesus became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey him.
I think the essence of honor is obedience.
“Because Jesus honored God, God answered him.” (Hebrews 5:8)
Jesus described in ways like being hungry for God. Or being thirsty for God. George Herbert a little differently but may our hearts pant after God.
Immortal Heat, O let thy greater flameAttract the lesser to it: let those fires,Which shall consume the world, first make it tame;And kindle in our hearts such true desires,As may consume our lusts, and make thee way.Then shall our hearts pant thee.—–George Herbert (1593 -1633)
Paul is clear about Jesus. His writing is clear about God. God’s word is clear.
There is no “I wonder what he meant” kind of stuff with God. He is in charge in His world (Kingdom). He always has been. He always will be.
It is clear that nothing is impossible with God. He can do anything. God is God.
God is our loving Father. He has wonderful things in store for us. He is in a great mood.
“Don’t try to read between the lines or look for hidden meanings in this letter.” ~~Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 1:13 The Message)
Do I know why I am doing what I am doing?
The answer to that is all important. In a world of “you will succeed if you have a mission statement” kind of thinking, what we think our mission is doesn’t matter. What does matter is what is God’s mission for us.
What is God’s mission for me?
“I’m God-commissioned.” ~~Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:3 The Message)
Wisdom. We all want it I think. What is the path? How do we get there?
God is GOD. He has, from before the beginning of time, had a plan in mind. God is executing against it, day by day, year by year, century by century, millennium by millennium.
We seek to understand it all but some days we just can’t. It is a mystery. We are wondering around in a fog to some extent.
What we do know is that God has a plan in mind. We trust Him that it will all unfold, just as He has planed it out. His purpose will be achieved and we will see His glory. So be it!!
I want to understand God and have the wisdom of his son Jesus. I need to seek out what is His purpose to get there.
God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. (1 Corinthians 2:6 The Message)
We all know GOD exists. Sure, there are some atheist but they are really kidding themselves. So lets not think about that. We know there is a GOD. Here is the big question. Do we treat Him like GOD?
Think about it. GOD is GOD. GOD is great. GOD is good. We “know it”. Do we believe Him?
If we don’t treat him like GOD, GOD says, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” This is a case of be careful what you ask for.
“What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God….” ~~Apostle Paul (Romans 1:18 The Message)
When we live the life God has intended for us, it is like a tree that gives us delicious fruit. There is nothing like fresh fruit. We all love it. I was at the market yesterday and just had to get some figs and apricots.
God’s goal for us is to live a meaningful life. It is meaningless for a fruit tree not to bare fruit. A great tree provides shade to the weary person. The shade attracts others to find comfort. Our sense of purpose will attract others to God. They will want the same meaningful life.
That is in contrast to a life of violence. I think this is not just physical. Anything opposite of doing what GOD wants us too is violence against GOD and it destroys our very souls.
Thank GOD for the Holy Spirit of GOD that gives us the power to live the resurrected life of Jesus. Now that is Good News.
“A good life is a fruit-bearing tree; a violent life destroys souls.” ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 11:30)
Jesus knows that God’s word isn’t always received well. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word of God, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved. It is hard to understand all of this. The Disciples struggled as well.
We don’t have to understand how or even why the Devil snatches up God’s Word but we know, from Jesus, it happens. We have to be careful. This message is for us not someone else. Jesus said this to His disciples. He said it to give us insight. We need to take care with God’s word.
We are challenged by Jesus to have good-hearts. He wants us to seize the Word. We need to hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest. That is how it is in God’s world (Kingdom).
As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn’t have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop. “Are you listening to this? Really listening?” (Luke 8:4-8 The Message)
Jesus challenges us to understand GOD’s word. GOD is the farmer. It is GOD who plants the seed, His word.
This has nothing to do with us. It is all GOD’s doing. God is God.
We like think we are the center of things. Even the disciples of Jesus didn’t get what Jesus was saying and they were with Him all day long for 3 years.
It all starts with GOD and His word. That is the most important thing to understand. It is all about GOD and what He says / wants.
As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn’t have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop.
“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”
(Luke 8:4-8 The Message)
Being one nation under God has given us certain responsibilities.
God’s goal for us is compassion and love.
As Americans, may we show it today.
“Recognizing the equality of all men and women, we are willing and able to lift the weak, cradle those who hurt, and nurture the bonds that tie us together as one nation under God.” ~~Ronald Reagan
Wandering around is not a sign you are lost. In your heart, you probably know where God wants you to go. We need to be bold. He gives us faith and courage.
Let’s head on up to the promised land. God has given it to us. God has a goal for us. Our destination is the promised land. It is ours for the taking.
Be brave. God is with us.
All who wander are not lost. Israel knew how to get to the promised land. They didn’t have the courage to go.