A blessing to report

“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.  For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”  Psalm 108:3-4.

God is worthy of all my praise.

I recently lost my glasses.  Couldn’t find them so I ordered a similar pair.  I got the new pair yesterday.

I went out to cut off some branches yesterday morning.  I decided to put my glasses in my pocket so that the falling branches wouldn’t possibly scratch them.

Later as I was moving the fallen branches onto my truck, I looked down and my just-received, new glasses were on the ground in the midst of the fallen branches.

I could have stepped on them.  Could have run over them.  Could have panicked over losing them…again.  None of the above.  God spared me of all of it!

He is indeed the God of the details.  Does that mean everything has a happy ending as I experienced yesterday?  Certainly not.  God’s Ways are not my way.  He makes the agenda of our lives.

I must realize how much He has blessed me.  I must remember that He is with me in the deep end as well as the shallow end.

Conclusion: God is in the details of my life.  Great is His Love for me.

 

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Everything is gone. Now what?

“After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.”  Job 3:1.

Job had lost everything.

There was no one to console him.  His wife told him to curse God.  His friends were speechless.

That’s the bottom.  Everything given to him was gone.

Job had been showered with God’s gift.  When they were all gone Job was left with nothing but God.

That needs to be my core as well.  Everything I have has a shelf life.  It’ll wear out.  God doesn’t have a “shelf life.”

He will be with me forever and ever.  My life here is part of an eternal life with Him that I have been promised.

I am not going to leave this earth with anything.

It behooves me to detach myself from the things of earth.  I can have them, but they can’t “have” me.

I enjoy them but I don’t have to have them.

God knows exactly what I need.  What He provides is a blessing.  I have no right to expect anything from Him.  He will give me what is best.  He will keep me from things that aren’t.

When I lose the things I have, as Job did, I must react as he did in today’s verse.  He did not curse God.  He cursed the life he was leading.

I must glorify Him in all things.  I may not see or understand why things happen, but I must never forget that He has everything figured out.  I must rightly represent Him in whatever station he sets me up in.  To Him be all glory.

Conclusion: God is in charge.  I must do His Work wherever He has put me.

 

 

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Qualified to serve Him

“Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.” Acts 6:3.

What qualities do I need to serve Him right?

Today’s verse spells out two things; Spirit-filled and wise.  The Message uses “common sense” in place of wisdom.

I am at the “management” level in my household.  If I want to manage in a way that pleases Him, I must have the given qualities.

The two qualities can’t be separated.  One without the other will mess things up.  I can be Spirit-filled and of no earthly good.  I can wise but missing God as my ultimate driver.

They have to go together.  I am an earthen vessel.  I leak!  I can’t be filled with the Holy Spirit one time and coast after that.  Being filled is an ongoing process.  I need to wake up into it and I need to be mindful of that filling during the day.

Too often I let the “filling” become less, without taking corrective action.  I need Him every second.

If I am tight to God, I will pause my way into action.  I will prayerfully consider what I do.  I will take instruction.  I will learn from correction.

I want to rightly represent Him in my midst.

Conclusion: I must be filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom to represent Him rightly in all situations.

 

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God presses the mute button

“You have wearied the Lord with your words. ‘How have we wearied him?’ you ask.  By saying, ‘All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them’ or ‘Where is the God of justice?’” Malachi 2:17.

How terrible for this to happen to a believer. What?  God being tired of listening to them.

My behavior has consequences.

My points-of-view have consequences.

The folks referenced in today’s verse blamed God for not enabling them to get their way.  They looked around and saw “evil doers” having good things.  Things that they deserved, or at least they thought they deserved.  Therefore, to them God was unjust, and they were willing to call Him out regarding it.

How arrogant!  God isn’t another of us.  He is the almighty One.  He created everything.  He keeps it going.  He put each of us on this earth.  He knows what He’s doing.

My part is to do what He wants me to do and let Him take care of the rest.  End of story.

Last week I had a plumbing need met immediately….Praise the Lord.  Later this week I lost my glasses and haven’t found them……Praise the Lord.

Was God available one time and on vacation in the other?  Definitely not!

He’s in charge.  He calls the shots.  He was as much with me in one situation as He was in the other.  I prayed for help in both instances.  I do not control what His help looks like.

Conclusion: God provides me with what I need. He does know best.

 

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What does “filled with the Holy Spirit” sound like?

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: …..”  Acts 4:8-11.

For those of us keen on being filled with the Holy Spirit, today’s section of verses is insightful.

Peter is identified as being filled with the Holy Spirit.  He’s a believer and he’s overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit.

Peter is given an opportunity to explain what is going on in his life.  Talk about opening a door!

In applying Scripture to myself, I must respond to open doors, not ones I’ve broken down.  Peter was ready to verbally represent God and God provided the opening.

Peter explained to those who invited him to speak; what Jesus had done (through them) and who Jesus was.

Paul sets up a similar pattern for witnessing but starts with who Jesus is and then goes on to what Jesus did.  If it worked for them, why not me?

The part of these verses that struck me first was that Peter quoted Scripture to those listening.  There was no script used.  Peter knew Scripture and was able to fit it appropriately into his presentation.

I need to be using God’s Words more.  To do this, I must spend more time memorizing Scripture.  I believe that I am better acquainted with stories from the Bible than I ever was, but actual, appropriate verses aren’t rolling off my lips.  Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and Psalm 118:22 rolled right into his spontaneous presentation.

Conclusion: Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter told who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and quoted Scripture.  I must do likewise.

 

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His Words become my words

“Blessed is the one ………. whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”  Psalm 1:1-2.

I adjusted verse 1 and 2 for my own purpose.

I need to be filled with God.

I have been collecting “unceasing” things for the believer.  I am to pray without ceasing.  I am to be mindful of Him without ceasing.  Today I add meditate without ceasing.

That doesn’t leave much time for anything else!

That’s the idea.  I need to be in a state of total commitment to God.

When I get distant from Him, my life is impacted.

I lost my glasses last night.  Couldn’t find them then and haven’t found them today.  Now I’m three hours away from where I was yesterday.  It has been difficult to concentrate on God during this time.  What this brings out to me is that my attachment is situational.  I am so easily disconnected from Him.

I want to be the one who reacts in a Godly way no matter what happens.  There is a time to mourn.  There is a time to rejoice.  But at all times I must be mindful of Him.

Today’s verses remind me that God’s Word needs to be in my head so that His Words come to my mind in all seasons.  I currently read until I find something to meditate on.  Then the next day I move on to some other place.  I wonder if I should be more deliberate with what I meditate on.  Take two days or more instead of one?  Something to consider.

Conclusion: His Words must become my words.

 

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There is an order

“They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.  They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.” Nehemiah 9:2-3.

I am finding sequences in the Bible.  Things relating to God have order.

I always want to be right with God.

I know that I am a sinner and will always be a sinner.  It is a never-ending process to be confessing my sins.

In this “Nehemiah” sequence things start with a general confession.  How often we say/think “Lord, forgive me of my sins.”  Nothing specific.

Then these folks looked at God’s Word.  It helps to identify specific shortcomings.

Then they returned to confessing their sins because now they had discovered specific things in God’s Word that needed confessing.

At last they moved into worshiping.  They were clean before Him and could concentrate on Him.  The distractions to full worship were eliminated.

I think of how often I mess up this sequence.

Too often I generalize my sinfulness.

Too often I read without applying what I read to me.  I’m looking for others!

Too often my drive to confess specific sins in my life is less than it should be.

Too infrequently I stand clean before God and worship Him in that status.

I have a lot of work to do but knowing the order for doing it is provided in today’s verses.

Conclusion: Confess, read, confess some more, and then worship Him.

 

 

 

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