I am not speaking up for Him

“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”  Acts 8:4.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 3-4, and Acts 8-9.

Stephen getting stoned to death really got the attention of the believers in Jerusalem.  They left that city as fast as they could.  Many returning to where they had come from.  Many had initially stayed in Jerusalem expecting that Jesus would soon return there.

Believers often cloister themselves from the real world.  Why?  They are more comfortable among believers.

But God wants us to “scatter” to where we are really from and rightly represent Him there.

I am currently reading, “One thing You Can’t Do In Heaven,” by Mark Cahill.  That “one thing” is that in heaven I lose the chance to share the Gospel with unbelievers.  The unbelievers will need someone else to share the Gospel with or it will be too late for them.

I need to be sharing the Gospel in my midst.  I need to forget the fear and my lack of “answers” and get to it.  How about you?

“Lord, help me to speak up about You.  To use Your Ways to do this.  You know me and know what I need to share You better.  I ask for that specific help, God.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

I must begin to actively speak up about God.

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Nothing is yours

“’Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’”  Job 1:21.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 1-2, and Acts 6-7.

That Job could say that after what had just happened to him was remarkable.

I don’t actually “own” anything.

I have been given what I have by God.  My function is to be a Godly steward with what He’s given to me.

As I get older, I realize that I am diminishing physically.  I want to deny/ignore it but it is happening.  I do not have command of my future.  God does.

I must make good use of what I have.  All I have is temporary.  And there will be an accounting on Judgment Day of my stewardship.

I need to view each day as if it is my last……..and it could be.  If I approach life like that then I will appreciate what I have now and be extremely mindful of His gifts.

Job knew that God had blessed Him.  Satan thought that Job’s righteous life was all about what he had, not about God.  Satan was allowed to “de-bless” Job and today’s verse are Job’s response.  Having the blessings removed did not remove Job’s loyalty to God.

“Lord, every good gift I have is from You.  Forgive me for considering myself deserving of anything from You.  I am a sinner and continue to be one.  Forgive me.  Cleanse me.  Enable me to clearly see Your good gifts in my midst throughout this day.  You have blessed me royally.  Thank You, Father.”

God has given us every good gift we have.

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He is running the place!

“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding..” Psalm 148:7-8.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Psalm 148, Malachi 3-4, and Acts 5.

I must never lose track of God’s marvels in my midst.

I live in a neighborhood where the leaves haven’t done much changing yet.  This morning my wife and I drove about ten miles away from here and were suddenly in a sea of colors.  Made me want to get my camera!

I have a river nearby and then there are those sunrises and sunsets.  Beautiful stuff!

It is beyond comprehension how God manages everything.  It sure helps that He is omnipresent!

I saw a fish jump in the nearby river.  Is God monitoring its behavior?  Yes, He is.

I tend to notice the “home-run visuals” in my midst but am I mindful of the other things He manages?  We would not be able to live on earth if the sun was further away or closer.  He has set it just right.

There are those who would say that the universe is on auto-pilot.  They must be joking.  Someone is in charge and that Someone is God.

“Lord, I marvel at Your creation.  Forgive me for missing what You are doing.  You are in charge.  You are great.  I praise You, Father.”

What a universe He is running!

 

 

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God is with me

“You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord – even beyond the borders of Israel!’” Malachi 1:5.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Nehemiah 13, Malachi 1-2, and Acts 4.

Nothing, including distance, can separate me from God.

How can God be everywhere?  Another of His mysteries.

I must live aware that God is in my midst via His Holy Spirit.  He sees me.  He hears me.  He knows my thoughts.  That information must put me on serious notice.

I must remember that God is also where my loved ones are as well.  They may be distant, and I know almost nothing about what they are doing, but He does.  I can intercede for them.  I can ask for His protection for them.

I often forget that God is nearby.  How can I remedy that?  I need to think through what I would do if God was where I am right now.  I would surely want to talk to Him.  If I was writing this blog, I would surely ask Him for help.  I just moved a chair next to my desk to remind me (visually) that He is here with me.  Whatever works!

“Lord, I know that You are here with me.  I also know that You are where readers are too.  Help each of us to be mindful of Your presence and act accordingly.  Forgive me for losing track of Your nearness.  I am blessed to have You with me.  Thank You, Father.”

How do I know that God is with me right now?  I believe that He is omnipresent.

 

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What is the Gospel?

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.”  Acts 3:19-20.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Nehemiah 11-12, Psalm 1, and Acts 3.

Peter spells out the Gospel for us.

I must realize that I need God.  Why would I need Him?  Because my good gifts come from Him.  Because He loves me and enables me to love Him back.  Without Him in my life, I mess up.  I need Him to hang onto so that I get life right.

My sins separate me from Him in this life and they will do the same in the after-life.

By the death of Jesus, the consequences of my sins are gone.  I am clean in the sight of God.  Sins’ burden has been lifted from me.  I don’t fear death…..and that is refreshing.  I can look at a graveyard and not fear because I am completely in the clear.

I can look forward to Jesus coming back to earth.  I can be involved in preparing this earth for His return.  I can prepare myself by living the way He instructs and leads me to do.

I have been reading recently that the appeal of being with God in the after-life is unappealing to some people.  These folks do all they can to avoid God.  They ignore Him.  They even say He doesn’t exist.  There is no way that heaven would appeal to them because it would require them to spend eternity with Someone they have no use for.

“Lord, I thank You for spelling out the Gospel (Good News) in today’s verses.  There is a way for me to spend my present life and after-life with You.  I have chosen that way and rejoice what my choice brings me now and what it will bring in my after-life.  I love You, Father.”

If I choose to ignore God in this life I can be sure that He will ignore me in the next life.

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I broke a rule and learned about justice

“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” Nehemiah 9:17.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Nehemiah 9-10, and Acts 2.

I found out about justice in a personal way yesterday.

I went to a meeting this past Saturday in which the rules and regulations of the company I work part-time for were explained.  I heard them and agreed to them.

On my first day at work on Tuesday I took matters into my own hands and solved a problem.  When I asked yesterday to be compensated for what I had done, solving a company problem, I was told that it had been agreed that there would be no compensation for what I had done.

Internally outraged, I had numerous explanations for why I should have been compensated.  I left the office in an unhappy state but as I drove away I started to realize that what I had received was letter-of-the-law justice.  I had received what I deserved.

I realized that I didn’t want justice.  I wanted mercy and I had all kinds of reasons why I deserved it.  But mercy is not something I deserve, it is something given to me by someone willing to overlook my rule breaking.

Powerful stuff.  I have a God who knows my rule breaking and accepts my apology.  He gives me something I don’t deserve (a clean slate before Him) because of His gracious, merciful nature.  My task is to believe that He has done this for me and to live accordingly.

“Lord, thank You for bringing a personal justice/mercy message to me over the last few days.  I needed to see how that works.  You are just and have expectations of me yet You are also merciful to those who belong to You.  Expose my sins to me.  Help me to recognize them and repent of them.  Thank You for the restoration to You that You provide.  I love You, Lord.”

God is just but He is also merciful.

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Joy prescribed

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is holy to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” Nehemiah 8:10.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Nehemiah 7-8, and Acts 1.

I tend to concentrate more on God’s justice than on His mercy.

I know the things He wants me to do and I am more than aware that I often fail Him.  He has reasons to be displeased with me.  I strive to make a just God happy.

But today’s verse gets beyond the “just” God to the God of “mercy.”

I must remember that I am loved by a God Who knows all my failures.  There is no logic to His love.  It is flat-out mercy and in that I can rejoice.

The Jews had heard the Law and realized how evil they had been in the sight of God.  They were weeping and mourning over their failures.  But Nehemiah moves them beyond that because they are now right with God. The Jews had recognized their sins and repented of them.  They can rejoice in their cleansed relationship with God.

And I need to follow the same pattern.  I must recognize my sins and repent of them but I can’t just wallow there.  I must realize that my sins are gone.  I must realize that the consequences of my sins have been taken care of by Jesus’s death.  I’m clean forever!  Hallelujah!

“Lord, forgive me for limiting my view of You to justice.  You are just but You are also merciful.  I fear Your justice but I rejoice in Your mercy to me.  I have won the lottery and I didn’t even buy a ticket!  You are amazing, Father.”

Knowing what I know about God’s mercy, why am I not happier?  Am I waiting to be happy when I earn God’s approval?  That’s not mercy.

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