Friday, July 14, 2017

PROMISES


Who then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
Psalm 25:12 (NIV)

Weekly I go to our local jail to lead a group in discussing a program titled “Overcomers”. Most of the men who come to the group say they are already Christians. Yesterday, as I began our session, one asked how I was doing. I responded with the story of how I had been surprised by all four of my children, some coming hundreds of miles, for a celebration of my 80th birthday. The subject of our session was “Victory,” pointing out that we who have given our lives to Jesus are victors in life. This soon led to a discussion of what it means to be a child of God.

They pointed out that, in some respects at least, my life has been blessed more than theirs. For at least one of them, there came a new awareness that, as a child of God, he is a victor and not a victim in life.

Psalm 25 tells the story of why. For those who lift up their soul to God, there is a promise of instruction on how to live in a way that leads to “prosperity and descendants who will inherit the land.”in other words, a life of blessings and victories. The process is simple in concept: 1) we turn to God for instruction, 2) through the Bible and other means and circumstances, God instructs us in the way that leads to true life, and 3) God pours out His blessings in many ways.

Our God makes promises and keeps them.


© 2017, Parker Wayland

Friday, July 7, 2017

KNOWING YOUR PURPOSE


For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  John 3:17 (NIV)

I am not an eloquent speaker filled with many words and sayings to impress the masses. It is in smaller surroundings where I am most comfortable. At the mere thought of speaking to a large group, my voice and knees begin to tremble. And my stomach—well, you get the idea. 

But, when God speaks to me . . . now that is when the magic begins.

God speaks . . .

I become still and listen . . .

Then, I begin to write . . .

The desire to write is a recent development in my life and has become like breathing to me. It is an extension of my very soul. To know the words written by me have the potential to touch another person is truly amazing and humbling.

In our world today, we may become concerned with being unable to excel at everything. But God did not create us to be exceptional at all things; He created us with a purpose for our lives designed exclusively by Him. God has blessed all of us with unique gifts to share with others. 

Long ago, Jesus came down from heaven to dwell among us with a God-given purpose. His purpose, to seek and save the lost, led Him to a cross on Calvary where He was suspended between heaven and earth. It was on that cross that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, poured out his precious blood as atonement for our sins . . . for all who believe in Him. 

I often wonder where we would be today if Jesus walked away from His God-given purpose . . .

Lord, help us discover our purpose in life and pursue it with faith and passion.


© 2017 Amy A. Verzi

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Zebedee


…he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat preparing their nets. Without delay, he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. Mark 1:19 (NIV)
Years ago, as a new “full fledged” believer in Jesus, it became my practice to pray on the way to work. One such day, a word came to mind.
Speaking the word aloud, there was a question in my voice, “Zebedee?”
That word ran through my thoughts all day.
A friend explained to me that Zebedee was the father of two of the disciples of Jesus—James and John.

“Why did God whisper that name to me?” I asked.
Shaking her head and smiling, she answered, “You’ll have to ask Him why He put that word on your mind and heart.”
A Concordance and a Bible study guide became my companions assisting in my Zebedee research.
First, I learned that Zebedee was an uncle, of Jesus by marriage.
The Lord tweaked my curiosity and ever since He has continued to send me on Bible quests.
How gracious of our Father in heaven to encourage and prompt us to find out more about Him.
Over time, I learned several other interesting facts about Zebedee. The most recent discovery is that in one translation the name means “abundant portion.”
The Lord graciously continues to clarify to me that when His children study His word, ask for Holy Spirit guidance and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior, we will have life and have a more “abundant portion.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the abundant life that you offer to those who believe and continually seek to know You more.

© Christy Struben 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

THE WAY OF ESCAPE


No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.  I Corinthians 10:13 (NAS) 

In the last few days of my job, which had been eliminated by corporate restructuring, my manager suggested I take a sick day. It would allow me to take a day off without losing vacation time which was worth one day’s pay at the end of my job. The manager said she would approve my “sick day.” 

When presented with this idea, I was tempted to try to justify it. On the day in question, our office would be virtually empty with only two people there. No one would know or care—except God. Continuing to wrestle with this dilemma, I prayed and asked the Lord what to do. Throughout the day, my sense of oppression and deepening conviction increased.  

Recognizing the Holy Spirit was dealing with me, I sought counsel from a close Christian friend. Picking up my phone, I noticed she had left me a message. As we talked, she told me I had been on her mind. She made it very clear that taking a sick day when I was not ill would be deceitful. I knew clearly what God wanted me to do─I would go to work. 

As my mind turned away from the temptation, the oppression lifted. I was free! God used a Christian sister to help me make the right decision. The Holy Spirit provided the way of escape. 

Faithful Father, When we are faced with temptation, guide us to seek You and Your way of escape. 

© 2017 Diane E. Hussey

 

Friday, June 16, 2017

DAD'S DISCIPLINE

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  Hebrews 12:7-11 (NIV)

“No, Dad. I didn’t do it.”
“Son, tell me the truth now.”

“No, Dad. I didn’t do it.”
“Son, tell me the truth now.

“No, Dad. I didn’t do it.”

Realizing there was a problem here, my Dad asked his 5 year-old son, “Son, what is the truth?”

With some trepidation, I responded, “It’s what you tell your Dad to keep from getting a spanking.”

We have to be taught the difference between truth and lie. We have to be taught the difference between right and wrong, and discipline is often needed to make the instruction emphatic. Fathers are on the front line in this responsibility, and fortunate is the child whose father is active and wise in this role.

At the beginning of their relationship, God gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments to make clear what is right and what is wrong.  The Old Testament is full of lessons and discipline leading them toward holiness. Loving discipline is key in showing the way to true life and holiness.

Father, thank You for Your guidance and discipline in our lives.  Lead us in the way that leads toward holiness that we may enjoy eternity with You. Amen.

© 2017 Parker Wayland