No Place I'd rather be

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Choosing My Path Wisely




I am reading through Judges. Today I am in chapter 11.

It is worth noting that they cast out a son of a harlot, Jephthan. He was someone that they did not deem worthy. Wouldn't you know it, Jephthan is the one that God used to deliver Israel at that point and time!  

This reminds me to not let what others think of me effect who I am. Because, I am a child of God and He has great plans for me! All that is required of me is to trust and follow Him; wherever, He leads. I can rest in the fact that everything works out according to His purpose and plans and brings glory to Father.

I should never complain about this life. Every breath I take is because He has had mercy on me. It's His breath in my lungs - I should be singing His praise and speaking words for Him.  This reminds me to be cheerful (Psalm 37:22), praise God for the good and the bad (Ps. 34, Job’s life, Jesus’ life), be meek (Psalm 37:11 & Matthew 5:5)  be patient (Psalm 37:7, Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Corinthians 13:4,). I am to wait expectantly on God and rest in Him (Psalm 37:7-9). I need to work on being encouraging and not tear anyone down.  (Hebrews 3:13, Hebrews 10:23-25).

Also, never let idolatry of any "thing" or any "person" come between me and God. He is my first love and to Him I have given my soul, my life, my heart, all that I am. I need to focus on my relationship with God by spending time with Him every day.  Just like I do with family or friends. You invest time in what is important to you. I don't want the only time that I call on on God is in emergency type situations:  "9-1-1-God, I need you" or "Help me now that I am in trouble, God!"

While reading this chapter I was reminded to be careful about what I speak (v.30). I know that I will be held accountable for every word that I say.  I must simply rest in God and let Him defend me and work everything out according to His plan and purpose.

Finally I think it is  important to remember our history and what God has done for me.  It is easy for me to forget things if I don’t write it down. So, I keep a journal  of what God is doing in my life,  speaking into my life or telling me to do and what He is burdening my heart with. By keeping a journal I can go back and meditate on it,  pray about what He wants, and  wait on Him.  Then, I am better able to  do what He desires.   Above all else, I must simply "Trust God".  

I hate the vow Jephthah made (notice the “if” in Judges 11:30.) I thought it was so sad that his daughter was killed because of his vow. Especially when in the previous verse, we see that the spirit of God was upon Jephthah. So that being the case, he was operating in the Spirit. Jephthah did not need to make a vow, but he did. Couldn't God have stopped her from coming out? Perhaps. 

We all have a free-will. It is our choice how we live, what we do, what we say, and how we spend our time. 

On that Day we will stand before God and give an account for our choices. Will we be embarrassed or thankful for how we spend our life? 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Feasting Eyes....

While reading Second Peter, this really jumped out at me:

 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

Did you notice that their eyes are full of adultery -not their hearts? 

They cannot cease from sin . . . it is like they are rooted and bound up in sin. If they are rooted like a plant, then they are drinking evil and death. I surely would not want to walk in their council or stand with them or sit with them (Psalm 1). But there are the young, ignorant and impressionable people that do just that.

There is an old saying that says, "Our eyes are the window of the soul".

Let me ask you two questions:

What do you fill your eyes with? 

What consumes you and your free time?

Jesus spoke about our eyes when He taught how they reflect either spiritual light or great spiritual darkness within our souls. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” Matthew 6:22 & 23

So once again stop and think about what consumes you? 

What do you do with your spare time? 

Would God be pleased with how you are spending your time?


In 2 Peter 1:3-9 he reminds the followers of Jesus Christ: 

"(Jesus') divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence,  by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  

"For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.  

"Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."





Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I've Gotta Secret...


Joshua 7


In Joshua 7, I noticed that the Lord did not speak to Joshua about going up to Ai. I wondered, did Joshua get ahead of God? He sent spies out –just like last time – and it appears that he listened to them rather than waiting for God. This made me stop and consider, do I do that?

When God is silent it might be best to be still and wait for Him to speak, reassess, and evaluate.  Is there something coming between me and God; am I walking in obedience?  The sin of one man caused “the anger of the LORD to burn against the children of Israel.” (v.1b).

Don’t wait until things go wrong to seek the LORD (v.6-9). I don’t think God yearns for  “9-1-1-prayers”. But rather He wants our heart –and to be involved in every part of our day. He is already there, we simply acknowledge His presence and talk with Him. . . Every DAY, every MORNING, and ALL DAY long spend time with Him in fellowship and prayer(Ephesians 6:18) and follow the LORD.  Let’s not forget to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) and put your hope and trust in Him! 

If we go back Joshua 1:8 we see that God gives Joshua some important instructions and it reminds us as well to chew on the Word of God. 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate (to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot, speak) think in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success”.

Meditating on God’s word is more than simply reading a chapter or studying it. It is muttering, thinking, talking to God about it, asking Him to show you what it is saying.  I’ve been working on memorizing Psalm 34. As I reviewed it yesterday, I was amazed that I am still finding new insight and deeper understanding of what God is saying there. If you have time today, meditate (chew, mutter and think) on God’s Word. Psalms 34 is a great place to start.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Trusting in God -Not the Wall

God is all powerful and He could have simply destroyed Jericho with a word. But in Joshua 6 He commanded the Israelites with specific directions to follow. 


Put yourself in their shoes. They wandered in the desert where their daily needs were met by God (manna and water). As we begin chapter six remember that in the past few weeks they saw God heap the water up in the Jordan river so that they could cross over; then, they were instructed to circumcise every male and wait for them to heal. As well as to observe the Passover; I believe this is the first time they had observed it since Egypt. Now, God was telling them exactly  how to take the city -not talking, blow the trumpets, march with the ark. Can you imagine seeing these huge walls that reach to the heavens? What were the Israelites thinking? Did they question internally or externally, "Why...?" or did they simply respect and obey God?

I am full of questions when I don't understand. It behooves me to simply obey and trust God -who sees all. It is not about what I can see, but what He sees and knows. Compared to God I am but an infant, dependent on God. Or perhaps often times I am more like the toddler, I know God supplies my needs and knows best; however, I am want to explore and do things MY way. A child of God understands and knows that their heavenly Father works everything out according to HIS purpose and plans for those who love (and obey) Him.(Romans 8:28)  If we truly love God we would obey Him (John 14:15).  Maybe that is why we need faith like child.

What is God telling to you to do today? Are you listening? Are you going to trust and obey?


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Continue in the Faith...

While studying Joshua 5, after the Israelites were circumcised at the LORD's command, He said to them, "This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." (v.9) As they camped and waited to heal they celebrated the Passover.  

I noted that they were about to go into the Promise Land right after celebrating the Passover.  I don't really believe that God does "coincidences", but rather He had purposefully lined this up.

When I looked up reproach in Hebrew it basically means shame.

As I read this in Joshua, I was reminded of the fact that Jesus died right before the Passover and rose three days later. See what Paul wrote in Colosians 1:19-23:

" For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfastand not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven,"



Reproach here means: cannot be called into to account, unreproveable, unaccused, blameless.

How exciting to be reminded that we are without reproach IF we continue in the faith (conviction of the truth; fidelity, faithfulness) firmly established and steadfast (firm, immoveable).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Whom Shall I Fear....

I got this yesterday in my quiet time. 



As I thought about it this morning, I got excited. 

The person represents someone who fully trusts in God and is applying Ephesians 6:10-18 to his life.


The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, 
so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, 
but against the rulers, 
against the authorities, 
against the powers of this dark world 
and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, 

so that when the day of evil comes, 
you may be able to stand your ground, 
and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, 

with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (NKJV)

Do you want to stand (be of a steadfast mind) in the day of evil?  

Note: It is not 'days' but day. 
I believe this refers to the 'time' we live on earth 
Satan is raging and looking for whom he may devour. 
The enemies has a goal: 
It is to keep anyone he can from trusting in Jesus 
as their Lord and Savior and keep them from obeying God. 
He can do this by causing them to worry, doubt and fear. 

That is why it is so important to build a relationship with God 
by asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins, 
read the Bible daily 
as well as spend time in communication with Him 
by talking, asking questions and being quiet before Him to listen.


If we don't take up the whole armor we are exposed. 

With our shoes we are able to stand firmly on the ground or rock beneath our feet. 

The Word (Jesus) of God is our belt of truth. Gird is a cultural sort of thing and we don't really see it here. I believe in the old days men were long robes that went to their feet and they wore a belt as well. The belt would be used to hold up the excess material when the gown was girded up. They would gird up their loin when they wanted to run or move quickly; possibly in war as well. 

In the King James translation verse fourteen says, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth." 


This picture shows them tying a knot, but  I think it was really tucked in their belt and perhaps knotted there. 


However if we look at the meaning of girt in verse fourteen it has three meanings: to fasten garment with a girdle or belt; gird one's self;  metaphor with truth as a girdle -to equip one's self with the knowledge of truth.(girt @blb.org). 

In 1 Peter 1:13 we are told, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,"


Taking all of this, I see that verse fourteen as, "Stand firm having girded up your mind with the belt of truth."

The breast plate was placed over the chest in order to protect the vital organs, right? 


How do we increase our shield of faith?  Through hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). But we can't simply hear the Word of God (read scripture and meditate on what we are learning)  or we will deceive ourselves; we must do what it says.(James 1:22) Faith is action.  If I simply held my shield but did not use it, how much good will it do me?


What does a helmet do? The helmet protects our head, or here it protects our mind. 


While looking at the picture you can see that there is a cross on every piece of armor. That is because Jesus is in all of the armor! We can look through scripture and find this to be true. 


He is the Rock (ground) that we stand on, Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faithful, Salvation, Word of God!!


When we put on our armor, we are abiding in Him and able to withstand the attacks of our enemy!! 

It makes me want to dance, because of Jesus my name is written in the Book of Life. Whom shall I fear?!

The last thing mentioned in this passage, which is part of the armor, is Prayer. Jesus taught us how to pray. You can see his examples throughout the gospels, not just the Lord's Prayer. 


Jesus is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for His people (Romans 8:34). We too must make intercession and not neglect the authority that Christ has given us.  It is not about me and what I want, but what does God desire. Remember that the Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any should perish (be counted as lost and separated from Him for all eternity), but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a ROAR, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:9-10)


Which leads us full circle and back to: 


14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, 
with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (NKJV)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Faith, Patience, Doubting, Double-Minded, and Wisdom

 
James 1:2-9


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (testing, proving, temptation) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.


While studying James 1, I got a bit distracted with the word conviction. (We are going to be studying the roots of words this year in school.) It happened when I was looking up the word "faith", I saw "conviction" and knew con- means "with". But I wondered what "viction" meant, this started a treasure hunt.

Faith (lexicon @ blb.org) conviction of the truth; belief
  
Conviction




late Middle English: from Latin convictio(n-), from the verb convincere (see convince).




 Latin convict- ‘demonstrated, refuted, convicted,’ from the verb convincere (see convince). 


 Compare with convict.

 

 
 
So, correct me if I am wrong, faith is to be conquered, overcome, defeated with the truth; Jesus told us that He is the way the TRUTH and the light.
As you know, faith is not something we can make in ourselves. It is something that God does for us. Romans 10:17 tells us, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."
 
While reading about faith at blb.org I saw this, "faith is a power that seizes the soul....see Acts 6:7". The word of God spread, the number  of disciples multiplied greatly... and a great many of the priest were obedient to the faith. MANY PRIEST were obedient to the faith!!!

I decided to study a few other words. The next one is patience. I've heard many people joke about not asking God for patience. I never really understood why. I thought we wanted the fruits that patience produces. However, let's take a closer look at the word;
 
Patience-- (Lexicon) steadfast, consistency, endurance, patience, sustaining, perseverance.

Patience = suffering? No wonder people don't ask God for patience.

The next two words are very similar: doubt and double-minded

Doubt (v.6) [KJV uses wavering] 1. to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer; to learn by discrimination, to try, decide; 2. withdraw from one, desert; 3.to separate one's self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend; 4.to be at variance with one's self, hesitate, doubt
Read number two and three again and think about doubting God and all He is and what He can do.
< Double-minded (v.8) (Lexicon G1374) double-minded, wavering uncertain, doubting; divided interest

Wavering was in both definitions so I used that:
Word Origin and History for waver
v. late 13c., weyveren"to show indecision," probably related to Old English wæfre"restless, wavering," from Proto-Germanic *wæbraz (cf. Middle High German wabern"to waver," Old Norse vafra "to hover about"), a frequentative form from the root ofwave (v.). Related: Wavered wavering.

I think wavering is a good description for doubt  and double-minded, because you show indecision, restless, unsure if you doubt or are double-minded.

Wisdom (n.) wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters.

wise + dom (Latin)
Experience, knowledge, good judgement  
+
master of 
 
 
Master of experience, knowledge, good judgment


I like to reread the text and after I've studied the words:

....the testing of your (conviction of the truth or you being overcome by the TRUTH) produces (suffering). But let (suffering) have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks (mastering experience, knowledge, good judgment), let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without (scolding), and it will be given to him. But let him ask in (the conviction of the truth), with no (wavering or being indecisive), for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded (wavering)man, unstable in all his ways.