Archive for the ‘ God’s Word-4-Today ’ Category

Faithful Followers Follow

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land.” (Deuteronomy 8:7a NRSV)

Before Moses answered God’s call to deliver God’s people, the Israelites were in bondage. The Egyptians beat them, bound them, and forced them into hard labor. Israel cried to God, “Deliver us!” God responded by freeing his people, and leading them to the Promised Land.

Today, to Jesus’ followers the Promised Land symbolizes the new life and purpose that Godimage has prepared for us. This is a place where love rules and hope energizes. This is a place where forgiveness cleanses, where fear gives way to faith, and peace washes over every soul. This is a place full of God’s goodness and abundance, where new dreams are born and God’s kingdom work begins. This is a place where impossible giants are slain, and new possibilities are discovered. This is a place of abundant life and eternal blessing!

The only problem is that between Egypt and the Promised Land lies the wilderness. Although Israel wanted to be free, they didn’t really want a difficult and dangerous march across a desert in search of the promised land.

Of course, neither do we. Still, God has a Promised Land for us, and getting there will probably involve some marching through wilderness too.

Today, maybe you are feeling like one of God’s people so long ago. You just wanted to be free. You weren’t looking for a desert march through unknown terrain. But you that following Jesus means carrying crosses. It means staying faithful through the mountains and the deep valleys of life. It means allowing God to refine your faith through life’s trials and temptations.

Here’s the good news: Jesus, our Deliverer, knows the way through the wilderness. Now, God wants you to take your freedom and follow him to a place of blessing! Only he can bring you into the Promised Land of abundant life.

So, take the Master’s hand, walk with him, talk with him, stay close to him, and faithfully follow him down the road he has prepared to bring you into the Promised Land!

Prayer:

Great God, your grace has set me free. You have also prepared a place for me, a promised land. Lead me into the place where you reign, where love rules and faith keeps watch. I want to dwell by the waters of forgiveness and feed in your peace-filled pastures. I am will follow you. I will walk by faith, and go wherever you may lead! Amen.

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2013: Prescription

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
(2Timothy 3:16 NRSV)

Want a prescription for what ails you? Consider this: The word of God is a healing balm. It is like a gentle salve that spreads across the cuts, sores, bruises and painful areas of our lives. When God’s word makes contact with our minds, when its truth begins penetrating our thoughts and flowing through our veins, it renews, restores and remakes us!

All of us need the healing touch of truth. The word of God is full of promises and power equal to every illness besetting us, every lie deluding us, and every emotional darkness engulfing us. Its power transforms lost minds, enlivens defeated spirits, and heals broken bodies. Whatever the need, the truth of God’s word is equal to the task!

What’s your need? God’s word has the light you are seeking. God’s truth can show you the way to the new life that God has prepared for you!

So why not step into the word of God today? Begin a new journey. Travel down the pathway of truth. Explore the many promises and truths that God has waiting for you. As you do, ask the Lord to use that truth to brighten your day, to enlighten you mind, and to mold you into the person God created you to be.

Remember, the beginning of a new year is the time to do things differently. It’s time to do something about the cares and concerns you carry, the hurts you harbor, and the things holding you back. It’s the time to listen to a fresh word, to make a fresh start, and to chart a new course! Make 2013 the year you walk in the Word!

Avoiding Impotence

Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them.
Psalm 115:8
NRSV

Many scientists would say they have to see something before believing it. In this modern age, many of us live by that same idea. We doubt what we haven’t seen. What’s right in front of our eyes seems most real.

Ancient peoples were much the same. In Ps. 115 the writer laments about the foolishness of idol worship. He wonders, how can anyone put their trust in objects made by human hands? The answer seems to be, because they can see their idols. That makes them seem more real than the one true God, whom they cannot see.

Still, seeming to be real and being real are two very different things. The psalmist points out idols have ears, but don’t hear. They have hands but don’t feel, and mouths but cannot speak. They have no wisdom to share, no power to provide, nor help to offer. As gods, they are impotent. So are those who put their trust in idols.

I don’t want to be impotent. I don’t want to pray to deaf gods, who are no more responsive to me than blocks of stone. I want to put my trust in the Lord. He has redeemed my life. He hears my prayers, and knows my needs. He is my help and shield. He fills me with real hope and gives my life meaning and purpose.

To me, what’s real is what works. Nothing in my life has ever done for me what God has done. Nothing in my life has transformed me like God’s love and grace. Nothing empowers me like God’s guarding, guiding and sustaining hand. So I am putting my trust in the Lord.

After all, what can be more real than God, who made all of creation, and who formed me in my mother’s womb? What can be more real than God, who made himself a man, so that we could see him, know him, trust and follow him? What can be more real than God, who transforms us to live lives of faith, love and victory!

Avoid impotence, put your trust in what’s real: put your trust in God!

Prayer:

God of all, even though I can’t see you, your footprint is all over my life, and your handiwork is all around me. Lord, I believe. Help my moments of unbelief. Keep my faith steadfast and strong, so I might be empowered to serve you all the days of my life! Amen

Do As I Do

“I give you a new command, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”  John 13:34 NRSV

Jewish torah scroll in coverGod gave Moses ten commandments. Then Jesus said that loving God with your whole heart soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself was the greatest commandment. Finally, near the end of his ministry,  Jesus adds something new. He not only tells his disciples to love, he tells them how far they are to go with love. Jesus lets them know that they are to love in exactly the same way that he has loved them. They are to go as far as he goes to show love!

Do what Jesus did.

As Jesus says this, during the intimate moments of the Last Supper, he is keenly aware that in just a few short hours he will be taken away. Jesus knows that he is about to die, be raised up and then ascend into heaven. He also knows that where goes, his followers cannot follow.

So what are they supposed to do when he leaves? Jesus makes it clear: They are supposed to love one another with exactly the same kind of love that Jesus has loved them with!

MP900431741[1]This means that they are to love with a love that is patient and kind. They are to love with a love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude. They are to love with a love that is not irritable or resentful. They are to love with a love that does not insist on its own way. They are to love with a love that does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the truth. They are to love with a love that sacrifices and forgives. They are to love with a love that hopes all things, believes all things and bears all things. They are to love with a love that lasts until death, even when it means a death on the cross.

Love like Jesus loved.

This is the love that Jesus loved them with since they began walking together. This is the love that will show the world that they are in fact his disciples! Yes, with this kind of love the world will come to know Jesus!

MP900438973[1]Love is the defining characteristic of Jesus Christ, and it is the identifying mark of his disciples! So, let’s do what Jesus did, let’s love! Let’s spread some kindness. Let’s believe the best about each other. Let’s rejoice in each other’s successes, and faithfully bear each other’s sufferings. Let’s hope together, and believe together.

A commandment is not a suggestion or a principle. It is a command. Every Christian is called to do Jesus’ work, and we are to follow his command!

Why not show the world how much you love Jesus? Go ahead and love his children. Love your Christian brothers and sisters. Share the love that he gave to you with everyone you meet!

Do Love, Today!

Prayer:

Loving Savior, I want to love others the way you love me. Make me a servant who welcomes instead of rejects,  who loves instead of judges, and who builds up instead of tears down. Make me more like you!

Amen.

Loving

Where Do You Live?

Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Psalm 84: 4 NRSV

MP900178930[1]What is your soul’s address? Where does it really like to hang out? Where does it most want to be?

The loveliest of all dwelling places is in the presence of the Lord. What could be more glorious? The psalmist knew that being where God dwells is a truly enriching experience. He knew that just being in God’s presence was enough to ignite his joy, and put a song of praise on his lips! The psalmist had discovered a heavenly happiness that depended on God’s glorious presence!

God’s presence brings a heavenly happiness!

As we read his words, we can tell where his heart was. Clearly, he was comfortable and quite at home in spending time with God. I imagine that any time he had some free time, he would slip away and go right to God’s house. This was a person struck by awe, and consumed by praise!Happy business man with other business people walking besides him

Does that sound strange? Is it odd for a person to be consumed by a passion for living in God’s presence? Well, it may be rare, but if you are anything like me you probably find it refreshing and inspiring! Who wouldn’t want to know that kind of happiness! Who wouldn’t want to have that kind of positive, life-affirming desire?

MP900289561[1]Over a hundred years ago, Johannes Brahms recognized the passion and power of the psalmist’s words. He was so moved by them that he included them in his Requiem. Brahms’ music reminded those who heard it that death is a permanent release into the glorious presence of God! No longer would a person enter and leave God’s house. With death, joy is complete, and worship becomes eternal.

But the living also enjoy the glorious presence of God! We experience God’s presence right here and right now. Each and every time we turn to seek God’s face, and open our hearts to God’s love, God draws us into God’s presence. God draws us in and brings us up close. Then God enfolds us in sweetness of God’s love!

God’s presence is for right here and right now.

Let’s do as the psalmist did. Let’s steal a spare moment, and go into God’s presence. Let’s bring God’s presence into the moments of our days.

Let your soul fly into God’s presence! As you do, you will live a most joyful life!

Live in God’s presence, today!

Prayer,

Glorious God, all who seek will find, and all who ask will receive. I am seeking your presence. I am bringing you my praise, and asking you to enfold me in your love. Meet me where I am. Shine down your light on me! Amen.

Bless

Tune In To Tune Out

“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NRSV

MP900387570[1]God says, “Be still.” Why? Because it’s hard to hit a moving target! It’s hard to talk to someone who isn’t listening, or who is too busy talking. It’s hard to teach a mind that is bouncing all around. It’s hard to heal a heart whose loyalties are divided by competing desires.

I want to know God, and I imagine you do too. But God told us that knowing comes when we are still. Knowing happens when we leave the distractions and challenges of our day behind. Knowing comes when we quiet the thoughts that preoccupy us, and turn from the worries that normally absorb our attention.

The prerequisite to knowing is being still. When we are still, we can know who God is, and what God is doing.

Being still is the prerequisite to knowing.

When I think of being still, I picture water in a pond. If the water is undisturbed and the wind quiet, then the surface is as smooth as glass. If just a single rain drop falls into that pond, it transforms that water into a beautiful pattern of rippled circles. Now picture the rough waters of a storm tossed sea. A droplet of rain lands in that sea, but it makes little difference in the waves, as they toss and turn.

MP900400015[1]Our minds are like that. God’s word, dropped onto the surface of a still mind, can create ripples of truth that transform the entire landscape of a person’s life. But revelation dropped onto the churning waters of a turbulent mind will probably pass unnoticed.

That tells me, we must tune out to tune in. We must tune out the world’s chatter, and tune into God. We must allow ourselves to release worry, and let go of fear. We must allow the peace of Christ to quiet us. Then we will be ready to receive the revelation that God has for us, and ready for it to change us!

beautiful girl portraitAre you hungry to learn? Be still. Are you wanting to know God? Be still. Are you longing to understand God’s ways and will for your life? Be still. Do you really want God’s touch to change your life? Be still. Then, start a conversation with God.

The bottom line is, when drawing close to God, do a lot of listening. If you do, it will change your life!

Be still. Tune in. Know God today!

Prayer:

God, you speak, but I am not always listening. Help me to just be still. Help me to turn from the noise and tune out the distractions that keep me from hearing you and knowing you. Then speak. Your servant listens. Amen!

Awe

If Only

O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways. Psalm 81:13 NRSV

MP900399410[1]If only they would listen to me and do what I told them to do.” That’s something I’ve said repeatedly over years of raising children. I’ve found that one of the hardest parts of parenting is letting children go, and allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions as they grow up. It is painful to watch those you love stumble and fall.

If only they would listen!

Of course, the experience parents have is but a small glimpse into what God must experience. In Psalm 81, the writer makes it clear that God wants God’s people to have a single-minded devotion. God longs for them to listen to God’s words and to follow in God’s ways. The Lord longs for those who claim their place in his family to submit to his will. God simply desires the full devotion and obedience of God’s people.

If only God’s children would submit to God’s will.

If only that was what God got. Statues of strange idols dotted the landscape of the nation. God’s people bowed down and gave their worship to foreign gods. But like a patient parent, God continually admonished those who strayed, and encouraged them to change their ways. The Lord made it clear that if they would turn from their stubborn ways, then they would be blessed in ways that went beyond anything they could have asked for or imagined. God would put down their enemies and bring them victory. God would provide them with the finest of blessings and satisfy their longings.

MP900399407[1]I believe God is no different today. Each of us has a place as a child in God’s family, but we also have to choose whether we will listen and follow God’s ways.

Listening and following are a choice.

There are so many other voices today calling for our attention. There are so many other roads we could follow. But the psalmist’s plea is as fresh today as it was when it was written. God wants us to submit daily to the truth of God’s word. God wants us to walk in whole- hearted devotion to Jesus Christ. The Lord wants our worship and our full obedience.

MP900399412[1]If we listen and respond to God’s call, then God will be able to lead us, use us and bless us. If we are willing to put away our stubborn and selfish ways, then God can do for us everything God wants to do and give us everything God wants to give.

So why not love God with your whole heart, soul and mind, and then enjoy God’s  blessings today!

Walk in the Way of the Lord!

Prayer:

Patient God, your call is clear and consistent. My response is not always what you ask for. Forgive my tendency to go my own way. Help me to conform my will to yours, and to do all you ask me to do!

Amen.

Demands