Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Taking Possession of God's Promises

Scripture
Genesis 23:19-20  Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan.  So the field and the cave in it were deeded over to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.  

Observation
Abraham's purchase of the field and cave meant that Abraham would now own land in Canaan, the promised land that God spoke to him about in Genesis 12:7 "To your descendants, I will give this land . . . "
It also confirmed that Abraham and his descendants were now connected to the land of promise.  The purchase included the field and the cave (burial site for Sarah), and all the trees which were in the field, and it was deeded over to Abraham for 400 shekels of silver in front of many witnesses.  

Application
Take ownership of the promises of God!  Take them to heart!  I'm reminded of a story about my trekking poles.  I am a hiker, and at times, I use my trekking poles to help me in my walk.  The poles pull me forward and keep me balanced as I walk on uneven and difficult terrain.  In the same way God's promises assure me of my calling, and that I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the things He says for me to do.  In my journey with God, His promises help pull me forward and help me balance and keep me from falling over when there are many obstacles in the way.  I can rely on my trekking poles, but even more I can rely on the promises of God for the difficult days of life!  With every planting of the pole, or promise of God, I am able to keep going, keep steady, and continue the journey with confidence and strength from God.  

Prayer
Father, may Your promises keep me going forward in You.  Steady me, balance me, keep me from falling O God.  You are my strength and my confidence!  Just as Abraham intentionally took possession of Your promise, may I too, take possession of the promises I have in You.   In Jesus Name, A-men.


Listen Up! January 8, 2018

Scripture
Luke 8:17-18  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Therefore consider carefully how you listen.  Whoever has will be given more, whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.  

Observation
Consider carefully how you listen.  Be a faithful hearer and doer of the Word.  Take notice of what is being said and respond to the advice or request given.  Make an effort to hear and be alert.  
All will be out in the open, nothing hidden.  If you have been given gifts or talents - ask God how to effectively use them.  

Application
Listen up!  Whatever He says to you, do it!

Prayer
Father, I hear You - I am not finished yet.  I am to be supportive, ready to help and serve where needed.  You have more for me to do.  Thank You Lord for opening my ears to hear and help me be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.  In Jesus Name, A-men.  

Come Away! January 5, 2018

Scripture
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Observation
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, Healer, Baptizer with the Holy Spirit, Soon Coming King, often, that means frequently, slipped away from the crowd, the people, family, home, friends, to get alone in deserted wilderness, mountainous places jus to be alone.  And pray.  he talked to God His Father, Our Father, and He did this - often.  

Application
Can you hear them?  "Where's Jesus?"  "Gone again?"  "Where does he run off to?"  "What does he do?"  "When is he coming back?"  
He's praying.  He's listening.  He's alone with God.  I need to do that too more often than I do.  Come Away!

Prayer
Teach us Lord to come away often.  Teach us to listen.  Teach us to love, to wait, to be patient, and to reach out to You.  

Time with Jesus January 4, 2018

Scripture 
Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Observation
"It is not education, wealth, position or political influence, that makes us competent or qualified to do great things for God.  Rather it is time spent with Jesus that makes us ready for His purposes."

Application
Spend time connecting with Jesus every day, at His feet, listening, talking, singing, reading His word, instead of worrying about my level of 'preparedness' or knowledge for the task ahead.  God will make me ready for all He wants to do through me as long as I seek Him with my whole heart and rely upon Him every step of the way.

Prayer
Father, I receive this word in the midst of our church transition.  It is not a title that affirms me, but it is Your Presence with me that gives me courage and authority to do the things You've called me to do so that You might complete in me what You have begun. Time spent with You Lord is never wasted time.  It makes me ready for whatever You have purposed for me for the tasks - the good works You have prepared in advance for me to do.  

Fullness of Joy January 2, 1918

Scripture 
Ps. 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in Your Presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Acts 2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your Presence.

Observation
There is a promise of joy when we walk with and experience the Presence of the Lord.  He will show us the path(s) of life!

Application
He teaches us His ways and shows us the paths of life in Him.  I am learning to walk with my Savior, step by step and my life is forever changed as I choose to follow Him.  

Prayer
Father, You have set my feet on a path of life - with You.  O God, I have joy and gladness in my heart.  Your presence is my light and my salvation.
You are Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life.  In You I put my trust.  It is You I will follow all the days of my life.  

The New Year by Pastor Jack W. Hayford January 1, 2018

2018  My prayer . . . 

Let the new year be a year of growth and harvest.

  • Growing in our walks with Jesus - staying close to Him. 
  • Growing in the Word of God - deepening in understanding.
  • Growing in faith, prayer, and boldness in giving.
  • Growing in loving, serving, and helping those we can.  
There is nothing too great for us to expect since we so great a Savior and Lord.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Altar

7/4/17  
Scripture  
2 Kings 16:10,11.12, 15b  Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser, King of Assyria.  
He saw an altar in Damascus and sent Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for it's construction.  So Uriah the priest built an altar in accordance with all the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus and finished it before King Ahaz returned.  When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings on it.  v15b But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance.

Observation
Ahaz saw something he wanted and had it replicated and it became the large new altar for sacrifice offerings - but Ahaz used the bronze altar for divination - seeking guidance.  He mixed the Israelite religion with a pagan religion.  Ahaz tried to improve on what God had already divinely ordained for the exact dimensions and look the altars in the temple were to be.  Ahaz wanted a bigger, better altar.  Ahaz was trying to 'enhance'  his worship to God and instead it turned his devotion from God to the new altar.  He used the bronze altar for seeking guidance instead of asking God for guidance.  

Application
Bigger is not always better.  Keep worship simple.  Don't covet!  Seek guidance from the Lord. 

Prayer
Father, You are my all in all.   I love reading Your word and wondering what I can glean from all the wonderful stories.  Teach me Lord through Your word, the life lessons You want me to learn.  Cleanse my heart O God - I seek Your will and Your way.  I am a life long learner, an eager student, and a willing teacher,  in Jesus Name, A-men.