Septermber 19, 2017

Genesis 4:7 ~ ESV

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you but you must rule over it.”

Here is something I never noticed before. The verse never says that when we mess up we will be rejected. We instantly assume that doing well and not doing well are opposites so God’s reaction to them must be completely opposite. That is not what it says though. The point of this verse is not to tell us that we have to get everything right to be accepted by God. The point is, when stuff goes bad, we need to turn to God rather than trying to hide it from Him.

When everything is going right and we are doing the right things, of course, we will feel accepted. Of course, we will think God is happy with us. But when things are going wrong and we make mistakes, we start to doubt that God is very happy with us at all. When that happens, sin is right there ready to jump in. “Well, if God is already mad at you, you may as well _______.” The only problem with that logic is, GOD IS NOT MAD AT YOU! It isn’t that you aren’t accepted, it isn’t that you aren’t loved, you just made a mistake! It’s not the end of the world! God knows we are going to make mistakes, that’s why He sent Jesus to die for us.

When things aren’t going right, it is extremely important to remember, that the same God who loved you on the mountain, is the same God who loves you in the valley. Of course, we are going to mess up, but the Love of God doesn’t change based off of our performance. It isn’t a love you have to earn. It’s a love that laid down everything for the CHANCE of being loved in return. Even when we don’t choose Him, God still chooses us. He still loves us and He still wants to be with us. So don’t push Him away when you don’t feel worthy, He made you worthy. You don’t have to earn it, and you don’t have to perform well enough to keep it. He just loves you. Whether you act right or not.

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September 18, 2017

Leviticus 23:42-43 ~ NKJV

“You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Don’t you just love the Promises of God? When this was written, the people of Israel were still living in the ”booths” which were tents and that’s the word I’m going to use the rest of the time because it is easier. Not only that, but they weren’t even close to the Promised Land yet. They were still at Mount Sinai, waiting for Moses to finish writing all of that stuff. But already God is saying, “Yeah, this is where you are now, but down the road, you are going to have a party and everyone is going to live in tents for a week. It’ll be great.” And the people are probably thinking, “God, we LIVE IN THE TENTS!! It’s not great! I don’t even like camping!” But that’s kind of the point, God sees further down the road then we possibly could.

Sometimes, God promises things to us that seem almost impossible before it happens. In the middle of the battle, it can seem like God doesn’t know what He is talking about. We know He does, but it doesn’t feel like it. You know what I’m saying? Sometimes it takes a while. We have to move on and live so we can get some distance from it before we see the purpose. Sometimes we never see the purpose. But there is always a purpose.

God made this promise to the Israelites while they were still in the desert, to give them hope because He knew that one day, they would arrive at His Promise. God never changes, He works the same way today as He did then. When you are in the middle of the desert and God promises you something, hold on to it! Because God sees further down the road than you can and He knows that ONE DAY, you’re gonna make it. Hold on to His Promises, because your “ONE DAY” is coming.

September 15, 2017

Matthew 2:10 ~ NIrV

“When they saw the star, they were filled with joy.”

Take a look at that because that is pretty amazing. The Magi had been chasing that star for about TWO YEARS! We know this because later when Herod knows which babies he needs to kill based off of when the Magi told him they’d first seen the star. So, they’ve been following this star for a long, long time, but when they see it this time, it fills them with joy. Why? Because it’s finally close.

It is such an exciting feeling when something you have been working toward for a long time is finally within reach. See, the magi hadn’t even seen the CHILD yet, but they were excited because they knew what that star meant, and they knew He was close. They knew that the star appearing over that house was lighting up their path (literally) so they could get their first look at the King. They were willing to leave everything behind, for two years, so that they could meet Jesus.

What about you? Is there something you’ve been chasing? Maybe you’re starting to get tired. Maybe you didn’t think it would take this long. You didn’t think it would cost this much. I just feel like God is saying to somebody today, “Don’t give up. You’re close.” Sometimes, we need to stop looking down, just making sure we are actually moving and start looking around or we will miss the signs that God is giving us. So, start looking around, you might see how close you are, how far you’ve come, and how close God already is.

September 14, 2017

Isaiah 58:12 – ESV
“And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
 
Ever since the December of 2016 I have been hearing people say that 2017 is the year of breakthrough. Yet, here we are, almost three-quarters of the way through the year and a major breakthrough has not yet occurred. Am I the only one who wonders why that is? Is it merely wishful thinking to say that 2017 was the year of breakthrough? And if so, why did we choose this year, why not last year? I don’t think it was wishful thinking, I really do believe that God planted the dream of revival in thousands of hearts all across the world for this year. What makes me think that? The people are hungry. Everywhere you look, people are dying to know that God loves them and they don’t even realize it.
The Promises of God never go bad. So this promise, that God made to His people thousands of years ago, all the way back in the new testament is still relevant and available to us today. So why haven’t we grabbed a hold of it? Do we not realize that we need a revival? Are we afraid of what other people will think or say if we let Jesus take over? Do we want to have control? Whatever it is, we have to be willing to lay it down if we ever want to see this verse played out in our lives. It’s just how it is. There is no way around it. If we are so busy protecting ourselves and/or reputations, God will never have anywhere to move.
So, let God move, whatever is standing in His way in your life, get it out. It will be worth it later. If you lose some people along the way, I promise God will make it worth it. God has to have the final say in your life, before anything else. Right now, there is an entire generation of Christians who have never seen a huge move of God. Let’s not leave it that way. I refuse to let darkness control my world. I am going to take a stand, what about you?

September 13, 2017

Matthew 18:21-22 ~ ESV
“Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.””
 
       Think about it, if the same person does the same thing to you seven times, you’re gonna start being pretty upset right? I mean, come on! If they were that sorry they would stop doing it! But they don’t!! They just keep doing the same thing and we have to keep forgiving them because that is what Jesus said. It almost seems crazy. For me, by the time we’ve reached maybe time four or five I’m starting to get annoyed, you know? But seven times? That’s ridiculous, and that’s not even the beginning of what we are told to do.
       Forgiving someone for the same thing more than seven times seems crazy. Yet, isn’t that what God does for us? We do the same things over and over and over again and He still forgives us when we ask. That’s why we have to forgive seventy-seven times. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve messed up more than seventy-seven times. But, God’s grace is always enough for it. No matter what it is, no matter how many times I’ve done the same thing, God still loves me.
       If we are going to love like Jesus loves, we have to be willing to forgive as Jesus forgives. Those aren’t typos. The love and forgiveness of Jesus are present-tense and active in our lives. If we want to live our lives the way God intended us to live, we need to be abundant in forgiveness and in our intentions to repair relationships with people. Forgiveness is the key that opens the door to restoration in our relationships and freedom in our lives.

September 12, 2017

Matthew 5:16 – NKJV “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

I have heard this verse several times throughout my life and never really thought about it until this morning. Until today, I had always taken this verse to mean that we should tell people about Jesus wherever and whenever we could. But the verse never says that. That is not to say that we shouldn’t tell people about Jesus, but that isn’t the focus of this verse.

God doesn’t usually beat around the bush and play the game of “can you understand what I am trying to say”? Sure, He implies things through His Word plenty of times, but He doesn’t usually say one thing and mean another. He means what He says, otherwise what good is His Word? So what am I getting at? Good question. The point is, we don’t need to preach at people to show Jesus to them. We don’t have to always be trying to convert people. If we live our lives for Jesus and make sure we are doing the right thing before Him, then other people will start to notice.

In Ephesians 2:10 it says that God has already planned good things for each of us to do. We don’t have to try to make God look good, He does pretty well with that already. God has a special plan for each one of our lives. If we will just be willing to let Him use us, we won’t have to try to convince people to come to the church. They would see the difference in our lives and would be flocking to the doors. That can happen, all we have to do is just what the verse says. Let the light of God shine through our lives so that people can see all the cool stuff God is up to and will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is alive and active in our lives.

September 11, 2017

Psalm 18:1 ~ ESV
“I love you, O Lord, my strength.”

That’s it, that’s the whole verse. And really, that’s all you need. I was reading through this passage today and just this whole chapter keeps coming back to this truth. God is our strength. What more do you need? If you have God, honesty, what more could you possibly need? A lot of times stuff comes up and we don’t know how we are going to deal with it. Well, if we focus on God is our strength and He makes us strong and He is with us, that’s how. We can deal with anything, nothing is too difficult or too much when we have God. It may not turn out the way we want it to, but it won’t be the end of us.
Today, I don’t know what it is, but it just won’t leave me alone. God is my strength. God makes me strong. What more do I need? I can’t get away from it. Last year, I started taking college courses at the community college near where I live and it was crazy! I thought I was a good writer, then I would go to college and find out how much I sucked at writing for anything but a casual audience. It was all very overwhelming to me and I wanted to drop the course, but I stuck with it. Why? Let me just tell you it wasn’t because I wanted to! But through that entire process, there was this one verse that I would just repeat over and over and over again. It was Psalm 61:2-4, and you can look it up but it basically says, “God I look to You. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Because you have been my stronghold in times of trouble, a safe fortress from the enemy.”
When we focus on God as our strength, rather than the wall that’s in front of us, we start realizing how much we really have going for us. Instead of worrying, or getting discouraged, we have the amazing opportunity and privilege to look to God and talk to Him. He loves it when we talk to Him about what is bothering us! God already knows what you are going through, but He likes it when you talk about it. As long as we try to handle things by ourselves, we won’t get very far. But when we start focusing on the fact that God is our strength, that’s when the good stuff starts happening.

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