Sunday 5.19.13

When we leave the house of God on Sundays we are so encouraged and ready to take on the week ahead of us.  Surrounding your self with believers and focusing on the truth gives your heart and mind the tools to face Monday.  Continuing that relationship throughout the week will keep you strong as well. Continue to put your all in all in Him. He will guide and give you understanding.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday 5.16.13

The Bible contains 66 books from Genesis to Revelation.  Many people have read the entire Bible, some people have just read bits and pieces.  It really is amazing from beginning to end how God knows everything.  Our faith struggles because we rely too much on ourselves or something else for strength.  If you begin reading Genesis you will read about the struggles they had then that we have now.   One of my favorite stories in Genesis is about Joseph and his brothers.  Jacob was Joseph’s father.  Before the birth of Benjamin, Jacob is renamed “Israel” by God . The name “Israel” can be translated as “God contended”,. Some commentators say the name comes from the verb śœarar (“to rule, be strong, have authority over”), thereby making the name mean “God rules” or “God judges”.

Jacob had twelve sons which were the twelve tribes of Israel.  Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, and Manasseh.  They were all designated a territory except for  Levi.  The tribe of Levi was not given territory for it was set apart from the other tribes to serve in the Temple. Jacob saw on his deathbed Christ coming through the line of his son Judah.  His tribe had a war-like character and was compared to a lion and was the tribe from which King David came.

God chose the nation of Israel to fulfill the prophecy of His only Son to save the people from their sins. God knows all things.  One of the meanings of Jesus being the “Alpha and Omega” is that He was at the beginning of all things and will be at the close.  In the beginning of the Bible, Genesis we learn about the twelve tribes of Israel.  At the end of the bible,  Revelation, 21:11-12,  It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

God has a plan for us just as he did for in the Old Testament.  The word will encourage and uplift you. This is our heritage.  Claim it and live your life confidently as a child of the King, the Alpha and Omega.

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
Genesis 49:10

Wednesday 5.15.13

We are preparing to send our team to Regionals in Maryland next month.  This is exciting for our gym and our community.  What is the definition of a team?  One definition is ,  a number of persons associated together in work or activity.  So, you have a group of people working together, depending on each other to accomplish a task.  Just like any other team, football, baseball, etc..  Have you ever seen a game where there was unity and they played or performed as a team.  Most of your more successful teams are the ones that do this and are consistent.   So, how do we come together in the game of life?  Pretty much like you would for any other game.  You support each other, you communicate, you play the game for your team.  Life is not about us.  It is about what we do for others and how we do it.  There is no I in TEAM.  If we are striving to better ourselves  for the wrong reasons, we will be left on the sidelines. We need people in our life to help us.  We have to build each other up, not tear them down.  The blessing comes in the reward of helping.  Dying to our self and becoming the humble servant that God has called us to be.

 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:3-11

Tuesday 5.14.13

The purpose of this devotional is to strengthen those who read it spiritually.  Most of us involved in working out are doing this to become stronger and have better health.  We redefine fit by being healthy in what we eat and how we work out.  So, how do we redefine fit spiritually?  The bible talks about spiritual nutrition,  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

We are to progress in God’s word and learn and apply it to our life.  We use it to help others.  As newborns in Christ we live on milk but as we grow we should become more hungry.  Our appetite grows and we are eating solid food.  How many adults do you see at lunch drinking out of a baby bottle?  Protein shakes don’t count. We have to eat good food to have strength.  We are challenged in life and the more we face we need to be strong in God’s word.

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
 Matthew 4:4

Monday 5.13.13

If you were to sit down and draw a pie diagram of your time spent during the day, what would get the largest percentage?  Work, family, chores, etc..  How much of it would be praying, reading God’s word?  Being the most guilty of this, I let the busyness of life rule my day.  Life changes.  I can remember when I was younger, with time to kill, bored, just wanting something to do.  The older I get, having more responsibilities, it seems like there are not enough hours in the day.  One thing for sure, when I let my quiet time become obsolete, things don’t go so well.  I don’t seem to have clear discernment.  I may get really upset about something that if I had taken the time to prepare my mind and my heart for the day, I would have been able to handle it better.

We prioritize by putting God last instead of first.  We do this because we know he will be there when we need him.  Have you ever had someone do this to you personally?  They never call you or come see you unless they need something.  This is how most of us treat our heavenly Father. He desires a relationship with us to help us.  Sometimes we never seem to find the time unless we have something bad happen and we are looking for comfort or guidance.

I think Satan’s greatest tool to deter us from the Lord is time.  There are so many things that pull us in different directions these days.  We find ourselves in a mess and wondering how we got there.  If we make time to have a relationship with our Creator, he will direct or paths.  Our diagram will not be off balanced in one area.  We will have a better balance life which leads to better decisions.

 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:6

Thursday 5.2.13

The definition of omnipotence is, Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.  God is omnipotence and has been, is presently, and will be forever.  Before he created the heavens and earth, he chose us.  Us who don’t have the time for Him, but He chose us to be His children. Why?  Love.  Do we deserve it? NO.  How much time do we devote to him?  We expect blessings and safety but we chose our own paths and don’t even acknowledge him.  Him who is all-powerful, all-knowing.  We think we know better than he does and that is when we get ourselves in trouble.  Acknowledge him, read the word and it will keep you safe and give you a path.  Remember you are loved and chosen by God.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s graceEphesians 1:3-4

Thursday 4.18.13

Strongholds can be defined  as an area dominated or occupied by a special group or distinguished by a special quality.  Spiritual strongholds can be an area of thinking that is not based on truth.  They destroy your life and enslave you.  Many people struggle with worry and fear which is opposite of faith.  Do you spend more time worrying about your troubles than praying about them? I think it is safe to say we all do this sometimes. When our best strategy is to turn it over to God. There is nothing he can’t handle. God sees our problems as possibilities. Consult God when you are facing difficulty and He will help you through.  The truth is the only thing that will tear down these walls of hopelessness in our life.

As for God, his way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
Psalm 18:30

Wednesday 4.17.13

There is a protective hedge around us when we are God’s child and staying close to Him.  Definition of FORBEARANCE is a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due; the act of forbearing : patience. Forbearance is a term used when we think of how God deals with us. Aren’t you glad God is patient with us and forgives us for the way we act? He doesn’t treat us the way we treat Him. He is always there for us. How often to blow right by Him in our life and wait till things get bad to turn to him? He is patient, loving and caring. Are you?

Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Romans 3:25

Tuesday 4.16.13

Do we trust the Lord?  What is our willingness to serve him?  Do we hold back in fear and lack of trust.  Often we think we have control over situations but the truth is we don’t.  We are our biggest enemy and the this thing called, free will.  We are at liberty to respond to situations the way our emotions lead us but when we are God’s children our will is His will.

When Abraham was instructed to take Isaac to be sacrificed, did he resist the Lord?  He had the faith and trusted God.  Some people have hard time when they hear this.  Why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son that was a blessing to him and Sarah in their old age.

Abraham’s greatest test of obedience to God involved Isaac. “Then God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 22:2). Abraham passed the test, while God stopped it before any actual harm to could come to Isaac – “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12).

Abraham had been willing to give up his son to God, just as God Himself would later give up His Own Son to a sacrifice that was allowed to happen. An interesting point is that the place where Abraham was sent to sacrifice Isaac, Mount Moriah, is today known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – Isaac would have been sacrificed very near the place that Jesus Christ was Crucified. (W.Blank)

God provided a sacrafice,in Genesis 22:8, Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  Genesis 22:13

God did provide the Lamb, the Lamb of God.  Jesus could have at any time walked away.  But he didn’t.  He trusted God just as Isaac trusted his father.  They passed the test and God provided.  He knows every intricate detail of your life and cares about the decisions you make.  Rather you feel like they are very insignificant, to God you were significant to him.  He sent his only Son to die on the cross for your sins.  You have the free will to believe or to not believe.  God has a plan and it greater than you can ever imagine.   Are willing to serve the Lord.  To serve is trust and allow His word to guide your path.

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.  No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham,for I have made you a father of many nations.  I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.  I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after youGenesis 17:3-7

 

 

Wednesday 3.27.13

An Epistle is defined as one of the letters adopted as books of the New Testament.  In 2 Timothy, In his letter, Paul urges Timothy to not have a “spirit of timidity” and to “not be ashamed to testify about our Lord” (1:7-8)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
(2 Timothy 1:7-10) 

In 2 Timothy he talks about perilous times.  The word translated perilous has the idea of troubles, difficulty, and stressful situations. This sort of atmosphere will mark the last days.  Many people feel like we are in the last days.  In Matthew 24 these are described as the birth pains before Christ’s return.
Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Birth pains become increasingly closer in time from each other before the child is born.  We have had wars, famines, earthquakes and devastation all throughout history but when the time comes near for Christ to return they will become more frequent like birth pains.  It could be 100 more years, 100 days, 10 minutes away.  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,  Mark 13:32 .  We don’t know what the future holds but we know who holds the future.  Do not be afraid of the uncertainties that lie ahead but face every day with power, love and self-discipline.

say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”  Isaiah 35:4