A Test……

that God always passes.

God tells us in Malachi 3 that, when we bring our whole tithe to him, he will throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there won’t be enough room to store it.

Have you tested him?

If you have, then I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing that the rest of us who have done this have experienced.

God always keeps his word.  The blessings start rolling in, pouring out and multiplying.

Sometimes its actual money – an unexpected check, rebate or promotion.October 5 2013

Most of the time the blessings are things that money just can’t buy.  Things like joy, contentment, improved relationships with family and friends, a clear sense of direction and purpose.

And there’s an additional blessing of knowing that we are handling our finances in a way that honors and pleases God.

This is the only place in the Bible where God challenges us to test him.

He knows that it’s so easy for us to want to be in control of our money – even when it’s clear that we’re really messing it up.  Money can quickly become the god we are slaves to as the debt rises and the god of ‘more’ takes control.

God doesn’t want that for us.  He wants us to live a life filled with joy and freedom – freedom to serve him.  We can’t do that when we’re slaves to money.

So he challenges us to let him take control.  Because he loves us and he wants the best for us.

Thank you, dear Father.

For Such a Time as This

I am always inspired by Queen Esther’s story.  Lots of drama, lots of intrigue but she listens to her Godly Uncle and responds to God’s call upon her life.

God’s calls us to use the gifts and talents he has given us to meet a need in the world around us.

It’s true for all of us who love God.

When I was younger, I thought only pastors and missionaries received a calling from God.  I’m not sure where I got that from because it’s clear throughout the Bible that God calls each believer to faithfully respond to him with a ‘yes’ and fill a need around them.  Its not a vague, general calling – he has a specific need all picked out.

And it’s now.  For such a time as this.

God makes us aware of it at just the right time.  If we’re listening.  If we’re watching what’s going on around us.  If we’re meditating on his word.

As we walk down this path of faith, our callings also change.  We receive a new, ” For such a time as this.”  And then later we get a different “For Such a time as this.”

But there’a always a purpose for us.  When we have nothing else to do here, God brings us home to heaven.

If we’re still breathing, we have a calling, a purpose, something planned out by God for us to do.

For Such a Time as This.

It’s Never Enough

“You eat but aren’t satisfied.

You drink but are still thirsty.

You put on clothes but cannot keep warm.

Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes.”

Sounds like Haggai could be talking to us today, doesn’t it?Dec 20

Our culture is definitely anti-contentment.  There’s always something bigger.  There’s always something better.  There’s always something newer.  There’s always ……….more.

If one word could define the motivation of our culture today, ‘more’ might be it.

We don’t stop to consider how much stress and unhappiness ‘more’ actually gives us.

How many divorces are because of  ‘more’?  Sometimes it’s from wanting more and sometimes it’s from the consequences of having more.

How many sleepless nights are the result of ‘more’?

How many broken lives are the result of ‘more’?

God tells us over and over in his word that he is all that we need.  Every desire we have is really a desire to have ‘more’ of God. 

And having more of him actually satisfies us.

Dear Father, Please help us correctly identify our desires as wanting more of you in our lives.  Thank you for the contentment you bring.

Don’t Fool Yourself….

reading the Bible and not obeying what you read will not bring God’s blessings.

That’s what James tells us at the end of his first chapter.

If we read God’s word and obey it, it will set us free and we will receive God’s blessings.

Anything less is foolishness.

He writes this sort of strange analogy about looking at your face in the mirror and then walking away only to forget what you look like.

The other day this made more sense to me.  I was finishing up getting ready for work when I looked in the mirror and saw that I didn’t have any earrings on yet.  I intended to go pick some out but then I got distracted by something else as I walked away.

When I got to work, I happened to glance at the mirror and was kind of shocked to see that I didn’t have any earrings on.  I had intended to put some on but it never happened so now I went all day without earrings.

This experience helped me relate to the mirror analogy.   When I read God’s truth in the Bible, I need to obey it and act upon it.  I can’t let other things distract me.  The best intentions in the world are worthless without action and follow-through.

If I want God’s blessings in my life, obedience comes first. 

Dear Father, please help me grow in obedience.

I Need An Anchor

Life can really be stormy sometimes.  The waves of issues and problems seem to grow larger and hit harder…….and all in a row.  They keep pounding on us.

The author of  Hebrews shares some very encouraging insights about God in chapter 6.   God has given us his promise of his love and eternal life and he never lies.  He can’t lie.

So we can run to him for refuge with great confidence because he has given his oath.  We know the truth and his name is Jesus.

Our faith in God is the anchor for our souls- keeping us steady as the waves of life tumble around us. The waves can tumble right on top of us and we may feel like we’re drowning.  But we’re not.

Because we’re anchored.

A Rich Message

Paul tells us in Colossians that since God has loves us, we must clothe ourselves in with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

He asks us to make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive those who offend us.  When we remember how much the Lord has forgiven us, it’s easier to forgive others.

And we must clothe ourselves with love which gives us harmony.  Then the peace that comes from Christ will rule in our hearts.

Paul reminds us to always be thankful and to let the rich message of Christ fill our lives.

We need to use wisdom in talking with each  other.  With thankful hearts, we sing psalms and spiritual songs.

And all that we do reflects upon Jesus.  We are his representative.

Thank you, dear Father.  Will you please help make this passage true in our lives.

Has this ever happened to you?

A widow comes to Elisha in 2 Kings 4 and tells him that her husband who served as a prophet with him is dead.  Now a creditor was threatening to take her two sons as slaves.  (Good thing people can’t do that anymore if you’re not paying all of your bills!)

Elisha asks her what she has in her house.

What does she already have that she can use to help her get out of this situation?

I hear this message over and over in the Bible.  What do we already have that he can use to bless us?

All the widow has is a flask of olive oil.  So Elisha asks her to borrow as many empty jars as as she can.  Then she was supposed to pour her oil into the jars…. and just keep pouring.  When she did what she was told, the widow totally filled up all of the jars.  Now she had enough to sell to pay off her creditor with extra to live on!

God used what she had to take care of her situation and then he gave her extra.

I wonder how many times God wants to help us deal with our situation by using something we already have and then he is ready to kick in extra when we are obedient.

Has this ever happened to you?

Keep on Asking,Keep On Seeking, Keep on Knocking

 That’s what we’re doing this year as we read God’s Word.
We’re asking –
to know God
to hear God
to grow in wisdom.
We’re seeking –
to understand
to hear his voice as he guides us
to grow in loving the things he loves.

And we’re knocking.
Everytime we open the pages of his word, we are knocking – we’re making ourselves available for God to speak to us, to transform us, to bring us joy.

What does God promise us in return? We will receive, we will find and doors will be opened. Amen, Hallelujah!

Eating the Bitter Fruit

Oh, yes, I’ve been there. I have eaten the bitter fruit of living life my own way. I have made some bad decisions in my life and paying the consequences for those has been both painful and embarrassing at times. I am still paying consequences for foolish things I chose to do when I was making decisions on my own without caring about what God said was right or wrong.

The fruit of those bad decisions may be bitter but we don’t want to become bitter as a result. God lets us pay the consequences so that we learn, we remember, we don’t do those things again. He doesn’t do this to punish us, he does it to help grow us into the people he planned for us to be.

The sweet outweighs the bitter as we grow closer in our walk with him.

Walking Closely with God

Noah walked closely with God.
God could talk with Noah because he knew he was listening.
God could guide Noah in a plan to save his family because he knew Noah would obey.
God could give Noah something to do that would change the world because he knew Noah would trust him and take a step of faith even when it was something that Noah knew nothing about.
I have found it very interesting to read in the Bible how many of the great people of faith are described as walking closely with God.
In Genesis 5 we’ll be reading about Enoch who walked closely with God. And he disappeared…God took him up to heaven.
What would it feel like to walk so closely with God that he would just take you up?