Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  Matthew 5:9

Our world is filled with conflict.  We have conflict in our homes, at our jobs, and in our churches.  I encourage you to become a person who desires peace.  Become a peacemaker.  Become a peacemaker in your home, at work, and in your church.  A peacemaker is someone who brings about peace, especially by reconciling parties who disagree.  Choose to be the voice of wisdom.  Allow God and His Word to direct your speech and your relationship with others.  Let the light of Christ shine through your life.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven – Matthew 5:16. 

 God’s love must permeate our motives.  As we attempt to live our lives as peacemakers, we must seek to make sure our actions and our speech honor and glorify our Heavenly Father.  Prayerfully ask Jesus to reveal if you have a heart of a peacemaker or a heart of someone who is an initiator of conflict.  In our churches, many conflicts occur because of personal preferences rather than doctrinal issues.  This is sad and alarming because while Christians are arguing over preferences, people are dying and going to hell. 

A peacemaker is someone who is able to overlook an insult.  They recognize that retaliation solves nothing and only encourages more conflict.  God’s Word describes them as prudent.  Do you desire to be prudent?  With the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit you and I can be known as a peacemaker.  Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult – Proverbs 12:16.  When dealing with conflict, our choice of words and how they are delivered is very important.  A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger – Proverbs 15:1.  Most people find it difficult to argue with someone who is speaking to them in a gentle tone.  It isn’t uncommon to see children have a temper tantrum, but it is sad to see adults have temper tantrums, especially Christians.  Calmness is an important tool that a mature Christian will strive to use during a conflict.  The peacemaker will attempt to be calm instead of being dragged into a verbally explosive conflict.  Ecclesiastes 10:4 – If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest.   

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must remember we are all working to lead the lost to Christ.  Peacemakers will encourage fellow Christians to show each other respect and the importance of holding each other in highest regard.  In God’s kingdom, one person is not greater than another.  1 Thessalonians 5:13 – Hold them in highest regard in love because of their work.  Live in peace with each other. 

A peacemaker will encourage forgiveness.  Forgive and move forward.  God has forgiven us so much.  When we reflect on how much God has forgiven us, it will not be difficult for us to forgive others.  God commands us to forgive and then move forward.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone – Colossians 3:13.

God reveals in His Word that a peacemaker must have godly wisdom.  God’s wisdom and ways are much different than the worlds.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness – James 3:17-18.  God will provide the peacemaker the wisdom needed to handle any situation.  Ask God for wisdom today.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  Choose today to sow peace.  Live your life as a peacemaker. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your many blessings.  Father, I pray You will provide us with godly wisdom.  Help us to live our lives as a peacemaker, instead of one that participates in conflict.  Wash over us with Your love that we may demonstrate it to others.  In Jesus Holy Name I Pray…..Amen.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stones of Remembrance

“A powerful motivation for believing God in our present is intentionally remembering how He’s worked in our past.”  Beth Moore

Throughout God’s Word we are able to see a demonstration of God’s faithfulness.  If we take the time to examine our lives, we will see God’s faithfulness and His fingerprints all over our lives.  Take the times today to reflect over your life and how Almighty God has been faithful to you.  Memory is an important part of the faith building process, so take the time to remember and reflect upon God’s faithfulness.  Never forget to thank God for His faithfulness which He has demonstrated to you. 

In Joshua 4 we see that the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River.  The LORD instructed Joshua to choose twelve men, one from each tribe, to pick up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River.  These twelve stones were to be a sign, a memorial, to the people of God’s faithfulness.  Joshua 4:7 – tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD.  When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.  These stones are be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. 

The Israelites went up from the Jordan River and set up camp at Gilgal.  It is here where Joshua set up the twelve memorial stones taken from the Jordan River.  These stones of remembrance were to be a reminder to the Israelites and their children that they crossed the Jordan on dry ground.  The children would see the stones and hear the stories of God’s faithfulness and power that allowed them to cross the Jordan River on dry ground.  Joshua 4:20-24 – And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.  He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’  tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over.  The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.  He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God. 

I encourage you to reflect upon your stones of remembrance and share with your children and others how God has demonstrated His faithfulness to you during your life.  We must intentionally strive to keep memoires of God’s faithfulness alive in our families.  Psalm 77:11-12 – I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all your works and mediate on all your mighty deeds.  Memories of God’s faithfulness are able to sustain us during difficult seasons and will strengthen our faith. 

We serve a mighty God, a God who is faithful and powerful.  Share this with others.  Speak out.  Give glory, honor, and praise to our Savior and LORD for His faithfulness.  The faithfulness of our LORD is never ending.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations – Psalm 100:4-5. 

There are times in life where we seem faithless but we can be confident in knowing that our Savior and LORD is always faithful.  Our LORD is always faithful to his promises.  Do you know the promises of God?  Read His Holy Word and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the faithful promises of Jesus.  If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself – 2 Timothy 2:13. 

Our God never changes.  He has been faithful to us in the past and will continue to remain faithful.  I the LORD do not change.  So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed – Malachi 3:6.  Continue to gather your stones of remembrance to share with other.  To God be the glory. 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to never forget your faithfulness.  I pray we will continue to give you all honor, glory, and praise.  Strengthen our faith in you, Almighty God.  In Jesus Name I Pray……Amen.




Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Complaining Spirit

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Philippians 4:11-12

It happens quickly.  You are with friends visiting and someone starts complaining.  Then someone else has a complaint and so on.  It seems as if complaining is contagious.  How do we discern if we have a complaining spirit?  Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you today if you have a complaining spirit and then seek the LORD’s help in eradicating this complaining spirit from your life. 

People complain about many different things – jobs, families, life circumstances, school, church, etc.  You can add to the list.  We must realize that complaining is harmful and often can cause dissention.  When we exhibit a complaining spirit, the power of Christ is not evident in our lives.  Philippians 2:14 – Do everything without grumbling or arguing.  Allow the power of Christ to enable you to live your life without complaining and arguing with others.  When we complain and argue with others, our LORD is not receiving honor and glory.  Our actions must point others to Jesus Christ. 

God considers complaining as unwholesome talk.  When we complain to others, it definitely does not encourage them.  God’s Word is clear - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen – Ephesians 4:29.  Prayerfully ask the LORD to search your heart and reveal to you whether you speak words of encouragement or words of discouragement to others.  As Christians, we should have the desire to never grieve God with our actions or our words.  A complaining spirit grieves our Heavenly Father.  The person who does not have a complaining spirit but offers others encouragement is like good medicine.  A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones – Proverbs 17:22.  Exchange your complaining spirit for one which looks at the positive aspects of life.  Exchange your complaining spirit for a thankful spirit. 

When we shift our attention from what we have, to what we don’t have, we often begin to complain and grumble.  We must intentionally notice what God has done for us and what God is doing for us.  God has blessed us beyond measure.  In Numbers 21:5-6, we notice the Israelites complaining and grumbling.  They spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  There is no bread!  There is no water!  And we detest this miserable food!”  Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them: they bit the people and many Israelites died.  The Israelites refused to recognize and thank God for what He had done for them and was doing for them.  God was setting them free from bondage in Egypt, He was making them into a nation, and giving them a new land.  Their focus was on the delicious Egyptian food they had left behind when they were led from slavery.  We must guard our hearts so that we don’t begin to complain and focus on our unfulfilled desires.  1 Corinthians 10:9-10  tells us – We should not test Christ, as some of them did – and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel. 

As Christians, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit.  God’s Word tells us we should keep in step with the Spirit.  When we complain and grumble we are not keeping in step the Spirit.  Galatians 6:25 – Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  If we are keeping in step with the leading power of the Holy Spirit, we will not be complaining and grumbling.  Live by the Holy Spirit’s power and allow Him to remove your complaining spirit. 

Refocus your mind on what is true, noble, and right.  When we do this, we will not find anything to complain about.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things – Philippians 4:8.  When we are praising our Savior and LORD and giving Him thanks, we will not be able to complain.  Never forget your blessings that your Heavenly Father has bestowed upon you.  Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – Ephesians 5:20. 

Dear Heavenly Father, reveal to us if we have a complaining spirit.  I pray that we will refocus our hearts and minds and recognize the blessings you have provided us with.  Thank you for salvation.  Help us to focus on what is true, noble, and right.  Help us to speak words of praise and encouragement.  In Jesus Precious Name I Pray…..Amen.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Finishing Graciously and with Integrity

“Finishing well could mean not finishing.”  Priscilla Shirer

Has there been a time when God has called you to a task or to a ministry position, then after a period of time, asked you to release the task or position to someone else?  Did you gracefully step aside or did you cling to the task, to the position?  Sometimes God calls us to release a desire before it ever comes to fruition.  Did you choose to cling to your desire or were you able to release your desire into the hands of God?  We must understand that God’s ways are not our ways and when he is asking us to release our desires, a task, or a position, we may never understand this side of eternity.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD” – Isaiah 55:8.  But whether we understand or not, God is calling us to be obedient. 

In 1 Chronicles 17:1-4, we notice David had a desire to build a house for God.  His intentions were pure and honorable but his timing was not aligned with God’s timing.  After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.”  Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.”  But that night the word of God came to Nathan, saying:  “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says:  You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in.’” God revealed to David that his son Solomon would be the one to build the house for God.  David could choose to cling to his desire to build God a house or he could graciously pass the job to his son and be obedient to the LORD. 

We can choose to cling to desires our LORD is asking us to release or we can graciously release them.  His desire is to bless us, not to do us harm us or hold anything good from us.  Often we cling to our desires because of selfish reasons.  We like the recognition, the praise of doing a job well.  Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart to reveal any pride and selfishness that is lurking in your spirit.  Pride and selfishness will lead to destruction.  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall – Proverbs 16:18.

David graciously released his desire to build the temple.  Listen how David revealed to Solomon that he would carry forth David’s desire to build the temple.  1 Chronicles 22:11 – “Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would.”  This scripture does not show that David was resentful.  He was being obedient to his LORD.  1 Chronicles 22:14 shows how David had prepared for the building of the temple and that he was willingly releasing the material to be used by Solomon as he built the temple for the LORD.  “I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the LORD a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone.  And you may add to them.”  David had worked hard in preparation to build the temple.  You may have worked hard in your position which God is calling you to release, but when God says to release we must be obedient.  We choose the attitude we will have toward the person who God has chosen to walk the path after us.  Scripture reveals that David offered Solomon encouragement and use of the materials he had gathered.  This demonstrated David’s graciousness and willingness to obey God. 

David didn’t build the temple but he prepared for it to be built.  Scripture also reveals that Solomon’s success was built on the foundation of his father – David’s provision.  David was obedient to the LORD and did his part.  If David had not made provisions for the temple, Solomon could not have successfully built the temple.  Thank the LORD for those who have laid a foundation for the task the LORD is asking you to carry forth.  Also, we must remember when we are in a position that we are building a foundation and that someone, someday will follow us.  Build a solid, godly foundation.  Then when our God is calling us to release, to step aside, do so with graciousness and encouragement for the one who will follow. 

Priscilla Shirer asked this question, “I wonder how many divine missions, mandates, and ministries have been aborted by selfish, insecure Christians who refused to do their parts wholeheartedly and then relinquish the task to the next person God had anointed with His favor to run the next leg of the race?”

Release what God is calling you to release with graciousness and integrity.  God will walk you through the journey. 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to be faithful to your calling and when the time comes for us to release, to step aside, help us to do so with graciousness and integrity.  LORD help us to follow your leadership and be obedient to you.  I pray that we will always work as unto the LORD.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

God Will Be Honored

Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:  “‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’”  Aaron remained silent.  Leviticus 10:3

America has moved far from God.  It often seems as if Christians have moved far from God.  Search your heart; are you closer to God now than you have been in the past?  Read and study God’s Word and you will find that Almighty God is holy and he will not be mocked.  Do not be deceived:  God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows – Galatians 6:7.   God will be honored.  How do you approach the throne of God’s grace? 

We live in a fast paced world that is ever changing.  God never changes.  Friends come and go and circumstances change, but God is firm, strong, and unchanging.  He is holy and no one can compare to our LORD.  1 Samuel 2:2 – There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 

We are so very blessed by our LORD.  Think for a moment about the blessings you have received from your LORD.  God blesses us with forgiveness, He heals us of illnesses, God redeems us from death, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires, and gives righteousness and justice.  We receive many blessings from our LORD, yet we are so undeserving.  Psalm 103:1-5 – Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  God deserves our highest honor and praise because He is holy. 

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are absolutely dependent on God.  Almighty God is the power that sustains and rules the world.  He is the possessor of absolute power and wisdom.  Hebrews 1:3 – The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 

Take time to look at the beauty of our world.  God blesses us with beautiful sunrises and sunsets, mountain ranges, and oceans.  God’s creation is beautiful and grand.  Beauty can still be seen even after we have marred it with our hands.  Don’t take the beauty of God’s creation for granted.  Worship, praise, and honor Him for the beauty He displays through His creation each and every day.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.  Today, if only you would hear his voice – Psalm 95:2-7. 

Never take God’s blessings and miracles for granted.  Offer praise and thanksgiving to Him continually.  Profess His greatness to the people you come in contact with daily.  God deserves our honor and praise.  Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.  Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.  Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.  He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth – Psalm 105:1-7.

There will come a day when all the earth will see the glory of the LORD.  And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together.  For the mouth of the LORD has spoken – Isaiah 40:5.  Choose today to see the glory of the LORD.  God’s Word also reveals that their will come a day when all will acknowledge God.  Romans 14:11 – It is written:  “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bow before me: every tongue will acknowledge God.’ “ 

Honor your Savior and LORD today.

Dear Heavenly Father.  I offer you today honor and praise.  Thank you for the many blessings and miracles you perform each and every day.  Help us to never forget your gracious mercy toward us.  In Jesus Precious Name I Pray…..Amen.