Saturday, February 19, 2011

Genesis 16:6-11, 13

"Abram replied, 'Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.' Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
"The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, 'Hagar, Sarai's servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?'
"'I'm running away from my mistress, Sarai,' she replied.
"The angel of the LORD said to her, 'Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.' Then he added, 'I will give you more descendants than you can count.'
And the angel also said, 'You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means "God hears,") for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. . . .'
"Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, 'You are the God who sees me.' She also said, 'Have I truly seen the One who sees me?'"
Hagar was a victim of other people's poor choices (Abram's and Sarai's). Yet God heard and saw her misery, and met her in the midst of it. Much of our suffering comes as a result of other people's sin. God is especially present to us in those situations. He may not deliver us from the difficulties (he told Hagar to go back and submit to Sarai). Yet this time Hagar knew who was calling the shots. She knew it wasn't Sarai or Abram, but God himself. Remember that God is always with you—and he calls the shots

Have a Great Day!
'Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.'

Friday, February 18, 2011

1 Timothy 3:10

"Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons."
Though the context of this verse is appointing deacons, the principle holds in the family or business or any kind of leadership as well: Give some responsibility to test character and ability, and evaluate. If the person does well, give more responsibility. (And could it also be, this is what God does with us?)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jeremiah 32:17-19, 27 - Jeremiah's Prayer

"'O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation's sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the LORD of Heaven's Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve.' "'I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?'"
When Jeremiah prayed, he focused on who God is and what he has done, putting his recent actions—buying the field—into the perspective of God's dealings in the past. When you pray, do you do that? First focus on God—who he is and what he has done—and then express your current reality in light of those things. Try it! And notice that when God answered Jeremiah, he mirrored part of Jeremiah's prayer, affirming that indeed nothing is too hard for him. Remember that especially!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1 Timothy 3:2-5 - Good "job description"

"So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?"
Though these are instructions concerning the qualifications for an elder to serve in a church, it's also a good "job description" of a godly husband and father. How do you (or your husband) measure up? If you're a man, pray about any areas that may be weaknesses, and seek God's grace for those areas. If you're a wife, pray for God to encourage and strengthen your husband, and look for ways you can cooperate with God in that area. Take these qualifications seriously when it's time to choose church leaders.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jeremiah 31:1-2, 9, 25 - Rest and Joy

"'In that day,' says the LORD, 'I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. This is what the LORD says:

"'Those who survive the coming destruction
   will find blessings even in the barren land,
   for I will give rest to the people of Israel.
Tears of joy will stream down their faces,
   and I will lead them home with great care.
They will walk beside quiet streams
   and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.
For I am Israel's father,
   and Ephraim is my oldest child.
For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.'"
God knows we need rest. He wants us to experience joy, to live a blessed life. He wants to be our God and have us trust him as the one who takes care of us and provides for every possible need. Rest and joy are blessings he desires to give us. Today, let him be your Father, leading you home with great care on smooth paths where you will not stumble. Look for blessings, even in a barren land.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Shelter of God's Promises - BOOK REVIEW

Although I am aware of the promises God has given us, it is nice to renew those.  Sheila Walsh's book 'The Shelter of God's Promises' was a book that I did not want to put down.  This book brought back more confidence, joy and continued hope of God's promises to me (us).  She writes about personal testimony and backing it up with scipture to help understand more.  Although we know the Bible and read it, having it relate in a different way makes you stop and relate.  Just like Jesus did by putting the understanding into parables.  Reading this book was spelled out clearly to understand the ten promises Sheila points out in the book.  I have to admit, she chose the best promises for the NOW that we are living in.  I felt such comfort reading this book and the renewed feeling that God watches out for me; not that I did not think He did, but we all need to be renewed to get our heart pumping again.  This would be a great book for small Bible study groups as the chapters are sectioned off to provide more group discussions.  For myself, I enjoyed the chapters sectioned off as it made me stop a bit and relate it somewhere in my life to grow more.  At the end of the book, includes a free in-depth Bible study.  I highly recommend reading this book.

Jeremiah 31:33-34 - This is the Good News!

"'But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,' says the LORD. 'I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, "You should know the LORD." For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,' says the LORD. 'And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.'"
These are the characteristics of the new covenant, which Jesus put into effect by his death and resurrection: God's law is now in our hearts and minds (through the indwelling Holy Spirit). He is our God, and we are his special, chosen people, individually and collectively. We know God, and God forgives every sin we have ever committed or will ever commit. This is the Good News!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Psalm 7:3-5, 7-8 - Make sure your conscience is clear

"O LORD my God, if I have done wrong
   or am guilty of injustice,
   if I have betrayed a friend
   or plundered my enemy without cause,
then let my enemies capture me.
   Let them trample me into the ground
   and drag my honor in the dust.…
Rule over them from on high.
   The LORD judges the nations.
Declare me righteous, O LORD,
   for I am innocent, O Most High!"
David has a clear conscience; so he prays confidently to God. If you feel doubt whether God will help you, some of that may be rooted in unconfessed sin. On some level, we know that God does not answer us if there is sin we've not dealt with. This is different from trying to win God's favor by "being good enough." This is recognizing that nothing must come between us and God; we must keep a clear path of communication. Today, make sure your conscience is clear. Confess any known sin. Then, be confident that God will come to your aid.