Tag: life

Life Is Short

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Life is short. So brief. It’s like an early morning mist covering a quiet, peaceful valley. For as soon as the sun rises, casting its illuminating rays into the valley, the mist and shadows are gone.

So short. So brief.

Even someone blessed to see their years extend into the 80’s, 90’s, and 100’s, have only had a brief pilgrimage here on earth.

But length of life does not equal value or importance.

The Lord has revealed to mankind the things He values in a life. Some things we know inherently, such as moral laws. Other things are revealed in His Word.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV)

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV)

Mankind has a tendency to live as though this life is without end, like they’re indestructible, and any mention of an eternal reward or judgment is simply a myth.

What a shame! What a waste!

What are YOU doing with YOUR life? What will you leave behind when your life on earth is over?

Who are YOU devoted to? Who are YOU investing in? What will be YOUR legacy?

You are writing your obituary; you are living out, demonstrating, how you want people to remember you. So, how WILL people remember you?

What kind of conversation will you have with God, when your short life is all used up?

“…you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 ESV)

California Speedway: The Five

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I’ve driven by the Iowa Speedway, just outside Newton, Iowa, a number of times. Always thought it would be cool to take my Outback on it and drive around real fast; that is, if I was the only one on the track. Never have done it, though, and probably never will.

However, I HAVE driven on the California Speedway! Just last week, as a matter of fact. The official name of the Speedway is Interstate 5; known to the locals as “The Five.”

My first drivers license was a California license, way back in 1972. I had driven our car from West Virginia to Iowa, to Colorado, and on to California WITHOUT a license. (that was before I was a law abiding citizen, and I was only 17 – not old enough to get one without driver’s education. And when you don’t stay in school long enough… well, you get the idea.)

Anyway, back to the Speedway Story.

I really didn’t know if California drivers were rude or courteous; it all happened so fast! I mean, there are speed limit signs posted every 5 miles or so, but it doesn’t matter. No one pays any attention to them. I think they’re going too fast to focus on something as small as a sign.

My wife and I rented a car so we could drive from San Clemente, where our kids are, up to Hanford, which is around 300 miles away, to visit friends. Early in the morning, probably about 8:15 or so, we started out.

Now, mind you, ALL traffic in sunny, Southern California is fast! No one gets behind the wheel just to dawdle along. I didn’t see one Sunday driver during our 9 day visit! Everyone is in a hurry, it seems, to get to the next traffic jam.

Alright, we headed to “The Five”, and the first thing I saw was a traffic signal on the entrance ramp. Two lanes on the ramp, narrowing to one before blasting onto the Speedway. The signal reminded me of the signals used at the drag races up in Humboldt, Iowa.

Why Zombies?

zombies aheadZombies. Not much to look at, hard to converse with, and their stink is worse than their looks!

Oh, and a word of advice: NEVER trust one. They have nothing to lose if caught in a lie.

The walking dead. Who would have thought it? And why the fascination? Is it because people relate to the walking dead? Do they actually believe someone could be resurrected?

I’m amazed at how many movies, TV programs, etc, are centered on the dark, demonic, pagan practice of voodoo and zombies. Those who “practice” voodoo believe a supernatural power can enter into a dead body and reanimate it. But stop and think about it for a second. What kind of supernatural power would enter into a dead body and keep it looking dead?

Not the kind of power I want anything to do with!

And why do zombies walk around like they have some sort of crippling arthritis? Stiff legged, hands out in front of them like the stereotypical sleep walker, eyes staring straight ahead; really now, how comfortable could that be?

Again, that kind of power I can do without!

Why do they seem to want to hurt people who are living? A personal vendetta, or are they simply motivated by the “power within”?

Folks, I believe there is a power that resurrects dead bodies, and spirits, but doesn’t leave them looking or acting dead. They don’t walk around scaring the daylights out of people. I’m referring to the power of the Living God! The One Who raised Lazarus from the dead, and Jesus from the tomb! The power that took someone dead in sin (me) and raised him to new life!

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV

I don’t think I walked like a zombie before new life entered my spirit, but I was certainly like one on the inside. Ugly, vulgar, and smelly; that’s how my spirit was.

But God breathed into my spirit His breath of life when I turned from MY ways, received His forgiveness, and confessed Him as the Lord of my life. Here’s what the scripture says happened to me:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24 NKJV

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” Colossians 1:13 NKJV

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” NKJV

Yep, I once was dead but now I’m alive. And so is EVERYONE who names Jesus as the Lord of their life!

Oh, just one more thing to mention to you Christians. Don’t you think it would be important for us to walk like we’re alive, and not dead? Look like it, talk like it, and yes, even smell like it? Wouldn’t it be great if we walked around not trying to hurt people, but actually help them? Greater is the power in us, than the “power” that makes dead people walk, while still dead.

Zombies are weird! But what is weirder is people who have been raised to new life act like they’re still dead!

Come on, people, look alive!

The Tree, The Pole, and The Cross

20130909-223215.jpgIt was around 6000 years ago that God created the Heavens and the Earth. He also created mankind, as well as a Garden in which man was to live. In the Garden there were many trees; trees of all kinds. And among them all, there were two special ones. One, the Tree of Life; the other, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Adam and Eve were told they could eat of any tree EXCEPT the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Unfortunately, that’s the tree they chose to eat from.

The tree of life represents God’s way to life. Though His way may appear to be restrictive and slow, it always leads to life.

Always.

“Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.” (Psalm 68:20 ESV)

The second one, the forbidden tree, represents man’s attempt to gain all God has and is; without Him. It always leads to death.

Always.

“Why wait for God to help me, when I can help myself and get what I need quicker,” seemed to be the mindset of Adam and Eve.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 16:25 ESV)

Later on, some 4000 years ago, there was a pole erected in the wilderness. Upon the pole was the form of a serpent molded out of bronze. The children of Israel had attempted to, once again, find a quick way to God’s promises; without God. God’s ways bothered them. They were restrictive and slow; and the people couldn’t stand His ways, His provision, or His leaders any longer. So they murmured and complained and started planning a return trip to Egypt.

Remember, man’s ways always lead to death.

Always.

Their rebellion, for that’s what it was, opened the “door” for the fiery serpents in the land to attack the camp. They began biting the people, and those who were bitten died.

Well, it didn’t take too long for the people to “get religion”, and beg Moses to ask for the Lord’s help. The Lord told Moses to erect a pole with a bronze serpent on it. He then instructed Moses to tell the people to “Look and Live”.

“And Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it on a pole, and if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the serpent of bronze [attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze], he lived.” (Numbers 21:9 AMP)

The serpent on the pole reflects man’s total disregard for God’s way, AND God’s willingness to heal and restore wayward man. ALL they had to do was “look”.

But notice the wording in Numbers 21:9 (Amplified); attentively, expectantly… How easy would that be with a bunch of poisonous snakes crawling around and up your legs? Keep looking at the pole? Are you kidding?

No, God wasn’t kidding. You see, man got into trouble, originally, by not believing God’s word; instead he believed the serpent. Again, in the wilderness, the children of Israel got into trouble by not believing God. So it would take faith in His word to bring restoration and healing.

Repentance must always include faith; whether with people or with God. If one does not believe someone else was right, while they themselves were wrong, they cannot truly repent. Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel.” So the children of Israel had to believe, and follow God’s instructions.

Finally, 2000 years ago there was a cross. Placed on a hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem, there the Son of God, who had never disobeyed His Father, died for the sins of the world. The cross reveals, once again, man’s desire and attempt to live their lives free from God’s influence, demands, and restrictive ways. And it screams to all who’ll listen, mankind’s capacity for evil.

In all three examples, the tree, the pole, and the cross, man cannot get rid of God! Man cannot be so evil that God won’t provide a way to be restored. As long as people have an opportunity to repent and believe, God will always have a remedy, a Way out.

Always!

Yes, those three things show man’s desire to be free from God; but they also reveal the heart of God to bring true freedom to all who will believe.

“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever! For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” (John 3:14-16 AMP)

You and I can’t get rid of God and we can’t live without Him. We can not shut out His love or our need to repent and believe. The tree, the pole, and the cross all speak the same thing; man’s ways will not bring God’s life, but God’s ways will.

ALWAYS!

The Message For This Moment

20130901-210226.jpg“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NLT)

An interesting passage, wouldn’t you agree?

Paul told Timothy, and the rest of us, to pray for all people. Ask God to help all people, give yourself to helping bear the burdens of all people through intercession, and give thanks for all people. And, pray that way for kings and those in authority. Pray what way? The same way we’re to pray for all people; nothing less.

See, this is what pleases God, Who wants everyone to be saved.

Notice something else. Paul wrote about how Jesus gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. It’s the message God has given to this world at just the right time.

Okay, let’s tie the two things together. Pray for all people, because God wants freedom for everyone. Giving yourself to God and others through prayer, will help bring freedom for all people. This is the way God says we can lay down our life for someone else: by praying, interceding, and thanking God: for all people!

This is the message for our time: pray for all men. Ask God to help our president and congress. Help bear their burden through prayer, as Jesus did and does as the Divine Intercessor. Give thanks for our leaders and believe God to give them the ability to make the right decisions to accomplish His plans and purposes.

“But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” (Hebrews 7:24-25 NLT)

If He forever lives to see lives changed and His Father’s will fulfilled, wouldn’t that be our calling, our purpose, as well?

God’s message for this moment: give your life for someone else’s freedom, through prayer. It’s what our nation, our world, needs.

Deep Calls To Deep

20130827-212738.jpgEvery disaster, every death, every void and place of emptiness, every storm, every heartache, every example of wickedness, all call for the same thing; the “Deep”. The depth, the resources, of God’s power.

Every time God’s will is done in Heaven BUT NOT on earth – the cry goes forth, “where is the power of God?!” ALL creation groans in travail…calling to the Deep…”where is God’s power?” (Romans 8:18-26) “with groans too deep for words…” Why? Because everything God created is “wired” to the Deep power of God. Creation knows Who made it and from where its source of life flows. It knows Who to “cry out” to when life doesn’t flow as it should.

“Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
before the Lord.” (Psalm 98:7-9 NLT)

“The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
and the hillsides blossom with joy.
The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
They all shout and sing for joy.” (Psalm 65:12-13 NLT)

“But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”
He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers .” (Luke 19:39-40 NLT)

Deep calls to Deep.

When God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26), He wasn’t referring to His physical form, or ours. He was speaking of an entire package; mankind created in the image of God. So He created man as a triune being; spirit, soul, and body.

Jesus spoke of man on 3 dimensions, as well as did Paul.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 ESV)

Note Jesus said, “…the true worshipers WILL worship…” True worshipers CHOOSE, an act of their will, mind, and even emotions, to worship God with all they have; spirit, soul, and body.

Paul said, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV)

Spirit, soul, and body. Man IS A SPIRIT, he HAS A SOUL, and he LIVES IN A BODY. And created as we were, God “wired” our hearts, the depth of our being, to cry out to Him, call to Him, when there is a void or need in our life. Whether we realize the “call” is going out, or not, He knows.

“…for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8 NLT)

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” (Matthew 6:31-32 NLT)

Deep calls to Deep.

King David, the Prophet/Psalmist, spoke of the deep calling to deep: “My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls.” (Psalm 42:6-7 ESV) He said he’d remember God from the land of Jordan (low places), Hermon (highest places), and Mount Mizar (just your average size mound, nothing spectacular). In other words, “God, I will remember You, my soul will cry out to You, my Deep calls to Your Deep, in my lowest, highest, or just plain ordinary moments. I am connected to You!”

When God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was without form and void. The Spirit of God hovered over the Deep, brooding, incubating God’s new creation. God knew the cry of the Deep and responded with His Word; “Light be!”, and light was.

When Adam was alone, with no helper suitable for him, his Deep, the void in his life he didn’t even know he had, called to God’s Deep, His power, and God created again.

Abel’s blood cried out to God’s Deep from the ground. God heard, and responded.

Deep calls to Deep.

Throughout God’s word there are examples of this principle: Deep calls to Deep. God’s Deep calls to our Deep, and our Deep calls to His.

When the children of Israel were about to be delivered from Egypt, Deep called to Deep. “Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.” (Exodus 3:7-9 ESV)

The Spirit of God was resting, brooding over the nation as a result of the call of the Deep. And God’s word, His answer to the call, brought deliverance.

The woman with the flow of blood was in desparate need of a miracle. “And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:25-34 ESV)

Her need, her Deep, responded to God’s Deep when she heard about Jesus! Faith came alive and God created again!

God is rich to all who call upon Him (Romans 10:12). He never runs out, His supply is inexhaustible! He hears our cry, He knows our needs, He loves us so!

Where is the power of God? Has it diminished through the ages? Is Heaven broke? Did God have to break up the streets of gold, and sell the gold to make the house payment?

NO!

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! He still hears our Deep call to Him. Our heart, our Deep still hears His answer call to us.

Our response needs to be like that of the woman in Mark 5: “all I need to do is touch Jesus… I only need Him. I only need to believe.”

God is. And He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him; who answer the call from His Deep.

Deep calls to Deep.

Do you hear the call? God hears you!

Four Anchors

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Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.
Acts 27:27-29 NKJV

Paul’s journey to Rome, with its storms, treachery, shipwreck, and rescue, would make a great movie! But just in case that doesn’t happen for a while, there is something in this story I must tell you about.

The ship and all 276 people aboard had just endured almost 2 weeks of stormy weather. It had been so bad, many had feared for their life. Now things were going fairly smooth, other than they had no idea where they were.The sailors were extremely cautious at this point. Traveling at night, they relied largely on their experience and gut feeling to alert them of possible danger. About midnight, the crew sensed they were drawing close to land. To know for sure, they took soundings (using a line with a lead weight on the end, they measured the depth of the water) a couple of times. They discovered land was fast approaching and the ship was in danger of colliding with the shore. So, to avoid the collision and disaster, they lowered four anchors and waited for the sun to come up.

Everyone has gone through, is going through, or WILL go through, storms. Each person runs the risk of becoming shipwrecked, or even worse, destroyed, as a result. But as the story illustrates, God shows us a safe way to travel, to keep from destroying ourselves and others, even through the toughest times. And though a lot of storms are not our fault, just knowing where to place the blame doesn’t help the situation.

Have you ever been overtaken by a storm? No warning, not a clue anything was brewing. It happens all the time. It was happening on Paul’s ship. The soldiers weren’t aware of danger, the prisoners (outside of Paul) didn’t really care – they were probably as good as dead, anyway. But someone on Paul’s ship with life experience recognized the possibility of impending danger; and the experience became the wisdom necessary to avoid certain disaster. Even in the dark, where it was impossible to see, the experienced ones knew what to do until they could see the issue for what it was. And in each of our lives there’s someone with the experience and wisdom to help us know how close danger is and what to do until revelation comes.

The sailors (experience and wisdom) said, “Drop four anchors and we’ll wait for the sunlight.” Light, daylight, sunshine, all speak of revelation knowledge. God, opening the eyes of their understanding, allowing them to see things from His perspective and with His wisdom.

“Drop four anchors…” Four anchors to hold them in place, to keep them from drifting, from wandering; giving them stability until the next step for action could be discerned.

In our life’s journey, these four anchors are extremely important. They help us stay in place and not drift when we can’t see what’s around us. Something that gives us stability and helps keep us from drifting. These four anchors are:

1) Hear the truth – “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1 NLT

Don’t trade the weighty anchor of truth for something that is only fluff. The anchor of truth can smash our foot if we drop it there, but it will also keep us from being blown about by every wind of doctrine.

2) Hope – “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…” Hebrews 6:19 NKJV

The hope of God’s promises is an anchor for our soul – our mind, our will, and our emotions. As our soul is anchored, we have greater confidence to go boldly to the Throne of Grace. Encouragement.

3) Helpful Friends –” Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. ” “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” Proverbs 27:6,17; Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 NKJV

Friends – people who love us enough to tell us the truth AND walk with us during dark moments. People who will help us with our resolve and be there through the restoration process.

4) Holy Spirit – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:7-15 NKJV

The Holy Spirit KNOWS what’s going on and WHY it’s happening. He will guide us INTO ALL TRUTH. He will guide us OUT OF ERROR. This anchor will keep us from turning around.

Life’s a crazy, dangerous journey at times. We all need people speaking into our lives who have the experience, wisdom, and love to help alert us to possible danger. We must listen to them, and not push them aside when we don’t like what they say.

If you’ve been running through life without these four anchors, I encourage you to stop now and secure the anchors you’ll need. Because you WILL need them.
Keep the anchors within reach, for when the slightest “drift” is detected, it’s time to act.

A Steady Stream

20130403-195638.jpg“Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”(Matthew 4:1 – 4:4 MSG)

“Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:1 – 8:3 NKJV)

Both Jesus and Moses spoke their words while in the wilderness, into which God had led them. “Wilderness” refers not only to a physical location, but a “lonesome, solitary” place, as well. A place one can go to be alone; to pray, worship, listen, and learn.

A place of preparation. Preparing for life’s situations.

In Moses’ wilderness, The Lord was preparing His people for the Promised Land. They were learning such things as hearing and obeying God, following God’s authority, working together, fighting together, and trusting God to supply everything necessary for life.

He allowed them to hunger in their solitary place, then satisfied their hunger in a way never seen or experienced before. Why? So they could know Him better.

In Jesus’ wilderness, He prepared Himself to face His adversary, the devil. He knew He would need the strength, wisdom, and “right now” Word from His Father to victoriously resist the schemes of the evil one.

To be ready for life, solitary times with God are required. Times to read His Word, hear His voice, and pour out your heart to Him while He pours His heart INTO you. We must have a steady stream of life flowing into us. God’s word, that which He wants to speak to our hearts TODAY, is that very life we need. We’ll find it as we pull aside from our cares and busyness, and get alone with Him and His Word.

“(God’s Word) is life to those who find it…” Proverbs 4:22

“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God…” (Psalm 46:4 NKJV)

To help you with your “solitary, wilderness, desert” times, there is a Facebook Page* called “A Steady Stream”. Daily scriptures, devotional teachings, prayers and the like are posted at 6:00 a.m. (CST). You can have this devotional sent to your Facebook account, free of charge, by going to http://www.facebook.com/a-steady-stream/ and hitting the “Like” button.

God bless you.

* effective 4/7/13
2:13 PM

“Drop Kick Me Jesus…”

“Drop kick me Jesus…” A cute little song by Bobby Bare.

God NEVER intended for His people to barely make it through this life and into the next, without a testimony of His power and victory evident in their life. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”(Romans 8:29-30 NKJV)

The word “predestined” can toss you around if you’re not careful. It does not mean God has already decided who will and who won’t be saved. God’s not willing any perish or go to an eternal hell. Rather He IS willing, and made it possible, for ALL men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. So ANYONE and EVERYONE can become a new creation in Christ and spend now and forever abiding in His Presence.

“…He also predestined…” in the above passage could be paraphrased in this manner: “God knows who will come to Him through His Son, Jesus. And all who come to Him are destined to be changed into His likeness, His image. It’s an established plan. God won’t settle for any less.”

God desired to have a family, created in His image, after His likeness. Adam started out well, but ended falling way short. But Jesus, the Second Adam, brought mankind back to the place where fellowship with God is possible. Possible, through faith in Jesus. And our “destiny”, in Jesus, is to be changed into His exact likeness, His image; acting like Him in all ways, thought, word, and deed. As the Son is, so shall we be (see John 17 and Hebrews 1:1-3). “Pre” means “before” so think of it this way: God planned our destiny in Jesus before it was possible. He “prepaid” for our eternal hope and future.

I believe it’s time for us to see ourselves the way God sees us in Christ. Time for us to understand “this life” on earth is only separated from our “next life” by our earthly body. What God has, or hasn’t, accomplished in us while on earth will continue. “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” 

So, enjoy the cute song. Especially if you like country music. But look into God’s Word and discover what He has already accomplished for you in Christ. And don’t be satisfied with barely making it through life. 

You are not a football. 

What Encourages YOU?

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I’m taking a survey. I’m wondering what things encourage you?

What lifts you when you’re down?

What gives you courage to face the unfaceable?

How do you find strength to do the impossible?

What gets you off the bench of self-pity and back into the game of life?

What is the adrenalin for your soul? A word spoken by a real friend, a helping hand when your two aren’t enough?

Do you prefer a note, letter, email, or phone call from a friend?

Does God ever encourage you? How?

When you’ve “drawn the blinds” to your world, put your phone on silent, and placed yourself on the island of Me-Only, what brings you back to the land called Life?

How do you tell the difference between pity and encouragement?

When you find yourself stumbling through the valley of the shadow of death, what gets you through?

We may think we’ve encouraged someone (we feel good), but may have totally missed the mark. So this question isn’t “how do you encourage others?”

No, the question is…

What encourages YOU?

Thanks for replying!

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