Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let's Make Our Father Smile

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. 1 Chronicles 21:1-2

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

God calls His children to a life of faith. He wants us to trust Him in the big and little things. King David allowed Satan to influence his thinking and consequently his actions. David asked Joab to number the people.

You might ask, “What's the harm in numbering the nation?” But God listens to the rhythm of our hearts. He peers into the center of our souls. We humans recognize some sins as serious, such as murder and adultery, but God saw David's actions as a lack of faith. He did not trust God to protect Israel. Instead he fell into Satan's trap. The sin may have been more in the heart attitude of David than in the actual act of counting the individuals. Romans 14:23 says that everything that does not come from faith is sin. The Lord punished David by sending a plague to the nation.

David did repent of his sin, and the plague was eventually stayed by God, but there were many casualties. What can we learn from this unusual story? Our lack of faith displeases our Father. It also can cause us to do things that affect others. A lack of trust on our part can have a rippling effect. It can bring negative things in our lives and the lives of those around us.

What is the cure? First we must repent or turn about face and ask for forgiveness. Next we need to feed our faith with God's word. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing God's word. It is also beneficial for us to speak God's word over our lives; this helps to build our faith. Finally, we must obey God, and expect Him to do what He says He will do in His word.

Faith is a choice. When we choose faith, we please God. The decision to walk by faith also has a rippling effect. Our faith not only blesses our lives, it blesses others as well. When we give in to fear, doubt, and worry, we can come to the Father and receive His love and forgiveness. Let's allow our Lord to build us up in faith. As we act on this faith by trusting Him, we make our Father smile.

Dear Father God,

I want to please You. I want to walk by faith. I want to make You smile. Forgive me for doubting You at times. Help me to feed daily on Your written word so that my faith can be established. Lord I love You and I choose to put my trust in You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thoughts

I am thankful for my God – faithful and true, loving and merciful. You were a Father to me when I lost my way. You will never leave me nor forsake me. You are my reason for breathing. I am nothing without You – my Source of life.

I am thankful for Lou, my wife, who is full of grace. She is beautiful like a diamond with many facets. She has taught me so much about life. I do not deserve her. She is a blessing through and through – a flower that never fades.

I am thankful for family and friends – all of you are precious gifts from our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for always being there for me.

Lord, thank you for Your many blessings temporal and eternal, large and small.
Thank You for always meeting our every need. For bringing us health and wholeness. Your love never fails. Thank you for living inside the hearts of those that know You. We can dwell in Your presence.

Thank you, Father, for sending Your Son to die for us. Thank You that He hung on a cross so we could be forgiven. He paid the penalty that we deserved because of our own failings. If you haven't received His forgiveness, His salvation is only a prayer away. Receive His gift of mercy; receive Him as your Friend and Burden-bearer. Surrender your life to Him. He will not disappoint you. Your life with Him will not be problem free, but You will experience the greatest love of all. And you will have much to be thankful for.

These are just some of my thankful thoughts...

The Focal Point

The archer draws the bowstring
Aims and releases the arrow
The marksman holds his breath
Focuses on the bullseye and gently squeezes the trigger

In life, we must hit the mark
But we lose
If we aim at the wrong target

Christ gave us two life-priorities
Love God
Love people

He painted the horizon
With a brush dipped in the word of God
Each verse colors the canvas of our destiny
Sets the coarse for us to sail to

The Holy Spirit breathes
Direction into our hearts
He imparts to us our focal point

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Because of His Love

I hope you enjoy this piece.  I wrote it around three years ago.  I know that because our dog named Muy-Muy is a little over three years old now.  Please let me know what you think...

My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Hebrews 12:5-6

My wife and I recently added a puppy to our two-member family. It's a boy, and my wife has decided on the name - Muy-Muy (pronounced Mew-Mew). She insists that its a French name, though she doesn't know what it means. I voted for the name Rocky and lost, but I am beginning to become used to his unusual name. We picked him up from the breeder recently at eight weeks of age. He is a handsome little Maltese.

Our new pet was tiny, cute, and quiet when we first brought him home. Now he can be rather feisty at times. He is teething and loves to nibble on just about anything. He likes to play, but he sometimes gets out of hand. And yes we are doing our best to teach him to go to the bathroom in the right place. We now see the weighty importance of training our dog. If we don't start now, he could become a monster. If we are consistent in our discipline and positive reinforcement at this time, we will reap the rewards later. A friend of the family kindly told me that if your dog becomes unruly you have only yourself to blame. So we are ready to correct, ready to praise, ready to give rewards to our puppy to teach him the way to behave.

The whole process reminds me of how God deals with us His children. The Scripture says He disciplines us because He loves us. My wife and I want a well-trained puppy not only for our dog's benefit, but also for our own. We desire order in our home and peace of mind. But God has no selfish motives. He disciplines us because He truly knows it is the best thing for us. The Lord is persistent at teaching us the lessons He knows we need to develop His character in us. The Lord uses His written word along with the promptings of the Holy Spirit to steer us in His direction. Let's cooperate with Him. Let's not fight back like a wild animal, but let's allow Jesus to guide us gently along His path for our lives. When we follow Him, He is quick to reward us and to use us for His kingdom purposes. When we yield to His correction, we find peace and sweet fellowship with the Master.

One major difference between our challenges with our new pet and God's dealings with us, is that the Lord changes our natures from within so that we can obey Him. As we surrender to the Master in the light of Christ's work at Calvery, the fruit of the Spirit develops within us. By His grace, the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to follow Christ. Our dog does not have a transformed nature within Him. We can only foster changes to his outward behavior, but the Father disciplines us in love and enables us to conform to the image of Jesus by the power of the Spirit.

Let's yield to the Holy Spirit's direction for our lives. Let's obey God's flawless word. When we do, we we will draw closer to the Lord and shine for Him in the dark places. When we allow God the Potter to mold us like clay, we begin to reflect the One who made us. He desires to make us His masterpieces and put us on display. He desires to change us for one reason alone – because of His great love for you and me.

Dear Lord,

Help me to remember that when You show me areas where I need to change, You do this for my own benefit – because You love me. Thank you for helping me to conform to your image. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Favor of God

The favor of God resting upon a life
Causes forests to spring forth from a single seed
Makes enemies live at peace with you and me
Ushers long-awaited dreams to realization
Brings promised plans to fruition

God’s favor
Delivers God’s best to us
Enables us to trust
Gives us the upper hand
And causes us to stand

The favor of our Sovereign Lord
Can turn the heart of kings
The favor of our Sovereign God
Will give the prisoner wings

His favor brings promotion
Sets God’s will in motion
Opens doors once welded shut
By God’s grace not through luck

The favor of God that rests upon a life
Is a mighty force
Obtained by faith not sight
It rests upon the faithful and obedient
On behalf of these God will fight

He will show compassion
Love in action
To those who trust in Him
He will bring them an unrivaled-win

Such are the benefits for those
Who receive God’s glorious favor


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Draw Near to God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

God has given us an open door – a divine opportunity. The unearned privilege of worshiping the King. When we worship our Lord, we are given access into God's presence. When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us and we find in Him fulfillment, significance, and joy.

In His presence we can find healing for our bodies and healing for our inner wounds. Through worship, we grow in our experiential knowledge of God. As we magnify Jesus, He becomes bigger in our understanding, while the power of our problems diminish. When we worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we sensitize our eyes and ears to the moving of the Spirit. He guides and directs us, and He ministers to us His unconditional love.

Let's draw near to God and worship Him. Let's make worship a daily discipline. That discipline will soon turn to delight, and when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).