A tale of two men

The will of God isnt always clear. A lot of times, we fail to identify what God would have us do. Sometimes it seems that God would have us use the common sense he gave us to make decisions, but more times than not it is imperative that we acknowledge God in the decisions that we make.

Do you remember Joshua? The awesome leader that came after Moses. Early on, God spoke to Joshua and told him expressly, Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. Joshua 1:3 Thats a pretty awesome promise! God basically said that the whole promised land was his. Isnt that great?

Well, a little while later, Joshua was in the promised land. He had taken Jericho by the power and direction of God. Later, Joshua made ready to take the city of Ai. God promised him the land, so its only common sense that he should take it right? So Joshua sent out men to take another city. That attack failed and many men were injured or killed. (Joshua 7)
When Joshua consulted God, God showed Him that sin was in Israel, and that the sin needed to be cleansed before they could take the rest of the land.

So, I ask you, did Joshua make a mistake? Did Joshua sin? I know this, Joshua failed to seek the Lord and it cost him dearly.
Lets take a look at another man.

David was a mighty man with many men under Him. One day, his base city was attacked and all his stuff and family and all the families of his men were carried off. Now think, this is David! Hes a mighty warrior. Should he just sit around and wait? Shouldnt he go after those evil men?

I would think, Absolutely! But David was humble. In the midst of a seemingly obvious choice David consulted God, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? God gave David a thumbs up and David succeeded.

There are many, well, countless instances just like these in the Bible, but we dont have time for all of them. Let me make it simple, God has given you the ability to make wise decisions, but He expects you to make use of all your available resources.

There are two sides to every coin, and there seems to be two extremes to every truth. I challenge you, seek the Lord’s will on all your decisions. Truly ask Him for His direction. There may be "common sense" decisions, that He does not want you to make. We cannot see all ends. We do not fully understand every situation.

I do caution you, be careful of going a little extreme. You probably don’t need God’s permission to get up and go to work, or to do something you know you should be doing. Don’t use, getting permission from God, as an excuse to be lazy, but don’t ignore His wisdom either. Seek the Lord on finding the proper balance that He wants you to have.

Compliments of God

Have you ever felt you like you deserved thanks for what you did? Perhaps you helped someone out a lot, or simply gave them a gift. You thought you deserved something in return. There is someone who deserves more thanks than you. God does!

You may have given someone a gift, but God gave them life. Look at it this way, this entire universe was created for us. Yeah, isn’t that awesome? Even the stars and heavenly bodies were created, "for signs and for seasons." Not for alien inhabitants or other races, they were creates so we could have a clock to pass the time.

Have you ever gone to a hotel and they had those little soap bars and stuff. On the little cheapo things they gave you it said something like, "Compliments of blankety blank hotel." In the morning, they gave you a ‘complimentary breakfast.’ It’s like the hotel was so impressed with themselves for ‘giving’ you all this stuff that’s worth practically nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a toothbrush if you forget one, but let’s face it, we are paying for it.

Now, let’s look at our universe. We didn’t pay for that. It wasn’t worked for. It was given to us. It was ‘complimentary’ in every sense of the word. Yeah, FREE!

Your next breath- Compliments of the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Energy to breathe- Compliments of God Think about your day. Everything you enjoy was directly given/created by God. Everything.

How often do you thank God for, well, anything- everything? It’s easy to remember that God’s in control when you’re late for work and you get a red light. Oh, it’s His fault then right? What about the fact that you have a job? Or you have food to eat? Or clothes to wear? God provided a way for you to have all that.

Do you thank Him?

Years ago the Levites were to, "stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;" – 1 Chronicles 23:30 Twice a day they thanked their creator. Do you thank Him even every day? I know I fail at that.

Let’s make a decision to thank God for what He gives us. And if He allows us to lose something, let’s thank Him that He allowed us to have it for a time, and that we still have much to rejoice over!

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever." – 1 Chronicles 16:24

Only one in ten will be thankful this year, studies show

I was doing some pretty intense reading and I came to the conclusion that it may very well be probable that only one in ten people will actually be thankful for this year. In fact, according to previous results of the moving of God, the one person who gives glory to God may not even be a regular churchgoer!

“What?” You might say. I’m not a statistics guy, but I’ve noticed a trend. Well, not a trend, but just one instance in the Bible. In Luke 17, Jesus is called to by ten lepers. They ask Jesus to make them clean. Now, I want you to know something that I was told by a friend, who knows a Jewish guy. Apparently, the Jews had devised among themselves that there were certain things that the Messiah, and only the Messiah, could do. One of them was healing a leper.

These lepers were actually saying that they believed that Jesus was the Messiah. That’s a pretty big deal seeing that most of the Jews thought he was just a prophet.

So after the lepers asked for cleansing, Jesus recognized their faith, and told them to go to the priests and get medically examined. But of course the lepers were still lepers. These men stood strong in faith. Even though they weren’t clean, they left anyway.

And guess what! “As they went, they were cleansed.” – Luke 17:14

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” – Luke 17:15,17

Look at this, only one guy told Jesus thanks. Out of 10 guys!

I know I said this was only one instance, but it does seem to be a trend. Most people aren’t thankful.

Maybe these lepers thought that they had earned their healing by their faith. Maybe they thought that they had comin’ for all their good deeds. Maybe they were “just lookin’ out for #1.” Whatever the reason, they didn’t turn back. They didn’t give thanks.

At the close of this year, we have much to be thankful for. No matter how much we may have “worked for” everything we have. God has given us everything. He gave us our every ability and equipped us to do all that is necessary. Let us not be like the nine who took what was given them and went on their merry way.

Let us turn back, remember where we have come from, and thank the God of heaven for all He has given us.

Let us give thanks!

The secret to living longer

The world has spent much time looking for the fountain of youth. Searching all over the world, for centuries, people have desparately searched for the answer to life. They want more time. They want to live longer. What if I told you there was a way you could live longer. It’s not fancy medicine, strange rituals, or superstition, it’s quite simple. You can live longer by following a simple command in the bible.

Proverbs 3:1-2 says, “My son forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length and long life and peace shall they add to thee.” You may be thinking, “that was just for that man’s son, not for me.” But this is not the only time this promise is mentioned.

Ephesians 6:2-3 tells us, “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” So there you have it, it is a simple promise. These verses make it very clear, you can enjoy a long life by honoring your parents. I am not saying that if someone dies young, then they disrespected their parents. What I am saying is, that if you do honor your parents, as Prov. 3 says, your life will be longer.

So, do you want to live longer? I would like to challenge you, honor your parents. It doesn’t matter how old you are, God commands you to honor them. He promises length of life to those who do. Will you obey God by respecting your parents and reap the reward He has promised to those who do?

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. ” – Exodus 20:12

Nerdy Note: Ephesians does give the command of obedience to children. However, the command applies to all believers with parents, no matter how old they are. The reason is, that the Greek word used for ‘children’ in this verse is τέκνον, which means offspring, not little child. (Eg: John 1:12, 1 Timothy 1:18, Titus 1:4 Philemon 1:10)

A Christian’s response to a bad day

Has anything ever gone wrong in your life? Ever had a bad day, or your plans messed up or it seemed as if every step of the ways you had to fight to get things done. When things go wrong, do you go to God in anger and frustration? Or, do you praise Him despite what is going on? God wants us to praise Him despite all the hardships that He has justly allowed in our lives.

If we take a look at scripture we will find an example of one guy who had a really bad day. It probably is the worst day ever recorded. This man’s name was Job. In one day, He lost all of his oxen, all of his donkeys, all of his camels, all of his sheep, and all of his children. Yes, he lost all of his children. If you know much about ancient wealth, it was measured in livestock. Basically, he lost most if not all of his wealth. But more than this, all his children died. And it wasn’t broken to him in the easiest way, all the servants came up to him at once and told him what happened.

Job’s response is one of absolute reverence and faith. The bible tell us that, he got up, shaved his head (a sign of mourning) , and then he fell down and worshipped God. He says specifically, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD, ” Job 1:21. Did you hear that at the end? He blessed the Lord! The next verse tells us that in all of this, “Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly.”

How many times do we have a bad day because we were late to work, or our food wasn’t the way we like it, or other insignificant thing happens, and we get upset at God? Have you ever gotten upset at God or anyone else, because some insignificant detail of your life didn’t go the way you planned? Job’s life is such a rebuke. Job had a proper view of God, and he most definitely had a proper view of himself.

I would like to challenge you, strive to be content in any circumstance. Whatever God allows in your life, he is allowing for your benefit. Don’t get angry at someone or God because something didn’t turn out the way you wanted. God wants us to practice contentment in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Let us learn to be content, with whatever God gives us.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:6

A time to praise,

When was the last time you thanked God for His blessings? When was the last time you praised Him because of who He is? Days and hours and weeks and minutes pass us by, yet so often it seems as if we forget to thank our heavenly father.

Our Heavenly Father has given us so much! He gave us eternal life through His Son, all we have to do is believe and accept Him. But He gave us more than this. He gives us peace, comfort, joy, patience, temperance, meekness. . . The list goes on and on. One of my favorite verses says, “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” Philippians 2:13. Did you catch that? God is working in us to give us the desire to do His will and the ability to do His will.

He makes it easy for us to do right by giving us the desire to. When we face temptation, God says He, “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it,” 1 Corinthians 10:13. God didn’t have to do that! He could have just allowed us to be overcome by sin. He has given us a free choice. He promises us blessings when we serve Him. Not blessings in the far off future, but blessings now, like a long life for honoring your parents, or ask and ye shall receive, or . . .

My question for you today is, “Have you thanked God for His goodness?” or “Have you taken time to meditate on His holiness?” I would challenge you, thank God for His gifts to you today. Praise Him for His holiness and thank Him for His love and mercy and . . . God is good, all the time. He has given us so much. Won’t you take time out of your day to thank Him, today?

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Psalm 107:1