Monday, April 24, 2017

If and Why

Scripture  :

Judges 6:13  "And Gideon said, 'Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?  And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?'  But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian'".

Observation:

Gideon was encountering the angel of the Lord and the Lord spoke to him and told him that the Lord was with him.  His immediate reply was that "IF the Lord is with us, WHY has all this happened to us?"  He felt forsaken by God and that the Lord was no longer with them.  He questioned the Lord based on his present situation instead of knowing the faithfulness of the Lord.

Application:

Sometimes when we are in the midst of a trying time, we are quick to deny that God is with us.  When things go wrong, we usually don't feel like God is with us any more.  When bad things happen, we tend to be like Gideon and say, "IF God is with me, WHY has this happened to me?"  We must turn away from that and know from God's word that He is with us instead of following our feelings.

Prayer:

Father, let me live a life of faith based on Your word and not based on my emotions, feelings or thoughts.  Teach me how to respond correctly in all situations. When things are not good, help me not to act like You are not taking care of me.  Your ways are higher than my ways and sometimes I don't understand them.  Help me to walk by faith and not by sight.

Yours,
Jeff

Friday, April 21, 2017

Paul's Clear Calling

Scripture:

Acts 26:18 "to open the their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me".

Observation:

Paul's calling came directly from Jesus.  It was very clear and having a clear calling kept him sure of it and sure of what he needed to do with his life.  He could articulate his purpose in a moment and describe how and when he was called.  Though his life was difficult, this made it easier to face what he was facing at all times.

Application:

We need to seek God until we know why we were created and brought into the Kingdom.  We need to know our purpose and be able to articulate it well.  When we can do this, it takes away all interference with our calling and causes us to be focused on what we are called to do instead of just doing whatever is in front of us.  When we can define our calling, we can pursue it with more and clearer passion.

Prayer:

Lord, reveal to me clearly what I am suppose to be doing with my life.  Help me to stay on track in doing what I am suppose to be doing instead of just doing whatever I have to do.  Help me to accomplish Your will and not my own.

Yours,
Jeff

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Lord Stood By Him

Scripture:

Acts 23:11 "The following night the Lord stood by him and said, 'Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome'".

Observation:

Paul was being chased by those who were wanting to kill him because of his talk about Jesus Christ.  The religious rulers of his day were trying to kill him and even made a covenant together that they would not eat until he was dead.  The Romans protected him and while he was in protective custody, the Lord came to him and "stood by him" and told him that he would also testify in Rome.  In his worst time, the Lord stood by him.

Application:

When we are being persecuted unfairly for our faith, we can know that the Lord Jesus will also stand by us.  Those who have walked through true persecution give witness to how powerful the presence of the Lord was when they were going through their most difficult times.  He is faithful to take care of those who are suffering for Him.  We can trust that God will give us what we need in order to follow Him completely.  When we need to know He is there, He will let us know.

Prayer:

Father, help me to know that You are standing by me at all times.  Help me to realize that You will never leave me nor forsake me.  Help me to know that in the most difficult times in my life, that You are right there standing beside me.

Your Son,
Jeff

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finish My Course

Scripture:

Acts 20:24  "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God".

Observation:

Paul is realizing through prophetic words that his life is going to get worse and worse.  It is being prophesied that imprisonments and afflictions await him in Jerusalem.  His attitude toward that news is that he doesn't consider his life as precious.  He just wants to finish the ministry God had given to him.

Application:

When we get weary and worn out in ministry, we always look for greener pastures or take a time to rest.  Paul was the exact opposite, when things were going wrong, he felt like he was accomplishing God's will.  We need to be more concerned about finishing our ministry or whatever the Lord has given us to do than how we are feeling at any certain point in time.  We need to finish what God has called us to do instead of looking for easier places to do ministry.

Prayer:

Father, my life is in Your hands.  You are amazing and I love You much.  Help me to finish the course You have called me to.  Help me not to see things like the world does, but to be faithful to You and to the calling You put on my life, no matter what happens around me.  Help me keep the main thing, the main thing.

Yours,
Jeff

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Examine the Word

Scripture:

Acts 17:11 "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."

Observation:

When Paul and Silas went to Berea, they went into the synagogue and began reasoning through the Scriptures.  The Bereans were commended here because they examined the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul and Silas were saying was true.  They didn't just listen, but went to the Word to check out what they were being told.

Application:

Go to the Word!  That should be our motto when we hear new teachings, new ideas, or things that we don't quite understand.  The word is true and is the foundation of our spiritual lives.  Everything must be checked out according to the Word and not just our emotions, feelings, or discernment.  We need to always be going to the Word.  In it is life and truth and hope for our lives.

Prayer:

Father, let me be a man of Your Word.  Let Your Word dwell in my richly.  Help me to study Your Word more and more.  Help me to understand it as I read it and look into it.  Change my life as I study Your Word.  Help me grow more and more in this.

Yours,
Jeff

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Chosen Instrument

Scripture:

Acts 9:15  "But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel'".

Observation:

When God spoke to Ananias about Saul, Saul reminded the Lord that Saul was the same guy who was persecuting and killing Christians.  He was the worst of the worst.  When Ananias questioned the Lord about Saul, the Lord said he was God's chosen instrument.  God saw something in Saul that nobody else could see.

Application:

When we are tempted to judge people and condemn them for their actions, we must remember that God can take murderers, haters, and terrible people and make them His chosen instruments.  God can use whoever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants and we need to realize that He doesn't consult us about who He is going to work through.  What we see as the worst possible choice, God sees as the best.  We must learn to trust His judgment above our own.

Prayer:

Lord, help me not to judge people based on their past, but on who they could be in You.  Help me to hear Your voice concerning people and not go with my own thoughts.  Help me to see what You see and hear what You are speaking at all times.  I want to bless what You bless and curse what You curse.  Open my ears to hear You clearly.

Yours,
Jeff

Friday, April 14, 2017

Joy for Dishonor

Scripture:

Acts 5:41  "Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name".

Observation:

The apostles suffered dishonor, were beaten and told not to speak in the name of Jesus. Their reaction was to be full of joy because they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus.  They were honored by dishonor.  They were joyful because they had been associated with Christ and were beginning to suffer like Him.

Application:

Today we hear of defamation of character lawsuits because someone was dishonored.  We hear of people suing others because they had been dishonored.  Nobody likes to be dishonored, but if we are dishonored for Christ, there is honor in dishonor.  When we are mistreated because of our walk with Christ, we are truly becoming more like Him.  When this happens, we should rejoice because we are counted worthy to be dishonored for His name.

Prayer:

Father, help me to find honor in dishonor.  Help me to view things the way You view them.  Teach me to live fully for Christ every day and to fulfill Your will for my life.  Guide me, lead me,, direct my life and let me serve You well all the days of my life.

Your Son,
Jeff