Tag Archives: God

Understanding God: Characteristics And All

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So I’ve decided to read the bible from beginning to end. I haven’t given myself a timeframe or anything of the sort because my reason for doing it is simply to understand God better, so I’m not trying to rush the process. I really want to understand the principles within which he operates and see more of His heart in situations so that I may live a more pleasing life to Him. In times past I found the Old Testament tedious to say the least and there was no pleasure in reading the genealogy of the men of old or the rules by which they had to live, but lately, I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of the old scriptures and the revelation they bring as it relates to who God is and what he stands for.

One such revelation is just how important obedience is to God. Deuteronomy 28 in the NKJV started with the title “Blessings in Obedience” where the promises of blessings to the children of Israel were encapsulated in 15 verses. Then from verse 16 Moses speaks to the Israelites about the “Curses on Disobedience”. The next FIFTY-THREE verses tell of the curses that will come upon the Israelites if they should disobey God’s commands.

That’s a big difference in terms of volume and it’s not that the blessings weren’t bountiful or gratifying but it shows how seriously God takes disobedience. I’ve seen other instances in the bible where the punishment for one person’s disobedience affected an entire group of people and I’ve heard a lot of sermons on the importance of being obedient to God. What this chapter did was bring it home for me. It showed me that God has always hated disobedience, that it’s a part of His character. Yes He’s loving, yes He’s gracious, yes He’s merciful but a major characteristic of who God is lies in His love for obedience from His people and His displeasure in disobedience.

For me, what I’m taking away from this is that if I want to live a successful Christian life and continuously walk in God’s favour then obedience to God’s word needs to be a major part of what I do. I can never settle for simply knowing what the bible says but I must make a conscious effort to live out the word. Now, it’s not that I’m saying there isn’t a provision in grace and mercy for those times when I make mistakes or willingly go against what God requires of me, but ultimately, if I’m to live victoriously then I’ll have to consciously live an obedient life and see the blessings and favour of God shine through in everything I do.

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Self Inflicted Torment

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Matthew 18:23-35

Did you know that you can bring torment upon yourself?

Examine the scripture above giving close consideration to the last verse. Christ said “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have said “I forgive” not realizing that the words were empty because I didn’t release the person in my heart. Christ doesn’t simply give the instruction for us to forgive our brothers, but he makes reference of where that forgiveness must come from: the heart.

I recently came to the realization of my shortcoming when I tried to rekindle a friendship that went sour, due to past disagreements. No matter how hard I tried and willed myself to rebuild my friendship I always managed to run into the proverbial brick wall that brought an overwhelming amount of hurt and resentment to the forefront of my emotions.

When I first started going to the church I currently attend, I was befriended by a young woman who could have well been my friend from childhood. We hit it off instantly! We both have fun, bubbly personalities, we have many similarities in different areas, we’re both in ministry together and our love for God is second to none. I was happy. Unfortunately as time went on we had some disagreements. Of course, being the good “Christians” that we were, we sat down, had a short talk about the issues and “forgave” each other, promising to work on re-establishing our friendship.

Looking back now, I realize what I did was portray an attitude of forgiveness through my words and actions but I never released my friend from my heart. I don’t have to tell you that our friendship didn’t survive much longer. Communication between us broke down, I stopped visiting her home, we never went anywhere together anymore and having to say hello at church became a task I dreaded. I remember looking at my friend and feeling miserable at times because I wanted our friendship to return to the way it was but I couldn’t fathom a way to change the situation between us.

Thankfully God was looking at the situation and saw our hearts. Through Godly counsel and guidance my friend and I decided to give the friendship another whirl and see how things would work out. During that time the revelation of the scripture above came to life for me and God began to show me what I was doing wrong.

Although I SAID to my friend “I forgive you”, I didn’t forget or let go of what she did to hurt me. In my heart I held on to everything that caused me pain and I would reference those things and use them as a red flag to stop me from getting close to her. In Verse 27 of the above scripture we see that the King forgave the servant his debt. This meant the servant would no longer have to pay what was owed. Not because the king “forgot” about the debt in a literal sense, but because he was no longer going to make reference to or remind the servant of what was borrowed and once owed.

Eureka! I needed to let go of my hurt to the point that I could stop making reference to it; in order to free my heart from the burden of it was carrying.

As you read through the scripture above that the servant whom the king pardoned brought torment upon his self when he refused to forgive someone who owed him a debt. Although the first servant was forgiven initially, his unwillingness to forgive his servant caused him to be released unto His tormenters until his former debt was completely repaid.

This is where you and I come in; in the final verse of Matthew 18 Christ said

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, FROM HIS HEART, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

That, my friend, is a sobering statement! If you and I don’t learn to forgive those who have wronged us from our hearts we will inflict torment upon ourselves.

God doesn’t require lip service from us; he looks at our hearts to know our true intentions. He knows that we are capable of “acting right” with impurity in our hearts and that is why He examines our hearts and not our actions.

For our own sakes I suggest that we take the time, ever so often and examine the condition of our hearts. Our next breakthrough could be dependent on how quickly we are willing to truly forgive that person or those persons who would have hurt or wronged us. With all the challenges we already face in our daily lives does it make sense adding more turmoil to the mix because of a disagreement or misunderstanding?

I think not.

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Seeking The Lost – Christine Caine

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Ezekiel 34:16  “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

It is so natural, after being rescued, to simply go back to your life, to business-as-usual. After a harrowing experience, you’re yearning for normalcy. You want to—and sometimes do—forget that hopeless, horrifying moment of being forgotten in darkness. Going back there to warn others is hard work—and trying to rescue others in those perilous places sounds risky. It’s true—many of us fear the lost, and because of that, we’re reluctant to go out into the world to seek them.

Why would we fear the lost? Maybe because, often, they’re so needy and desperate. We’re afraid that they will attach themselves to us, leech-like, and beg for one thing after another: our time, our money, our emotional support, a place in our homes (“just until I get back on my feet”), a ride to work—and on and on.

Or we might fear them because they are so “other” than us. A different lifestyle and different life choices. They may have different language and clothing styles, different food and music preferences, and a different sense of humor. Will they accept us? Will they laugh at us behind our backs? Will they despise us even as we sacrifice for them? Are they, perhaps, even a danger to us? Might they be willing to take by force those things we don’t offer freely? Will we feel uncomfortable, uneasy, in their midst?

When Jesus urged Peter to feed his sheep, he didn’t offer a list of excuses he would accept. “Feed my sheep—unless it becomes inconvenient or the sheep become too demanding. Feed my sheep—unless you’re afraid of the big ram who protects the flock. Feed my sheep—unless you’re afraid they’ll charge you, snatch the food out of your hand, and trample you.” He just asked Peter to feed his sheep.

For the desperate, the hungry, the oppressed, for those in pain, no rescue can come soon enough. And when the lost call to us for rescue, God doesn’t command us to be supermen. He commands us to be willing. He’ll do the rest.

There are so many who have no way out, unless we rescue them. The words of the prophets take on new meaning. Isaiah 6:8 records a vow that comes from the place of knowing what it means to be rescued: “Here I am, Lord. Send me!

Point to Ponder

Are you willing to say to God, “I remember what it is like to be lost, and I’m ready to be sent out to rescue others?” It’s a commitment born of thankfulness.

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Loyalty and Faithfulness

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1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  

Did you know a man can be faithful to his wife for twenty years and be disloyal to her the entire time?

For the duration of those years together if that man never has intercourse with another woman, he would have been a faithful husband. If however he lusts and lurks after every woman he sees other than his wife then he would have been disloyal to her the entire time.

The same thing applies to us and our relationship with God. We can be faithful to Him by praying regularly and attending church, however we can be disloyal if at every chance we get we entertain sin. In the verse above steadfastness speaks to our loyalty to God. We are expected as believers to be both faithful and loyal to God in everything we do. Being one without the other just isn’t enough when it comes to serving Jesus.

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God is not in the Coincidence Business

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Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

I love the book of Ruth. Divine providence is behind every twist and turn in the story of Ruth—the famine that led the family to Moab, the marriages to Moabite women, the deaths of Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons, the lifting of the famine in Bethlehem, Naomi’s return to her homeland, Ruth’s gleaning in Boaz’s field, Boaz’s notice of Ruth, the refusal of the next in line to be Ruth’s kinsmen-redeemer, and Boaz and Ruth’s subsequent marriage. The string of events are strung like pearls on the thread of God’s providence and secured in place with the knot of His love.

Have you ever noticed such a stringing of events in your own life? My friend, Gayle, experienced one particular series of events that were most definitely orchestrated by God. She started having trouble with her knees in her early thirties. Chronic pain in her right knee sent her to the doctor’s office on a regular basis for cortisone injections. Because Gayle’s mother had joint pain in her knees for most of her adult life, Gayle resolved herself to the same fate—arthritis. The doctors never X-rayed or performed an MRI to diagnose the problem but prescribed treatment according to symptoms and a family history of joint pain.

One night, after five years of cortisone injections, Gayle, her husband Joe, and another couple attended their college alma mater basketball game. On the way home, Gayle twisted around in her front seat to face the couple in the back. As they chatted, she noticed an 18-wheel semi-trailer truck’s headlights rapidly approaching their car. Surely he’s going to stop, she thought. But before she could even warn the other passengers, the truck plowed into the back of their car at 55 miles per hour. Because of Gayle’s position, her knees were smashed into the dashboard.

The driver of the truck had fallen asleep at the wheel and never even applied the brakes before impact. Gayle and Joe’s car, a heavy Lincoln Continental, was totaled, but no one in the car was hurt except Gayle. Her knees were black, blue, and swollen within a couple of hours.
When Gayle went to the doctor the next day, he decided to take an x-ray to make sure there were no broken bones. “Gayle,” he said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have a slow growing tumor in your right knee.”

“A tumor? How long has it been there?” she asked.

“Well, this is a very slow growing type of tumor which has probably been there for several years. The pain that you’ve been experiencing in the past has most likely not been due to arthritis, but due to the tumor causing the bone to expand as it grows. We’re going to have to remove it right away.”

“I can’t do it right away,” she answered. “I have a two-week counseling course that I’m going to next week. I’ve been on the waiting list for two years, so this tumor is going to have to wait. You did say it was slow-growing, correct?”

“Yes,” he answered, “but I wouldn’t wait a day longer than necessary. You are a very lucky, young lady. If you had not been in that car accident, we may have not found the tumor until it was too late.”

Gayle smiled. Luck had nothing to do with it. God was in control.

Gayle did go on the counseling seminar. On the last night, 750 committed Christians gathered around her and prayed for her knee. The next day, when the doctor went in to remove the tumor, he was amazed to find that this slow-growing tumor had rapidly begun to shrink.

“Once again,” the doctor said as he showed Gayle the new pre-op X-ray of a much smaller tumor, “you are a lucky girl. The tumor was smaller today than it was two weeks ago.”

Once again, Gayle knew luck had nothing to do with it. She then shared with the doctor about the 750 people who had prayed for her the night before.

Many times when something seemingly bad happens in our lives, we need to remember that God is the director of the drama.

We may not understand the “whys” or the “what-fors” but we can trust in the God who controls it all.

Kathy Collard Miller said it so well: “Nothing that happens to the child of God is a coincidence, and when we look at every situation and encounter as God-directed, we will more easily fulfill His plan. This knowledge should also make each of us feel needed, valuable, and important: We are fulfilling God’s purposes for His kingdom.”

Just when it looks life has spun out of control, God stops the spin, picks up the broken pieces, and creates a beautiful mosaic—a work of art which He had planned all along.

Let’s Pray
Lord, I am so thankful that there are no coincidences in my life, but only God-incidences. Open my eyes to see You at work. Don’t let me miss Your fingerprints on the pages of my days.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Written by: Sharon Jaynes

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Daily Dose – Ever Present

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Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

God is in EVERY place. He’s EVERYWHERE we are and sees EVERYTHING we do.

Wow!

Sometimes we overlook the reality that God isn’t confined to the walls of our church. The reality is, he is everywhere that we are, looking at what we’re doing; both good and evil.

I have surely fallen prey to not being cognoscente of God’s presence in every single aspect of my life.

If we can picture God being right by our sides as we go through our day, how much better would we behave? How much more will we live our lives in accordance to His word and His commandments?

It’s important to remember that our inability to acknowledge God’s presence does not mean he’s not there.

I purpose today to acknowledge the presence of my Father, King, Savior and Friend as I go through my day.

Will you do the same?

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Daily Dose – Put God First

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Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved?

How many times have we done things on our own accord without first putting it before God.

Like David we should always put God first in everything we do. In Him we gain our strength, sword and shield.

With God at the forefront of everything in our lives we will be able to declare just as David did; “Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved”

What a marvelous and peaceful place to be.

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Daily Dose – Family

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Ephesians 5:33 Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Marriage is a reciprocal relationship. For it to work well, both parties have to give and receive.

If you share house space, without love and respect that make it a home, yours quickly becomes an empty existence. But that’s not what God had in mind when He created marriage to reflect His own love for His people.

He can help your marriage shine brightly for Him, if only you ask Him and are open to His will.

 

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Perfection

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Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;how just and upright he is!

Many unbelievers or even weakening believers living in crisis, complain that God is unfair. But Moses, who suffered much for God’s people, knew better than that.

God is always perfect, faithful and just; it’s rebellious humanity that lacks these qualities.

We can have faith in God’s perfection. He’s never failed his people, though they have often been false. Trust Him today.

As He led His people to the Promise Land, He’ll lead you home to Himself.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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