Tag: choices

Given over by God!

Scripture reading for May 22nd:  2nd Samuel 15-16, Psalms 3, 63, Romans 1

Key Scriptures:  Romans 1:28-32  “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.  They are full of envy, murder, strive, deceit, maliciousness.  They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” 

Paul’s opening to his letter to the Roman church began with an explanation of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save those who by faith would believe.  He explained that the Gospel was for Jews first and then for Gentiles.  However, for those who refused to believe, consequences would inevitably come upon their lives as they turned toward darkness instead of the Gospel light.  Choices have consequences and rejecting God’s Word leads to all forms of evil and death.

Psalm 3:3  “But You, O Lord, are a Shield about me, my Glory and the Lifter of my head.”

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, I know the power of the Gospel personally in that I have been born again and believe on Jesus Christ.  Give me grace to boldly declare the powerful Gospel in clarity and the anointing that comes from the Holy Spirit so that none would be turned over by God!

2nd Samuel 16:13  “So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust.”   

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An easy connection!

Scripture Reading for February 28th: Deuteronomy 27-30

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord Your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him.  For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

God clearly spelled out His desire for His people’s blessing and life.  He had redeemed them.  Their clothes and shoes had not worn out.  They ate the manna each day for forty years and had meat too.  They drank the water from the rock. (Deuteronomy 29:2-6)  Their enemies had been defeated and God had cared for them. (Deuteronomy 29:7-8).   Now Moses asked them to choose between “life and blessing” or “death and curses”?  Yet they struggled with this choice!

There is something about sinful human nature that is blind to simple truth.  We are taken captive by the lies of the flesh that tell us that our own way is the best.  God’s way is too narrow and life like He wants for us is too restrictive.  It’s too difficult to try!  But Moses told the people it wasn’t too hard for them (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).  Paul quoted him in Romans 10:6-12.  We must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!  It’s so easy, a child can do it!

“But what does it say? “The word is near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart”, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  For it is with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10

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Procrastination!

Scripture Reading for January 21st:  Exodus 7-9

When I was younger, we would hunt frogs each fall on a late October night.  It was an annual ritual that our neighborhood used to enjoy.  The men would go out after dark with flashlights, spears, and burlap sacks and head for the farm ponds.  The frogs would be gathering in clusters, getting ready to head down into the mud for the winter.  They were easy picking!  After harvest, the neighbors would gather to eat fried frog legs and pot-blessing, play cards and swap stories about the harvest.  It was great food and a good time!

 Moses had decreed a plague of frogs on the land of Egypt because Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go to worship God and they worshiped frogs.  Frogs filled the land.  They were in the fields, houses, marketplace, Pharaoh’s palace, and in the bedrooms!  Pharaoh summoned Moses to ask him to pray to get rid of them.   Moses, trying to be polite, allowed Pharaoh to set the time when the frogs would be gone.  Pharaoh’s answer was, “tomorrow”.  Why tomorrow?  Did Pharaoh want one more night of frog hunting too?  Did he enjoy sleeping with the frogs?  Maybe one of his magicians had turned one of his kids into a frog?  These are some silly questions to ponder but there are more serious ones.

It amazes me that when God offers us freedom to ask Him for anything (John 14:13), we often answer like Pharaoh.  We must want one more night with our addiction or to be sick one more night.  Maybe we want one more night to be angry and bitter.  When we procrastinate, we are saying that we love our sin or problem more than we love God.  In essence, we want one more night with the frogs!  Ask the Lord to help you break the bondage of procrastination.  Sit down with him today and get it taken care of!

“Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7

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What can I do for you?

Scripture reading for April 10th: 2nd Kings 1-3

As the prophet Elijah was about to depart from this earth, he asked Elisha: “What can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  (2nd Kings 2:9)  The understudy wisely answered: “A double portion of Elijah’s spirit.”  This is essentially the same question God asked Solomon a few years earlier. (1st Kings 3:5)  At that time Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people.

Elijah had been instructed by God to tap Elisha to take his place some ten years earlier.  Elisha was the son of a farmer.  He was plowing with 12 yokes of oxen–a big rig of that day!  (1st Kings 19:19)  He was called when Elijah threw his cloak over him.  Scripture records that he left his oxen and ran after Elijah.  Then he sacrificed his oxen, burning his plowing equipment to cook the meat.  He set out to follow Elijah.

As the time for Elijah’s departure drew near, Elisha had to continually choose to stay near his mentor.  Elijah kept asking him to go away, but he kept insisting on staying.  Those who persevere to the end will reap a reward!  Elisha asked for the double portion of his mentor’s spirit.  Elijah could not give that himself.  It must come from the Lord.  Elijah gave him a word of knowledge–that if he could see him when he departed, he would have what he asked for.  (2nd Kings 2:10-12)  As they walked on together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind right before Elisha’s eyes!  It was an exciting exit for the prophet Elijah and an exciting transition for the prophet Elisha as he picked up the cloak and began to do greater things than his mentor!

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the final word from God.  He had a mantle of the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34)  He has told us to ask Him for whatever we need and He will do it.  (John 14:14)  He has poured out the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and bring forth the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed to glorify the Lord.  He has told us that we will do even greater works because He has gone to the Father.  (John 14:11-14)  Ask God today for the things you need to follow Him and do His will!

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The Kinsman-Redeemer!

Scripture reading for March 16: Ruth 1-4

The story of Ruth is set in the time of Judges between 40-100 years before the time of David (1000 BC).  This simple story unfolds as a famine forces  an Israelite family to leave Israel for Moab.   During the famine, the husband dies. Both sons marry Moabite girls and they die as well.   The wife, Naomi, is left bitter and ready to return to Israel.   Her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah are left with a choice to make.

Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to go on back to their own people.  She is too old to have more sons for them to marry.  Orpah stays in Moab.  Ruth clings to her mother-in-law and makes a beautiful confession of devotion.  (Ruth 1:16-17)  Ruth is ready to follow Naomi and Naomi’s God until death!

Choices have consequences.  In choosing to go to the land of Israel, Ruth would have been an alien and would not have had an inheritance or people to take her in.  There was no welfare or jobless benefits.  The law in Israel left the corners of the fields and the grain that was dropped for the orphan and widow. (Deuteronomy 24:19)  Ruth gleaned fields as she could and got food for her family.  God’s divine providence placed Ruth in the field of Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s.  Boaz was also a descendant of Rahab, the harlot that hid the spies!

Because of her hard work and humble spirit and her choice to stay with Naomi, Ruth’s good reputation was spread.  Boaz heard about her and showered her with favor. (Ruth 2:11-12)   In Israel, the closest relative to a widow had the right to buy the widow’s property and also to take the widow in order to continue the family line.  Boaz was in that line.  He was a possible “kinsman-redeemer”.  Boaz responded to Ruth’s humble appeal, purchased the field, and took her as his wife!  Both Boaz and Ruth are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 1:5-6)

Jesus Christ is our “kinsman-redeemer”.  Ruth is a type of Gentile bride for Jesus Christ.  When we closely read this beautiful story, we get a glimpse into the heart of God and Jesus Christ!  Thank the Lord for being our “Kinsman-Redeemer”!

“Who are you?” he asked.  “I am your servant Ruth,” she said.  “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9)

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Difficult choices?

Scripture Reading for February 29: Deuteronomy 27-30

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord Your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him.  For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

God so clearly spelled out His desire for His people’s blessing and life.  He had redeemed them and shown them His love by the signs and wonders and continuous provisions.  Their clothes and shoes had not worn out.  They ate the manna each day for forty years and had meat too.  They drank the water from the rock. (Deuteronomy 29:2-6)  Their enemies had been defeated and God had cared for them. (Deuteronomy 29:7-8)  Moses asked them to make a choice.  Did they want “life and blessing”?  Or would they prefer “death and curses”?  He even gave them the answer if they were having trouble figuring out the right choice: “choose life”!

There is something about sinful human nature that is blind to simple truth.  We are taken captive by the lies of the flesh that tell us that our own way is the best.  God’s way is too narrow and life like He wants for us is too restrictive.  It’s too difficult to try! (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

Moses told the people it wasn’t too hard for them and the Apostle Paul quoted him in Romans 10:6-12.  It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we can be saved from the curses of the Law and the penalty of death.   We believe in our heart that Christ died for us and was raised from the dead.  Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!

“But what does it say? “The word is near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart”, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  For it is with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10

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What can I do for you?

Scripture reading for April 10th: 2nd Kings 1-3

As the prophet Elijah was about to depart from this earth, he asked Elisha: “What can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  (2nd Kings 2:9)  The understudy wisely answered that he desired a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.  This is essentially the same question God asked Solomon when he appeared to him a few years earlier. (1st Kings 3:5)  Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people.  God gives us choices.  One of the tensions in Scripture is between our free will and God’s sovereign will.  God is sovereign but he has chosen to work with man who is made in His image.  Part of that image is the ability to make choices.

Elijah had been instructed by God to tap Elisha to take his place some ten years earlier.  Elisha was the son of a farmer.  He was plowing with 12 yokes of oxen–a big rig of that day!  (1st Kings 19:19)  He was called when Elijah threw his cloak over him.  Scripture records that he left his oxen and ran after Elijah.  Then he sacrificed his oxen, burning his plowing equipment to cook the meat.  He set out to follow Elijah.  Choices have consequences and rewards and often lead to more choices.

As the time for Elijah’s departure drew near, Elisha had to continually choose to stay near his mentor.  Elijah kept asking him to stay away, but he kept insisting on staying.  If we are going to get all that the Lord has for us, it means we must persevere!  Those who persevere to the end will reap a reward!  Elisha asked for the double portion of his mentor’s spirit.  Elijah could not give that himself.  It must come from the Lord.  Elijah gave him a word of knowledge–that if he could see him when he departed he would have what he asked for.  (2nd Kings 2:10-12)  As they walked on together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind right before Elisha’s eyes!  It was an exciting exit for the prophet Elijah and an exciting transition for the prophet Elisha as he picked up the cloak and began to do greater things than his mentor!

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the final word from God.  He had the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34)  He has told us to ask Him for whatever we need and He will do it.  (John 14:14)  He has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and bring forth the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed to glorify the Lord.  He has told us, his disciples, that we will do even greater works because He has gone to the Father.  (John 14:11-14)  Ask the Lord today for what you need!  How much more will God the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask! (Luke 11:13)

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The Kinsman-Redeemer!

Scripture reading for March 16: Ruth 1-4

The story of Ruth is set in the time of Judges between 40-100 years before the time of David (1000 BC).  This simple story unfolds as a famine forces  an Israelite family to leave Israel for Moab.  Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, stay in Moab.   Nothing good appears to happen to them there.  The husband dies. Both sons marry Moabite girls and then they die as well.  Naomi is left bitter and ready to return to her land and people. The daughters-in-law are left with a choice to make.

Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to go on back to their own people.  She is too old to have more sons for them to marry.  Orpah goes on back.  Ruth, the other daughter-in-law, clings to her mother-in-law and makes a beautiful confession of devotion and faith.  (Ruth 1:16-17)  Ruth is ready to follow Naomi and Naomi’s God until death!  What conviction and faith are exhibited by this descendant of Lot!

Choices have consequences.  In choosing to go to the land of Israel, Ruth would have been an alien and would not have had an inheritance or a people to take her in.  She would have had to rely on God’s grace and try to help her older mother-in-law to live.  There was no welfare or jobless benefits.  Those that did not work, did not eat.  Ruth began to glean fields.  The law in Israel left the corners of the fields and the grain that was dropped for the orphan and widow. (Deuteronomy 24:19)  She would work as she could and get food for her family.  God’s divine providence placed Ruth in the field of Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s.  Boaz was also a descendant of Rahab, the harlot that hid the spies! 

Because of her hard work and humble spirit and her choice to stay with Naomi, Ruth’s good reputation was spread around.  Boaz heard about her and showered her with favor. (Ruth 2:11-12)   In Israel, the closest relative to a widow had the right to buy the widow’s property and also to take the widow and continue the family line.  Boaz was in that line.  He was a possible “kinsman redeemer”.  Boaz responded to Ruth’s humble appeal, purchased the field, and took her as his wife!  Both Boaz and Ruth are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 1:5-6)

Jesus Christ is our “kinsman-redeemer”.  He is a “close relative” who has bought us back from slavery to sin.  When we humbly appeal to Him in faith, He will surely make the transaction for us as well!  Ruth is a type of Gentile bride for Jesus Christ.  When we closely read this beautiful story, we get a glimpse into the heart of God and Jesus Christ!  Thank the Lord for being our “Kinsman-Redeemer”!

“Who are you?” he asked.  “I am your servant Ruth,” she said.  “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9)

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