Hoosier Army Mom’s Weblog

Conservative Views

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

A Famine of Hearing

Like most of the Old Testament prophets, Amos was chosen by God to deliver a message of repentance and judgement; “Seek the Lord and live, or He will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire” (Amos 5:6).  God was calling His people to return, but they had wandered far from His presence and showed no interest in a life of worship.  The economy of their day was thriving and the people had few needs which went unfulfilled; they were content and saw little need for God.

Through Amos, God sent a strong warning.  Although He promises to answer all who respond to His call, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32), and He promises to be VERY patient, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), God also warns that the opportunity to hear His Word may not always be available.

Amos 8:11-12
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.'”

When we hear the Word of God, the door is open and we are in the middle of a God-directed opportunity.  At that moment we have the opportunity to respond to the truth and draw closer to our Heavenly Father.  But when we reject His Word, we begin to close the door and harden our heart – the opportunity begins to fade: “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart'” (Hebrews 3:7-8).

We have been blessed to live during this time in history.  Yes, we face the unrelenting pressures of an over-indulgent, self-consumed society; but we have also been blessed with a wonderful abundance of the Word of God.  In most parts of the world we have the freedom to worship with other believers and full access to truth-filled teaching.  In fact, God’s Word has become so readily available that many of us take it for granted.

In the midst of our overflowing blessings, we are becoming complacent and no longer treasure His precious gift.  But what would happen if His Word was taken away?  What would the world be like if no one was allowed to speak or hear the Word of God?  What if we searched for His Word and it could not be found?

Our Heavenly Father loves us dearly.  He “wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4); and He wants those who believe to be “conformed to the likeness of His Son”(Romans 8:29).  Our Father continues to call us to know Him with a greater and more intimate love.  Let’s make the most of this awesome opportunity by receiving the Word of God, in all its forms, with a hungry anticipation, and then by obediently responding to His call.  Let’s shake off ALL forms of complacency and rejoice that we do not yet live during a famine of hearing.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

My deepest sympathy to the Hudson Family.

I cannot even fathom the intense grief so much senseless loss could cause this family, but my heart and prayers go out to them.  May God bless and comfort them all during this time of such intense sadness.

FBI says body found is that of Hudson’s nephew, 7

CHICAGO – A top FBI official said Monday that a body found in an SUV is believed to be that of Jennifer Hudson‘s missing 7-year-old nephew, the focus of a desperate search since the Oscar winner’s mother and brother were found shot to death in their home three days earlier.

While the body has not been positively identified, FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole said authorities believe it to be that of Julian King, who also lived in the home.

The rest of the AP story is here.

October 28, 2008 Posted by | In the News | 2 Comments

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

Run With Perseverance

Our life can be a long and sometimes difficult race.  We often grow weary and are in great need of rest.  But this race is not like any we have ever run before.  We do not compete against the other runners, nor do we all even run the same course.  We run the race marked out by our Heavenly Father; and yet, we ALL must strive toward the same finish line.

Hebrews 12:1-2
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Perseverance means “to persist in spite of opposition or discouragement.”  But the original Greek includes the idea of patience and a determined endurance.  We are being told to patiently run the race – and to keep on running with determination and endurance – in spite of opposition or discouragement.  We are to rid our life of things that would slow us down and continue forward with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus.

The weeds along our path often try to wrap around our legs and pull us down.  This “sin that so easily entangles” can often be difficult to even recognize.  We may be running a clear path without a hint of weeds.  Everything has been going well and we feel immune to the temptations of this world.  But without our eyes fixed on Jesus – without our heart fully trusting Him for every step – our path can become covered before we even realize there’s a problem.

We must maintain an acute awareness of the condition of our path.  Weeds are not acceptable and must be cleared away (the word of God and prayer is an excellent weed killer!).  There are no circumstances where weeds add beneficial “flavor” or excitement – they ALWAYS hinder, steal and destroy!!

Our race is a long marathon, not a quick sprint.  In order to persevere, we must prepare for many hills and valleys (and weeds) along the way.  We must have a burning desire to one day boldly say; “I have fought the good fight,  I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).  Jesus endured the cross (finished the race) because of “the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2).  And as we keep our eyes on Jesus as our eternal joy, we “will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).

No matter what this day may bring, we must persist with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus until we hear Him say: “Well done, good and faithful servant….Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).  Some days we may only be able to take small baby steps.  But that’s alright – we must continue and stay in the race!  We must run with the sole purpose of bringing Him glory and honor in ALL we do.  Our race can be filled with joy and peace, but we must commit to a life of absolute trust and run with perseverance!

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

God Will Open The Door

This was sent to me by a friend over a year ago.  I don’t know it’s source, but I can understand it’s meaning more than when I first read it.  Lovingly give thanks to God for the doors of opportunity and His perfect will.

Today’s Scripture

“Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message.”
(Colossians 4:3)

God will never lead you into something that you can’t handle in His strength.  God is equipped for anything out there, and you are also equipped with this earth-shaking power.  God has promised to walk with you through everything.

So why would He lead you somewhere, and then just drop you?  The old saying goes that God will never close a door without opening another, and that’s invariably true.  When you keep running into closed doors, keep pushing through because, if you faithfully follow wherever God leads, you will find your open door.  Each time you fall short, just get back up with ever greater determination to accomplish the dream that God has planted in your heart.

A Prayer for Today

God, it’s exciting to know that You go ahead of me to open doors of opportunity and service. Give me the faith and perseverance to keep following You wherever You lead me.

In Jesus’ Name … Amen.

October 26, 2008 Posted by | In the News | Leave a comment

Daily Reflection and Prayer

Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence

God’s Comfort

READ Isaiah 40:1-2

“Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your God.
“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone
and her sins are pardoned.
Yes, the LORD has punished her twice over
for all her sins.” [Isaiah 40:1-2]

With occasional oases of hope, the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah are a desert of divine judgment. But then, beginning with Isaiah 40, the tone changes. Though the Lord is still a God of justice and judgment, emphasis is placed on renewal. Thus God calls Isaiah to bring a word of comfort for his people: the days of punishment are over; the time of pardon has begun.

The Hebrew verb translated as “comfort” (nacham) means to console or calm down someone. This same verb appears later in Isaiah as the Lord says: “I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child” (66:13). For Judah, God’s comfort came especially in the good news of his new work of restoration.

God continues to comfort us today in a variety of ways. When we take our worries to him in prayer, God gives us the gift of his peace. When we remember his faithfulness in the past, we are calmed in the present. Often God’s comfort comes through his people, who care for us, suffer with us, pray for us, and share God’s love with us in tangible ways. Thus we have the chance, not only to receive divine comfort, but also to be instruments of this comfort to others.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
When have you experienced God’s comfort in the past?  Do you need his comfort today?  Who in your life needs to experience God’s comfort?  Are you willing to be a channel of his comfort?


PRAYER: Gracious Lord, how I thank you for your comfort. I think of times in my life when I was consumed by worry. When I opened my heart to you, holding nothing back, you granted me your peace. I realized once again that my life was in your hands, and therefore had no cause for worry.

Even as you have comforted me, may I share your comfort with others. Help me to be sensitive to those around me, to feel their worry and distress. Keep me from superficial platitudes that often make things worse rather than better. By your Spirit, may I feel along with others, and, at the same time, be a channel of your loving truth.

Amen.

http://www.TheHighCalling.org

October 26, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , | 2 Comments

GDW Devotional – 10-23-08- by Steve Troxel

Let it Die

During the three short years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He performed many miracles and preached to crowds large and small.  But the moment of greatest acceptance came the week before Jesus was crucified as He entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey.  A large number had gathered from all over Israel in preparation of the Passover: “They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!'” (John 12:13).

Many would view this as the high point of Jesus’ ministry.  He had gained a great following and the people even hailed Him as the new King of Israel.  But Jesus knew this was not His Father’s will.  Jesus came for a much greater purpose than to be a temporary king; He came for an eternal glory which required His death.

John 12:24
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Jesus spoke these words in reference to His sacrifice on the cross which would occur in a few short days, but His message of death was also intended for us today.  Obviously He’s not saying we should all be physically crucified, but Jesus IS saying we must experience a death; “whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it” (Matthew 16:25)Paul explains this even more directly; “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Colossians 3:5).

Our earthly nature is home to all our sinful desires, but it’s also the source of all the ambitions and dreams not formed by God.  When we tightly hold to our dreams and are driven (or drive others) by our own ambitions, we choke what God desires to accomplish and never see the full potential of Christ – never see the abundant life God desires us to live.

We have a tendency to dream and make plans, and then spend our time and energy pursuing the dream rather than truly pursuing Christ.  Our dream may even appear very Godly – we may strive for a dynamic ministry or children who love and follow God – but until we allow EVERYTHING within us to die and be replaced by the love of God, we will never experience His very best nor witness His most beautiful fruit; “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Let’s allow the plans of Christ to reign absolutely supreme.  We were created for so much more than we can imagine!  Let’s cast off all sin and leave ALL we hold dear at His feet.  He will raise up what He desires to use for the glory of His name, but first we must resolve to let it die.

I have found from my own experience, until I laid down all my personal ideas about what “I” wanted, all my pain, all my insecurities and emotional wounds… my total self along with my self centered pursuits, I was not complete and I was operating according to the world’s idea of happiness.  The minute I died to the “old me” and put the control in my loving Savior’s hands I recieved the total healing of those old wounds and the knowledge and understanding of the Holy Spirit flowed through me.  When I started working at seeking His Will instead of my own desires things,  started working in my life. 

So many years I didn’t understand the peace, love and joy that was possible by just trusting God to bring me to what he wanted for me.  Our stubborn nature and tendency to let Satan have our ear and minds, cuts us off from the total joy and fruits of the spirit,  that by nature we crave.  It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, learning to trust God completely, and it is a process that I will continue with to the grave.  I slip and slide some, but I know, in the end my loving Father will make it all worth the work.  The rewards have been beyond anything I ever expected.  May God Bless you and keep you in his loving arms.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Beiruit – 25 years ago today.

Flying Proud in memory of the Marines killed in Beirut 25 years ago today!

A perspective from a Marine and family that lived through the anxious days of tragedy and horror.

On Marines’ Dark Day, a Town Feared for Him
Source: Virginian – Pilot
Publication date: 2008-10-23

By MATTHEW JONES

ELIZABETH CITY,NC – On a Sunday morning 25 years ago today, Lance Cpl. Scott Perry was standing in a drained concrete moat in Lebanon, making a cup of coffee with his Marine buddy when a distant blast sent a shock wave that knocked them into each other.

The pair looked to the northern horizon, where a large mushroom cloud was rising from the direction of the Beirut International Airport. The news spread quickly, via radio and word of mouth: The Marine barracks there had been destroyed.

Perry and his fellow Marines were miles away, surrounded by Muslim militia drawing ever closer. So as they mourned their colleagues, they wondered if this was the beginning of an offensive that would spell their own demise. “You think: How do I survive now?” Perry said.

Nearly 6,000 miles away, Clifford and Becky Perry sat pinned to the television in their Hertford, N.C., home, praying for their eldest child and only son to walk across the screen. “Anxiety, anxiety,” Clifford Perry remembered. “We didn’t know where he was.”

The Marines had been in Lebanon since August 1982, as part of an international force responding to the Lebanese civil war. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut had been attacked by a suicide bomber the following April, killing dozens and leading to a U.S. bombing campaign. At about 6:20 a.m. on Oct. 23, 1983, a truck laden with explosives circled in front of the Marines’ airport barracks, picking up speed before tearing through the barbed-wire security fence, crashing into the four-story building’s lobby and detonating. The blast flattened the structure with what the FBI later called the largest non-nuclear explosion since World War II. The attack killed 241 U.S. service members, including 220 Marines, in the Marine Corps’ worst single-day loss since Iwo Jima. Several minutes later and several miles away, another explosion leveled a building housing French paratroopers, killing 58.

Among the U.S. dead were a handful of service members from Virginia and North Carolina, some from Hampton Roads. It would take some time before his parents would know that Scott Perry wasn’t among them. He was several miles to the south, hunkered down in a compound at the base of the Chouf Mountains with the rest of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. They’d been there for several months, exchanging fire with Muslim militia. When the bombing happened and the enemy stepped up its attacks, the Marines hunkered down for what they thought was the beginning of a major battle.”You do just like you do in any other war. You have to resign yourself to the possibility of death,” Perry said. “You just hit a comfort level with that.” There was no time to digest the news of his colleagues’ deaths, he added, and while he knew his parents were worried about him, “my main concern was how to survive, how to get my fellow Marines to survive.”

At home in Hertford, Scott’s family and friends stared at their telephones and televisions in an excruciating limbo, unable to rejoice in his survival or grieve over his passing. Becky Perry rationalized that Scott must be alive because they hadn’t heard otherwise. Her husband theorized that Scott’s mission would have kept him away from the barracks.

“The probability of him being there was slim and none,” Clifford Perry recalled. “I told the wife at the time that he should not be in those barracks unless he was temporarily assigned or had been put in the brig. But when you don’t hear, you don’t know.” The Perrys spent that Sunday watching television footage of bodies being hauled from the rubble as the death toll grew. They jumped every time the phone rang. The next day, they returned to work – he as a power company lineman, she as a bank cashier – because they saw no point in brooding at home.

On Tuesday, they called a Washington number to see if anyone had word of Scott. They were told that his company was supposed to be elsewhere, but offered no guarantee. Becky Perry’s mother, meanwhile, heard a news report that some of Scott’s company had been stationed at the airport. Family, friends, neighbors and fellow church members in their town of less than 2,000 watched different television channels and pored over stories and photos in different newspapers for any clue. The elder Perrys had each grown up in the town, as had Becky Perry’s parents. Everyone knew Scott, everyone bore the worry. He’d wanted to join the Marines to see the world. If he had died, he’d done so doing what he loved. And so the thinking went.

The good news came in the middle of the night. At 4:40 a.m. that Friday, the phone rang. “He said, ‘Hi, I finally got through.’ ” Clifford Perry recalled. “We knew he was OK right then.” Scott had boarded a truck and traveled to an adjacent British- Lebanese position, where he was able to make a brief call before heading back to the fighting. They spoke for about two minutes, but that was enough.

By 7 a.m., the Perrys were spreading the word, calling everybody they could think of, who then called everybody else. Clifford Perry stopped by his friend’s hardware store to tell him the news. The friend then told the town via his outdoor sign: SCOTT PERRY IS OK THANK GOD! “He would post his specials out there,” Clifford Perry said. “When we found out, he posted his new special.”

Scott Perry stayed on active duty for two more years, then spent the next 17 years in the reserves. He went to college and worked for a while as a probation officer. He now works in debt collection and teaches self-defense and firearms to state correctional officers. He stays in touch with his former squad leader and has attended the annual Beirut memorial service at Camp Lejeune, N.C. “It’s like anything else that happens in your life. It’s a seminal event – then other things happen and, in time, it recedes,” he said. “You have to compartmentalize the experience, or you won’t survive the transition to the civilian world.”

Having become an informal student of the war that sent him to battle 25 years ago, Perry has pondered what many consider an opening chapter in the steady march of terrorist attacks leading to 9/11. He, however, sees the classic East-West battle going back much further, all the way to the Crusades. Soon after the barracks bombing, President Reagan condemned the attack, saying the United States would not bow to terrorism. The following February, however, he ordered the Marines home. Clifford Perry, himself a Marine veteran, has pondered that decision. “I often wonder if Ronald Reagan had made some more definite moves after the bombing, if he hadn’t pulled back. … It’s hindsight, but I often wonder where we would be,” he said. “If we had gone in and squooshed somebody then and there, we might not have lost all those people in the Twin Towers.”

In retrospect, I think Mr. Perry was correct.  I can’t think of any active duty military personnel who didn’t want to go in right then and clean up the garbage that did this act of cowardice.  I think the decision to “pull out the Marines”, after this occurred, was one of Ronald Reagan’s big mistakes.  Withdrawl, to these extremists, always seems to embolden them more.  God Bless our fallen troops and may their families be comforted each day by our amazing God.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | In the News | , , , , | 2 Comments

New spyware system mimics Windows Security Center

A word of warning from Yahoo News – Be on the lookout and don’t get duped!!!

What’s wrong with the screenshot to the right? Ignoring those red boxes added for emphasis, it looks identical to the Windows Security Center… only it’s not. In fact it’s a spyware hoax designed to mimic the Security Center almost identically, not to mention trick you into purchasing WinDefender 2008 software, a phony security app which will clear up only the phony security alerts its malware component creates.

WinDefender is just the latest in a series of malware attacks designed to look like legitimate Windows components. But people have finally started to wise up to those smallish “alert” pop-ups, so malware creators are upping the ante with full-blown knockoffs of real security apps. Computer Associates has the details.

In addition to the fake Security Center, WinDefender nags you further by blocking web pages from opening (blaming the blockage on “adware/spyware on your PC”). It adds a yellow drop-down box to Internet Explorer like you get when you try to download something from the web, again with text urging you to install WinDefender 2008 in order to unblock the sites. Just $40 of extortion money makes it all go away…

Most anti-malware software ought to be able to scrub WinDefender 2008 off your machine, but the more important lesson is that you pay close attention to the interface of anything security-related on your PC to ensure that you aren’t being scammed while you’re actually trying to address any security problems. Anything you see in Windows that recommends a specific program to solve any sort of problem should immediately be considered suspect.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | In the News | 2 Comments

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

Run According To His Plan

In baseball, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. But if we attempt to apply the plan of baseball to the game of golf, we will lose every time. Golf is played with different rules and requires a different strategy. Needless to say, it’s critical to understand the rules and values of the game in which we are competing – we must know the plan for victory!

A rich man came to ask Jesus how to get eternal life. He had been a good citizen, treated others well, and accumulated much wealth; but Jesus gave an unexpected answer: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21). The rich man failed to see the connection and went away very sad.

Matthew 19:30
“But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

Jesus came with a message that the plan of life is not as it seems. The first, by the world’s standard, does not automatically win.   When the clock of life ticks its last, it will not be the one with the biggest bank account, biggest house, or nicest car who will stand victorious – it won’t even be the one who pastors the largest church, feeds the most hungry, or tells the most people about Jesus. Rather, it will only be those who do the true work God requires; “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent” (John 6:29).

Have we completed the work of God?   Do we even value this “work”?

When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He said; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). The greatest commandment ought to be our greatest priority and the foundation on which we build our life, our family, and our ministry. Though other things may be enjoyable, important, or even necessary, they must never be allowed to occupy the throne of our life.

Many of us feel like we’re falling behind because of our decision to follow Christ. We see others prosper and start to believe we must compromise in order to keep pace – but the game rules have changed!  God has a different plan – an eternal plan!!   The world around us has the wrong uniform, wrong equipment, and wrong play book.  The great deceiver would like to fill us with doubt, but we must not be swayed.

No matter how loud the competition yells that we’re going the wrong way, we must boldly continue on the path of truth.  The final victory has already been won and we are on the winning team! When God gave His Son and told us to believe, He turned the rules of the world system upside down.  Let’s forever follow our Coach, thank Him for every single breath, and steadily run according to His plan!

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Offering Prayer

I found a very kewl prayer site today sponsored by Shepherd’s Care Ministries.  It offers prayers on just about anything you can think of.  You can go to the link here and check it out.  Very neat place to browse.

A Prayer About Perseverance In Perilous Times

Precious Father,
Precious Lord Jesus,
Wonderful Holy Spirit,
Thank you for being my Savior and Lord.
Thank you for these few moments of communion with you.
I love you Lord.
Thank you for your sacrifice for me on the Cross.
My world is awash in peril of nearly every kind.
Nature’s wrath is visited upon people in all corners of the globe.
War is being waged.
Economic strife builds day by day.
During the coming days be with me and give me your love so I can prevail over the darkness of my world.
During the coming days be with me and stand by me because I know I can persevere and be renewed through you.
During the coming days uplift me so I can find courage to stand against evil in all its forms because I know you are with me.
In your kingdom, I know I am called to be your child upon the earth.
Help me as I try to be your witness and show courage in the face of fear, doubt, and anxiety.
Inspire in me a clean heart and a clean mind seeking only to glorify your name as I do battle against the evil one.
Instill in me an unfaltering spirit.
In the name of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit who lives in me and touches me,
Amen

October 18, 2008 Posted by | God / Jesus Christ | , | Leave a comment

GDW Lesson #112 by Steve Troxel

John 11:7-10 – Lesson #112

The point of full surrender to the will of God is exciting…and sometimes extremely frustrating.  We know God calls us to trust Him in ALL things, but it often seems to make much more sense to trust in our own ability and rationalizations.  Even when we are resolved to follow Him at all cost,  He is often silent and has us wait for no apparent reason.

Lazarus was terribly sick when Martha and Mary sent for Jesus to come.  Jesus knew the full extent of the sickness and yet, “when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was” (John 11:6).  Why!?  Jesus gave a hint when He said this sickness is for the glory of God (11:4), but I sure would have found it difficult to just wait.

John 11:7-10
“Then after this He said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?‘  Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day,  he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.  But if one walks in the night, he stumbles,  because the light is not in him.'”

So after waiting for two full days Jesus finally said it was time to go.  Thank You!  But notice that the disciples then began to object.  Going back into Judea was dangerous and they were quite comfortable in their current location doing their current ministry – change is scary! We will soon see a glorious reason for the delay but it’s interesting how Jesus used this opportunity to teach about complete trust.

The disciples had reason to be concerned.  They had just left Judea because “the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (John 10:31).  Jesus was directing them back to the place of danger; yet, he also said this was where they would not stumble.  They would be secure because they would be walking in the light.

We must not move on until we understand this point.  Jesus is The Light! “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).  The only place where our footing is solid and secure is where the path is illuminated by Christ.   Why do we keep trying to walk our own path?   As soon as we leave His side we are in darkness and are sure to fall;  “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).  We must practice and live a life of truth by refusing to walk in darkness!

The path of light is sure and true…but this does not say easy, safe, or without frustration.   We will not always understand the turns in the path of light, we may not always feel productive or even secure.  But if we desire a life which honors God with every step and is ultimately more satisfying and filled with peace and contentment then we must boldly,  and sometimes very patiently,  walk daily in the Light.

October 18, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

9/11 brought to you by… Abraham???

By Hoosier Army Mom – October 16, 2008

I have a friend here at work that is approximately in his late fifties and a lifetime autistic whom I like to talk with at break time. He is a sweet man who not only has never been married, but has never been on a date! Just a few years ago, he wasn’t able to engage in conversation but God has blessed him and you can take it from me, he does speak now, and he has two college degrees. I find him pretty fascinating. We discuss politics as he is a staunch Republican, and loves to discuss the Bible.

Today we were discussing how God sometimes gets sneaky about using us to do His Will, like in the book of Esther. Here she was living a lie to be with the man she loved, (nobody knew she was a Jew, which was Taboo) who happened to be the King. How she must have lived in mortal fear of “being found out”. But unknown to her, God put her there to save her own people. He knew her heart and she was virtually a “plant”. When the time came, she risked her life to save her people from being exterminated.  Score 1 for God,  0 for Satan and a hat tip to Esther!

Next on the itinerary… People God loved that would not Trust Him. Abraham was so loved by God that he created a nation from him. When God told Abraham that he would create a great nation from him, by giving him a child with his wife Sarah (who was well past child bearing age!), you would think that a man God chose to speak to and bless on a regular basis would take God at his word. But nooooo… Abraham got really hung up on His Idea of what was feasible and what was not, so he took it upon himself to do it Abraham’s Way instead of trusting and believing in God’s Will. He decided to have a child with the Egyptian maidservant Hagar. Ishmael was born from that brainstorm. But God, according to His Will and promise did what he said and Sarah conceived Isaac. It was from Isaac that the twelve tribes of Israel came and what about Ishmael? After Sarah demanded Hagar and her son be “sent away” (Ishmael had a bad attitude after Isaac was born!) God promised he would make a great nation from him… the Arab nations and Islam came from him. So if you think about it, the events of 9/11 might not have happened if Abraham had just TRUSTED GOD and believed in his plan instead of working Abraham’s will in the matter. Yes, we can blame Islamic extremism on good ole Abraham and his unwillingness to trust God!

God has made His promises, He has the Power and the Will, and still we refuse to trust him and go about the business of doing His job for him. Eventually we get down enough from doing it our way, with not so great results, and put things in His To Do Basket, then as soon as things start working again, we try to grab them back! The long term effect of working our imperfect will as opposed to trusting God can be pretty devastating. Next time you try to grab the steering wheel back, THINK Abraham> Ishmael> 9/11!!!! God always has a better plan!

God the Project Manager:

Psalm 25:14
The Lord shares his plans with those who have respect for him. He makes his covenant known to them.

Proverbs 19:21
A man may have many plans in his heart. But the Lord’s purpose wins out in the end.

Jeremiah 29:11
“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.

God Wants you to Trust Him and His perfect will:

Proverbs 30:5
“Every word of God is perfect. He is like a shield to those who trust in him. He keeps them safe.”

Job 4:6
Shouldn’t you worship God and trust in him? Shouldn’t your honest life give you hope?

Psalm 14:2
The Lord looks down from heaven on all people. He wants to see if there are any who understand. He wants to see if there are any who trust in God.

Micah 7:7
I will look to the Lord. I’ll put my trust in God my Savior. He will hear me.<

John 14:1
[ Jesus Comforts His Disciples ] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust in me also.

It’s His Will, not our Will or the World’s Will that works:

Romans 12:2
Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.

1 Corinthians 3:18
Don’t fool yourselves. Suppose some of you think you are wise by the standards of the world. Then you should become a “fool” so that you can become wise.

James 4: 3-5
When you do ask for something, you don’t receive it. Why? It’s because you ask for the wrong reason. You want to spend your money on your sinful pleasures.

James 4: 3-5
3 When you do ask for something, you don’t receive it. Why? It’s because you ask for the wrong reason. You want to spend your money on your sinful pleasures.

4 You are not faithful to God. Don’t you know that to be a friend of the world is to hate God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Don’t you know what Scripture says? The spirit that God caused to live in us wants us to belong only to God. Don’t you think Scripture has a reason for saying that?

1 John 2:15-16

15 Do not love the world or anything in it. If you love the world, love for the Father is not in you.

16 Here is what people who belong to this world do. They try to satisfy what their sinful natures want to do. They long for what their sinful eyes look at. They brag about what they have and what they do. All of this comes from the world. It doesn’t come from the Father.

Just thought it might be a bit refreshing to blame someone besides Bush!

October 16, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

Reaping The Whirlwind

The Spiritual decline of God’s chosen people in the Old Testament includes some of the saddest passages in the Bible.  God dearly loved the children of Israel, but they continually rejected Him and turned away.

God appointed King David to unite the nation and focus their worship on the One True God.  David made plans for the construction of a temple and King Solomon built the temple a few years later.  But toward the end of Solomon’s reign, “his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God” (1 Kings 11:4).  The Spiritual decline began with the leadership and then flowed quickly down to the people.

When Solomon died, the nation of Israel divided and the northern kingdom immediately began to pervert their worship: “The king made two golden calves {and said} ‘Here are your gods'” (1 Kings 12:28).  After almost 200 years of continual disobedience, the northern kingdom had hardened their hearts so that repentance was no longer even possible; “their deeds do not permit them to return to God” (Hosea 5:4).  God is ready, willing, and able to forgive every sin; but continual disobedience removes the desire to draw near and seek His forgiveness.  After so many years of false worship, the people would not return to God and would now experience His wrath.

Hosea 8:7
“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

The people of Israel had planted evil seed into their lives for many years – now the time had come to harvest the destruction they had planted.  Soon after Hosea spoke these words of God, the Assyrian army invaded and destroyed the northern kingdom.

God demonstrated His love for us long before we ever loved Him; “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  This love was unconditional love since we did absolutely nothing to deserve His favor.  But if we do not receive His love, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, and allow His Spirit to begin to transform us from within, we too will one day feel His wrath.

The wind of unbelief and lack of trust, false worship and a cold heart, will one day yield an eternal whirlwind which cannot be stopped.  And the wind of open sin in the lives of spiritual leaders, or the spiritual compromise in the lives of parents, can lead many generations down a path of destruction.

Let’s plant and nourish seeds of truth and love which will thrive in His presence for all eternity.  Let’s trust Him with a faith which walks into the unknown without fear because we know He is by our side.  Let’s determine once and for all to live an uncompromising life which brings glory and honor to God; and on the great day of harvest, let’s joyfully enter His embrace without the fear of reaping the whirlwind.

———————————-

Stop Sowing The Wind

In the message “Reaping The Whirlwind” we were encouraged not to sow the wind of unbelief, because a life without faith and the saving grace of Jesus will one day reap an eternal whirlwind of fire.  The message of sowing and reaping has critical application for the eternal destiny of many around the world.  We must guard against those who sow seeds of false teaching which lead away from the true eternal forgiveness of Christ.  But this message also has direct application for our daily walk with our Lord.

We know there are times when we face severe trials which have nothing to do with what we have sown.  Jesus made this clear when He said: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).  We live in a sinful world and often reap the consequences for what others have sown; and for these troubles, Jesus wants us to find our comfort in Him: “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

But we must also understand that many of our trials, and the trials of those around us, are often the result of a multitude of small steps taken outside the will of God.

Galatians 6:7
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

It’s foolish to think we can continually walk outside God’s will and not face consequences down the road.  God dearly loves us and is patiently waiting for us to turn our heart to Him…but God cannot be mocked.  Continuous deviation from His path can lead to a long and painful time of wandering.

We must learn this lesson and clearly teach it to others: Obedience in the little things is important!  There is nothing too small to justify a lack of obedience.  “Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).  We must learn and teach, very early in life, the importance of honesty and truth, the value of submission and respect for authority.  The wind of disobedience begins almost imperceptibly small with “innocent” lies and “harmless” acts of disrespect,  but over time it grows until the whirlwind of consequences becomes inevitable.

If we are currently reaping a whirlwind which we know has been sown by our own hands, we must repent and seek His forgiveness, love Him and obediently trust Him with ALL our heart, and ask for the strength to endure.  The whirlwind will end, but only in God’s perfect timing.  And if we know we have been sowing the wind of disobedience and yet see God’s hand restraining the whirlwind, we also must repent and seek His forgiveness, love Him and obediently trust Him with ALL our heart…and thank Him for His mercy!

Let’s honor Him by only sowing that which glorifies His name.  Let’s closely examine our life and the lives of those within our care, and be absolutely determined to stop sowing the wind.

October 15, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Daily Reflection and Prayer

by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence

Where Is Your Heart?

READ Isaiah 29:1-24

And so the Lord says,
“These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”
[Isaiah 29:13]

In Isaiah 29, the Lord indicts his people for saying the right things while their hearts are far away from him. They profess faithfulness to God, but their desires are selfish and idolatrous. Rather than seeking God’s glory, they live for themselves. Their worship is “by the book,” but not “by heart.” They do the right things but don’t do them as a genuine act of self-offering to God.

It’s easy for us to fall into this same pit of hypocrisy. On the outside we look like “good Christians.” We attend worship services. We sing the songs. We teach Sunday School. We say things like “I’ll pray for you” and “Praise the Lord.” But on the inside our hearts can be miles and miles away from the Lord. We allow sin to dominate our consciousness. We dream about our own advancement rather than the progress of God’s kingdom. We honor God with our lips, but our hearts are far away from him.

The good news is that, through Christ, God is seeking us. He wants, not just our words and deeds, but our hearts. He desires relationship with us so that we might be transformed from the inside out. If our hearts are far away from the Lord, we can turn to him in repentance so that we might be forgiven and restored into his fellowship. Even when we have drifted away from God, he is near to us, beckoning us to come home to him.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Where is your heart today? Are you seeking the Lord? Are you living for his purposes? Are you willing to be found by him as he seeks you today?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, you know me through and through. You know that in some ways my heart does belong to you. But in other ways I withhold my heart, focusing on myself. And, yes, there are times when I harden my heart against you because, in truth, I want to do that which dishonors you.

Forgive me, Lord, for my wandering heart. Cleanse me from all that draws me away from you. May I turn to you this day, so that I might be found by you and restored into intimate fellowship with you.

“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”*

Amen.

The High Calling Blogs

The High Calling dot Org

October 11, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | 2 Comments

GDW by Steve Troxel

Our True Worth

Markets Tumble Again!  Global Meltdown!  Panic Grips The Market!

Everyday for the last week we have seen these kind of headlines.  And for the last several weeks there has been an uncertainty with the world financial system which has probably not been seen in our lifetime.  Most of the news has been about the percentage decline (20, 30, 40%) and about major companies failing.  However, something the headlines have perhaps neglected is that the real story involves millions of individuals all over the world.

It’s true that many of our friends in rural Africa without running water or electricity are functioning pretty much the same today as they were last month, or last year…or for that matter a few generations ago.  But for  many people around the world there is a sense of great anxiety today which was not present this time last year.

No, I’m not going to write about how Jesus told us not to worry, but He did (Matthew 6::25).  The anxiety we are feeling is very real.  I’ve been there.  I know the turning knot in the stomach – and it won’t go away by my telling it to stop.  And I’m also not going to write about how Jesus told us to store up treasures in Heaven, about where our treasure is, there our heart will be also…but He did (Matthew 6:19-21).  Sure this is an opportunity to check our heart and value system, but watching years of sacrifice fade away so fast is still going to be painful.

I guess what I’m really challenged to write about is how we really measure our worth.  I mean, according to the news many of us are worth much less today than we were last week – even less than last year.  But are we?

Matthew 6:26
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father cares for them, are you less valuable than they?” feeds them. Are you not much more.

We are worth more than any other created thing in the Universe!  And that will NEVER change.  After He had created everything else, “God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27).  And though man rebelled and became separated from God, He pursued us time and time again, “as you lay there in your blood I said to you, ‘Live!'” (Ezekiel 16:6) And though we continued in our disobedience and rebellion, God sent His Son to die and bring us home, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  This is a great love poured out for those He greatly values!

So what does your account say today?  Down a little?  Down a lot?  Plans may need to be changed, goals adjusted, desires set aside.  These decisions will need to be made with great thought and MUCH prayer.  Yes, this is a time to trust God like never before.  And this is also a time to better understand our true worth.

October 11, 2008 Posted by | In the News | Leave a comment

AIG execs’ retreat after bailout angers lawmakers

Wonder what they'd look like in orange jumpsuits?
Wonder what they would look like in orange jumpsuits?

I think it’s about time our elected leaders prosecuted all the criminal CEOs and management who think nothing about stealing large sums of cash from investors, employees and now the taxpayers while bankrupting the economy of our country!  Barney Frank & Co should be made to answer for their part in the Fannie Mae debaucle as well.  I thought their job was to protect their constituants, not dip in the till.

By ANDREW TAYLOR – Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Days after it got a federal bailout, American International Group Inc. spent $440,000 on a posh California retreat for its executives, complete with spa treatments, banquets and golf outings, according to lawmakers investigating the company’s meltdown.

AIG sent its executives to the coastal St. Regis resort south of Los Angeles even as the company tapped into an $85 billion loan from the government it needed to stave off bankruptcy. The resort tab included $23,380 worth of spa treatments for AIG employees, according to invoices the resort turned over to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The retreat didn’t include anyone from the financial products division that nearly drove AIG under, but lawmakers still were enraged over thousands of dollars spent on outing for executives of AIG’s main U.S. life insurance subsidiary.

“Average Americans are suffering economically. They’re losing their jobs, their homes and their health insurance,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., scolded the company during a lengthy opening statement at a hearing Tuesday. “Yet less than one week after the taxpayers rescued AIG, company executives could be found wining and dining at one of the most exclusive resorts in the nation.”

Former AIG CEO Robert Willumstad, who lost his job a day after the Federal Reserve put up the $85 billion on Sept. 16, said he was not familiar with the conference and would not have gone along with it.

“It seems very inappropriate,” Willumstad said in response to questioning from Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

“Those executives should be fired,” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said at a debate with Sen. John McCain on Tuesday, referring to the retreat participants. Obama also said AIG should give the Treasury $440,000 to cover the costs of the retreat.

But Eric Dinallo, superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department, said he could see the value of such a retreat under the circumstances.

“Having been at large global companies and knowing what condition AIG was in … the absolute worst thing that could have happened” would have been for employees and underwriters in its life insurance subsidiary to flee the company.

“I do agree there is some profligate spending there, but the concept of bringing all the major employees together … to ensure that the $85 billion could be as greatly as possible paid back would have been not a crazy corporate decision,” Dinallo told the House committee.

The hearing disclosed that AIG executives hid the full range of its risky financial products from auditors as losses mounted, according to documents released by the committee, which is examining the chain of events that forced the government to bail out the conglomerate.

The rest of the story is here.

October 10, 2008 Posted by | In the News | 1 Comment

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

Calling God A Liar

God desires that we know Him in an intimate and personal relationship.  He has revealed Himself and provided a way to know Him through the life and sacrifice of His Son; “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father… Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me?” (John 14:9-10).  As we grow in our faith and begin to know Him better, it becomes essential to know the promises of His Word.  But it’s even more important to believe His promises are true!  We may say we believe God’s Word is true, but do our actions reflect our belief?

1 John 5:10

“Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart.  Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.”

Yes, our old nature sometimes clouds our ability to clearly see the truth; and yes, some of God’s truths can be hard to accept and actually put into practice.  But, we either believe His words and begin to take steps to apply them in our life, or we do not believe and call God a liar by the way we live.

It may be difficult, but we must confront our beliefs and begin to make them real.  When we face a trial and don’t know which direction to turn, do we believe the words, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6)? Do we really believe that as we trust Him, He will remove the confusion and guide our steps?

When our circumstances seem out of control, do we believe “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28)?  Do we really believe that as we continue to love Him, God works for the good in ALL things (regardless of our understanding)?  And when we feel alone, do we really believe God’s promise to always be near; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

How about the promise of being content (Philippians 4:12), or being given the peace of Jesus (John 14:27), or the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) – can we really “do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)? Parents, have we given up hope for our children or do we believe, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6)?

God’s Word is true and His promises are real!!  Let’s praise Him all the rest of our days and let our lives demonstrate we REALLY know and believe.  Let’s make sure our actions and decisions, fears and anxieties, hopes and dreams, are governed by truth and NOT based on calling God a liar.

Nothing Can Compare

In the message “Calling God A Liar” we saw how the way we live directly reflects our true belief.  If we do not follow His commands and trust His promises, we do not believe His Word and have effectively called God a liar.  But as we draw near and give ourselves more fully into His hands, we learn that His promises are not only true, they are better than we imagined.When Abraham was over eighty years old, God taught him a lesson on trusting His promises.  Abraham became frustrated with God because there was no one to inherit his possessions: “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir” (Genesis 15:3).  But God had other plans and made a promise to Abraham.

 

Genesis 15:4-5
“‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’  He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’  Then He said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.'”

Abraham waited many years for God’s promise to be fulfilled.  Finally, when he was one hundred years old, Isaac was born.  And through Isaac came Jacob, and through Jacob came the sons who formed the twelve tribes of Israel.  Abraham was looking for someone to inherit his “stuff,” but God’s promise gave him an entire nation.

God gives many promises to us today, but they all flow from the promise first stated by Jesus; “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  We must not pass lightly over these words, for none of the other promises even apply until we have believed this basic truth.

We cannot move on to the promises of peace and contentment until we trust in the promise of forgiveness through faith in Jesus.  When we begin to understand the significance of the gift of eternal life, we will know that nothing the world can offer will EVER compare to the promises of God…and NOTHING else will last.  This is the only path to true peace.  If we could better understand and really believe, perhaps we would spend less time and effort on pursuits which contain no lasting value – perhaps we would have less anxiety about all those things which only God can control.

Jesus shed His blood so we can truly live.  His promise is greater than any worldly pleasure and outweighs ALL worldly trials; “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17)As we walk through this world, with all its pulls, temptations and near constant turmoil, let’s hold tight to His promise and always remember…NOTHING can compare!

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

So We May Know

In the message “Imperishable Seed” we saw our need to plant a message of truth; “no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3)The Word is clear: only those who have been born of the Spirit by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin, will be given eternal life.  But something as important as eternity begs another question: How do we know when we have been born again?

1 John 5:11-13
“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

John wrote this first letter to define the changes which ought to take place in the life of a Christian.  The believers understood that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)They knew “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”  (Romans 6:23)They had been told the importance of turning from their sin; “repent, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19), and they clearly understood the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross; “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood”  (Romans 3:25).

The believers knew it was through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus that they were forgiven and transformed by His Spirit; but, though they knew the process, they still wrestled with knowing if they were saved.

John provided several indicators of a life which truly believes in Jesus.  He said those who are born again “will obey the commands of God” (1 John 2:3-5), and will not continue to live in sin” (1 John 3:9) He said a born again life is characterized by love: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14).  John also said our love should not just be with words, “but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

The born again transformation occurs in our heart and spirit, but John is saying that becoming a new creation ought to result in change.  We are not the same!  And while the growth of many new creations can be painfully slow, over time there ought to be some form of fruit – all healthy creatures grow!

But if the evidence of being born again is missing, please remember that we cannot generate change by trying harder.  Self effort never produces eternal life. Rather, we must return to the cross and consider the darkness of our sin and the brilliance of His love; “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:9) For only at the cross is there forgiveness and the power to transform.  Let’s truly receive the forgiveness offered through faith in Jesus and then continue to grow with a victorious assurance that we are born again.  Let’s trust the truth of His Word, which has been given into our hands so we may know.

October 7, 2008 Posted by | In the News | Leave a comment

God’s Daily Reflection and Prayer.

Whose Honor Matters?

by Mark D. Roberts

READ Isaiah 22:1-25

This is what the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, said to me: “Confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and give him this message:

“Who do you think you are,
and what are you doing here,
building a beautiful tomb for yourself—
a monument high up in the rock?”

[Isaiah 22:15-16]

Shebna was a “palace administrator” in Jerusalem whom the Lord singled out for rebuke through Isaiah.  We don’t know all of Shebna’s faults, though they must have been many, given the fact that he was “a disgrace to [his] master” (v. 18). In particular, Shebna was preoccupied with his own legacy and honor, building for himself a lavish and prominent tomb. Apparently he had used his position in the government to become wealthy so that he might promote himself, both in life and in death. For such self-centeredness, God promised to take away his position of authority, thus ending Shebna’s career in disgrace.

Shebna serves as a powerful reminder of the folly of seeking our own honor above that of the Lord. It’s natural for us to want others to think well of us, and to an extent this is consistent with our Christian discipleship (for example, 1 Tim. 3:2). But if we become preoccupied with our own glory, we dishonor the Lord and risk our own demotion. As Prov. 16:18 reminds us, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” Shebna’s sad life illustrates this proverb perfectly.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Are you ever tempted to put your honor above God’s glory?  When?  Why? Are you ever preoccupied with your legacy, rather than being preoccupied with the work of God’s kingdom?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, the story of Shebna encourages me to examine my motivations and desires.  Am I like Shebna? Am I more eager to ensure my good reputation than to advance your kingdom?  Does my passion for your glory exceed my desire for people to think I’m good? Am I building a “tomb” for myself, rather than offering myself as a living sacrifice to you?

Help me, dear Lord, to care so much about you, your work, and your glory that my
self-centeredness dwindles.  May I live my life in the freedom that comes from
serving you completely.  At the end of my days, may you be the one who receives the glory for my life. May it be obvious to all that you did a great work in me, not
that I was great. Amen.

October 4, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Decisions, decisions…

I am always amazed about where my energized faith has lead me.  Decision making is something that human nature leads people to do as a part of our normal, daily functions.  Some people are better at it than others.  All my life,  all of my critical decisions have been made by me and according to “my will” and knowledge.   Quite frankly, not very many have worked out extremely well,  especially when it comes to trying to change the direction of my personal life.  I honestly believe that the ones that have worked out well, were more of a case of God interveining on my behalf, rather than anything I cooked up or did for myself.  He must really feel sorry for us at times when you are out there with the “deer in the headlights look”, kind of like the pity your parents take on you after watching you make a really stupid move,  with disasterous consequences.  So what has God taught me about decision making (you know that’s where I’m leading)???

When you surrender all to God, it is a process.  We are all born with many strengths and weaknesses by God’s own design.  Add to that the baggage that comes with being raised around mere mortals, we become quite into “trying to fix it ourselves”.  When you hand all your problems and issues over to God,  he fills you with the knowledge that with Him, all things are truly possible, along with the desire to know Him and His will and purpose for you.  You read His book (seeking knowledge), you go to him in prayer (connectivity to God), you seek out communion and knowledge from other Christians (fellowship) and his plan starts coming together.   So when you go to him seeking His Will, fill yourself with the knowledge and wisdom you need and connect, and if you have faith, the answers and healing definately come.   Along with those answers you are filled with peace and confidence that the outcome will be the very best, because God’s Will is perfect.  Moving past the pride of wanting to do it yourself and leaning on Him brings you closer to God and makes your life full of blessings, movement, true growth and joy.  When you put your needs and challenges in “God’s to do box”, read His Word, and take your decision making to him in prayer, the outcome truly changes your life and heart for the better, so trust in Him.

I will end this post with the greatest prayer of comfort I can think of.

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,  he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.   Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,  for you are with me;  your rod and your staff,  they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

October 3, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment