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Archive for the ‘God’s Guidance.’ Category

Ask First.


There’s a saying that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. I strongly disagree. Although taking initiative and being proactive have their place, the general order of things in the Kingdom of God begins with inquiring of the Lord– ASKING FIRST.

I believe that many of the issues that we face have been because we failed to ask Father God FIRST! Some challenges and struggles could have been avoided altogether. Do any come to mind? I’m thinking of a few right now!

My very busy 3-year old is learning restraint and order. The house rules include asking first before doing certain things. It’s a daily boot-camp to drill this into my child. And as she is also learning, when you don’t ask first, there are consequences. In Joshua 9, the Israelites and Joshua made a decision where they failed to ASK FIRST.

The Gibeonites, their enemies, heard the report that the Israelites were taking everyone down and they didn’t want to be next. So they devised a deceptive ploy to get the Israelites to be their allies. They pretended to be from a far away place (when in fact they only lived 3 days away), lowly and helpless.

Not only did the Israelites respond by giving them some of their own bread and provisions, they entered into a full-blown peace treaty with them!! God sat by quietly and allowed them to do so because they didn’t follow His known order – ASK FIRST. The Israelites lives were not their own. They were God’s chosen people and every decision they made was to be approved by Him.

Even though it seems like they were doing a good deed to help those in need, their decision cost them greatly! Once they found out that these “far away foreigners” were in fact their enemy neighbors, the covenant had already been made and could not be undone!

In the very next chapter, the drama unfolds big time. The Gibeonites’ enemies were now assembled against Israel because of their alliance and the Israelites fought a battle that would have otherwise not been theirs. However this time, Joshua received God’s word of victory on the issue BEFORE he jumped into action. That made all the difference!

Years and generations later, Saul, the rebellious, lawless king, destroyed the Gibeonites and because of this, God’s judgment fell on the Israelites. Even though the Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites, they were still required by God to honor the oath that they had made. David inquired of the Lord on how to rectify the situation and it required him to make some very difficult decisions. Undoing something is ALWAYS more complicated than doing it.

On average, it takes about 1-2 hours to get a tattoo, but it can take 6 months to 1.5 years to completely remove it! It’s also about 10 times more costly and much, much more painful. The same can be said for retail transactions. It takes about 2 seconds for the clerk to swipe your debit card and the bank to put a hold on your money, but if you want a refund, it can take almost a week! Sometimes God has to allow the consequences of our actions to fall on our own shoulders so that we will learn the lesson and avoid repeating it.

The next time a decision is required of you, ask the Holy Spirit now to remind you to pause and ASK FIRST. Unnecessary battles and frustration can be avoided when we follow God’s divine order!

 

Scripture of the Day: ‘So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord. Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath.” – Joshua 9:14-15

By Mignonette Bailey

Because I Said So.


“Because I said so.”  Those four words were about the most abrupt –yet most profound– explanation I would receive as a child, when instructed by my parents or grandparents to do something.

As a matter of fact, usually by the time I heard those words, it was because I had exhausted their patience with my “why-ning” (smile) and was skating mighty close to some disciplinary action!

Aren’t we a lot like that with our Heavenly Father sometimes too?  The evidence is everywhere as we see common breakdowns in our Christian faith: church splits, confusion, moral plummeting, folks going rogue, and perhaps the saddest of all, believers in general living less than victorious, effective, forward-moving lives.

Why?  Because instead of heeding God’s instructions the first time around, we often instead go on a geocaching expedition in hopes of unearthing some exemption clause from having to be obedient.  Whew…that was a mouthful.  But it’s true.  Why can’t we just do what He says?  After all, He IS God…

Our whole lives, we wrestle with that all-important inquiry, “Why am I here?  Why do I exist?”  And the answer is just as matter-of-fact as the “Because I said so” we heard from our parents.  We are here to achieve God’s purposes, pure and simple.

No one is born without a reason.  No one is without a Divine purpose.  When we sidestep God’s plan, however, and go after our own agenda, is when we see every defining trait we’ve been given turn into something angry, corrupt, vile, perverse.  Example?  A man of ingenuity and powerful leadership skills becomes a Jim Jones or an Adolf Hitler.

I realize that these are the absolute worst-case scenarios, but imagine what could have been if these men would have surrendered their hearts and gifts to God instead of to the enemy.  The Apostle Peter was a loudmouthed hothead whose aggressive nature got him into more than one pickle. Yet when his outspoken passion got sanctified by the Holy Ghost, he became the emboldened herald of Pentecost, who preached like he was on fire…because he was!  This is what happens when we allow God to harness the best and worst of our nature and guide us in HIS direction.

Oh, that we would just save ourselves years of setbacks and heartache, and just surrender to His will for our lives.  We waste so much time trying to become important, trying to gain respect by earning our pea-sized merit badges for the world to admire.

Hay and stubble on that Great Day when our works are tried in the fire.  Poof!  Burned up in a split second.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t get college degrees, promotions on the job, work hard and save up for retirement—BUT!  What if, in order to get those things, we have systematically tuned out God’s voice when He tried to lead us another way?  I believe with all my heart that anything we gain by disobedience to God will only result in failure and bitter disappointment in the end.

We’re so afraid that if we say “yes” to Him, He’ll make us do something we hate for the rest of our lives.  Not so!  Whatever was birthed in you to do, when you do it under the covering of His authority, will just “click” into place.  It will be the most natural thing, the most satisfying thing you’ve ever done.  He may indeed be leading you to go after that 8th consecutive college degree, and He may have even led you to tenaciously pursue the CEO’s chair or a career in professional sports, but if He’s really instructed you to pour all of your heart and soul into an endeavor, it’s still for His glory and a Divine purpose…not to have other people ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all YOU’VE done.  Just check your motives, and begin to listen for His instruction.

How do we know whether we’re in His will or not?  Sometimes we’ve ignored His voice so long that it’s hard to remember the sound of it.  But I challenge you to ask yourself three things:

1. Did God specifically tell me to do this with my life; or, have I heard His call to another purpose and decided to do it later, after I do my own thing first?

2. Is what I’m doing in violation of any part of His Word?

3. If He asked me to sacrifice it on the altar of obedience, would I or could I do it?

Our prayer:  “Heavenly Father, thank You first of all for creating me in Your image.  I can’t begin to understand why and how You deliberately planned for me a hope and a future, but I want to fulfill that purpose and ultimately to please You and make You glad You willed for me to be born.  Take my life and use it fully for your good pleasure.  Weed out all the ugly, unproductive things growing in my character, and straighten whatever I may have warped by my disobedience.  Every talent, every gift, every ability You’ve instilled within me, I surrender to Your Divine will.  Don’t allow me to be satisfied with anything less —and don’t allow me to aspire to be anything more— than exactly what You want for me.  I say yes to Your will now, just BECAUSE YOU SAID SO, and I do it in Jesus’ name.”

Scripture of the Day: Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” – Luke 11:28

By Lisa Crum

The Next Right Thing.


Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
Ruth 1:14

Recommended Reading
Ruth 1:16-18 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth%201:16-18&version=NKJV )

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) uses the phrase in its teachings. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used a similar phrase. And many others who have found themselves in the midst of difficult situations, when directions are missing for the next step, have relied on this maxim: Do the next right thing.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

Even those who rely on God‘s guidance don’t always know the next step.

Take Ruth, for example.

A Moabitess who married into a Jewish family, her father-in-law and husband died and she was left with her mother-in-law, Naomi.

When Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem to her people, she urged Ruth to stay in Moab with her own people.

What should Ruth do? She did the next right thing: remain loyal to her mother-in-law, return with her to Bethlehem, and help provide for her.

So she did–Naomi and Ruth journeyed to Bethlehem where, in time, God blessed Ruth with a prosperous husband and security for her and Naomi.

When confused about what steps to take next, doing the next right thing in God’s sight is always a good choice. God blesses faith steps–and one step leads to another.

Guidance is not normally ecstatic or mystical. It is always ethical and intensely practical.
Sinclair Ferguson

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Ezekiel 28:1–31:18

By David Jeremiah.

Ready, Aim, Shoot!


During my early years as a nurse I worked nightshift at a local hospital in Nashville. I have very fond memories of the time I spent there and of the patients I cared for. In the wee hours of the morning during those long nightshifts, I’d sneak into my patient’s room to check on them.  Sometimes I’d find them awake reading or watching television and sometimes I find them asleep with the television watching them.

One night as tipped around my patient’s room, I noticed a television program that caught my attention. It was an Outdoor Sportsman’s Competition. I stood there in the quiet of the room watching as the contestants participated in a variety of outdoor sporting activities like Tree Chopping, Sport Fishing, Bow and Arrow Shooting and High House Eight Skeet Shooting.

As I stood there watching, I was most intrigued by the Skeet Shooting. I watched as the marksmen aimed and fired their rifles at disks being shot into the air at top speed from various directions. When the shooter hit the disks, they would shatter into a million pieces in mid-air! The contestant able to shoot and demolish the most disks in the fastest amount of time won the competition. Okay, so skeet shooting has never been my idea of a fun activity. Actually, I think shopping should be an Olympic Sport.

It’s been a long time since I left that tiny hospital but from time to time I’d find myself thinking about that competition, skeet shooting and the object of that sport. But why, what does skeet shooting have to do with me? Then one day the Lord gave me a powerful revelation about skeet shooting and how we as believers can use that same concept to combat negative thoughts!

As believers the enemy’s goal is to flood our minds with negative thoughts about ourselves and the situations in our lives in hopes that we will literally think ourselves to death. Maybe you’re like me and feel like negative thoughts seem to fly around in your head as if someone were firing those thoughts like disks in the air.

And maybe you too have wondered, what are thoughts and where do negative thoughts come from?

Thoughts are past events stored as memories. Our mind conditioning and beliefs are also stored as memories. Thoughts can be positive or negative depending on what we have conditioned ourselves to meditate on. The enemy definitely prefers to manipulate us with the latter. When negative thoughts enter our minds we have less than 30-seconds to either demolish/destroy those thoughts or allow them to fester producing a chain reaction of negative thoughts.

Just like the skeet shooter we must demolish every negative thought that exalts itself against what God says about us. Just like the skilled marksman we must be armed and ready to shoot every negative thought using the Word of God as our ammunition. We must shatter every thought like. “No one loves me”. Shoot that thought with Romans 5:8 but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us! “My past is so bad, God will never forgive me”. Shoot that thought with Phil. 3:13-14.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of. But one thing I do. Forgetting those things that are behind me and I press towards the mark of the prize and high calling of Jesus Christ! “I am never going to get well”. Shoot that thought with Ps. 107:20 God sent his word to heal me and he will deliver me from destruction! You get the picture, right?

So beloved, with the speed, precision and accuracy of a skilled marksman, let’s demolish and destroy the enemy and every thought that exalts itself against the Word of God and what it says about us. We can do what He says we can do, be who He says we can be and have what He says we can have. Ready, Aim, Shoot!

Scripture of the Day: “We demolish every thought that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5.

By Marsha Pope

Let The Word Speak.


How do you live by the word of God?  How can you live by the Word of someone you cannot see? We all know the answer, Faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seenHebrews 11:1

The trials and tribulations of life will come but our faith is what sustains us, encourages us and brings us out of whatever oppressive situation we are going thru. We serve a God who is always there.

As we mature in Christ, we had to arrive at a point to know that He is right there alongside us throughout our life and will show His face when we least expect it and on time.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrew 11:6

How many times have you went through something tough and you felt that it was just too much? Or you could not go on? It is times like these that the word of God in you is revealed and a ferocious spark is ignited within. We serve a God who specializes in the impossible.

His word pours out of your mouth and is loud and clear in your head. It is important for you to know the word for yourself.  You must become familiar with the word of God, and share the word of God with others. You get stronger in the Word when you hear it, study it and apply it to your daily life.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17”

Therefore, when others try to speak a negative word over your situation, you have already spoken the word of life to yourself. You have read it and have a front row seat to the masterful work of our Lord in your life.

Just look back over your life and see how the word of the Lord has kept you from quitting, staying in sin, failing or giving up. Many times the Lord uses situations to lead and bring us to His Word.

The word of God reminds us that we are His sheep and His sheep hear His voice.  “Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge” Proverbs 22:17

When you read the word, believe it and obey it daily, the Lord is pleased. Who said it would be easy? One thing we do know is that we cannot survive without the His word.  It is necessary for our growth in this life. So strive to live by the Word today and every day.

Scripture of the Day: “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” – Luke 4:4”

By Jermaine Lawrence Anderson.

Sharper Than The Sharpest.


During the Bible days, the swords the soldiers used in battle were large, heavy, and sharp with two edges.  Some other weapons they had in their possession were spears, bows, arrows, and battleaxes.  But it seems that the one they treasured the most, was the sword.

We as Christians have a sword too that we are to use, and it’s sharper than the sharpest, and that’s “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:17 tells us that it’s one of our weapons.  How are you going to fight in a battle or war and not have a weapon to use?  We are to have this sword in our heart, in our mind, and in our life.  But we don’t always use this weapon, the Word of God.

Our spiritual battles can be fought on a daily basis with the Lord’s help, by claiming and using his powerful word.  I have realized and learned that if I just pick up my word at least once a day to read, it makes me stronger.

Times when we’re provoked to be unconcerned in our words or actions and our patience is almost gone, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.  And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10:27), is what we can use.  Times when we find ourselves walking in dark hours of discouragement and dismay, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.  (Psalm 119:105), is right there for us to claim.

If we ever find ourselves in a dangerous situation or around some dangerous folks, we can whisper out quietly “For the angel of the LORD guards all who fear Him, and He rescues them.” (Psalm 34:7).  In a hospital while tests are being taken, in our mind we can quote, “And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).

Have you ever found yourself reading the word of God and it becomes so powerful and alive to you?  Your eyes become wide open and it becomes so real to you?  It becomes a part of you?  The word of God can and will change your life, if you choose to let it.  God has given us the weapon of His Word.  Let’s make more time to pick it up and open it every day, and read it for ourselves.  If we don’t, we will be soldiers without swords.

Scripture of the Day: “For the word of God is full of living power.  It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.  It exposes us for what we really are.”  –  Hebrews 4:12.

By Brenda Gittens.

Stop Whining.


As the mother of a very intelligent 3 year old and an infant, I can attest that there is a different behavioral tolerance for both ages. My highly verbal toddler can communicate her needs, while my infant obviously cannot. Therefore, my expectations of each of them vary based on their development. Here’s where I am going with this; as beloved children of our Heavenly Father who has equipped us with His word, He expects us to “grow up” and develop in our Christian walk.

One of the behavioral displays I have grown less tolerant of in my toddler is WHINING! It’s incredibly … annoying. Yes, I said it! No one likes whining, especially when someone is able to communicate! As I said, my toddler is highly verbal and she can identify and request almost everything within her daily scope. But there are times when she grows impatient. She makes a request, and if I do not respond immediately, she continues to ask every 6 seconds until she physically has in-hand whatever she requested. The whining ensues. Even though I may be in the process of fulfilling her request, all she is focused on is that she can’t yet see it.

For example, she may want to watch Dora the Explorer in our SUV. Some of you parents already feel my pain on that one! Well before I can cue the movie, I have to secure her and her baby brother in their car seats, load in the diaper bag and other items, get myself in the truck, secure my own seatbelt, start the engine, THEN power on the entertainment system to play the movie. All the while, I am mindful of her request and IN MOTION to fulfill her request! Well, many times we are the same way with God. We make a request that doesn’t immediately manifest, and then we start WHINING! Even though His Word says “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we KNOW that He hears us, whatever we ask, we KNOW (not think or believe) that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him”, we doubt Him because we don’t yet see our request fulfilled. His holy ears must burn in irritation at our lack of faith!! While He is more tolerant of a “baby Christian” who is new to the things of God and just learning His Word, His expectations are much higher for those of us who have learned of Him and walked with Him for some time. He expects more of us. He expects us to know that He makes good on His Word and is IN MOTION to fulfill our requests! He expects us to walk by faith, and not by sight.

Hebrews 5:11-14 reads, “…By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature…”

Let’s decide to grow up and take God at His Word. Let’s build our faith muscles by exercising patience while we wait to see the promises of God manifested in our lives. Let’s stop the whining and walk by faith, not by sight!

Scripture of the Day: “I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.” – Hebrews 5:11-14

By Mignonette Bailey

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