Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching, and now I'm working my way through the New Testament. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage. I'm still writing, of course, and my written posts appear here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Obey and be blessed.

Acts 7: 
2 ...The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,
3 And said to him, Get out of your country, and [away] from your kindred, and come into the land which I will show you..
4 Then he left the land of the Chaldaeans, and lived in Haran: and from there, when his father was dead, he moved into this land, in which you now dwell.
5 And [God] gave him no inheritance in it, no, not even as much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him, when as yet he had no child.

Genesis 12:
1 Now the LORD had said to [Abraham], Get out of your country, and away from your kindred, and from your father's house, into a land that I will show you:
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:
3 And I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you: and in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.

Hebrews 11:8
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should afterwards receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.

Notice what Abraham did:
He went without knowing the future.  He left everything and every place he knew. He even (eventually) left his family behind. He was alone, with a new future in a new land, and he did not know how it would turn out.  
Notice what God said to him: "I will make you a great nation. I will bless you.  I will make your name great. You will BE a blessing. I will bless the one who blesses you, and I will curse the one who curses you.  All the families of the earth will be blessed in you.  
Not ONE of these things was true when Abraham left his home 1,200 miles away to begin the walk down to Palestine.  He did not know how any of his actions would turn out, except God had promised.  He believed that, and went. All he had was the promise of God
What's more, the majority of the things he was promised were not fulfilled in his lifetime, but later, but they WERE fulfilled.  Every one of God's promises to Abraham proved to be true.
The lesson for us:
If you hear the Lord speak, and you know it's Him, and He gives you direction, you can go in confidence, knowing that He will support you, and will fulfill every promise He makes.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  Acknowledge Him in all your paths, and He will direct your steps."
What God promises, He will do.  "Not one thing of all the good things the Lord promised us has failed..."
Thing is, YOU can't see the future, and you must go by faith.  You'll go without knowing anything but Him, and His promise--but He will care for you, and do right by you, and fulfill all His promises.  Every time.

Friday, October 11, 2013

You call--He answers

Be not far from me; for trouble is near.
How long will you forget me, Lord? for ever? how long will you hide your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? — Hide not your face far from me; put not your servant away in anger: thou have been my helper; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. — The Lord is near all those who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. — Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. — Truly my soul waits upon God: from him comes my salvation. — O my soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

Confusion about God's presence, His help, His intentions is common. After all, He's invisible. If you're like me, you sometimes feel it intensely.  Sometimes you feel forgotten, and that God has literally hidden His face from you, even denied your existence.  That is NOT true. We beg Him not to forsake us, and He has said, "I will never leave you, or forsake you."  In so many instances, we are like the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24)--our eyes are "held," and we know Him not.  We don't feel or recognize His presence, but He IS right here with us, all the time.  We FEEL lost, cast down, miserable, deserted, without hope and help, but right in these passages we read, "The Lord is near all those who call upon Him..." He is NOT far away. He WILL answer.  He IS with you.  He is your refuge and strength.  Go to Him, even if you don't feel His presence.  Cry out to Him. Tell Him your troubles, how you feel--how you feel about Him (follow the directions of the Psalms, and be polite, of course).  He understands. He went through it all in the person of His Son.  That is one reason, by the way, that He sent Jesus Christ into the world, so He could be you, feel what you've felt, enjoy the things you enjoy, bear the same temptations, walk in the same paths, suffer the same betrayals, experience the things you do, even to the point of death.  He not only is with you. He knows how you feel, how you are, what is going right AND wrong in your life.  Everything, with only one thing missing.  Jesus had no experience of sin until the day of His death, and then only of its punishment. He has not forgotten you, and He will never forsake you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wisdom comes...

The writer of Proverbs is discussing life with his son, and explaining the way of wisdom. The first two chapters of Proverbs deal with this at length.  "My words" refer to the father's words to his son, written in Proverbs, but tied to God's wisdom, because the father derived his own words from principles he found in the Scriptures of his day, and from his observations of life, infused with the Spirit of God.  For the most part, the Scriptures he used would have been the Torah, or first five books of the Bible, with some other material added. You'll note that the writer says, "The LORD gives wisdom..."  and therefore the writer of THIS book acknowledges his indebtedness to his own Heavenly Father for the gifts of wisdom he's received.

Proverbs 2:
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Wisdom is God's gift--but it's not free, as if it sort of just happened inside your head--it requires work. Here is how you get wisdom:
Listen--accept the words of truth, and hold them in your heart.
Ask--Pray for Divine understanding.
Search--Wisdom is a great treasure.  Search diligently.
Humble yourself. Realize that wisdom is not in your nature, you must learn to receive it.
Never stop seeking and learning, so that you are not like the M. D. who knows only what he learned 30 years ago in medical school.
God will give you wisdom, and speak knowledge and understanding into your heart. In other words, the wisdom of God is revealed specifically to you--it's His truth applied to your particular situation, and He gives it to you when you cannot discover it on your own. Normally, wisdom is given to you for YOU, not for someone else, and you should be careful about applying what God has said to you to others, unless you know it also applies to them.
James says: "Does any of you lack wisdom? Ask God...and it will be given to you. If you really want wisdom, it can be yours.  However, this is one gift for which you must seek and pray, and listen carefully--because your desire shows you will use it when you get it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Infinite Love...

He set my feet upon a rock. 
That Rock was Christ. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other thing in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God's love is truly infinite.  It cannot be measured, numbered, or compared with anything else
The old song has it this way:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

The love of God is revealed in all its power and splendor in the Person of God's Son, Jesus Christ.  When Christians say, "God loves you," or "Jesus loves you," they are not using some trite, meaningless expression.  They mean love that gives up life. They mean love that risks all. They mean love that is unquenchable, which even the fires of Hell itself cannot extinguish.  This love is the mightiest force in the universe, the greatest expression of Almighty God's infinite power and wisdom, the most permanent emotion of all.
And it's directed at YOU. You are the focus of God's love.  Receive His love. Revel in it. Enjoy it. And never fear, no matter how much of His love you  experience, there's more where that came from.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nature's God--AND the God of the Supernatural.

Psalms 103: Praise for the LORD's Mercies A Psalm of David.
 Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
 Who forgives all your iniquities [things you are guilty for], Who heals all your diseases,
 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
 The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and He abounds in mercy.
 He will not always strive [argue, fight] with us, Nor will He hold on to His anger forever.
 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.
 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him...

Natural and Supernatural--that's the way we experience God.  He made the world, and he uses the world as His tool to bless us and help us, but that's not all.  He responds to our needs in ways that transcend nature as well.  The Psalmist says he will remember what God has done, and then discusses the "mix" of the ways God touches us all.  In the first place, He forgives sin.  Ever get weighed down with guilt over your past or your present? Ever been terribly afraid to face up to God?  He is the One who forgives ALL your sins, and separates them from you, as far as the east is from the west.  Have you ever been so sick that nothing seemed to help, and it looked like you might die? And then you cried out to Him, and found that when nobody else can help you, GOD can?  I remember a missionary diagnosed with a virulent form of hepatitis, picked up on the mission field.  He came to the little church I attended barely able to sit in the seat he was given. The elders of the church gathered around him, anointed him with oil (just a bit, on the forehead), and asked God to heal him, because the doctors could not.  That missionary told us later that from that day on, he began to get well.  Nothing dramatic--he just got well. 
God is the One who loves to give you good things, blessings, to renew your life and make it over. Perhaps your life is full of ugliness and evil, and you are sick of everything.  HE will help.  When nobody else has a clue, God knows all about you and your needs, and He reaches down from the heights of heaven and touches you. This is all true because He's your heavenly Father, who cares for you just as a good earthly father cares for his own children.  It's tragic today that many grow up without fathers, or without good ones, but when you haven't got a father, God will be your best Father.  You can call on Him, talk to Him, listen to Him, praise Him, and act just like He is here in the room with you--because He is.  Never despair of your life. God has it in His hand. And if you are facing death, that worst of enemies, He holds the keys of death and hell, and will open the door of eternal life for you.  All you need to do is ask.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Understand the world!

The world we live in--indeed, the entire universe, is a statement. It shows God to us, if we will listen. The statement that the writer of this Psalm makes is much to important to pass by.  Look at who is responsible for feeding the lions, or who gives every animal (and man) water to drink; look at who  laid the foundations of the earth, who makes food grow for us, who provides all living things with what they need--and who is responsible for the course of their lives and the time of their death.  This is God.  He is not an "absent First Cause;" He is present in all that happens, and the universe is not only His creation, but His current object of care.  "[God] has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." Every blessing you receive, from the water you drink and the food you eat to where you live is from God.  He is not an "impersonal Being," but a Father who loves you, and who has good plans for you: "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope." Man may do us evil, Satan may try to destroy us, but just as the writer of Genesis says, "you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good..." and "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Trust Him. Call on Him. Love Him.  He loves you.

And read below for the truth about the world around you:
Psalm 104:

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with honour and majesty.
2 Who covers Himself with light as with a garment: who stretches out the heavens like a curtain:
3 Who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters: who makes the clouds his chariot: who walks upon the wings of the wind:
4 Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they fled; at the voice of your thunder they hastened away.
8 They went up into the mountains; they went down to the valleys, to the place which you ordained for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass over; that they may not turn to cover the earth again.
10 He sends the springs into the valleys, and they run among the hills.
11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.
12 By them the birds of heaven live, and they sing among the branches [of the trees].
13 He waters the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your works.
14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and the vegetation for the labor of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
15 And wine that makes man's heart glad, and oil to make his face shine, and bread that strengthens man's heart.
16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;
17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.
18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the rock badgers.
19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knows when it goes down.
20 You make darkness, and it is night: and all the beasts of the forest go forth.
21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.
22 The sun rises, they gather together, and lay down in their dens.
23 Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until the evening.
24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! in wisdom you made them all: the earth is full of your riches.
25 So is this great and wide sea, in which teem with innumerable creatures, both small and great.
26 There go the ships: there is leviathan, whom thou hast made to play in [the sea].
27 These wait all upon you; that thou may give them their food in due season.
28  What you give them they gather: you open your hand, they are filled with good.
29  You hide your face, they are troubled: you take away their breath, they die, and return to dust.
30 Thou sendest forth your spirit, they are created: and you renew the face of the earth.
31 The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.
32 He looks on the earth, and it trembles: he touches the hills, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.
35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

God can.

     I know that you can do everything. The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. He does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say to him, What are you doing? There is nobody can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who will prevent it? Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. 
Do you believe that I am able to do this? They said to him, Yes, Lord. Then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith it shall happen for you. Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will; be clean.  All power is given to me [Jesus] in heaven and in earth.

God is the center of power in the universe; Jesus Christ, God's Son, has control of that. When we need Him, God is working, and when we ask, He comes to our aid.  Because of the way the world is presently structured (evil and Satan also have what we call derived power, and their own sort of control), the universe is not yet free of bad things.  It will be.  In the meantime, the following things help you as you seek for His power in your life.
God can.  There is not one thing He is unable to do.  If He says "no" to your prayers, He does have a reason. However, when you pray, He usually works things out--many times with no miracle attached, things just seem to happen. You should watch for those "Divine coincidences" as you pray. This is called God's Providence by the theologians, and it refers to the fact that God has intentionally cloaked His work in what seem to be natural occurrences.  These "Divine coincidences" have happened many times for me--more than I can count.  On the other hand, sometimes miracles are called for, and He does those without strain.  It's not hard for Him to do what He does. What's hard is the waiting.  However, God has called us to wait for Him, and He has been called the "God who works for him who waits..."  He also uses what we call "means," which is you exercising your own powers of action so that you are ready for God to work.  This is akin to praying for a job, and then working hard to find it--and finding that it's the very one God intended for you to have.   
So when you pray, pray an open-ended prayer, which is like this: "God, help me. I need (whatever it is)..." That way, you give Him the right to choose the way He'll help you.
When you pray, pray specifically. Ask for what you want/need.  If you don't, you'll never know when your prayers are answered.
When you pray, watch for the answer(s). Some do come immediately. Some over time.  Some do not come.  Remember that "no" is an answer.
When you pray, you don't have to attach the words, "your will be done," as if you had no right to ask. You are not opposing His will by asking for what you need.  You are calling upon your Great Father to reach out and help.  He loves to do that.