Tag Archives: moving

God Gives Directions

 

Leave Room for God

From: My Utmost for HIs HIghest

When it pleased God . . . —Galatians 1:15

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him-to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly—God meets our life “. . . when it pleased God . . . .”

Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.

 

God Gives Us Direction

Acts 9:1-25 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

Introduction

Acts 9:1-25: Today’s reading introduces us to Saul, who is transformed from persecutor to apostle. He is a faithful follower of the Law of Moses and is on his way to Damascus, intending to arrest followers of “the Way of the Lord.” But Jesus appears to him and chooses him to preach the Good News. The title for Jesus as “Son of God” appears here in the book of Acts for the first time.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 9:20

He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God.

Today’s Reading

1 In the meantime Saul kept up his violent threats of murder against the followers of the Lord. He went to the High Priest 2 and asked for letters of introduction to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he should find there any followers of the Way of the Lord, he would be able to arrest them, both men and women, and bring them back to Jerusalem. 3 As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” he asked. “I am Jesus, whom you persecute,” the voice said. 6 “But get up and go into the city, where you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men who were traveling with Saul had stopped, not saying a word; they heard the voice but could not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but could not see a thing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. 9 For three days he was not able to see, and during that time he did not eat or drink anything.10 There was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision, in which the Lord said to him, “Ananias!” “Here I am, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord said to him, “Get ready and go to Straight Street, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying, 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again. ” 13 Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who worship you. ” 15 The Lord said to him, “Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. 16 And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake. ” 17 So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord has sent me—Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”18 At once something like fish scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he was able to see again. He stood up and was baptized; 19 and after he had eaten, his strength came back. Saul stayed for a few days with the believers in Damascus. 20 He went straight to the synagogues and began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God. 21 All who heard him were amazed and asked, “Isn’t he the one who in Jerusalem was killing those who worship that man Jesus? And didn’t he come here for the very purpose of arresting those people and taking them back to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul’s preaching became even more powerful, and his proofs that Jesus was the Messiah were so convincing that the Jews who lived in Damascus could not answer him. 23 After many days had gone by, the Jews met together and made plans to kill Saul,24 but he was told of their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But one night Saul’s followers took him and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

Reflect

Why was Saul going to Damascus? What did Jesus say to him? What role did Ananias play in Saul’s conversion? Why was his life in danger once he began preaching that Jesus was the Messiah? In what ways have you experienced the presence of Christ in your life?

Pray

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Teach me to listen for and heed your voice. Help me to experience your presence anew, that I may bear witness to you and proclaim your message of love and salvation. Amen.

Choice

From: getmorestrength.org.

“Wherever you go, I will go; and . . . your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16

A friend once told me: “Joe, I’ve come to realize that my life is not made by the dreams that I dream but by the choices that I make.”

Count on it: You will have plenty of choices in life. And usually they boil down to a choice between “What do I want?” and “What’s best for others?”

After their husbands died, Ruth and Orpah were faced with a strategic choice (Ruth 1:11). Their mother-in-law Naomi told them they should go home. She didn’t want them to feel any obligation to her, in spite of the fact that her loss was far greater. She had lost her own husband and both of her sons.

Orpah and Ruth could either go home and start a new life, or stay with Naomi to help her in a time of great need. They knew very well that the latter choice would probably mean living in a foreign land as widows for the rest of their lives, since few Jewish men would want to marry a foreign woman.

Ruth chose to serve the needs of Naomi rather than to serve herself. Orpah chose to leave Naomi for what she thought would be a better life. Ruth went on to play a significant role in Jewish history and became an ancestor of Jesus (Matt. 1:5).

Make the best choice. Choose to serve others.

When we’re involved in serving
And meeting others’ needs,
We’re imitating Jesus
In thoughts and words and deeds.  —Fitzhugh

 

 

When gods die

From: Our Daily Journey

Ezekiel 28:1-19 
You are only a man and not a god, though you boast that you are a god (Ezekiel 28:2).

Read Isaiah 14:1-23 to learn how God will always topple the proud.

How can you tell whether your trust is in God or someone or something else? What can you do right now to recommit yourself to the one true God?

France Nouvelle, the newspaper of the French Communist party, stated this after Stalin died: “The heart of Stalin . . . has ceased beating. But Stalinism lives on, and is immortal. . . . To Stalin we shall remain faithful for evermore. Communists everywhere will endeavor to deserve, by their untiring devotion to the sacred cause of the working class . . . the honorary title of Stalinists. Eternal glory to the great Stalin.”

This panegyric demonstrates that even communists must worship something. If they won’t serve God, they will make a god out of whatever lies at hand. But their god had died, so their predicament seemed hopeless. For people who proudly proclaimed their trust in science, they were slow to notice the evidence.

History is littered with people who were too easily impressed with their own success. The king of Tyre was so rich and wise that he declared, “I am a god! I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea” (Ezekiel 28:2). God replied that his throne would be the place of his demise. A foreign army would come and “bring you down to the pit, and you will die in the heart of the sea, pierced with many wounds. Will you then boast, ‘I am a god!’ to those who kill you?” (Ezekiel 28:8-9).

Likewise, when the king of Babylon boasted of his military might, God declared that his army would “be completely destroyed” (Jeremiah 51:3). God will topple every god until people realize that “idols are worthless” and that “the God of Israel is no idol! . . . The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!” (Jeremiah 51:18-19).

You will worship someone. Don’t settle for yourself or any mortal. There is only One who is worthy of your worship, and you already know His name.

Faith To Move Mountains

 

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Mountain Moving Faith

From: gatewaytoJesus.com

Author Unknown

A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building. Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary.

Unfortunately, the church with its undersized parking lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built. In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard.

Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had “mountain-moving faith”. They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.

At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation’s 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o’clock the pastor said the final “Amen”. “We’ll open next Sunday as scheduled,” he assured everyone. “God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too.”

The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called “come in”, a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered.

“Excuse me, Reverend. I’m from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We’re building a huge new shopping mall over there and we need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We’ll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can’t do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly.”

The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with “mountain-moving faith” on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!


 

This is Jesus just checking in today

Author Unknown

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.

Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle.

The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while.

His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed.

The man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap,

Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.

Well, the minister’s suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear,

He decided to stop the man and ask him, “What are you doing here?”

The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour.

Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.

“I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away;

As I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:

“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.

DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN TODAY.”

The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine.

He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime.

Time to go, Jim smiled, said “Thanks.” He hurried to the door.

The minister knelt at the altar, he’d never done it before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there.

As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim’s prayer:

“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.

I DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY.”

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn’t come.

As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.

The hospital staff was worried, but he’d given them a thrill.

The week that Jim was with them, brought changes in the ward.

His smiles, a joy contagious. Changed people, were his reward.

The head nurse couldn’t understand why Jim was so glad, when no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse’s concern:

No friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile; “the nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know, that in here all the while everyday at noon He’s here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:

“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.

ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACHDAY,

AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY.”


 

My Attorney

Author Unknown

After living what I felt was a “decent” life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house.

The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table.

As I looked around I saw the “prosecutor.” He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen.

I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me,I felt I knew Him.

The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room I couldn’t take my eyes off of Him.

As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, “Let us begin.”

The prosecutor rose and said,

“My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell.”

He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and In the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible Perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about.

As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not Offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life – couldn’t that at least equal out part of the harm I’d done?

Satan finished with a fury and said, “This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise.”

When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.

He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, “Hi, Dad,” and then He turned to address the court.

“Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won’t deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished.”

Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, “However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine.”

My Lord continued with, “His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy.”

As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, “There is nothing else that needs to be done. I’ve done it all.”

The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips..

“This man is free.” The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed.”

As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, “I won’t give up, I will win the next one.” I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, “Have you ever lost a case?”

Christ lovingly smiled and said, “Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, ……. Paid In Full.