Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a “darkness” that comes from too much light— that is the time to listen. The story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16 is an excellent example of listening to so-called good advice during a time of darkness, rather than waiting for God to send the light. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word. Abram went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all of his self-sufficiency was destroyed. He grew past the point of relying on his own common sense. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. There is never any need to pretend that your life is filled with joy and confidence; just wait upon God and be grounded in Him (see Isaiah 50:10-11).
Do I trust at all in the flesh? Or have I learned to go beyond all confidence in myself and other people of God? Do I trust in books and prayers or other joys in my life? Or have I placed my confidence in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am Almighty God…”— El-Shaddai, the All-Powerful God (Genesis 17:1). The reason we are all being disciplined is that we will know God is real. As soon as God becomes real to us, people pale by comparison, becoming shadows of reality. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.
Every girl wanted them. And she “needed” them as well!
They were the boots that winter. Another season it was a specific backpack or jacket. Every year my daughter was in school, there was something she just had to have.
If Christmas or a birthday was near, she often got the item she wanted. But sometimes, by the time this special day came around, the crowd was wearing something new and my daughter had moved on to a different “need.”
All too often, I knew the motive: my girl wanted to fit in. She wanted to be like the other girls in her school. And while I didn’t want to encourage her desire for material things, my mama’s heart understood. She didn’t want to be different … at least not in this way.
My daughter was convinced the object of her desire at that moment would meet her needs or fix her problem.
I was thinking about my daughter when I read the story of Peter, John and the crippled man.
Acts 3:1-10 tells the story of a man crippled since birth who was carried to the temple gate called Beautiful every day. There he would sit and beg from those going into the temple courts. One day, he saw Peter and John, disciples of Jesus, about to enter and asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him and said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6b). Peter then took him by the hand to help him up. The man jumped to his feet and began to walk. He followed them into the temple jumping and praising God. All the people who knew the crippled man were amazed.
Every day, there are those we love who are heading to the gate called Beautiful to beg. A man-made “gate,” beautiful is culture’s standard of what it takes to be approved. Asking those who have what it takes, we beg for what we feel we need. For the teen girl it may mean acceptance by the popular group or the boy. As women, it may be our need for significance and value.
But, like the crippled man, we don’t realize we’re asking for the wrong thing from the wrong people. He didn’t know there was a better solution.
Peter and John didn’t give the crippled man what he thought he needed. They gave him what he truly needed — to be made whole.
We too have places in us that need healing. Society has forced its standard of beauty, telling us we must look this way, weigh this much and measure this size. But just like the crippled man in Acts 3, we can be made whole. In the name of Jesus, we can redefine beautiful by His standard and receive the acceptance, approval and affirmation we need.
From: Through The Bible
Genesis 19:12-14 (NIV) 12The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here–sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here,13because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” 14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
Angels had come to deliver Lot from the city of Sodom before it was destroyed. The angels were willing to deliver all those related to Lot. I wonder if the outcry to the LORD against its people was from the citizens of Sodom. Man is so obtuse that he can complain to God about the consequences of his own actions and those of others doing the same things. Sin has a way of torturing those it has mastered. The people refused to be freed from the sin by forsaking it. To stop the misery that sin caused, the people had to have their lives cut short.
Lot warned his sons-in-law of the impending doom, but they seemed to think he was joking. Why wouldn’t they take him seriously? Was it because Lot’s life was so compromised that they couldn’t imagine he would be the special recipient of an angelic mercy mission? After all, he sat in the gate as an official of Sodom, and he probably joked around with the best of them. He probably fit right in since he had become a judge. I believe his compromised life caused his message to sound like a joke.
There is a no less serious judgment coming on all the earth (2 Peter 3:7). We have been given a message and a chance to go out and warn others too. When they see our lives, do they consider our message a joke? Or do our lives add credence to our message? The way we live will add power to, or detract from, the message. Let us live in such a way as to add conviction to the words we speak so that others may be spared from the impending wrath of God.
Consider: Does my life backup the message?
Malachi 2:13-15 (NIV) 13Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
Malachi means ‘my messenger’. The Temple had been reconstructed. The people of Israel were sliding back into some of their old patterns. They could never be the people God intended them to be without a miraculous heart change. The LORD pointed out some of their specific sins in Q and A style. He asked the question that was on their heart. Why doesn’t the LORD accept our offerings? How did they know He did not accept them? They knew because their crops were not blessed. Other people ruled over them. The blessing of God was not upon them, and they knew it.
Are you being blessed? Why not? Is it divorce? Men covenanted with the wife of their youth in marriage. God never takes lightly the breaking of a covenant. The two are made one. They are no longer individually His, but corporately His. He asks again, “Why one?” God is seeking godly offspring. Divorce is so devastating to children. It gives the enemy of their soul a foothold for bitterness and self- loathing. It spiritually handicaps the children. Of course God can help them work through it if they seek Him. The point is, for our convenience, we take the easy way out and injure others. The wife in that culture was then left without a means of support and was rarely remarried.
Consider: Guard your spirit. Remember the covenant you made with your wife and with God.
These church signs are not original material but if you haven’t read them for a while, I’m sure you’ll find them both witty and wise.
“Prevent truth decay. Brush up on your Bible.”
“The best vitamin for a Christian is B1.”
“Under same management for over 2000 years.”
“Soul food served here.”
“Tithe if you love Jesus! Anyone can honk!”
“Beat the Christmas rush, come to church this Sunday!”
“Don’t wait for the hearse to take you to church.”
“Life has many choices, Eternity has two. What’s yours?”
“Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.”
“Wal-Mart isn’t the only saving place!”
“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
“It’s hard to stumble when you’re down on your knees.”
“What part of ‘THOU SHALT NOT’ don’t you understand?”
“A clear conscience makes a soft pillow.”
“The wages of sin is death. Repent before payday.”
“Never give the devil a ride. He will always want to drive.”
“Can’t sleep? Try counting your blessings.”
“Forbidden fruit creates many jams.”
“Christians, keep the faith…but not from others!”
“Satan subtracts and divides. God adds and multiplies.”
“If you don’t want to reap the fruits of sin stay out of the devil’s orchard.”
“To belittle is to be little.”
“Don’t let the littleness in others bring out the littleness in you.”
“God answers kneemail.”
“Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you.”