“MAN OVERBOARD!”

“FOR HE HAS RESCUED US FROM THE DOMINION OF DARKNESS AND BROUGHT US INTO THE KINGDOM OF THE SON HE LOVES.” COLOSSIANS 1:13 NIV

A STORY IS TOLD OF A MAN ON HIS FIRST OCEAN CRUISE. NEAR THE FRONT OF THE SHIP, HE WAS LEANING OVER THE RAILING FOR A CLOSER VIEW OF THE SEA BELOW. HE SLIPPED AND FELL OVERBOARD. DOZENS OF PEOPLE WATCHED IN HORROR AS SOMEONE SCREAMED “MAN OVERBOARD”. THE CROWD INSTANTLY STARTED ARGUING ABOUT HOW TO HELP HIM AS HE STRUGGLED TO STAY AFLOAT IN THE DEEP OCEAN. ONE SUGGESTED THE SHIP COULD NOT STOP, SO FOOD SHOULD BE THROWN TO THE MAN SO HE WOULD NOT STARVE UNTIL ANOTHER SHIP COULD PICK HIM UP. ANOTHER SUGGESTED THE MAN OVERBOARD NEEDED A LIFE RING SO HE COULD STAY AFLOAT. FINALLY, ANOTHER PASSENGER TIED A ROPE TO A LIFE RING AND THREW IT TO THE NEARLY DROWNED MAN. AT THE LAST MINUTE, THE MAN OVERBOARD WAS ABLE TO GRAB THE RING WHILE THE PASSENGERS FINALLY WORKED TOGETHER TO PULL HIM FROM THE GRIPS OF DEATH.

OUR DAILY LIVES ARE MUCH LIKE THIS STORY. ON OCCASION, WE ARE LIKE THIS MAN OVERBOARD. SOME DAYS WE FALL OVERBOARD. STRUGGLING WITH DEBT, AN ILLNESS, A FAILING MARRIAGE OR A WAYWARD CHILD, WE SEEMINGLY CAN’T STAY AFLOAT. MANY OF OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS OFFER KIND WORDS, PHYSICAL HELP AND THEIR OWN UNIQUE IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL WHO WE LISTEN TO FOR ADVICE. THE ONE WE SHOULD TRUST FOR HELP IS THE ONE WHO IS CLEARLY BEING LED BY GOD AND IS LEADING US TO GOD. YES, PHYSICAL HELP IS GREAT AND WORDS DO ENCOURAGE, BUT THE GUIDANCE TO FIND AND TO DEPEND UPON THE STRENGTH OF OUR SAVIOUR IS THE BEST RESCUE OF ALL.

HAVE YOU FALLEN OVERBOARD? IS YOUR LIFE A SHAMBLE OF PROBLEMS? IS THERE A PROBLEM THAT IS SO HUGE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WILL DROWN? GRAB THE LIFE RING AND ROPE THAT JESUS IS THROWING TO YOU. JESUS IS YOUR RESCUER. HOLD ONTO THE LIFE RING OF JESUS AND YOU WILL BE SAFE, EVEN IN THE MOST TURBULENT WATERS. IN THIS FALLEN WORLD, HE IS YOUR HOPE…YOUR ONLY HOPE.

IF YOU ARE NOT IN NEED OF BEING RESCUED TODAY, BE ATTENTIVE TO THOSE IN NEED OF HELP. YOU CAN BE A HUMAN RESCUER SENT BY CHRIST.

TO FIND A RESCUER, LOOK FOR GOD’S WORD IN HIS HAND AND HIS HEART. TO BE A RESCUER, HAVE GOD’S WORD IN YOUR HAND AND YOUR HEART.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “MY LORD. THANK YOU FOR SENDING ALL THOSE WHO OFFER HELP AND ASSISTANCE. THANK YOU FOR KEEPING ME IN YOUR SIGHT AND ALWAYS KNOWING WHERE I AM AND WHAT I NEED. HELP ME FROM FALLING OVERBOARD TODAY. AMEN.”

“FIRST CHURCH OF PHARISEES”

“FOR I TELL YOU THAT UNLESS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SURPASSES THAT OF THE PHARISEES AND THE TEACHERS OF THE LAW, YOU WILL CERTAINLY NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” MATTHEW 5:20 NIV

READ: MATTHEW 5: 17-20

PHARISITICAL. (fare a sit’ ikal) adjective; being as a pharisee, judging others while being self righteous, judging with malice, unforgiving, viewing others as less deserving than themselves

MANY MIGHT ARGUE THAT ‘PHARASITICAL’ IS NOT A REAL WORD, WHILE OTHERS CLEARLY UNDERSTAND ITS MEANING.

WHAT CHURCH DO YOU BELONG TO? THE QUESTION IS NOT WHERE YOU ATTEND CHURCH SERVICES. THE QUESTION IS: WHAT ARE YOU TRUE HEARTFELT BELIEFS? DO YOU BELONG TO ‘THE FIRST CHURCH OF PHARISEES’? EVERY DENOMINATION HAS A CORE DOCTRINE. WITHIN THOSE DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS, INDIVIDUAL CHURCHES WILL VARY SLIGHTLY IN ITS INTERPRETATION OF THOSE DOCTRINES. THEN, IF YOU WERE TO POLL THE MEMBERS OF EACH CHURCH YOU WILL FIND SOME WHO ARE MORE RIGID IN THEIR BELIEFS THAN THE STATED DOCTRINE WHILE OTHER MEMBERS HAVE A MORE LENIENT VIEW OF THE SAME CHURCH’S DOCTRINE.

WHAT WE BELIEVE DEFINES OUR INTERPRETATION OF GOD’S WORD. SOME OF OUR BELIEFS ARE ‘INHERITED’ FROM THE FAMILY WE WERE RAISED. SOME BELIEFS ARE THE BASIS OF OUR STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURE, WHILE OTHERS ARE FROM THE TEACHINGS OF A PASTOR OR ANOTHER’S INFLUENCE.

WE SOMETIMES TAKE OUR BELIEFS AND SHARE THEM WITH OTHERS. THESE TIMES CAN BE A STRONG PROCLAMATION OF OUR FAITH OR A GOSSIPING RUMOR. “MARY DRINKS.” CAN BE INTERPRETED MANY DIFFERENT WAYS. IT COULD BE THAT MARY SOMETIMES HAS A GLASS OF WINE OR IT COULD MEAN MARY GETS DRUNK EVERY NIGHT. “BILL HAS BEEN DIVORCED TWICE AND HE IS LOOKING TO GET MARRIED AGAIN.” COULD BE ANOTHER FAITH BASED STATEMENT. WHAT IF BILL WAS DIVORCED BY ‘NO FAULT’ PROCEEDINGS OF HIS EX-WIVES AND HAD NO CHOICE? DO THE WHYS AND HOWS MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO YOU? SHOULD THEY?

AS CHRISTIANS, WE ARE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER, NOT DESTROY OR ATTACK ONE ANOTHER. IS IT YOUR BELIEF THAT ANY ALCOHOL IS BAD? THE WINE THAT JESUS DRANK HAD A VERY LITTLE ALCOHOLIC CONTENT COMPARED TO THE WINES OF TODAY. OUR WINES TODAY HAVE A MUCH HIGHER ALCOHOL CONTENT. WHEN IS IT RIGHT FOR US TO MANDATE A NO ALCOHOL TOLERANCE OR ONE DRINK IS OK? WHEN ARE WE RESPONSIBLE FOR JUDGING IF A DIVORCE WAS LEGITIMATE BY SCRIPTURES? ARE WE QUALIFIED TO JUDGE AS GOD WILL JUDGE? WE CAN BE CHRISTLIKE AND BE FORGIVING IF A PERSON WE FEEL IS NOT IN KEEPING WITH OUR BELIEFS?

JESUS MET THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL, KNOWING OF HER MULTIPLE MARRIAGES AND LIVING WITH A MAN AT THE TIME, INSTANTLY FORGAVE HER AND OFFERED HER SALVATION. JESUS OFFERED HER THE SAME SALVATION HE OFFERED YOU. SHOULDN’T WE LEARN TO FORGIVE AS JESUS FORGAVE? YOUR SALVATION IS NO LESS OR NO GREATER THAN THE SALVATION OFFERED TO THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL.

JESUS WAS REPEATEDLY QUESTIONED BY THE PHARISEES. THEY MARVELED AT HIS ANSWERS WHILE STILL ATTEMPTING TO TRIP HIM UP. THESE WERE WISE AND STUDIOUS MEN OF THE WRITINGS OF MOSES, DAVID, SOLOMON AND ALL THE PROPHETS OF OLD, YET STILL THEY WERE MORE CONCERNED OF THE LEGALISM OF THE LAW THAN THE GRACE AND FORGIVENESS OF GOD. THEY KNEW THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF DAVID’S ACT OF MURDER AND ADULTERY WHILE CONDEMNING THE SAME ACTS OF THOSE THEY KNEW.

WITH THE LEGALISTIC ATTITUDE, KING DAVID TODAY WOULD BE REFUSED MEMBERSHIP AND/OR A POSITION OF LEADERSHIP IN MANY CHURCHES. IF DAVID WERE TO WALK INTO YOUR CHURCH TODAY WOULD HE BE WELCOME? WHAT IF THIS SAME MURDERER AND ADULTERER WAS NAMED BILL AND HE LIVED A FEW BLOCKS AWAY, WOULD HE BE WELCOMED OR REFUSED AS KING DAVID? IF GOD COULD MAKE DAVID THE MURDERER AND ADULTERER KING OF HIS PEOPLE, WHY BE LEGALISTIC AS THE PHARISEES AND REFUSE A GOD FORGIVEN SINNER A MEMBERSHIP OR A PLACE OF LEADERSHIP IN YOUR CHURCH? IF GOD CAN FORGIVE, IS IT WISE FOR US TO BE ‘PHARISITICAL’?

ARE YOU A PHARISEE IN TODAY’S TIME? DO YOU LOOK AT OTHERS IN A CONDEMNING WAY OR DO YOU HAVE THE LOVE OF JESUS? WHY NOT SUPPORT AND LIFT UP THOSE WHOM YOU AS A MODERN DAY PHARISEE COULD CONDEMN? THE ONE YOU CONDEMN COULD BE ONE SENT BY CHRIST, JUST AS THE REPENTANT PAUL WAS SENT TO BRING CHRIST MESSAGE OF SALVATION. ARE YOU JUDGING A MESSENGER OF CHRIST?

IT IS BETTER TO LOVE AND FORGIVE AS JESUS DID THAN TO CONDEMN AS THE PHARISEES DID,

TODAY’S PRAYER: “THANK YOU GOD FOR OPENING MY EYES TO THE JUDGEMENT IN MY HEART. HELP ME, TODAY, TO BE MORE CHRISTLIKE AND LESS LIKE THE PHARISEES. HELP ME TO LIFT UP OTHERS WHILE BEING FORGIVING. AMEN.”

“YOUR GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT”

“NOW I AM ABOUT TO GO THE WAY OF ALL THE EARTH. YOU KNOW WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND SOUL THAT NOT ONE OF ALL THE GOOD PROMISES THE LORD YOUR GOD GAVE YOU HAS FAILED. EVERY PROMISE HAS BEEN FULFILLED; NOT ONE HAS FAILED.” JOSHUA 23:14 NIV

PROBABLY SEVERAL TIMES IN YOUR LIFE, YOU HAVE FELT THE ANGUISHING PAIN OF DISAPPOINTMENT. MAYBE, IT WAS THE LOSS OF A JOB OR FINANCIAL RUIN. IT COULD HAVE BEEN THE DESTRUCTIVE HURT OF A DIVORCE OR A PERSONAL FAILURE. GIVEN ALL THE DISAPPOINTMENTS YOU MAY HAVE KNOWN, THE GREATEST MAY BE THE DISAPPOINTMENT IN A LOVED ONE. PERHAPS, A CHILD WHO MADE A SERIOUS WRONG DECISION AND FOUND THEMSELVES CONVICTED OF A CRIME WAS A GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT. MAYBE, YOU FOUND THE GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE UNFAITHFULNESS OF A SPOUSE. OTHERS MAY HAVE FOUND DISAPPOINTMENT IN WATCHING HELPLESSLY AS A LOVED ONE WAS DEVOURED BY ALCOHOL OR DRUGS.

WE CAN SUM UP ALL OF THESE IN AN EXPLANATION: “OUR GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT IS THE UNFULFILLED EXPECTATIONS WE HAVE OF OTHERS.” IT IS NOT THE DIVORCE, OR SOMEONE’S DRUG ADDICTION THAT IS DISAPPOINTING IN ITSELF. THE DISAPPOINTMENT IS THAT WE EXPECTED MORE OF THAT PERSON. OUR EXPECTATION OF THEM AND OUR EXPECTATION OF THEIR ACTIONS WAS LESS THAN WHAT WE DESIRED OF THEM.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? HAVE YOU FAILED SOMEONE? HAS SOMEONE VERY SPECIAL HELD OUT FOR THE VERY BEST FOR YOU AND YOU FAILED NOT ONLY YOURSELF BUT THEIR EXPECTATIONS AS WELL? YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. IT MAY SEEM LIKE AN UNBELIEVABLE TASK TO UNDO, BUT ONLY YOU CAN REPAIR THE DAMAGES DONE. IF YOU FAILED SOMEONE’S EXPECTATIONS, THERE IS A MORE THAN GOOD CHANCE YOU HAVE FAILED YOURSELF AS WELL.

IF YOU HAVE FAILED YOURSELF OR FAILED SOMEONE ELSE, YOU HAVE FAILED GOD. GOD WANTS THE VERY BEST FOR YOU. HE GAVE YOU HIS HOLY WORD FROM GENESIS THROUGH REVELATION TO TEACH YOU WHAT HE WANTS OF YOU. NOT ONLY DOES HE TELL YOU HOW HE WANTS YOU TO LIVE, GOD ALSO TELLS YOU OF HIS REWARDS TO YOU.

IF YOU DON’T FEEL GOD’S REWARDS, MAYBE YOU HAVE NOT FULFILLED HIS EXPECTATIONS OF YOU. GOD PROMISES HAVE NEVER FAILED YOU. SHOULD YOU DISAPPOINT GOD? IT IS NOT ABOUT PERFECTION. YOU CANNOT BE PERFECT AS CHRIST. ONLY CHRIST IS PERFECT. IT IS BEING AS CHRISTLIKE AS POSSIBLE.

IT IS NEVER TO LATE TO CORRECT A WRONG BY TAKING A GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT AND TURNING IT INTO A GREAT REWARD.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “LORD, MY GOD, PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR DISAPPOINTING YOU. HELP ME UNDERSTAND WHAT I NEED TO DO TO CORRECT MY ACTIONS AND THOUGHTS IN ORDER TO REDEEM MYSELF. LET ME RELY UPON YOUR STRENGTH TO GO TO THOSE WHO HAD FAITH IN ME WHOM I REJECTED BY MY CHOICES. MAKE ME STRONGER THIS DAY. AMEN.”

“COVET”

“YOU DESIRE BUT DO NOT HAVE, SO YOU KILL. YOU COVET BUT YOU CANNOT GET WHAT YOU WANT, SO YOU QUARREL AND FIGHT. YOU DO NOT HAVE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT ASK GOD. JAMES 4:2 NIV

READ: JAMES 4: 1-12

OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, I HAVE COME TO KNOW AND APPRECIATE A WONDERFUL CHRISTIAN FRIEND WHO LIVES 20 MILES ACROSS TOWN FROM ME. WE EMAIL OCCASIONALLY AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT THE SUBJECT IS PRAYING FOR RAIN. EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER, WE ARE STILL IN STAGE TWO OF A DROUGHT THAT HAS LASTED FOR OVER THREE YEARS. WHEN WE DO GET A LITTLE RAIN, ONE WILL WRITE THE OTHER OF HOW MUCH RAIN FELL. IN COMPARING, IT SEEMS LIKE MOST OF THE TIME SHE HAS RECEIVED MORE RAIN THAN I HAVE. THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION, BUT A SHARED BLESSINGS OF WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN. THERE IS NO JEALOUSY, NO SELFISHNESS AND NO COVETING OF THE OTHERS GAINS. WE CONTINUE TO BE THANKFUL FOR THE BLESSINGS BOTH HAVE RECEIVED AND WE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR RAIN.

DO YOU COVET? WHEN ANOTHER GETS A PROMOTION, BUYS A NEW CAR, SHOWS UP WEARING A NEW OUTFIT OR ANNOUNCES A FABULOUS VACATION, DO YOU SHARE IN THEIR BLESSINGS OR IS THERE A BIT OF JEALOUSY? BEING JEALOUS OF ANOTHER’S BLESSINGS CAN BE COVETOUSNESS. GOD GAVE US HIS 10 COMMANDMENTS. EXODUS 20:17 TELLS US WE ARE NOT TO COVET ANOTHER’S HOUSE, SPOUSE OR PROPERTY.

HOW DO YOU FIND BLESSINGS IN SOMEONE ELSE’S GOOD FORTUNE? IT STARTS WITH FINDING THE BLESSINGS IN WHAT YOU DO HAVE. INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE, THINK OF ONE THING YOU DO HAVE. YOUR BLESSINGS MIGHT BE YOUR FAMILY, YOUR HOME, A GREAT JOB OR THINGS AS SIMPLE AS A WARM BOWL OF OATMEAL OR A DOG THAT LOVES YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS ONE BY ONE.

FINDING BLESSINGS IN YOUR TREASURES ONE AT A TIME WILL BRING YOU A COMFORT. AS YOU GO THROUGH YOUR DAY, START COUNTING ALL THE THINGS GOD HAS GIVEN YOU. BY THE END OF THE DAY, YOUR LIST WILL BE LONG. YOU CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND GOD’S GIFTS THAT WERE MEANT JUST FOR YOU. THEN, YOU CAN SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW GOD HAS BLESSED YOU WITH ALL YOU HAVE THAT MANY OTHERS DON’T HAVE.

BY APPRECIATING ALL YOU HAVE, LARGE AND SMALL, YOU WILL FIND LESS NEED TO COVET WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE. GOD IS WITH YOU. GOD WILL SUPPLY ALL YOU NEED ON A TIMETABLE JUST FOR YOU!

IT IS DIFFICULT TO COVET WHAT OTHERS HAVE WHEN YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR ALL GOD HAS ALLOWED YOU TO HAVE.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “GRACIOUS FATHER, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY IN ALL YOU HAVE GIVEN TO ME AND ENTRUSTED TO ME. HELP ME TODAY APPRECIATE ALL I HAVE. HELP ME TO LOOK UPON THINGS OTHERS HAVE IN THANKSGIVING FOR THEM WITHOUT ANY COVETOUSNESS. AMEN.”

“PROCRASTINATION”

“WHEN YOU MAKE A VOW TO GOD, DO NOT DELAY TO FULFILL IT. HE HAS NO PLEASURE IN FOOLS; FULFILL YOUR VOW.” ECCLESIASTES 5:4 NIV

ARE YOU AN EXPERT AT PROCRASTINATION? SOME HAVE PRACTICED THEIR ENTIRE LIFE THE SKILLS NECESSARY TO BE THE BEST AT PROCRASTINATION! WHETHER IT IS PUTTING OFF VACUUMING THE CARPETS, PAYING A BILL OR RETURNING A PHONE CALL, THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL OF US TO DELAY DOING WHAT IS NEEDED.

WITH ONLY THREE DAYS UNTIL VALENTINE’S DAY, A NEW OPPORTUNITY IS AVAILABLE TO WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. IF YOU ARE MARRIED, IN A RELATIONSHIP OR HAVE CHILDREN AT HOME, YOU HAVE AN UNSPOKEN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE ON THE RESPONSIBILITY. IT MAY BE AS EASY AS A CARD, A BOX OF CANDY, A VASE OF FLOWERS OR MAYBE A SPECIAL GIFT. DON’T PROCRASTINATE. MAKE THE MOST OF THIS SPECIAL DAY WITH ANOTHER. WHATEVER NEEDS TO BE DONE…DO IT AND ENJOY DOING IT!

OF COURSE, THERE ARE THINGS MORE IMPORTANT THAN VALENTINE’S DAY MATERIALISM.

PROCRASTINATION DOES NOT GIVE YOU MORE TIME, IT STEALS TIME FROM YOU. WHATEVER YOU CAN DO TODAY, DO IT! WHEN YOU GET AROUND TO DOING WHAT YOU HAVE PUT OFF, THEN THERE IS SOMETHING AT THAT TIME YOU HAVE TO DELAY. YOU NEVER WILL CATCH UP. YOU HAVE TO PUT OFF SOMETHING ELSE FOR ANOTHER TIME JUST TO DO WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY DONE!

WHAT ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL WALK? ARE YOU PROCRASTINATING? DO YOU MISS CHURCH ONLY TO SAY, ‘I WILL GO NEXT WEEK.’? ARE YOU PROCRASTINATING ABOUT STARTING YOUR DAY WITH A CONVERSATION WITH GOD? DO YOU PROCRASTINATE ABOUT SAYING ‘GOOD MORNING, LORD. THANK YOU FOR THE BREATHS I TAKE. PLEASE BE WITH ME THROUGH OUT THIS DAY. I WILL WALK TODAY AS YOU DIRECT.” ISN’T TODAY THE DAY TO SPEND A FEW MINUTES WITH GOD READING HIS WORD AND PARTICIPATING IN A GROUP BIBLE STUDY?

DON’T PROCRASTINATE WITH GOD. GOD DOES NOT PUT YOU OFF. DON’T PUT GOD OFF. DON’T PROCRASTINATE! JUST DO IT!

TODAY’S PRAYER: “THANK YOU LORD FOR GIVING ME THE STRENGTH OF MIND TO TAKE ON THE TASK AND DUTIES I AM RESPONSIBLE TO DO TODAY. HELP ME TAKE ON THE CHALLENGES WHICH I WOULD PREFER TO AVOID. ALLOW ME THE PRAISES FROM YOU FOR A JOB WELL DONE. AMEN.”

“DYED IN THE WOOL”

“WE HAVE COME TO SHARE IN CHRIST, IF INDEED WE HOLD OUR ORIGINAL CONVICTION FIRMLY TO THE VERY END.” HEBREWS 3: 14 NIV

READ: HEBREWS 3: 12-15

DO YOU KNOW THE ORIGIN OF ‘DYED IN THE WOOL’? BY MOST ACCOUNTS, IT STARTED IN MEDIEVAL TIMES IN EUROPE. THE SHEPHERDS WOULD DYE THEIR WOOL IN THE SHEARED RAW FORM RATHER THAN THE WOOL BEING SPUN INTO THREADS OR FINISHED FABRIC. THEY FOUND THE COLORS WERE MUCH BRIGHTER AND WOULD HOLD THEIR COLORS LONGER THAN THE THREADS AND FABRICS THAT WERE DYED MUCH LATER IN THE PROCESS.

TODAY WE USE THE PHRASE T0 DEFINE SOMETHING OR SOMEONE WHO IS NOT LIKELY TO CHANGE. THEY ARE ‘DYED IN THE WOOL’. USUALLY, THIS TYPE PERSON IS WELL KNOWN FOR THEIR OPINIONS ON A GIVEN SUBJECT.

THE BIBLE TELLS US ALSO OF A ‘DYED IN THE WOOL’ STORY. DOLLY PARTON ALSO SANG OF A COAT OF MANY COLORS AND OF HER MOTHER TELLING HER OF THE COAT JOSEPH WORE. WHEN JOSEPH WAS IN CHARGE OF PHARAOH’S EGYPT HE DRESSED AS ROYALTY. YET, THE COAT OF MANY COLORS WAS NEVER WORN BY JOSEPH IN EGYPT.

WHEN JOSEPH WAS THROWN DOWN THE WELL BY HIS BROTHERS, HE WAS TAKEN OUT AND SOLD TO MERCHANTS WHO IN TURN SOLD HIM INTO BONDAGE IN EGYPT. JOSEPH’S BROTHERS RETURNED TO THEIR FATHER WITH THE ORNATE (COAT OF MANY COLORS) ROBE HIS FATHER HAD GIVEN TO HIM. THE BROTHERS STAGED A STORY FOR THEIR FATHER BY SOAKING THE COAT IN BLOOD AND TELLING THEIR FATHER JOSEPH HAD BEEN EATEN AND CARRIED AWAY BY WILD ANIMALS.

PERHAPS JOSEPH’S COAT WAS ALSO MADE OF FABRIC WHICH HAD BEEN ‘DYED IN THE WOOL’, WHICH WOULD EXPLAIN THE ORNATE COAT JOSEPH’S FATHER HAD GIVEN HIM.

ARE YOU A ‘DYED IN THE WOOL’ CHRISTIAN? IS YOUR FAITH STRONG…SO STRONG THAT OTHERS KNOW YOU FOR YOU BELIEFS? IS YOUR CHRISTIAN WALK REFLECTIVE OF A TINTED FABRIC OR TRULY ‘DYED IN THE WOOL’. IS YOUR CONVICTION DEEP INTO YOUR VERY SOUL OR JUST ON THE SURFACE? IS YOUR COMMITMENT SO STRONG THAT ALL WHO KNOW YOU UNDERSTAND WITHOUT ANY DOUBT THAT YOU ARE UNSHAKABLE IN YOUR FAITH? IS YOUR FAITH STRONG BECAUSE OF YOUR COMMITMENT TO GOD OR IS YOUR FAITH STRONG BECAUSE OF GOD’S COMMITMENT TO YOU?

TODAY’S PRAYER: “LORD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR STRENGTH WHICH PROTECTS ME AND SUPPORTS ME IN ALL I DO. MY I PROUDLY WEAR A COAT OF MANY COLORS DISPLAYING YOUR LOVE. ALLOW ME TO DEPEND UPON YOU THIS DAY HELPING ME BE A ‘DYED IN THE WOOL’ BELIEVER FOR ALL TO SEE. AMEN”

“WINTER BLUES”

“NEVERTHELESS, MORE AND MORE MEN AND WOMEN BELIEVED IN THE LORD AND WERE ADDED TO THEIR NUMBER…CROWDS GATHERED ALSO FROM TOWNS AROUND JERUSALEM, BRINGING THEIR SICK AND THOSE TORMENTED BY IMPURE SPIRITS, AND ALL OF THEM WERE HEALED.” ACTS 5: 14 & 16 NIV

DO YOU EVER EXPERIENCE THE ‘WINTER BLUES’? MOST OF US HAVE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. BEING INSIDE MORE WITH LESS EXPOSURE TO THE SUN AND SHORTER DAYS SEEM TO HAVE AN EFFECT UPON MOST OF US. WHILE MANY OF US TOLERATE THESE SHORTER DAYS AND A REDUCED AMOUNT OF SUNLIGHT, SOME DON’T DO AS WELL. THERE IS NOW A RECOGNIZED FORM OF DEPRESSION CALLED ‘SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER’ OR SEEMINGLY APPROPRIATELY SHORTENED TO ‘SAD’. THIS FORM OF DEPRESSION IS SEEMINGLY MORE PREVALENT IN THE FAR NORTH, WITH ALMOST 10% BEING AFFECTED. INTERESTINGLY, IT IS LEAST FOUND IN THE SOUTH WITH RANGES FROM AS LOW AS 1.4% IN SUNNY FLORIDA. SOME NEED PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE WHILE MOST JUST NEED A LITTLE MORE SUNSHINE.

WE FIND OURSELVES DEPRESSED FOR MANY REASONS OTHER THAN JUST THE LACK OF SUNSHINE. JOB PROBLEMS, MARRIAGE PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS WITH CHILDREN, PROBLEMS WITH PARENTS, FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES AND HEALTH CONCERNS CAN ALL GET US DOWN. THERE IS NOTHING WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT OTHERS BEFORE DID NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH AS WELL.

GOD HAS GIVEN US A WONDERFUL INSTRUCTIONAL GUIDE WE CALL OUR BIBLE. WE CAN LEARN AND UNDERSTAND OUR SITUATION AND PROBLEMS, REASSURED BY KNOWING GOD IS THERE FOR US AS WE READ HIS HELPFUL STORIES IN SCRIPTURE.

NEXT TIME YOU HAVE THE ‘WINTER BLUES’ OR A SITUATION THAT IS GETTING YOU DOWN, PICK UP YOUR BIBLE. READ THE PROBLEMS OF JOB. HIS LOSS OF CHILDREN, WEALTH AND HEALTH WERE A MAJOR DEPRESSIVE TIME. READ OF ABRAHAM AND SARAH WHO LIVED FOR ALMOST ONE HUNDRED YEARS WAITING TO HAVE A CHILD. DON’T FORGET DAVID. HE RAN AND HID IN CAVES FROM SAUL. DAVID WROTE WONDERFUL WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT DURING HIS TIME OF DEPRESSION. ALL OF THESE HAD FAITH IN GOD AND DID NOT GIVE IN TO THE TAUNTS OF SATAN.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “DEAR GOD, HOLD ME IN YOUR HANDS TODAY. PROTECT ME FROM MY UNKNOWN FEARS AND TAUNTINGS OF SATAN. HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE YOU ARE WITH ME WHEN I NEED YOU THE MOST. THANK YOU GOD FOR LOVING ME. AMEN.”

“SUPER BOWL ?”

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” HEBREWS 5:12 NLT

READ HEBREWS 5: 11-14

SUPER BOWL INSANITY IS HERE. DID YOU KNOW A RECENT SURVEY FOUND ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS WOULD FAVOR SUPER BOWL SUNDAY BEING PROCLAIMED A NATIONAL HOLIDAY AND RATE IT’S IMPORTANCE AS A HOLIDAY AS ALMOST IMPORTANT AS CHRISTMAS? YES, AHEAD OF THANKSGIVING, THE FOURTH OF JULY AND ALL OTHER NATIONAL HOLIDAYS.

THERE WILL BE AN ESTIMATED 180,000,000 WATCHING THE GAME ON TV. THEY WILL DEVOUR 1.25 BILLION (YES, WITH A ‘B’) CHICKEN WINGS, TEN OF MILLIONS OF TONS OF CHIPS AND DIPS, AND AN ESTIMATED 100 MILLION CANS OR BOTTLES OF BEER. THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION HAS EXPECTED SALES OF SUPER BOWL FOOD, NEW TELEVISIONS, SPORTS CLOTHING AND FAN MEMORABILIA TO TOP 14 BILLION DOLLARS.

NOT ENOUGH? DID YOU KNOW THE AVERAGE AD SPOT IS NOW 4.5 MILLION DOLLARS FOR ONLY A 30 SECOND SPOT. SURVEYS TELL US OF THE TV VIEWERS ABOUT 40% COULD CARE NOTHING ABOUT THE SPORT AND WATCH THE GAME FOR THE COMMERCIALS ONLY, WHILE 45% WATCH THE GAME FOR THE SPORT. IF YOU ARE AT THE GAME INSTEAD OF WATCHING IT ON TV, YOU PAID AN AVERAGE PRICE OF $4,500 PER SEAT. AS OF THIS PAST FRIDAY, TICKETS WERE BEING RESOLD WITH ASKING PRICES AS MUCH AS $40,000.00 PER SEAT!

ARE YOU A LOYAL FAN OR OBSESSED? WE ALL NEED TO ENJOY OURSELVES, BUT WHEN IS ENOUGH TOO MUCH? WHAT IF WE PROMOTED GOD AND OUR CHURCH WITH AS MUCH FANFARE AND MONEY? ARE YOU AS EXCITED ABOUT GOD LOVING AND CARING FOR YOU AS YOU ARE THE SUPER BOWL? SHOULDN’T YOU BE?

MORE PEOPLE WILL WATCH THE SUPER BOWL ON TV THAN WILL ATTEND A CHURCH ON SUPER BOWL THIS SUNDAY.

SPENDING OVER $14,000,000,000.00 ON SUPER BOWL FOOD AND CLOTHING IS MORE THAN WE AS A NATION GIVE TO OUR CHURCHES. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF EVERYONE WHO WILL WATCH THE SUPERBOWL ON TV OR GO TO THE GAME GAVE AS MUCH TIME AND MONEY TO GOD?

GOD HAS A GREAT TEAM. YOU MIGHT NOT BE CAPABLE OF BEING THE QUARTERBACK ON A SUPERBOWL TEAM, BUT YOU CAN BE THE QUARTERBACK, RECEIVER, DEFENDER AND TOP SCORER ON GOD’S TEAM! HOW? STUDY GOD’S WORD AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND MEET ABOUT JESUS, THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. YOU CAN WITNESS AND BE ON THE SCOREBOARD AS EASILY AS ANYONE ELSE.

IF YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE SUPER BOWL, ENJOY THE GAME. IF YOU ARE MORE EXCITED ABOUT GOD, JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT RESIDING IN YOU, YOU CAN BE THE TOP SCORER WITH GOD.

ENJOY THE GAME, BUT ENJOY GOD MORE!

TODAY’S PRAYER: “DEAR JESUS, MAY I FIND BALANCE AND UNDERSTANDING IN THIS WORLD TODAY. HELP ME TO NOT OVER-INDULGE WITH THINGS OF THIS WORLD BUT TO BE FOCUSED UPON YOU. I PROMISE; YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD. AMEN.”