“THE GREATEST STRENGTH!”

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV

 Read: 1 Corinthians 1:25-31

The strongest person in the world is reported to be Brian Shaw. Mr. Shaw has won three recent “World’s Strongest Man” competitions. Standing a full 6’8″ and weighing more than 430 pounds, he is reported to have lifted 1,140 pounds. Amazing! Mr. Shaw did not accomplish his victories by waiting for someone else. He took the gift which GOD gave him and put it into practice by diet and exercise.

Mr. Shaw’s accomplishment is physical strength; not running the fastest, not being the tallest, not being the shortest, not being the best swimmer or not being the greatest tri-athlete.

We have two lessons today. First, we all have something we are good at, something where we can excel. Do all you can to enhance GOD’S gift. GOD has given you the ability to do good. Use HIS gift to benefit yourself and to benefit others.

Our second lesson is: The greatest strength we can ever possess is the weakness it takes in loving GOD. The denial of oneself takes more strength than anything else. If you have ever attempted to eliminate a bad habit from your life, you found this to be true. Without GOD’S help, it is easier to go along with the ways of this world and all of its evils than to be submissive to GOD and stand up for HIM and all HE has told us to do.

Be strong. Give your life to God!

Today’s prayer: “Our Father, Thank you for showing me my strengths and my weaknesses. Help me today to be strong in the weaknesses which please you and will benefit me. Amen.”

“SOMEBODY DID SOMEBODY WRONG!”

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging GOD; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on HIS foes and vents HIS wrath against HIS enemies.” Nahum 1:2 NIV

Read: Nahum 1:1-7 Do you ever listen to country music? There are a lot of songs referred to as ‘somebody did somebody wrong songs’. Actually, there was a song with that as the title! A lot of the country songs have this wronging as a theme. Somebody wronged somebody by taking their wife or what sounds worse according to the song’s lyrics; somebody took their truck or their dog!

No matter who we are, somebody has done something wrong to each of us. We have all been wronged! Maybe you are holding onto a wrong of years ago and just can’t let it go or maybe somebody wronged you today.

Depending on the who, where, when and how you were wronged, you might have wanted revenge. Revenge never settles the score. Revenge will not make you feel better or undo the wrongs you have felt. Turn it over to GOD. GOD in HIS own way will do what needs to be done. Understand, HE is on HIS timetable in these situations. GOD may not do what you want for revenge or within your timetable. Once you give it to GOD, it is his problem. Don’t take it back. You will feel better once you find comfort of giving it to GOD.

The same GOD who allowed the free will of the person who wronged you is also your GOD who can heal you of the wrongs of others and the wrongs we have done to ourselves.

Next time you hear a ‘somebody did somebody wrong song’, enjoy the talent of the writer and singer but feel the blessings or our Father that HE is going to make it all better in your life. Listen for a ‘GOD did somebody good song’.

Today’s prayer: “Thank your LORD for protecting me from the wrongs of others that I don’t even know about. Make me more aware of the healings you have given to me by your love. Help me to not be somebody doing somebody else wrong. Amen.”

“NAME IT AND CLAIM IT?”

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 NIV

Read: Romans 10:9-13

There are several newer ministries professing a ‘name it and claim it’ doctrine. If you want a new Mercedes or a new job, they teach all you have to do is make up your mind that you want it or think you need it and GOD will answer your prayers giving you all you ask of HIM.

Truthfully, there is nothing in scripture that tells us GOD will give us everything we want. Scripture does tell us to be aware of false teachers. GOD does want us to have all we need, but HE expects us to understand the difference between needs and desires. When Moses and the people were in the desert after gaining freedom from Egypt, they needed food. GOD provided the needed food for HIS people. Manna from heaven soon was not good enough for them. They wanted something different. To desire more is not a bad thing in itself as long as we are first thankful for all GOD has given us. ‘Name it and claim it’ so that GOD will provide it is simply not true. GOD knows what is best for us on an individual basis. Just because a neighbor can afford a new luxury car is not an assurance that we should also have one. Material possessions can be pleasures but are not a yardstick of success or happiness. The only ‘name it and claim it’ is JESUS CHRIST. If you honestly name and claim JESUS as your personal savior, you will have eternal life. Isn’t it time to claim JESUS? There is not one reason to wait a minute longer.

Today’s prayer: “JESUS, I do claim YOU as my LORD and SAVIOR. I want the non-material riches only YOU can supply in my life. Help me to know YOU are with me today. Amen.”

 

“WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK?”

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” Psalm 91:11 NIV

Read: Psalm 91:9-16

There is a local attorney who advertises he ‘has your back’. It seems he seemingly means well, but in reality he may be able to help his clients only in limited situations.

Throughout a 24 hour day, no one on this earth really ‘has your back’. There are limitations we all have to live with. No matter what we want to do to help others, we all have limitations. We can’t be all things to all people and no one can be all things to us.

So, “Who’s got your back?” In the day to day life we live on this earth, there are only three we can depend upon. No matter how good or bad you think a situation is only GOD, JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT are there for you 24/7. Our triune GOD is with you no matter where you are.

Even at times you feel all alone or abandoned, GOD has your back. Those moments when things seem so bad you know they can’t get any worse and then they do get worse…GOD still has your back.

Sometimes our biggest problem is not remembering GOD really has our back but instead falsely depending upon ourselves or others to do what only GOD can do. Even when you feel all alone, GOD has your back.

Today’s prayer: “My FATHER, Thank you for always protecting me. Help me to remember that even at times of fears and doubts, I am secure since you always have my back. Amen.”

“HE IS WRITING ON THE WALL!”

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.'”  Exodus 3:14 NIV

 

Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you–I am he.'”  John 4:26 NIV

Read:   John 4:23-34

(Today’s devotional is dedicated to the Persyn family) 

A close friend’s parents had been in a care facility for some time.   Both of their healths were failing.   His father asked one of my friend’s brothers if he could see the man writing on the wall.  He said he could not see it.  The aging father was convinced a man was writing “I AM” on a blank wall.   It was a comforting moment for the aging father whose wife laid just feet away, failing and silently being given morphine.   Two days later, his ailing wife was taken to heaven.

  

Of all the words for this aged man to see, “I AM” were the words he needed to see and to hear in his heart.   GOD answers prayers, sometimes before they are even asked. 

  

Years ago, I was asked of all GOD’S scriptures, what did I think were the most important words in the Bible.   Without hesitation, I responded: “I AM”.

 

If we understand that GOD is the only “I AM”, then all other scriptures are dependent upon these two huge words; “I AM”.  Select any verse in your Bible and you will find that it exists only because GOD is the great “I AM”.

 

GOD is many things to each of us.  The greatest for each of us is “I AM”!   From the creation to the resurrection of JESUS, our LORD and SAVIOR, everything was, is and will be by “I AM”.  

  

Would you say you just know who “I AM” is or can you say you have a personal relationship with “I AM”?  GOD told Moses to tell the people of “I AM”.  Jesus confirmed over and over again these same words.   JESUS is “I AM”.  Is JESUS your “I AM”?

Today’s prayer: “JESUS MY LORD, Thank you for being my ‘I AM’.  Help me to grow in knowing the greatness of YOU being ‘I AM’ and the comfort YOU bring to me and others.  Amen.”  

 

“LORD WILLIN’ AND THE CREEKS DON’T RISE!”

“They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own GOD.” Daniel 3:28b NIV
Read: Daniel 3:10-28

Every so often, I find myself reflecting back on things and times of my youth. My mother’s dad was a man of very few words. I never remember Papa raising his voice or angry about anything. He was calm and straight. When asked about being somewhere at a certain time or day, his response was a reassuring; “LORD willin’ and the creeks don’t rise!”

His answer held a lot of truth we can use today. First, he acknowledged that GOD’S will comes first. This simple reverence tells much about an individual. We should all hold GOD first above all else. Secondly, he was aware of the world around us and the obstacles of this world which we may have little or no control. The world we live in is Satan’s stomping ground and we need to be aware of his snares and pitfalls.

The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faithful servants of our LORD. They held GOD first above all others and were thrown into a furnace to die for their faith. Instead, they were aided by a fourth, the spirit of GOD, in the furnace and none were burned. King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed, he found himself worshiping the GOD he had attempted to destroy.

How will you greet today and its obstacles? “LORD willin’ and the creeks don’t rise” may just give you the slight edge you may need. Hold GOD first above all else of this day and then be aware of Satan’s presence.

Today’s prayer: “My LORD, Thank you for making me aware of YOUR will needing to come first in this distorted world. Help me help others to understand YOUR magnificent will and Satan’s snares. Amen.”

“SHORTER DAYS”

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

With the cooler mornings, we know the seasons are changing and the daylight hours are dwindling. The near 14 hours of daylight we took for granted during the summer months will be replaced with about 10 hours of daylight in a few months.

Soon, we will find ourselves inside more than outside with many of those outdoor activities put on hold until spring. Our focus will need to change to what we can do indoors. We still have the same amount of hours in the day, just a little less sunshine.

As much as we enjoy the long summer days, GOD has HIS reasons for the seasons. These new indoor hours can be a blessing! Now, we can spend time re-establishing our relationship with our LORD.

Those quiet dark early mornings are an excellent time to read your bible and devotionals combined with prayers for those on your prayer list. With an early setting sun, the evenings lend themselves to a bible study at your church or fellowship study.

This is a great time to host a bible study in your home for all your neighbors. Invite all. We worship the same risen SAVIOR, JESUS, regardless of Christian denomination. Set doctrinal differences aside and share the truth of the gospel with your neighbors. You will find some of your neighbors who don’t attend church will come to your home as a neighbor. The great commission starts just outside your front door.

Listen to GOD’S calling and answer HIM.

Today’s prayer: “LORD, Thank YOU for the changing seasons. Help me reflect upon what I can do for YOU. Help me to use these changing hours to benefit others. Amen.”

“FRIEND OR REAL FRIEND?”

“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14 NIV

Read: Luke 11:5-8

It has been said we have only two or three real friends during our entire life. We may be exaggerating the truth when we say we have lots of friends. How many of them would really get out bed at 1 a.m. and come to help you? Most would probably tell you they would come the next day or after their normal waking time. You may call them friends, but are they real friends?

Could the same be said of you? Would you get dressed after a 1 a.m. phone call and drive across town or across your state at a moments notice to help a friend or would you try to schedule a time that was more convenient? Would you be a friend or a real friend? Are you a friend that would drop anything and everything just because someone asked? Would you do the same for someone who did not ask, but you knew needed your help? Are you a friend or a real friend?

When was the last time you called a ‘friend’ whom you have not heard from in weeks or months? Do you tell yourself; ‘If they were a friend they would call me!’ A real friend reaches out.

Scripture tells us of real friends. Abraham was called GOD’S friend. That’s a real friend! King David had a real friend in Jonathan. Jonathan pledged his allegiance to David betraying his father Saul. When Lazarus became ill, his sisters sent for JESUS telling him (John 11:3) “Lord, the one you love is sick.” There was no mention of Lazarus by name…JESUS knew who was his real friend.

Who is your real friend? Like the old hymn says; “What a friend we have in JESUS!” Is JESUS your ‘real friend’? JESUS will be your best real friend when you accept HIM as your LORD and SAVIOR.

Today’s prayer: “JESUS, After knowing all I have done and said, thank you for being my friend. Be with me today as I reach out to those who need a real friend. Amen.”