“DID YOU FORGET STEP 3?”

“Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”

Psalm 119:35 NIV

Read: Psalm 119: 10-35

This Christmas you may have the opportunity to assemble a toy or gift for a loved one. Many times, we buy a gift only to find it is not assembled and the box is full of a dozen or more parts along with a set of instructions in a half dozen languages.

As we go through the motions of ‘tab D in slot 6’, we can find ourselves looking at something that is not quite right. That is usually when we decide to read the instructions. Almost instantly, we see in our anxiousness to put the parts together, we skipped step 3! Now, we have to dis-assemble part of our work so we can complete the forgotten step.

Our Christian walk sometimes is like that. We all too often, thinking we know better than GOD, do things our way. After all, we know what we are to do and think there is no reason to read the directions. These are the times that things seem to be going well and then adversity sits in, disappointment overwhelms us or a problem presents itself that seems to undermine our faith.

There is one solution. Read the instructions. GOD gave us HIS word. Scripture is not to be read one time as an instruction manual. GOD created HIS Bible as an ongoing conversation with us. HIS Bible is not just an instruction book but it serves as a daily reference of what GOD wants and expects from us.

When we take the time to study HIS word daily, we will have less chance of creating problems with our lives. When we are in the scriptures daily, we will find our daily activities are GOD centered and we are less likely to be the victim of Satan’s attacks.

Don’t forget step 3! GOD is there to help you assemble your life…daily, minute by minute.

Today’s Prayer: “Dear GOD, Thank YOU for giving me your word as directions to live my life as YOU desire. Help me to be obedient to your instructions. Amen.”

 

“ARE YOU STRUCK OR STUCK?”

“We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 NIV

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:8-18

Life has a way of striking us down, usually at what we think is an inconvenient time. The furnace goes out or the car stops on the way to work. Sometimes even more serious events strike us down. What do you do when it a serious health problem, a job loss or marriage problems strikes?

Your response to these problems say a lot about your faith. When you are struck down you don’t have to be stuck down. Being struck down is never a permanent stuck down situation.

Many once struck down by the trials of life elect to give up and remain stuck at the bottom of a depressed state. There is a choice. While it is more difficult than said, picking yourself up is more possible when you turn your situation over to GOD. GOD does not want you stuck in a lowly position. GOD wants the best for you.

If GOD wants the best for you, you should want the best for yourself. You may find yourself struck down many times during your life, but you don’t have be stuck down. With your faith in the perfect love of JESUS, you can feel HIS uplifting spirit.

Remind yourself of the poem ‘Footprints In The Sand’. When we see only one set of footprints, rest assured those are the times JESUS was carrying you. Struck down in many ways, we are all raised up to do the goodness of our LORD and never forever ‘stuck’ down.

Put your faith in all situations in GOD THE FATHER, JESUS THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.

 

Today’s prayer: “My FATHER in Heaven, Thank you for lifting me up when Satan and the problems of life strike me down. Please, remind me during these times I am not alone and you are with me. Amen!”

“COULDAH, WOULDAH, SHOULDAH!”

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 NIV

Read: Psalm 32: 1-11

These words may not be spelled correctly or even real words from the dictionary, but we have all heard them before. The phrase reminds us in a lighthearted way of what was maybe a bad decision. Unfortunately, bad decisions seldom need to be remembered in a lighthearted sense.

What couldah happened, did not happen the right way. We couldah done this or we couldah done that. We couldah made other decisions that would have resulted in a totally different outcome.

What we wouldah done is often the advice we offer others. It seldom is applied to our own situations. It is usually easier to tell others what we wouldah done in their situation than in our own.

Once we have the benefit of hindsight, we are more apt to know what we shouldah done in the first place. Shouldah comes to light earlier when we stop before taking actions without prayer.

We don’t have to worry about the couldah, wouldah or shouldah of our lives when we depend on our LORD and SAVIOUR. By taking the time to have a one on one conversation with GOD we can be more assured of making the right decisions…if we listen to HIM.

Take the couldah, wouldah and shouldah from your troubles and give them to GOD. HE is there for you before, during and after your trials and incorrect actions.

Today’s prayer: “My caring LORD, Thank YOU for always being there for me, for loving me when I err by what I couldah, wouldah and shouldah done. Help me to be more dependent upon YOUR guidance. Amen.”

 

“DOERS DO!”

“‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. ” ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’” Acts 22:10 NIV

Read: Acts 22:8-16

It is said there is one thing successful people have over those who are less than successful. Those who are most successful in any area of their lives are those who simply do what is needed to be done. We can day dream of doing what is needed or we can talk about doing something, but nothing will happen until we actually do it!

‘Doers do’ is not just about our jobs in this sometimes all too often humanly world. ‘Doing’ is what GOD expects us to do. GOD expects us to ‘do’ as HE tells us. We can think about what GOD wants us to do, we can even tell others what GOD wants us to do, but we will not please HIM until we ‘do’ as GOD tells us.

Our Bibles tell us hundreds times of GOD instructing HIS people to ‘do’ as HE said. Some were HIS direct instructions while some were HIS instructions through others. Each time, GOD has a purpose. We have been given the benefit of these verses so we can live our lives as GOD intended. We can read the verses and see the good and the wrongs of those lessons. We can understand the lessons GOD is telling us by injecting ourselves into the verses. When we bring GOD lessons into our present day lives we can clearly hear what HE wants us to do.

With each instruction to go and do, we see an immediacy. We are not to procrastinate. When GOD tells us to do as HE says, there is a given understanding to do it now. No where in GOD’S word does HE tell us to ‘do’ when we get around to it, when it fits our time table or when we have nothing better to do.
Be a ‘doer’ and do as GOD has told you…immediately or sooner!

 

“GIVE IT BACK!”

“But remember the LORD your GOD, for it is HE who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms HIS covenant, which HE swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV

Read: Hebrews 7:1-6

Have you ever been given something by someone and then they asked for it back? Perhaps after a misunderstanding, they felt they were deserving of getting their gift back. How about repaying a debt? Do you have to pay your debts? Are you bound by your honor to return things that were loaned to you?

There is another ‘give it back’. One that will make you feel good. This time of year, churches are preparing budgets for the new year. Part of the efforts are tithing promises and stewardship drives. Many get anxious about hearing the need of financial help. Some squirm in their seats thinking; “They are asking for money again!” The ‘they’ you may refer to are not separate. You and every member of your church are part of the ‘they’. The needed funds are not for ‘them’, the funds are needed for all the ‘yous’ in your church family. Churches are often asking simply because the ‘giving’ has been inadequate.

Remember, in truth all your donations and tithing are not ‘gifts’ at all. Your ‘gifts’ are not ‘gifts’ but are an opportunity to ‘give it back’. Everything you have came to you from GOD. GOD has blessed you with every financial and material possession you claim as yours. There is nothing you have that was not given to you by GOD’S authority. Of course, you worked for the better life. But, it was GOD who gave you the physical and mental abilities to work and acquire all you have.

All you have is on loan to you. You can’t take it with you. As you donate and contribute during these tithing and stewardship drives, be generous to GOD and ‘give it back’. It was his money to start with!

Today’s prayer: “FATHER GOD, Thank YOU for all you have done for me and all YOU have given me to enjoy on this earth. Please guide me in the decisions I must make to give back to YOU a portion of what is YOURS already. Amen.”

 

“SPITTIN’ IN THE WIND!”

“JESUS answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer.'” Luke 22:67b-68 NIV

Read: Luke 22:66-23:4

Think about it. Why would you ever want to spit into the wind? If you ever have, you know the results. The greatest problem is not physically spitting into the wind. The greatest problems are our related actions. Those actions of anger, retaliation, vocally insulting another, cutting off someone on the freeway, gossiping for any reason or ignoring someone who could benefit from your help are all actions that will result with a mess on your face.

We are no better than anyone else and we have no justification for our condemning words or actions. What good do we do when we provoke or retaliate?

JESUS taught us well. But, all to often, we are not the best students. How many lessons must we be taught before we open our hearts and learn from the greatest teacher? When grilled by the pharisees, JESUS kept HIS cool. Unlike us, HE never argued. Instead, JESUS told them truths. HE gave them lessons from scriptures without anger or slander.

The next time you are ready to attack someone to provoke them or to retaliate for their actions or words, don’t do it. You will be simply ‘spittin’ in the wind’ and you will have to wear your own disgrace all over your face sometimes for days, months or even decades or you can do the right thing and wear the results of your actions with honor.

Like mama always said; “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

Today’s prayer: “JESUS, my LORD, Thank YOU for teaching me the right way to conduct myself. Help me as I remember my words and my actions will cover my face in disgrace or honor. Amen.”

“EAT DESSERT FIRST!”

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. Revelation 22: 12 NIV

Read: Revelation 22: 12-21 We sometimes hear it said we should eat dessert first. I could be easily persuaded to change my dining habits and enjoy dessert first! Wouldn’t life be great if we could enjoy all the good stuff first?

When we accept JESUS as our LORD, our personal SAVIOR, we really are living our lives enjoying all of HIS goodness. Of course, we have to contend with all the evils and challenges Satan throws at us on a day to day basis. It’s those times, we can enjoy our dessert first life. The grace of our LORD is with us during those times. We don’t have to wait. As believers, GOD is with us. Then, it only gets better! When our lives on earth come to their ends, we are taken into Heaven to enjoy the ‘dessert’ GOD has for us for all eternity.

When starting a new book, some read the last chapter first wanting to know how the story ends. As Christians, we are blessed with knowing how GOD’S story ends. Revelation gives us our SAVIOR’S absolute guarantees.

Many have started reading their Bible from cover to cover and never made it to Revelation. Most can quote Genesis 1:1; “In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth.” How many can remember the last verse in the Bible? Appropriately, Revelation 22:21 tells us; “The grace of the LORD JESUS be with GOD’S people. Amen.” This is truly is a ‘dessert first’ verse.

Read Revelation and enjoy the wonderful ‘dessert’ JESUS has for all HIS believers.

Today’s prayer: “JESUS, Thank you for the wonderful blessings you have given us during our time on earth. Help me to prepare myself for all the blessings with you in Heaven. Amen.”

 

“MILE MARKER 545”

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?'” Mark 4:13 NIV

Read: Mark 4:9-13

While traveling an interstate highway with retired pastor, we were discussing where I get the inspiration for writing these devotionals. The truth is it is all from GOD. If it were not from GOD’S inspiration, these devotionals would never be written.

As we traveled the highway, we passed mile marker 545. Something so simple that we take for granted, instantly became the inspiration for this devotional. How many times do you (just as I) ignore the simple things in our life that GOD puts right in front of us to get our attention?

There are times others are telling us about a situation and we fail to understand the pain, hurt or difficulty they are enduring. Other times, GOD uses what seems so insignificant to get our attention totally for our benefit. Sometimes, we need more than HIS subtle hint. We fail to appreciate all the clues and hints GOD gives us during our seemingly routine days. Whether GOD is using what seems like a hint or bellows through a bullhorn, we need to more attentive to what GOD is telling us.

The old testament gives us ‘mile markers’ of what GOD wants and expects of HIS people. From Moses to the prophets we learn of the obedience and disobedience of HIS people. HIS instructions as clear as the ten commandments or HIS instructions through the lips of prophets, GOD tells us in so many ways of HIS desires for our lives. JESUS tells us in the new testament sometimes directly and sometimes through parables the ‘mile markers’ of our necessary obediences and of promises of eternity with HIM, our risen SAVIOR.

Are you paying attention to the ‘mile markers’ GOD’S word describes for you?

Today’s Prayer: “My LORD AND SAVIOR, Thank YOU for giving me your ‘mile markers’ to guide my life. Help me to pay attention to these guides for my life as YOU desire. Amen.”

 

“WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE”

“I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 1:7 NIV

Read: 2 John 1:7-11

In going through life, do you ever get a wake up call? Has someone told you to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’? Sometimes, another’s sarcastic prompting is exactly what we need. We need that abrupt, tell it like it is comment for us to understand the reality of a situation. We need to wake up and face reality.

Is there a situation you have set aside, perhaps in hope that left alone long enough it will go away? ‘Wake up and smell the coffee’ is an adage that deserves our attention. When faced with the truth, we need to ask GOD what we should do. Facing a situation alone is not the wisest decision. When asking GOD for help, understand you are asking HIM to lead you. When being led, we must take our place behind the leader. Asking GOD for help, then trying to be GOD will not work. GOD helps us when we follow HIM.

The great prophets told GOD’S people for centuries to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. The prophets warned the people of their disobedience and intentional failings. Just as we do today, the people were more interested in their selfish desires than being obedient to GOD’S protection of instruction.

Our nation is at a crossroads. Political leaders all seem to have their own agenda. At the same time, there are evangelists, preachers and ministers today who are warning us, just as the prophets of old, to pay attention to GOD’S Bible. HIS word of all ages is as true today as five thousand years ago.

“Wake up and smell the coffee!” Read your Bible today. Listen to HIS words as you read, then do as HE says.

Today’s Prayer: “ALMIGHTY GOD, hear my prayer. For too long, I have done things my way and not your way. Today, help me to awake to your teachings and instructions in my life. Amen.”