“3 PHASES OF LIFE”

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from HIS mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  Proverbs 2:6 NIV

Read:  Proverbs 2:1-22

I recently read someone’s misguided definition of the three phases of life.   They may seem to be fun explanations but should not be believed.  They were:

When we are young we are in a phase of life which is like taking a test before we had an opportunity to learn the lesson.

Phase two is middle age.  We learned all the lessons, but forgot a few of the things we learned along the way and still are making a few mistakes.

Phase three is when we think we are too old to learn, too old to correct past mistakes and feel we are too old to care.

Reading about these three phases may make us smile, but all are false.

In our youth, we are learning.  We are the best students when we pay attention to those around us who are teaching us.  Wisdom of our elders as in Proverbs 22:17 is our blessing: “Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;apply your heart to what I teach,”

Middle age is an opportunity.  Those things we did wrong are now opportunities to improve ourselves and correct those unfortunate mistakes.

If we ever think we are too old to care, we need to get on our knees.   Advancing age does not prevent us from learning as in youth or correcting our earlier mistakes.  Age gives us the pleasure of passing along all we have learned and experienced to those younger than us…and the circle of life continues.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for YOUR patience with me as I go through the phases of life.  Help me to surrender to YOUR wisdom and to those YOU have placed as mentors in my life.  Amen.”

“DON’T EVEN TRY IT!”

“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”  James 1:14 NIV

Read:  James 1:12-18

One of my grandsons was a real challenge going through what we call ‘the terrible twos’.  As he attempted to do what we told him not to do, we would demand “Don’t even try it!”.  It was almost comical to watch his daring resistance.   All little ones go thru the phase of ignoring or temporarily pretending to be deaf when we tell them ‘no!’.  For many, no simply means ‘OK, I can do it a little while longer’.

Some grow up to live their adult lives like that.  They want what they want and that is more important than anything else.  Rules, laws and the simple values of right and wrong are nothing more than challenges.   Telling them they need to follow rules is like pouring water off a duck’s back.

GOD told us about “No” just after creation.  Eve admitted to the serpent in Genesis 3:3; “But GOD did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”   GOD went the extra mile with Adam and Eve.   Not even did HE tell them to not eat the fruit, HE clearly told them to not even touch it.  By not touching it, they would be less tempted to eat it.

Jesus told us about authority.  In Luke 11:28, JESUS tell us: “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the WORD OF GOD and obey it.'”

Are you being obedient to GOD?   Do you ignore GOD when HE has already told you:  “Don’t even try it!”

Today’s prayer: “GOD MY MASTER, Thank YOU for giving me YOUR WORD as a guide of the things I must do and of the things I must not do.  Guide me today in remembering YOUR ‘no’ to the sin of this world.  Amen.”

 

“JUST OUT OF REACH!”

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever-the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  John 14:16-17 NIV
Read: John 14:14-21

Have you ever wanted to reach out to someone and felt they were just out of reach.  The truth is they were probably ‘just within reach’.   We are under the constant influence of Satan and he knows each of us well.  Whenever we are in a situation to do good, he is there to remind us of imagined limits or lack of confidence.

Satan does not want you reaching out to others.  But Satan does not keep you from doing what you should do.  The decision is yours not Satan’s.  His fallen angels will put obstacles in your path to discourage your efforts.  You will find by doing what GOD wants you to do is more achievable than you expected.

There are other times we put ourselves ‘just out of reach’ of others.  We can have an attitude which is displayed to others as ‘just don’t bother me’.  It is times like these that we probably need the caring attention of others the most.  We place ourselves out of reach when we think we can handle problems without help.

In all situations there is one thing we can depend upon.  GOD.  We know JESUS is at the right hand of GOD, knowing all that is going on in our lives.  GOD is always within your reach.   We also know the HOLY SPIRIT is alive in us if we have been born again.  The HOLY SPIRIT is more than within reach.  Think about it, you can feel HIS presence.

Don’t hide yourself from GOD’S reach.

Today’s prayer:   “LORD, Thank YOU for always being with me and never out of reach.   Help me to draw closer to you throughout my day.  Amen.”

 

“RAISE YOUR SHIELD FOR BATTLE!”

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  Ephesians 6:16 NIV

Read:  Ephesians 6: 10-18

When armies of old would prepare for battle, the commanders would cry out “raise your shields for battle”.  They were as concerned in defending themselves as they were in defeating their enemies.

Are you raising your shield for battle every morning?   Are you preparing yourself every morning as you start your day to defend yourself from the enemy of this world?

Satan and his army of angels are more than prepared to go into battle against you.  From little thing..to the big things.  Our Judeo-Christian faith is being assaulted by those who support false gods and those who profess their is no God at all.  By staying in prayer and spreading GOD’S WORD, we can make a difference.

Satan and his army of angels can be defeated.  You have a shield, they don’t.   You have the WORD OF GOD.   It is your shield against all enemies.  Since Satan’s army has no shield, GOD’S WORD becomes your weapon as well as your shield.   Your Bible is a shield to defend you and a spear that will destroy and turn evil away.

Today’s prayer:  “GOD OUR FATHER, Thank YOU for YOUR WORD.  Help me use it to defend the rights and life YOU have ordained for myself, my family and for others.  Amen.”

 

“DON’T SQUEEZE THE TOMATOES!”

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long”.  Matthew 23:5 NIV

Read:  Matthew 23:1-12

In order to check the quality of fruits and vegetables we may ‘squeeze’ them checking for firmness.  We may also judge the quality of these fruits and vegetables by color, size or weight.   With experience, we may be able to determine the quality of which is best.

What about the quality of your faith?   Are you worth squeezing?   Would squeezing you reveal your quality?   No one can judge the quality of your spiritual faith by color, size or weight.

You cannot judge the quality of others’ spiritual walk by their outward appearance as well.  You can’t determine Godly qualities by squeezing or by their visual appearance.   It is like the old expression; you can’t judge a book by its cover.

What we display outward may or may not be an indicator of who we are or of our true walk with GOD…but it should be.  We should project an image of a strong Christian walking this life as CHRIST would have us.  Others should know we are Christians by our words, actions and appearance.

JESUS cautioned the pharisees of their outward appearance.  They were prepared to be visually ‘squeezed’.   Their garments contained the appropriate tassels with phylacteries (small prayer boxes).   They looked good but did not have the grace of GOD.

Are you ripe in your faith or do others need to ‘squeeze’ you to know if you are ripe in your faith?

Today’s prayer:  “LORD MY GOD, Thank YOU for being with me in my walk with YOU.  Help me be the person You want me to be and to display myself as YOU would have.  Amen.”

 

“IT’S ALL GARBAGE!”

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”  Philippians 3:8 NIV

 

Read:  Philippians 3:7-11

 

My trash is picked up weekly by a contracted company.  Their truck broke down several times and the garbage piled up time and time again.  More than once, animals tipped the container over and I found myself picking up the garbage and  re-bagging the trash.

Have you ever thought about the millions of tons of trash thrown away daily?  We are certainly a disposable society.

In truth, all our earthly possessions will be garbage some day.   Things we value the most will rust, rot or become obsolete.   Of all we have, little is truly collectible or can be passed down to others…and none of it can we take with us when we are called home.

If you believe JESUS is your personal SAVIOUR you have one thing that is worth more than anything else you could ever possess.   You have the only thing of value that has no monetary value.   Every material thing you hope to have on this earth has a monetary value.   Eternal life is the gift that can never be bought and can never be taken away.

As you take pride in owning this or that, remember in weeks, months or years it is all garbage.

Why not turn to JESUS today?   Don’t join your possessions in the garbage dump.   JESUS can re-cycle you today.   If your life is problem laden or going downhill, JESUS can be turn it into a life of radiance on earth with a home eternally with HIM in Heaven.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for wanting the best for me.  Help me turn from a life of sin and garbage to being the person YOU want me to be.  Amen.”

 

“IN YOUR HEART?”

“…in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left”  2 Corinthians 6:6-7 NIV

Read:  2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Are you up for a riddle?   What has to be in before it can be given out?   Give up?  The purity in your heart.

Before you can gift actions of purity and goodness to others, you have to have purity in your heart.   So, where do you get the purity in your heart?

You can look the world over and never find it.   You can search Amazon and EBay and never find it offered.  You can amass fortunes and you will never be able to afford it.  It is priceless and will never be able to buy it.

Paul tells of purity, understanding, patience and kindness.  No matter the hardships and suffering, he walked the path JESUS desired of him.  Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand the purity of the love of the HOLY SPIRIT.

There is only one source where you can find purity: GOD through HIS SON.  JESUS alone can take away the impurities of your sins and fill you with the purity of THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Do you have purity in your heart?  You can.  Ask JESUS in!

Today’s prayer:  “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for sending YOUR SON to remove my sins and replace them with YOUR purity.  Help me to remain pure in all my thoughts and actions.  Amen.”

“GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE!”

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

 

Read:  Lamentations 3:22-27
When you wake up to a new day, would others greet you with ‘Good morning, Sunshine’?  Are you known for your sunny disposition?  Do you radiate good will, enthusiasm and a zest for life?

Do you seek GOD out during your waking hours or are you preparing for a drudgery day?  Sunshine or gloom?

GOD’S compassions are new every morning!   Isn’t that great news?  No matter the pain or problems of yesterday, GOD has prepared a new day and HE will be with you every minute of the day.   You can have HIS love, strength and support…unless you shut HIM out.  Acknowledge GOD’S presence during your day.

Be the sunshine attitude that will win over those difficulties.  It is easier than you think, but still takes a little effort.

Within minutes of waking (not hours or when you get around to it), open your Bible.  Have a study time with GOD reading and praying.   Talk with GOD.  Tell HIM all that is on your mind, pray for those special plans, difficulties and include all those you know asking GOD to help them with their problems.   Be specific.  Specific prayers get specific answers.

If you want GOD to give you HIS time anytime you call upon HIM during the day, give HIM a respectful time when you wake.  Who knows…someone may just call you “Sunshine”!

Today’s prayer:  “DEAR LORD,  Thank YOU for giving me a new day.  Thank YOU for forgiving my failures of yesterday and giving me a new opportunity to do life today YOUR way.  Remind me of my prayer time this morning and to stay in prayer with YOU all day.  Amen.”

 

“NEVER BE DEFEATED!”

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:3 NIV

 

Read:  Galatians 6:3-10

 

You will never be defeated, no matter what you are doing if you will do one thing.   You may not win in each situation but you will never be defeated.   How, you ask?   Simple, just never give up.   As long as you continue your efforts, whatever the task, you can’t be defeated.  Never give up and you will never be defeated.

Paul was a great example.   Once he became a believer, Paul never gave up spreading the Gospel of JESUS.  From a vicious non-believer to a writer of a substantial part of the New Testament, Paul never gave up.   Paul not only took the message of CHRIST to the gentiles, he instructed gentile and Jewish disciples while delivering the message throughout what we now know as Euro-Asia.  Paul did not try to preach the Gospel…he did it.

When we just try, we fail.   The very definition of trying is to not succeed.   If you try it means you will not be successful.  By not stopping, you will not fail.

Continued effort will reward you.  Never give up and you will not be defeated.
We can learn a lot from the life and writings of Paul.  We can also learn from the passion Paul displayed in all his teachings.

Living our lives as CHRIST would have is our Christian duty.  It is not about trying.   It is about doing.  Never give up and you will win the victory JESUS promised.  You will have eternal life.

Paul never gave up.  You don’t ever have to give up.  Do as CHRIST would have you.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for never giving up on me.  Help me learn to never give up on myself and my walk with YOU.  Give me the strength to help and never give up on others.  Amen.”