“PROBLEM SOLVED!”

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
Read:  Zephaniah 3:14-20

 

Have you ever had a problem that seemed to take over your life?   Maybe a personal health issue or that of a loved one is burdening your mind.   Financial problems rank high on the list of problems for many.   Marriage difficulties and our children’s (Regardless of their ages) struggles can become obsessions.

 

Maybe, you are like me.   There are times, I think I can fix a problem on my own.   I can’t solve all my problems and you can’t either.   If you have relied upon others, how has that worked out for you?   There is only one real problem solver.

GOD is our great PROBLEM SOLVER!  GOD always has a solution.  Only GOD has true wisdom. HIS way is usually very different than what we planned or imagined would happen in a given situation.

If GOD’S problem solving way is so much better than ours, why don’t we just give the problem to HIM in the first place?

JESUS told us in Matthew 10:29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

GOD will care for the sparrows and HE will care for you.  Turn all those thoughts you feel are problems over to HIM.  Do it today.

Today’s prayer:  “Thank YOU, GOD for solving all my problems before I even knew they existed in my mind.   Help me more dependent upon YOU and lay my problems at YOUR feet.  Amen.”

“HAVE YOU BEEN CAST OUT?”

“Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Romans 4:8 NIV

Read:  Romans 4:4-8

Have you been cast out?  In past years, did you make a huge mistake that turned others against you?   Maybe, you even have several skeletons in your closet.  We can find those who we felt were our closest friends don’t want to have anything to do with us.

 

It may be those we work with.   Sometimes those we have worshiped with are those most critical.   Then, being cast out by our own families is most damaging.

Remember, if you have sincerely asked GOD to forgive you, HE has.  If others cannot accept the fact of you being forgiven, the problem is theirs; not yours.   That is the time you need to say “Thank YOU JESUS!” and pray for them.

Don’t beat yourself up by living in the past by not accepting GOD’S forgiveness and not forgiving yourself.   Don’t live in the past.  The past is over.  Live for today and all the tomorrows GOD has for you.

 

Read and study the story of Saul (Paul).   Saul hated Christians.   He had them tortured, jailed and murdered.    JESUS forgave him and used him as HIS chosen to minister and take the gospel to the gentiles across Euro-Asia.  Paul did not allow those who had cast him out to influence his new life in JESUS.

Don’t sell yourself short.   Use GOD’S forgiveness as your springboard to the new life GOD wants you to have.   Don’t be cast out.  Be cast up!

Today’s prayer:   “LORD MY GOD, Thank YOU for being the generous forgiver and allowing me to live a changed life for YOU.   Help me to use this new forgiven life as YOU alone desire.   Amen.”

 

“INTENSIVE CARE UNIT!”

“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.”  Psalm 41:3 NIV

Read: Psalm 41:1-3

If all has gone well, I am being released from the hospital about the time you are reading this.  A few weeks ago, I had a routine surgery.  Unknown at the time, but while in surgery I was infected with ‘e coli’.   Last Friday, it erupted into my entire blood system.   In less than 10 minutes, my entire body was infected.   I began to shake violently, could not stand or walk and within minutes more went in and out of consciousness.  My blood pressure dropped in half.   My kidneys shut down.  My heart rate slowed.  I was in severe septic shock!  A doctor later told me a few hours later that at one time I had been “only a few feet from death’s door”.

 

They did not know GOD’S plan.   As you read this, my labs and vital signs are almost normal.  Thank YOU, JESUS!   But, the story is not about me.   The story is about you and everyone reading this devotional.

GOD has a plan for you.   Are you ready for GOD’S plan for your life?  So many in the world are on life support in their own intensive care unit.  They trust themselves more than GOD.   GOD has given you enormous strength and abilities.  But, remember those strengths and abilities are GOD’S, not yours.

Are you spending your life in the intensive care unit of this world or are you resting daily in the safe, intensive care of GOD’S love?   If you were taken into an ICU, would you be counting on your SAVIOUR to guide the wisdom and hands of the doctors, nurses and staff?  They may be great people, but none of them can save you.   Only GOD can take you from just feet of death’s door.

Today’s prayer:   “JESUS, MY LORD, Thank YOU for being ‘THE GREAT PHYSICIAN’ and healing my physical, emotional and spiritual pains.   Guide me today to share this gospel message to all I come in contact.  Amen.”

“STICKS AND STONES . . . “

“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”   Colossians 3:8 NIV

Read:  Colossians 3:8

 

A childhood response to a hurtful, slanderous statement or intentional put down was; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”   While it may sound good, but it is little more than false hope.

 

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can and do hurt.   Words can do more damage at times than those sticks and stones.

 

Children can be cruel to one another, but are not alone in being talked down and criticized.  Adults of all ages are being emotionally destroyed daily.  It may be from an abusive spouse, an angry boss or even a total stranger.

Satan uses all kinds of people to carry out his agenda.  You may know someone who attempts to elevate their own agenda by tearing others down.  That’s when you can make a difference!

Lift someone up today.   Find a nice thing to say to everyone you meet.   It may be a simple compliment.  Tell them of how much you appreciate their work.   Tell them of how nice they look or thank them for their great smile.

Your simple kinds words may be the nicest thing another hears all day.   Your kind words can override the hurtful words and actions of others.   You can make a difference.  Make the difference today.

Today’s prayer:   “HOLY SPIRIT, Thank YOU for being with me and lifting me up every day.   Help me lift others up today through kind words and telling them of how much YOU love them.  Amen.”

“SAGEBRUSH ADVICE?”

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”   2Timothy 3:16 NIV

Read:   2Timothy 3:10-17

Have you ever driven through the southwest United States and seen the tumbling tumbleweeds rolling across the highways and bare fields?  These dried and uprooted sagebrushes tell us a life’s story.

 

They have no purpose and are being tossed about by the whim of the wind.  There are a lot of people like that.  They seem to have lost their purpose in life having given up on all GOD has for them.

Let’s look at two types of advice.   First is sage advice.  Sage advice is what we all should seek.   Sage advice comes from someone we respect.   We acknowledge them as wise beyond their years, prudent and reflecting quality reasoning.

Sagebrush advice is based loosely on street smarts.  It may not be of wisdom or of quality reasoning.   It may be good or bad advice and may come from someone like the tumbling tumbleweed.  That is why it is called sagebrush advice.   At one time it was well rooted.   Now it is dead and may have no value since being uprooted and tossed around.
The world we live in is full of sagebrush advice.  Don’t listen.  Scripture is sage advice.  No one can be more trusted or respected than GOD.  No one else is GOD.   No one can even come close to GOD’S reasoning.  Real sage advice is GOD breathed.

Today’s prayer:   “Thank YOU, LORD, for giving me YOUR word, YOUR Holy Bible, as perfect advice.   Help me discern the difference of YOUR sage advice and the world’s sagebrush advice.   Amen.”

 

“BRAIN DEAD!”

“But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'”  Matthew 8:22 NIV 

 

Read:   Matthew 8:18-22

‘Brain dead’ was at one time only a medical term.   It meant when a patient’s brain activity stops they are legally dead.   Machines can keep the lungs and heart functioning artificially.  But, machines cannot keep the brain functioning.

 

Today we hear ‘brain dead’ for other reasons.  It has become a slang term for those who have no apparent goals or desire to adapt into normal social activities.  ‘Brain dead’ has also been used as the title of a movie and television show about politics in Washington.   Now, there is a possibility of a real definition.
We also have a growing generation of those who are ‘spiritually dead’.   They have heard the gospel…at least part of it.  They know who JESUS is, but they do not know JESUS.

They claim to have it all.   But, they are spiritually dead.   They have a family, a home, a car.  They have family gatherings, go to events and have nice clothes.   But, they are spiritually dead.  They don’t see the need for JESUS.  They feel they are doing all right on their own.

There is another group who are not ‘spiritually dead’.   Yet, they are on spiritual life support.  They go to church, maybe often.  They may even pray over a meal once in while on a special occasion.   Sometimes, they may even glance at their Bible.

JESUS told us to let those who are spiritually dead bury the dead in today’s scripture reading.  Are you brain dead, spiritually dead or is your faith on life support?   Isn’t it time you had a spiritual check up?

Today’s prayer:  “My RISEN SAVIOUR, Thank YOU for forgiving my lack of faith.  Help me to be spiritually alive and to share my faith with others.  Amen.”

“JUST NO DISCIPLINE!”

“If you are not disciplined-and everyone undergoes discipline-then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.”   Hebrews 12:8 NIV

 

Read:  Hebrew 12:1-15

‘Semper Fidelis’ is the motto of the United States Marine Corps.  We usually see it or hear it shortened to ‘Semper Fi’.  Two Latin words that mean ‘always faithful’.   If you utter these words to a Marine, you will see the hair stand on the back of his neck, his shoulders will go back and his chin will come in and a star studded fireworks show will immediately appear in his eyes.   You are likely to be greeted with a billowous ‘Semper Fi’ in return, a big hug or a sharp salute.

 

Once a Marine, always a Marine.

 

Wouldn’t it be great to see all Christians display this pride?  We should.   We should all come to attention when introduced to another Christian.   Respect…not just for the other person, but for what the other person stands for…The Reverence of GOD with us.

We live in a society that in general has little or ‘just no discipline’.  Personal ‘rights’ are taking over and are considered more important that what is truly right or wrong.

Remember what JESUS told us in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”.  When you are with another Christian…one or one thousand, do you feel JESUS with you?   You should.

Do you have ‘just no discipline’ or are you faithful to the discipline of CHRIST, your LORD?  Are you ‘Semper Fi’, always faithful?

Today’s prayer:  “DEAR GOD, Thank YOU for always loving and being faithful to me, even when I have not been faithful to YOU.  Help me feel YOUR presence and become more faithful to YOU.   Amen.”

 

“TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE.”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.   For everyone who asks receives; the one who finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”   Matthew 7:7-8 NIV 

 

Read:  Proverbs 8:4-11

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’, and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.'” is a quote attributed to C.S. Lewis.   I believe it was actually taken from his quote: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”

 

Two types of people make different decisions.  The free will GOD gave us will have us saying to HIM, “THY will be done.” or GOD telling us “Thy will be done.” when we choose our independent will over GOD’S decision of what is best for us.

Are you the person who honors GOD with an absolute “THY will be done.”?  Will you ask GOD, seek to find GOD and knock so you will know all HE has and wants for you?

Today’s prayer:  “GOD, MY LORD, Thank YOU for giving me choices.  I do want to make the right decision.   I am committed to living my life as YOUR will be done.  Amen.”

 

“GIFTS ARE NOT OFFERINGS”

“You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep.”  Deuteronomy 18:4 NIV

 

Read:  Deuteronomy 18:3-13

We often confuse gifts and offerings.   Gifts are those special donations over and above a tithe or scheduled offering.   Old Testament scripture tells us ten percent of our ‘firstfruits’.   Notice the Biblical word is firstfruits, while in English we write it as two words.   There is a reason.   First fruit is our worldly interpretation.   Firstfruits is correct as it tells us the uniqueness and non-divisional qualities of the offering.

 

Gifts are those things which we never expect to have returned.   They are given out of love and respect not out of obligation.   Offerings are the firstfruits of our labors.   Your offering may be a ten percent tithe or another scheduled amount of your income.  Gifts are much over and above any offering.

Offerings are the returning to GOD of what HE has already given to you.   Offerings are not gifts.   You cannot give to GOD what is already HIS.   If you are not repaying GOD for what is HIS, why not?

The firstfruits of your labors are exactly that…first.    We return to GOD HIS righteous portion before anything else.  Return to GOD what is already HIS before you pay for food, mortgage or other things you feel are necessities.   Trust and return to GOD all that is HIS and then you will find HE will bless you in the balance of your finances.

Today’s prayer:   “Thank YOU, HEAVENLY FATHER, for all YOU have given me to use and enjoy on this earth.  Today, I promise to return to YOU a generous offering to help YOUR chosen take the gospel to others.  Amen.”