Category Archives: God’s purposes

What if There Were No Laws?

law-753482_1920

S – “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

O – Judges is hard to read. All the ugly violence and despicable acts are disturbing.  The last verse in the book explains why. When everyone does what is right in their own eyes, the result is chaos, pain, and war.

A – We seem to be leaning to this philosophy in present day. Everyone wants to be free to do what they think is right, what feels good but that does not work! As Judges shows, that philosophy ends in violence, immorality, war, rape, and destruction. To the point it is not safe to walk in the street at night. God have mercy!

Jesus paid a high price to redeem me. I want to live in a way that glorifies Him. Please help me Lord!

P – Father, you always know what is best. We may not be under the law for salvation but your laws are there for a reason. They protect us and guide us. We need boundaries. Please guide our nation. Guide our leaders. Help us to walk in submission to you and not to our own desires. You bought us with your life. Help us to walk in a way that glorifies You.

Click for more information about SOAP Bible reading method.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, God's love, God's purposes, Obedience

What’s Required of Me?

sky-232000_1280whats-required

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”

Luke 12:48b (ESV)

I’ve often heard that whisper from God.

While worshipping and praising God at a concert recently, my heart was focused on Him. Once again that whisper came, “To whom much is given, much is required.”

“What’s required Lord?” I asked. “What does this mean?”

He spoke to my heart, “What have you been given?”

Lord, You’ve given me grace beyond measure, forgiveness for my sins, knowledge of your truth, and your everlasting love. You’ve given me physical well-being, health and always meet my daily needs. You’ve given me opportunities to learn and grow, people who love me, and freedom to worship you. I’ve received love, joy, peace, forgiveness, grace, and truth and I’ve learned to trust you.

If you’ve been given grace, give equal grace to others.

If you’ve received forgiveness, forgive others more.

If you’ve been encouraged, be quick to encourage.

If your physical needs are met, meet the needs of those around you.

If you know the truth, share the truth.

If you are loved, then love freely.

If you are strong, help those who are weak.

I believe what’s required of me is to let all these blessings flow through me to others. To those around me who need grace, forgiveness, encouragement, a meal or daily needs.

This isn’t something I can do on Sunday morning or Tuesday evening and then I’ve met my requirement. This is a way of living.

This is an attitude, an outlook, a way of being.

It’s a change of focus.

A change from focusing on me to focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is abiding in His love.

I wish I could say I’m living this way everyday. I hesitate to even write this because I’m so far from living this every day. I want to live focusing on Jesus and serving Him but I can’t do it in my strength. Awareness is the beginning. Change comes one day at a time. One step at a time. It requires abiding in Jesus. Living continually in His presence. I feel like I fail at this kind of loving. I know God loves me unconditionally and always will. I want to finish this life strong. I don’t want to have regrets. Please pray for me that I, who have been given so much, will respond in kind.

Help me take the next step Lord.

“We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35b (ESV)

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Psalm 105:4 (ESV)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 (ESV)

 Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Faith, God's purposes, Holy Spirit, humility, struggles

At the Potter’s House |by Tara Wiley

At Discover One Thing, my friend Tara shared some beautiful words describing Jeremiah’s visit to the potter:

At the Potter’s House | Tara Wiley

S~ Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.” Jeremiah 18:5-6 (NIV)

O~ “Jeremiah, my old friend!” Adam’s bellowed greeting was warm, and the sound steadied Jeremiah’s inner shaking – until he saw Adam’s eyes slide away from his as they stepped away from a friendly embrace. I am an object of dread to my closest friends.(Psalm 31:11). “What can I do for you today?” The short, sturdy frame of his childhood playmate turned towards his work as he asked the question over his shoulder.

Jeremiah paused, looking around the workshop, taking a deep breath. His nostrils filled with earthy musk of wet clay. The pale rust and gray of Adam’s work covered every surface. Fired and unfired earthenware lined the shelves, piled onto the ground, covered the low tables at the front of the shop. Adam lived, breathed, and moved with earth – his name perfectly suited him.

Jeremiah carefully made his way back towards the far wall where Adam was reaching for a hunk of earth that, from the look of it, had just recently been torn from its home in the ground. He threw the clay onto his worktable and began to slice it into long vertical lines, picking out rocks and roots as he went, tossing them to the ground.  Jeremiah watched thoughtfully as Adam focused his attention on his task. The sleeves of his linen tunic stretched and pulled over thickly muscular arms as Adam slapped the layers of cleaned clay together. He hammered the air pockets out, then folded and slapped the layers again onto the worktable, one on top of the other. Is the lesson, here, Lord?

“There’s nearly not enough sleeve in your tunic for your muscle, brother. You’re going to need some new clothes if you keep working at this pace!” Jeremiah spread his arms to the cluttered evidence of Adam’s efforts. Adam offered a polite laugh and glance before gathering up his newly cleaned and layered earthen lump. He slid it into a vat of water, barely disrupting the shimmering clay slick across its surface. The clay would stay there for nearly six months, soaking up moisture, before it was ready to be formed. Is the lesson here, Lord?

“Either that, or I must stop eating Rachel’s plentiful food!” Adam admitted, patting an equally bulging belly. “Now, you aren’t here to discuss my form, are you? What do you need?” The potter wiped his hands on a rough muslin rag and stepped back, ready for business.

“I- I- Well, show me that pot over there, the squat one in the corner,” Jeremiah stammered. What do I say? Like everyone else, he does not want to hear that I am about the Lord’s work. Yet, I have not heard His word. I must stay.

“Looking for a chamber pot, are you?” Jeremiah flushed. The snide tone in Adam’s remark made it clear what he was thinking of where Jeremiah might belong. They ridicule me…Those I love have turned against me. (Job 19:18-19) Lord, help me.

“I’m not sure yet what I need. May I just look around a bit while you work?” Jeremiah purposefully ignored the implication, remaining congenial, acting ignorant when he was indeed all too aware. Why could I not have been called to this simple existence, working with my hands, raising a family? Ah, no, I would be dissatisfied here too, wouldn’t I? Your word is a fire within me, burning hot as the kiln behind this shop.

Adam shrugged and sat at the wheel. People often came by to watch him work – usually children, but who was this man but a foolish child? The only concern, of course, was others seeing him here. How would that make Adam look? Still, he could not turn him away. He was a customer, after all.

Jeremiah watched his old friend closely as Adam reached for a slick knob of clay and carefully placed it in the center of his wheel(in the center of Your will, Lord…). From this point on, Adam’s hands never left the clay. The wheel began to spin as Adam worked the pedal, and his hands pressed against the knob, smoothing it as it began to yield to his touch. A tall cylinder rose, then rolled back as Adam’s thumbs pressed an indentation into the center, opening it out into a vessel. Over and over, he pressed and prodded, shaped and pulled the clay that seemed to breathe and live under his touch. Just when Jeremiah thought he knew what form Adam was after, he would take the shape another direction. Then, suddenly the wheel stopped and the clay collapsed into a lump. Adam muttered a choice word as he slapped the clay back together, adding a bit of water as he reformed it into a shapeless knob once again.

“What happened?” Jeremiah inquired. Adam shrugged.

“The shape was marred. I must begin again.”

“But the clay is still useful?”

“Yes. You have seen what it takes to prepare the clay for this moment. I will not waste it.” Adam’s feet worked the pedal, and the table resumed its spin with the knob carefully placed at its center. Adam cupped water in a hand and poured it over the knob, once again pressing into it with the skillful touch of an artisan.

“A mistake does not render it useless. I’ll begin again, and make a shape most suitable for this clay.” As Jeremiah watched, the clay narrowed, then fluted under Adam’s hands, taking the form not of a common-use bowl or plate, but of a graceful vase. This is my word, Jeremiah, my work, to rebuild, to restore, if only Israel will yield to my touch. Jeremiah rose abruptly and left to attend to his own work, to record the word of the Lord. As he left the workshop, the hem of his robe caught the little clay idol Adam had placed at the entrance, sending it tottering and crashing to the ground.

A/P~ Lord, how grateful I am that You are in the business of rebuilding and restoring. You pulled me from the dirt, picking out the rocks and roots of sin in my life, and placed me in water-deep seasons of preparation. You hold me in your hands and shape me, and just when I think I know what You’re up to, You surprise me again. And, oh Lord, when I resist, and mar Your work, what grace You offer, to begin again. You do not throw me aside! You know how I am formed, that I am dust (Psalm 103:14). When I yield to You, You make something beautiful even out of my brokenness. You put Your Spirit in my weak body, a treasure in an earthen vessel (2 Cor 4:7) so that the surpassing greatness of Your power may be exalted in my life. Thank You for restoring me, for renewing me every morning. Let me be found a useful vessel for You (Romans 9:19-21). I choose to submit to Your will for my life.

Please visit Discover One Thing to learn more about SOAP Bible Study

 

1 Comment

Filed under Bible, God, God's purposes, Jeremiah, Listening to God

Trusting His Sovereign Power

eagle-nebula-11173_640Colossians

S – “For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting another.”Psalm 75:6-7

O – This verse teaches the sovereignty of God. He is the one who lifts up one leader and puts down another. He is sovereign over all things.

A – I know God is sovereign, I can’t say I understand it. With the current hysteria over elections here in the U.S., it is comforting to remember that ultimately He decides. Does that mean nothing bad will happen or that we will not suffer in any way? No. God will do what fulfills His ultimate purpose for this universe. He looks at all of history not just this moment. He looks at eternity. We want comfort for the moment. He wants what is good for eternal purposes. We can’t always see His purpose, we have to trust Him because we know who He is. He is holy, just, pure and good. He is trustworthy, He is love and He loves us with an everlasting love. (I don’t think this means our vote doesn’t count. God works through us to accomplish His purposes.)

P – Father, I may not understand what is going on and I may not like it but I trust you. I trust you and I pray that your will be done on this earth. May your will be done in the upcoming election in the United States. I love you Lord.

What are your thoughts on these verses? Please comment below.

For more information on SOAP Bible Study, click here.

livingbygracepic

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Eternity, Faith, God, God's character, God's purposes, hope, SOAP, United States

Ditch the Labels

course-779764_1280made by God

As one of a kind human beings,  let’s stop using labels to put each other in groups.

A label only tells us one small part of who a person is.

I’m an introvert but still different from every other introvert.

I’m a white female but that doesn’t fully define who I am.

I’m American but that doesn’t reveal my soul.

Because I vote a certain way doesn’t mean I’m like all others who vote that way.

To say someone is OCD, autistic, ugly or beautiful doesn’t tell me who he or she is.

We are individuals. One of a kind souls wrapped in bodies unlike any other. Each of us is a wonderful miracle. Assigning you a label doesn’t mean I know you. To know each other we must communicate, listen, understand and love. We need to look for the exquisite colors He put in each soul. Some of us hide them well so we need to be willing to take as long as we need to see.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;” Psalm 139:13-15 (NASB)

Father, Please help me to take time to see your unique design in each soul. Help me look for your fingerprints all around. Help me let go of labels and judging others without knowing them. Please love others through me and help me to see how much you love each thoughtfully created human being.

Most of us have the tendency to judge others based on appearance or an obvious label.(often one someone else has assigned)

Together let’s determine to know who each person is inside and show them God’s love.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

*It’s estimated that throughout all of history, approximately 100 billion people have existed on earth.

fingerprintpsalm 139-456486_1280

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 livingbygracepic

 

Leave a comment

Filed under creation, God's character, God's purposes, inspirational, Psalms, relationships, self-image

Who Will Lead Us?

IMG_worry2ndedited6057

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. . .. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. — Psalm 146:3, 5 (NIV)

Injustice and violence fill the world. We hope that the next election, or leader will have the solution. My heart is gripped by fear and sadness when I see terrorism and oppression increasing. I want someone to rescue us and stop the evil. Yet, no matter which leaders are in power, evil grows. True, a wise leader is preferred over a foolish or evil one but we cannot place our hope in any mortal.

I find peace when I put my hope in Jesus. At a young age I trusted in Jesus Christ and believe He died and came to life again so that I can live with Him forever. We can find peace when we remember this world is temporary, as we talk to God, and meditate on truth:

Proverbs 19:21 “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” (NLT)

Daniel 2:21 “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings…” (NLT)

We trust He is in control and that He will be with us no matter what happens.

Dear Father, thank you that you are sovereign over all. I place my trust in you alone. Our hope is in you! Amen

My hope is not in politicians but in the Lord God!

 

livingbygracepic

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Faith, God, God's purposes, hope, inspirational, Jesus, peace, personal, Psalms, trouble, trust, United States

Singing in the Storm

b3d-814151_1280

S – “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me…My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!” Psalm 57:2,7 (ESV)

O – David wrote these words while hiding in a cave as King Saul with 3,000 men looked for him to kill him. A powerful king hated him and wanted him to die. In this Psalm he trusts himself to God. He knew His Father would fulfill His purpose for him. In spite of the danger, the fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds, his heart was steadfast and immovable in trusting God. He was singing and making melody to God even as he ran for his life.

A – Can I have such faith that trusts God no matter what is happening? Is my heart steadfast, immovable in trusting God?

Shouts and name-calling zing from our government leaders like bullets. Earthquakes shake our world. Hunger threatens. Gloom fills the news. Friends report cancer. Young people turn from faith. Life moves at lightening speed. I can surrender to fear and live in anxiety or I can make the choices David made:

My soul takes refuge in the shadow of your wings. (v.1)

I cry out to God Most High. (v.2)

My heart is steadfast. (v.7)

I will sing and make melody! (v.7)

I will awake the dawn! (With music-v.8))

I will give thanks to you, O Lord. (v.9)

I will sing praises to you. (v.9)

All choices David made. Choices I can make.

We can choose during times of destruction and turmoil to take refuge in God until the storm passes. We can trust Him or we can surrender to fear.

P – Father, I will praise your holy name. I will give thanks to you. You and you alone keep me safe and guide my path. I will sing praises to you. You are my hiding place. My Rock. My Fortress. Praise your holy name!

Click on SOAP for more information on this Bible Study method.

 

livingbygracepic

Photo at top courtesy of cgcowboy at Pixabay

2 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, God, God's love, God's purposes, praising God, SOAP, struggles, trials, trouble, worshipping God