What Does the Lord Favor…

fear-of-the-lord

Sing out your thanks to the Lord;
    sing praises to our God with a harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
    provides rain for the earth,
    and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.
He gives food to the wild animals
    and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
    or in human might.
No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
    those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

~Psalm 147:7-11~

I want to speak this morning about what moves the Lord, what makes Him take notice of you, what turns His eyes to you. As we read these couple of short verses it shows how God is the creator and the one who takes care of all things on this earth, His creation!

As we look around and see how much God cares, how he takes care of the little things, the Word says He even feeds the young ravens when they cry, He created the earth and everything upon it and He takes care of it….as we understand this simple but deep truth it should bring us to a place of deep worship. How much more does He love man? We are the one He created to commune with Him, to spend time with Him, to walk with Him and to love Him as He loves us.

So what is it about us that turns his eyes upon us? The word says He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might” It means NOTHING to God about our strength, our money, our status at work, church or our community. Don’t get me wrong these things are all good things and your can be a light in all situations but it does not get His attention, His delight or His favor.

It all boils down to this… No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love” the word “fear” here does not mean fear as in He is going to strike you dead, or He is going to send you to hell if you blow it. Fear of God is the idea of living in respect, awe, and submission to a deity. To me the word AWE best describes it. Stand in awe of God!!!

Knowing this where is your focus in life? To be the man you need and desire to be you must be the man God created you to be and it all starts here…FEAR of the LORD.

Now go out and have an EPIC day today

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I Will Not Be Shaken

rock

He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. ~Psalm 62:6~

Let’s be honest, most of us struggle on a daily basis. We struggle in relationships, work, finances, greed, emotions, pride, marriages, and well the list goes on and on. There are challenges day to day for all of us. How do we face them will a positive attitude? Is it possible to walk through life in peace? In Joy? Is it possible not to be moved?

Despite all the challenges we face in this life, God has called us to be rocks, trusting Him to meet our needs, spiritually, emotionally and in every other way. He has called us to find our strength in Him and become strong for those who are needy and hurting.

Has God called you to represent Him in a workplace where His very name is a curse word? Or perhaps you’re living in a neighborhood where people are too busy seeking material things to seek God?

Now is the time to reflect God’s truth in your life. Now is the time to be a rock, even in that hard place.

Now go out and have an EPIC day today!!!!

 

A Deep Relationship Produces……

fruit-of-the-spirit1

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”  ~ Galatians 5:22–23 ~

Isaiah 41:10
In today’s world we’ve heard and seen a great deal about war, conflicts, terrorism. To many, peace means “no war.” In the Bible it meant more: the state of well-being, security, and the condition of being in right relations with both God and man. The Greek word for peace, eirene, is regularly used to describe the love of our Savior. This word conveys a rich meaning, one that conjures up a type of peaceful feeling even if war is raging.

For too many years I believed that real peace was the absence of conflict or distress. I continued to try and find peaceful solutions to the problems with others and my own. It seemed the more I stressed about “life not being perfect” the more often I tripped on my own failures and weaknesses in developing healthy relationships.

Then I realized that we are all broken. Life without conflict is not living. The enviable conflicts, misunderstandings, failures, and brokenness is why we need a Savior and why we need others who can forgive and comfort us.

To a believer, we find comfort in knowing that Christ the Savior is referred to as “our peace”. “For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh: for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.” – Ephesians 2:14-18

The Bible’s view of peace is summarized in Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

The peaceful character qualities listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 are quite different from the qualities of people who follow their sinful natures. Also the Fruits of the Spirit are different from the spiritual gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12.

Through prayer and meditation God fills us with His spirit. The natural “fruits” of His presence in our life is the byproduct of having a deep personal relationship with God. Christians disagree over the nature of spiritual gifts today, but all agree that the fruits of the Spirit are to be desired by every believer.

In our own brokenness let’s try and find His peace. Through the peaceful words of the Scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit we can find healing, joy, and encouragement. Another blessing is Christian friends who appreciate us for who we are by knowing our heart and forgiving us when we fail.

Have you set aside personal moments in God’s Word and find the thoughts of comfort and encouragement? Did you know God wants us to have joy in our lives by seeking His peace?

Now go out and have an EPIC day today!!!

A Discipline Worth Pursuing

busy

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

Why do people like the outdoors so much? What is the real lure of hunting, fishing, and hiking? For many of us, the serenity of an outdoor experience offers precious, and mostly uninterrupted, time to think through our problems—let our minds unwind, get caught up on prayers, and simply listen to God. Scripture tells us that Christ spent many hours in quietness. His meditation time was special and allowed Him time and solitude to commune with His Heavenly Father.

To hear God, we must be quiet and let Him do the talking. Prayer is not simply reading off a list of requests. Calm and quietness is essential to listening. If I’m too busy, I won’t hear. If I spend night after night watching television, and then try to listen, I find my mind jammed with carnal interference and His voice buried under an avalanche of clamor.

The necessary calm and silence can be found in our great outdoors…or on a living-room sofa late at night or at the kitchen table early in the morning. The place isn’t important; the decibel scale is.

There never seems enough time for what’s really important. Or is it just a matter of priorities? A while back I read the following list about what God might ask us concerning those priorities—what we’ve done with our time. I think it’s worth considering:

NINE THINGS GOD WON’T ASK

1…God won’t ask what kind of car you drove;
He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.

2…God won’t ask the square footage of your house;
He’ll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3…God won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet;
He’ll ask how many you helped to clothe.

4…God won’t ask what your highest salary was;
He’ll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

5…God won’t ask what your job title was;
He’ll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6…God won’t ask how many friends you had;
He’ll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

7…God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived;
He’ll ask how you treated your neighbors.

8…God won’t ask about the color of your skin;
He’ll ask about the content of your character.

9…God won’t ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation;
He’ll lovingly take you into heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

Being “still” can sure be difficult, but is a discipline worth pursuing.

Now go out and have an EPIC day today!!!

God’s Word or the World’s Word?

bible

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” ~1 Timothy 4:8~

As Americans we try all kinds of strategies to live longer. Many folks spend lots of money trying to stretch their years. We workout, eat organic, take our vitamins, and try everything we can to relieve stress.

On April 26, 1999, an article written by Richard Willing was published in USA Today. The article’s headlines read, “Study: Worshipers live longer than those who skip services.” The study conducted by the University of Texas and Florida State surveyed over 22,000 regular and occasional worshipers and non-worshipers over a nine-year period. The life expectancy for people who had a strong faith, and who attended church regularly, was 10% better than those who were weak in their faith. The life expectancy for weekly churchgoers was 83 years versus 75 years for those not attending church at all. It appears that the reward for those enjoying the peace and comfort only God can provide is that they may have to wait a little longer to get to heaven!

There is no doubt that the high-risk behaviors of some non-worshipers figures into the results of this survey. Certainly the attitudes, faith, spirit, and lifestyles that can come from consistently reading God’s Word has to have a healthy impact upon our lives, too. The wise counsel of Proverbs says, and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the table of your heart.” ~Prov. 3:1-3~

This is balance in our lives! A couple years ago I wrote a blog about my wife as she is growing older. All women want to look their best, stay healthy, keep their youth, but the truth is we all grow old, our bodies change, our skin changes, hair changes, our posture changes, everything grows old. To the world women lose sex appeal as they age and become old ladies with little social impact. It’s actually very sad. The blog I wrote was speaking about my wife as she growing older in age. I met her when she was in her early 20’s and shew as a brand new Christian. One thing about Diane is she has ALWAYS loved the word of God and has ALWAYS spent time with Him.

As a young woman she was opinionated, bumped heads with many people (mostly women) when it came to issues of morality and life. She would read the Word of God and be determined to live by it. Over the years she learned many lessons about life, God and herself. When it came to our children she was strict, demanding of excellence and insisted they go to church, and know God. As she grew in the Lord her life was always changing, she NEVER EVER stopped reading, studying God word and we have been married over 30 years now.

This verse is now a reality in her life and I am a witness to it…..My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the table of your heart.” ~Prov. 3:1-3~ As my wife is heading into a new chapter in life she is more beautiful today then she was when she was 20 years old, how can that be? God’s word is medicine to our souls, our hearts and our bodies. Her beauty pours through the age of her body, her heart is pure, his LOVE IS HUGE, her worship is DEEP, and her wisdom and amazing.

The word of God is the most important thing for you to know in this life…it brings life…it brings youth….it brings strength…it brings love….it brings forgiveness it is everything you need to live a full, meaningful and amazing life. We literally make the choice to live a life full of these things or full of envy, bitterness, hate, jealousy and greed. God’s word or the worlds word?

Now go out and have an EPIC day today!!!

Unity in the body, home and work place

humility

“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.” Phil. 2:3

Unity is essential to a healthy team, organization, or even family. Unfortunately it’s hard to come by. Too often strife rules over peace. We’ve all experienced it: Office spats, family feuds, and church splits. King Solomon had much to say about the cause of dissension:

  • “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.” Prov. 15:18
  • “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” Prov. 10:12
  • “A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.” Prov. 28:25

The Apostle Paul warned, “…brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions…turn away from them.” Rom. 16:17 (NASB). He knew all too well that the church is only effective when there is unity. Unfortunately, the first century Corinthian church was full of dissension. Members had “love feasts,” followed by communion. According to Paul, those who brought food gorged themselves and became drunk, leaving the poorer believers to go hungry (1 Cor. 11:17-22). The gluttons not only dishonored the Lord but also hurt their fellow believers, causing resentment and conflict. The Corinthians’ disharmony was evident in many ways, but the root cause was the same: selfishness.

Some people are just naturally argumentative, always looking to debate, or playing the “devil’s advocate”. If they’re not careful, their antagonism will create contention, offending others, and entertaining only themselves.

Through a bond of peace, we are urged to be humble, gentle, kind, patient, and loving…encouraging one another daily (Heb. 3:13). If we don’t have peace amongst ourselves, why would unbelievers look to us to find peace with God? “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14

That doesn’t mean we all have to agree all the time, but it does mean that we bear with one another, extend grace when it’s needed, and consider others better than ourselves.

So where does unity come from? Selflessness—the foundation of Christian love. It’s Jesus’ selfless sacrifice on the cross that allows us to claim His unmerited grace and mercy. If we are to truly be Christ-like in our attitudes, we must humble ourselves and focus on the needs of others—not in our own strength, but with complete dependence on God. When God gives us His perspective, we are able to love freely.

As Paul reminds us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Rom. 12:18.  Let’s not let our own ambitions, frustrations, or preferences create conflict. Let’s recognize our inability to do this on our own and press into God for His strength, unconditional love, and perspective.

Now go out and have an EPIC day today!!!

Are you are Disciple?

brotherly love

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”          ~Rom. 12:10~

Throughout the New Testament we read about disciples. To be a disciple means to be a follower of Christ, a learner or apprentice, and a devoted believer.

Scripture suggests that a disciple must not only accept by faith the promises of Christ but must also be willing to apply the truth he knows. There must be a resulting action from the commitment or conversion experience. As Jesus tells us, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matt. 7:16a. There must be a by-product to a Spirit-filled life. “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4

The Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Romans prior to his visit to Rome. He begins Romans by surveying the spiritual condition of all mankind, especially as he understood it to be in Rome. If you look at Rome, it was much like America is today. The first eleven chapters in this book explain that sin is a problem we all share, salvation through Christ is the only answer, the Holy Spirit can help sanctify a person, and we serve a grace-filled God who wishes none to perish.

In Romans 12, though, Paul gives us a pretty clear picture of what a disciple of Christ, or Christian, actually looks like:

  • Vs. 1 He is surrendered to God.
  • Vs. 2 He is not to be of this world, but rather be transformed.
  • Vs. 3 He has an accurate picture of himself: “God made me for His glory!”
  • Vs. 9 He has loving relationships with others and understands how to treat others.
  • Vs. 13 He practices serving God by serving others—allowing God’s love to pass through him.

We cannot walk with God and stand still at the same time. God is on a mission and He asks us to join Him. When we spend time with God, we become more like Him. It’s that simple. Let’s all work on being a Romans 12 disciple.

Now Go Out and Have an EPIC Day Today!!!!