Scriptures: 1 Timothy 4:8-9
"For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation."
Americans are healthier and wealthier than any culture in the history of this planet and yet we have more emotional issues, mental disorders, addiction and syndromes than ever before. Ask yourself the question: what country in the world is ranked first for having the happiest people? Bet you didn't guess correctly, its Nigeria. Nigeria is ranked 140th in the world's economy, yet in spite of poverty, plagues and political unrest they are happy people. Nigerian churches are having explosive growth!
We decide in our lives what is most valuable. Once we decide then we make decisions accordingly. God's Word says that Godliness should be our first priority. What is Godliness? Its following God, being like God and doing God's will. Are we making decisions with God as our priority?
We can waste life chasing things of lesser value, things that the world calls good, but Godliness is the pursuit that truly enhances the value of life. Godliness has value for all things in our lives. Through seeking a Godly lifestyle we are afforded a more peaceful lifestyle. Godliness elevates the value of womanhood. It gives us clarity in the times of uncertainty and helps to change the inner person to be more like Christ. It's time to live in the happiness God has ordained for us: let's chose Godliness today. The Bible in Matthew 5 calls us: "You are the salt of the earth...You are the light of the world."
Scriptures: Luke 5:1-11
Over the years we often hear people say: "But I live in the real world." Some of these people love God, but struggle with things they that do not understand.
Peter was a man who thought like that: "But I live in the real world!" He loved God, but God was not his main focus. He had to make a living, he lived in the real world. He had heard Jesus teach and saw Him heal his mother-in-law, but survival remained on Peter's own shoulders. Jesus chose Peter as a special project: so Jesus shows up at Peter's work. Jesus teaches at the very location where Peter has a boat, this was no coincidence. The working man had empty nets.
Jesus tells Peter to head out to deep water and let down his clean nets. Fishermen do not fish in deep water in the middle of the day: these instructions did not fit in Peter's real world picture. For Peter work is starting all over again and it does not fit with his understanding, but what happens? The water starts to boils with fish and he needs another boat.
Great things can happen to everyday people: before this moment in Peter's life he had placed God in the distance. When he heeded divine distraction he experienced the extraordinary. Even people who have doubts, fear and realize their lives need improvement can experience miracles! Miracles can happen to people who have trouble with faith.
Peter doubted Jesus because Peter lived in the real world. There are times when we know what God wants us to do, but we think it will not work. We become consumed with the demands of life, but we must take God at His Word. Can Jesus show up at your work or school? Will you do what He asks you to do, even if it does not fit you real world understanding? Jesus is waiting for your response!
Scriptures: Numbers 14:22-24, Numbers 14: 32-34, Numbers 14:40-42
There is a story of an East Coast town that was struggling financially and a town meeting was held to discuss options for their future. A stranger came and sat in the back. He began to speak to the group and was quickly cut off, he got up to leave and another man came in the door. He stopped the meeting to ask if the man who had left was going to help their needy town. The man was John J. Rockefeller. He had docked his yacht at the town and was doing some sight-seeing. All the town could do was watch their opportunity sail away.
Ask yourself: Am I working with God to create my life? Have God-given opportunities come your way, but you've been too caught up with other things that you have let them slip through your fingers? Are you pre-occupied with your personal preferences? We must be sensitive to the blessings God brings our way.
Numbers 14 is God's response to the Israelites who chose not to accept the opportunity God offered to them. The Israelites chose not to enter the promised land, because their fear was more powerful than their faith in God. Living in the wilderness felt more secure than adventuring into the land God had promised them. Their actions and words angered God and He responded quickly. Forty years they would wander in the wilderness until they all died. God gave them their personal preference. The Israelites would not work with God to create a better life.
God wants to work with you to help you create a better life. These are life's special moments: times in our lives which are full of God given opportunities. These moments define our future because they are full of God's promises. At these moments all kinds of emotions can exist in our minds: fear of change, negative memories or the desire to seize the opportunity!
We also read that Israel was ready to accept God's offer the very next day, but here is where the story becomes even sadder: it was too late. The blessing would never come around again and what they were left with was a wilderness of regret.
This is a year of God given opportunities. God determines the time and the blessing, we decide to participate. So you are left with two options: seize the opportunities God makes available to you or become pre-occupied with your personal preferences. Will you work with God to create a better life? Or will you allow a God given opportunity slip through your fingers?
Scriptures: Isaiah 43:18-19
God wants to do something new in your life. Seriously, how exciting is that statement! God is more interested in your future than your past!
It's time to get a fresh focus! A fresh focus begins when we stop making excuses, stop blaming others and stop seeing ourselves as victims. We must remember that no one can ruin or control our lives without our permission.
Fresh focus begins when we prepare for problems! Was it raining when Noah started to build the Ark? Nope! It fact there had never been rain before, and yet Noah trusted God and built the ark with no rain for 120 years! He was preparing for what was to come and trusting what God had spoken into his life. We need to let our egos go, because when we let ego reign we are essentially: "edging God out." Preparation is faith with works.
We need to act in faith. The key to fresh focus is to have faith. What are you expecting? In the Bible we read of a lame man at the temple who was expecting alms or money. Instead of alms, a miracle was performed through Peter and the man received his legs back. What the man was looking for and what he needed were two different things! Ask yourself this: am I just stumbling upon blessings when blessings should be happening daily in my life? What we focus on is what we will reproduce, for example: negative thinking produces negative action, or no action at all! Faith is moving ahead in spite of our fears!
Refocus! Rethink the way you think: confessing to God that your thinking has been wrong. Remember the way you think is the way you feel, its time to mediate on God's goodness. The way you feel is the way you act: stop trying harder and live smarter. How? Depend more on God and less on you! God is ready to do something new in your life. are you ready?
Scriptures: Genesis 2:8-9, Luke 23:33-34 and Revelation 22:1-5
Have you ever wondered who the first person was to think of Christmas tree? There are all kinds of theories about the Christmas tree's origin, but we really have no idea where the true idea started. One thing we can be sure of: God has made a connection between humans and trees!
The first tree we are going to look at is: the tree if the Garden of Eden. This tree was named "the tree of knowledge of good and evil." It was a tree with forbidden fruit, yet it was a tree that Adam and Eve were drawn too. They should have feared the tree, but they did not understand the power of the tree. This tree is connected to the fall of man.
The second tree is a tree on a hillside; this tree was the Cross of our Savior. Few were drawn to this tree, they feared this tree, when instead they should have cherished it. This was another tree that may did not understand it's power. This tree is connected to the salvation of man.
The third tree is in Heaven and is called "the tree of life." It is a tree with fruit that goes beyond all human understanding. A tree which heals the soul eternally; a tree with fruit we should all desire to eat. This tree's power is only understood once it's fruit is eaten and this tree is connected to man's eternal destiny.
We are all connected to these three trees. We have all sinned and fallen short of the God's expectations linking us to the tree in the garden. The only hope for our salvation is the Cross of Christ, our necessary link to the second tree. And finally it is God's will for us that we taste the fruit of the tree of life, the third tree. It is a good time to admit that sin is a reality in our lives and we need forgiveness. We must cherish the Cross of Christ and continually seek His salvation in our lives making up our mind that we are going to do whatever it takes to have one taste of the tree of life.