Scriptures: Genesis 26:18-35, Genesis 26:32-33
In these verses we are shown that God kept his promise to bless Isaac, who was Abraham's son of promise. The Word tells us that Isaac became very great with possesions of flocks and herds, many servants and a tremendous harvest of grain. The locals, Philistines, became jealous of Isaac and took action by filling up all of Isaac's wells. In the place they lived, Gerar, it was desolate wilderness and water was very precious. Filling up a person's well with dirt and earth was an act of war.
So Isaac moved to the land of his father and reopened the wells his father had dug. He named the well Esek, which is translated to mean "argument." Why did he name it this? Because the local shepherds said that he was taking their water.
So Isaac and his men dug another well! He named this well Sitnah, which means opposition or anger. Why this name? Because again there was a fight over it and he abandoned the well.
So Issac's men dug another well! He named the well Rehoboth, meaning "room enough." Isaac proclaimed "at last the Lord has made room for us!" Isaac was rewarded for his patience, wisdom, self-control and tenacity.
But Issac was not done digging wells! (Are you seeing the pattern here yet?) He dug another well and named it Shebah, which means "oath." He named it this because the Philistines wanted a treaty and they said of him: "we can plainly see that the Lord is with you."
God's people are the people of promise and the Lord has promised to bless His people. Esphesians 1:3 says we shall receive "all spiritual blessings." Blessing follows commitment, faithfulness, patience, wisdom, self control and tenacity.
So how does this relate to us? Maybe someone has filled your well with earth, its time to go reopen that well, its time to dig again! When challenges come: dig another well! Dig deeply: a well of consecration. When opposition comes: dig another well! Pray deeply: a well of contemplation. "Because if you keep digging God will make room enough for you and you will thrive." But do not stop there! Dig another well! The well of commendation: live deeply. Why? Because your testimony will be: "we can plainly see the Lord is with you."
Scriptures: Matthew 24: 1-14
In this chapter we are shown the signs of the returning of our Savior! It shows us that at the end the only things that will remain will be spiritual. In these verses the disciples came to Jesus and called His attention to the great temple. Jesus responded to them saying "not one stone will be left on another." Showing to them, and us, that the things of this world will pass away, but we have the confidence in our Savior to know that He will reign strong!
Matthew 24 teaches us about keeping our eyes and our focus on the right things. Often we are focused on the temporal and we miss out on the eternal, which is the most important! The disciples were enthralled by a temple that was man-made and only for a time; we must make sure our eyes our on God's eternal purpose. Jesus told the disciples "I tell you the truth," He wants us to know the truth, because as His word also said "it shall set you free." Jesus wants us prepared for His soon coming! He desires to see us all safe in His eternal arms.
In this chapter the verses outline four signs of the end of the age and the coming of the Lord:
- Verses 4 & 5: Tells us that there will be great spirtual deception
- Verses 6 & 7: Show that there will be great political unrest
- Verse 7: There will be great natural disasters
- Verses 8 & 9: There will be great religious persecution
In these times, we must keep our eyes and focus on God! Interested to learn more about these signs of the times? We will be continuing this series for the next couple of weeks: come visit us or keep reading!
Scripture: James 5:16 “..the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
We all need daily prayer in our lives. It seems a simple concept but sometimes we allow our troubles and day to day activities to get between us and the one source for help and healing, God. Prayer is the sight or vision to the doors to God and man. Effective prayer is the key that unlocks the doors to both Heaven and our own hearts so that we can receive the intended blessings that God has for each one of His children.
There are four aspects to effective prayer:
1. We have to understand who God is.
There is only one God and His name is Jesus. Jesus wants to take the weight of the world from us. He wants us to cast our burdens upon him and He will give us rest. He wants to forgive us, to fill us with His spirit, to lead and guide us through life, to offer us salvation so we may spend eternity with Him in heaven.
2. We have to respect the sovereignty of His power.
We must understand that God can perform whatever it is that we have need of. There is nothing God can not do and He is true to His word. We must be in the position to understand the ability of God. If we abide by His laws and are faithful even through difficult times, He will bless us. (Job 36:26-37:24). But we must also understand that God is not our peer, not someone or something that we pick and choose when or where to serve Him, when it’s convenient for us. God wants us to be faithful, to praise Him during the trials and the blessings.
3. We have to realize the God wants to bless us.
There are a multitude of verses in the Bible that describe God’s lovingkindness and tender mercies. Lovingkindness is defined as “tender kindness motivated by or expressing affection”. Throughout the book of Psalms, the pslamists routinely speak of how much God loves us and his generous blessings and call upon His lovingkindness and tender mercies during times of distress or trial.
(Psalms 36:10; Psalms 17:7; Psalms 51:1)
4: We have to be willing to walk a different way for the blessing.
God wants us to recognize that there is a difference between His people and the people who don’t recognize Him as the authority. (Isaiah 55:6-7). We have to be in tune with God’s spirit and listen to His direction, He is the one that says which way we need to go. God’s way is usually not the way of the world and we may be tempted to compromise our beliefs in order to ‘fit in’ but we have to realize there is a prize for us if we are willing to walk and persevere in the way He wants us to go. (Phillipians 3:14).
God’s desire is for His people to have a relationship with Him, where we know who it is that we are serving and we will walk in the way He is prompting us to go. To stay close to God, we must continually seek His guidance through prayer, meditation, and reading His word daily.
Scriptures: Romans 8:31-39
In these scriptures God clearly outlines three things every person needs to give themselves! Its not encouraging speeches, pats on the back, or new year's resolutions. God wants you to give yourself three specific things:
1) A Cross to cling to- the Word says: "He delievered Him up for us all." Salvation is for us all, especially you! Christ gave His life for you; He is not going to turn around and condemn you. The message of the cross is comfort and confidence in our Savior.
2) A Truth to hold on to-The Bible says "who shall separate us from the love of God...not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword,death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, no heignt or depth, nor any other creature." Jesus will never abandon you! No matter what this life or the Devil tries to throw at you, Jesus will be right there.
3) A Lord to look to- "Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." We have total security in our Lord Jesus. He offers us an overwhelming assurance and we have His constant presence.
Today its all about you! Give yourself these gifts that God has freely offered unto you! A cross to lean upon, a truth for every season of life and a Lord to lead you.
Scriptures: Joshua 24: 29-31
"And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel."
Joshua made a remarkable impact! He was faithful, loyal, obedient,responsible and credible. He had a servant's heart and was a man of intense courage.
Joshua's life was divided three ways:
-40 years in Egypt- his serving years
-40 years in the wilderness- his waiting years
-30 years in Canaan- his leading years
Joshua's times of serving and waiting majorly outweighed his time of leadership, but it was those eighty years of preparation that equipped and made him great.
Joshua was a remarkable leader for many reasons! First he lived ahead of his contemporaries. He was one of the twelve spies, but he returned with a positive report! Joshua lived ahead of his time.
Joshua also lived above his circumstances! He had to get more than one million people to cross the Jordan River and the first battle was at mighty Jericho. Joshua faced many challenges, but he did it! He was not overcome by his circumstances.
Finally Joshua lived beyond his capabilities: he was determined. He allowed life to develop his skills and was able to soar beyond his own personal gifts.
We too are called to have a remarkable impact on this world! God has called us to be "more than conquerors!" We must be willing to live ahead, above and beyond so that we can fulfill the calling of God in our lives!