Posted by: bshelley | August 12, 2009

Know God’s Will

fool

Today’s Verse: Ephesians 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. NASB

Do you want to know God’s will? Do you know God’s will? After reading today’s verse, you might have a bit more consternation concerning a quick answer, right? Who wants to be a fool? If you are not quite sure if you have a firm grip on God’s will, this can leave you in a bit of a conundrum. If we admit we do not know God’s will, we are said to be foolish. If we ignore the subject, we don’t fare any better for sure. Fortunately, God has revealed His will in His word and it is always at the ready to be queried. We can pause at any time and open up the Bible and read God’s will for our lives. For example, let’s just look at the “big two”. God’s two eternal purposes supersede all else and would lead us to a life lived in His will. First is that all might be saved. That is reconciled back to Him after having severed that relationship when we sinned. See 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9. Secondly, once saved we are to grow ever more in Christ’s image. See Romans 8:29; Ephesians 5:1-2. The reading of the word is much more pertinent to our lives when we understand that we are to see Jesus’ life and strive to live likewise. That is God’s will. Therefore, do not be foolish.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | August 11, 2009

Standing in the Breach

american flag

Today’s Verse: Psalm 106:23 Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them. NASB

God is always going to act in accordance with His will. Many see that as an excuse to not stand in the breach in intercessory prayers for people and situations. In this case the people had already fashioned a graven idol to worship even as God had just rescued them from Pharaoh through the Red Sea and Moses was on the mountain top receiving the Law. To say God was “put out” with them would be to say the least. His finger of justice was twitching ready to clean house and start over. It was Moses’ prayer for the sparing of them that is attributed to saving them that day. How can we know if God is not at that place with us as a people and a nation right now? There are so many today who would have any mention of God removed not only from the public square but altogether. Where is the limit of God’s patience even as the church sits idly by clicking their tongues and asking themselves how could this be. Your prayers each day for God to spare this nation and that God would continue to bless His church as they work to show love even in such a worldly environment as this. Please stand in the breach as a prayer warrior for this nation and its leaders that they would once again, as the founding Father’s did, seeking His blessing and wisdom daily.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | August 5, 2009

Salvation is nearer

sunset dock

Today’s Verse: Romans 13:11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. NASB

There was a church elder who would at the end of the Sunday service each week stand and proclaim that, “We are now one Lord’s Day closer to His return than we have ever been!” It is important to keep His soon return on our minds as we go through our days. Yes, the first century church expected His second coming at any moment. They were appropriately motivated by that ever present consciousness. Thank God that He tarries that more might come to salvation, but we do not know the hour and the day of that great closure of earthly events and beginning of eternity with Him. Having a severe disease causes one to reprioritize things in their lives. For me, my family and my ministry pretty much consume all of my time these days. Fishing, golf and even work on a doctorate have slipped down the list behind more important matters. A realization of finiteness to our time here has a way of getting our attention like that. Some might pursue their “bucket list” of things they wanted to do, like sky diving and the like, trying to squeeze the last bit of gusto into abbreviated lives. For me, and I pray for you, the focus will be on being about the Master’s bidding. The overwhelming sense of the brevity of time allotted should motivate us to ministry and devotion to relationships almost to the exclusion of all else. “Awaken from sleep, for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed.”

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | August 4, 2009

“I will never fall away”

fall

Today’s Verse: Matthew 26:33 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” NASB

Given what we know of what happened next in Peter’s life, would we have advised him to be so bold? How would we have responded? We might pray asking that it never be so that we would fail Him. Yet it happens all the time. Our agendas, selfish interests and fears get in the way of good intentions. I am sure that Peter meant every word when he spoke them. And by the way, if you look at the end of verse 35 you will see that it was not just Peter making such valiant claims. To a person, every single one of us want to remain loyal to Christ through thick and thin. Fortunately, most of us do not have to face such harsh times as did the apostles. Yet, we face decisions of loyalty to Christ day in and day out. We certainly would rather rationalize or minimize the consequences of lesser failures. It is not like we openly reject knowledge of Christ. It is not as though we would say “I do not even know the man.” Of course, who knows what we might fail to do under similar circumstances. So we may be worried more about comission rather than omission. How many opportunities do we have in a week to claim Him as Lord and Savior, yet keep quiet?

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 31, 2009

Many Other Things Jesus Did

hills

Today’s Verse:John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written down in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. NASB

It must have been so amazing to have lived, eaten, walked and talked with Jesus during His time on the earth. No doubt that as John shares here that there were many more miracles and stories of His exploits and mission we do not have captured in the writings of the New Testament. We do however have enough. John at the end of chapter 20 in verses 30-31 explains that he feels that enough has been written and shared to the end that we have sufficient evidence to believe. I look forward to the days for eternity in heaven when spread out on a plush green lawn we can her the other stories of what all Jesus did. I will sit with the same kind of excitement my granddaughter expresses over each and every story I read to her. What a glorious time is yet to come. I love reading the Bible stories that we do have over and over. It is so comforting and even exciting to hear what the apostles saw and heard from Him. I cannot imagine what fun it will be to hear more. I pray that you find in your heart of hearts that child-like desire to hear all that our Lord and Savior has done without tiring of it ever.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 28, 2009

Do you Believe in Him?

pasture

Today’s Verse: Romans 10:11 For the scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” NASB

I would venture to say that a very high percentage of those who read these daily devotionals would answer the question posed “Do you believe in Him” with a resounding “Yes!” When we say that we believe in Him, is that a head answer or a heart answer. Before you rush to the quick response, let’s just rewind back a few hours to the beginning of today. When you got up and prepared to face the day, did you ask God’s blessing and guidance in what He would have you do today? All to often we either skip that step or ask God’s blessing on the decisions we make for our day. There is a subtle but very important difference between the two if you take a moment to let the difference sink in. We are to be doers, not just hearers. We are to be believers , not just professors. Does what we say we believe in regard to Him translate into changed behavior right now, today? If not, do we really believe? Only the truly brave go there in their prayers. Ask God to reveal to you the truth about your belief level in your heart of hearts. Is that belief translating into believable activity in your life right now. What you do today answers the question of belief in a much more powerful way that what you simply say.  

May God bless your hear as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 24, 2009

Anoint my head with oil

shepherd

Today’s Verse: Psalm 23:5b You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. NASB

The whole business of anointing with oil just goes right over our heads. Culturally, we don’t anoint with oil for either health or ceremonial reasons really. I have been doing a sermon series on Psalm 23 using some really great material by Phillip Keller in his book A shepherd looks at Psalm 23. Apparently in the summer ranges where the shepherds take their flocks there is a big problem. They have lots of flies and the flies can drive the sheep to distraction. The shepherd applies the antidote which is usually a homemade concoction of linseed or olive oil, sulphur and tar. They apply the oil to the heads and noses of the sheep which keeps the flies away, This calms the sheep down and lets them enjoy the rich summer mountain pasturage. Our Shepherd gives us the anointing of His Holy Spirit to help keep the flies of life from driving us crazy… or worldly. We only need to ask for His assistance in helping us to overcome the annoyances of daily life and we can be blessed to the point of having cups which overflow. The antidote to these flies is there and ours for the asking. We need only be willing to let Him lead us in thought and action. What a blessing to have such a Good Shepherd caring for us.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 23, 2009

Doers

thief

Today’s Verse: James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. NASB

Are you deluded? Let’s hope not, but pray all the same that if it is so that God will reveal that fault to you so you can work it out. One of the most fundamental problems we have as humans is our ability to rationalize. It is a powerful and potentially evil problem that we possess. The thief rationalizes that he needs something more than the current owner. “And the rich guy probably has insurance and will make out ahead on his claim.” Certainly the ever popular “everyone does it” covers a multitude of issues does it not? How many have rationalized the copying of videos or Cd’s? How many stick a few “extra” sweetener packets in their purse? How many are just too busy to read the Bible every day or pray over something besides a meal? Are we really too busy? The reality is that we just prioritize other activities as more important by our actual actions, not our intentions. We rationalize that we are faithful Christians because we go to church most weeks. Yet we drive right by those in need, fail to witness to anyone and have consciences that are calloused over from repetition. Do not be deluded. “Prove yourself doers of the word”.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 22, 2009

In Every Place to Pray

arms 2

Today’s Verse: 1 Timothy 2:8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or dissension. NASB

Would that not be something to see if all would raise up prayer to God in every place? What a powerful picture! The lifting up hands part might present some problems however. Most of the churches I have attended would rock back on their heels if people started lifting up their hands in prayer. The fear would be that people were going charismatic or something. Oh, I am aware that this does happen in some places and God has not burned the buildings down, but it is not the acceptable culture of many to do such things. Yet, here is Paul instructing them to do just that. Hmm. This will just raise more concerns about Paul rather than ourselves. Odd thing that. It is interesting how the simple act of raising up hands to praise God in itself might cause dissension. What is it about us that cannot accept that kind of worship. We must let go of that which limits our ability to truly praise God, raised hands or no. That’s really not the point here. Our resistance to what scripture says concerning certain things is in need of review. What other scriptural instructions do we just dismiss…”That’s not how we do it here.”?

Mat God bless your heart as you seek His.

Posted by: bshelley | July 20, 2009

Speech with Grace

conversation 2

Today’s Verse: Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. NASB

It is unfortunately quite often that my first reaction to things is not my most noble or Christ like. If I do not take time to let my speech be seasoned with salt (that is with the covenant, Lev 2:13) I come off rather clipped or dogmatic. That’s not who I want to be, but in that instant between what someone says to me and my response there needs to be more time waited to avoid the temptation of a harsh response. This is especially dangerous if I let myself feel on the defensive. If I think I am being attacked, the temptation to volley back is almost overwhelming. I say almost because I know God gives us an out when we are tempted. That requires a pause and the involvement of God’s Spirit. The idea of grace is to show favor. We are to show favor towards those we speak to because we are God’s covenant people. People watch to see how we react and even test us at times. Ours is to pause and let God be involved before we react. We need something akin to “stop, drop and roll” for talking. If we pause and let God put a little salt on our tongues before we respond, it will always go better.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.

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