Posted in A Father's Love, Creation, Devotions, Holiness, spiritual warfare, wisdom, worship

Numbers 23-24–It’s Not About Location

The Moabite king was convinced that he could curse Israel.  So, he summoned a local mystic–Balaam, to come and do the job.  Balaam asked God if he could take the job, and God said no. The King’s men came back and got Balaam to come–Balaam told them he would not do it, they urged him to come anyway.  God said fine, go, but only say what I tell you to say.  So, for the next several days, Balak, King of Moab, ushered the mystic from place to place. In each place, alters would be built, sacrifices made, and then–Balaam would bless Israel.

The King became furious–but, the prophet  would simply respond, I can only say what God has told me to say–and again the prophet would bless Israel. In the end, the King knew he had been stupid, his nation, and the allies of his nation were put on notice–Israel is and will be blessed by God–do not expect to defeat them.  In addition, your peoples will be destroyed, Have a nice day.

The bottom line is that the natural man does not understand the things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14+ says it well, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 

People think that they control their destinies. They simply do not.  There is a God who created and controls everything. The world simply thinks that because God allows evil to exist; that He must not be in control. SO Wrong! God has a plan and He will execute it to the letter. Israel was marching through the desert–awaiting the day they could enter the Promised Land. While they waited, they still were being prepared by God, provided for by God and were living under God’s protection.

As God’s chosen, today, we too live under His provision, preparation and protection.  It often feels as though the world has the upper hand; but, truth be known, nothing happens without God’s permission. That is why the promises of Roman 8:18, 28 and 34 are so significant. No matter how difficult our struggles–they cannot compare to the blessings that lie ahead. Further, all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Finally, there is nothing in this world that can separate us from our God. Israel saw that daily. Paul wrote about it as a testimony to an amazing journey; and, we can live it–if we will simply trust and follow God!

God Bless You

Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him and he spoke his message:

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,
    the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,
the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,
    who sees a vision from the Almighty,[a]
    who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

“How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
    your dwelling places, Israel!

“Like valleys they spread out,
    like gardens beside a river,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
    like cedars beside the waters.
Water will flow from their buckets;
    their seed will have abundant water.

“Their king will be greater than Agag;
    their kingdom will be exalted.

“God brought them out of Egypt;
    they have the strength of a wild ox.
They devour hostile nations
    and break their bones in pieces;
    with their arrows they pierce them.
Like a lion they crouch and lie down,
    like a lioness—who dares to rouse them?

“May those who bless you be blessed
    and those who curse you be cursed!”

Posted in A Father's Love, devotion, Holiness, spiritual warfare, wisdom, worship

Whatever the Circumstance–Genesis 39 Part 1

There are people in the world that no matter how many nice things they have in their life they can never become content, conversely, there are those that when faced with a difficult or unfair set of circumstances, they meet the circumstance with the desire to move forward and make the most of it.

Joseph was the latter! He was brutally taken from his father–by his brothers, stripped of his clothes and sold into slavery.  With no warning, no chance to say goodbye, he was taken to Egypt and sold to the Captain of the Guard.  For many, that would have itself been the beginning of the end.  Not for Joseph, though.  He landed and immediately looked to God and moved forward.  Amazingly in no time he was head of the house.  Not bad for a kid from the desert. His owner trusted him with everything that had to do with the home and home life, and Joseph took the responsibility very seriously.  Joseph was not controlled by the circumstance–he was controlled by faith.

In our lives, we are called to live the same way.  We are going to face trials each day.  It is our choice to allow the trials to control us or allow the Lord to control us.  If, like Joseph, we do the latter, then we will make a huge difference–no matter where we find ourselves.  Solomon said it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your hearts. lean not on your own understanding.  Acknowledge him in all your ways, and, he will make your path straight!”

God Bless You

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the  Ishmaelites who had taken him there.The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Posted in A Father's Love, Devotions

Jacob’s Covenant–Genesis 28 Part 3

We talk a great deal about God’s love and covenant with us–rightly so, his covenant with us is what saves us and restores the broken relationship between us and God.  But, after God showed Jacob his activities with men and made his promise to follow and make him the patriarch of his nation of priests, Jacob realized how special the relationship with God was.  In that moment and in that place, Jacob also made a covenant–he promised with a memorial pillar to honor God’s covenant by following him and giving a tenth of what he had to God.  What a promise from the man that wheeled and dealed to get a birthright and a blessing.
Jacob’s journey had his attention.  Jacob knew that it would be dangerous, and would yield no good thing–apart from God protecting and blessing him.  Jacob was wise enough to acknowledge that and give God the glory, as well as his promise to yield to God’s leadership and blessing.
That is all that God requires of us. We simply covenant to follow and trust God to forgive our sin and transform us into his image. Then, he will protect, provide and prepare us for the journey and for eternity with him.  For our part, he realizes we are a work in progress–as was Jacob.  He will lead us to be and do the things that mature us and prepare us for now and eternity.  He loves us and only wants is best in our lives–Let’s commit to following him on the journey.
God Bless You 
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel,[e] though the city used to be called Luz.

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[f] will be my God 22 and[g] this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth

Posted in Devotions

Mom is Always Right–Genesis 27 Part 1

I have been married for nearly a quarter of a century.  One of the most difficult lessons I have had to learn is the lesson that my lovely wife is usually–NO practically always right.  I confess I do not always like her approach, but–time bears out that she was on the mark with her assessments. It was the same with Isaac and Rebekah.  Rebekah heard God say–Joseph will rule Esau.  Throughout their lives, however, Isaac favored his burley Man’s man son Esau.  So when it came time to give the final blessing–there was a conflict.
Rebekah took the matters into her own hands–she built an elaborate plan to  achieve the right result.  It put Jacob in a bad place–he had to lie, cheat and steal the blessing to achieve God’s plan.  Everybody would lose.  Still, Rebekah was willing to take the shot–to see her son properly blessed. It could have been avoided had Isaac simply accepted God’s plan–but, he didn’t.  In addition, Esau was not a guy that was willing to accept God’s plan in any part of his life–especially as it relates to following God in building a God honoring nation.
I am consistently looking to follow the Lord in my life–As time has passed, I have learned that my wife is usually laser pointed on when I am not listening or not following his lead.  What’s more–if I listen, she will identify the key element that I miss and often sees what is best for our family.  It is not easy, I have to admit I am a bit dense…(HA! A BIT!!) and then take her wisdom and pray it through–but when we are aligned–God does amazing things in our lives and the lives of our family.  Thanks God for giving me a Godly wife!
God Bless You
Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”

13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”

Posted in A Father's Love, Creation, devotion, Holiness, spiritual warfare, wisdom, worship

Following God, the Making of a Hero–Genesis 11 Part 2

After studying the Bible for almost 50 years, I remain intrigued that God was so open and transparent about his plan to save the world.  He actually, like every good author, reveals himself in almost every chapter.  As we focus on the lineage that brings us to Abraham, we realize that the age of men dropped dramatically.  From Adam to Noah–the average age of men landed in the 900’s, now, by Abraham’s time that has dropped by 80%.
God knew men would not change–but, he also intentionally used frail men to carry out his plan of restoration.  The other revelation, is that the men that God used were not superheroes–they were normal people who lived normal lives. It was their desire to continue to seek God that distinguished them in the history of God’s plan.  
If we, as his chosen people. would commit to remaining faithful to God’s word and plan–we would see that faithfulness shine in this culture.  We truly make a difference, by standing in alignment with God’s plan and walking daily in the path he has made for us.  In addition, we, like the heroes of old, draw closer to him and are sensitive to his direction–making our journey easier to align with God’s leadership.  We need not be timid or ashamed, instead; we must stand tall and firm in the faith, humbly following God at his word.
God Bless You
This is the account of Shem’s family line.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father[d] of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.[e]

14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

Posted in A Father's Love, Creation, Devotions, Holiness, spiritual warfare, wisdom, worship

Unforseen Consequence–Ecclesiastes 10 Part 1

Solomon continues his discussion on the distinction of the wise and the foolish.  One of the big distinctions that Solomon observed was the inability to foresee danger in the choices we make. Solomon looks at various scenarios like digging a pit or breaking through a wall. But the idea is if you are going to trap, steal, attack or pilfer–you must be ready for the consequence of your actions.  unintended-consequences

The wise color within the lines.  They do not look for ways to sneak around the rules or gain something for nothing.  Instead, they think through their choices and their actions.  They work hard and smart.  They use the right tools–ready and in good condition.  They speak with reserve and don’t simply clamor to hear the sound of their own voice. 

In our culture–we love to be the selfie royalty.  We love to see our picture, hear our voice and find the loopholes to evade work and capture.  God and Solomon remind us that that lifestyle leads to serious consequence.  Be content to sit in the background.  Affect lives from the wings.  When you are center stage–be people of humility and integrity–then you will live long and fulfilled lives; and you will have a lasting impact and legacy.

God Bless You

Whoever digs a pit may fall into it;
    whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.
Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them;
    whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.

10 If the ax is dull
    and its edge unsharpened,
more strength is needed,
    but skill will bring success.

11 If a snake bites before it is charmed,
    the charmer receives no fee.

12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious,
    but fools are consumed by their own lips.
13 At the beginning their words are folly;
    at the end they are wicked madness—
14     and fools multiply words.

No one knows what is coming—
    who can tell someone else what will happen after them?

Posted in A Father's Love, Devotions, Holiness, Marraige, spiritual warfare, worship

God’s Choice Established–Joshua 3 Part 2

Face it, Joshua had big sandals to fill.  Moses was Israel’s leader for over forty years. He had done a host of miracles and spent days alone with God to prepare him to lead the nation of Israel.  Joshua had clearly been with him through the journey. But, now, as the people entered the land—Joshua needed confirmation that God appointed him to lead, to clear out Israel’s enemies and settle the land. 

Interestingly enough, God parts the Jordan River in front of Jericho, and allows the Israelites to cross on dry land—In the history of this free people, no story is more memorable or amazing than Moses parting the Red Sea. I am sure the Israelites and the people in Jericho knew the story and were awe struck to see it repeated. So, God uses Joshua to part the Jordan in the same way.  One path in to freedom—then one path in to their inheritance.  There could be no clearer affirmation of Joshua’s choice as leader.

Once we realize that God does direct our journey; it is incumbent upon us to follow humbly and with a grateful heart.  He will establish his leadership in a host of different ways.  If we are paying attention, he will provide confirmation of his leadership, time and again,  In John 14:21, Jesus reminds the disciples that if we love God and are obedient—he will reveal himself to us.  It is as if he pulls back the curtain and stands transparent–showing us the steps along the way.  The bottom line is this—if we will live a life that honors God, in his time, he will confirm his plan and honor us as his choice.

God Bless You

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river…’” Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

Posted in A Father's Love, Creation, Devotions, Holiness, Marraige, spiritual warfare

The Champion–Romans 12 part 2

When we, like Abraham, decide to become a living sacrifice, we then, like any seasoned traveler, must gear up for the journey.  The journey for most requires that they outfit for the world’s standard—independence, self-absorption, base survival instinct and the focus of self-preservation by any means necessary. Paul knew, however, that the journey for a person that was committed to live a life for Christ required a complete transformation.

The Rocky movies that were produced in the 70’s, 80’s and up to a few weeks ago—(Creed), illustrated the transformation very well.  At the critical moment, the hero realizes that what he is doing is not working, and changes his entire thought process and regimen to become the champion. It is never simply harder physical training; instead, the hero transforms by the change in attitude, spirit and drive.

That is what Paul—and God calls us to do! We are to be transformed into a humble but God focused champion.  We face the challenges of the day with the mind of Christ.  We do not look to our own abilities to meet the battle, but we rely on prayer, study, fellowship with other believers and sober judgement to win the spiritual battles of the day.  We never quit and always push forward to be transformed into his image, the image of a true champion!

God Bless You

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.warrior

Posted in Devotions, Fathers Love, Holiness, Marraige, spiritual warfare

The Handwriting on the Wall–Daniel 5 Part 1

After the reign of his father, King Belshazzar took the throne of the empire of Babylon. As is the case with many sons that become king, Belshazzar had little regard for his father’s ideas and beliefs. After all, his dad went crazy for 7 years. 

So Belshazzar set about doing things his way. He abandoned the faith of his dad and became a proud and partying King.

 So sure he was of his position. that he threw a party for 1000 of his nobles. Sadly, during the party, he not only disregarded his father’s faith, he defiled it by using sacred cups from the temple of God.  That was a mistake– he would not soon forget. 

It is critical, that we honor the lessons learned by the ones who have gone before us. There was is no need to make the same bad decisions simply because we can. Belshazzar saw what his father’s pride cost him. His father told the world. Yet, rather than accept the truth and blessing that came with it, Belshazzar flaunted his disregard.  Such pride and folly ends poorly. It did for Belshazzar, and it will for us. We must simply trust him and follow him, and as we do, allow him to bless and protect us. Then we can honor him with our lives and our families.  Happy New Year. 

 God Bless You
Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him.


Posted in A Father's Love, devotion, Devotions, Holiness, Marraige, spiritual warfare, worship

No Other God Before Me–Exodus 20 Part 1

One of the truly great things God gave us was the Law. By any name, the 10 commandments put a framework around the two great commands—Love God and love one another.  In God’s direct discussion with his people, he set the tone of the discussion by stating the obvious—I AM the Lord your God—who brought you out of Egypt and bondage.  Clearly, he had the right to set some parameters to keep them free.

He spoke directly in the 1st 5 commandments about the love of God.  The 2nd 5 speak directly to love of each other. Each of the commands approach that love from a different perspective.  The critical point that God was trying to teach a free nation was– they could only remain free if they were willing to become selfless and humble.  So to put a fine point on the principle—God said—YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME. As they faced the mountain, the Israelites could easily see God was large and in charge. In the days ahead they would have to decide if each of their actions would put anything ahead of the God that freed them.

Today, we should ask the same question—what am I doing that God would perceive as putting another God ahead of him. We all face that question—Is God first. God knows that if we submit to him—he will make our lives full and free.  But the blocks we stack between us and him serve as walls to our own spiritual prison.  Each day we must be willing to look honestly at our lives and clear the blocks away—and embrace the idea that we shall have NO other God before the Lord our God!!!

God Bless You

And God spoke all these words, saying:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.