Psalm 15–God’s Kind of Folks

 

So many times, we focus on what we should not do as God’s chosen people. We should not adopt the culture’s mentality. We should not chase the things of this world…In Psalm 15, David takes a moment to look at what the people God thinks are important, do each day. God is transforming us into his image. While we will never be perfect, until He returns and takes us home, he does highlight traits that set us apart.

God loves folks who are innocent and living a life that honors him. Those folks naturally speak the truth–about themselves, about others and are the helpful, selfless ones. They neither attack, nor defame those they call friends. While they do not have anything to do with the rough crowd, they keep good friends, and do what they say they will–no matter the cost. finally, they help, without keeping tabs and they are honest to a fault. In short, God loves people that seek him and desire to honor and become like him–no matter what it costs or what it takes. Help me, Lord to be one of those people!

God Bless You

Lord
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.

Israel Meets Pharaoh–Let the Blessing Begin!–Genesis 47 Part 1

It would be the only time this would happen…Not since his grandfather and father lied to a Pharaoh about their wives being their sisters, had a patriarch of God’s chosen stood before the leader of Egypt.  This time, the now 135 year old Israel, was finally at peace.  He had faced tremendous adversity and heartbreak–but now, God had restored to him all he could have ever hoped or dreamed.  
 
I am sure the young Pharaoh stood in awe of this man–the man who bore and raised the man that had raised him.  Joseph was a father to Pharaoh; and not only saved Egypt, but he saved all the known world. So, to see the love Joseph felt for this man, and to be blessed by him–had to be a great moment in the young king’s life.  Pharaoh gladly blessed him back with some of the finest land in Egypt and a job as shepherds of all Pharaoh’s livestock. Shepherding for Pharaoh would be no small task. 
 
We can never know the impact we have on the lives of others–God told Israel that he would bless the world with his lineage.  The blessing started in Egypt and carries through till today.  God has a plan for each of us, as well.  His plan could take us down roads and events we would have never imagined.  We, like Israel, will simply need to prepare to trust God in any and all circumstance and follow him by faith. We must remember, as we follow, what he has already accomplished in our lives.  
 
There is no question that God has control; there is only a question of whether we will trust him to execute his plan to the end.  If we will, then we will stand firm and see his glory in our lives. In addition, we will see the impact upon many others with whom we interact in our lives. There is little doubt that it is definitely worth the risk.
 
God Bless You
 
Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”

“Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.”

Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed[a] Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed[b] Pharaoh and went out from his presence.

 

Isreal Reunites With God and Joseph–Genesis 46 Part 1

It was finally happening.  Israel and all his family were going to Egypt.  Israel would see Joseph for the 1st time in 20 years.  As the pain was fading, Israel’s recognition and dependence upon God returned and at Beersheba–he did something he had not done in a long time–he offered sacrifices to God.  It was no small thing, and God met him there.  God personally took Israel aside to reassure him that this plan was moving forward as he intended.  

In those moments, Israel had to feel completely content.  He knew that God had done all that he promised to do; and was preserving his family for generations to come.  Then, the moment when father and son reunited–the greatest moment in this man’s life.  The two men hugged and wept for what must have seemed hours.  Together again after all that they had endured.

It is in those moments, we have to continue to stake our faith in God–the author and creator of our story.  We  realize that life is tough, but, we carry on–knowing that God does work his plan to the end.  When we grasp that concept, we can then trust His leadership and continue to focus upon His grace and plan.  Then, at moments when we least expect, God reveals himself.  He shows us that He will care for us and will never forsake us.  That is why we must trust him–now and forever!

God Bless You

 

So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan. Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring…All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons[f] who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy[g] in all.

28 Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father[h] and wept for a long time.

30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”

Abram–Picking the Lineage–Genesis 12 Part 1

So, the choice of a lineage, was never based upon God looking for the best–it was based upon God looking for the most faithful.  In a word, That was Abram.  He was one and done–God said Go and he went.  The lesson of Abram, as we will see, is that as God’s chosen, we are always called to follow.  We are never expected to be perfect–although, the closer that we follow the less deviation from God’s plan will happen.  All the while, in good times and bad, and–when we are faithful as well as when we are not–God still leads, guides and protects those who follow.

Abram is very similar to Christians today–the world around us is a mess.  Sin is everywhere and no place feels like home.  We, as God’s chosen, must rise each day and look for just today’s lessons and blessings.  We must only face today’s burdens and trials.  We must do as Paul spoke in Philippians 4–“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition–with thanksgiving, bring your requests before God–then the peace of God, which passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus!” Phil 4:6.  Let your anxiety go and, Like Abram–simply go and follow God’s plan for today!!!

God Bless You

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.[a]
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”[b]

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

The Tower–A Trophy to Self–Genesis 11 part 1

It’s all Greek to me! Well to the men that refilled the earth, there was only one language.  As they grew in number, they had the mind and the desire to run independent of God–again.  That desire, coupled with the amazing knowledge and ability to invent and communicate–provided men with the opportunity to destroy themselves again; and to abandon God–once again.  Their object of choice–A tower that reached to the heavens. 
 
It was not really the tower that made men dangerous, it was the fact that they had so quickly combined to abandon God, rather than to trust and follow him.  God did the best thing he could do to maintain some semblance of civility in the world–he spread them across the globe and confused their ability to communicate.  This was probably first a simple annoyance, but, quickly became an object to divide and to undermine the unified attempt to separate from God.
 
When we seek to make God the enemy, it always ends in a destructive pattern for us–not for God.  Our independence does not only exclude God, it excludes all that God represents.  Order, peace, unity and selflessness disappear–when God is removed from the equation.  Conversely, when God is reintroduced and people begin to follow and trust him–amazingly, the very peace, unity and order that were lost–suddenly reappear.  It is no coincidence; we were designed to live best in the shadow of the Father’s leadership.  If we will simply include him and depend upon him–He will free us and provide the very gifts we need to have an amazing journey.
 
God Bless You
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar[b] and settled there.They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Life Ain’t Fair–So, Deal With It Ecclesiastes 8 Part 2

Some of the wisest words from the wisest king that ruled were simply this, “Life simply is not fair…so, deal with it!”  Make no misforbes-image-21take–we live in a system that bends over backward to keep things fair and equitable.  As societies develop, they work to implement systems and laws that protect those that could not protect themselves.  But, despite men’s best efforts–some that are evil end up better off than those that try to do the right things for the right reasons.
 
Solomon saw that in Israel–They were at the top of their rise.  They were one of the richest nations on earth–at that time.  Solomon was the wisest and most clever king–YET, evil still lurked on the street and men were still exploited, maimed and murdered. This had the propensity to make the king crazy, but, instead he simply saw the truth–life is not fair.
 
His solution was simple, as well.  Live a good life–work hard and be honest. Still, the King realized that men should enjoy their lives and their families.  Make great memories and have laughter. Let the little stuff go; and, as Christians, focus on how to make the most of your days together.  That is the only wise response to a world that will never be fair.
 
God Bless You
There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own[b] hurt. 10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried—those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise[c] in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless.11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong. 12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.

14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.

When The Spirit Moves–Acts 19 Part 1

It is often difficult to understand the true difference Christ can make in our lives.   Paul was in Ephesus, as he questioned the believers, they clearly understood the redemptive power of knowing Christ.  Sadly, they did not understand he not only saves us from our sin , but, he empowers us to conform to his image and to spread the message to the world.  When Paul laid hands upon them, they received the Holy Spirit’s power and were transformed into warriors for the kingdom.
 
From that beginning Paul began to transform the city of Ephesus into one of the Church’s strongest cities.  For two years, Paul preached and taught the word, effectively and transformed lives.  As his ministry grew, so did the opposition to it.  Paul, was not dissuaded.  That transforming power of the Holy Spirit continued to move the people and change Ephesus for Christ.
 
We have the same power today.  When we start the personal relationship with Christ, We not only receive redemption from our hopeless sinful lives–we also receive His Spirit to conform, empower and guide us in our Journey.  Sadly, so many in the church settle for his redemption and never allow him to empower them to be mighty warriors.  Such lives are wasted.  God did not call us to be simple spectators–instead, he made us to be his witnesses and ambassadors throughout the world.  We must not settle–We must press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of us!
 
God Bless You
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.