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.

Table for 5000 Please–John 6 Part 1

Can you imagine the staggering impact Jesus’ question must have had on the disciples…How are we going to feed these folks. The buzz among his men must have been a mixture of shock and awe.  Clearly, there was no way either economically or logistically for the disciples to feed this crowd.  Yet, they have seen Jesus do amazing things every day.  So the brainstorming begins–it will take a half year’s salary, but that does not even deal with who will have that kind of supply! Andrew found a boy with a fish–kid’s meal–I am sure Jesus smiled at that one and said, “Okay, that should work!”

Remember, this same Jesus called the universe into being.  Light, earth, vegetation, sea creatures, birds, land animals and ultimately man. He has turned water into wine.  He has healed the sick, raised the dead, made the lame to walk and the blind to see. He has cleansed lepers, and astounded Rabbi’s–So what’s a little bread and fish among friends!!!

We need to remember–God has faced countless and impossible challenges for thousands of years.  He can handle the big ones like parting a sea or feeding a mob.  But, he takes equal care in  protecting his kids and meeting their needs.  He gets giddy about feeding a family.  But nothing brings him more joy than restoring that eternal bond with one of his own. We do not always know how God will execute his plan, but, with a little faith, we can rest easy that he is absolutely going to do so with excellence and power. What a guy to have a picnic with…right?

God Bless You

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Enough is Enough–Genesis 18 Part 3

It is never really all that close! God is a patient Father.  His desire is that none should perish.  So on the warm Canaan evening, when God told Abraham Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin was so flagrant that he was going to wipe it out, God did not make the decision easily or lightly.  God knew they were beyond redemption.  Nothing would please God more than seeing these people turn their lives around and follow him, but he knew I would never happen.

It is so easy for us to blame God for all that is wrong in the world.  When people suffer loss or are treated poorly, somehow it becomes God judging or arbitrarily doing evil to ruin lives.  Truth is the evil in our lives are usually a result of the world state and our personal choices.  We want God to somehow absolve us from the consequence–but, he does not. He allows the world and all in it to remain independent and choose.  But n order to do that, they have to live with the consequence. 

It is my prayer this last day of the year, that unlike Sodom and Gomorrah we are still redeemable and will repent and follow him.  He will forgive and restore us–if we follow him.  If not–we will fall.

God Bless You

So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”

22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

 

Almost, But Not Quite–Genesis 11 Final

What do we know about Terah?  Oh, he was Abram’s Dad…The sad news is that he was the first man called to Canaan! He scooped up his little family and left Ur–on his way to Canaan.  But somewhere along the journey, he decided to stop in Harran.  Don’t get me wrong–Harran was a nice place, it just wasn’t where God was leading him and his family.  It was a convenient sidetrack that stopped his journey.

So many of God’s chosen take off on the journey the father calls them to and in the midst of it get sidetracked and rendered ineffective. Work, kids, illness, and a host of little foxes enter our lives and nip at us.  We then wake up at AARP + years and wonder where the time went and why did we lose our vision.  God says–its OK! Start a new vision today.  Read the word, pray continually and seek ways to serve.  You may have missed Canaan, but you do not have to miss God!!!

God Bless You

This is the account of Terah’s family line.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran

Who Can Win the Battle–1 John 5 Part 1

It is great to distinguish yourself.  One need only open You tube to find countless examples of people working to set themselves apart and establish their place in this world.  We are also called to be set apart. And God, being the father that he is simply wants us to be set apart from a world gone bad.  So How do we set ourselves apart?

In this passage we see three factors that make us unique. 1) Believing Jesus is the Christ (Messiah). 2) Loving God and Loving his kids.  3) Keeping his Commands–By faith.  It is mostly a matter of trust–trusting God to be God, trusting Christ to be the risen Savior and trusting God’s plan to be designed to make us like him and to prepare us for Eternity.  If we do that, we will be SET APART.

God Bless You

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ[a] has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Matthew 11 Final–Burden Shifting

There are few promises in the Bible more comforting than the promise of burden shifting.  Jesus tells the disciples that God is the provider of peace and rest.  God wants his kids to come to him when they are worn out and he will provide rest and restoration.  Not only that, he tells us that he is willing to trade burdens.  He will take our worries, fears and trials and we can take his—He promises his burden is easy his yoke is light.

We all carry burdens.  Health, family, financial and career issues weigh on each of us in a constant attempt to wear us down.  Yet, God says, follow him and he will bear that burden, provide and protect us as we travel through the difficult issues of life.  He does not promise to remove them, but he does promise to face them with us and provide for us—That is what any loving parent would do.  Help me Lord, to shift burdens and trust you to protect and provide for your children.

God Bless You

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Don’t Worry–Mattew 6 final

The essence of faith is walking and acting as if we believe God is God and we are not.  God’s plan so often seems like it won’t work. It does not make sense to give when you are poor, to praise God in the midst of tough times, to love and pray for your enemies and to wait patiently when it seems all is falling apart. That is why God calls us to simply follow him and trust him.  He sees the big picture—he knows exactly what your journey looks like.  He loves you and wants to make you free and blessed.  It is difficult to pass through trials and not fret a bit. 

Faith is the continued movement toward God and his plan when all the pressure is to withdraw and move away.  God does not expect us to be perfect.  He is not shocked when we have a bad day and seem less than at peace.  He only wants to take the burden and allow us to function with joy and sanity.  He hates to see us struggle.  He provides for flowers and birds to remind us that such attention to the insignificant is a message that he will greatly care for us his chosen.  Take heart, Don’t worry and follow God—He loves you and has you in his hands

God Bless You

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.