Saving the Best for Last–Genesis 1 Final

After doing all the preparation, God finished out creation by filling his lush and beautiful earth with animals.  It must have been beautiful.  The glorious skies pure and pristine–filled with birds of all colors and sizes, oceans and lakes teaming with some of the most amazing creatures and now God filled the land with amazing animals and finally, the guest of honor…Man. 

Say what you will, but this was a gift for us.  We were given dominion over the earth and all the wonderful things it contains.  If we were not so stinking sinful, selfish and stingy, we could have enjoyed a lifetime of beauty and splendor.  We still are called to be good stewards of this gift, BUT, we were never called to worship the created earth! We were, are and always will be called to worship its amazing creator!!!

If we could ever grasp that the wonder is not the universe, but, its designer, implementer and caretaker; then we would not only adore this creation, but we would be free to celebrate it as a great gift and be free in God’s presence to trust, follow and watch him do miraculous things in our lives.

Remember at the beginning of that week, the earth was without form and darkness loomed over the face of the earth–BUT THEN, God said let their be light, AND THERE WAS–and he can do it again today! Join me in prayer to ask him to bring light back to the world, our country, our churches and our spirits!

God Bless You

Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[b] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,[c] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings[d] in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

Livin’ it With Passion–I Thes 1

It is not difficult to see the effects of a committed Christian’s life.  They do not need fish stuck to their bumpers.  The commitment to Christ is as apparent in a Christian’s daily living–as the sun is on a summer’s day.  The joy, the perseverance, the kindness to others and even the humble response to mistakes shine as symbols of a commitment to Christ.

What’s more is the impact following him has on others. When people see Christ in you, they long for the peace and joy they abserve in you and lack in themselves. Over time they will seek and find the life they long for–either with you or with someone else–none the less your walk may have been what gave them hope or desire to have eternal life and peace.  The Thessalonians were not just Sunday Christians…they lived it 24/7.

Will You?

God Bless You

For we know, brothers and sisters[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

I Samuel 8 “King”

Our lives work best when we follow God as our leader.  This is true personally, as a family, as a church and as a nation.  It really is a simple concept—“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matt 6:33 .  Sadly, we are always looking for a substitute to lead.  It was the same with Israel.  They had followed God out of Egypt, but, through the years looked to others to lead.  In the last years, God provided a number of judges to lead—Samuel was the last.  He served God and had an amazing relationship with him that provided a wonderful time of peace for Israel.  In that peace, Israel started looking for a replacement.  Israel wanted a King—Just like everyone else. It crushed Samuel, but what’s worse, it crushed the Lord. God knew that following a king really meant not following him.

In our lives, when we remain faithful and focused upon God, he works all things together for Good.  He walks through trials with us and protects and provides for us.  As he does, we are often tempted to look for another leader.  It may be a pastor, an author or even a civic or Government leader. It just is not God. Whenever we make anyone besides God our leader, we bear a cost that grows worse as the days progress.  Only God can provide peace in Chaos,  Only God can provide joy in trials.  He designed us, redeemed us and wants simply to guide us to freedom and joy. He is the only King we need.

God Bless You   

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

III John–Who Do You Look Like

When we walk with the Lord, we are constantly seeking ways to emulate and imitate him.  It is a freeing and joyful thing to know your performance does not affect your salvation.  It is, however, critical to remember as God’s kids that our behavior and actions speak volumes about who we are and who we serve.  John spent an entire letter to praise his friend for his representation of God in his life.  In addition, he encouraged him to continue to cultivate the attitude of service and community that he lived.

In our lives, we are often tempted to withdraw, withhold and simply walk away from serving others.  It is messy, risky and often completely thankless.  But, when we die to ourselves and pour our lives into others, they do not see us–they see the Father who loved us and gave himself for us.  We derive great joy in simply seeing him glorified.  We can never give up.  We can never withdraw and we can never forget that the one who died for us is God himself—who considered us a treasure and gladly did what was necessary to restore us to his family.

Help me Lord to serve with humility and joy.

God Bless You

 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters,[a] even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth…11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

Ruth 3 part 2–A Gentleman’s Heart

There is a certain character of a gentleman.  It is a combination of class and chivalry.  It is engrained and obvious in everything that he attempts.  The way he treats strangers, the way he treats women and the way he responds to opportunity all show a selflessness that makes him beloved to all he comes into contact with.  That was the Character of Boaz. He made sure that Ruth was not embarrassed, he made sure she knew that he had listened.  In addition, he made sure  she knew he would follow the rules and preserve her reputation.  Finally, he made sure she went home with adequate provision for her and her mother-in-law.

As Godly men, we are to have the same character.  We are to be selfless, honorable and men of integrity.  All that we do should reflect the very nature of God.  When we live our lives that way, we stand out to those we know.  They want to be a part of our lives and they want to know what makes us different.  When they learn it is our restored relationship with God, they want to be a part of the family as well.  We will never know the impact we will have as we journey through life.  But, we know that how we live can impact lives daily and eternally.  Father, help me to live in a way that honors you and blesses others.

God Bless You

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he[c] went back to town.

Ruth 3 part 1–A Hot time on the Threshing Floor Tonight!

We must be ready to take steps to execute God’s Plan. In the Great Commission, Jesus tells us that as you are going, make disciples…So often, we are afraid to take steps for fear we are going to miss God’s plan. Conversely, other times we simply strike out on our own without thought or prayer assuming we know better than God what is best for us, In Ruth, we see the place where God lies in the continuum. Ruth listened to her Godly mother-in-law. Naomi trusted God and followed his lead. She instructed Ruth to look and be at her best, but to do what she is told, not make things happen. That is what Satan would have us do–simply help God out. There is a balance.

In our lives, what we do, where we go all are significant to God. He wants us to be sensitive to his leadership. He does not want us to live paralyzed and afraid to face life. We need to walk humbly–but boldly each day seeking him in prayer and listening to Godly men and women he has placed in our lives. We then study his word and hide it in our heart–Finally we go and as we go we seek, listen and ask for his leadership in our lives. As we do, we see amazing answers and know his presence is with us guiding us to a full and meaningful life. We must not be afraid–we must simply trust and obey.

God Bless You and those amazing folks that died so we can remain free.

 

One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a] for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

9 “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer[b] of our family.”

Matthew 28 final–The Great Commission

Jesus returned to start the church.  He completed his mission of revealing the heart of God and paying the price to restore man’s relationship to God.  In the midst of that, he raised a group of men to now build the Church.  These were the guys that walked, ate, laughed and cried with him.  These were the guys that he had been ripped away from only a few days before.  These were the guys that he entrusted the entire development of the Church to.

 

His charge to them was simple—As you are going…make disciples, baptize them, teach them and encourage them.  But, please do not worry because I will be with you right to the end. That charge started  the church.  That Charge has carried the church through countless persecutions, through the rise and fall of empires, the eradication of God from cultures and the direct attack on the people that love God. 

The Great commission is personal to each of us that follow him.  It is an honor to be given the same call as Peter, James and John.  The author, Matthew was challenged to do the very same thing.  We must walk each day with our finger on the pulse of our mission.  As we are going…(to work, school, vacation, lunch or on errands)make disciples.  Help me Lord to accept and execute your Great commission in my life.

 God Bless You

 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.