Ananias, I Have a Job for You–Acts 9 Part 2

So, we pray that we are ready for whatever God has planned for us. We study his word, we walk the amazing journey laid out for us. To do that, we go to church, study the bible, help others and generally look for God’s will–but no matter how much effort we expend to be ready—invariably, life throws us a curve.  Such was the day for both Paul and Ananias. 

Paul had been sitting blind, had not eaten or drank for days and was at a complete loss for what was in store.  Meanwhile, Ananias was minding his own business and God told him to go meet up with the Jewish persecutor that applauded the vanquishing of Christians. Clearly Ananias was confused, scared but faithful. 

Ananias obeyed God, healed Paul and started a movement that forever  changed the world. Had Paul not obeyed God, had Ananias failed to follow through—what we take for granted may never have happened. It is critical for us to consider that when God allows us to receive curveballs in life, our obedience forever changes us and often impacts our world for Christ.  We do not have to like the assignment, we simply have to complete it.  It may hurt, it may make our march miserable, but compared to eternity, it is a very small part of a long and amazing journey.

God Bless You

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Stephen, One Heck of a Bus Boy–Acts 6 Part 2

So God picked 7 men to wait upon the tables of the Greek widows. He did not pick just any men, he picked men filled with His Spirit with a heart to serve.  The man at the top of their list was Stephen. Stephen wasted no time serving, but he was more than just a bus boy; he was an articulate theologian and preacher and was turning men to Jesus—it was driving the Jewish Leaders crazy!  He was the kitchen help after all—but they could not out wit, out argue or out last Stephen’s wisdom or power.

So, they did the next best thing, they lied about him.  They raised such a ruckus that the Jewish leaders had him arrested.  Much as in Jesus’ case, they had liar after liar portray Stephen as a person trying to undermine God and the Jewish faith—nothing could have been farther from the truth.  Stephen was a man that loved God and His people.  Stephen lived to serve and to lead others to salvation—he was a major threat to the enemy and to the self-absorbed Jewish leadership.

In current culture, we will see the same scenarios arise.  It will not be the loud and boisterous religious folks that cause angst among the world.  It will be those that seek and serve the Lord with a heart of  humility and gratitude.  They will be called radicals and intolerant even though they reach out with empathy and genuine concern.  Opposition will try to embarrass them with debate, but, will themselves be embarrassed as Christ’s chosen speak the truth in love.

It will be those full of his spirit and ready to be servants that will cause revival—seek them out and befriend them they will give hope, faith and joy. If you are looking for a purpose, well like Stephen, be one heck of a bus boy—God has been known to use them in amazing ways!

God Bless You

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.

11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

O.B.E.Y–Obey Your Mom and Dad–Proverbs 6 Final

People that are successful in life learn early that the instruction of their parents was given for their benefit.  Parents adore their children and want nothing more than to prepare them for a great life. We all do it.  That is why children all over the world think parents are in some sort of conspiracy. We all say no a lot. We all make those crazy comments like—“How would you like it if your face froze like that?” Seriously, however, parents practice unconditional love more readily with the raising of their kids than at any other time.

 God and Solomon knew that—That is why Solomon stressed that listening to your folks is a very wise course. Their instruction covers all aspects of life.  What is more, parents anticipate almost every life issue, because , they have already had to face it. Parents have seen the cost of evil and the selfishness of men.  They would literally give everything they owned for their kids to avoid the many heartaches of life. While that is impossible to do, parents will prepare their kids to recognize the danger signs in life and they will share all their experience to minimize the risk of danger their kids will face. As Kids-they will be miles ahead if they will simply listen and realize that their folks know so much more than they are given credit for and only want the best for their children.  In short, trust God and listen to the teaching of your folks!!!

 God Bless You                                                                                                                                                                        

My son, keep your father’s command     and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them always on your heart;     fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will guide you;     when you sleep, they will watch over you;     when you awake, they will speak to you. 23 For this command is a lamp,     this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction     are the way to life,

You Gotta Work For It–Proverbs 6 Part 2

As Solomon continued to advise his son on how to live a successful life, he moved from what to avoid into the category of what one should embrace.  Item one—Good old fashioned work.  As the wisest man in the world, Solomon quickly pointed out the value of labor.  He recognized long before Ben Franklin that idle hands were the Devil’s workshop.  When one is engaged in work, several great things happen. 

 When people are working they do not have to be led as closely.  They have purpose and direction and their lives move forward in a positive direction without having to be told each step on the journey. Next, when one is working they grow to think beyond the here and the now.  They plan and they save for long term life. Finally, as they build a work life, they avoid the need to be dependent on the kindness of others to survive.  They have a stake in their own outcomes and become the person that is kind to others.

 In our culture, we have allowed the policies of our government to grow an entire population that believes it is entitled to not only food and shelter, but to conveniences of life like phones, cable and internet. We have rewarded those that do not wish to work and have allowed others to take the opportunities of those that do.  We, like Solomon, need to embrace work as a gift from God and encourage our kids to do the same. As we do that, the attitude of the nation will be confident and free once again and we will be a part of a nation that produces much and expects little in return—rather than a nation that feels entitled to all and wishes to do as little as possible to obtain it.

God Bless You

Go to the ant, you sluggard;     consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander,     no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer     and gathers its food at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?     When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber,     a little folding of the hands to rest— 11 and poverty will come on you like a thief     and scarcity like an armed man.

Wisdom the Bridesmaid???–Proverbs 1 Continued

We have all met them.  Perfectly lovely people who have for one reason or another not been able to connect with another.  We all pull for them and want so badly for someone to scoop them up and love them—and yet, alas, it never seems to happen.  That is Solomon’s illustration for wisdom.  So many people say they want to be wise and insightful.  We want the answers to life’s difficult questions and issues.  Solomon indicates that it is us–not wisdom.  Like the girl never picked at the dance, no one is willing to partner with wisdom.  Some would say it’s just too weird—wisdom is not their type.  They prefer sarcasm and google.  Others shy away feeling they are not worthy to have such an amazing partner.  Still others flirt with wisdom but just want what it will give them not caring instead what it will make them.

Wisdom, like the beautiful maiden, stands arms outstretched longing to be embraced.  But, we have to want to be wise and not simply knowledgeable.  What’s more, wisdom does not share the stage with base emotion and trash thought—She expects a desire to remain humble and to diligently seek God.  Finally, wisdom requires faith in God and his timing in order to be the lasting influence in our lives—This ain’t no one night stand. It is a covenant relationship that comes with age and commitment to service.  James 1 sums it up quite nicely—“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God who give generously and without judgment.  But when He asks let him ask in faith—or he will be like aa double—minded man.

If you have not begun, yet; today is the best day to court and win the hand of Wisdom in your life.

God Bless You

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—

Joseph finally receives his Just Reward–Joshua 15

God does not forget.  Joseph’s efforts and faithfulness had not been in vain for he and his family.  At age 17, he was sold into slavery by his brothers.  He was then made the trustee for the estate of the Captain of the Guard for Egypt.  He blessed the family and did so well that Potifer left it to him.  He was wrongfully accused and imprisoned.  Throughout his stay, he made such a difference they left it to him.  Then, he was made co-regent of Egypt and literally saved the Egyptian world and the nation of Israel.  The most exceptional part of the story was that Joseph’s faith carried him through thick and thin.  It also allowed him to do all humbly and without looking back.

Now centuries later, God was rewarding his family with the inheritance they deserved.  They were second in line—only behind Judah.  They were given double portions and the prestige of being in the place of honor.  There was nothing exceptional about Ephriam or Manassah as a people, but they were given much due to their lineage.

Our lineage is also significant.  As his chosen, we are part of the lineage of the Savior.  Even though our accomplishments are not exceptional, the life and sacrifice of Jesus provides us with an inheritance unmatched by any other man.  Eternal life and a full and meaningful journey are gifts we can only receive by surrendering to him and humbly following Christ.  Like the tribes of Joseph, we only have to accept the reward he provided. We will never fully appreciate the depth of love or the greatness of our reward for following Christ.

God Bless You

The allotment for Joseph began at the Jordan, east of the springs of Jericho, and went up from there through the desert into the hill country of Bethel. It went on from Bethel (that is, Luz),[a] crossed over to the territory of the Arkites in Ataroth, descended westward to the territory of the Japhletites as far as the region of Lower Beth Horon and on to Gezer, ending at the Mediterranean Sea.

So Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph, received their inheritance.

This was the territory of Ephraim, according to its clans:

The boundary of their inheritance went from Ataroth Addar in the east to Upper Beth Horon and continued to the Mediterranean Sea. From Mikmethath on the north it curved eastward to Taanath Shiloh, passing by it to Janoah on the east. Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, touched Jericho and came out at the Jordan. From Tappuah the border went west to the Kanah Ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Ephraimites, according to its clans. It also included all the towns and their villages that were set aside for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites.

10 They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labor.

 

 

Who’s The Boss–Daniel 6 part 1

There was a new King and a new Government, but it did not affect Daniel.  In fact, he worked to remain true to himself and God so much that the ruler was set to make him the chief administrator. But, as is usually the case, they wanted Daniel out.  The group set out to turn up any dirt they could on Daniel and found nothing.   They sought any rules to trick Daniel but, found none.  Daniel was committed ts serving God and doing everything for his glory.  This drove the rest of the bureaucrats crazy.  But it made King after King grateful and blessed.

In our lives, we need to live in a way tht drives folks crazy as well.  We need to honor God 7 days a week at home, at work and at play.  We need to work as though we are working for God and not for men.  When we do, all jealousy and bitterness will not be a factor,  We will live , work and walk honoring Gid in our lives.  When we do, we can rest assured that there will be critics and detractors that will try to undermine us.  But, as we trust the Lord, he will carry us through.  Thanks Lord, for being our ultimate guide and boss.

 God Bless You

 

]It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”