Matthew 19 part 1–The Pain of Divorce

The more things change, the more they remain the same.  The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus with one of those real controversial issues of then and now—Divorce. Since Adam and Eve–marriage has remained under attack.  The enemy used sin to divide husband and wife at the beginning and continues to do so today.  The enemy has used strife, sexual immorality, social relativism and “tolerance” to so skew the lines that today as in Sodom and Gomorra, Greece and Rome the world has scrapped what a family is and replaced it with what people wish it to be.

Divorce inside and outside the church has broken many great people.  Praise God that he can restore the broken hearts.  He can bless new families that are committed to following him. As in Moses time, God allowed divorce then and does so now—but he hates it.  It is devastating and life altering.  He would rather see us cling to the covenant in all circumstance. He does continue to love his kids even after they have been broken.

As husbands, we need to love our wives and be the servant leader called for in Ephesians 5.  We need to be faithful in both word and deed. Our kids need to say of us—My dad loved my Mom and he loved us! Dads must be centered on God and his word and in prayer daily for wives and kids.  Wives must hold the family together as the chief of operations.  They have to turn the unruly group into a family and the house into a home. Most importantly, couples have to think and act as one. They are a united front against the world, its culture and the trials of parenting, finances and health.

Thank You, Lord for my wife—help her to remain secure in your love, my devotion and the plan you have prepared for us.

God Bless You

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick.

Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’[a]And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’[b] Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

“Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?”[c] they asked.

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful

Life Ain’t Fair Esther 3 part 3

There are times when we see life unfold and are positive that “life ain’t fair.”  Haman got his feelings hurt and he in turn sentenced the captives from Israel to death.  When we see things like that occur, it causes us to question God and his love for us.  Truth is, we see only a few pixels of a grand marquee.  We will never understand God’s plan for our lives and the lives of those we interact with, and yet his plan always moves forward.

In our lives, we have to cling to the idea that God really does have a plan and we are an integral part of it. We do not have to understand the plan we simply have to trust that God will bring it to pass.  He promises to protect and provide for his kids—We simply have to walk and trust that even when life ain’t fair, that he will.  Help me, Lord to trust your plan and humbly follow you.

God Bless You

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents[b] of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”

10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”

12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.

Haman the prideful man Esther 3 part 1

Pride is a deceptive master.  Xerxes honored Haman.  Haman had the opportunity to show Humility and Grace in his place of Honor.  Such an act would have sealed the love of his King and his country…Ask Esther.  Instead, he felt entitled to be worshipped and when he found that a Jew failed to worship him, he not only decided to punish Mordecai, but, he decided to punish God and all his people.  What arrogance, what Gaul what a big mistake.

When those who take issue with the acts of God’s people decide to punish God—they place themselves in a place of certain failure.  They may do damage, but the final outcome is inevitable…God Wins.  We as his children face more situations as the years pass where being on the side of God does not mean favorable treatment. We face greater fear of retribution  with each new special interest and “Tolerence” law that is passed.  We do as Mordecai and Esther did.  We follow God’s leadership with Humility and grace and seek to show his best side to all we meet.  When we face opposition, we stand firm in the faith and trust God to execute his will and become ok with whatever the outcome.  We are simply passing thru and need to be content whatever the circumstance we face.  Help me Lord to withstand the Hamans of the World and honor you with my Life.

God Bless You

3 After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. 2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.

3 Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” 4 Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.

Remaining Separate–Genesis 24 part 1

Abraham was committed to the idea that he keep his family separate from the culture. He sent his servant to his native land to find Isaac a wife.  What an inconvenience.  But, Abraham knew that God had called him to this Land, but he did not call him to join in with everyone else.  He was a chosen man and the father of a chosen people.  He was to build a nation of folks that believed in and submitted to God.  He knew that intermarrying with the local people would simply destroy his family heritage of life and worship.  He also knew that if he sent his son back to their homeland, he would probably stay.  

In our lives, we are called to be in the world but not of it.  We are not to run away from where we live, but we are to remain different.  We are to be selfless and God serving not selfish and self-serving.  Nothing in our culture would support that, so, that is why we are to live differently in this culture.  It is most difficult to remain steadfast when times are tough and the world is offering instant relief and instant gratification.  If we do commit to being different, we will be blessed.  We will never truly know how many struggles we will miss by simply following closely behind the Lord.  Help me, Lord to honor you and live different than the world.

God Bless You

24 Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2 He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3 I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac. ”5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from? ”

6 “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. 7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’ —he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. 8 If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

Slight Change in Plans Genesis 16 part 2

When we attempt to assist God in the execution of his plan, we often make a mess out of what was clear, concise and beautiful.  Abram fathered Ishmael, the beginning of the lineage of the Arab nation.  Even at conception, God told Hagaar that her son and his lineage would always be in contention with those around him.  Had Abram waited on God, the face of the Middle East would look amazingly different.  The greatest news is that despite Abram’s help, God continued to work his plan in the life of Abram and his family.  He still works that way today.

When life seems insurmountable and we attempt to assist God in completing his plan, we too can make a mess of things.  The enemy then laughs and attempts to deceive us and tell us we are done, over and finished.  Then God steps in, and as any father, he scoops us up and reminds us he is with us.  While we have changed the dynamic, he reminds us through his word and prayer that his plan will be completed in our lives.  If we trust him, it will be an amazing journey, otherwise it could be extremely difficult. As in all things, our willingness to submit to his leadership will allow him to free us from the sin and entanglements that try to overcome us.  Help me Lord, to submit to your leadership and accept the plan you have for me.

God Bless You

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers. ”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me, ” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

The Gospel–What a Love Story: I Corinthians 15 part 1

The Gospel—the Good News is what we live for.  Paul sums it up beautifully—Christ died, was raised on the third day!  He was seen raised from the dead by well over 500 folks. The fact he died and rose from the dead would be hard to argue.  But why he did it is the heart of the good news.  Christ sacrificed his life so that we could have a restored relationship with God.

 We need to grasp how badly God wants the relationship with us.  Enough to sacrifice his own son.  More critically, is how great a gift eternal life truly is.  He wants to share eternity with us.  It is very personal, very real and very much directed to you and me.  God is not faceless, careless or impersonal—He loves us and wants us to confidently press on through the Journey he has set before us.  Help me Lord to follow you with the same passion you showed for me. 

God Bless You

 1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Paul, the Mentor

Paul was an amazing author and mentor.  He contributed so much to the early church.  Our understanding of fellowship with our Lord are due largely to his discipleship of the early church.  Paul wanted his disciples to understand that they were provided with everything necessary to humbly walk in fellowship with God and to be free from the world and sin’s hold on their lives.  

Nearly 2000 years later, God still provides the necessary gifts to allow us to walk in freedom and victory.  His spirit will give us the direction, comfort and strength to meet every challenge set before us.  We simply need to trust he is God and we are not.  Thanks Lord for your provision and grace.  Please allow me to walk humbly in it.

 God Bless You

1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.

2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.