"If you fear the Lord and serve and obey Him and do not rebel against His commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God - good!But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against His commands, His hand will be against you, as it was against your fathers."
(1st Samuel 12:14-15 - New International Version)
Are you ever awake in the middle of the night when the only offering on TV is infomercials?
How about the one asking us to purchase a product that will lessen or eradicate our blemishes and wrinkles? Puh-leeze!
Naturally, for some, it’s difficult not to buy into the promise, the hype.It’s just another fad to make us feel good, so we won’t feel bad about our perceived imperfections.
How mysterious we must be to God when we attempt to please others or to meet some ideal.I wonder if He recognizes us.
We seem to follow the latest fads, defining ourselves by what the world says about us – often by titles, perceived power and prestige, material trappings and extreme makeovers; always seeking reaffirmation and adulation from others.
Contrary to popular opinion and against the advice of infomercials, I choose to swim against the current!I’ve tried the other path and gained little in the big scheme of things.But, God lifted me and I need not worry about the current; I just need to hear and obey His word.
GospeLines Prayer:Yes, Lord, I have wrinkles and blemishes and it’s not the product on the market I need.I need You!Infomercials can’t save me or cleanse me as You can!
I admit, Lord, there have been days when I’ve heard Your commandment, but I have disobeyed.There are other days I’ve heard Your instructions, but I don’t understand, even when You’ve confirmed by several witnesses.
Help me to stop defining myself by someone else’s expectations.Help me to be the best I can be according to Your word.Help me to surrender completely to Your will.
Continue to throw out the life preserver so I can continue to swim against the current.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Tuesday, January 8, 2008
"Fork in the Road…"
16 It will save you from the unfaithful wife who tries to lead you into adultery with pleasing words.17 She leaves the husband she married when she was young.She ignores the promise she made before God.18 Her house is on the way to death; those who took that path are now all dead.19No one who goes to her comes back or walks the path of life again.20 But wisdom will help you be good and do what is right.
(Proverbs 2:16-20 - New Century Version)
Many of us have come to a fork in the road in our lives.There are two divergent paths to consider – (1) the path of least resistance, sin, and (2) the more difficult one, righteousness.
There have been plenty of us who’ve straddled the fence as we’ve contemplated which road to take.Most of us have traveled both paths in some shape or form over the course a lifetime.
If I take the sinful path, I know it brings death and destruction – but, I’ll just stay briefly, so I say; “What will it hurt?”If I steal time away from my spouse, what will it hurt?If I spend more time with my so-called friends and hobbies than I do my spouse, what will it hurt?If I have online chats or intimate conversations with someone else to bolster my own ego, but deny my spouse, what will it hurt?If I destroy the fabric of my marriage and/or someone else’s, what will it hurt?
We may not think of it at the time, but we will answer for whatever path we choose.It hurts all concerned, including God.Satan comes in many forms and plays into our deepest insecurities.He destroys our sensibilities and is our adversary in this world.God provides protection through His word and gives us a way out, but He will not force himself on us.We have the freedom to choose our path, even when that choice leads to evil.
The wrong choice reminds me of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.How could Jesus obey God’s will - knowing that his own death was imminent - and still accept the truth and knowledge of Judas’ actions?How it must have hurt him beyond any words I can conjure.Judas betrayed Him several times and expressed remorse once he realized his truth…
“I have sinned by betraying a man who has never done anything wrong.”
(Matthew 27:4 - Contemporary English Version)
Have you expressed remorse?Stop blaming everyone else for your choices.It's YOU!
Judas hung himself because he felt shameful and unworthy, but only God can eventually judge our heart and soul.He is “rich in mercy and forgiveness.”And, according to Romans 5:20-21, we need to die unto self in order that we might live…
20The Law came, so that the full power of sin could be seen. Yet where sin was powerful, God's kindness was even more powerful. 21Sin ruled by means of death. But God's kindness now rules, and God has accepted us because of Jesus Christ our Lord. This means that we will have eternal life.
(Romans 5:20-21 - Contemporary English Version)
GospeLines Prayer:I admit that the path of least resistance seems uncomplicated and, oh so easy, but it is not where I choose to be.I want to walk with You and at my fork in the road, I choose life.
Thank You for Your love and mercy and for Your transforming power and wisdom.
“I’m everything I am because You love me!”
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, January 9, 2008
"For The Man Who Has Everything"
First published in 1985, “For the Man Who Has Everything,” is a comic book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman paid a visit to Superman on his birthday.When they arrived in Superman’s Citadel (The Fortress of Solitude), they found him in a vegetative state with a large alien plant stuck to his chest and the tendrils wrapped around his body.
As they analyzed the situation, the alien Mongul stepped into the scene.One of the few villains whose strength equals that of Superman, he revealed that the name of the plant is Black Mercy and that it has put Superman into a deep coma.The plant is empowered to feed the coma-stricken super hero an extremely realistic and plausible dream based on his “heart’s desire.”
What more could Superman want???He had it all: fame, fortune, stature.What’s wrong with that?Superman’s dream, his “heart’s desire,” was of living a normal life on his long-destroyed home planet of Krypton, happily married with two children.
In our day there are few people with such humble dreams.Most, no matter what their level of wealth, spend a large percentage of their time striving for more.For example:we are perfectly satisfied with our personal automobile because it services our needs, gives few problems, it’s reasonably economical and very nice looking.But our neighbor just bought a brand new Widget with all the bells and whistles and parks it in the driveway next to us. Now we suddenly remember that our car is four years old!It doesn’t have two TV screens in the back seat and we didn’t get a GPS system with it.It just isn’t adequate anymore and never mind that it’s paid off!I can afford it.“Honey, let’s go shopping for a new CAR!”
The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “I had everything!All the property I wanted, I had the gardens landscaped beautifully; I amassed silver and gold for myself, even bought and sold people as it pleasured me!I became greater by far than anyone before me.”
But hear his pitiful conclusion:
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
And this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
And what I had toiled to achieve,
Everything was meaningless,
a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.”
You may not be Superman, but you ARE somebody’s hero!And I will just bet you that someone you are close to would be a lot happier spending a little more time with you than having you continue being an absentee mom or dad, husband or wife because you are trying to get ahead in life.While you are thinking about your “heart’s desire,” remember that money does not make you wealthy any more than age can make you wiser.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me to know the difference between money and wealth and let me not prize this world’s riches above that which is eternal.I beg Your forgiveness for all the years I have wasted trying to get ahead.May my remaining days be long enough to teach my loved ones about those things which really do matter and may their knowledge of true wealth spring forth eternal that we may celebrate together in Your everlasting kingdom.Amen and amen!
A friend recently said, “It didn't have to be this way.”He was referring to circumstances that have occurred in his life that caused him personal and financial pain.He's right that things didn’t have to be that way.
The circumstances of our lives rarely have to be the way they are.We could have made different decisions.But, what about the decisions made by other people; decisions that affect us?Although those decisions are seldom within our control, how we react to those decisions is totally within our control.
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).Note that Jesus placed no conditions on these two commandments.He didn’t say only love God when you’re being blessed and things are going great.He also didn’t say love your neighbors when they are being kind and reasonable.He simply said, “Love them… all the time, regardless of the circumstances.”
Children are told to obey their parents so that they may enjoy long life on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3).One of the reasons for this commandment is that parents (adults) are wiser than children and can command them to do things that will protect them and keep them from harm.Why is it so hard for us to accept that God is wiser than we are and that He is commanding us to do things that will keep us from harm and allow us to have long (eternal) life?
The world is an angry and unsafe place; but, it doesn’t have to be that way for you.Become a child to God.Accept His Son, His love and His wisdom; obey His commands; and be safe in His mercy.The world may not change, but you will.You’ll no longer be at the mercy of circumstances; you will be safe… in His hands.
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
Doughton Park is 7,000 rugged acres located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.Michael Auberry, a twelve-year-old boy scout, vanished from his troop on March 20, 2007.
Rescue teams were fearful that the sub-freezing temperatures would be more than a 12 year old kid could endure for three nights.Time was running out but they continued looking and hoping.None were more hopeful than Misha and her two-year-old Shiloh Shepherd, Gandalf.
At 7:00 a.m., Day 4, Misha and her dog arrived at the staging area to relieve those who had searched through the night.After four days a dog would have to pick up the scent in the air, a challenging task for any animal. Misha and Gandalf started out to search their assigned 70 acre area which was one of the steepest sections, covering about 1 percent of the park.
Gandalf sniffed a little shred of one of Michaels recently worn shirts and started toward the trail, head up and nose high.Crossing and re-crossing the path, leaping over stones and fallen logs, he worked non-stop for over an hour.Suddenly Gandalf’s head snapped up.Thirty yards further and Misha saw him once again lift his head in the air.They turned a bend in the trail and gazed 50 yards ahead, high up on a ledge there was a boy in a red jacket.It was Michael!He was dazed from hunger, dehydration, freezing temperatures and fatigue but otherwise in good health.
When the Rangers came up to carry him out, Gandalf tugged hard at his leash, obviously proud of what he had done.He wanted to stay as close to the boy as possible.Misha said later that she had never seen her gentle giant act that way before.Dog handlers call that behavior “gloating.”
Jesus told a story about a son who had lost his way.He took his inheritance and left his family to live his own life in the world.Bad decisions soon left him financially and spiritually bankrupt.He literally ended up in the pig pen fighting for his food with the animals.
With no place else to go he made his way back home to face an angry brother and a father he had disgraced.When he arrived, his brother didn’t disappoint him.The anger was sharp and divisive.But he wasn’t prepared for what he received from his father who had every right to disown him.Instead, he was met with open arms in a joyous reunion!
Beloved, if you are looking for that perfect time to say, “I really messed up,” wait no more!Your Heavenly Father is searching for you to return to your roots.You’ve been away from your spiritual family too long; it’s time for you to go back home.God is standing at the gate with open arms, “gloating” over your return.“Once you were lost, but now you are found.”Hallelujah!
“21The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ 22But the father wasn’t listening.He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick.Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him.Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.23Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it.We’re going to feast!We’re going to have a wonderful time!24My son is here – given up for dead and now alive!Given up for lost and now found!’And they began to have a wonderful time.”