I am sure that many of us are keeping an eye on the pending elections here in the USA, and the surrounding whirlwind of events that seem to be captivating the nation. However, just beneath the noise of the crowd is a voice of reality. A voice that is strong, palpable, and easy to hear if we would only tune in and listen. It is the voice of the Creator, who is responsible for everything we see and have. What truly amazes me is that the voice of the Lord is so evident in everything that is around us, yet every day we can see the world around us collapsing and questioning even the foundation of the faith.
During one of those “God moments,” He reminded me that although I may not know the end-state of what is going on, He does. Isaiah writes in 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord." Believers, are we being captivated by the events around us or are we pressing toward the reward that awaits us at the Throne of Grace?
I challenge you today to do a personal dipstick check and measure your faith in this world. Are you being led today by what others say should be acceptable or true? Isaiah hit it on the head that God's ways are not understood or even questioned by the human race. As followers of the one true God, I encourage you to remove your eyes from the television and news and focus intently on the cross. It is what will deliver us from the snares of this world, and focus our intentions on the Savior who loves us. Then, we will be able to escape the whirlwind of this world, and begin living under the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
GospeLines Prayer:Precious Lord, may we come before You intently to be removed from this world. May we seek the cross of Calvary as our refuge and turn away from the understanding and guidance of this world. We admit together that our hope is in You, that You are the one with all the answers. I pray that we would allow this knowledge into our soul, and through Your Holy Spirit You would speak to us so that we would hear Your voice over all the others. Amen!
"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My word." (Isa 66:2 - New International Version - UK)
(Note: Technical Sergeant T.J. Conwell is a bi-vocational pastor serving our country at Gunter AF base in Alabama.)
≈ Devotional for Tuesday, October 14, 2008
“Ain’t No Mountain Too High…”
On a recent episode of “Biggest Loser – Family” edition, one of the competitive games required looked like such fun.All participants had to go down a hill on a Slip and Slide!How easy is that?The challenge, however, was returning to the top of the hill in an allotted time period; all to start down the slide again; over and over.Given the enormous weight each participant needed to lose, the fun decreased.The time on the clock grew less and less until the last man or woman standing was declared the winner.I’m sure to most of the participants, that hill seemed like an insurmountable mountain!
Reverend Turnley’s sermon last week conveyed the same theme – “we all have mountains to overcome.”To some, the mountains actually may be hills; to others, Mount Everest.
What is your mountain?Is it an addiction?Is it the ability to forgive?Is it being thankful when God doesn’t answer your prayer the way you expected?Is it being genuinely happy for the coworker who received the promotion you thought you deserved?Is it getting past the anger at some unresolved situation?
God knows the spiritual condition of our heart.Often He will let us sit in our situation until we realize that we need to change us!We need to change the way we live life; the way we think!
Mountains, often seen as Goliaths, are part of our everyday landscape – temptation, doubt, procrastination, fear and jealousy – to name a few.The best way to overcome your mountains or to slay your Goliaths is to “empower yourself” through faith and prayer.There is no mountain too high for you to conquer with God’s help.
First and foremost, we need to repent of our sins and to acknowledge that we have often become complacent, thinking that self-reliance is all we need.NOT!!!We need a relationship with other Christians and we need God!We must yield to His perfect plan and to trust Him in ALL things.
Hear the Word found in Amos 5:4-6 (The Message):
4-5 God's Message to the family of Israel:
"Seek me and live.
Don't fool around at those shrines of Bethel,
Don't waste time taking trips to Gilgal,
and don't bother going down to Beer-sheba.
Gilgal is here today and gone tomorrow
and Bethel is all show, no substance."
6 So seek God and live! You don't want to end up
with nothing to show for your life
But a pile of ashes, a house burned to the ground.
For God will send just such a fire,
and the firefighters will show up too late.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I thank You for bringing this message to me this day.I thank You for reminding me that I need you in every area of my life – from being with me during the midnight hour, at my place of employment, at Your house, to helping me keep my home to strengthening my relationship with my family and others in Your community.I would have believed that there are some things I could manage alone; but that is far from the truth.I NEED You!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, October 15, 2008
“A Storm is on the Horizon”
A storm is brewing out there.If you live in Miami that could mean a hurricane is coming, but in West Texas or Kansas it is more likely a dust or hail storm.In a recent devotional by Carla we learned that about all you can do when something like that is about to happen is to hunker down and pray.
Our nation is facing the possibility of a recession which could alter our lifestyle in so many ways.Spending habits will change; vacation plans may be canceled; in some cases, education may be delayed.And we will hear a lot of moaning about how tough things are with the economy.Make no mistake about it, things could really get tough.
Sherry and I have friends in Zimbabwe.We’ve been sending food to a family there for several months.If you want to know about hard times, search Zimbabwe News on your favorite search engine.Inflation there has reached 231 million percent.A loaf of bread, which cannot be found in any market, costs $10,000 Zimbabwe dollars.The government is in shambles.
Hard times coming to the USA?Our Zimbabwe friend, Mary (not her real name), is a college educated mother who has a professional job in a downtown office building in the capitol city of Harare.She lives in an unfinished home which she tried to complete while holding down three jobs when the children were younger.One of those jobs was teaching in the local university.So far her cries to God have gone unanswered.But she has not given up hope.This week she will leave her children behind and travel to South Africa in hopes of finding some kind of employment.Her income in Zimbabwe is only eight American dollars per month!
Not only will there be danger while she travels, but she will also have a very difficult time finding any kind of job at all.Her desperation has led her to action and her faith has led her to pray like there is no tomorrow.
In a recent email, Mary shared these words:
“I do not want to confess negatively into my life but I have had a rough life… So the economic challenges coupled with the semblance of a marriage and a yearning to provide better for the children is driving me. If I stay I will die, if I go I will die so better to die trying…
I will go to South Africa.I am believing God for a breakthrough because He will light my path. He is God Ebenezer-thus far He has taken care of our family. I am an anointed child of God - as He is so am I - He is able to create -as He is so am I -so am able to create. He is able to order things into being - As He is so am I - I am able to order things into being. I am blessed from the crown of my head to the sole of my feet. Greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world. I am more than a conqueror. I serve a God of wonder - one who divided the Red Sea and the Israelites walked on dry sand - He said the Egyptians you see today you shall see no more - so shall it be in my life.His name is Jehovah, He is Jehovah Jireh - God the Provider, He is Jehovah Elshaddai - God Almighty - the Great and Breasted one.He is Jehovah Elohim. Father God I thank you for being able to partake into your kingdom.
As I indicated I have adopted you and Sherry as my spiritual parents; I will sometimes call you mummy and daddy but I will continue calling you Pastor and Sherry.Pastor - it will be well with me. Please continue to cover me and the children in prayer.”
Beloved GospeLines family, if there is a storm brewing on the horizon; let us muster the faith and hope of a Zimbabwean mother who is willing to lay it all on the line.No matter how difficult it may become, let us praise Jehovah Jireh, God is our provider.
Just out of college, filled with enthusiasm, and newly hired into a very large company, I was called into my manager’s office for our first meeting.During that meeting, I addressed him using his given name.He quickly corrected me saying, “Please address me as Mr. ----!”That immediately set the tone for our relationship – formal and at arm’s length.
The children of Israel had a similar relationship with Yahweh.Only a few could enter into the “Holy Place” within the temple and only the High Priest could enter into the “Holy of Holies” – and he could only enter once each year.
God’s name was sacred to the Hebrews.It appears in the Hebrew Scriptures as four Hebrew letters Yud, hey, vav, hey, (represented by the lettersYHVH and known as the Tetragrammaton) and was not to be spoken. He was Mr. God!
Whathappened when the Messiah came to earth?What was the significance of the temple curtain separating us from the Mercy Seat of God being torn in two from top to bottom at the moment of Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51)? When Jesus cried out, “It is finished”, what did He mean?
Jesus reconnected you and me to the Father!The chasm that existed between man and God and been traversed by the cross!
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends…” (John 15:15 – KJV)
Henceforth…From now until the end of time the chasm has been crossed by those who call on His name (Romans 10:12-13) and He now calls us friend… filov… a Greek word meaning friend, associate, and companion.It was used to describe the person we call the “best man” in a wedding ceremony – the bridegroom’s closest friend.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.(John 15:13-14 – KJV)
He lay down His life for us.He’s no longer Mr. God, He’s our Savior, our Messiah, our Lord… and He’s our friend…
What do you see when you look around your world? Much of it isn't pretty. Finding the beauty of the universe becomes increasingly more difficult when evil and suffering is consistently broadcast into our living rooms and printed in our newspapers. Some of us like to take exotic vacations to distant shores in hopes of finding a beautiful place to relax. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not."
Searching for beauty need not become a hopeless task. Every day we can see the miraculous, breathtaking creation of God if we train ourselves to look for it. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes 3:11 said, "He has made everything beautiful in its time." I believe it is possible to find something good in almost everything! It all depends on our viewpoint. Believe that God has something to say to you in every flower, every blade of grass, every human encounter, every raindrop that falls...then you will find beauty right where you are. Carry it with you or you will find it not.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when I am tempted to become as negative as the media, cheer me up with a reminder that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Help me to exercise my freedom of choice, so that I may habitually choose to see your good work in everything. Amen and amen.