Saturday, April 30, 2011

God Wants To Use Your Talents




Today’s Devotion is

 
Who Can Be Used by God?


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Today’s Text Comes from: 1 Chronicles 7:24

"His daughter was Sheerah, who built lower and upper Beth-horon, also Uzzen-sheerah."

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Notes from Today’s Scriptures:

The city of Beth Horon is featured prominently in important moments in the life of Israel. Located about 15 miles northwest of Jerusalem, it was among the key cities when the Israelites conquered the Amorites (Joshua 10) and when Joshua divided the land into territories for the tribes (Joshua 16). It was a city given to the Kohathite clans (Joshua 21) and the location of a major battle with the Philistines (1 Samuel 13).

There was something unusual about Beth Horon: It was "built" by a woman, Sheerah, a daughter of Ephraim. In fact, the Bible tells us that she also built Uzzen Sheerah. Ironically, the name of this town literally means "listen to Sheerah." We don't know if she gave it this name or if it was named in her honor. But this name demonstrates that she was a person of great influence.

It's remarkable that a woman would be given such prominence in the record of an ancient people. Among all the genealogies that record the triumphs and accomplishments of men, she stands out. Her example shows that women could have a major influence in the life of Israel. We also see other examples of women playing prominent roles, including Deborah, a woman who was the judge of Israel (Judges 4).

These examples demonstrate that God can use anyone to accomplish His purposes-male or female, young or old, rich or poor. The Bible indicates that He has a special calling for each person.

He looks for those who will respond to His call, who will be faithful stewards of the resources they've been given, who are bold and obedient, who are ready to move forward in faith and put their God-given talents into action.



In your life, don't limit God. Make yourself available. Let Him use you for His Kingdom.


 
Prayer: Father, thank You for the gifts and talents You've given me. I commit my life to You. Use me to impact Souls for Your Kingdom. In Jesus' name Amen.



Friday, April 29, 2011

Divine Guidance




Seeking Guidance: The First Step

 
Today’s Text is: 1 John 1:8-10

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures:

By forsaking the broad worldly way, believers have chosen a narrow path (Matt. 7:13). However, we’re not wandering blindly on it. The Holy Spirit is our guide. He directs our steps toward new opportunities and offers discernment so we can make wise decisions that keep us on course for God’s will.

It is the nature of this journey that we have to stop often and seek guidance. God is pleased to respond to earnest requests for direction, as He wants to keep His followers in the center of His will. But I’ve discovered that many Christians wonder how to pursue divine guidance.

Seeking God’s direction involves a pattern that begins with cleansing—in other words, the first place to look is at ourselves. Ask, “Father, do You see anything in my life that might interfere with my understanding what You are saying?” Sin shuts down the guidance process: it strangles the power flowing from the Holy Spirit and thereby clouds our judgment (1 Thess. 5:19).

First John 1:9 tells us that God cleanses unrighteousness when we confess our sins. The Bible also contains a clear warning for those who refuse to relinquish a rebellious habit or attitude—the Lord does not hear their cries (Ps. 66:18). As He brings to mind problem areas, lay them before the cross.

Cleansing is actually woven into the entire process of gaining divine guidance. God brings sin to our attention as we’re equipped to deal with it. So on the way to receiving His clear direction, we may revisit this “first” step often and in that way we can experience a time of rich spiritual growth and renewal.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Spoken Word


Listening with Purpose

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Today’s Text is from: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle[a] near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy.So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures:



Yesterday we learned about hearing the Word with eagerness and attentiveness. Now, let’s think about approaching the Bible purposefully, expectantly, and prayerfully.

Christians study the Scriptures not just individually but also corporately to learn more about God and His ways. Underlying this simple concept is a big challenge. To gather biblical knowledge with purpose means determining in our heart to obey what we hear (Ps. 119:33). And to do so expectantly means we believe that the Lord is going to speak specifically to us (Ps. 25:4). Sermons, Sunday school lessons, and quiet times on our own are all things to be anticipated. God uses these to build us up, strengthen us, or offer us comfort—He certainly makes listening to Him worthwhile. And obedience is the only proper response to this kind of personal attention.


Approaching the reading of Scripture prayerfully prepares our hearts to listen well and ushers in an attitude of purpose and expectancy. Today’s passage tells the story of young Samuel’s first encounter with God. The priest Eli gives the boy valuable advice—that when the Lord calls, he should say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (v. 9). Pray those simple words with conviction before you open your Bible, and you will hear God more clearly.

If you want to experience God working in your life, come to Scripture with a prayerful, expectant, purpose-filled attitude. The mourner will be comforted. The weary will gain strength. Those convicted of their sin will repent and know peace. All will sense joy. Recognize what a gift God’s Word is.





Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Word of God


How to Listen to God’s Word


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Today’s Text is: Nehemiah 8

All the people assembled with a unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had given for Israel to obey. So on October Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law. Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform that had been made for the occasion. To his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah. To his left stood Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet. Then Ezra praised the LORD, the great God, and all the people chanted, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

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Notes from Today’s Scriptures:

How is it that two people can sit in the same pew, hear the same sermon about the same portion of Scripture, and walk away with two different reactions? One is joyful and the other unaffected. I think the reason is that some people do not know how to listen to the Word of God.

Nehemiah 8 is an amazing scene of God’s people coming together to hear His Word. Remember that they didn’t have individual copies of Scripture to read. For generations, the events of Genesis though Deuteronomy were passed down from parent to child. Moreover, the people had been in captivity for many years. This was the first time most of them heard the Word read. Imagine their excitement as they listened attentively for the Lord to speak to them.

The Israelites were hungry for God’s Word. Are you? Do you listen eagerly and with an expectant mind and heart? The length of a person’s attention span is directly related to the intensity of his hunger for something. If you crave to know more of God, then your mind is going to be fastened on what He’s saying through your pastor or your personal reading. And the reality is that nothing in the world matters as much as what the Lord has to say.

So many things clamor for our focus but few truly deserve it. The Lord is worthy of nothing less than our undivided attention. He has something to say to every person.
So whoever listens to God’s Word with an open heart and alert mind will receive from Him.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

submitting to Him as He transforms us



God’s Grand Plan


Today’s Text is from: 1 Peter 1:13-16

First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy for I am holy.” What an overwhelming command! But that is exactly what the Lord is committed to do in our lives—make us holy. His grand plan can be summed up in one word: sanctification. This is the three-stage process by which He sets us apart for His purposes.

Stage one occurs at the moment of our salvation. When God declares us righteous, we are positional holy. The second stage is a progression of growth as we become more and more in practice what we already are in position. This process will continue for as long as we are alive on this earth.

The Father has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, and He is continually working to shape our conduct, character, and conversation. Although God is the one who accomplishes the transformation, we have some responsibility in the process. If we don’t cooperate with Him, the world will squeeze us into its mold, and we will miss the great plans He has for us.

The third stage of sanctification is our ultimate perfection when we will possess absolute holiness. Upon our physical death, the soul and spirit are freed from sin, and in the resurrection, our bodies will be made perfect. We will stand faultless and spotless before Christ.

If we could just get a glimpse of what the third stage is like, we would never moan and groan about the difficult sanctification process we endure now. Our eyes would be fixed on the goal, and our greatest motivation would be to glorify God by submitting to Him as He transforms us.

Monday, April 25, 2011

With Christ you are a Saint!



Qualifications for Sainthood

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Today’s Text comes from 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

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. Vs. 2

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Today’s Notes on the Scriptures

Many people hold an unbiblical view of sainthood. Their idea of a saint is one who has led such an exemplary life that he or she is venerated by the church, but God’s Word presents quite a different picture. The Corinthian church struggled with all sorts of ungodly behaviors, yet Paul describes them as “those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling” (1 Cor. 1:2).

Sanctify means to set apart from common use to a sacred use. Throughout Scripture, the Lord has sanctified days (such as the Sabbath), places (the tabernacle), things (Ark of the Covenant), and people. A saint is simply a person whom God has set apart for His purposes. That means every believer is a saint.

Before you were saved, your position relative to God was one of enmity (Rom. 5:10). But the moment you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Lord changed your position and set you apart for Himself.

You were born again and are now His child. He forgave your sins and declared you righteous. A saint is not a perfect person but one who is in a right relationship with God. Although our position of sanctification is not predicated on good behavior, the Lord expects us to live in a manner that honors Him.

Just think—God set you apart for a sacred purpose. That means you are here, not to live as you please but to bring glory to Him. He calls us to live according to our new position in Christ. To refuse this responsibility of sainthood is a blatant act of ingratitude, which grieves His heart.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

HE HAS RISEN

Easter Sunday

Resurrection

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Today’s Text comes from John Chapter 20

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home. Verse’s 1-10

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures



Within three days Jesus’ followers went from heartbroken sadness to triumphant jubilation. The cross screamed, “The End,” making them feel hopeless and helpless. But the resurrection trumpeted, “The Beginning,” bringing confidence and courage. The cloud of doubt and despair that had shrouded them melted away and was replaced with unshakeable faith.

Can you imagine how they felt when they realized Jesus had risen from the dead? Suddenly hope came alive; now everything He had said was validated as truth. They had not believed a lie. His victory over death was the acid test that forever sealed their sure conviction that He was the Messiah.

We commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross with solemnity, but the resurrection calls for thunderous applause, praise, and song. All the blessings that come our way through the Savior’s cross are confirmed by the resurrection. It proved that the Father was satisfied with the Son’s payment for our sins. Now we can know that our transgressions are forgiven and we’re eternally secure.

What’s more, Jesus promises that we, too, will be resurrected and given new bodies. Physical death could not hold Him, nor will it overpower us. Because He overcame the grave, His followers have the same kind of life He has—eternal and indestructible.

As Christians, we have the right to celebrate Easter with great rejoicing. Because of this event, our lives have been forever changed. We’ve been transformed and given new life. With unwavering faith, we trust the Bible because Christ’s power over the grave proves He can and will fulfill every word.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Cross is now Empty, and Come Sunday the Tomb will be Empty

Holy Saturday

A Dark Sabbath

 
John 19:31-42

It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.)  These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”and “They will look on the one they pierced.” Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

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Notes from today's scriptures
Just as Christ once rested in the stern of a boat through a raging storm, He rested in the tomb as storms raged within His disciples. A day after Jesus’ death, fear, doubt, and grief must have cycled endlessly through their minds. Memories of their lives with Him must have played there too: how it felt to stand upon a rolling sea, to feed thousands with a few loaves of bread, or to see Lazarus’ burial clothes heaped in the dirt. No doubt their hearts grew sick with confusion as they contemplated these things.

The disciples’ feeble faith shouldn’t surprise us, because if we’re honest, we see it in ourselves. The “little of faith,” as Jesus often called them, failed to believe or remember things the Lord said of Himself—that He’d lay down His life and take it up again. Had His followers faithfully held these things in their hearts, that Sabbath day might have been a time of joyful anticipation.

At times in our lives, God may seem absent, but ultimately we know that He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5). And unlike the disciples, we’ll never experience the dark prospect of a failed Savior. But many times we forget the promises of God. In the face of uncertainty, how frequently do we turn to a “do-it-yourself” Christianity to fix our problems?

Too often we look no further than our own solutions, when what we need is the wonder-working power of Christ’s resurrection and a posture of humility as we wait on Him. If we are willing to wait through the darkness of night, we can rest in knowing that morning will surely come.



*ENJOY THIS VIDEO called RESURRECTION OF JESUS*

This video deals with the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ
video


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday



The Lamb of God


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Today's Text is from Matthew 26:47-27:56

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 27:46

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Notes from Today’s Scriptures

Jesus is called by a variety of names—Messiah, Lord, Christ, Rabbi, Teacher—but the one that is probably the most unfamiliar to the modern world is the Lamb of God. Since most of us do not have a Jewish background, we have a limited understanding of this title. But the Israelites of that day understood the significance of this name. Lambs were for sacrifice.

God has always dealt with sin through the blood of sacrifices. When Adam and Eve sinned, an animal was slain to cover the nakedness and shame of two individuals (Gen. 3:21). On the first Passover, each house hold covered their doorway with sacrificial blood (Ex. 12:1-7). Later, a goat was slaughtered for the atonement of the entire nation (Lev. 16:15). Now in John 1:29, we see the ultimate sacrifice—the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

Usually a person’s most impressive achievements are completed while he or she is alive, but think about what Jesus accomplished through His death. Just as innocent animals had died in place of the guilty, so Christ gave His perfect life for sinful mankind. He assumed full responsibility for all our sins and took the punishment that we deserved. As He hung on the cross, the judgment and wrath of God was poured out on Him instead of on us.

Since we are limited by our human minds and senses, we cannot fully understand all that the Lamb of God endured to bring us salvation. But we know enough to realize that we owe Him our lives. He took our place on the cross; let’s give Him first place in our hearts.




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Video


This is a mini sermon video (not me) of someone sharing what Easter meant to him as a child and now as an adult. I pray it will be a blessing to you today. The video is not long 3:30, but the message is and can be life changing.
God Bless
Pastor Don


video

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Fragrance of Christ


Anointed for Burial

 
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Today’s Text Comes from John 12:1-8

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures

Imagine this scene. A woman walks into the annual church rummage sale with a beautiful collection of designer clothes worth thousands of dollars. She says, “I want to give this clothing to the Lord.” Then, as people nod in agreement, she drops the items on the floor and sets fire to them.

You would probably think, What a waste! That’s how the disciples reacted when Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’ feet with an entire bottle of perfume. For almost three years, the disciples had lived on the donations of wealthy women and other generous people. And this particular bottle was worth about a year’s wages for a rural worker. Proceeds from its sale could have supplied the needs of Christ and His followers for weeks.

Judas spoke up, criticizing the apparent waste, and the other disciples joined in scolding Mary. But her liberal use of the fragrance wasn’t a mistake. Jesus explained, “When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial” (Matt. 26:12). By using the entire jar at once, Mary released an aroma so overpowering that it filled the whole house (John 12:3). Every breath the guests took reminded them of her extravagant, seemingly imprudent gift.

From Mary’s day until now, the call of God has always inspired His followers to act in ways that others don’t understand. In doing so, we release the fragrance of Christ to everyone we encounter (2 Cor. 2:15).

What has God called you to do as an expression of your devotion and love for Him?




Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Seeking Out the Lost


Cleansing the Temple

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Today’s Bible Text is Matthew 21:12-17

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves! The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise. Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures

For the disciples, Palm Sunday must have felt like a dream. As they followed Jesus into the temple grounds, their voices would have been drowned out by the clamor.

The Court of Gentiles, the only area that non-Jews could enter, had become an open-air market. The Teacher and His followers pushed through the hordes of customers haggling with merchants and shouting to be heard over livestock and doves used for sacrifices. Other pilgrims crowded around money changers’ tables, protesting unfair rates of exchange for the temple currency.

Jesus had seen enough. He stormed through the court, upending tables, overturning traders’ chairs, and driving animals toward the gate, past a throng of people scrambling for scattered money. Finally, He blocked the way so merchandise couldn’t be carried through the temple (Mark 11:16).

The disciples must have been astounded. They expected the Messiah to judge their oppressors, not His own people and their temple. Finally, Jesus shouted above the din and reminded them of a scripture they’d apparently forgotten. “Is it not written,” He cried, “‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den” (v. 17). The crowd was amazed. But the religious leaders were offended and began to plan His death (v. 18).

Jesus’ actions in the temple emphasized how extravagant the offer of salvation is. He showed that no one should restrain or interfere with those God calls to be saved.
This week, consider people you know who need the eternal life Jesus promises.
How can you help clear the way for them to worship?


Monday, April 18, 2011

Seek Him With All Your Heart


How to Seek the Lord

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Today’s Bible Text is Psalm 105:1-8

Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. Exult in His holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD. Search for the LORD and for His strength; continually seek Him. Remember the wonders He has performed, His miracles, and the rulings He has given, you children of His servant Abraham, you descendants of Jacob, His chosen ones. He is the LORD our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by his covenant— the commitment He made to a thousand generations.

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures:

Although Scripture tells us to seek the Lord, many Christians struggle with this command. Some are so distracted by other interests and responsibilities that God is only a minuscule part of their goals and desires in life. When confronted with their responsibility to pursue Him, they often feel guilty but don’t know how to begin.

When desire for God surpasses our eagerness for other pursuits, following through becomes much more likely. But hunger for the Lord is an acquired taste. The more we pursue Him, the greater our hunger will be. However, if we ignore Him, what little appetite we have will diminish even further. Do you find that the latter describes your experience? Then ask the Lord to whet your appetite for Him—and follow through by making the effort to seek Him.

Begin with the Scriptures and prayer. Set aside time each day for meditating on God’s Word—listen for His voice, slowly digest what you read, talk to the Lord, ask Him questions, and apply what you learn to your life. Begin studying the Bible. Some of you may say, “I’ve never been into that.” My advice: Get into it! The deep things of God don’t just drop into our brains; they are placed there through diligent study.

Seeking anything requires time and effort. Will you invest your life in the pursuit of the Eternal One—the source of all contentment, joy, and hope? Or will you go after that which is fleeting? By neglecting the Lord, you cheat yourself of all the benefits He promises to those who diligently seek Him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

And They All Began To Shout "Hosanna"

Palm Sunday

 April 17, 2011

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Today’s Text Comes From: Luke 19:28-44

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."




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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures:

Hindsight is always 20/20. Yet while we are in a particular situation, we tend to make things out to be what they aren’t and infer wrong meanings. We kick ourselves, thinking, If only I had known then what I know now!

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem must have been one of those moments for His disciples. It had appeared to be such a wonderful day for them—and it was, but for different reasons than they realized. They thought the Messiah had come to reestablish Israel’s power in the world. But God had something else in mind.

The disciples weren’t the only ones who had misconceptions about the Messiah. Many Jews of the day expected Him to be an earthly king. When the crowds heard Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they cheered, “Hosanna!” which means, “God, save us!” They saw Him as their new King, come to bring salvation from political and societal oppression. He raised the dead—no doubt He could also restore the kingdom of David and free them from Roman rule.

Seated upon a donkey, Jesus resembled a ruler returning to His city in peacetime, loyal subjects lining His path with coats and palm fronds. Even the Pharisees were there watching in indignation, saying, “Look, the world has gone after Him” (John 12:19).

This week, think back to those times when circumstances looked one way but turned out to be something else entirely. Remember when you realized God was different than you imagined and saw His will unfold in surprising ways.

Look for an opportunity to share your insight with a friend or loved one.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Messiah


SATURDAY APRIL THE 16TH 2011


Mission of the Messiah (I)

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Today’s Bible Text Luke 4:16-21

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures

Chapter 4 of Luke’s gospel finds Jesus in the synagogue of His hometown, Nazareth. He’s recently survived a 40 day fast and temptation battle with Satan. He’s just beginning His public ministry and word about Him is spreading as people are blown away by His teaching. We can imagine it’s a packed house on the Sabbath as people are trying to figure out what’s going on with this hometown, son of a carpenter, turned rock-star rabbi…

And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And He rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

They sat in stunned silence—they were amazed that this teacher is the son of a local carpenter—and then Jesus took it one step further…

And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus is in essence saying: I am the Messiah and this is what I came to do… I am here to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom to those who are oppressed.

Jesus is incredibly clear about His mission and identity. Regardless of how people tried to define or confine Him, He knew exactly who He was and what He was about.

If you are a follower of Jesus, your identity and mission are intricately linked to His. Your identity and mission are to follow those of Jesus.

What is your mission? What is your purpose? Why do you exist?

Could you put who you are and what you are about in two to three sentences?

Would it line up with the mission of Jesus?

It should.

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SUNDAY APRIL THE 17TH 2011




The Mission of the Messiah (II)


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Today’s Bible Text is Luke 4:18-19

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures

In this passage Jesus clearly identifies His mission by quoting from Isaiah 61. This is a theme He returns to over and over again with statements such as:

The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

If you scan the gospels, it’s not difficult to see how Jesus prioritized His life and ministry:

• The sinful over the righteous.

• The sick over the well.

• The least over the greatest.

• The lost over the found.

Simply put: Seek the lost. Serve the least.

Does this describe the priorities of your life and ministry?

Why or Why not?










Friday, April 15, 2011

Story Time


The God Story Family Tradition

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Today’s Bible Text is Genesis 48:15

And he blessed Joseph and said,

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,

the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,

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Today’s Notes from the Scriptures

As literacy increases in our cultures and instant access to information on the web is so readily available, the need to pass down history through verbal forms or storytelling is gradually dying if not already dead in your part of the world. This was not the case in the Old Testament.

As Jacob was blessing his son Joseph, he reminded him of his family history and how God was so important in it. We also see that God introduces himself to Jacob as this in Gen. 28:13 and again to Moses in Ex. 3:6.

There is obviously something important about knowing your roots in God if this is how he introduces himself and we read throughout the Old Testament the Israelites constantly refer to God this way. Does God really want us to refer to Him this way? Maybe!!

We can also refer to him as the God who was the God of our grandparents and parents. That might seem weird because we may not really know the God stories of our parents or grandparents. They may not have been passed down to us.

That doesn’t mean we can’t start doing it now for future generations. As the world becomes more hostile to Jesus and less writing reflects the positives of Christianity, we still have our oral stories that we can pass down from one generation to another telling of what God has done in our lives and in the lives of our family members.

Maybe there isn’t a tradition of God stories in your family, this is fine.

You can be the one to start them.

You can be your family’s first Abraham!

What God story can you tell?

Read some inspirational stories from Guidepots Magazine on line just follow this link ... http://www.guideposts.org/