Just saying...

Stop reading your Bible!

These words may grab you but it's true.... stop reading your Bible and start STUDYING and APPLYING it!

I've been guilty of trying to read in a hurry and then have no idea what I just read 15 minutes later....  I think if we're all being honest here you have as well. We live in an age where time is of the essence in everything we do, a clock is always in our peripheral vision - it rules us!

We must treat God's word like a fine dining experience and slow down and chew our verses, passages, and chapters slowly... in order to enjoy them. I believe that God would rather have us study and apply 1 verse than 5 chapters a day! Paul in his letter to Timothy advised him to study the word of God and be able to correctly explain it (2 Timothy 2:15) to all those that had questions. We too are no different in that we must be able to explain God's word to others that have questions....yet first we must understand it and apply it to ourselves. So, my prayer is that you stop reading and start studying your Bible daily.... slow down and make time for God in reading, prayer and application.

Something to chew on...

In Deutoroneomy chapters 4-8 Moses prepares everyone to enter into the promised land by reminding them of God’s will for their lives. He is talking about idols, people, and the things that are not of God that will lead to distraction in their walk with HIM… How many times as Christians do we allow movies, music and the things that are distracting from God in our lives, and into our Christian homes? I know that I’ve allowed music to be played in the car with my children that was not fitting for them. I’ve allowed movies and other things “of this world” to come into my home  and distract me from God’s plan for mine and my families lives… In hindsight with grown children that no longer live at home, I would go back and do these things differently, much differently. My advice to parents of children in the home…explain to them why these shouldn’t be allowed and how they can distract us from God’s plan and purpose for their lives. When we invest in our children, spouses, friends and family, we not only invest in their future but the kingdom’s future as well – BE BOLD for the Kingdom!

Just be thankful!!

As I sit here catching up on my daily Bible reading, it hits me like a ton of bricks: We as a society and culture have advanced radically, yet still remain the same in so many ways....

Think about this...in the book of Exodus we read where the Israelites have been removed from Egypt: from the slavery, oppression, heartache...and given a promise to a better life. They have been in the desert for awhile yet God never left them...he provided food, water, protection, and meet ALL their needs. God led them directly in the form of a cloud through the day and the pillar of fire at night...on their way to the promised land. Then something happened...God calls Moses to the top of Mt. Sinai to give him the 10 Commandments and wasn't gone that long before they start grumbling about needing a "god" to lead them...and they start worshipping a Golden Calf that just popped out of the fire (Aaron's words not mine).

Fast forward 2,000 plus years later to 2018...How many times do we as Christian's do the same thing? God has promised us so many things, yet we start grumbling, complaining, and longing for the things of the past, what we don't have, or maybe even what someone else has. We are constantly comparing ourselves with others, constantly longing for things we don't need to impress people we don't really like. Even as Christian's if we're not careful we can let social media guide our morals, our dreams and desires...and before long we start acting as the Israelites did - Where did God go? Why don't I have this or that...

Reading, studying and seeking God daily is so important for the Christian. We must realize that God will supply our needs (Phil 4:19) and KNOW that he will never leave or abandon us (Heb 13:5). God is the same for us today as he was for them, he's personal, loving, caring and mighty! Take heart in knowing that God still guides us personally through his Holy Spirit. He speaks to us directly through his word, and we have been promised an eternity through his son Jesus, that allows us to walk, talk and be with our Creator!

Friend, be encouraged today...be encouraged in knowing that God is right there with you, he hasn't left you, and will supply everything you need! Thank him for what you have, what you're going to have and all that you've had in the past...Just be thankful!

You're not alone!

Did you know that you’re not alone? You’re not the only one to feel anxious, worry or have fear! We’ve all had times in our lives where certain circumstances and past events in our lives have caused us to be uneasy, afraid, and anxious. We’ve all been afraid of something at some point in our lives. Whether as a child, a youth or as an adult, we all have had fears. Fears of isolation, exposure, change, loss of freedoms, etc., we all have at one point in our lives feared something which can cause anxiety(s). The great news about this is that we serve a God that loves us, wants to be our guide and will help us to get through these tough situations – Praise the Lord. 

What I love about the Bible is that God continually encourages us through his written word. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:13 – For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength(or get through any situation). The Bible has many verses that deal with fears and anxieties in varying situations. Many of God’s great leaders suffered with fears and angst. King David suffered from fear in many times of his life, but he knew that he served a God that could deliver him from ANY situation. Psalm 34:4 encourages us that when we seek God with all our heart, he will deliver us – I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears”. Another great man of God – the Apostle Paul was thrust into many anxious situations, but we can be encouraged through the many writings to the churches throughout Asia Minor. In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul encourages us to trust God in every situation And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” – Romans 8:28.

 As Christians we should never condemn a fellow brother or sister that may be going through a time of anxiousness. Instead of judging someone who might be going through a situation and jumping to conclusions about them, we should simply pray for them. We should continually lift one another up and pray for them even though we may not know the situation or problem and offer an unsolicited word of encouragement. Proverbs 12:25 reminds us of this sentiment – “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up!” 

Likewise, anyone going through a time of anxiousness should be encouraged to share their situation with a fellow Christian. Many times we don’t realize that we may be sitting next to someone who has went through this same situation, or has had experience dealing with something very similar. The church should be a safe zone, a place where one can openly share worries, fears and concerns without fear of retribution. This is a goal that every church needs to continually strive for! I want to encourage you today to know that God loves you and wants only the best for you. If you’re feeling discouraged, anxious or afraid I encourage you to go to the Lord in prayer and seek him, because I promise you this – You will find him!