Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Creating A New You

Jeremiah 31:22b
The LORD will create a new thing on earth

In the scripture above the Lord was using the prophet Jeremiah to tell the people to return to the Lord because he was ready to show compassion. The Lord wanted to do a new thing but it meant faithfulness from the people of Israel.

The Lord wants to do a new thing in us and through in the new year. In order to do this, we must turn away from our rebelious ways.

2Kings 2:20-21
20 "Bring me a new bowl," he said, "and put salt in it." So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, "This is what the LORD says: 'I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.'

Salt was used to purify and preserve. In the scripture above the prophet Elisha asked for a new bowl. Why? If he used an old bowl then it would contain the same impurities that contaminated the water in the first place. What does this mean for us?

We absolutely cannot take the same attitudes, habits, past hurts and even some people with us into the new year because they will contaminate that which the Lord seeks to purify and make anew.


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Year of Fulfillment

Habakkuk 2:2-3
2 Then the LORD replied:
"Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald [a] may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;

In the scripture above the prophet Habakkuk made complaints to the Lord about evil doers and their torture on God's people. The Lord answered Habakkuk on what to do. The Lord told him to write down a revelation he provided and detail it because it would come to pass at the proper time.

Many of us are given divine inspiration/desires whether artistically, professionally, etc. Writing and speaking the God given desires of your heart are the best way to ensure they come to pass. Why?

Proverbs 18:2121 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.

We have the ability to write and speak over our own lives the God given desires that stand at the cornerstone of our hearts. In order to write and speak, faith is required. The Lord gave prophets of long ago a message about the coming messiah which was writen and spoken over and over.

Let 2010 be the year of fulfillment in your life!!!

The Title Is Only Icing On The Cake

Genesis 39:11
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

In the scripture above Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers because of their jealousy of him. Ultimately God used what was meant for evil and turned it into good.

It can also be the case with us. God will sometimes allow us to go through what may look the most horrid of circumstances but it's in those situations, he will still give us grace and mercy.

Genesis 39:33
When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did,

Although Jospeh was stripped of his title of being the favorite son, the special one, the Lord saw fit to show that regardless of Joesph's status, title, etc...he was still great. Joseph was a slave, yet still was a leader. Why? Because the Lord was with him. A title doesn't guarentee that the Lord is with us. It's what's in our hearts. The Lord doesn't look at size and title to determine who is the greatest. He actually likes using those that others pass over because they are the ones that are less prideful and it's easier to show greatness in someone smaller than in someone who "thinks they have it all together".

If the title determined everything, we would have more great leaders in the world.

Genesis 39:20-21
20 Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.

The most beautiful thing about the Lord is that he doesn't let the opinions and personal agendas of others get in the way of his work. Jospeh was accused of something he didn't do. But the Lord still looked on him favorably in spite of the circumstances. Again, no titles.

How many of us have fixed our eyes on a title or a status? "If I get here, then I will be great." The Lord wants to use all of us right where we are, if we're willing to be obedient to him. We are great in him, regardless of where "we think we are". Moving with heart will make a greater difference.

Eventually, Joseph received the title. It was a title greater than what he imagined and even greater then what he started with as the favorite son. Jospeh was appointed by the Lord to lead, everyone else just had to catch up to what the Lord was doing with him.

The Crossroad From Praised to Convicted

Mark 11:7-9
7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna![a]" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"[b]

In the scripture above Jesus was fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy spoken about him riding in on a donkey. How amazing is it that Jesus was being praised? This day became known as Palm Sunday because the people laid palm branches down as Jesus rode on the donkey. The disciples had no idea what was to occur in the days to come.

Many times we think that everyone is for us and believes in us because of the praise from their lips. Jesus hadn't completed fulfilled his purpose at that point in time. Unfortunately, we don't know what people really feel in their hearts until we reach our crossroad. The crossroad is different for each person but it represents taking either the the road to our purpose or the road everyone else will take that leads nowhere.

Mark 15:12-13
12"What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them. 13"Crucify him!" they shouted.

Jesus dealt with turncoats when he reached the goal but they played a part in his purpose. We will deal with turncoats as well if we are courageous enough to follow what God has called us to do. It's one thing for others to watch us in the struggle but watching us reach the goal line is when reality sets in. Sometimes the truth hurts. We may be falsely convicted and accused because pointing the finger at us, is better than looking in the mirror.

It's Almost Time

Jeremiah 31:16
16 This is what the LORD says:
"Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,"
declares the LORD.
"They will return from the land of the enemy.

In the scripture above the Lord is using the prophet Jeremiah to help the people understand that they will not be in exile forever. They will be rewarded for their obedience and the Lord will make them fruitful.

We often go through so much and sometimes it feels as though we will never see the end of a struggle or trial but the Lord wants us to know that if we continue to stay the course that he's laid out for us, he will not only see it to the end but he will reward us for our hard work.
Jeremiah 31:9b
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble,

The hard part for many of us is being obedient through the turbulent times and not giving up. We want so much to end our suffering but if we quit too soon, then not only do we not learn the lesson that was meant for us but the reward will not come either. How sad to miss an inheritance because of our impatience.

Don't fret because it's almost time!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Testing The Waters

1 Kings 10:1
1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.

In the scripture above the author credits Queen of Sheba as being so intrigued by the reports given to her regarding Solomon's wisdom that she just had to test him for herself.

Most of us at some point or another have all experienced being tested by peers, superiors and the like because "we couldn't possibly" have the knowledge or ability to do the things we do. But let's be clear, wisdom is a gift from God. When God gives wisdom, he also provides the opportunity to obtain whatever training is needed to accomplish that which he has set before us. Wisdom and the ability to act often accompany each other but it's up to us to act when God provides the perfect timing.

1 Kings 10:6-7
6 She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.

Sometimes it is hard for others to believe no matter what the circumstances are surrounding the disbelief. Understand that we don't have to prove anything, the Lord will reveal who we are in him. Whether others believe or not isn't really our concern. We just have to obey him and he will take care of the rest.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Doors Are Closing

Luke 13:24-25
24"Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'

In the scripture above Jesus was explaining the concept that God will not wait on us forever to get our act together. We all have choices to make. Jesus has an appointed time to return and once that time has arrived, it's too late. And no matter how much we beg, the door will not be opened again.

The truth is that God operates the same way in every area of our life, not just spiritual. The doors of opportunity are only open for an appointed time. Once that time has passed, the doors are closed. We spend so much time on the fence thinking we have time but that's not the case.

Matthew 24:50
50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.

It is indeed a shame when God's grace has run out and the doors are closed. It's only at that time do we often realize what a great opportunity we just missed.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Chosen Ones

Matthew 13:16
16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

In the scripture above Jesus was addressing the disciples because they wanted to understand why he spoke in parables. Jesus explained that it wasn't meant for everyone to understand his teaching but those who did, were blessed and meant to see and hear. The truth is, it's not always meant for everyone to understand what we see and hear spiritually but they are only to see the outcome. God has blessed us because there is a role for us to play. The next time God gives us revelation and we try to explain it to someone else, if they don't see it, don't be alarmed or upset. It only means that we have been chosen by God to see and hear.

Matthew 22:14
14"For many are invited, but few are chosen."

It's time to look at every area of our lives and see where we've only been invited and where we've been chosen. Have we missed the boat on anything because it wasn't meant for us or because we've been afraid to be one of the chosen ones?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fool's Gold

Haggai 1:5-6
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."

In the scripture above the Lord is speaking through the prophet Haggai. The Lord is explaining that no matter what is done by the people, they cannot prosper the way they desire. Disobedience to God will transfer into every area of life.

Proverbs 17:16
16 Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?

God is the embodiment of wisdom. When we do not heed to his ways we are setting ourselves up to loose anything and everything he has blessed us with. People, opportunities and material things can all be blessings from God. When we take for granted what he has placed before us then we stand to have it taken from us and given to someone else who is ready to receive.

Joy T.J. Riley