Friday, May 16, 2014

Even in the Fall

Micah 7:8
8Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.
The prophet Micah warned Israel of God's pleading with them to turn from their sins. Eventually, God pronounced judgment on Israel for their continued disobedience. But God! The rod of punishment was only temporary. Israel of course had enemies. Those enemies were glad that judgment fell on Israel because it gave them the impression that they were victorious. But God is ALWAYS victorious! He brought the people of Israel out and He was still with them even in the time of their punishment. The NKJ Study Bible notes, "God's plan for His people would not ultimately be thwarted by their sin." So even though the people of Israel sinned, God's purpose and plan for them would not return void. Israel got in their own way, but God always has the final say.
Have you ever noticed when you are battle your enemy begins to rejoice the minute you fall. But your enemy's ignorance is not knowing that God is with you even in your fall, while you are down and as He brings you back up. God says in His word that He will never leave you nor forsake you. So no matter how hard you may fall whether from your own sin or from the attack of the enemy, it is only temporary. The Lord will still light the path for you to rise from the fall. God has already redeemed you before the fall occurred because of Jesus! The NKJ Study Bible has a wonderful note, "Micah portrayed Jerusalem as speaking to the enemy who would assault her, 'Though you may win this battle, I will win the war because of the Lord.' HALLELUJAH THAT JESUS PAID IT ALL!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Did You See?

Proverbs 22:9
9He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.
Has God ever showed you a person's need? What did you see? Did you meet the need? Or did you pretend not to see and ignore it? God is Jehovah Roi, the God who sees. God misses absolutely nothing. Even when you think no one knows, God does. The one in need may be a stranger on the street or it can be someone you know. Everyone who is down, God will bring up in His time. And those who are up, God will bring low in His time. When God allows you to see a need, it is for a reason. When God blesses you, it is not just for you. Maybe He wants you to house someone. Maybe He wants you to give someone a ride. Maybe He wants you to pray for or with someone. Maybe He wants you to buy that elderly woman some groceries because she can't get to the store. Maybe He wants you to buy a hot meal for one who is homeless. Maybe He wants you to just give an encouraging word to someone who needs to hear it. Maybe He wants you to work with a child. Whatever the need is that God shows to you, He wants to see if you will do it. He will bless you in His time for fulfilling the needs of those HE sends your way. Matthew 25:40 shows how Jesus will judge the way you treated those in need that He sent to you. It says, "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' God sees and remembers the times you had the heart to bless someone else because it is the same as blessing Him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Remember Me

Psalm 106:4
Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh visit me with Your salvation.
The psalm is titled Joy in Forgiveness of Israel's Sins. The psalm celebrates God's faithfulness though God's people were not and are not faithful. "Remember Me" was the request of one of the thieves who hung next to Jesus. In Psalm 8 the word says, "What is man that you are mindful of him." I am grateful today that God is mindful even when you and I are unfaithful. God remembers you and I even when He is forgotten. Truly He is worthy of praise! I am grateful today because I know plenty by name who did not make it out of their teens and twenties, those who did not make it to the end of their thirties. But God! Even though the doctors estimated six years ago I would not make it the next few days, months or year, God saw fit to remember me. He didn't have to. God could've stopped the clock there. But I bless God today as I enter my last year in my thirties. GLORY TO YOUR NAME OH GREAT JEHOVAH!! Many are ashamed of their age, but it is a blessing to see many years. Do not complain.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Touch of Love

Mark 1:32
32At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.
Jesus often visited the sick and those cast out by society to give them a healing touch. He went to those who were on the outskirts of the city because their diseased bodies were not to be looked upon. Jesus didn't always have to touch them to heal them but could also speak a word which would heal. Jesus, the epitome of compassion went among the sick and shut out, church now calls them shut in. Jesus is the role model of what service to others is to look like.
In the early 1990s, the state of Maryland instituted new requirements for high school graduation. These new requirements demanded a certain number of hours of community service. My eleventh grade history teacher was in charge of the community service efforts. He took a group of us to a nearby nursing home. Once the community service was complete, many of the students did not continue on at the nursing home. I continued even through the change of management and up into my sophomore year of college before taking on a part-time job in addition to the full course load. I met a woman there who was 95 years old and blind. She was feisty at first and I didn't think she liked me but actually, she was a sweet woman. I was so amazed at how well she got around without the ability to see. For the first time, I began to appreciate my own eye sight and wearing glasses. A friend or two would visit her once in while and her son. I also spent time with a much younger woman. She was in her 40s. Her multiple sclerosis had escalated after the beatings from her ex-husband and she was wheelchair bound. She had family that came to see her regularly and brought her things. She loved to talk but she also loved to have her hair brushed. So I would often brush her long flowing blond hair as it was soothing for her. I saw many others weekly. For some, I was the only visitor they had. It broke my heart that their families forgot about them once they were shoved into a little corner of the world. Do you have family in a nursing home facility? When was the last time you called them to let them know you were thinking of them? You would be surprised how comforting it is for them to know someone is thinking of them. Some heal quickly that way. A touch of love, in any form helps those who feel left out.
Real service is not about meeting some quota or requirement, not about notches to make your organization look more legit than others, nor about disguising for government dollars. Real service, no matter what form, at its core is about love. The same love Jesus displayed as He walked among the sick and shut out. A smiling face and genuine heart has the ability to heal another heart more than you could ever imagine.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Honey Rather Than Vinegar

Proverbs 12:18
18There is one who speaks like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.
Many of us heard the term, "think before your speak" while growing up. If you know children, then you know they are brutally honest, holding nothing back. It is often called "no filter" in today's society. They may even repeat back to you something you said that you know you shouldn't have said, especially in their presence. Those words could've been hurtful to someone else but did you think before you said anything? Words can hurt. The apostle James talks about taming the tongue in James 3. He said we bless God with it and curse men. Proverbs 18:21 says the power of life and death lie in the tongue. Did you know you can break a person's spirit with your tongue? A lot of pain can be caused by it. Words come out of the mouth that cannot be taken back once uttered. They can be piercing as the Word says. What does it mean to pierce? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary describes it as 1) to enter or thrust into sharply or painfully: stab 2) to make a hole in or through: perforate 3) penetrate 4) to see through: discern. So your words can pierce so sharply they cause pain. But one who is wise speaks to promote health. It does not mean the truth has to be hidden when speaking. It means thought is given and God is consulted so that words, though truthful, go down like honey rather than vinegar. Honey is sweet and can be consumed. Vinegar alone is bitter to taste. The Word says that God's Word is like a two-edged sword. His Word can be used to correct. But you may never know how much you hurt a person with your words. God knows. And He is the one who has to mend the broken spirit.