Keeping God First
Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” ~CSB
When my wife and I were going through those hard times in our marriage, I said a lot of things I regret. Under the influence of my alcohol addiction, I said some things I cannot take back. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t mean them. It doesn’t matter if what was coming out of my mouth did not represent the true man I am; what I said could not be erased from memory.
My wife, being the receiver of those words, could not and cannot forget. But because she chose to lean on the Lord’s peace, He healed her from the damage of my words. So where does that leave me? First I had to ask for forgiveness from my wife. Then I had to ask for forgiveness from the Father.
Second, in obedience, I must make sure I do not make the same mistake twice. I must think before I speak. Because I know the Lord and all men and women are His children, I now live by the foundation of the spiritual rule of speaking…if I will not say it to God, I will not say it to His children.
And third, I must exercise, in meditation, God’s word daily so that I learn to keep Him first before anyone I encounter. That means from my wife and my children, to strangers I may meet on the street, ‘...the words of my mouth…’ will speak with results of positive and spiritual love and guidance. No matter what circumstance I’m in, I will allow God’s will to guide me, not my fleshly desire to disobey verbally.
At the end of our journey, here in this world, we all should want to be ‘...acceptable to God…’ So know that He is always around. He can see and hear us. If we put Him first, it is a lot easier to remember that and say the right things to those we encounter. Because when we cross paths with others, God is just waiting to bless them through us.
May God bless and keep you under His umbrella of love, guidance and protection in Jesus’ name.
Romans 12:1 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.” ~NLT
How do we walk in obedience? How do we live our lives righteously? Do we really want to do right but find ourselves falling short to the desires our bodies crave? These are all outstanding questions when it comes to the attempt at living righteous lives. Let’s see if we can pull some wisdom and strength in the memories we may have.
Remember when we wanted to lose some weight. We decided what we were going to eat and sacrificed foods we loved, and did not eat them. We also decided to dedicate a few hours in the day to exercise. We sacrificed our comforts and traded them in for sweat and tears. We literally disciplined our bodies for the greater good of ‘health and wellness’. And when we reached that goal, we were so proud and felt good about that success. 1 Corinthians 9:27 says, “Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” ~CSB
Bringing our bodies under ‘...strict control…’ is the answer. It is the beginning of a servant's commitment to God. If we could just keep our bodies under control, that would be the first step in ‘...giving our bodies to God…’ If we practiced cutting back on foods that keep us on medication. If we practiced putting down the cigarettes and cutting back on alcohol, all things that the body cannot process, if we can get control of that…the rest will be a lot easier to control and bring under ‘strict discipline’.
Just think about the possibilities of success in sacrifice. When we learn to keep the body under strict control, we will be able to handle confrontation in a godly way, when it comes in our direction. We will be able to contain our anger. We will be able to have a sound and clear mind when it comes to making righteous decisions in Jesus' name.
Starting with strict discipline of our bodies and what it craves will allow us to have a more focused journey on this path God intended for us to travel. We will be seen to others as a people that live as a, “...holy sacrifice–the kind He will find acceptable…” Start today, practice a little at a time telling the body, “NO! You cannot have that!” In time that discipline will become strict and strong enough to walk away from temptation. “This is truly the way to worship Him.”
May God continue to bless you with His wisdom, grace and protection as you walk in the name of Jesus.
God's Calling Only
2 Corinthians 3:18 “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into His glorious image.” ~NLT
The role of a school teacher, grade school, middle and high school, is a calling. Today’s students need a little bit more attention. The best teachers on the job today will tell you that no matter what kind of positive relationship they may have with a student, the day will come when that student will test your very being.
Teachers will tell you that they hold on to the fact that they are there to do a job. And no matter how a child may become verbally aggressive, the best teachers hold on to their assignments as role models, mentors, counselors and great detailed listeners. Today a lot of our children of God, are struggling with the world closing in on them and they face situations where they feel trapped. This is why a lot of them have the ‘fight’ in them.
But thank God for calling some of his children to ‘teach’. These teachers are walking in their calling. God has called them, and because He has, He will give them everything they need to perform their tasks successfully. He and He alone will give them the strength, wisdom and power to perform miracles in the children that cross their paths.
Because of His calling on them, these teachers do not allow themselves to be pulled into the chaos children bring to school on a daily basis. Instead, they allow themselves to listen and bless these children with peace they receive from God.
I think we can learn a few things from our teachers. We as believers have had our ‘veils’ lifted. This means we know God and His intentions for us. And since we know, we should strive to ‘do better’. For instance, if we feel we have reached a stopping point in what we are pursuing, we must ask ourselves, “Am I walking in God’s calling for me, or am I walking in a calling I called for myself? There is no power in ‘self-calling’.
But God’s calling comes with the equipment we need to endure, stand up, fight through and seed. With all of these gifts, God’s success will not only be in our lives, but also in other lives He allows to cross our paths.
As the text says, now that our veil has been removed, we know better. We must allow the Lord, “...who is the Spirit…” to make us, “...more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” May God bless and keep you under His umbrella of protection in Jesus’ name.
2 Timothy 2:4 “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the Commanding Officer.” ~CSB
While in the Army, I took part in training and completing all tasks required in the famous ‘Air Assault’ course. This was a huge step for me because one of the requirements at the end of the training was for us to repel over 90 feet from a helicopter in mid flight. No wall to walk down or kick off from, just a straight drop from the helicopter to the ground.
Now the punch-line here is that I was afraid of heights. But the instructors and leaders of the course were Drill Sergeants. The Drill Sergeants are soldiers who are highly respected and well trained. They were the motivation that overcame my fear. They laid out our paths and rules of instruction. And no matter how difficult the task ahead, they motivated us to move forward regardless of the struggle. Hearing their voices through smoke, darkness and deafening noise, we were able to ignore everything around us that was trying to make us fail and we drove on. These men and women commanded us and those of us who listened, succeeded.
These soldiers saw something in me at that time. God created that 'something' in all of us. This ‘something’ will help us on our journey as servants here on earth. We are required to follow the orders of our callings and not, “...get entangled in the concerns…” of this world. Just like I did with the Drill Sergeants, we must listen for the voice of God as he guides us through the smoke, darkness and deafening noise of the enemy.
Our Commanding Officer has assigned us to a higher calling. We must stay focused on our spiritual desire to be obedient and live righteously. Continue to do what is right despite how we look in ‘man’s eyes’. Allow ourselves to be in position, in a place, where we may fear or feel uncomfortable, so that God can perform the miracle He predestined to do through us for others.
Just as a soldier, “...seeks to please his Commanding Officer…”, we should seek to please God in everything we do. Living, breathing and in our course of action, serving in the name of Christ Jesus. May God always comfort, heal and guide you as you journey in Jesus’ name.
Philippians 2:2-4 “…fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” ~HCSB
A husband does his part in a godly marriage by considering his wife’s feelings over his own. This is a skill because the flesh makes it hard for a man to have a trying day at work; followed by a stressful time in traffic; to come home and think about anything else other than his own personal need to sit down for a minute and take a load off.
But when his Christ-like actions prevail and he puts aside all that burdens him to care for and attend to the needs of his wife, his wife is safe and feels secure in her husband’s attention. Let’s add that this particular couple goes out of their way, in their day to day lives, attempting to 'outdo' each other in their care and love for each other. Their actions result in a godly marriage. This is a victory in the name of the Lord for this couple.
Now let us switch this relationship from a married couple to how we as individuals affect others around us. How we are to live with and treat others God places in our paths. There is a command given to us that must be followed in order for us to fulfill our purpose in the name of the Kingdom.
This command was given to us by Jesus when he gave us the order to ‘love’ one another. When it comes down to it; it doesn’t matter how we were raised in the church; or the way our devotions were taught or even the community we may have been raised in; we are all Christians. No matter what differences we may have in knowing Christ, we must stay true to His command of ‘Love’.
Of everything going on around us in our lives every day, we must not let the world cause us to do anything, “…out of rivalry or conceit…” But in the humility shown by Christ, we must consider others as more important than ourselves.
Live each day with the command of Jesus in our hearts. No matter what happens around us, let his command always show in our actions. We were created for this task. May God give you strength, direction and wisdom in your journey in Jesus' name.
The Light In The Darkness
1 Corinthians 7:17 “Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.” ~NLT
“Why am I here?” “Lord, I’m ready for your blessings, where are they?” “Why am I at this job? I thought you had something better for me.” It is amazing how fear comes over us when we cannot see the miracle. When we cannot see the blessing or success, as we call it, we get frustrated with God.
All along, God has it all worked out. He will lead you to the right place and put you in the right position where he will perform his miracle through you. And if you think you are the only one of His children that was confused about your position, you are sadly mistaken.
How do you think the Israelites felt when God brought them to the Red Sea with Pharaoh right behind them. They couldn't see success either. But let’s not be like them and complain because of what we cannot see. Instead let us embrace our trust in God that He has already set us up for success! Like Moses, we should just stand, raise our hands in praise and watch our problems divide and provide a path for us to our victory.
The text says, “...Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you…” This is written because we won’t know and don’t have to know what God’s plan is for us. Because God only has good plans for us, not disaster, (Jeremiah 29:11).
So today, thank God for what He has done and all He is going to do in the name of His Son Jesus Christ! When God is ready, He will show us the way! He is the Light In the Darkness! It is on us to build our relationship with Him so that we may hear Him more clearly for our direction. And in this we can allow ourselves to live righteously. And let that righteousness flow in our hearts and minds.
May God continue to protect, guide and heal you on your journey in Jesus’ name.
A Thirst Replenished
John 6:35 “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” ~NLT
What is going on in your life right now? Are things going as planned or are you at a place in life where you feel stuck? It is relatable that we can be successful with a career and financially sound; or do not have a job and looking to make ends meet and still be at a place in life where we may feel like we are stuck. By stuck, I mean, our thoughts are repeating over and over again, “Is this all there is to life?” “Why am I not happy or satisfied with my life?”
We all have an emptiness inside that we are constantly trying to fill. We think it’s our finances, because it seems we never have enough. We think it’s the needs of our marriage that never seem to be satisfied or met. Or maybe it is just something going on inside of us that we can never seem to understand why we feel the way we do about all of the above. That void has a constant leak. It doesn’t matter what we use to fill it, eventually it turns up empty and we feel some kind of way about everything.
What we need to realize is that the void can only be filled by one major ingredient. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The world constantly takes ‘stabs’ at our flesh with its swords of struggle, distraction and memories of the past. Wounding us physically and mentally. But God is a healer, and we need His Word to allow us the spiritual armor we need to cover our flesh. We need His Word to heal our wounds of the past and of the pain. We need Jesus to satisfy that hunger we have for that void.
When we feast on the “...bread of life…” we satisfy that hunger. When we grow into a habit of feasting on that Word, Jesus says we will, “...never be hungry again…” We will never want for anything because we will know that God will provide. And when we believe in this, we will never thirst because our paths will be guided and our lives will have purpose in the name of Jesus!
No more wondering, “Is this all there is to life…” because God will seed a calling in us that will get us up every morning refreshed and ready to move in that purpose. The clouds of doubt and discouragement will be replaced by motivation and strength renewed by God everyday! Believe in our Savior, because of what He has done for us and because of the love His Father…Our Father has for us!
May God continue to bless and keep you under His umbrella of protection in Jesus’ name.
A Priceless Image
1 Peter 2:24 “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live
for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” ~CSB
A face towel is just a face towel. Until a famous singer on the stage of a concert, wipes their face with it. When it is thrown out into an audience of fans, it is now priceless. A pair of basketball shoes are just shoes. Until a famous basketball star scores the winning basket in a championship game on national television, in them. Those shoes become priceless.
One can say the Cross falls in the same category. At one time it was a simple tree or upright post with another bar crossing it. This post was where men were crucified. It was a symbol of death. But because of Christ, it is now so much more.
Christ allowed that symbol of death, be the death, to all that is against God. Jesus took our
accountability for sin away and bore the punishment for us, on the Cross. He turned that symbol into so much more
than death. As we salute and wear the symbol today, we take pride because it now represents life, love, peace, forgiveness, and purity.
Jesus turned one of the most brutal forms of execution into a symbol of abundant life. Like the Cross, it does not matter what your past may hold, Christ has released you from its debt. Now, go live in righteousness because, “…by His wounds you have been healed.”
May God bless you with His peace under His umbrella of protection for you and your family in Jesus’
Philippians 3:15-16 “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision–you’ll see it yet! Now that we are on the right track, let’s stay on it.” ~MSG
Attending the U.S. Army’s Boot Camp in April of 1993 was an experience. I endured a lot of physical training. But most of the training was mental. One of the greatest challenges was remaining focused. It started with physical training. The Drill Sergeants would surround us after giving us orders to do push ups, sit ups, planks or any other physical activity. We would have to concentrate on the exercise while enduring the constant yelling and chaos of noise around us.
When our muscles started burning, and our bodies began to ache from the physical conditioning, The chaos began to frustrate us and make us angry. This led some of my fellow soldiers wanting to quit and give up. But then we found the key. We had to try very hard to stay focused on our mission, our goal, more than the distractions. After we learned to stick with the count of our repetitions, the noise began to die down.
The strength of that training would mentally prepare us when we began our training on the firing range. If we had not learned to concentrate on what was important in the midst of all the chaos going on, then we would not be able to concentrate on handling dangerous weapons and ammunition. Which could result in tragedy.
God wants us to stay focused in life the same way. Those who love Him and accept His Son’s sacrifice, know that He has called us for His purpose. In our stages of spiritual training He wants us to learn to stay focused on that mission instead of getting frustrated with the happenings of the world. As we endure the trials of ‘distraction’, the text says, “...God will clear your blurred vision…you’ll see it yet!” His purpose will be revealed to you. So hang in there!
When we learn to stay focused and tune out what is not important, then we will be prepared when the time comes for the huge miracle He will perform through us. So prepared, that we will not waive in its completion! Work hard to quiet the noise in your mind. Reach that goal where God’s intent is clear inside you and know that victory is just ahead.
May God bless and keep you in His peace in Jesus’ name.
God Won't Leave Us 'Hangin'
1 Peter 5:10 “The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.” CSB
If you look at an ordinary wire hanger, you normally don’t think much of it. Its main function is to hang up shirts and keep them from being wrinkled. Day in and day out, it just performs one function. Some of us become depressed or feel like we are not worth anything because we see our lives similar to the hanger. We find ourselves doing the same thing, day in and day out.
Now when I was younger, my dad taught me a trick with the wire hanger. One time a member of our family locked their keys in their car. My dad took a wire hanger, untwisted it making it sort of straight. Made the end into a small loop and forced it between the rubber and the glass of the driver’s side window. I watched as that loop he made, attached itself to the door’s locking mechanism and with a quick pull, my dad had unlocked the door of the car.
We may go on with our daily lives and feel that we have no significance but God has truly created us for something great. You see after my dad used the hanger, it could not be used to hang shirts anymore. There will come a time in all our lives where we will not be able to do some of the things we have done, and that may make us sad or depressed as we dwell on those memories.
But fear not, God is not finished with us yet. When we pray to God and tell Him, “I am here Lord! Just as I am, use me for Your will!” This is when God will “...restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while…” Just like the hanger, God will take what the world has done to you, reshape and prepare you to unlock a door that could not be unlocked by anyone else!
Trust in the Lord and tell Him you are ready to be used by Him! So that you will do His will on earth, as it is in Heaven! May God bless and keep you under the umbrella of His peace in Jesus’ name.
Authors Billy & Yolanda
This is the place where we share our heart through God's Word in faith that will inspire and empower you to live in peace.