Matthew 10:7-8

"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

Friday, June 29, 2012

YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER

"HAVE I NOT COMMANDED YOU?  BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE; DO NOT BE AFRAID, NOR DISMAYED, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO."

If you been of the faith for any period of time, no doubt you have heard that verse quoted or read from the book of Joshua.  Often you will hear it quoted by someone when they or someone close to them is going through a difficult time.  It is indeed a tremendous verse and I love it, too.

How about when someone is hoping for something to happen that they've wanted for a long time?  Ever hear the following verse?  "Delight yourself also in the ways of the Lord, "AND HE SHALL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART."


Also in Psalm 1 we see that the promise given to the righteous man, that he "SHALL BE LIKE A TREE PLANTED BY THE RIVERS OF WATER, THAT BRINGS FORTH IT'S FRUIT IN IT'S SEASON, WHOSE LEAF SHALL NOT WITHER; AND WHATEVER HE DOES SHALL PROSPER."


These verses are indeed beautiful and worth holding onto; even memorizing.  They truly bring encouragement.  However, we would see those verses ringing even truer in our lives if we pay attention to the instruction that either comes before them, or is included alongside of them.  I wonder though, just how much we are willing to pay attention to any part that requires even a little discipline, or instruction.  Discipline and pursuing God often go right along with verses such as these.  We want the good stuff, such as getting our heart's desires, or having whatever we put our hands to prospering, but not many want to do the discipline part.  

It's example time!

I opened with that popular verse found in Joshua 1:9.  However, how many want to remember what the verse says right before it.  "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall MEDITATE  on it DAY and NIGHT."  Who really does that?  Meditates on God DAY and NIGHT.  God bless you if you are one, but  statistics would show that the percentage is extremely low.  Statistics show that those who even read their bible or pray everyday is even extremely low among Christians.  Is it fair for us to ask God to pull through for us all the time if we don't even come close to following the keys for that to happen?  Yet God in His grace and mercy often shows up anyway.

How about Psalm 1?  Who doesn't want to prosper in all that he, or she, does?  The key to having that happen, however is all through Psalm 1, but do we really follow it closely?  "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the  path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he MEDIATES DAY and NIGHT."  And before we can even think about the desires of our heart, we are instructed to find delight in God's ways.

These are just a few examples from the Old Testament without even touching the New.  Read Jesus words in John 14 and you will see this continued pattern.

Let's bring this down to practical living.  Over the last few years I've found that when my hearts desire is to follow God with my very being; when I think about the Lord all day long even while at work; when I lay down at night and ask the Lord to be a part of my dreams and sleep; let me be pretty straight forward.   When I do these things, not just because I want to follow the letter of the law, (as the saying goes) but because I truly am in love with Jesus, well there is very little, if ever any, stress in my life.  I see God's hand guiding me, leading me and helping me to make right decisions.  I can't begin to tell you how I see God's favor over me and my family.  How many times He blesses with little things and sometimes great big things.  When I run into problems (and you always will no matter what) I am always aware that my Father has my back and will carry me through, and He never fails.  It's just the way it is!  I hope that doesn't sound arrogant, because that is the last thing I ever want to sound like.  If God will do this for me, He will surely do it for you.

On the other hand when I slip a bit in my time with the Lord; when I might allow Him to slip down to second place; I don't see those things nearly as well as I would like.  That, my friend, is why I try my very best to not let up anymore.  Remember it's all about relationship with the Lord.  It's all about running as if to obtain a prize.

It really saddens me when I see people who constantly write on Facebook and others places on the internet that, "this day totally sucked," or "I never get a break," or "just once I would like something to go my way." (You can think of several examples.)  I'm not going to sit here and judge.  I'm warned not too,  but I just want everyone who even sometimes falls into those categories, to be honest with yourself as to the ratio of time that is given to God compared to other pleasures in this life.  Yes, I know that there will always be an occasional bad day, but as a whole that just shouldn't happen very often.

God WANTS to do great things for His children.  He desires to give good gifts.  Sometimes we are the ones who limit just how many blessings we see.  If I spend hours and hours watching baseball, but seldom crack open my Bible or pray, things are bound to be out of whack.  Pretty soon days would become lousy and so would my attitude.

Is it fair to God to want the best stuff, without giving Him our best, too?
You can't have one without the other!!!!!!!!!

May you meditate on the Lord this day,
Mark S.






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