13. It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. John 13:1 (NIV) 2. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4. So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
The phrase "Step up To the Plate" is a baseball metaphor. When we "Step Up," we take responsibility for something. Let's look below at some of the other meanings of this phrase. words. "Step Up" is a (Verb and action word). It can mean:
To increase something, especially in stages: The factory stepped up production to meet the growing demand. The runners stepped their pace up for the last two laps.2. To come forward: When I call your name, please step up and be counted. 3. To improve one's performance or take on more responsibility, especially at a crucial time: The player stepped up at a crucial moment and scored the winning point.
Many women use the term "step up" when referring to a man as "A Dead Beat Dad. Hundreds of thousands of children being raised by single moms, Many fathers, (rather men), have abandoned their children and provide very little support for their kids of all ages. Sometimes mothers have to take their child's father to court, only to have a judge tell the deadbeat dad to "step up to the plate" and take care of your fatherly responsibilities. When we "step up" on our jobs, we must make sure we produce quality work. When we step up in pursuing our destiny, we must set goals, stay focused on the prize and persevere until we arrive at our destination in life. We must go after our purpose with passion and zeal. When we step up and exercise our right and privilege to vote, we take responsibility for who we would like to represent us in government. When we step up, we are saying, I get it! I have a call, a duty, a responsibility an obligation to fulfill.
In the game of baseball, a major league player steps up to the plate to hit the ball, to score a run, to win a game. It doesn't matter if they are behind in a game, they must put their best foot forward and press on to help their team outscore their opponent. Excuses are not allowed, pity parties are not allowed, and sometimes the aches and pains from a former injury cannot be used as an excuse to cower and exclaim, "Well, I did my best, you know I wasn't in the best shape to help the team."
This passage of Scripture in John 13 will ask you and me to step up to the plate, as Jesus asked his disciples to do on the night of the Passover Feast. You will recognize the account as Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. As you read the account you will note the fact that the Lord's disciples failed miserably to "step up to the plate." They did not take responsibility for their own dirty feet, let alone for one another's. They were so consumed by their own self-importance. They let Jesus, their Lord and Master, do the work of a common slave. They did not fully recognize, after all the time He spent with them, that He was modeling for them how they were to love and serve Him and one another.
Their failure hints at a much bigger issue. If they wanted to, they could have volunteered to or stepped up to wash away their own sins. Instead, less than 24 hours later, their Lord would walk step by step up to Calvary, carry His cross, their guilt, and shame on his own shoulders and back. In completing the work on the cross, Jesus, stepped up, showing them "the full extent of his love: (v. 1).
And what a love it was! What a love it continues to be to both you and me. Never forget the fact that Jesus carried our sins, our guilt, and shame with Him to that old rugged cross. Because he stepped up to the plate and died for us, we can live, truly live as God's sons and daughters both now and forever. We must, however, never forget the admonishment that Jesus gave in that same text when He said, "As I have washed your feet, you ought also to wash the feet of one another" (v. 14).
Now that we are forgiven and set free, we now serve our Lord and Savior by serving his people. We go forward and serve in "His Steps." We do so not because we have to or are forced to, we do so as "joyful, hope-filled, so glad I get to serve Him folk." As servants of God, we know the price Jesus paid for us on the cross to secure our salvation. How blessed we are to be His servants.
January 22, 2018 Today’s Blog Post: “Jesus Is My Help”
For many years I have listened to the song, “My Help” as recorded by many gospel singers, but none can touch the renowned Brooklyn tabernacle choir’s rendition. Psalm 121 is one of my favorite Psalms. It begins with the words: Psalm 121:1-2. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” I don’t know how many times I have cried out to the Lord for His help. Sometimes I think He gets a little annoyed at my constant and persistent prayers for help. The truth is I need his assistance in the affairs of my everyday life, especially in areas that affect my spiritual life.
Just as David knew Jehovah as the source of his strength, help us, Lord, to know that you are the only one who knows our every need. You are the self-existing God. You opened up your mouth and fashioned this very universe. You give your world the utmost attention even down to the smallest detail. You color every leaf on a tree, you provide shelter for every fowl in the air, you give water to every plant and every creature that you have created. Even the young lions and the animals of the forest and in the jungle have what they need to survive. Lord, the heavens declare your glory, and they are upheld by your power. Every celestial being, every planet, star, all that is heaven above is held in its rightful place. You, Oh, Lord, provide round the clock 24/7, 365 days of the year help for mankind.
Because you are a personal God, you provide protection and preserve me from all evil (vv.3-6). Throughout the Scriptures, You have provided and taken care of your people. Israel has known you as Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nisi, and Jehovah Shalom. They have known you as YAHWEH, AND BY THE NAME, and “I AM.” In my own personal times of prayer and worship, I find myself saying, “Father I stretch my hands to thee, no other help I know.” And sometimes I say, “A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify, a never-dying soul to save, that is fitted for the sky.”
Lord, you know, I call on you for help regularly. I repeatedly tell you how much I need you. You remind me that I never have to fear you leaving or forsaking me. When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you promised you would be right there. Do you feel alone today, how many of you feel abandoned or forsaken, kicked to the curb, so to speak? Whitney said it best, “When I need shelter when I need a friend, I go to the ROCK OF MY SALVATION.”
Turn to Psalm 121 when you need encouragement. Meditate and ponder those words in your heart. Let each verse minister to your soul and remind you that you have a friend that will stick closer than a brother. Never try to make it on your own and in your own strength. Remember, you help can only be found in the Lord. Rejoice in the God who never slumbers, sleeps, He never goes on vacation, gets tired and weary like all of us humans do.
Take comfort; rejoice in the earthly, eternal care of a God who has placed eternity in your hearts. His life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ have promised to meet us at our point of need. And whatever the next chapter, steps, or levels in your life, be sure to take the Lord with you. He is a great travel companion, and He pays his own way too.
HAVE A GREAT DAY AND; DON'T FORGET TO SAY YOUR PRAYERS!
January 18, 2018 Blog Topic: There is Wisdom Even In the Smallest Creatures Haddon Robinson Commentary/ Embellished by Lydia Ford
Proverbs 30: 24-28 This blog post is going to be done in four parts. I want to introduce to you the characters that are portrayed in Proverbs 30:24-28. A wise man by the name of Agur wrote Proverbs 30. He used the smallest of God’s creatures and calls them small but very wise. He tells: “Look at what the Scripture here states: Proverbs 30:24–28: "Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings' palaces."
For the purpose this four-part blog, I want to talk about the ant. Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; his Creator has taught him to use whatever strength he has to prepare for the future. Most of us have seen these delicate creatures scampering across our floors, dashing left and right into small crevices in a corner, climbing up trees, scurrying into cracks underneath our front or back porches, climbing up walls in our bedrooms, attics or in the basement of our homes.
Usually, when great intellectuals, like teachers, professors, or CEO’s of major corporations give examples to their clients, employees, or students to emulate, their model is something grand, prolific, highest in quality or rank, dignified or lofty. When they use various models, they model upward. We place before our audiences, students, staff, military men and women those who are trailblazers, those who have blazed a path to glory. With respect to the Bible, we hold up the heroes of the faith mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11. These men and women have not only touched the lives of people who existed in biblical days but have also influenced the course of history. However, Agur, on the other hand, models down. He chooses four creatures that are small, and though he doesn't say it, they're not particularly appealing to the eye. There aren't many people who have pet ants. Not many people take conies/badgers out for a walk on a leash. When you find a locust or a lizard in your home, you usually try to stomp it to death. Yet Agur chooses these simple creatures, small and unattractive, and as he holds them in high esteem. He explains why these small creatures are able to make us wise.
Agur says Learn from the ant. The ant has little strength, yet it stores up its food in the summer. The ant works today for tomorrow. Putting it another way, the ant knows what time it is in life.
There are a lot of one-dimensional people in the world. There are some folks who live in the past. They are the kind of people who take videos and pictures while on vacation, and when they get home, they watch their videos and look at their pictures. What they enjoyed are the pictures and not the journey. All the while they were on vacation, they complained about the heat, having to wait in long lines at the airport, they complain about a dish that wasn’t served hot enough for them to eat at a restaurant. They complained when their wife spent too much money in the jewelry store. They cussed the valet person out when their luggage banged into their rented car. They're the sorts of folks who drive through life looking in a rear view mirror.
Then there are other folks who live in the present. Their Bible verse of choice is: Now is the accepted time. Now is the day to enjoy yourself. Let us eat, drink and be merry. They live for today as though there was no tomorrow. There are other folks who live in the future. Their theme song is borrowed from Annie: "Tomorrow." Or they sing, with Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"—after I get married or after I graduate or after I'm out in ministry or after I retire, then I'll stumble across my bucket of gold, then I will walk into my destiny, then I will find out from God what His plan and purpose is for my life!
Ha Ha, but the ant knows what time it is. Out of the past, it has developed an instinct to prepare itself. The ant works in the summer to prepare for the winter that lies ahead. Earlier in chapter 30, Agur speaks of this Word as a word that cannot be changed; if you attack the Word, it, in turn, will attack you. Throughout the Book of Proverbs, wise teachers speaking to men and women in the formative period of life urging them to know the Word: study it, memorize it, and meditate upon it. They are to do so because that Word will guide them and guard them and protect them in the days to come. Like the ant, they are to take advantage of the summer because winter lies ahead.
You and I can be assured that winter is coming. Your winter may not look like my winter, but we all have a winter coming. Perhaps a cherished loved one, a mother or father dies suddenly, perhaps the husband you have been married to for forty years decides he wants to trade you in for a younger woman, Maybe the child that you have raised and have given everything to decides to gets strung out on prescription drugs, crack or cocaine. Maybe the ministry that you have watched over, prayed over, spent your life’s work in trying to please God and take care of His people, suddenly goes sour. Your people stop paying their tithes and giving offerings and you can no longer keep the doors of the church open. One thing is certain: for all of us, winter's coming.
In this great country that we call the United States of America, certainly, we have discovered the winter of our discontent! Never have we seen such divisiveness in our country. People have lost their civility. We experience on a daily basis the president of the United States belittling the Free Press, calling it “Fake News” over and over again. We hear him talk negatively about the Department of Justice, The FBI, CIA, We hear him belittle, immigrants, women, countries that we use to call our allies and the list goes on and on. In the 21st century, Men and women have shrugged a shoulder and turned a deafening ear towards anything that has to do with loving and serving God. The Millennials scoff at the idea of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. Many laugh at the idea that there can only be one way to get to God, so they accept every Jack legged preacher, false prophet’s ideas and words regarding how to live a life of ease, assuring them that there is no such thing as heaven, so you might as well live your best life now. We live in a barren land where broken hearts and broken dreams and broken lives and broken homes are all over the landscape. Like the land of Narnia, this culture is always winter yet never Christmas. Listen if you are smart, you will take into winter the provisions you stored up in the summer. If you've got the wisdom of the ant, you'll take advantage of the time God has afforded you on this earth.
Though the ant has little strength, it uses what strength it has to prepare for the future. I mentioned earlier several places where you usually find ants. But those are the only places you find them. Ants attend your outings, your picnics, but they don't relax. While you're sitting back drinking a long, tall glass of iced tea and lemonade, munching on a hamburger, chomping on a piece of ribs the ants are carrying off the sugar one grain at a time. If you don't watch them, they'll be back for a grain of rice, a piece of that Nacho chip, and some of the crumbs of that pound cake left on your paper plate. They're always at it, working, straining, and carrying the load. And watch this; If they cannot carry the load themselves, the other worker ants are nearby to help them carry that heavy load. Ants know instinctively, that they must use the summer to prepare for the winter that is lying ahead.
As good stewards of all that God has given us and for your own good an mine as well, we must be people of the Word. We must reflect upon the times in which we live in order to understand where God is working. That takes effort. It demands you love God with your strength and with your mind.
I told my congregation that we were going to study the Book of Proverbs during our fast at the beginning of the year. Proverbs is one of those books that you can read through quickly. But very often we do not slow down to study the Book of Proverbs. We don’t take the time to meditate on the meanings of the various concepts Solomon and Agur provide between these sacred pages. You can’t gulp down the words of the Bible like you would do your medication or a handful of vitamins. You take the vitamins because they build you up. They protect you against diseases in the environment. In the long run, they make you strong.
Studying the Bible is hard work. You will never understand this book, and you'll never be able to apply it to life if you're going to be a lazy couch potato. It demands everything you have in the summer of your life because as stated earlier, winter's coming. If you're not prepared, you'll find winter bleak and cold and spiritually dangerous. Agur says if you've got the brains of an ant, you'll know what time it is and you’ll stay “Lit,” as the young people say!
In his book, “Self-Centeredness: The Source of All Grief, Andrew Wommack talks about his failure to deal with his own self-contentedness. He mentions that time after time he would be given paper and pen and told to write out every sin he’d ever committed. He says he had never spoken a curse word, never smoked a cigarette, tasted liquor or drunk coffee in all his life. It wasn’t long before both sides of his paper were filled up.
Seeing all those sins listed on that crushed up piece of paper brought about conviction, but it did nothing to cure his selfishness. He says he moped around with his head hung low, thinking to himself that he was the scum of the earth, that he was a little worm waddling on the earth. He confessed “Woe is me, I’m undone” like the Prophet Isaiah did in Isaiah chapter 6. He began singing, “Such a worm as “I.’” I believe those are a part of the lyrics of the hymn, “At The Cross.”
Andrew talks about being completely worthless and filled with such low self-esteem. His feeling of inferiority made him feel so bad that he couldn’t even look a person in the face and talk to them. He says, “I had the lowest self-esteem of anyone he knew, yet I was operating in just as much pride as everyone else.” Since he did not exalt himself, He thought he was safe. Andrew states in his book that, he did not realize that self-debasement was pride too! Either way, he says, “It’s just self-centeredness.”
Most people who think of themselves as quiet, shy or on the timid side are really just being prideful! Low self-esteem causes self to dominate their thoughts. Even the prospect of testifying in front of others about what God has done I their lives causes fear to race through their minds: Most people with this mindset begin to say things like this in their mind: “What will the people think of me? Will I make a fool of myself? What if I stumble over my words.?
Low self-esteem is just another form of pride. It is the result of focusing on yourself as compared to others and then coming to the conclusion that you just do not measure up, and everybody else is better than you, everybody else around thinks you are a nobody, and you believe it yourself. But ultimately, it is still just about you!
I always tell my mentees that the first thing they must get delivered from is “People’s Opinion.” You cannot be concerned about what people think about you! It is more important to focus on what God thinks about you! The Lord tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. But on the other hand, He does not want us walking around thinking that we are the scum of the earth.
There is only one perfect person that walked the face of the earth, Jesus Christ! However, the truly humble Believers do not consider themselves any higher or lower than what the WORD says about them. God-centered people will often put themselves in harm’s way in the direction of the Lord. The Prophets of old and the early Apostles put themselves in danger at the direction of the Lord. If there was something He needed them to do, He would call upon to carry out a particular assignment. In contrast to that, God also expects us to take care of self and to bless self whenever He leads. Either way, should it hinder us from obeying the Father we love.
Many people still feel that to debase self is a form of humility and to exalt self is a form of pride. James 4:10 contradicts this religious notion by revealing who God wants to exalt: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” What happens when people humble themselves, and God starts to exalt them? The truly humble person will allow God to do it. But the proud person won’t. They are too concerned about what others might think.
Self-centered people have difficulty handling compliments and positive feedback. Just listen to folk who have just prayed, preached, sang an inspiring song under the anointing of God in a worship service. Listen to how they respond to a compliment: “It wasn’t me, it was the Lord. Don’t give me the credit, all the praise goes to the glory of God.” I’m just trying to do the will of the Lord, all of my help comes from Him, and I’m nothing without Him.” Without realizing it, they drew all the attention back to self! A humble person would answer encouraging words, saying. “Thank you, Praise God for Jesus.”
False humility also fishes for compliments: “Sister Sally, I really don’t have a good singing voice, but the Lord tells each of us to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and that’s what I try to do.” Please pray my strength in the Lord; I just want God to use me.” These false humble folk knock themselves out hoping someone will pay them some attention, throw accolades their way, so they can hook you into lifting them up. That is pride in action, my friend.
Religious ways of dealing with selfishness only make you religiously humble. Afterwards, you are still so full of yourself that when the Lord says, “Go lay hands on Mrs. Jones, you say dumb stuff like: “Who me, who am I that I should be used of God to lay hands on the sick?” You immediately focus the attention back to yourself. Who me,” God’s not able to trust me with this kind of power. That is what we call prideful stinking thinking. We have to constantly be on the lookout for this type of pride. God hates pride and he hates falsehoods and hypocrites. Knowing the Word of God, knowing the right posture toward anything He asks you to do, having a normal estimation of yourself, can and will position you to say and do the right things when asked. Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
HAVE A GREAT DAY AND: DON'T FORGET TO SAY YOUR PRAYERS
My Morning Prayer: “I Just Wanna Hang Out With You”
Good morning Lord, I woke up with you once again in my mind. Jesus, Father, Abba, Daddy, Papa, I just wanna tell you how much I love You, how much I value You! You are my Lord and Savior, my Redeemer, my Strong Tower, the Banner that watches over me. You are my Bridge over Troubled Waters, my Healer, and Sustainer. You are Bread when I am hungry and Cool Water when I am Thirsty.
Lord, the thing that I desire the most is to be able to hear Your voice. I just wanna be close to You.I just wanna feel your presence and know that you are always near me, always thinking about me. You are my friend, my confidant. I just wanna hang out with You. Can I use that phrase, that terminology? It sounds a little peculiar, a little commonplace to say or think that I could hang out with the God of the universe! But the hymn writer wrote, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”
So God, I just wanna be close to You, I just wanna hang out with You, like I would hang out with my BFF AKA, BOO, AKA DR. ANGELA D. MASSEY. I just wanna hang out with your like Christopher Robin hanging with his crew, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, and Owl too. I just wanna hang out with you like a parrot sitting on the shoulder of Dr. Hook, like a bunch of fleas hanging onto the fur coat of a dog, like a little child hanging on for dear life, to the coat of their mama or daddy because they are afraid to start their first day of kindergarten. I just wanna hang onto to like a flu virus hangs onto a persistent cough and doesn't want to let its sick victim get well.
I just wanna hang out with You and hang onto You like the last oak leaf stuck, clinging to the branches on a windy fall day. This one last leaf refuses to acknowledge the coming of a new season, refuses to give up its earthly identity before it goes back to the dust from whence it came. Lord, Papa, I just wanna hang out with you like that; until I reach the point of my transition; until there is no more getting up in the morning brushing my teeth, washing my face and combing my hair. I wanna hang out with you until all my regular routines of life are no more. I wanna hang out with You until You withdraw all the breath from this old vintage body. I use those words because I intend to be here until I reach a ripe old age.
I just wanna hang out with You until this mortal body shall put on immortality. And then I want to get to know You and hang out with you, to see You in all of your splendor, to dwell with You in the New Heaven and New Earth that you promised You would create. In that day I will see You and I will know You and all of my questions will be answered. In that great day, hanging out with You will be my new normal. There will be no more distractions, no phones ringing, no people coming over for dinner, no more heartache, death and dying. There will be no more envy, jealousy or strife. Praise God there will be no more sickness dwelling in this body, no arthritis, aches, and pains. Hanging our with You, Lord will be my highest honor and pleasure. But until that day, Lord, help me to continue to seek out time to just hang out with You. I love you, Lord, Amen
January 11, 2018 Today’s Blog Topic: “THE BENEFITS OF BEING RIGHTEOUS” Alphabet letters, letters, vowels, and consonants formed into words, sentences, paragraphs, and books spoken signed, whispered, written and printed,, From friendly advice to impassioned speeches and from dusty volumes to daily tabloids, messages are sent and received, with each sender trying to impart knowledge….and wisdom.
Woven, ingrained into human fabric is the desire to learn and understand. Our mind sets us apart from animals, and we analyze, conceptualize, theorize, discuss, and debate everything from science to the supernatural. We build schools, institutes, and universities, where learned professors can teach us about the world and about life. Knowledge is good, but there is a a vast difference between “knowledge” (having the facts) and “wisdom” (applying those facts to life). We may amass knowledge, but without wisdom our knowledge is useless. We must learn how to live out what we know.
The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, left us a legacy or written wisdom in three volumes- Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Songs of Songs. In these three books, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he gives practical insights and guidelines for life. In our Bible Study session this past Tuesday, I ask the people to give me the definition of wisdom. And then I asked them to give me examples of individuals from the Old and New Testament who in their opinion were wise or used wisdom. They were able to give many names such as: Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, Esther, Jesus, Paul, Timothy, just to name a few. Then I gave them the definition according to Webster’s the definition of wisdom and prudence or prudent. Prudent is one of those words that show up many times in the Book of Proverbs. Here is the meaning of wisdom and prudent or prudence below.
PRUDENCE: foresight, leading a person to avoid error or danger, practical discretion. PRUDENT: guided by prudence. WISDOM: the quality of being wise, intelligence drawing on experience and governed by prudence. a storehouse of knowledge. WISE: having the ability to make a right decision or judgment, possessing great knowledge and intelligence.
This morning I read Proverbs 11 through 14. I was astonished by the number of times I saw (righteous or righteousness) in those four chapters. I began to place a check mark every time the word righteous or righteousness showed up. Then I went back and use the alphabet to underscore the benefits, the positive outcomes for living righteous. Before I go, I perhaps I need to define righteous.
RIGHTEOUS: conforming to a moral law, being outraged with injustice. That sounds good, but I needed to find or search out the biblical definition of righteous or righteousness: here is what I found:
We know that God is righteous but what does this word mean? It certainly means that there is a right-ness in God. All that He is and all that he does is right and unlike humans, He is righteous in all He says as that is one of His attributes. The Old Testament says that God is righteous. In Psalm 7:11a we read “God is a righteous judge.” The word righteous in the Hebrew is “tsaddiy” which means just, lawful, and correct. The word righteous in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “dikaios” which means observing divine laws or upright, faultless, innocent, and guiltless.
These are all descriptive of God Himself and no human has any of these attributes inherent in themselves even though we can do things that are upright and observe the divine laws like the Ten Commandments while not being able to obey them all, but how can fallen creatures like us be righteous?
Now, I did not mean to go too deep into explaining how we become righteous, that is for another time. I merely wanted to tout the number of references in proverbs 11-14 that mention the positive attributes and outcomes for being righteous and living a righteous lifestyle. I have heard Joseph Prince say on one of his many broadcasts that righteousness is merely: RIGHT THINKING, RIGHT BELIEVING AND RIGHT LIVING. THAT IS AS SIMPLE AS IT GETS.
So now let me do as I intended and give you at least the first 12 positive benefits of being righteous as underscored in Proverbs 11-14.
Proverbs 11:3 “the integrity of the upright (righteous) guides them.”
Proverbs 11:5 “the righteousness of the blameless make their paths straight.”
Proverbs 11:6 “the righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by their evil desires.”
Proverbs 11:8 “the righteous person is rescued from trouble.”
Proverbs 11: 9 “the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.”
Proverbs 11:10 “when the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.”
Proverbs 11:11 “through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted.”
Proverbs 11:19 “truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death.”
Proverbs 11: 21” the wicked will not go unpunished, but the righteous will go free.”
Proverbs 11:23 “the desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked ends in wrath.”
Proverbs 11:28 “the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
Proverbs 11: 30 “the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise laves lives.”
Proverbs 11:31 “if the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!”
I know that at times it seems that it is the wicked that prospers and has the upper hand, but we only need to read psalm 37 to remind us that we do not have to fret what the enemy does to us. There is a day of reckoning for the wicked in this land. God will take care of them, so you and I don’ have too.
This was 13 references to the benefits and positive outcomes for being and living a righteous life, for esteeming to uphold justice and live at peace on earth with our neighbors. I am grateful for this time of reflection upon the Proverbs. It is helping me to keep my hopes alive, to know that my living a holy, upright lifestyle is not in vain. Enjoy your day and: DON’T FORGET TO SAY YOUR PRAYERS.
JANUARY 12, 2018 BLOG TOPIC: DON’T FAIL TO REMEMBER JOSHUA 3:15-16; 4:3, 6, 7
You may already know ~ God is good! God is merciful! God is love! Yes, God is the essence of goodness, mercy, and love. But sometimes, it can be so easy to forget what God has done for us!
Some mornings when I look at my Facebook status a memories pages show up automatically. Facebook post things I’ve posted on that day in previous years. These memories, such as photos, blogs, church events like anniversaries, birthday celebrations and births of children born to various family members, put a smile on my face. However, not all memories are quite so pleasant. There are memories that show pictures of my loved ones who have transitioned and are no longer with me.
are pictures of Danielle and Jayla when she was an infant. The scarf tied around her head reminds me of the effects that chemo had on her body; she lost most of her hair during that period of her illness. There are pictures and post of other friends and family members who are not a part of my life anymore for one reason or another. But in most cases, these remembrances remind me of God’s faithfulness. It reminds me of His endearing love and compassion towards me. These memories remind to pray and express my gratitude for all that He has done, is doing and will do in my life.
Most of us are prone to forget the things God has done for us, especially when things are going well. But when things are going contrary to the way we would like them to go, it behooves us to remember God’s dealings with us in the past. We need to go back to the Bible to see you God worked in the lives of His people. When Joshua led God’s people towards their new home, they had to cross the Jordan River. At that time the river was at flood stage.
But The Lord gave Joshua an illogical instruction. He followed God’s instruction and the people went over on dry land. (Joshua 3:15-16). That’s right God performed a miracle in the presence of all the people. He parted the waters, and His people were able to cross over (Joshua 4:3, 6-7).
When they got on the other side, Joshua commanded a leader from each of the tribes of Israel to take up twelve stones from the middle of the riverbed and then stack them on the other side. He told the elders these words: When others ask what these stones mean, tell them the story of what God did that day, how He dried up the waters of the Jordan, and the people crossed over on dry ground. Joshua wanted that generation of people to rehearse it in the ears of the younger generation so that they would always have a remembrance of that day.
Physical tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness in the past are helpful because they remind us we have a history with God. I have been journaling since 1994. I have dozens of journals that chronicle my life’s journey. I talked with God about everything that was going on in my life. I wrote about my successes and my failures, I talked to Him about my husband, children, and family members. I wrote prayers that celebrated important milestones in my life and I thanked him for His assistance. I was not selfish with my prayers, I prayed for others as well, leaders, pastors, strangers, churches, our country and other things that God laid on my heart. I encourage you to do likewise in some manner or form. Journal is therapy for the soul.
Maybe you really want something and don’t have it yet. Maybe you are going through challenges, adversity, tough times. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed, or you might be feeling discouraged about something. Whatever you may be going through, if you are not careful, you may find yourself quickly forgetting what God has done for us. You may be tempted to focus on the negatives, or you may have temporarily forgotten who your source actually is – i.e., God.
We have to be intentional about remembering What God has done for us. This is why David said in the Bible ~ “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” (Psalm 103:2, NLT) May we never take God’s goodness; God’s unfailing love; God’s faithfulness; and God’s mercy for granted. Even when we don’t understand, May we always remember to remember God’s wonderful deeds in our lives. So help us, God, Amen.
I found this source, this page called: (www.JollyNotes.com). On that page was a list of suggestions for how you and I can remember what God has done for us. I thought I would share them with you.
3 Ways to Remember What God Has Done
#1 Think about What God has done
1 Samuel 12:24, ESV Fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. Bible Verses about Counting Your Blessings Psalm 77:11, NIV I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
#2 Thank God for What He has done When we take the time to thank God for what he has done, the event becomes even more real to us and becomes more stuck in our brains :). When we thank God for what he has done, we release even more blessings for ourselves and for others too. Related: Bible Verses about Thanking God for what He has done
Psalm 34:1-3, GNT I will always thank the Lord; I will never stop praising him. I will praise him for what he has done; may all who are oppressed listen and be glad! Proclaim with me the Lord’s greatness; let us praise his name together! Bible Verses about Being Thankful
#3 Write down what God has done
When we intentionally think about what God has done (See #1 above), many experiences and events will come to mind. It is very helpful to write significant events down as they happen and as we remember, so we can recall them later. For instance, did God answer your prayer about something? Did God minister to you in a very clear way concerning something? Did you witness a miracle in your life or in a loved one’s life? Write it down so you don’t forget.
I hope you have found this Blog, interesting and entertaining. It is a bit long, but I hope you will enjoy it and share with others.
signing off now: DON'T FORGET TO SAY YOUR PRAYERS.
January 11, 2018 Today's Blog Topic: "THE BENEFITS OF BEING RIGHTEOUS" Alphabet letters, letters, vowels, and consonants formed into words, sentences, paragraphs, and books spoken signed, whispered, written and printed, From friendly advice to impassioned speeches and from dusty volumes to daily tabloids, messages are sent and received, with each sender trying to impart knowledge….and wisdom.
Woven, ingrained into human fabric is the desire to learn and understand. Our mindsets us apart from animals, and we analyze, conceptualize, theorize, discuss, and debate everything from science to the supernatural. We build schools, institutes, and universities, where learned professors can teach us about the world and about life.
Knowledge is good, but there is a vast difference between "knowledge" (having the facts) and "wisdom" (applying those facts to life). We may amass knowledge, but without wisdom our knowledge is useless. We must learn how to live out what we know. The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, left us a legacy or written wisdom in three volumes- Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Songs of Songs. In these three books, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he gives practical insights and guidelines for life. In our Bible Study session this past Tuesday, I ask the people to give me the definition of wisdom. And then I asked them to give me examples of individuals from the Old and New Testament who in their opinion was wise or used wisdom. They were able to give many names such as Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, Esther, Jesus, Paul, Timothy, just to name a few. Then I gave them the definition according to Webster's the definition of wisdom and prudence or prudent. Prudent is one of those words that show up many times in the Book of Proverbs. Here is the meaning of wisdom and prudent or prudence below.
PRUDENCE: foresight, leading a person to avoid error or danger, practical discretion.
PRUDENT: guided by prudence.
WISDOM: the quality of being wise, intelligence drawing on experience and governed by prudence. a storehouse of knowledge.
WISE: having the ability to make a right decision or judgment, possessing great knowledge and intelligence.
This morning I read Proverbs 11 through 14. I was astonished by the number of times I saw (righteous or righteousness) in those four chapters. I began to place a check mark every time the word righteous or righteousness showed up. Then I went back and use the alphabet to underscore the benefits, the positive outcomes for living righteously. Before I go, I perhaps I need to define righteous.
RIGHTEOUS: conforming to a moral law, being outraged with injustice.
That sounds good, but I needed to find or search out the biblical definition of righteous or righteousness: here is what I found:
We know that God is righteous but what does this word mean? It certainly means that there is a right-ness in God. All that He is and all that he does is right and unlike humans, He is righteous in all He says as that is one of His attributes. The Old Testament says that God is righteous. In Psalm 7:11a we read "God is a righteous judge." The word righteous in the Hebrew is "tsaddiy" which means just, lawful, and correct. The word righteous in the New Testament comes from the Greek word "dikaios" which means observing divine laws or upright, faultless, innocent, and guiltless.
These are all descriptive of God Himself and no human has any of these attributes inherent in themselves even though we can do things that are upright and observe the divine laws like the Ten Commandments while not being able to obey them all, but how can fallen creatures like us be righteous?
Now, I did not mean to go too deep into explaining how we become righteous, that is for another time. I merely wanted to tout the number of references in Proverbs 11-14 that mention the positive attributes and outcomes of being righteous and living a righteous lifestyle. I have heard Joseph Prince say on one of his many broadcasts that righteousness is mere: RIGHT THINKING, RIGHT BELIEVING AND RIGHT LIVING. THAT IS AS SIMPLE AS IT GETS.
So now let me do as I intended and give you at least the first 12 positive benefits of being righteous as underscored in Proverbs 11-14. Proverbs 11:3 "the integrity of the upright (righteous) guides them." Proverbs 11:5 "the righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight." Proverbs 11:6 "the righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by their evil desires." Proverbs 11:8 "the righteous person is rescued from trouble." Proverbs 11: 9 "the godless destroy their neighbors but through knowledge the righteous escape."
Proverbs 11:10 "when the righteous prosper, the city rejoices." Proverbs 11:11 "through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted." Proverbs 11:19 "truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death." Proverbs 11: 21" the wicked will not go unpunished, but the righteous will go free." Proverbs 11:23 "the desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked ends in wrath." Proverbs 11:28 "the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. Proverbs 11: 30 "the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives." Proverbs 11:31 "if the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!"
I know that at times it seems that it is the wicked that prospers and has the upper hand, but we only need to read Psalm 37 to remind us that we do not have to fret what the enemy does to us. There is a day of reckoning for the wicked in this land. God will take care of them, so you and I don't have too.
This was 13 references to the benefits and positive outcomes of being and living a righteous life, for esteeming to uphold justice and live at peace on earth with our neighbors. I am grateful for this time of reflection upon the Proverbs. It is helping me to keep my hopes alive, to know that my living a holy, upright lifestyle is not in vain.
Enjoy your day and: DON'T FORGET TO SAY YOUR PRAYERS.
BE WARE OF THE SPIRIT OF ARROGANCE AND PRIDE During this first month of a brand new year, I have asked my congregation to study and read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The last couple of readings in Proverbs dealt with pride. It is one of the characteristics that God said He hated. In Proverbs 6: 16 He actually tells us that there are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him. I don’t know about you but the word detestable is a strong word for hate. Then it goes on to list those seven things: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
The nature or spirit of pride is something that is mentioned all through the Bible. Pride is what got Satan kicked out of heaven. Pride is what got into Saul and cause God to snatch the kingship of Israel away from him. Pride is what caused the Pharisees to harass Jesus who ultimately led the Romans to arrest, convict and sentence him to death. All of us have a bit of pride in us. Some of it is cloaked in false humility, timidity, shyness, but ultimately at the root of it all is pride. We tend to think more highly of ourselves even though we are warned in scripture not have an overly exaggerated opinion of ourselves. We are told in the Word to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. God is the one who will exalt establish and settle us.
I was came across a devotional that dealt with the issue of pride. There was an individual, I don’t know if it was a male of a female that attended a Sunday worship service. This individual found themselves distracted and somewhat annoyed by a person who was sitting next to them. He sang loudly off key and was out of sync during the unison readings. This individual said that when he bowed his head during a time of prayer, it struck him that the Lord must surely be more pleased with that individual who sang off key, whose heart was in the right place, than He was with the judgmental feelings He saw in mine.
I am certain, if we would admit it, that we are selves have experienced a similar occasion or action. We are good at making judgment calls against our neighbors, even in the church for example” Why is Deacon Johnson praying so long, does he think he is the only one that can pray, why does it sound like he is singing his prayer instead of speaking his prayer? I can pray better than that, it don’t take all day to get a prayer through! I don’t think we realize that our God is a mind reader! HE KNOWS WHAT YOU AND I ARE THINKING BEFORE WE SAY IT. WE ARE SNARED BY OUR OWN THOUGHTS, SPOKEN OR UNSPOKEN!
Listen, it doesn’t take much for that spirit of pride or even a proud look to cause us to slip into an area of judgment and sin. Remember, God says he hates pride! Today I read in Proverbs 8:13 where it says that wisdom personified declares, “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Throughout this chapter, wisdom tells us to gain a prudent or understanding heart (5) and to find life and obtain favor from the Lord (v.35). The alternative is to develop a sense of entitlement and superiority over people who you think are less important than you. The tragedy of this mistake is that we die inside in the process (v.36) because PRIDE is a sword that wounds the person who uses it along with those whom it is used. Arrogance robs us of all God longs to gives us, but “humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life” (v22:4)
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS: 10 REFLECTIONS FROM OUR DAILY BREAD. ARROGANCE AND PRIDE, DAVID McCASLAND Embellishment by Pastor Lydia P. Ford