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Moment in the Word

Moment In The Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: "....I am GOD, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go." Isaiah 48:17 (The Message Bible)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: What is your idea of the good life? Each person has his own idea about what it means to live the good life. In the 1880’s James Whitcomb Riley wrote a series of poems about the ideal life.  He described it as a  life that is humble,  safe, care-free and filled with hope. Riley’s poems depicted a life where dreams were created, promoted and supported; where the home is happy, problems are few and comforts are freely available even without riches. The life depicted in these poems became known as the “Life of Riley.”  Living the “Life of Riley” became a popular phrase for living the good life.  Living the life of Riley for some means living a life where they are not required to do much, get more and are protected from loss by various means that may border on the illegal if necessary.  Maintaining such a good life becomes their goal and consumes all of their energy, time and focus. It determines their friends, activities, politics and sometimes, even their religion.

In this text the prophet Isaiah reminds Israel that God has been its teacher, leader, provider and protector; if they follow him He will show them how to live well. Despite the fact that God brought Israel so far on its journey the nation often strayed away from Him. They experienced many periods of trouble, war, and loss when they moved away from Him. In this text God, speaking through Isaiah, reminds them that He has been their life teacher throughout all times and that if they follow what He instructs they will live well.

The King James Version uses the phrase, “thy God which teacheth thee to profit.” Many have taken that phrase and others like it to mean that God places an emphasis on making money, earning a profit and gaining physical prosperity.  A closer look however, shows that the phrase actually means to “Live well” or to live profitably for His purpose.

God promised Israel not only to teach them the principles of living well, but that He would “lead thee by the way thou shouldest go.”  The Message paraphrase of this same text says, "....I am GOD, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.”  The thought is clear: If God’s people listen to Him and follow his direction He will, as Matthew Henry declares, “Open their eyes and direct their steps.  By his grace, He will lead us in the way of duty and by his providence he will lead us in the way of deliverance.

To live well before God is to be obedient to Him. In verse 19, He notes that if the people had been obedient, their lives would have been peaceful, happy, and productive like peaceful river, with joys rebounding frequently like the waves on a sea.

To live well before God is to love Him, praise Him and acknowledge Him. That’s why the word says in Proverbs 3:6, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths.”  The path to living large is obtaining money, but the path to truly living well is to live a life rooted in the word of God.  As believers, our goal in life is to not just to live well, but to live well before God. We want to do His will and to live our life’s purpose. Then and only then can we say we are “living well.”

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: “Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.'' 1 Samuel 17:45-46a (NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: David was certainly an optimist! Regardless of his circumstances, David could always see God’s activity! A pessimist focuses on the problems, concentrating on the reasons why something cannot be done. The optimist sees those same problems, but he sees them from the perspective of God’s presence.

David was just a young boy when he faced Goliath, an intimidating veteran warrior who frightened even the bravest Israelite soldier. As he prepared for battle, David saw that Goliath was a giant. He heard his boastful taunts. He could not fail to notice his enemy’s weapons: a sword, a shield, and a javelin. David did not barge into the battle unprepared for a fight. He armed himself with five smooth stones. David was prepared for God to grant him victory with the first stone he hurled at the giant or the fifth. David was ready to accept God’s victory, whether it came easily or with much effort.

Optimists do not ignore the difficulties, they are keenly aware of them. But the knowledge of God’s presence prevents them from becoming discouraged or giving up. It is impossible to stand in the presence of God and be a pessimist!

ACTION POINT: The account of David and Goliath vividly pictures the source of the Christian’s faith—not our own size, strength, or resources, but the power of almighty God. If we focus on our opposition and problems, they will seem gigantic. But as we focus on God, we will see our situation in the proper perspective and be assured that all things are possible with God (Phil. 4:13).  In the words of Pastor Raymond Turner, “Perhaps, it’s time to stop telling God how big your problem is and start telling your problem how big your God is”.


Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: Everyone has to deal with temptations at one time or another, so you don't need to feel embarrassed if you're facing a particular temptation right now. But at the same time, you don't have to succumb to temptation, because it is something you can overcome! All temptations can be beaten! You just have to make up your mind that you're going to be the conqueror and not the conquered! 
You may not have thought of it before, but the devil tries to lure you into sin by using your mind and emotions. He injects thoughts into your mind and emotions that act as stimulants to get you all stirred up in a certain area of your life. At that moment, you are consciously aware that you can let the temptation pass you by - or you can allow those thoughts to fester in your mind and take root in your emotions until they become a major stronghold in your mind to battle and conquer. By refusing to accept the thoughts in the first place, you can avoid the whole struggle!

It's similar to a sexual temptation. You can choose to turn and look the other way, or you can dwell on that temptation until it fills your mind and imagination. If you choose to meditate on the thought that the devil is trying to put into your head, it won't be too long until the devil is waging a full-scale battle in your mind! If you don't put on the brakes and stop those thoughts, the devil will conquer you. That's why it's so important that you learn how to control your thinking. If you can keep your mind under the control of the Holy Spirit, you will make it almost impossible for the devil to defeat you in any realm of your life. 
The devil is a master when it comes to mind manipulation. He knows that if he can get you to spend a little time meditating on something wrong, he can eventually entice you to do it! If the devil was persuasive enough to deceive brilliant, mighty, powerful angels, how much more easily can he deceive people who live in a far-from-perfect environment and wrestle daily with their own imperfections! The emotional makeup of human beings makes them even more susceptible to the devil's masterful skills of lying, deception, and manipulation. 
Satan watches for the right timing. He comes along at an opportune moment. He waits until you're tired, weary, or exasperated. Perhaps you woke up in a bad mood; someone gave you a "look" you didn't like; or you just started off your day on the wrong foot. Then suddenly he strikes you with a thought - something that takes you totally by surprise when your guard is down! 
When negative thoughts begin to deluge your mind, you need to know that it is Satan setting a trap in front of you. He is trying to ensnare you so he can cripple and devastate both you and the people you love. He's trying to get you to bite the bait so he can set the hook! But you don't have to fall into this trap anymore! If you really want out of this type of emotional quandary, there is a way out. 
First Corinthians 10:13 promises, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (KJV).

ACTION POINT: Millions of Christians are held captive because they will not take the leap through that escape hatch. As a result, they have no joy, no peace, and no victory in their lives. They may be Christians, but they're miserable because they haven't made the choice to jump through the escape hatch God has provided for them and leave all those negative temptations and garbage behind. 
If you'll say yes to the Lord, He will show you how to walk out of this mess! You can avoid, evade, dodge, elude, shake off, get out of, and break away from every temptation! You are the only one who can choose to walk out of those killer mental attacks or negative situations. The moment you make that decision, your journey to freedom has begun! 
So today the Lord is asking you: "Are you going to stay the way you are right now, or are you willing to take the proper steps to escape from this emotional temptation and demonic trap?" What is your answer? What are you going to do? God is waiting for you to decide if you will receive the freedom He is offering you or remain a hostage for the rest of your life. The choice is yours to make.


Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: “A cheerful heart is a good medicine; But a broken spirit “drieth” up the bones." Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: There are often times when we find ourselves laughing aloud to keep from crying. Those are the times when everything that can possibly happen, happens- in succession! When those times come we have two choices: we can either laugh or cry. Have you had them? The radiator on your car runs hot, the fan belt breaks, a head gasket is blown and to top it off, there is a flat tire! That's a situation where you laugh to keep from crying. There was also the time when the power was shut off, the freezer defrosted, and the food was spoiled. To top it all off the hot water tank busted, your house flooded and your homeowner's insurance expired the day before. You may as well laugh! Nothing else can happen. There are some situations in which it is easier to laugh than it is to cry!

In our text today, King Solomon focuses upon the advantages of a cheerful heart on the human spirit. This proverb highlights the truth of those who possess a cheerful heart lighten the impact of their burdens, troubles, difficulties, sicknesses or other maladies. Cheerfulness is a result of being able to see the bright side and the light side of a situation. The bright side sees that there is hope. The light side sees the humor of the circumstance.

Solomon noted that the person who is unable to demonstrate a cheerful spirit is usually pessimistic, bitter, sad and defeated. Such a spirit of pessimism "drieth" up the bones. The Hebrew word "gerem" translated "bones" in this context means: "strong ..self." The person who cannot see the bright side dries up the essence of his strength and sense of self-worth. An ability to see the bright side and light side of any situation is "good medicine."

Job obviously saw the bright side of his deprived situation when, despite his condition, he said, "Yea thou he slay me, yet will I serve him." He espoused a great hope when he considered his losses and said, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

Paul showed us how to look at the bright side of difficulty by saying in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." In essence, God's going to work out difficult situations to a believer's advantage.

Jesus saw the humor of his situation often. One day he considered how he left the mansions of glory and came to earth to walk around among mankind without any resources. While he was helping many put their lives together, he had to try to scurry daily to find lodging. One day in obvious frustration, Jesus laughed at the situation and said, "Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of man hath no place to lay his head."

Solomon learned this truth early and reminded believers that a positive outlook and a sense of humor is ..."good medicine."

ACTION POINT: Deeply rooted in a believer's laughter is faith and assurance. When a believer laughs at a situation or at himself it is a sign that he or she has just remembered who they are; children of the most high God. No matter how difficult their situation gets, a believer knows that because God is still in control, one day they'll look back and get a good laugh about the thing that's worrying them so much today! Let us rejoice in the lyrics of the following song of Faith Hope:

There's a bright side somewhere, there's a bright side somewhere. Don't you rest until you find it. There's a bright side somewhere.

When your way seems dark and dreer, don't have to worry cause God is near. If in your heart there is no song, just keep the faith and keep holding on. Turn your plate down, fast and pray. Jesus will always make a way. There's a bright side somewhere.

Moment In The Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.”  1 Corinthians 4:1 (KJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: When you are serving faithfully and trying to obediently do what God has asked you to do, the devil hates it! He'll do everything he can to dissuade you to stop. Often he attacks your mind with allegations, such as, "Why are you doing this? No one appreciates you anyway! Here you are, working, striving, sweating, and slugging it out while other people are having a good time. If no one else cares, why should you care? Come on - you've done enough!"

If you're not really committed to staying in place and doing what God asked you to do, those allegations from the devil may pull you off the bench where God called you to serve. This makes me think again of First Corinthians 4:1, where Paul says, "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." 

The word "ministers" in this verse referred to the slaves or servants who were placed into the bottom galleys of huge ships. A huge oar was placed in the hands of these slaves, and they began to row and row and row - literally becoming the engines that moved those ships through the sea. If you had been allowed to peek into the bottom galley of those huge ships of New Testament times, you'd have seen that these prisoners were all chained to a post near their respective benches. There was a good reason for this heavy chain.

Because their work was so difficult and their destiny was sealed in the bottom of that ship, these men's minds would wander to more beautiful, restful places where palm trees overlooked sandy seashores or tall pines swayed in refreshing mountain breezes. Had the "under-rowers" not been chained to their posts, they may have attempted to escape from their bench to find a more restful lifestyle somewhere else. Therefore, chains kept the men where they belonged - right in the bottom of the boat, tied to their post with oar in hand, compelled to effectively do their job.

Likewise, you must know that as you seek to do God's will for your life, you'll have to take on all kinds of assaults and challenges that inevitably accompany obedience. And let me warn you, there will be times when your flesh tries to find a way to jump ship and get out from underneath the pressure of obeying God! Your flesh would love to be "led" somewhere else where faith isn't required and the crucifixion of flesh doesn't seem so necessary.

You see, it's easy to start obeying God. Initiating a project is fun and exciting, and it's always the easiest part. The difficult part is sticking with that project and seeing it through all the way to the end. The real test comes when the excitement is gone and the reality of hard work and commitment begins to dawn on you. That's always the golden moment when the flesh is tempted to forget you ever heard from God and to start looking for a way out!

If you are not really committed to go all the way in fulfilling your God-assigned task, you probably won't do it. Therefore, you must be absolutely committed to do what God has called you to do, "chaining yourself " to your decision to obey so you cannot flee in hard times. If God has called you, don't jump ship! He needs you in the bottom of the boat in order to keep the Body of Christ moving forward toward maturity. You are very important!

ACTION POINT: When you said yes to the will of God, you surrendered to Him, agreeing to pick up the "oar" He has placed before you. For you, that oar may be a ministry God has given you or a position serving in the local church or a certain business. Perhaps God has instructed you to give money regularly to a ministry. Whatever responsibility God has set before you, it's time for you to grab hold of that oar! Like the under-rowers who rowed in order to move those big ships, you must begin a lifelong occupation of "rowing" to advance the cause God has put on your heart. From now on, your lifelong slogan needs to be "Row, row, row your boat!"

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