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Moment in the Word

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:

"A man's pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor." Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

In a certain pond, there were two ducks and a frog who were neighbors and the best of friends. They played together all day long during the summer time. But as the cold drew near and the water dried up, the ducks realized they would have to move. This would be easy for them, but what about their friend the frog? Finally it was decided that they would put a stick in the bill of each duck, and then the frog would hang onto the stick with his mouth and they would fly him to another pond. And so they did. Just then, a farmer looked up and said to his wife, "What a great idea! I wonder who thought of that?" Proudly, the frog said, "I did!" Thus illustrating: "Pride goes before a fall!"

One of the greatest problems that all of us have is our sense of pride. Pride is the great enemy of the Christian. Pride is an overly high opinion of yourself. It motivates you to do things that you know are not Christ like, and it hinders you from doing what brings glory to God. Pride influenced Adam and Eve to try to become like God (Gen. 3:5). Pride motivated Cain to murder his brother (Gen. 4:5). Pride provoked Joseph's brothers to sell him into slavery (Gen. 37:8). Pride caused King Saul to resent David so deeply that he tried to murder him (1 Sam. 18:8). Pride led King Hezekiah to foolishly reveal his nation's wealth to his enemies (Isa. 39:2). Pride was at the root of the Pharisees' anger toward Jesus. Pride was the reason the disciples argued over rank in the kingdom (Luke 9:46).

Pride is your relentless enemy. If you succumb to its influence, there will be consequences. You may know that you have offended someone, but pride holds you back from asking forgiveness. You may realize you need to reconcile a broken relationship, but pride will lead you to deny that need. The Spirit may convict you that you are living a sinful lifestyle, but pride will discourage your admitting it. Pride will convince you that you deserve better treatment. Pride will impede your serving others. Instead, pride will have you striving for places of prominence. Pride will have you listen to flatterers and ignore honest counselors. Pride will lead you to isolate yourself so that you are not accountable to others. "Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it"

Humility, on the other hand, is pleasing to God and places your life in a position where God will honor you. If pride has crept into some areas of your life, ask God to give you victory over it before it robs you of God's will for you.

Moment In The Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4 (KJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

This text focuses on two words of the 23rd Psalm, "though" and "through." David wrote freely about his faith in God despite difficult times. It is a psalm of confidence and determination. It is positive, forward looking and without a doubt, filled with faith. The essence of the psalms is derived from two words "though" and "through", which if it were not for the "r" would be the same word. It is the "r" that makes the difference.

David's psalm was realistic. It showed that he was keenly aware that there are dangers, misfortunes and misunderstandings lurking around every corner. "Though" seems to represent unknown difficulties, without an "if" but with a certainty that unknowns will come.

What are "though" experiences? In this Psalm David praises God for prepared tables, quiet waters, overflowing cups, green pastures, and anointed heads. Yet our "though" experience, underscores the fact that there are periods in life with when the waters are not quiet. In fact, there are times when the waters are turbulent and dangerous. When quiet waters become rapids, that's a "though" experience.

There are times when our cups do not overflow. Overflowing cups implies prosperity. It indicates those times when you have more food than you need, more clothes than you can wear, a soft bed to sleep in, and a few nickels in your pocket. Yet life does not always present us with overflow situations. Sometimes there are times when our cup is not overflowing. In fact, there are times when we may find our cup has only a few drops in them. When those times come, they are "though" situations!

There are times when we do not have green pastures. For sheep and cattle a green pasture means an abundance of grazing opportunities. There are times when we seem to always be in the right place at the right time, to take advantage of opportunities. That's when pastures are green. When everything seems to work the way it should that's when pastures are green! As great as they are, there are also times in life when the pastures are not green. There are times when opportunities seem to pass you by. These are the times when you always seem to be in the right place but always at the wrong time. Instead of green pastures, there are no pastures at all. These are "though" situations.

There are times when we can feel the strength of talents and gifts as we perform a great work. The anointed head is the one that has been touched by the power of God. When we operate under the anointing, we feel God working through us. When we sing under the anointing, God sings! When we play an instrument under the anointing, God plays! When we work in a ministry under the anointing, God works beside us! Yet there are times when have allowed ourselves to slip from under the anointing power of God. That's when we sing, but it is not God singing through us. That's when we minister but do it without God. It is a barren time when the artist has no inspiration, the writer stares at a blank page, and musician loses his creative touch. These are the times that can be characterized as "though" situations.

There are times when we are victorious despite the efforts of our enemies to defeat us. For a time, we appear to be charmed, unbeatable, and unmovable. Each person has a host of detractors and a few enemies, none of whom relish the idea of his success or prosperity. Yet, God often provides a "table" of blessings for believers in the presence of their enemies, frustrating and confusing them. There are many believers who have received promotions despite the efforts of co-workers to stop it from happening.

Others have received appointments or special opportunities, despite barriers erected to retard their efforts. These are situations when it becomes obvious that God has prepared a table for us, in the presence of our enemies. Life, however, is not always "win-win" situations. There are times when we suffer defeats, lose battles and watch our enemies walk away with life's trophies in a moment of triumph. There are even times when we walk in the valley of the shadow of fear, death, depression and trouble. These are the kinds of situations covered by "though." Though is a word of caution in the context of this psalm. It reminds us of the realities of life. It reminds us that the devil is busy and is constantly looking for opportunities to seek and destroy believers.

ACTION POINT:

Though we may walk in the darkness of the moment, our hope is that Christ is victorious in our hour of need so, we walk through the dark moment fearing nothing, our hope and trust has been placed in God's hand. As Christians, we may not cross our fingers as much as the early believers, but we do maintain hope and faith, that in any given situation, Christ will be the victor. We don't hide that hope or faith behind our backs, but only declare to the world, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: “In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” Judges 17:6 (The Message Bible)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: This text focuses on a dark period in Israel’s history in which he did not seek or want direction from God.  It is an ironic text because it comes in the aftermath of evidence of God’s power. In slavery, Israel called upon God and he delivered them and pointed them in the direction of Canaan. At the Red Sea he still pointed them in that direction and made a way for them through the waters. In the wilderness, he gave them the same direction, and fed them for 40 years. At the River Jordan, despite the fears of the military strength of their enemies, he gave the direction to cross over and he brought down the walls of Jericho and gave them victory.  Now, in the land the people divided into twelve sectors, each headed by a tribal leader. Without a central voice, each tribe seemed to go in its own direction. Only a few sought direction from God.  There was no king of Israel at that time, and the people turned from the mighty God who had brought them out of Egypt and from the laws that he had given them for their own good. They were stubborn and did what they thought was right rather than follow their Father’s guidelines.  Both Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25 repeat exactly the same words: “In those days Israel had no king. Each man did what he considered to be right” (NET). Or as the New American Standard puts it, “Each man did what was right in his own eyes.”  They found deliverance only when they listened to the word of God. It provided the light they needed as the stumbled in darkness.  In the word they found God’s will. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.” It shows us the path that is “fit” in the eyes of God. Once we are shown that path, the faithful will follow. God provides the vision

ACTION POINT: How do you choose your direction in life? There are many who are traveling paths in life that reflect their own interests or those chosen for them by others. A generation ago a group of brothers known as the Isley Brothers coined a phrase, “It’s your thing, do what you want to do.” It epitomized what many people believed about choosing life directions; it’s my life, I live it the way I choose. Another popular group Sly and the Family Stone reflected acceptance of this idea in their song “Everyday People” in which they said, “different strokes for different folks.” Everybody can do their own thing. The poet William Henley caught the spirit of individualism when he wrote his epic poem “Invictus” which said:

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

There are others who go even further, they espouse the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson in his treatise “Self-Reliance” in which he taught that each individual should trust himself alone, chart his own course and answer to himself alone.  Following these lines of thought many have blazed life trails of their own making without ever once stopping to ask whether that path is the path that God has chosen for them.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that “We are allowed to do all things," but not all things are good for us to do. "We are allowed to do all things," but not all things help others grow stronger (1 Cor. 10:23).  Doing what feels good to us at the moment may be a temporary fix, but it doesn’t take long for us to learn that, “everything that feels good to you is not always good for you.” Following God’s directions is always good for us.  As Christians, we constantly ask God to give us direction and to guide our path. The steps of the righteous are ordered; so we move at his command.

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: “In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” Judges 17:6 (The Message Bible)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: This text focuses on a dark period in Israel’s history in which he did not seek or want direction from God.  It is an ironic text because it comes in the aftermath of evidence of God’s power. In slavery, Israel called upon God and he delivered them and pointed them in the direction of Canaan. At the Red Sea he still pointed them in that direction and made a way for them through the waters. In the wilderness, he gave them the same direction, and fed them for 40 years. At the River Jordan, despite the fears of the military strength of their enemies, he gave the direction to cross over and he brought down the walls of Jericho and gave them victory.  Now, in the land the people divided into twelve sectors, each headed by a tribal leader. Without a central voice, each tribe seemed to go in its own direction. Only a few sought direction from God.  There was no king of Israel at that time, and the people turned from the mighty God who had brought them out of Egypt and from the laws that he had given them for their own good. They were stubborn and did what they thought was right rather than follow their Father’s guidelines.  Both Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25 repeat exactly the same words: “In those days Israel had no king. Each man did what he considered to be right” (NET). Or as the New American Standard puts it, “Each man did what was right in his own eyes.”  They found deliverance only when they listened to the word of God. It provided the light they needed as the stumbled in darkness.  In the word they found God’s will. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.” It shows us the path that is “fit” in the eyes of God. Once we are shown that path, the faithful will follow. God provides the vision

ACTION POINT: How do you choose your direction in life? There are many who are traveling paths in life that reflect their own interests or those chosen for them by others. A generation ago a group of brothers known as the Isley Brothers coined a phrase, “It’s your thing, do what you want to do.” It epitomized what many people believed about choosing life directions; it’s my life, I live it the way I choose. Another popular group Sly and the Family Stone reflected acceptance of this idea in their song “Everyday People” in which they said, “different strokes for different folks.” Everybody can do their own thing. The poet William Henley caught the spirit of individualism when he wrote his epic poem “Invictus” which said:

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

There are others who go even further, they espouse the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson in his treatise “Self-Reliance” in which he taught that each individual should trust himself alone, chart his own course and answer to himself alone.  Following these lines of thought many have blazed life trails of their own making without ever once stopping to ask whether that path is the path that God has chosen for them.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that “We are allowed to do all things," but not all things are good for us to do. "We are allowed to do all things," but not all things help others grow stronger (1 Cor. 10:23).  Doing what feels good to us at the moment may be a temporary fix, but it doesn’t take long for us to learn that, “everything that feels good to you is not always good for you.” Following God’s directions is always good for us.  As Christians, we constantly ask God to give us direction and to guide our path. The steps of the righteous are ordered; so we move at his command.

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION: “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king and reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. There were no tears shed when he died - it was good riddance! 2 Chronicles 21:20 (The Message Bible)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: This text focuses on a King of Judah whose life meant so little to the people around him that no one mourned him when he died. The primary focus is on King Jehoram of Judah who was, by all definitions, a vicious man who killed his brothers when he became king. He was extremely cruel, insensitive, ruthless and murderous. He cared little for others and only about perpetuating himself. He is described as a king who walked in the way of the house of Ahab, that idolatrous bloody house; for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife.

After Jehoram became king he was attacked by many of the nation’s surrounding him and because of a lack of coalitions and friendships in the community of nations, was regularly invaded and he lost much of possessions and territories. The resources of the nation were depleted frequently and the people quickly grew to dislike him. 2 Chronicles 21:6 gives Jehoram this short and tragic epitaph, "He did evil in the sight of the LORD." His reign was so evil, self-serving and narcissistic that the prophet Elijah sent him a letter just before his assent to heaven in a chariot, denouncing him prophesying that God would punish him with a disease that would kill him. The prophesy was fulfilled and king Jehoram died. No one missed him when he died. The text declared that he "departed without being desired" (KJV). He was not even given a respectable king's burial.

ACTION POINT: How important are you to the life of your family? Your church? Your community? Our importance is measured in relationship to the service that we render to others; if we are disconnected, live for ourselves and care little about the welfare of those around us, then our existence is of little importance to anyone. If we cease to connect only a few would notice; some would exclaim, "Is he still around; I thought she had moved out of town." I’m reminded of story of a man who had a conversation with his friend and said that his oldest brother had died. His friend expressed surprise and apologized because he had not heard. The man said, "Don't be sorry. We didn't announce to anybody, nobody came to his funeral, nobody cared about him because he didn't care about anybody." It's unsettling, but it is true; there are some who care little about others and others care less about them.

There are some who are missed when they are absent, but not fondly missed. The student in the class that disrupts it every day is missed when he's absent, but not fondly missed. The heckler in the crowd that follows a speaker from one appearance to another, is missed when he's absent, but not fondly missed. The church hell raiser who raises hell about everything is missed when he or she is absent from a business meeting, but not fondly missed. Gossips, backbiters and haters are missed when they are not around, but not fondly missed. We are important to our families and extended community when our relationship renders a noticeable benefit that is recognized and acknowledged. That's the key to being fondly missed: relate to others in such a way that your presence is deemed beneficial and necessary. It's the kind of service that elicits the words, "We sure do miss her" or "What are we going to do without him?"

What if God didn't show up for us one day this week? What would we do? Would he be missed? Would we miss his protection? Would we miss his blessing? Would we missed the inspiration we get from him? What's the flip side? Do we praise God enough for him to miss us? Do we give enough for Him to notice if we don't? Do we serve others in His name in a way that would noticeable if we stopped?

Our objective should be to live lives that matter to God, our families and the community around us. The crossing guard who smiles every morning and cheers the children, will be missed. The teacher who inspires children to learn more, will be missed. The church member who renders service in one ministry or another, will be missed. What we do for God and others does not have to be big, but it must be enough to matter to someone, to register on the goodwill meter. As Christians, we know God knows everything about every one of us. He is aware of all that we do and say. Let's live in such a way that what we do and say is recorded in heaven and fondly missed whenever we can't serve any longer.

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