Good morning dear saints. Glad you have been given another day of blessings to share. I am sure you are like me is some ways. I have a closet full of clothes but there are some that I just feel comfortable wearing. I have my “Sunday go to meeting” clothes and then there are my favorite, my “daily duds.” These are comfortable and do the job just fine. You might say that my closet “overflows" with clothes.
I have been enjoying reading from Max Lucado’s book, “Traveling Light” as he brings to mind a deeper meaning of the 23rd Psalm. This morning I was back in verse five where David writes, “My cup over flows.” He speaks about the overflowing of grace and gratitude we as born-again believers have each day. The overflowing cup has a special meaning. We are not just talking about having a closet full of clothes or favorite daily duds here.
Several years ago, Rick Warren preached a sermon entitled “God’s Antidote To Your Hurts” and included some research he had done about the meaning of the overflowing cup spoke of here in verse 5. Here is what Dr. Warren had to say, “The overflowing cup was a powerful symbol in the days of David. Hosts in the ancient East used it to send a message to the guest. As long as the cup was kept full, the guest knew he was welcome. But when the cup sat empty, the host was hinting that the hour was late. On those occasions, however, when the host really enjoyed the company of the person, he filled the cup to overflowing. He didn’t stop when the wine reached the rim: he kept pouring until the liquid ran over the edge on the cup and down on the table.”
David is giving us a great reminder that God enjoys our company (no matter what we have done in the past) and He will keep overfilling our cup with His mercy, His grace, His love and we simply acknowledge His ABUNDANT GRACE with our gratitude. God loves us that much. He will continue to fill us with His love and concern. Ephesians 5:18, ”and don’t be drunk with wine which leads to reckless living, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Again John 10:10 says it like this, Jesus speaking, “I came to give life, and life more ABUNDANTLY.” That is the overflowing of God’s cup of grace. Enjoy and take a sip cause God’s love keeps on flowing. You are encouraged and welcome to stay at the feet of Christ Jesus as long as you like. Be an overflowing blessing today.
Good morning dear friends. Glad we have this day to live together for our LORD Jesus. You were planning on living for Jesus today, weren’t you? Some might say, “What’s in it for me?” This seems to be a popular question in today's society.
Sometimes we are just zipping along in the Word with our reading and meditation and all of a sudden we come to a Scripture Text that we have read many times and the LORD says, "Wait a minute. Let’s spend some time with the Text." That is what He did in my life this morning.
Here is my question? What is your definition of “worship,” “praise,” or “bless?” No, really think about these words and what do they mean to you? What are the benefits of “worship, praise, or bless” for you?
The Text the LORD captured my attention with this morning is Psalms 103. The Psalmist begins with “O my soul, bless the LORD and all that is within me, bless His holy name. O my soul, bless the LORD, and do not forget His benefits.”
Benefits - What is in it for me - idea. The Psalmist will spend the next 20 verses telling us of those benefits - what we can receive from our “Worship, Praise, and Blessing of His Holy Name.” You can read and study these for yourself but here are a few: He forgives all your iniquity, He heals all diseases, He redeems your life from the pit(s), He crowds you with faithful love and compassion, He satisfies you with good things, He renews your youthfulness.
There are a couple of (more) powerful verses in this Psalm. We find them in verse 10 where He says, “He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our iniquities.” Now look at verse 12 and see the depth of His love and forgiveness for our sinfulness. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgression from us.”
Think about the benefits of our honoring, blessings, and worshiping our LORD Jesus as the sinless Son of God who loved each of us to pay our death penalty price. Now we can worship, praise, and bless the LORD O my soul with all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. I placed a song on Facebook earlier that speaks to me about drawing me nearer to my LORD. Another song that was on my heart is recorded by Hillsong “Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down.” Check it out. And have a wonderful day of worship, praise and blessing today. Blessings.
Good morning dear saints. It is a new day. When you pick up your new prescription you are asked if you need to speak to the Pharmacist. They want to know if you have ever taken the medicine before and they are quick to tell you the side effects. Sometimes those side effects are worse than the illness. I have asked and not really got a clear answer about if I have an ankle ache and I take a pill, how does that pill know where the ache is? I don’t understand and have not been given a clear answer. But the good news is that it works.
The more I study from the Word of God the more I realize that I don’t know how things are suppose to work. For example, I am a sheep in the flock of God. I spend my time in the pasture and daily I get my scraps and scratches just by being out in the wild. At night when get back in my pen, I get checked out by the Master Shepherd. That doesn’t mean He was not there with me during the day. But sometimes I wander into dangerous places. The Shepherd has an oil that He applies to the injuries of the sheep. You see sheep keep their head down and graze, unaware of the surroundings. The shepherd has the responsibility of checking out the pasture land for certain dangerous things. The sheep pay no attention to the dangers but the shepherd does. There are two dangers that really harm the sheep as they graze. One is the poisonous plants. The shepherd has to search the pasture land and remove any that would be harmful to the flock. The second is a little snake called an Adder. This snake lives in holes in the ground and when the sheep’s noise gets close the snake slithers out and strikes the nose of the sheep. So how does the shepherd prepare the sheep for this danger. The shepherd is out in the field with a bottle of oil. When he comes up on one of those holes, he will pour oil completely around the opening so the snake can not slither up but will slide back down. The shepherd also places the same oil around the nose of each sheep so that the snake will get a whiff of the oil and refuse to strike. Thus the shepherd, because he has prepared the pasture and the sheep, can rest assured that the sheep will be a bit safer.
Psalms 23:5 says “He anointed my head with oil.” David was an experienced shepherd and so when he relates his experiences to his faith in the LORD as his shepherd, he knew the protection the LORD always provides. Now we can get busy grazing because the LORD has anointed our head with oil. Be a blessing today.
When you look into the eyes of those you meet on the street, you only see the outward surface of things. God has the ability to see what is really going on in that person's life. God always looks at the heart before He notices the head. There are times when we think that everyone else is doing just fine. It is me who is falling apart. I can assure you that everyone of us have things we are dealing with on a daily basis. As a born-again believer, God tells me that I am to make a little difference in the lives I meet daily. A smile, a kind word, a polite response or action can make a difference. When we start our day committing ourselves afresh to God and living out Philippians 2:1-10, everyone is going to have a better day. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” is how we too, can focus on the heart and not the face. Have a great day “people watching” and remember, you are a blessing.
Good morning dear tired and weary walkers today. It is sad when we start out tired and exhausted. Sometimes we just can’t get enough rest for the day’s activities. Growing up in the auto repair business my day was normally planned out for me. There were jobs that didn’t get finished the day before so I knew what lay ahead of me for the day. My mind was fixed on fixing the auto, so-to-speak. Trying to finish what was left from the day before was my challenge. Very few times was the slate clean for the starting of the day.
Today, we have appointments and schedules and we know what we will be doing. We know of the people whom we will be meeting with and trying to solve their situations or at least give them guidance. I am not sure how other leaders handle their appointments but before each appointment I had a personal time with the LORD to seek His guidance for the meeting. Even if there were “drop-ins” I managed to say a few prayers for the person and the problems they may be having, asking God for His wisdom and how He would want me to make a difference. I was amazed at the number of times that God seemed to give me the right thoughts and words that meant something to their struggles. After all, remember, He is the Great Counselor.
With each new day we have new opportunities to make a difference. But there are times when we have those “left-overs” from the previous day that tend to drag us down and hold us back. It is trying to walk with the LORD and dragging all my pet sins with me. It just doesn’t work like that. I would love to live out Isaiah 40:30-31 and be able to soar like eagles, but it is hard. The writer of Hebrews 12 begins to tell me why I cant keep up with Christ. I have not unloaded the cares of yesterday and they are holding me back. As long as I keep dragging these pet sins with me, I will never be able to walk with my LORD and keep up. LORD please cut the rope that I am using to drag the baggage along. I desire to be closer to You each moment. I get rid of this baggage through prayer and confession. So can you. Be blessed and get rid of the mess. Cut the rope to the things that so easy beset us. That is my prayer for us today.
In my reading from Max Lucado’s book “When God Whispers Your Name," (pp103-4), he used an illustration that I found inspiring. He writes, "Stefan can tell you about family trees. He makes his living from them. He inherited a German forest that had been in his family for 400 years. The trees he harvested were planted 180 years ago by his great-grandfather. The trees he planted won’t be ready for market until his great-grandchildren are born."
He goes on to say, every generation must make a choice. They can either pillage or plant, they can rape the landscape and get rich or they can care for the landscape, harvest only what is theirs, and leave an investment for their children,
Stefan harvested seeds sown by men he never had the honor of meeting or getting to know. Stefan sows seeds to be harvested by descendants he’ll never know.
As we stand behind the pulpit or sit in the pew we should take a moment to reflect how we got there. Someone who responded to God in the past generations has made the sacrifice for us today. People have never known who love the LORD and was convicted to invest in the future. We are that future. Now these past generations have past the baton to us. What we do with it and how we use it will determine the future for our children, our grandchildren and the generations to come. The Apostle Paul tells us "That some cultivate, some plant, some water but it is God who gets the increase."
So, our question is this: What footprints are we leaving for our descendants to follow?
Blog Article –
Max Lucado writes in his book, “Just Like Jesus (p4); When my daughter Jenna was a toddler, I used to take her to a park not far from our apartment. One day as she was playing in the sandbox, an ice cream salesman approached us. I purchased her a treat, and when I turned to give it to her, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I intended to put the delicacy, she had put dirt.
Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less my daughter with dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where she was, but I refused to leave her there. I cared her over to the water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because I loved her.
God does the same with us. He holds us over the fountain. Spit out the dirt, honey, Our Father urges. I have got something better for you! and He cleanses us o filth.!
Steven J. Lawson in his book “The Kind OF preaching God Blesses” (pp88-89) gives a powerful illustration worth sharing.
In the 19 century, a group of pastors were organizing a citywide evangelistic campaign. As they discussed who they should invite to preach, the name of the noted evangelist D. L. Moody was brought up. Reluctant to have Moody preach, one minister protested, “Why Moody? Does he have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?”
The question was then followed by a long silence. Finally, another pastor spoke up, saying, “Moody, Moody, Moody … does Moody have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” One of the others answered "No, but it seems that the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Moody!”
There is not a greater testimony made for any preacher. God works through His servants in whom His Holy Spirit is mighty empowering. Regardless of a preacher’s resume or his credentials, the Holy Spirit is the One who ultimately makes the difference in any preacher’s ministry.
When it come to your preaching, does the Holy Spirit have a monopoly on you?
Steve Lawson, in his book “The Kind of Preaching God Blesses” tells a story that every
preacher should take note of. He writes, "The story is told of a young seminary graduate
who eagerly set out to preach his first sermon in his new pastorate. After several years
of intense theological study, he was ready to unleash his vast learning upon this
unsuspecting congregation. As he entered the pulpit, he did so with an amazing amount of self-assurance. Standing before the people, his chest pushed forward, his head erect, his countenance glowing,” Lawson went on to say. "But, as this young theologian delivered his maiden sermon, he unexpectedly began to falter. His tongue become thick. He stumbled over his words. He lost his place in his notes. His concentration was broken. His delivery waned. By all accounts, the sermon was a complete failure. Immediately after this excruciating experience was over, this devastated young pastor slithered down from the pulpit. His head was low, his shoulders slouched over, his knees weak. Never had he be so humbled by such pride-crushing embarrassment. As he exited the sanctuary, the older deacon approached him and, putting his arm around him said, ‘Pastor, if you had gone up into the pulpit the way you came down, you would have come down the way you went up!’”
Every time we stand behind the pulpit, we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit--to make my thought His thoughts, to make my words His words. God expects more, and our congregations deserve more.
In my devotional reading I came across this interesting illustration I thought was
worthy of sharing. Max Lucado writes, John Egglen had never preached a sermon in his
life. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to, just he never needed to. Colchester, England was
buried in white. When he awoke on that January Sunday morning in 1850, he thought
of staying home. Who would go to church in such weather? But he reconsidered. He
was, after all, a deacon. And if the deacons didn’t go, who would? So, he put on his
boots, hat, and coat and walked the six miles to the Methodist church.
He wasn’t the only member who considered staying home. In fact, he was one of a
few who came. Only 13 people were present. 12 members and 1 visitor. Even the
minister was showed in. Someone suggested they go home. Egglen would hear none of
that. They had come this far; they would have a service. Besides, they had a visitor – a
13 year old boy.
But who would preach? Egglen was the only deacon there, so it fell on him. And so he
did. His sermon lasted only ten minutes. It drifted and wandered and made no point in
an effort to make several. But at the end an uncharacteristic courage settled upon the
man. He lifted his eyes and looked straight at the boy and challenged: ‘Young man,
look to Jesus. Look! Look! Look!”
Did that challenge make a difference? Let the boy, now a man, answer: I did look and
then and there the cloud on my heart lifted, the darkness rolled away, and at that
moment I saw the sin.’ This boy's name was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Did John Egglen know who this 13 year old boy was and what he would become? Future leaders sitting in our pews are waiting for the clouds to be rolled back so the Son can shine brightly on their life. We just never know the impact God can have on individuals because of our faithfulness.