"And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time"
MEDITATIONS & WEEKLY SCRIPTURES
SUNDAY, JUNE 20, 2021
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
I ran across a profound story that shows what happens when the family structure breaks down -- but this didn't have to do with people -- it had to do with elephants. In Kruger National Park in South Africa a group of adolescent bull elephants whose family members had been gunned down during a culling operation were transported to another wildlife reserve. While at the other reserve, the young elephants embarked on a killing spree that lasted several years leaving more than 100 animals dead, including 40 white rhinoceroses. To stop the killing, a strategy was implemented to ship in older male elephants from Kruger to establish a new male hierarchy which would keep the adolescent elephants in check. Thus the killing stopped.
Like human society, the elephant family defines established roles for training and discipline in family life. And like humans, young elephants require a prolonged period of nurture with family units to prepare them for adult life. Damage and loss in family life will produce painful and sometimes devastating results. In this situation the loss of the mature males was catastrophic.
Many of us in the body of Messiah have not had healthy parental role models, and some have had none; but our life as a believing family will generally begin to improve, correct, and heal the results of broken family life which many suffer from. Mature believers ought to be role models and examples, not only to our children, but also to younger believers.
Ideally, Christian leaders will be healthy role models, but many are themselves, deficient and unhealed in certain ways. We all ought to have grace when it comes to this area of body life. Our expectations will not always be met and may even be severely disappointed. Our saving grace -- and it is truly an amazing one-- is that we all have a Heavenly Father who is a perfect parent, and who can love and nurture us in both male and female ways, and who is also able to provide human role models and healers to help bring us to wholeness.
Be thankful for any good parenting you have received; forgive all that was negative or deficient. Then ask your Heavenly Father to parent you by His personal parental love and providence in your human relationships. This will free you from deep resentment and bitterness and will begin to move you toward maturity and peace and will prepare you to be a good parent and role model for others.
SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 2021
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it tested with fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
We have been in full-time ministry just over 20 years now, and boy, have we had our share of trials and tribulations!
Sometimes when we are amid trials we start to wonder -- Lord, will it ever end? In case you have not noticed, it does not. But the good news is that with each faith-testing experience, our ability to deal with these trials and tribulations becomes better and our faith grows stronger!
In this scripture, God compares our faith to a most precious and beautiful metal -- gold. But when mined, this precious metal does not look very precious! It is dirty looking and black. How does gold become beautiful? A refiner takes the gold and carefully melts it in a melting pot -- slowly raising the temperature -- but never to the point where it boils. As it melts, slowly the impurities rise to the surface and he will scoop away the dross leaving a beautiful pot of gold, ready to become your next ring or bracelet. Here is the amazing part. The refiner knows his job is done when he can investigate the melting pot and see a reflection of himself.
The only way gold will become more precious is when it's placed on the fire! In the same way, the impurities of our lives must be exposed to the fire so that the Lord can scoop up the filth that shows itself when we get hot!! Notice, though, that He'll never allow us to boil! And then, when it is all said and done, He can look upon us and see the beauty of His reflection!
Let us not despise the trials we're facing today -- on the contrary, let's embrace them! The Lord is using these things to prepare us to do great things for Him! Respond to the Lord today by saying what do you want me to learn from this today, Lord? And watch how the Lord blesses you through the fire!
SUNDAY, JUNE 6, 2021
Exodus 14:14-15 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." The LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
The Lord spoke to Moses, who led the children of Israel out of Egypt to be desperately cornered with the Red Sea before them and Pharaoh's chariots advancing upon them from behind. Overwhelmed with terror they cry out to Moses, "It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Having just miraculously escaped from the miserable life of slavery, and only beginning their new life of freedom, the children of Israel were faced with the most dire threat to their existence. This test of their faith, to trust God for their very survival, followed only a few days after the young nation's astounding deliverance. Could it really be that YHVH had brought them out just to have them recaptured and returned to the slave camps or be slaughtered by Pharaoh's army and be food for vultures? We, who have been delivered from a life of slavery from sin, may also quickly be faced with massive and overwhelming trials, and we may cry out desperately to God, "Is this what you delivered me for !!??" How is it that the enemy, having lost his hold on us, will often make furious attempts to reclaim or even destroy us? Yet he is relentless, especially when he has just suffered a crushing defeat. Now the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward." No, you were not delivered to be ensnared, recaptured or slaughtered by the evil one. His final threat will only prove to be his undoing.
Go forward, press on! Your trial, your obstacle, the threat against you, is proof of your deliverance, and may just turn into devastating defeat for the one who is set against you. What Israel faced at the Red Sea, what appeared to be their death sentence, suddenly and irrevocably became God's instrument to crush their enemies. "Tell the people of Israel to go forward!' Just do it. The Lord will provide your victory!
Worthy Christian Devotions 2/2019
SUNDAY, MAY 30, 2021
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
In a documentary mini-series called "Against All Odds," a remarkable story is told about an Israeli platoon who found themselves in the midst of a minefield along the Syrian border during the Yom Kippur War. When the platoon realized they were in a minefield they pulled out their bayonets and started to dig out mines and disarm them. Suddenly, a fierce wind began to blow, removing the sand from the minefield. Each and every mine was exposed and the soldiers ventured through the minefield unscathed.
If you found yourself in the midst of a minefield but had someone with you that knew where every mine was and could guide you through, then you'd be sure to stay as close to him as possible! My friend, life is a minefield; and the enemy has planted mines all across your path -- the mines of temptation! You have Someone with you who knows where they are and how to guide you around them. But how closely are you walking with Him?
God's word and His Spirit equip us thoroughly for life and godliness. Obedience to His word and abiding in His Spirit we can avoid every deadly trap of the enemy and even if He calls us to martyrdom, we can go joyfully in His power.
But in the meantime, let's not ignore the presence and counsel of our Heavenly Guide. It's too easy to become distracted by fears, entertainments, and even real responsibilities. But all these can pull us away from Him....so that we suddenly find our foot on a mine about to explode under us. The discipline of practicing His presence was never more important than it is now in these last of the last days. The Bible warns that "because iniquity abounds, the love of many shall wax cold!" Let us stay awake, fully conscious of our Helper's presence. Led of His Spirit we will dodge every one of our enemy’s mines, and navigate both ourselves and others to safety, bearing fruit all along the way!