Word of the Day

Good Advice

Psalm 37: 7 – 9

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.

The most difficult thing about Psalm 37 is choosing a passage to write on because the whole psalm is so good. The idea which occurred to me as I read this psalm was about receiving advice and from whom we choose to take advice. This psalm was written by David, who is one of my personal heroes. He learned how to live in a daily relationship with the Lord and I guess his trust in God was unparalleled until the time of Jesus.

David began as a humble shepherd boy but that boy defeated a real giant because he knew the Lord and the power of His might. He was chosen by God through the prophet to be the king of Israel, he was a faithful servant to Saul, and even when Saul persecuted him and chased him across the desert, David never took advantage of a situation to harm Saul but instead remained loyal. His rule is considered the golden age of Israel. The nation prospered under him and throughout it all, he remained devoted to his God. He knew what it was to be persecuted and hunted but he also learned how to hide in the shelter of the Father’s love. Of all of the Old Testament people, no one shows us the Holy Spirit to any degree other than David. He was truly a man after God’s own heart and I believe I can learn a lot from him.

Therefore, when I read these impassioned passages from David I find my spirit energized and I am inspired. When David tells us to wait upon the Lord without become envious of the prosperity gained by unholy, even wicked people who use ungodly means of acquiring wealth, I feel I can trust this advice. David is not speaking from the point of view of a philosopher. He teaches us from his experience with God. How many people can give us such first hand experiential knowledge and wisdom?
Look at what David says about anger and wrath? Don’t you suppose he wrote that sentence from his experience as well? Wrath and anger will only lead us down roads we do not wish to travel. The way of peace is what the Father has chosen and provided for us.

I did not mean for this to be a piece on David. I liked the message the passage conveyed. However, the messenger can add weight and credibility to the message through their life experiences. When God describes someone as a man after His own heart, then I dare say that is a pretty good referral. David’s relationship with God is an example we all can learn from. Additionally, I think that when David shares his wisdom and advice with us, it is advice we can trust. We too show wisdom when we hearken to David’s words. I think if you will spend time in David’s life and words, your own relationship and trust with the Father will be increased.

Unshakable Love

Isaiah 54: 10

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.

You’ve got to love this verse. Some of you are going through challenges right now so this must be really good news for you. No matter how rough things get, even if there is a calamity so great that the mountains are reduced to rubble; even if the hills quake, you will remain in God’s loving embrace where He can look after you. No matter how dire the situation, God’s love will not be shaken. In your loneliest of times, in the most stressful situations, the Lord our God, loves you. His devotion to you cannot be shaken despite the circumstances. Even when you are paying Him no attention, He is alert and watching over you. He awaits your return.

This verse says that no matter what, His lovingkindness will not be removed from you. That means there is no power strong enough, no situation dire enough to shake His love from you. There is no darkness deep enough or pain strong enough to separate you from His love. The only power in this earth or beyond that can separate you from the love of God is you. As long as you are steadfast and do not reject Him, then you can trust that His love and affection are present for current circumstance.

Did you know that Father has a covenant of peace? It goes back to the beginning of time however, it was fulfilled in the person of Jesus, our Messiah. Jesus is the prince of peace so as long as you are holding on tightly to him, no one can steal your peace. Sometimes you just have to whisper his name to remind yourself that no power or person has authority over the peace Jesus left for you. You may have to write out John 14: 27 on a 3 X 5 card and place it in a prominent location while you are working through the challenge.

Be reminded, daily, that nothing can remove Dad’s love from you nor steal the peace pact He has with you. Keep today’s verse in front of you and realize there is not one moment of any day that the Father does not love you with all He is. His devotion to you is larger than the universe and it is a source of great strength. Be safe and secure in the absolute knowledge that your Father loves you and has provided peace for you. Let Him love you and hold you in His safety.

Building the Temple

1 Chronicles 29: 9

Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.

God has made us to be givers. We are in His image and He is the greatest giver of all time. One of the things that hangs us up, though, is that our offerings go to people. Truthfully, we do not always trust people and sometimes in our hearts we do not wish to bless people. If we could give right into God’s hands, we would joyfully give. We probably couldn’t give enough to satisfy the desire to bless the Lord.

In today’s story, David was at the end of his life and thus, his term as the king and leader of Israel. His son, Solomon, would be tasked with building the temple to the Lord. David, though, gave gold, silver, brass, etc. towards the building of the temple. He even gave gold so the walls could be covered in gold. It was in his heart to bless, the Lord, his God. As the people listened to his words and observed his example, they also dug deep into their resources and gave more gold, and other metals. It was a joy and a delight to these people to give to their God and they gave with a whole heart. I would like to go back in time and witness their joy.

We have a number of cultural issues which impede our giving. First, there is that keeping up with the Jones’ thing. If we give and give, then others will have more than we. What if we give so much directly to our pastors that their prosperity begins to eclipse our own? We seem to have a mentality which requires pastors to be broke. This is a thought pattern which strains my brain because it seems to me that in the world of logic, especially in Kingdom dynamics, those who serve God (including you) should be the most prosperous on earth. I don’t know where we got this poverty mentality, the Puritans perhaps, but it defies logic for me. Surely, you have noticed how wealthy preachers are criticized. I do know of some churches, though, who seem to consider it an insult to themselves if the pastors are not in nice clothes and driving the nicest cars. How would that go over in your church? What are the tapes running in our brains that would never allow that to happen.

Another problem our giving suffers is that we are living in a time when there is so much to spend money on. We can go on nice trips, drive nice cars, buy bigger homes and multiple homes. There is a new electronic gadget out almost every day that attracts our attention. What would the Israelites have done with all that gold anyway? If they did not give it to the temple would that have meant they could take a Caribbean cruise? I think they were not as distracted by a world full of pleasures as we are. I believe that is why we have to purpose in our hearts to be givers. There are many things we can give our money to, is the church the most attractive of these? I doubt it. God, likely is though. If you can get face to face with Him I think we would all want to give Him anything we could.

The Israelites received a revelation of the elation in giving. They gave to God with their whole hearts and rejoiced in the gifts. Maybe in our quiet time with the Lord, he can give us a revelation too showing us how giving will benefit us while it increases our joy. Let’s ask him about that, shall we?

Little Children

Matthew 19: 14

But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I wish to solicit your help today in writing the Word of the Day. What do you think Jesus meant by this statement? What are the characteristics of children that Jesus found so attractive? What are these characteristics which distinguish children from adults? Post your insights to the site and we can have a worldwide dialogue on this question.

Jesus wants us to be as children and he tells us that the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are as children. So, what are these important traits? Jesus must have had childlike qualities because, surely, the kingdom of God is his. I will offer one trait of children that I admire.

Children are honest. That is one of the things I so like about them. Sometimes it is difficult to have the same level of relationship with adults because of honesty issues. There are folks you know that you cannot trust the words coming out of their mouths. I find these people and relationships with them tedious. Sometimes it feels like too much work to be in relationship with them. Even those who are not intentionally deceptive in their relationships are sometimes misleading because they have lied to themselves for so long that they don’t even know their true selves. You know the good news though. His name is Jesus.

Jesus’ indwelling presence within us can heal, inform and resurrect our lives. If we will open ourselves to him, if we can be honest with our feelings and our thoughts before him, he will rejuvenate the spirit within us so that we will be reborn in every sense. Then our reborn selves will be childlike.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Go to http://iveyministries.org/word-of-the-day/ to post your suggestions.

Faith by Inches

John 4: 50

Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and he started off.

This man’s simple belief is a testament to us all yet he was not a simple man. He was a royal official, a nobleman. He asked Jesus to go with him to heal his son because his son was near death. But when Jesus spoke, the man did not argue with him at all. He just turned and went towards his home. He was met along the way by some of his servants who told him that his son was well.

I was struck by the fact that the man didn’t argue with Jesus or question him further. As soon as Jesus made his proclamation, the man left. Especially as a nobleman he was probably accustomed to people explaining themselves to him. But you see, this man’s belief was already present before Jesus spoke. Then as soon as Jesus spoke, the belief became faith. The scripture says that the man believed the word that Jesus spoke. That was the end of the story for him. Jesus said it. That ends it.

Would that we all had the same kind of faith in the words that Jesus spoke. If we believed the way that man did, we would devour the New Testament just seeking what Jesus said. Then we would have all that he said too because our belief would bring it to bear in our lives. Every day we get a chance to move closer to Jesus and we do that by seeking Him in His word and through prayer. Just get an inch closer today and let Jesus’ faith start a new work in you.

Daily Bread

John 6: 48

I am the bread of life.

I have just one question for you. Are you going to eat tomorrow? Well, in truth it’s a bit of a trick question because I am wondering whether we all will feed ourselves both spiritually and physically.

Most likely all of us will consume food tomorrow, and we need to. There is nothing unholy in feeding your body. I just had the sense today that many of us are not where we want to be in life or with Jesus because we fail to feed ourselves spiritual food daily. Jesus prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 11). Do you think when he began speaking about himself as the bread of life he changed his mind about bread being a daily necessity?

This is such a simple teaching, there is nothing truly profound here. We all know we need Jesus daily but we get caught up in life and forget that he is the bread of life. The result is that we begin to starve, literally. Many of us are starving and we are not even aware of the deprivation.

Your spirit feeds your entire being. By that I mean to say that a healthy spirit feeds and supports a healthy body and a healthy mind. Our spirits are our central being so as they hunger, nutrition is lost throughout.

Jesus is the life and he is the bread of life. That has to say a lot about our ability to have fullness of life. We need a daily intake of Jesus. We always seem to find the time to eat food. Maybe we can find the time to feed too. Have some bread of Life.

Anointed

Psalm 20: 6

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed.

Who is the anointed of the Lord? Is it you? In Isaiah 61: 1 the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus. He prophesied about the anointing that would be on Jesus. The first of Jesus’ anointed duties was to bring good news to the afflicted. When Jesus began his public ministry, he went into the synagogue in Nazareth. When the book of the prophet was handed to Him, He opened it to Isaiah and reading the passage in Isaiah 61 declared that the scripture had been, that day, fulfilled in those people’s presence. Jesus was anointed with power and the Holy Spirit so that He could fulfill His commission as enumerated in Isaiah 61 and Luke 4: 18. Then in Matthew 28: 16 – 20 we read about Jesus passing this commission on to those who follow Him. We are still to go to the world bringing the good news of the gospel to all. We don’t do this in our might though. We do it in the strength of the Lord and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s anointing on us and in us that empowers us to do His bidding. If you have received God’s commission to you and you have received his blessing of the anointing to do His will, then you are His anointed and you, therefore, are protected under His anointing. And while the enemy will do everything he can to thwart you, you are covered by the grace and anointing of God. Jesus said that persecution would come but for us to have no fear because He, Jesus, has overcome the world. Rely on Jesus. Rely on your anointing for they have great power to save you.

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