Word of the Day

Prayerful Meditation

Jeremiah 29: 12 – 14

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes.’

Yesterday we talked about delighting yourself in the Lord and meditating on His Word day and night. This morning I was thinking about that. I said that the words from Joshua 1:8 should be proclaimed routinely and loudly. As I meditated on this very thing this morning, I thought, if there is one piece of advice I would give it is to soak in the Word, but then I questioned myself as to why. Here is the answer I found for myself.

If someone were to ask me what the most important thing about Christianity is, I would say a close and personal relationship with the three persons of the trinity. However, that begs the question, how does one develop that intimate relationship. We are all different with different strengths. Some people connect with the Father more intimately through prayer, some through meditation. There are those who reach their most connected point in rituals while others reach God through the Bible. These are all good and proper ways to connect with God and we should all participate in all forms of communion with God.

The Lord teaches us by His own words how to connect with Him through this verse. After my meditation this morning I was a bit surprised to open my Bible and find this passage staring at me. Jeremiah 29: 11 is famous. It is God’s declaration that He has good plans for you and your future. It is of interest, though, that the next words out of His mouth are about seeking Him. He even promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Notice, however, that we must seek Him with our hearts, and not only that but with all of our heart. He wants to connect you to His good plans for you but you must connect with Him first.

So, what does this have to do with yesterday’s verse and the Word? If someone asked what one thing I would advise them to do to develop their relationship with God would be, I would advise them according to Joshua 1: 8, read your Bible and meditate therein. There is a reason God gave that Word of wisdom to Joshua. In the Word we find God. I believe in prayer, don’t think I don’t, but the Word is our anchor and our beacon. For persons who will develop into prayer warriors, they get their foundation first from the Word. It is where we find God as we develop into the people we will be. It is, therefore, where I would start everyone. For the visionaries, the Word becomes their anchor. We want those people doing what they are gifted to do but they must be tethered in God’s reality. Those who are easily bound to routine will find all kinds of experiences in the Word, the explainable yet unassailable.

We cannot leave the wisdom of God aside. As you grow in the things of God, learn to pray, learn to meditate, develop your visionary capacity, engage with your angels but forget not the Word. Do not set aside the one piece of advice Yahweh gave Joshua when he had to take over leadership of the nation of Israel, meditate in the Word day and night. Then add today’s verse to that, seek the Lord with all your heart and you will find Him. Pray to Him and He will listen. It is His promise to you. Pray and meditate over the Word. Allow God to reveal His hidden mysteries. Call upon Him, seek Him and receive of His great and wonderful bounty.

Chief Advisor

Psalm 1: 2

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

Verse two of the first psalm is also part two of the road map for blessing. Yesterday we saw that to live in the blessing we should not take counsel from the wicked, sinners nor should we abide scoffers. Part two shows us the affirmative side of positioning ourselves for the rain of the blessing. It says delight in the law of the Lord and meditate therein night and day.

It turns out, then, that the pathway to the blessing is in the scriptures. It is the road map. We are advised to meditate on it day and night receiving, therefore, our advice from the Lord rather than from people, especially people who are not walking in the blessing of the Lord.

Jesus is the Word, so it makes perfect sense, in this light, that the way to the blessing would be through him. I don’t think most of us appreciate the value of this advice. This is the same advice God gave Joshua when Joshua had to fill Moses’ shoes. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success,” (Joshua 1: 8). This is such a great verse! I am surprised that we don’t hear it shouted from the rooftops and in sermon after sermon. Why do you suppose that is the case? God is the speaker in this verse and He is giving His best advice to Joshua. I don’t think you can do much better than Yahweh as your advisor.

The psalmist reiterates the Godly wisdom which was handed down through generations of Jews. Meditate in God’s Word and be blessed. Can it be that simple? We can test the theory and find out for ourselves.

Blessed Counsel

Psalm 1: 1

How blessed is the . . ..

Psalm 1, a very good place to start. Most of you realize the psalms are songs. As such they have a different tone and complexion from the rest of scripture. The psalms contain many special messages and they often minister straight to the heart, completely bypassing the intellect.

I am struck by the first words of the first Psalm. I participate in a conference call where we are learning about the blessing. How interesting that the first words of the first psalm are about the blessing. The songwriter is going to tell us how people live in the blessing of God. What comes next? How can we each be amongst the blessed of God?

Here is the first verse in its entirety: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” The first thing we learn about walking in the blessing is what not to do. So, what is this bit of wisdom. First, don’t take your advice from the wicked. I used to think this meant not to take advice from non-Christians. So, I endeavored to hire Christians for everything. However, I made a dazzling discovery. Some of the non-Christians were more ethical than the Christians I was working with. Jesus said we will know the wicked by their fruit. So now I have learned to be a fruit inspector. I would prefer to work with Christians but sometimes my light is better displayed by its exposure to those who need to see Christ alive. Also, the salvation prayer does not include a transformation button. We all have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12). That means that our transformation isn’t automatic. Romans 12: 2 reads, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformation is a process. It would be wonderful if there was an automatic transformation but there isn’t. Everyone has to work on becoming the Christ like person God ordained. Checking people’s fruit is a check on their journey so far and their ethics is a part of that journey. So, we are instructed not to take our counsel from the wicked which means we must be certain that the people we look to are worthy to lead us on a right path.

That is true of the next statement as well. Do not conspire or plan with sinners. Who are the sinners? Does that mean limit us to Christians? I wish. Don’t hang out with people who practice sin regardless of their Christian affiliation. Choose to be with people who are endeavoring to live above sin. Jesus gave us his life and victory so that we can be free of the chains of sin but not all who have asked Jesus into their lives have broken the chains of sin. Be wise. Check their fruit.

Last, do not be a scoffer nor associate with people who are. This is a pretty big deal, actually. Scoffers are those who jeer, mock, are contemptuous, and speak derisively. These are people you need to stay away from. I think also of people who are generally negative, contrary and critical. We all have a tendency towards being scoffers at times, but you know there is a difference between occasional slipups and a pattern of behavior.

This first psalm points us towards the blessing. In so doing it alerts us to some easy missteps. If you want to live in the blessing you can’t take your advice from wicked people, scoffers or sinners. Of course, this makes sense. These people cannot point you to the blessing. They cannot teach you or counsel you in how to walk in blessing. They can only teach what they know which is scoffing, wickedness, and sin. None of those are in the blessing. Don’t hire these people, don’t take their advice, don’t let them lead you – even if they do have a fish on their business card or are related to you. Take your counsel from people whose fruit would please Jesus.

Prayer Cover

Colossians 1: 3

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.

It is important that we pray for each other as we see in the example Paul set for us. We need each other’s support. Jesus said that while we are in this world we will have trials but to take heart because he has conquered the world (John 16: 33). We do not have to crumble at the trials of the world because he has triumphed. He has provided the way for us to triumph over the challenges of the world. One of the tools we have is prayer. We can pray for our own needs and that is good but sooner or later we learn to get out of our little sphere and pray for others. As you sow prayer into the lives of others, you sow into the Kingdom of God. This is a continuing message of sowing and reaping because all of the Kingdom of God works by this principle. And as we sow, we also reap. We do the work of God and God takes care of our needs. As you spend your time planting seeds for the betterment of others, God is at work in your life. As you pray for others, you are forced to turn your mind off of yourself for a moment. That allows God to work for you because you have released your care for your own issues for a time.

Also know that I, following Paul’s example, pray for you every day. Everyone who receives these daily emails gets covered by prayer. Likewise, pray for me, all of you. As you pray for me and keep me built up, I have more to pour out to you. That is how it works. As we support each other, we are each edified more than if we just pray for ourselves.

Love & Fear

2 Timothy 1: 7

For God, has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

If God has not given us a spirit of fear, then from where do you suppose it came? Who did give it to us? Bingo! Fear is a weapon from the enemy’s camp. God gave you a spirit of power. He gave you His love and He gave you a sound mind. A mind that is consumed with fear is not from God. Jesus came so that you could be free from such torment.

God’s love inside of you produces power and soundness of mind. It is a shield and protection. That is not to say that you will not be attacked with the weapon of fear. Satan knows well that he can really sidetrack us with fear. Fear causes you to take your mind off of Yahweh and Jesus. It causes you to meditate on the bad things that “could” happen when you should be meditating on the promises of God. You can choose God’s Word over Satan’s lies. It is not always easy but we need to grow. When you are attacked, do just what Jesus did. Confess God’s Word right out loud. If it is a Dr.’s report that is worrisome, then attack that fear with God’s Word that He, God, sent His Word and healed you (Psalm 107: 20). Or that the stripes that Jesus bore for us were for our healing and that by those stripes you are healed (1 Peter 2: 5).

Know that God is not the author of fear but rather that He has sent to you His spirit. There is power, love and a sound mind plus all the wisdom you need for every situation in God’s spirit.

Salvation is for Today

Luke 4: 18 – 19

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Stop for a moment today and consider this passage. This is from the book of Isaiah and it is what Jesus read in the synagogue.  His speaking of this passage marked the beginning of his public ministry. If God sent Jesus only to die on a cross bearing the sin of the world, then why this scripture? If eternal life was the only thing on God’s mind, why did Yahweh anoint Jesus to do all these other things? My point is that we have narrowed our focus as to Jesus’ purpose and in so doing have missed the greater blessing.

John 3: 16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” I suppose there is no other scripture in the whole of the Bible that is more well known than this one. We make our children memorize it in Bible School, put it on bumper stickers and even billboards. It is a wonderful passage, but it is not the whole story. Jesus didn’t stand up in the synagogue and say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me so that none shall perish but instead have eternal life.” Why? Because that was not his singular purpose nor his anointing. It explains God’s love but not Jesus’ purpose. If you want to know the reason God sent Jesus you must read 1 John 3: 8, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” This scripture discloses Jesus’ purpose. Let us go further, though, to see what Jesus, himself, says about his purpose in the earth. John 10: 10 reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Abundant life, free from the works of the devil, is the gift Jesus came to give us. Yes, eternal life is part of that package but that is the end game, not the whole thing. God made the earth for us to live in and enjoy. He gave us this planet to be our home, not heaven. He didn’t create earth as a testing ground but rather as a home. The point is, the time we spend here is not simply a waystation. Life here isn’t just passing time until we get to heaven. We are supposed to have abundant life here and now. Look again at today’s passage. Clearly that has nothing to do with heaven. Those conditions do not exist in heaven. Adam’s job was to make earth look like heaven so that we would have a heavenly home right here. Jesus prayed, “Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,” (Matthew 6: 10). Earth is to reflect heaven.

Jesus came to restore our original purpose to us and to return the earth to us as our heavenly home, a home made in the image of heaven. Then God will come here and live with us. We’ve got to stop waiting to get to heaven to start fulfilling our purpose. We’ve got to stop waiting until heaven to start living, especially living in the fullness of God’s intent for us.

Redemption? Yes, it’s a big deal, but it is not the end of the story. It is the means by which God put us back on track. We could not have the abundant life Jesus came to give us until we were cleansed of the sin which stained us and our existence. Furthermore, I do not think eternal life is the evangelical message; it is not the salvation message. The word salvation means, rescue or safety, deliver, health, victory, prosperity, help, and welfare, (Strong’s 3444 & 4991). It does not only mean deliverance from sin. The savior came to give deliverance, health, victory, prosperity, help and welfare. In other words, he came to give us an abundant life right here, right now. This is why I think evangelism is important, but it also points out why our evangelistic message is presently off target. We are trying to get people into heaven while Jesus is trying to save them from their current peril and give them a great life now and forever.

Eternity is now. It began a long time ago. God has plans to get us into heaven but the good news that Jesus shared is that our freedom and victory begins now. This is not the good news we have been carrying to the world, however. God wants people to know they can be free now. Jesus came to set the captives free. Amen? The good news of the gospel is that God wants to bless you now, in this life. He wants to free people from torment and hurt. He wants to mend their hurts and restore them to good life. People need God now, not just in heaven. The message of the gospel is that God loves you now. Salvation emphatically is not, buy your ticket to heaven and then suffer until you die. That is not God. If you know God at all, you know that is not His heart.

To be clear, the evangelical message, the message that all the world needs to hear is that God wants to be your savior today. He wants to move into our lives and improve them. He longs to give us perfect peace and joy in this world, right now. Yahweh is a now God. Jesus came to give us abundant life. Abundant life is that life which in intertwined with our beloved, our Father, Yahweh. He who loves us has sent His son to restore us back to health, welfare, liberty, prosperity and joy. This is the good news of the gospel. Tell that to someone. Heaven is here and now for all who live in Christ. Now is the salvation of the gospel. Now is life and love in the Son. Jesus is here now to give you a good life. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29: 11). Tell someone the good news. Jesus has come, and he has life and healing in his hands. This is his salvation, and ours. Amen.

Great and Mighty Things

Jeremiah 33: 2 – 3

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Come on! It is time to shout! God has promised to give us revelation, to tell us of the great and mighty things. This is one of the greatest promises ever! The Amplified version brings out that He is not only going to tell us these amazing things, but that He is going to show them to us as well.

This declaration is made in the context of He who made the earth. In other words, Yahweh is many things; God, Father, healer, provider, etc. but in this statement, He wants you to hear Him from the perspective of the creator. He made the earth and hung it in the vastness of space. He understands how all the systems of earth and space work. He made us and knows what makes us tick. From that point of view He says “call to Me and I will answer you.” That is promise number one. If you seek Him, you will find Him.

Promise two is, when you call out to Him, not only will He answer you but He will go beyond answering to revealing. Don’t you like that? There are mysteries in the world, and for that matter, beyond the world. Your Father wants to show you all these great and mighty mysteries. Our Father wants to tell us how things work, to show us the intricacies of the universe. It is said of Einstein that the theory of relativity came to him while he was meditating, just pondering the way of things. Could it be that in that moment of silent musing, God showed him the great and mighty things that he did not know? Why not?

Like Einstein, the answer you seek may still be hidden in the stars, but no worries. You know the guy who made the stars and positioned them in heaven. Isn’t that just mind boggling? He not only is willing to reveal hidden mysteries to you, He actually wants to. So, what great mystery are you pondering? What question would you like to ask? Sometimes when you think in these terms, the everyday troubles shrink, and that isn’t a bad thing. Call Dad. He is waiting to talk with you. He has phenomenal revelations to give to whomever He can find to listen.

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