“Your Priorities or His?” December 25

 

Merry Christmas,

I pray that you are enjoying a wonderful day rejoicing in the birth of our Savior (or looking forward to it if you’re reading this early like I do)!

I look forward to another year of growing in the grace and knowledge of our great God along with each of you in 2017!

This is the time of year for evaluating priorities and setting goals for the coming year. Don’t forget to consider God’s priorities as you do. God had something to say to the people in Haggai’s day on that very subject.

In Him,
Donna

 

Your Priorities or His? - As we approach the New Year, how are your ways—your priorities? Are you interested in what God is interested? Are you giving into the work of God? Do you tithe or just give God what is left over, if anything? What if you decided to take God at His Word this coming year and give Him the firstfruits?

Today’s Readings:
Haggai 1 & 2
Psalm 147.7-11
Proverbs 30.20
Revelation 15

 

Your Priorities or His?

 

Haggai 1 & 2:

Consider Your Ways

 

Verse 1.5b sums up the theme of this book when it says, “… ‘Consider your ways!’” God repeated the admonition in 1.7.

The blessings of the Lord were missing from the people’s lives because their priorities were all wrong.

6 “ You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

They were more concerned about their own homes and personal comfort than they were with the work of God. And it wasn’t working out so well for them!

As we approach the New Year, how are “your ways”—your priorities? Are you interested in what God is interested? Are you giving into the work of God? Do you tithe or just give God what is left over, if anything? What if you decided to take God at His Word this coming year and give Him the firstfruits?

Those of us who have decided to trust God with our finances, can tell you that when you give Him the first 10% God will cause the 90% to go so much further than you could possibly stretch it. Pray and ask Him to help you take that step of faith, if you have not already.

And what about your time priorities? Do you make time for church each week? Do you take time to pray and read God’s Word? Do you have a plan to grow in your relationship with Him?

We can have all the good intentions in the world, but those things don’t just happen. We need to plan for them. We don’t have to get legalistic about it. There are times when we are providentially hindered from keeping our commitments: sick kids, travel, and other things.

But, why not make an appointment to meet with God on a regular basis? Even a few minutes of prayer, Bible reading, journaling, etc. can make a big impact on our lives and relationships with God.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 147.7-11:

Those Who Fear Him

 

“The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.”

Do you “fear the Lord”—that is do you take Him at His Word and have more concern about what He thinks rather than anything or anyone else? In what are you placing your hope? Is it your abilities? Your job? Your spouse? Or anything else, rather than the Lord?

 

Proverbs 30.20:

An Adulterous Woman

 

adulterous immoral woman

“This is the way of an adulterous woman. She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wickedness.’”

Just as a woman can be seduced by an unscrupulous man, many a man has fallen into the trap of an adulterous, carnal woman.

Proverbs 7 says:

21 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield,
With her flattering lips she seduced him.
22 Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks,
23 Till an arrow struck his liver.
As a bird hastens to the snare,
He did not know it would cost his life.

Ladies, we must be on our guard all the time and purpose to stay pure, in our thoughts and attitudes, and to stay focused on God and His will for our lives.

Galatians 5.16-17 says, “… Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

There is a battle going on. It’s waged first and foremost in the spiritual realm. Continue reading

December 25 “The real story of Christmas: murder, intrigue & wonder”

nativity sceneMerry Christmas,

I pray that you are enjoying a wonderful day rejoicing in the birth of our Savior! It’s His birth, life, and sacrificial death that makes reading His Word so important.

I mentioned yesterday that the Bible is the #1 best seller of all time. That is true for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that God is always going to watch over and protect His Word. It’s, also, true because it offers the only true and lasting answers to man’s problems.

Communist and other governments have tried to destroy it. False religious leaders have burned it, outlawed it and punished those who held on to it. And today many in the scientific world and in our institutions of higher education have tried to declare it irrelevant, at best, and foolish or dangerous, at worst. Yet people continue to suffer persecution and even death to keep it and hold to its principles.

The Bible is, also, a literary masterpiece. (Go figure it was written by the most creative being ever! Just sayin’!)

It has intrigue, deception, sex, love, war, devotion, bitterness, redemption, and so much more. It’s a book of songs and poetry, story-telling, history and wisdom. It portrays human experience, even its underside, but also provides the wisdom to understand and overcome it.

The Bible tells the fascinating story of creation, the fall of man, and redemption through the lives and lessons of real people. It’s stories are without parallel.

The Christmas story alone is one of perceived betrayal and rejection (Mary and Joseph). It’s one of embarrassment (just think about what their friends and neighbors must have thought), harsh and unfair treatment (imagine riding a donkey 70 or so miles while 9 months pregnant), and murder (when Herod failed to find the baby Jesus, he ordered the mass murder of all the boys age 2 and under).

But it’s also one of wonder (the virgin birth, the journey of the wise men, angels appearing to lowly shepherds, and God’s protection of His Son).

As we finish out this year and begin rereading the incredible book we call the Bible, get ready for more shocking human behavior, more intrigue, more twists and turns, and more of God’s amazing patience, mercy, grace and love. And no matter how many times (or how few) you’ve read through the Bible, get ready to be blessed as you grow to know our amazing God better.

On to …

Today’s Readings:
Haggai 1 & 2
Psalm 147.7-11
Proverbs 30.20
Revelation 15

 

Priorities ConceptHaggai 1 & 2:

Consider your priorities

Verse 1.5b sums up the theme of this book when it says, “… ‘Consider your ways!’” He repeated the admonition in 1.7. The blessings of the Lord were missing from their lives. Verse 6:

6 “ You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

The people’s priorities were all wrong. They were more concerned about their own homes and personal comfort than they were the work of God. And it wasn’t working out so well for them!

As we approach the New Year, Continue reading

January 28 “When things get worse”

Upset Young Woman Sitting Alone on Bench Next to Books

Have you ever obeyed God only to have things get worse? What truths can you hang on to when that happens?

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 5 & 6
Psalm 16.7-11
Proverbs 5.7-14
Matthew 18.21-35

Exodus 5 & 6:

Hold on to His promises

Here we see Moses return to Egypt to do what God has told him to do. He has gotten confirmation from Aaron, from the elders and from the people (Ex. 4.27-31). But when he and Aaron go to Pharaoh things don’t turn out so well! In fact, things get worse! Have you ever felt that way? You obey God and things seem to get worse?

You might be thinking, “Well, at least God warned Moses and told him that things would eventually work out.” But hasn’t He told us the same thing, maybe not from a burning bush, but in the pages of Scripture?

Paul said, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8.28), God is saying to us that no matter how things look right now, “I’m working! Trust Me!”

Paul also wrote, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1.6). We may not see the big picture, but if we belong to God, He is at work fulfilling His design and purposes in our lives. Continue reading