Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 1433 Staying On Path

Day 1433: If sin entices you, do not give in to it ... Do not go along with sinful people, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush to evil ... How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it ...Sinful people lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush themselves ... Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain ...
Message from Proverbs 1:10-19

There is great warning of the dangers of flirting with sin. Once enticed and trapped, sin can pull you down quick. God specifically warns us to beware of people that walk the sinful paths. Raising my kids, they heard the expression When you hang around trouble, you get in trouble. It is truth and God, our Father, also warns us to watch out who we walk paths with.

This definitely does not mean you are above the troubled people. It just means to be cautious of the sin snares and keep your feet on the right path. God will equip and prepare you for opportunities to invite others to join you on the path to God's eternal promise.

Be cautious of who and what you surround yourself with. 

"Don't be deceived:
Bad company ruins good morals."
1 Corinthians 15:33

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day 1432 Separating Wheat from the Chaff

Day 1432: "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes the One who is more powerful and I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Matthew 3:10-12

This is how John the Baptist described Jesus to the Pharisees and Sadducee's. They did not exactly receive a warm welcome from John the Baptist, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"

We know that John the Baptist was a wilderness kind of man and he does seem a bit rough around the edges as well doesn't he? Where he lacked in presentation he made up for with priceless wisdom.

"The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

John the Baptist is referencing to your spiritual fruit here. What are you doing in your faith walk? We should be constantly spiritually growing and readying ourselves for God to equip and use for His purpose; this is how you produce good fruit. The nourishment to thrive and have healthy roots is God's Word.

"His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

To understand this meaning I had to look up the chaff of wheat. A chaff is basically the husk or hull around the grain. John the Baptist shares this metaphor of Jesus separating the sheep from the goats, the believers from the unbelievers. You can understand the rest of this Scripture -- the chaff is burned up with unquenchable fire.

John the Baptist was deemed an immediate threat because he boldly spoke the truth that Jesus was the Messiah and has the power of saving those who believe from the unquenchable fire of hell and separating those who refused him. As you know, this was frowned upon during the time Jesus lived on earth as man.

There are several people in the Bible that are unlikely servants of God like John the Baptist. These people did amazing things in their faith walk that produced spiritual fruit and is still being produced thousands of years later as we read their stories in God's Word. Nothing is impossible with God and if you doubt he can use you than I argue you are wrong -- God can use you.

There are many trees not producing fruit that has great potential to produce fruits generations to come. There are many bundles of wheat which chaff is dangerously close to being threshed away because of their choice to deny Christ. God is sending out a call to step up before it is too late. Will you answer?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Day 1431 Consequences of the Fall

Day 1431: There is no doubt we are living the consequences of sin. Unfortunately, there are many that are spiritually deaf and blind and they do not to see the evil that is walking this earth right now. Watch the news for three minutes and you'll see the devil's influence.

After the first sin was committed, God addressed each one involved with the sin:

Genesis 3:14-15
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

"He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." God's Word says His children have the authority over the enemy in the power of Christ Jesus. Romans 16:20 says "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." The consequence of the devil, he will remain beneath us and there is nothing he can do to remove our name from the Lamb's Book of Life. However, that second part, "you will strike his heel" reminds us that the devil will not stop interfering in our life and pestering us. He is a bad loser and will do his best to trip us and push us down.

Genesis 3:16
 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

Childbearing and motherhood can most definitely be painful. There is heartache that comes from motherhood along with the physical pain of childbirth. The consequence of the husband will rule over his wife -- let's face it, this is a curse that has been going for millenniums and still goes on today even through all the protests and women rights. When you study the statistics of man and woman ranks in the business world, in salary, in household control -- the men still come out on top in the twenty-first century. We have come a long way from women being the lowest social status and their word of no value. God does have some feisty and determined daughters that are strong and courageous.

Genesis 3:17-19
 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

"Painful toil." "Produce thorns and thistles." "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food." These are the life struggles we are all too familiar with. Adam and Eve had it made, everything was provided for them and it was all easy. The temptation and fall of sin was what changed it all. Where women may feel frustrated man rules still today, the pressure remains on man to provide and it's not easy in a world of temptation with the enemy striking his heel. 

You may be someone that reads the ancient curses and ask how is it fair you have to suffer today from a sin you didn't even commit. I ask you, have you ever sinned in your life? If you were honest, you would admit you are a sinner; if you were dishonest and said you've never sinned ... well, you just lied and that is a sin. The only way to be redeemed from sin is through Jesus Christ, He reverses the curse eternally for those who believe He took the curse on the cross and died for our sins. We will have temporary struggles in this life because we live in an imperfect and sinful world; but denying Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior will have an eternal consequence. 

Romans 3:10-18 illustrates a world that is unrighteous, a world that is doomed to a spiritual death unless they accept the cure which is Jesus. Continue reading Romans 3:21-31 we read righteousness comes from God. So what we suffer a little on earth, think of the suffering taken in your place on the cross and be thankful for God's mercy and grace we have been justified freely through the redemption of His Son, Jesus. 

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world. 
John 16:33

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 1430 Trifle Creation

Day 1430: If God had a favorite dessert, what do you think it would be? I think trifle because He loves a variety of his creation and how He formed the his creation in the beginning reminds me of a trifle dessert. (Or perhaps I am just craving a delightful angel food and berries trifle.)

Genesis 1:6-10
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place,and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

A trifle is a dessert separated in layers of cake, fruits and whipped cream. I've seen taco and chip dip trifles too so the sky is the limit with your creativity. (Pun intended.) When we read how God created the earth in the beginning you can imagine a trifle setting up in layers. What many did not know is there is an expansion of water hovering over what we call beyond outer space.

We would start creating a trifle from the bottom so let's dust off all those years of earth science we endured. 

Creation Trifle in layers: 
Inner core - Whipped Cream with Oreo chunks
Outer core - Chocolate pudding
Mantle - Brownie cubes
Oceanic Crust - Whipped cream tinted blue (Can add blueberries in cream.)
Continental Crust - Lady fingers (Have fun with children and add some crushed Oreo dirt and gummy worms)
Sky - Whipped cream tinted blue
Universe - Whipped cream with Oreo chunks
Water - Whipped cream tinted blue
Heaven - Topped with your favorite candy bar chunks

This is a delicious way to learn the creation order of Genesis 1:6-10 so feel free to use it for a lesson and alternate the ingredient layers as you like. It is a 9-layer trifle so make sure the trifle bowl is big enough and the whipped cream mixture is pudding consistency to hold it's volume in the trifle. 

To take it deeper, if you had to layer a trifle starting with your heart and the following layers would represent priorities in your life, would God be the closest layer to your heart?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 1429 Kingdom Focused

Day 1429: I was listening to a radio station on the way home from work about a father who lost his son at Disney. In a panic he pushed through the crowds calling out his son's name and desperately searched the faces of every kid that wore a red shirt and had black hair. Though only a couple of minutes went by every second felt a lifetime to the worried father.

He found his son standing at a store front window so mesmerized with dancing puppets entertaining him he did not hear his father cry out his name. In the Magic Kingdom, the father was distracted by the sights and sounds he lost his son and the son was distracted by the sights and sounds he didn't hear his father.

This world is similar to the Magic Kingdom. Sights and sounds distract us from the Son and sights and sounds prevent us from hearing the Father. There are many lost wandering around and the Father is desperately calling out their name. Make sure you are not too caught up in the distractions and sounds of this world you cannot hear His call.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. 
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, 
but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, 
that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 1428 Soul Food


Day 1428: There is something about a Sunday meal after church with the dining room table filled with southern soul food. The fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, cheesy mac and cheese and that soft buttery roll that just makes your mouth water. The only item usually doctor approved on the plate is the green beans as long as doc doesn't know about the stick of butter and cream cooked with them. Don't even get me started on the desserts -- I love my grandmother's recipe of peach cobbler.

It's not so much the incredible food itself that brings joy to our soul, it is the people and memories around us that does. Soul food is not as common as it once was which makes it something we crave come Thanksgiving. We live in a health conscious society (nothing wrong with that) and most have a fast food convenience busy schedule. There are not a lot of family sit downs anymore. Trust me, if a momma or a grandma went through all the trouble of preparing a soul food feast, you will have your bottom planted at the table and enjoy the food with the family rather you like it or not.

That mouthwatering plate is not the food that our soul actually craves. We were created in the likeliness of God so it is Him that completes us (Genesis 1:26); we find fulfillment in His Word. There are a lot of ingredients in the Bible that makes up life's recipe. Like any recipe you cook, you have to follow it closely.

Your soul craves genuine soul food, are you nourishing it in God's Holy Word?

"Like newborn babies, 
crave spiritual milk, so that by it 
you may grow up in your salvation,
now that you've tasted that the Lord is good."
1 Peter 2:2-3

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 1427 New Christian

Day 1427: There is nothing like witnessing someone accept Jesus as their Savior and ready to go all in for Him. Nothing will ever take their name off God's family record but many have no idea what is right around the corner lurking in the shadows. Working with a few brand new teenage Christians, I decided to write this blog and share with them and the world that it is going to be a battle but one worth fighting.

Dear New Christian,

First off, welcome to the family. You are part of a very large family filled with so many different types of people and cultures. As with any large and loud family, there is a lot of imperfection and oops. We are all constantly growing in our spiritual knowledge and endure a lot of growing pains. The cool thing is we are family and family supports one another, we pray for each other and are there to help each other up when the world pushes us down. (And you can expect to be pushed down.)

If you are familiar with family then you know family has a habit to tell you what to do and how to do it. This can come off annoying but it is done with good intentions. You'll see the same thing with your faith family, a lot of us have been there, done that and we have the battle scars to share with you. You will be facing many spiritual battles of your own and we want to do our best to protect you and save you from repeating some we already learned from.

Because we are a large family and a threat to the enemy the devil is a constant pest in our life. Satan is bitter he has lost another one to God and he is a nasty sore loser. It doesn't help that he already knows he loses in the end. That doesn't stop him from trying his best to pull us from God and prevent others from finding Him. God tells His children not to fear the devil, we have authority over him: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you." James 4:7-8 The name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is a powerful name the demons fear.

Listen, Satan has a target on you now. He goes after the new in faith and does his very best to keep you from growing. You are a threat to him because God already has a plan for you, a purpose to be the difference in this world. As your sister and someone that has been in many battles, I strongly recommend you memorize and apply to your heart Ephesians 6:10-18.

I wish I could say as you grow in faith the devil will leave you alone but he won't. Remember you will always remain a threat to him. As a member of God's family now, you have some responsibilities to do while on this earth:

First, you need to know God's Word and to do this you study it daily. Satan will be a constant presence providing plenty of distractions and excuses for you. Stand up to him and pick up God's Bible.

Second, prayer is important and powerful. You will learn more about that in our Father's Word. Entering prayer battle for yourself and others is an incredible and important fight.

Third, God will unveil your purpose and you will need to step up to fulfill it. By taking the first two steps you are being equipped by God for your purpose. Our family is always growing and we welcome new members every opportunity we have. Be on the lookout how you can share God's message to others. Your job is to represent Christ to a lost world and God will open doors for you to do that.

Life is going to be difficult but keep this in mind, this world and all the problems we face are temporary. We are already citizens of heaven and just residents of this earth. Our eternal home is with our Father where we will be reunited with our faith family and it will be Thanksgiving everyday. Meanwhile, just keep your head up and fight the good fight. You have a lot of brothers and sisters by your side. You need support, prayer or a shoulder to lean on just let us know.

With love,
Your sister in Christ.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him,for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
1 John 3:1-3