Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Finding Extraordinary in the Middle of Ordinary

Submitted by Sam Nobles
“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, "I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned." When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." (Exodus 3:2-4)

Moses was going through the routine of his day when he came across something that would have been normal or ordinary for him to see in the deserts of Midian – a bush that had caught on fire. In addition to the ordinary, Moses also sees something extraordinary about that bush – it was burning without being consumed. At the moment that Moses turned from the routine of his day, the Lord spoke with him. Everything that God had been doing with Moses’ life culminated in this very moment. The entire redemptive plan for Israel hung on the fact that Moses would notice the uncommon in the common; the extraordinary in ordinary.

I can say from experience, there will be times when you are so immersed in the ordinary, mundane details of this life that you will be oblivious to the extraordinary that is right in front of your face. I really wonder how many “burning bushes” we have passed over? How many times in the middle of an ordinary moment was my activity was filled with the presence of God and I was unaware?

I have found it true in my life, that the problem is not noticing something unusual or uncommon, but having the energy or the desire to investigate it. It’s sad and funny at the same time that most people are not willing to disrupt the daily routine they have come to dread. Who knows what a moment may hold? That disruption may be a very unique opportunity to have an encounter with God Almighty.

Throughout the Scriptures we see that many of God’s most profound encounters with mankind occurred during the ordinary experiences of life. I challenge you today, when you see the unusual in the midst of the mundane, don’t continue on without investigation. It may be that God has ordained such a moment to be a life-changing moment just for you.

Scripture to Claim: 
“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” (Proverbs 25:2)

Monday, January 30, 2017


(submitted by Kerry Patton)
“This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. 20Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.”    1 Timothy 1:18-20
On The Rocks
The Apostle Paul knew a thing or two about being shipwrecked.  According to 2nd Corinthians 11:25, Paul was shipwrecked three times…on one occasion was adrift in the water for a day and a night.  Another time, he and his companions had been on the Adriatic Sea for 14 days while a storm raged when the ship they were on ran aground on the island of Malta.  There, battered by the wind and waves, their ship was broken up by the crushing power of the storm.
Those who could, swam for the shore, while others drifted ashore on planks or other flotsam.  Upon arriving ashore…while the storm continued to rage, Paul gathered some wood for a fire they had started, and was bitten by a snake which had been hiding in the wood he was carrying.  So, when Paul wrote about people suffering shipwreck in regard to their faith, it is a very vivid portrait of horror, destruction and peril that he draws upon.
Hymenaeus and Alexander
 “…20Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.” None of us like to be singled out when the reprimands are being handed out.  But imagine being used by Paul himself as an illustration of the very worst spiritual offenders.  We don’t know much in depth about these two individuals, except that their actions and apparently heretical beliefs brought about their excommunication (effectively, being kicked out) from the faith. 
Worse, and we don’t hear much about this part in today’s culture; it seems from historical commentaries that apostles…and apostles alone, may have had some ability to bring down physical suffering and disease upon those who would not repent of causing trouble, or teaching falsely, and blaspheming within the fledgling church.  Of such as these, it was said they had been: “handed over to Satan.”  YIKES!!  (Examples of this in scripture would be Paul’s blinding of Simon bar Jesus in Acts 13:11, and Peter and John’s encounter with Simon the Sorcerer in Acts chapter 8.) 
The Point However…
…of Paul’s instruction to Timothy was that he fight the good fight, keep the faith and a good conscience, and not reject these things...for to do so, could lead one into that severe spiritual state to which he compared the violence and destruction of having been shipwrecked.  If we were to really simplify Paul’s words to Timothy, he might have said: “Timothy…please…BE CAREFUL!!  Watch your faith.  Think about what you say.  Think about what you do.  Think about what you THINK about.  If you compromise your faith, you could lose everything…your witness, your ministry, it could shatter your whole life.  Avoid this spiritual shipwreck…at all cost!”
I think Paul would have the same heart cry for each of us. No Christian wakes up in the morning and says to him or herself: “I think I’m going to throw it all away today.  Today, I will make the decision that ruins my marriage, or brings charges against me, or causes my witness to become worthless!” However, big compromises in integrity generally follow a pattern of little breaches in moral and spiritual reasoning.  Those small threads of compromise that we don’t take seriously and weed out may become woven into the fabric of our character and bring our spiritual walk down in pieces.  When the fruit of those compromises comes into being, we can suffer shipwreck of our faith. 

Father, your scriptures are a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Awaken each of us to the seriousness of guarding our faith and witness.  Quicken us to consume your scriptures.  As King David prayed: “I hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Prayer of Agur: Part 2

Two things I ask of you
Proverbs 30:1-9
Do you ever find yourself frustrated in trying to understand God?  Theology is the study of God.  Possibly, this man of wisdom speaks from the frustration of all who fail to wrap their minds around God.  The more he sought and studied, the more conscious he became of his own ignorance and of God’s incomprehensibility.  While affirming his confidence in God’s Word as Truth, he asks God to merely do two things to protect him from himself.  His first request is to keep him from falsehood and deceit that he might live honestly with himself and others. 
The second request is a prayer we all need to pray with sincerity . . . 
“Lord, keep me balanced.”
When we do not define what “enough” is we enslave ourselves to the desire for “more”.
Many today are literally possessed by what they possess.
God does not want us independent.  He longs to be our provider and sustainer.
The amount of time you spend worrying about something displays your need of it and dependence on it.
Money creates wants as well as meets them.
The First Danger of Money…Poverty
Poverty has this great advantage over wealth, that it compels to honest labor. 
Poverty can foster bitterness against God.
Poverty can foster a sense of powerlessness and dependency.
Poverty’s temptation is hopelessness that leads to sin. 
The Second Great Danger of Money…Riches
The stewardship of your possessions is one of the most important responsibilities you have in life for the peace, security and success of your life and your family.
God is not interested in making you rich but creating a vessel through which His purpose can be achieved and His people cared for.
Stewardship does not begin when you are independently wealthy; it begins where you are.

Dave Ramsey – Every Dollar Budget Tool – https://www.everydollar.com/app/#/sign-up/daveramsey

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