Friday, November 30, 2018

Realize Our Dependence on God

Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.  Psalm 142:4

Life comes with problems.  There is no way around it.  At some point we all experience trials, mountaintops and valleys and sometimes we get stuck in the valley for a long time.  Psalm 142shares how the Psalmist dealt with tough times and gives us some good advice in what we can do when facing life’s problems.
One of the things we can see in Psalm 142 is that we need to Realize Our Dependence on God 
In this Psalm David was in a valley (or a cave). This Psalm is filled with words that describe a man brought very low by his troubles. "Pour out complaint, declare my trouble, overwhelmed, trap, no one regards me, no one cares, brought very low."
The fact is, our problems really get burdensome when it seems that no one else understands or cares.  I have no refuge; no one cares for my life tells us that David not only felt that no one cared, but also that there was no way he was going to get out of that cave.  We can become so covered up by our problems that we begin to believe the lie that there is no answer.  We feel isolated and trapped.  This is pure hopelessness.  No one to care, no resolution to the issue.  
Satan loves to take us to this place and trap us into focusing on our problem and off of those who could help. He wants to steal our hope and cripple our determination.  He wants to draw us into the pit and make us feel defeated.
The turning point - Where do you go from this point? To selfish depression? Or to God?
God is waiting to sustain us.  He wants us to turn to Him and to realize that He is the only one we can truly depend on to never forsake us.  He is big enough to handle our problems and He is the ultimate example of loyalty through His love for us.  Heneverstops loving usand He is always available.  

Today ask God to help you get out from under the oppression of your trials.  God can free you from the prison of hopelessness and fill your heart with the comfort and peace that spills over from His love.  

Scripture to claim:
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to.  Psalm 142:7

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Good Horse Sense

– by Sam Nobles

“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ (Deuteronomy 17:14-16 ESV)

God instructed Israel, when they obtained a king, that he was not to amass horses for himself or get people to acquire horses from Egypt. Why? One reason that God might have commanded Israel not to accumulate horses, especially for battle, is because he intended to give victory to Israel through their dependence on him and not their military strength like the Egyptians and other contemporary nations did. God’s plan for Israel did not include them becoming a world power through aggressive battles with other nations. God’s plan for Israel was to occupy the land he had already given them.

According to Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4, the land God gave to Israel stretched from the Nile River in Egypt to Lebanon (south to north) and everything from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (west to east). This was more than enough land for Israel to be responsible for maintaining.

The idea is that Israel was to be about what God had called them to do and not worry about being, having, or becoming that which was outside of their God-given boundaries. This is a good word for us as well. Find what God has called you to be about and give it your all. Do not be concerned with what you don’t have or can’t do, simply be a good steward of what God has given you.

This just makes good horse sense!

Scripture to Claim:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalms 20:7 ESV)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fear Steals the Promised Land

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.  Numbers 13:1-2a
The Children of Israel, wandering in the desert for so long, finally made it to the outskirts of the Promised Land.  Moses chose the men to send in to search out the land.  He asked them to find out specific things about the land: 
  • Are the people strong or weak? Are there few or many?
  • Is the land good or bad? Rich or poor? Are there trees? 
  • Are the cities camps or strongholds?
It was the time for the grapes to be in season, so he asked them to also bring back fruit, because fruit is a great overall picture of the abundance of the land.  The spies did as Moses asked and came back to report on the land.  

The spies returned from the Promised Land with a classic answer: We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.  But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.  The spies gloss right over the report of the land flowing with milk and honey and then move right into the size of the people and their cities.  These are questions Moses asked to be answered, but the three-letter word separating the two reports is the three-letter word that stops us in our tracks sometimes too.  But. But – I don’t know how.  But – I am not equipped.  But – If I do that, this may happen.  But – it is a big risk.  But.  
Fear.  If you look back at the passage at the top, there is this really important part of the scripture: which I am giving to the people of Israel.  This land was already theirs.  God had already promised them this very land, flowing with milk and honey, and trembling with the steps of giants. Caleb, one of the spies, spoke up and said they should go and take possession of the land, but the other spies (except for one other - Joshua) said the people were too big and they could never take the land from them.  That little three letter word, but, was standing between them and what God had already promised them.  They just needed to step up and claim it.  They had a battle ahead, butGod was with them.  
What keeps you from taking the promised land God has promised you?  Is that three letter word stopping you too?  Don’t let the word but or fear keep you from claiming what God has already give you.  

Scripture to Claim:
Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.  Psalm 143:8

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Fill Your Horn and Go

The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way’. 1 Samuel 16:1 
Fill Your Horn and Go
In the passage above, Israel had rejected God as their King because they wanted a human king sitting on a real-life throne.  God answered Israel’s prayers and appointed Samuel to anoint Saul as their king.  Somewhere along the way, Saul turned and rebelled against God.  He went against the Lord’s commands to destroy all of the Amalekite’s cattle and spared the best of them for offering.  What deliberate disobedience!  (And asking for trouble!)  Saul’s rebellion against God resulted in him being rejected by God as King over Israel.  
Samuel was heartbroken.  He had a special connection with Saul.  He had anointed him, as God had appointed him to do.  They had history and now things had changed.  Samuel mourned.  And mourned.  And mourned.  Finally, God basically asked Samuel, How long do you plan on mourning this situation?  It is not going to change, and I have more work for you ahead.  Then He said these little known but highly profound words:  Fill your horn with oil and go.  Samuel had been given another command from God.  He didn’t want to go.  He was holding out hope that this situation with Saul would fix itself by some miracle.  But God had plans for Samuel ahead.  He needed him to move on.  He needed him and also had wonderful and great things for him ahead. 
We all can probably sympathize a little with Samuel, some of us more than others.  How long have we held on to something that was permanently broke, hoping we could fix it?   How long have we stayed in the dead waters of a church, marriage, friendship, business, etc. waiting for life to come back again?  Sometimes God has us waiting for a reason, but sometimes He is waiting on us to move on, to fill our horn with oil and go.  Fear can certainly keep us in a warm, comfortable, but terribly wrong place.  It can paralyze us to moving in blind faith, because so often when we move in faith our eyes are completely blinded to what is ahead.  But what are we missing out on?  We may be missing incredible things that God is waiting to do through us or in our lives.  It is hard to let go, especially when we are attached, good or bad, to what we are holding tight to.  We won’t stop God’s plans by not moving on when He wants us to, but we will miss out.  
What has the Lord asked of you lately?  Has He asked you to let go of something you don’t want to let go of?  Please do not misunderstand this devotional as a word from the Lord to quit your family, or ministry, or any hard thing you just don’t want to do.  This is a message to you to listen and evaluate.  Are you hanging on to anything you shouldn’t be hanging on to?  There could be wonderful things ahead.  Listen for His calling – Fill your horn with oil and be on your way… Wherever the Lord leads is a good way to go.  

Scripture to Claim:
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land Isaiah 1:19

Monday, November 26, 2018

Say Thank You

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced… Psalm 105:1-5
Say Thank YouWho are you thankful for today? Gratitude must be expressed TO someone. It’s not enough to just feelthankful. We must express our thanks to someone, being grateful for what they have done. That is why we call it "Thanksgiving." We givethanks. We don’t just feelthankful. We need to tell people what they have done that has benefited and blessed us.  
When was the last time you thanked a friend for their friendship? How long has it been since you thanked your spouse for their commitment to your marriage? Have you ever thanked your employer for giving you a job that puts food on your table and a roof over your head? How about thanking your parents for all the sacrifices they have made to make you successful?  
God Deserves Our Thanks For Many Things With Which We Are Blessed God has given us so many blessings that we take for granted and don’t really think about.  We should thank God for the air we breathe, the rain that waters the soil, and the abundant variety of foods that grace our tables.  We often forget to thank God for a healthy body, a sound mind, eyes that see, and ears to hear.  And we should definitely thank Almighty God for an inspired, preserved Word of Truth upon which we can build our lives, and the precious gift of salvation. 
The psalmist calls his people to "remember" the wonders of God. (Verse 5) He knew how prone we are to forget. He knew how easy it is for us to focus on our trials, to be weighted down with care, to overlook the many, simple blessings we enjoy in life.
God keeps His promises to us and He does what He says He will do.  His promises are like a door prize.  If you claim it, it is yours but if you don’t claim it, it is no good to you.  You have to believe and claim the promises of God and then be grateful to Him for His everlasting mercy, love, and faithfulness.
The psalmist also tells us to "give" thanks, to "make known"what God has done.  We are to "talk"of all His wondrous works. If you are grateful, tell it, sing it, shout it, but don’t bottle it up inside of you.  Don’t take it for granted that people will know you are grateful, or what you are thankful for.  Tell the people you love how thankful you are for them not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.  Tell your Heavenly Father how thankful you are for all He has given you, and the sacrifices He has made because He loves you.  Every day live thankful. 

Scripture to Claim:Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Faith is the Victory

Psalm 3
It is certain that life contains those times when troubles mount up and our life is disrupted. In just such a condition, the Psalmist found a way to overcome life's demands through his personal faith in God.
What once was your greatest joymay become your greatest area of bitternessor disappointment.
The greatest time of trialin your life is the greatest opportunity for the exercise of your faith.

I. Trials Consumev.1‑2

Troubles always come in flocksv.1
God is not known for His keeping us FROMtrial alone but keeping us INtrial as well.
The doubting world can bring no hopebut increases our fearv.2
If God's provisionextends only to the saintly, then we are all in trouble.

II. Faith is Confessedv.3

Recognizing God's protectionv.3a 
Claiming God's provisionv.3b

III. Prayer Consolesv.4

Averbalcry to express emotion. v.4a
As we cry out in spirit, so God answers in spirit.

IV. Hope Constructsv.5‑6

Createsserenityfor rest. v.5a
Createstrustin providence. v.5b
Createsstrengthto encounter the trial. v.6

V. God Controlsv.7‑8

A new focuson the powerof God in place of the problem.v.7

confidenttrustthat God will savev.8

Friday, November 23, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Staff of North Side Baptist Church

Scripture to Claim: Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… Ephesians 5:20

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Staff of North Side Baptist Church

Scripture to Claim: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:15

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

God's Blessings

Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. Psalms 28:6-9  NIV
Thanksgiving opens the door to God's blessings-  A grateful heart changes everything. Having a grateful heart enables you to recognize God's presence in your life. 
Thanksgiving allows us to see our delightful inheritance in the Lord. The psalmist writes,Surely, I have a delightful inheritance.  Psalms 16:6You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. OLORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.   Psalms 30:11-12 NIV.
Giving thanks to God in difficult times is essential because it gives us the ability to see life from an eternal perspective. - I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set he LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Psalms16:7-8 David, who wrote Psalms, understood that his future held greater blessings than anything he could hope to enjoy in the present. David took courage that even though his body may end up in a grave that this was not the end. God would give him eternal pleasures at his right hand. 
The pressures of the present are often staggering but knowing that the Lord delivers us out of the stress of the moment is the greatest encouragement for the present.  David didn’t just think about the struggles of the present, he remembered what God had done in the past too.  He remembered the blessings and all the times God had delivered him and Israel.  He had an eternal perspective.  Having an eternal perspective gives us hope and courage to see the moment as part of God’s wondrous works for our lives.  Knowing God's faithfulness to his people in the past and understanding His eternal blessing to be ours in the future helps us set a course for our lives in the present.
Today be thankful for some of the unconventional Thanksgiving things in your life.  Be thankful for the hard times and how God uses this to grow you and also how He delivers us through these times.  Remember you past and all God has done for you, how He has been faithful.  Thank Him for turning mourning to dancing.  Be thankful for the promise of eternal life – a royal inheritance - and His never-ending presence in your life.  

Scripture to Claim:
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

No Good Gifts Without God

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  Psalms 16:9-11 NASB 

It is really not hard to find something to be thankful for in America. We are a nation of plenty and tend to measure our blessings in terms of material things and resources.  Even the poorest in America seem to have an abundance of things.  As we list our blessings, we tend to review those things around us that bring us some happiness, joy or security.  There is that word again…things.
Sometimes we do measure how good our lives are by what we have.  The trouble with measuring our blessings by our materialpossessions is that apart from God there is no good thing.  The eternal blessings of God also bring great joy to our lives.  There is a deep joy that comes from the spirit or soul of this man as he considers the eternal blessings of Jehovah.  As these words are considered, it is evident that his joy is overflowing into song.  The words “my glory rejoices” can better be rendered “my tongue rejoices.” 
Have you really thanked God for your salvation and the fact that our souls will not undergo decay as the writer says?  In the order of blessings, that seems to be one that stands high on the list. Our salvation is not something that we purchased or earned but came as a gift of God through His Son.
What about the wisdom that God has given as He has directed our steps through the past year?  It seems that in all of our lives we can see where an answer came just at the right time to a moment of concern or confusion.  God also has provided purpose for the days and paths of our lives bringing together our past and present course toward His design for our lives.  
The Psalmist also speaks of being thankful for joy we find in the presence of God regardless of the circumstances.  When life is difficult and burdens are heavy, is there any other place that we can discover peace and security that we find in the presence of God in prayer and worship.  The assurance we find in singing His praise and reading His word is uplifting.
The final words of the writer in this Psalm sum up the eternal blessing of God… “In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”  Your see, many of the things we were thankful for in years past are gone from our lives for they were temporal.  The things that brought us joy may have even become burdens instead of blessings.  But the pleasures that God gives are everlasting. 
So, as you give thanks this year to God, don’t forget His eternal gifts. 

Scripture to Claim:
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB

Monday, November 19, 2018

Gratefulness in a Dry Spell…

The Apostle Paul provides us many opportunities to learn some great lessons from his life.  He was a persecutor of Christians until He had a blinding salvation experience and became a life on fire for God.  One of the most memorable passages about Paul is the passage where he speaks of having a thorn in the flesh – something we can all relate to.  We all have things in our lives that can defeat us if we let them. And trials are a pretty regular part of life.  That is why it is important for us to learn to give thanks, regardless of our situations in life.  Even in the hardest of times, if we can focus on what there is to be thankful for, and take the focus off our pain, it helps.  Also, a sacrifice of praise is sweet to our Heavenly Father’s ears. 
Paul found reason to be thankful while in dire need. Paul learned to be content in his situation because he was grateful for God's strength that would enable him to do whatever God wanted him to do in every circumstance. God's wisdom strengthened and encouraged Paul.  
Spiritual insight allows us to see the good and bad in our lives with the realization that God blends them together for our good. As James wrote to troubled Christians, he reminded them that every good and perfect gift came from God(James 1:2-4, 17). However, I believe that their good and perfect gifts from God were spiritual rather than physical. Trials have a way of stripping away the superficial and making it easy to see the really important things in life. We must realize how all things—good and bad--fit together to make life what God intends for it to be. It is then that we discover gratitude that leads to contentment.
As you head into Thanksgiving this week, maybe you are in a dry spell.  Maybe you are sick, or have marriage/family problems, or financial issues. Try to focus on God and all He has done for you.  Pray about your situation and thank Him for the work He is doing even if you don’t feel like He is doing anything.  Trust Him, give it to Him and live expectantly, waiting on Him to blend everything together for His perfect goodness.  Pray for eye to be opened so you can see there is much to be thankful for.  

Scripture to Claim:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Sunday, November 18, 2018

“Thanks Be to God”

Romans 7:25a; Romans 8
While thanksgiving is known for gratitude for earthly blessings, there are greater blessings for us to give thanks for that are of an eternal nature.  The acts of God draw forth both gratitude and praise.  
Salvation through Justificationv.1-13   
We are Delivered:
FROMthe law of sin and death. v.2
THROUGHJesus Christ. v.3
TOfulfill the purpose of God. v.4
dailyBYthe Spirit of God. v.9-13
Not just a citizen but a sonv.14
Not just a slave but an heirv.15-16
Hope is not wishingbecause it has a reason... the resurrection and victory of Jesus Christ!
The Holy Spiritv.26-27   
Providential Carev.28-30   
·      Of the Physicalv.28
The completeness of God's control…
"We know"- All certainty
"all things"- All circumstances
"those who love God ... called"- All Christians
No experience can be isolatedto determine its ultimate, eternal value.
·      Of the Eternalv.29-30
Satan would have to condemnJesus to condemnus.
Prevailing Powerv.35-39   
·      There is the promise of problemsv.35-36

·      There is the promise of His presencev.35a,37-39

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