My Smog & God’s Cloud

Burning Sugarcane in Maui

This morning as I was driving down the mountain I saw a familiar scene, but something was different. Fields of sugarcane were being burned; and the heat of the smoke was actually pushing away the beautiful white clouds that were being formed around the west Maui mountains. Brown, smog-like haze was beginning to overtake the white clouds. And I thought to myself, “I wonder how many times God has wanted to come down and hover over my life with His presence, but I have such a carnal smoke cloud burning that it pushes Him back.” But I came across a scripture that gives the believer courage in times of struggle.

“Yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, to lead them on the road; nor the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way they should go.” [Neh. 9:19]

Here, God’s Word is saying that even when the children of Israel were creating the “smog of self-centeredness”, (#1.) They weren’t forsaken by God. And (#2.) The cloud did not depart from them! Just when you think you’re at your worst, and that God is “holding His nose” to your “fires of sin”, He stays with you, showing you mercy, and gives you a real hope that you’re still His, and that He’s not going to leave.

No matter where you’re at today – you may feel like a failure, or that you’ve worn-out your welcome at the altar of God by your multitude of transgressions, but God Word is true! You cannot chase Him away from you. Your “smog” is no match for His “cloud”. He saved you, He changed you, He’s got a vested interest in holding on to you! Think about it, He’s invested too much in you to, somehow, let you go now. No! He’s drawing near to you, and causing His presence to blow away all the carnal pollution that you’ve been spreading in your life. He’s letting you know that, the change you’re seeking is right around the corner, and that you’re new beginning can start today!

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You Can’t Tie a Man Who’s Already Bound

Who is this “Paul” anyway? Sound a little strange? bound

DBR – Daily Bible reading: Acts 19-21

S. SCRIPTURE
The Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” [Acts 21:13 13 NKJV]

O. OBSERVATION
Paul had been beaten, jailed, and ran out of town by those who didn’t want any part of his message. The Christians at Caesarea tried to keep him from going to Jerusalem. In verse 4 it says, “They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem.” So who’s right? I believe that was a test to see just how committed Paul really was. How could Paul be so ready to be bound and to die (vs. 13)? A nugget is hidden away here.

1.Paul Purposed in the Spirit. [Acts 19:21]

2.Paul Goes Bound in the Spirit. [Acts 20:22]

First Paul “purposes”, (or makes a decision); then he experiences the momentum of that decision. This is what catapulted him into a whole new way of thinking and living. He was literally consumed, and driven by the Holy Spirit. Paul wasn’t the kind of Christian that needed to be prodded. He had been prodded once before, and that was enough for him.

A. APPLICATION
As strange as it seems – the Holy Spirit can direct another Christian to be a roadblock on your path in the race you’re running. Am I going to “stick to my guns”, or am I going to go the way of the coward and say,
“Yeah, well it did kinda seem like a crazy idea…” I need to ask myself this morning… “What decision is the Holy Spirit calling me to make?” Do I realize that this morning could be the turning point in my life which catapults me into such a radical commitment to Christ ? Because I’m a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ – bound by His Spirit – I won’tl be affected by anyone that tries to bind me in the flesh.

P. PRAYER
“Father, it’s my prayer this morning that You would open my eyes to the decision, to the commitment, that You are calling me to make today. I long to be in that place of total surrender where nothing ruffles my feathers, and where all I see is souls, and the finsihed line of my faith. I’ll gladly be bound in the Spirit today! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Changed by “The Look”

Have you ever had someone give you one of those “looks”? You know what I’m talking about, because when they do you feel their eyes piercing through into your heart.

“All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?” Lamentations 2:15 KJV

As the Children of Israel are being invaded by the barbaric Babylonian forces Jeremiah’s tears begin to fall. Although this mighty prophet told them this judgment of God would take place still his heart breaks over their blatant disobedience. Jeremiah isn’t one of these, “I-told-you-so kind of Christians”. His heart is genuine – it’s the very heart of God. Remember Peter after denying the Lord? You would have thought that Jesus would have given him the cold stare of death, but His eyes conveyed an understanding that crushed the heart of this rugged fisherman [Luke 22:61]. Through all his mistakes Peter still remained one of His favorite disciples. How do we know? After Jesus rose from the dead He singled Peter out as He spoke those grace-drenched words, “…and Peter” [Mark 16:7].

Have you ever been so convicted by the Lord, that you just buried your face in the palm of your hands? Have you ever been so embarrassed by your friends who caught you in the very act of rebellion against the Lord as they said, “but… I thought you were a Christian…”? If they didn’t say the words, they sure did give you “the look”. It’s the look that will either cause you to give up and go back to the world, or give up and go back to carrying your cross.

The bottom line is that God has called us His own. Are we going to make mistakes? Yes. Are we going to do stupid things that the world will point their fingers at us, and mock us because we haven’t been faithful to our Lord? Probably so. But in it all I want to see the look of grace from the Lord, and remember that there’s always mercy and forgiveness with Lord. As Peter was crushed with “the look” it was the very thing that caused him to rise up like never before and formed him into the man of God that was so mightily used of God in the early Church. We, too, can be changed and renewed if we allow the Lord to look into our hearts today.

When Enough is Enough

Recent investigation has called some Tele-Evangelist to the carpet, and the rest of the world is wondering, “how’d you get so rich??”

Daily Bible reading: Exodus 35-40

SCRIPTURE
And they spoke unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. Exodus 36:5-6

OBSERVATION
In the wake of recent Tele-Evangelist financial investigation could it be that we’ll ever see the Bible verse above shared on one of their TV programs? In Moses’ Day – as God’s people were bringing so much money for the building of “the ministry” it’s amazing to me that Moses had to say, “O.K., O.K. it’s enough! We don’t need anymore! You can stop now!!” But apparently many of today’s ministers haven’t heard “God’s Voice” regarding this subject. I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but if ministers are indeed sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit I believe He’ll tell us when it’s enough. He wants to provide for us, the work of the ministry, etc., but if we never know when it’s enough we may be in danger of losing it all.

APPLICATION
I believe the Lord is warning ministers and Christians today – to not be greedy for filthy lucre, but to be thankful and to allow God to be the supreme supplier. If greediness and financial irresponsibility continues it will make it harder and harder to convince God’s people to give. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…” [Psalm 127:1]

PRAYER
“O Lord, I come to You today – not wanting be greedy for the things of this world, but to be transformed in my spirit-man. Give me a taste for the things of Heaven, and not for the things of this world. Help me to know that You are sufficient to provide for all my needs. And help me to fully trust You in every way, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

STOP TRIPPIN’!


Devotions for January 4, 2008
STOP TRIPPIN’!
Pastor Robb Gorringe
Daily Bible reading: Genesis 43-50

SCRIPTURE

Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life [Gen 45:5]. But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. [Gen 50:20].

OBSERVATION
I’m sure Joseph didn’t talk in slang back in 1857 BC. But I somehow think that if he did he would have told his brothers, “stop trippin!” In all honesty I am utterly amazed at the level of spiritual maturity in Joseph. His brothers threw him in a pit and then sold him to some slave-traders. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Could you forgive them? Or would you say to yourself, “just you wait – one day when I get my hands on you – I’ll make you wish you were never born!!!”? Joseph had a right to be seething with enough anger to last a several lifetimes. But through all his trials and tribulations he learned something. He learned that God is in control. It’s not that God put Joe in a hole. That’s not God’s nature. But we live in an evil world, and sometimes the devil slips through the cracks and gets in. Here in the scriptures we see Joe in control. Joe isn’t all tripped-up – trying to deal out a dose of fiery retribution. He’s already given all his heartache and frustration to the Lord and has been released from a prison that’s worse than a pit – bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.

APPLICATION
I want to be like Joseph here. Because Joseph correctly interpreted his circumstances – God then gave him the grace to handle it. Joe saw the overarching purpose behind all he went thru. God turned his situation around, and made something good out of it. Someone once said, “if the world gives you a bunch of lemons – then make some lemonade!”

The Bible says in Romans 8:28,

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

I need to know that in everything God is going to work this for my good. He’s got a plan. He hasn’t left His Throne, or gone on vacation somewhere. He’s with me! He’s ruling and reining! And because He is I need to stop trippin’ and start trusting!

Have you been “trippin’” lately? Stumbling over the circumstances? It’s time to get over those hurdles. It’s time to stop trippin’ and start becoming an overcomer!

PRAYER “O Lord, I bless You today for being a God Who is always in control. I may not always understand why You allow certain things to take place in my life, but I know this that I fall on your mercy and understand that you are going to make this work for my good. You are going to so reveal Yourself and glorify Your Name in my life, and many are going to come to Christ because of it. Open my eyes in a fresh way in this New Year, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”