November 30-Bullies and Other Giants in the Land

2 Chronicles 20:2 The Message Bible Jehoshaphat received this intelligence report: “A huge force is on its way from beyond the Dead Sea to fight you. There’s no time to waste-they’re already at Hazazon Tamar, the oasis of En Gedi.”

I first knew of the fight with the Bully when I came to the spot my sister and I met to walk home together. My sister wasn’t there. But I looked to my left, over by the cedar trees, there she was…an enormously big girl was all up in her face. I knew my sis and I could tell she was terrified. If I didn’t do something quick, this mountain of a girl was going to squash her! Just then, I saw my sister’s purse on the ground where she had dropped it in the midst of all the drama. I came behind the giant swinging my sister’s purse like a sling shot. WHAM! I clocked the bully in the head, grabbed my sister’s arm, and we ran for dear life.

I don’t advocate violence, but what do you do when you’re faced with a fight and you are overpowered and outmanned? This is a picture of the above incident with King Jehoshaphat. He was minding his own business when some bullies decided they wanted to fight. Jehoshaphat wanted no part of it. As a matter of fact, he was afraid of the outcome. He knew he couldn’t win.   But unlike me at eight years old, Jehoshaphat turned to God for help (vs. 3). He also got others to pray with him. Bullies come in many forms and in this life there’s no way around them. For you, the issue might be gigantic, but it’s minuscule to God! So what if there are giants in the land! There are no giants too big for your God!

 

November 25- The “Something” He Wants

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Ephesians 5:11-14 The Message Bible

 I have come to realize there are a whole lot of actions that are permissible for me. I can act on them and they aren’t necessarily wrong and won’t cause any major problems for anybody, so I tell myself. If you are in any way tempted by such human tendencies as I am, may I be a source of encouraging insight to you today. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s the “something” He wants you doing. Don’t allow your selfishness to pull the wool over your own eyes; every step is ordained, planned and orchestrated by the Author and Father of all Creation. There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman at the end of the day. All that we are belongs to Him and He has established some guidelines to help us decipher His will for today. If you have any desire to stand before Him on that “tallying-up” day with a clear conscience and a completed work order, you will have to spend some face time with Him now – day by day! So don’t waste your time in the dark alleys of “I know what’s best for me.” Get on your knees and report for duty with the Master Foreman and get to working in the Light.

 

 

 

November 24th- Every

Psalms 139:13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

When I was 19 years old, I worked for an inner-city sports camp called Kids Across America. Located on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, it was a paradise of forests, beautiful water, gorgeous sunsets, and a few mosquitoes. It was the perfect set-up for hours of really hard work that can help bring “light-bulb” moments.

While I spent the summer there at KAA, I was privileged to listen to a wise mind of our century, Mr. Joe White. He founded KAA along with the huge organization of camps called Kanakuk. While speaking to my group, he persuaded us to be a student of the Word of God. He shared how powerfully he had seen growth in his own life because of time spent reading God’s letter to us.

There was one big problem he seemed to face in his pursuit of time with God. Consistency. Don’t we all know what he’s talking about? As a college student, my lack of consistency had yet to rear its ugly head. After all, I didn’t have anyone else to think of but myself! But Joe knew we’d come to those moments when many others, namely the ones we love the most, might have to be the victims of the times we “drop the ball.” I was thinking of this when I looked at a pile of 4 loads of laundry on my rocking chair, unfolded. Or the list of thank you notes, not finished. Projects started, many still underway…..the requirements we are under could go on and on.

But I then MADE my mind go to the rest of that precious “gem” God gave me through Joe White: “EVERY.” He explained that every morning as he goes into the bathroom mirror, he sees a yellow post-it note with the word “every.” This reminds him to go to the main thing he knows he must do every day. He must spend time with the Author of the day. When he does this, everything else can fall in place, or he can “go with the flow” when it doesn’t! God said to Moses, “Tell Pharaoh that I AM sent you.” God is the God of today! He is not the God of yesterday and its mistakes, nor the God of tomorrow and its worries. For the rest of our “days,” may every day count as a treasure as we walk out our “life-book!”

Jennifer

Biblical Meditation: Matthew 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

 

November 23-To Buf’ fet (buf-it) or to Buf fet’ (bu-fay): That is the Question!

I Corinthians 9:27

Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. Amplified

My daddy took me to my first “all–you-can-eat” restaurant when I was about 11. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It was breakfast, one of my very favorite meals. They had absolutely everything. Hot cakes, eggs anyway you wanted, sausage, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, everything. You can imagine what my plate looked like! This was not a morning to be eating oatmeal, if you know what I mean. This was the real deal. My daddy even let me have my own cup of coffee. By the time I was done, I was doing the Penguin shuffle! To say I overdid it was an understatement!

Over the years I’ve gotten better about moderation when I go to buffet- style restaurants, but I have to be intentional before I walk into the establishment or I will find myself going overboard. The problem isn’t the abundance of food at my disposal; it is my human tendency to get “just a little more.” Every person on the planet has this challenge in one area or another, because we are greedy and selfish by nature. You watch a couple of two-year-olds play together, it won’t be long before somebody’s crying about a toy they want and the other won’t give it back. Doesn’t matter that there are plenty of other toys to play with; no, they have got to have that one.

But here’s the deal, this word spelled “buffet” has another meaning. When you shift the accent it means “to deal harshly or to strike.” Every one of us has a continuing challenge when it comes to ourselves; we are going to either buf’ fet (restrain) or buf fet’ (indulge). As God’s master pieces, we have His Spirit living in us giving us the ability to know where we need to be aware. So, set your heart today on this nugget of I Corinthians 9:27. Let the Lord guide you as you train your “self.”

Lorenzo

 

November 20- No Need to Fuss

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, and do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Matthew 6:30-33

When I was a boy, I loved to get in the sun and throw shadows. I would be walking along and all of a sudden I’d come upon a wall. My shadow would make me look like I was ten feet tall. It was always fun to come up behind my buddies and make them think I was an adult or one of the big boys. Sometimes they would get all nervous until they realized it was just me.

Have you ever found yourself making a big fuss over something only to find out it was just a shadow? Growing up, penicillin was the wonder-cure for everything. My mom was a nurse, and if I ever even acted like I was coming down with something she would threaten to take me to the doctor to get a shot of penicillin in the backside!

One day the visit was inevitable and I got to fussing, “Momma, NO! I don’t need a shot. Please, Momma, It’s gonna hurt!” I worried myself sick all morning over that shot of penicillin and the mean doctor that was going to stick it to me. What I didn’t know is my mom worked with the doctor and had already arranged to give me the shot herself in his presence. I didn’t feel a thing, except a little foolish for making a big fuss over nothing!

Listen, life is no different then a shot of penicillin when God is your Papa. He’s not going to let anyone or anything stick it to you. Open your heart and hear what He’s saying to you today. He loves you and He knows your needs better than you do. All your problems are just sophisticated shadows that have no true power to harm you. Let His Word comfort and guide you. It matters not what the issues are. There’s no need to fuss, Daddy’s got you covered.

Lorenzo

Suggested Bible Meditation: Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-34

November 19-Words With Wisdom

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. Proverbs 18:21 MSG

Today I am reminded that the way I use my words can change a person’s life. Once I got really upset with one of my sisters and said something rude about how she looked. Later on my dad told me that mean words can hurt the way someone thinks about himself. So as you go through your day, watch what you say to those you love!

Nathaniel

November 18- God Breathed

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17

Just came home from a long trip with my family. We had a great time, a truly relaxing time. And as is the case with long trips in a fifteen passenger van, one tends to grow weary of whirling wind and winding roads. But nothing peeks the agitation meter like finger swirls on the rear glass windows. I must admit, when I was a child, I too loved to huff on the car glass when the air was crisp and leave creative finger impressions in the dew. But as a dad desperately striving to deliver his family to their destination in one piece, the artful inspirations fail to inspire.

Interestingly enough, it is the thought of breath that captures my attention just now. Often, the simplest of things are missed or mashed under the weight of intellectual exercise. This is the case with the Word of God housed in the book known as the Bible. Though human hands and mortal hearts were used to translate them for our benefit, it is the supernatural breath of God that separates them from all other words floating about in the great expanse of all that exist. And just like childish finger doodle on a huffed on car window, God’s Word bares His finger prints. But if you and I are too busy trying to get from point A to point B, the thought of His Breath, His Word, and His Fingerprints might be more annoying than awe inspiring. And if we fail to pay attention, we will find ourselves pulling over just as fast as we can to wipe the evidence of His presence from our view.

Heaven help us!