The days are ending sooner, the sun comes up later.  It is that time of year.  Fall or Autumn, whichever you call it.  Why is it the only season with two names?  Seasons change just as seasons of life pass you by.  The good, the bad, the sad, the tough, the comfortable.  God is good in all these seasons, He is never changing and ever present.

Are we close to Him during these changing of seasons?

As we did Bible time during school with the kids yesterday a constant thought came to mind.  It probably had something to do with the topic of study, the faith of Abraham, but it was good and real nonetheless.  I’m sure you have heard or read the story hundreds of times, but some times the words become real and the thoughts fill your heart.

Jehovah Jireh, The Lord will Provide! Simple words with a powerful statement, a truth that strengthens and is everlastingly constant.  The Lord will provide!

I’m not sure what season you are in or what is present in your life today, but the Lord will provide.  Whether you are looking up at Jehovah Jireh or looking down from Jehovah Jireh know that the Lord is with you.

Dream vs. Reality

It will save us money on gas.  It will be low maintenance.  It will be fun to drive. It will, fill in the blank…

I had this idea that a motorcycle would make things so much easier and save us a ton of money.  Just look at all these reasons why I should get one.  I got the approval and started out on the hunt.  I found what kind I was looking for and went to the Internet to find the one I wanted to buy.  I went a few rounds on eBay, won one and drove to Atlanta to pick it up.

I brought it home and set out to learn to ride it.  With kids cheering in the background and too many times stalling it in the backyard I finally got it.  Now, I was ready to save money!

“You driving the motorcycle this morning?”  “No, I don’t have enough time. No, I don’t want to wake everyone up.  No, I can’t get it started.  No, it is raining.  No, fill in the blank”

Replace the tank because of rust, new paint job, new battery, rain suit, new tire.

Finally, someone bought it off my hands.

Why the long story?  To illustrate my point of dream vs reality.  I had set up in my mind the dream of owning a motorcycle.  How great it was going to be.  Then reality set in after I had the motorcycle.  It wasn’t ALL good.  Some may call this the grass is always greener syndrome.

We get our mind made up and no matter what anyone tells us we have painted this dream in our heads.  We don’t want to hear it and push off any of these problems.  Then when reality sets in it hits us like a ton of bricks.  It was always there, but now we can really see it.

I hear you saying, “I have no clue what you are talking about, I don’t want a motorcycle.”  Where do we see these scenarios today?

Material Things – Houses, cars, shopping sprees.  We are bombarded every minute by advertisements of why we need X and how it will make life so much better.

Relationships – The world has depicted these plastic men and women and relationships that don’t really exist.  If you are not careful you will wonder why your significant other isn’t like the dream you have created.  We are not perfect and neither is our husbands or wives.  Too many people are opting to take the easy way out and leave and not deal with issues.

The idea of having your kid play on the baseball “travel team” is a lot different than the reality of it.

So what am I trying to say?

Think hard about what you’re about to buy, who you’re about to befriend, or what you’re signing up to do. Are you considering the reality? Or the dream?  Pray and seek God’s will in all things.

Matthew 7

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Set Them Straight Gamaliel

Have you ever heard the name Gamaliel?  Me either until we came across it in our devotionals last month.  As far as I can tell he only shows up once in the Bible, in Acts 5.  Further research shows that he was a respected teacher of Jewish  law and a doctor of the law.  We see a small glimpse into his life, not let’s look what’s going on in Acts 5.

Paul and other Apostles have already been warned about teaching Christ.  Of course, they went straight from prison to preach what Christ had done for everyone to the people.  When the chief priests and Pharisees heard this they brought them into the court.  They wanted them dead and fast.  As you can imagine the court was pretty one sided.  Until Gamaliel stepped up, told them to give the Apostles space, and brought the court to remembrance of Thadeus and Judas of Galilee.  These two men pointed men to themselves.  In the end they were slain and the followers scattered.

His words, “38And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

39But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

Wise words from a Sanhedrin.  If these men aren’t preaching the truth and turning men toward themselves or another man then nothing will come of it.  Look at those in the past who did the same.  If these men be for God we cannot stop them.  Not sure what the response was from the people, but they ultimately listened.  They beat Paul and the other apostles then let them go with the instruction of not to continue to teach.

What did Paul get out of this?  Later on in Acts we see Paul talking about his upbringing.

“I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day.” – Acts 22:3

Paul got a beating and let go to continue preaching.  He did pick up a nugget that he shared with his letter to the church in Rome.  “If God be for us, who can be against us?”  Does this sound familiar?

Romans 8:31

31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

What was the last beating you went through?  Did you receive what God was giving you so that you could share with others later on?

Blessed Assurance

Jesus is mine…..

Before we burst into song let’s think of a few things.  I heard the question posed today, “After death if Jesus were to ask you why He should let you into Heaven what would your response be?”  I asked the boys this very question tonight and both of them had the same response.  “I’m not worthy.”  That sparked a whole discussion of our sins being covered by His blood.  We are worthy after we accept him to enter into Heaven.

Anyway, that was just a sidebar.  Blessed Assurance has been running through my heart for the past couple of weeks.  I sang it during devotionals last week and we sang a couple of verses of it last night.  How special is it when you have a song in your heart and you get to sing it during church?

A few words have really been sticking out to me lately, “This is MY story, this is MY song”

What does my story mean?  God has written a story for my life.  I am living the story.  Is the story I’m living what God has intended for me or am I writing my own story?  Nothing I do is catching Him by surprise, but am I living what He would have for me and my family?  As we go from day to day what is filling the pages of our story?  Are we simply filling up pages as filler or are we spinning a tale that is honoring to God?  Would someone reading our story even associate us a follower of Christ?  MY story is personal, it is not your story.  I will be held accountable to God based on my story, not your story.

Simple thought, simple song.  Deep thought, deep song.

Praising my Savior all the day long.

Doubting {Insert Your Name Here}

Last night during our nightly family devotionals we discussed John chapter 20.  We setup a 2 year reading through the Bible plan and it has been working out pretty well.  We ended talking about Didymus or Thomas.

25The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Wow!  How could he be such a doubter?

Wait, let’s think about this.  Unless He shows me a sign I will not believe.  What we hear today is, “I’ll believe it when I see it!”  We may not say it that way, but our actions speaker louder than our words.  Do we take God’s promises that He left us in His word for granted?  I’m not going to go through all the promises, but let’s look at two.

  Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

If we have accepted Christ do we feel safe?  What do we fear?  Do we live a life knowing that He is in control and in no part of our life should we face fear?

 Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Do we live day to day knowing that God is going to supply our needs?  Sometimes we have to go back to the Kindergarten Character Study of Needs v. Wants.  What are our decisions based on?  Fear of providing for our needs?  Combining two of the above that contradicts God’s promises.

If someone tells you that they don’t believe you, you have two choices.  You can prove them wrong or you can write them off.  Thank God He doesn’t write us off.  We see how he deals with Thomas.

John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.

I’m sure Thomas was embarrassed or maybe he wasn’t.  I tend to think that all that didn’t matter at the time he saw Christ again.  I bet looking back on it those words did come screaming back to him though.  We can only imagine the great things those disciples heard and witnessed until His ascension.  The clear fact is that Thomas was still with the disciples.  He was in the place Christ had told them to stay until He returned.  Thomas may have doubted, but he was still there.  Jesus didn’t kick Thomas out of the upper room when he returned.  He does the same for us over and over again.  He takes our doubt and continually proves it was unwarranted!