Sunday, October 22, 2017

Anger, Jealousy, Sin and Terror: The beginning of Joseph's legacy

Read Genesis Chapter 37

One day, all of the sons of Jacob (except Benjamin, of course, he was still too young) went out to feed the sheep in Shechem (as the land was still called at that time). Joseph stayed behind with his father.

Israel (as God had had renamed Jacob, meaning "Triumphant with God") asked Joseph, "Hey, aren't your brothers in Shechem today?" Then, he told Joseph, "Why don't you go see how they are doing for me?"

When Joseph got to Shechem, the brothers were not there. He wandered around looking for them until a man saw him and told him, "I heard them talking about going to Dothan. You might look there." So, Joseph went to Dothan.

The brothers saw him coming from a distance. "Look, the Dreamer is coming," they sneered. "Let's kill him and throw him in a pit. We'll just tell Dad that some wild animal got him. What will become of the Dreamer then?!" But Reuben, the oldest brother, was more protective.

"No, don't kill him. Just throw him into a pit." Reuben knew he couldn't "fight the mob", so to speak; but, if he was clever, he could rescue Joseph later.

When Joseph finally got there, they stripped off his precious "coat of many colors" that his father had made for him as a gift. Then, they threw him into a pit that had dried up. Then, as if nothing had happened, they sat down to eat.

I'm sure Joseph was terrified. His worst nightmare was coming true. The hurt he felt must have been enormous. He was stuck in a dark, empty well with no way out -- and he had yet to learn how much his brothers really hated him. In their jealousy, they couldn't see there faults. They didn't care about honoring God, or their father. The only right thing they did in this whole operation was keep him alive.

As the brothers ate, they looked up to see Ishmaelites going to Egypt with goods to trade. As Joseph cried from the well for mercy, Judah grinned as an idea suddenly struck him: "What good will it do us to kill Joseph? Let's sell him to our cousins, the Ishmaelites. He is our brother; Reuben is right. We shouldn't kill him."

However, before they could carry out their plan, a band of Midianites (also cousins) passed by the pit and heard Joseph's screams. They pulled him out and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for $2,500.00 (in today's currency, that is how much it came to).

When Reuben got to the pit, planning to do what the Midianites did, Joseph was already gone. "Oh no. What am I going to do now?" he thought.

Well, the brothers still had the coat that Joseph wore. They killed a newborn baby goat (because that would be easy to hide from his father. They could always say the nanny had miscarried), and they smeared it's blood on the coat. (Good thing for them that DNA testing hadn't been invented yet). They took the coat to their father, telling him that they had found his coat, but hadn't seen Joseph. This led Isaac to believe that his son had been killed by a wild animal.

Jacob/Israel was heartbroken. He mourned hard for Joseph and no one could comfort him. He vowed that he would mourn for Joseph until the day he died. Can you imagine the darkness of the guilt that his other sons eventually had to live with?

The Midianites sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites. The Midianites, remember, are also descended from Abraham, through a son by Abraham's second wife Keturah, after Sarah had died (Genesis 25:1,2) They sold Joseph to Potiphar, who just happened to be the Captain of the Guard for Pharoah, the king of Egypt. This sin did not only occur among Joseph's brothers, it occurred among his kinsmen, his cousins who did not know him.

Note: This is the first time I really noticed that his brothers did not sell him into slavery as I have been taught. The Bible clearly says that the Midianites pulled him out before they could carry out their plan. Oh yes, they were still guilty because of their intention, but they didn't actually commit the crime. (Read Matthew 5:20-30 to understand this further)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Event: See You At the Pole (Sept 27, 2017)

God Inspires would like to encourage everyone to join hands around the flagpoles at your local schools, churches and places of business and pray on September 27, 2017.

Learn more about this event by clicking HERE

New Christian Connection: Mission America Coalition

The Mission America Coalition (MAC) is an alliance of leaders in evangelism and discipleship who have prayerfully come together to mobilize the Church to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in deed and word.

Born in 1995 as the United States' Committee of the global Lausanne Movement, the Mission America Coalition has had high level involvement from 81 denominations, over 350 ministry organizations, dozens of national ministry networks, hundreds of citywide collaborations, and now over 600 individual evangelism leaders.

The newest initiative of the Coalition, quickly becoming a movement in the Church, is LOVE2020. It’s vision is that EVERY person in America have the opportunity to be authentically loved by at least one committed follower of Jesus Christ within this decade.

Check out Mission America for yourself by clicking HERE!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dried up Souls...

Read 1 Kings Chapter 17

Elijah the Tishbite of Gilead told Ahab, "As the Lord God lives, there shall not be any rain for years. There will not be any dew, either." Then, God told Elijah, "Go and hide by the brook Cherith.

He did, and the ravens brought him meat morning and night, and he drank from the brook until the brook dried up because of the drought.

Then God told Elijah to go to Zaraphath in Zidon, "I have commanded a widow woman there to care for you." So he went.

When he got there, the widow was gathering sticks, so he called to her, "Could you get me a drink of water?" When she went after the water he called after her, "I'd like something to eat, too!"

She turned around and said, "I barely have enough for one more meal. That is what I was fixing to do, gather sticks and cook one more meal for me and my son and then we were going to die."

Elijah said, "Don't be afraid. Go and cook your meal, but cook mine first. God has said you will not run out until it rains." She did as she was told and they all ate well until the drought was over.

Then the woman's son got sick and died. She took him to Elijah and demanded, "Why did you come here? Did you come to call my sins into rememberance so God would slay my son?" So he took the boy to his room and stretched over him three times, praying, "Why did you slay this woman's son? She has been nothing but good to me! Please bring life back into him!" And God heard him and He did.

Elijah took the boy to his mother and said, "He is alive." She then said, "I believe you truly are from the Lord, now."


Elijah did everything the Lord asked him to do; so, when Elijah prayed, God listened. This is probably why God wanted Elijah to go and hide after delivering His message to Ahab. Ahab knew that Elijah had the Lord's ear. If he had kept Elijah there, Ahab may have forced Elijah to pray for rain, and God would have heard and done as He was asked. God didn't want that to happen.

In Genesis, Chapter 18, the Angel of the Lord came to Abraham and told him what He would do to Sodom and Gomorrah. He also told Abraham that if there was just one righteous man there, he would spare the cities. So, Lot had to leave. This time it was Elijah leaving.

The woman's son became ill because, after all the woman had seen, she still did not believe. Elijah bringing him back was God's way of saying, "Yes, Virginia, I do exist."

Sometimes God uses tragedy to prove His presence, because that is the only way He can get our attention. He wants us all to know, "Hey, I'm right here!"

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wayfaring Stranger

Genesis 19
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

Three angels left Abraham. Two went to Sodom. Lot was Abraham's nephew. He, too, feared God. He, too, was taught that strangers were to be treated with respect and honor and dignity., not judgment, condemnation or contempt. He offered the strangers a place to stay where they would be safe and have a good meal and be comfortable.

They did not want to inconvenience Lot. They were testing him. Lot, a man of God, begged them to stay with him, "Really! It's no problem! We would LOVE to have you! It would make me feel better to know you were safe here."

These are men; strangers that he didn't even know. How often do we, today, have the opportunity to entertain strangers in such a way? How many times do we "fail the test"?

They finally yielded to him and went into his home, and it was a good thing they did.

Strangers should always be treated as friends you didn't know you had. Just remember, we are all strangers to someone. How would YOU want to be treated?

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Pride Rationalizes

Pride is a terrible thing. It makes you rationalize the reasons to remain in the state that makes you miserable.

You can't say you have given it to Jesus to take care of while still feeling angry and miserable. If you feel angry and miserable it's evidence that you haven't given anything to God but words.

Actions speak louder than words. That's not in the those words, but it is there:

James 2
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Pray for those who profess to believe, yet doubt their ability to have faith.

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chain Breaker (by Shonda Ponder)

Everyone has that one friend. You know, the one who is negative about everything, every day. Nothing good ever happens to them. All they do is complain, and then wonder why no one wants to be around them. They wonder why they are so lonely, or why no one seems to care, or why bad things always seem to happen to them, and no one is there to help pick them up.

The truth is that no one CAN help them. Any attempt to help them will probably get them into the same quicksand. No one likes drama. And, any word of encouragement is met with more negativity and expectation that exceeds anyone's ability.

Many times, the one who claims to hate drama on a regular basis is the one who is most dramatic, in that they refuse to change who they are in order to be who God wants them to be. There will always be drama when you are outside of God's Will for your life.

There is really only one way out of the dilemma that "friend" is facing: Jesus. If they could but put their focus on Him, start doing what He has commanded us to do, then things would get better. They complain that God doesn't care about them, or has never done anything for them. When they do, I am reminded of what Jesus said:

Matthew 13:15:
" For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

A person who claims that God has never done anything for them is one who refuses to let God work in their life. God can't do anything with an unwilling soul. But, if God didn't care, Jesus would have never existed.

In plain English: Some people don't want to hear. They don't want help. They are comfortable in their lifestyle, even though it makes them miserable. After all, if they would only listen to those who have found the joy and peace and love and friendship that they want so badly, they might actually see change in their lives. They might actually look forward to tomorrow with gladness. They might actually acknowledge the Power of God in their lives and be successful, happy, at peace, and realize that nothing makes you feel more loved than learning to love right.

We can talk until our lips turn blue, but most of us stop at a certain point and just sit back and watch...because we feel helpless to help anyone who won't help themselves. The best help comes from the One who gave His life for you.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cattle on a Thousand Hills

My Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. I have need of nothing. All I have to do is ask Him for whatever I want, and if He thinks it will serve Him, He blesses me with it.

Psalms 50:10
“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

All the broken pieces (by Marie Swain)

Is this for you?
Have you ever faced a trial or battle so strong, so consuming. That all you can do is lay in bed, weeping, and praying God please take my life...I can't handle this...please just take me home?

Day after day, night after night...tormented and tortured and deceived over and over again.....the destruction spoken so concise, so well aimed....that each word of hate and anger and abuse pierces your heart anew? Sometimes so lost...and shattered that you can't even form words...just cry like a wounded animal while your mind screams God kill me.....please just take me home.

Holding on to God with every fiber of your being..trying to fight back but so weak that the moment you find a sliver of hope...that razor comes slashing in and cuts it right before your eyes. Agony and hope of escape?

Well I am a true woman of God!!! I thought...that can never happen to me. But I was wrong. I was her. Too afraid to tell anyone...too ashamed to ask for help.

I am here to tell you. You are not alone. There is help. He will restore you. He will deliver you. At my weakest darkest hour.....He heard me.......He came running.

He gave me a dream. In the dream I was dressed all in black.....even a veil of black covered my face.....I was in mouring for my own own destruction caused by the very one I loved and trusted most. I was crawling on hands and knees around the foot of the cross. I held a I picked up every tiny shattered piece of my self from the ground I put it in the basket. I wept and moaned like a wounded animal incapable of forming a word...... When the basket was full....He appeared.

Jesus child, give me the basket.....I hugged the broken pieces of me that now filled the basket tightly to my chest.....and just looked at my Savior.

Again He precious one....give me the basket. I tentaively looked once more At the baskets broken and shattered contents and slowly got up and walked to my Savior. Still weeping, filled with such sorrow.....I handed Him the basket.
He smiled and said.....behold my beloved....I make all things new. Immediately the basket was empty. My clothing was changed to white and I....the new....the joy filled....the hope creature filled with life and love..........began to dance before my King.


I don't know who this is for...,but I pray my testimony, written in 2016, can lead you to Him....because He longs to make you new as well.

In all Glory and Praise to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, Hallelujah. You are my King, evermore.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Do Something...

I was listening to a sermon the other day by Rick Warren, titled, "God can use ANYBODY". It hit home with me.

Each of us are gifted right where we are, with what God has already given us to have our own ministry. If all you have time to do is work and go home, then your ministry is at work and home. The question is, are you conducting your ministry correctly? Are you working for the almighty dollar? or, are you working to bring Glory to God?

I thought about this. While money is important to me (isn't it important to everyone?) it is NOT my end all be all. If I am at work and my employer bans us from giving any credit to Jesus while I am there, I would (and have in the past) quit my job in search of somewhere God is allowed to be. If He isn't allowed to be there, I am not allowed, because I am His child, first and foremost.

It is in how we live our lives that testify to the Grace, Love and Mercy of God for others. I've had people comment to me after a simple conversation that I have helped them to see things in a different light, and have influenced them to be better people. I have had people tell me that they believe that God sent me to them at just the moment in their lives when they needed God the most, and they felt that I was His answer.

You don't lead people to Jesus by judgmental preaching and condemnation, you lead them to Jesus by being the only Jesus they are able to see at that moment. My ministry is where I am, and it is done by what God has given me to do it with.

Do you really believe that the God who created you for a specific purpose on this earth would expect you to go to Africa to be a minister, and then not give you the ability to do so? So if God did not give you the ability to go to Africa, wouldn't it stand to reason that He would expect you to minister WHERE YOU ARE?

This is why I seek to be a better employee, a better friend, a better daughter, a better neighbor.

Mark 12
28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

I have learned that by focusing on these first two commandments, all of the other commandments are so much easier to follow...and even if I cannot (for I am still a work in progress), my light shines bright enough that others seek to have what I have found, and start building their own relationship with the Father, and building up their own accountability.

And, that is what a minister is supposed to do.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Featured Ministry: I Believe

The purpose of is to help women wrestle with the deeper issues of how their faith relates to the world around them. It seems that Christian women today are facing a set of challenges unique to their generation. With an emphasis on personal experiences, our goal is to create a team of writers and bloggers looking to share how they have seen the struggles and triumphs of life through the lens of the Christian faith. We hope to create a place where our audience can feel uplifted by authentic examination of what it means to be a Christian woman in today's culture. Read daily devotions for women, blogs by your favorite Christian female bloggers, articles on faith, relationships, health and beauty, food and home, motherhood, and career. also provides Christian ecards and inspirations to encourage and uplift your sisters in Christ!

Visit by clicking HERE!

Job's Example of Parenthood.

Today I started reading the Book of Job. As I read the first chapter, the first thing I notice is that Job is righteous. As a righteous man, he brought up his sons and daughters to fear the Lord.

Job Chapter 1
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

On each of their days (the days they were to feast on, maybe a birthday?) they feasted and invited all of their brothers and sisters to feast with them. This happened 10 times during the year because there were 10 sons and daughters.

As a dutiful parent ought do, Job loved his children so much that he interceded for them. He not only loved them but he provided for them even after they were grown.

Back in Job's day, it was common practice to sacrifice to God in order to cleanse one from his sins and gain forgiveness. So, after each feast, Job would take his sons and daughters, and he provided the animals to sacrifice for sins that may or may not have been committed. Better an ounce of prevention than a pound of wrath on his children.

5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

In this way, Job exercised being an example his children could follow, proving that love is an action, not an emotion, and not just saying, but doing the love he felt for them.

As parents we are so geared toward teaching our children independence, and how to stand on their own, that we forget that they are gifted to us from God and it is our duty to do for them as much as God gives us to be able to do in order to ensure their success both in this life and eternally.

I cannot look at my child who is nearing middle age today and tell him I will not help him pay for his college education if I am able to and expect to call myself a godly parent after looking at Job's example.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Not Perfect

I saw a post on Facebook from a FaceBook friend that I just had to borrow:

"I have heard it said...if you find a perfect church don't join will no longer be perfect. Likewise if you are perfect you should probably unfriendly me...I will never live up to your expectations!"

I do not want perfect friends among men. There is only one who is perfect who deserves my friendship, and He was the only perfect friend who was willing to be imperfect in the eyes of another so I could appear perfect in the eyes of God.

It is HE that I beg not to "unfriend" me. And He has already answered my request...

Hebrews 13:5
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Happy Purim

[ˈpo͝orim, po͝oˈrēm]
a lesser Jewish festival held in spring (on the 14th or 15th day of Adar) to commemorate the defeat of Haman's plot to massacre the Jews as recorded in the book of Esther.

Purim 2017
begins Saturday, March 11
at sunset (tomorrow)
ends Sunday, March 12
at nightfall

It's a coincidence (NOT, I don't believe in coincidences) that I have been studying the Book of Esther, and that the day of Purim comes on the day I was in Chapter 9.

Happy Purim!

Learn more at Wikipedia

Esther 9:
28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.
30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,
31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.
32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Isaiah 55:11
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

There is a Name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in my ear,
The sweetest Name on earth.

Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me!

These words were written in 1855 by Frederick Whitfield, and has become a timeless classic in churches around the world. It is a small testimony that whatever is born of God never dies. Small praises make big impacts. A little love goes a long way...and so many other cliches that imprint great truths!

Lord, may my life be a living testimony for You. May You use me to attract others to Your saving grace. May what I do or say honor You for years after I am gone, and even if it doesn’t, Lord, may it please You today! In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Would God Have Saved Hitler? (By Thirza Peevey)

Ephesians 2:8
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

A while back, I was asked if God would even save Hitler, and I was stumped at the time, The plain case of the theology is that he would, and that is disturbing to our hearts. But what I've learned out of listening to Spurgeon is the glory it would have brought to Jesus if Hitler had been saved.

To be disturbed by the idea of Hitler being saved is to fall back on the idea that we are saved by works, and because Hitler's works were so evil, he could not be saved as we can. The simple truth is, every sin is treason against a Holy God, and therefore, our sins are just as black as Hitler's in God's eyes. However, in our own eyes, Hitler was worse than we are, so what glory would it have brought to Jesus to see Hitler saved.

What if we had seen Hitler so changed that he spend the rest of his life trying to restore the Jews that he had so persecuted? Would that have brought Glory to Jesus to see him so changed? What if he had worked to restore Israel? What if he had worked as a missionary among the Gypsys, bringing them to Christ and seeing them whole and restored? What if he had worked to restore and rebuild Europe, and to see the people saved, happy, and free? Would that have brought glory to Jesus?

Would it bring him glory to say, "Look, I am so powerful that I restored even that one? I am so loving, that I loved even him? I am so righteous that my blood was poured out for even his crimes? My love is sufficient to provide love in even his heart? I can make even that one good?"

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Friday, January 27, 2017

New Christian Connection at God Inspires: Greater New Hope Family Services

Check out Greater New Hope Family Services of Portland, Oregon by clicking HERE

Their Mission Statement is as follows:

Our mission is to be the premier faith based provider of family and support services for the metropolitan Portland Oregon community. By applying the principles of outreach, love, mercy and grace we will reach “at risk” youth and families with a message of redemption and recovery that will reunite and strengthen families in order to provide a sound spiritual basis for sustainable growth.

Fish and Bread (by Dan Dooley)

John 6:
5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" (John 6:5-7)

This passage is an amazing lesson on learning on Who to depend. Jesus is the source of our provision and on our healing and He wants us to know that. There is a natural element to the provision and though it is not an impossibility, Philip's response to Jesus' question shows how difficult the problem can be. It was certainly possible for the disciples to by natural methods - the purchase of sufficient food - feed the crowd. It would just be a mind boggling task and actually beyond their means.

When we question if God is willing to supply our needs, and yes, that means provide for our physical healing, He wants us to know beyond any doubt that not only is He able and willing, He is eager to answer our prayers.

Philip could have answered two ways. "Lord, it's beyond me to know how to feed them all. It is beyond our financial means so if they are going to be fed, it's going to be up to You to provide."

Instead, he said, in essence, "Lord, it's beyond anything we can afford to do. I fear they are just going to have to go hungry."

When the doctor tells you that the disease you have is not curable, God is waiting to see how you are going to respond to the news. "Lord, it is beyond our human hope so it is up to You to provide the healing." We might say, God is chomping at the bit just waiting for us to say "Father, do this for me."

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Father, can you hear me? (By Dan Dooley)

Let's talk a little about being specific in our requests to God and expecting specific answers. At first that idea might seem a little (or more than a little) presumptuous and perhaps even demanding or arrogant. After all, here we are asking the King of the Universe and asking for something very specific. We want this and we want nothing else. That rather reminds me of a new job I started quite a few years ago. They asked me what kind of company car I wanted. I want a Ford Taurus. A red one. Well I got the Taurus, but it was not red. It was a bland beige color. So much for my specific request.

Now I could approach God with a request but not wanting to offend Him or seem pushy and demanding, I could say, "Father I want......... well whatever You want for me." He might answer; "what do you want son?" (He calls me 'son') "Lord I want..... but, I don't want to be demanding, so I just want..... well, Father, just Your Will. You know what I have need of."

You know, there are times when that's the best thing we can ask of Him. Sometimes it's good to just approach Him with the request, "just whatever You have for me today. I know it will be great." Jesus taught us to be specific and He taught us emphatically to be specific in our requests. With His emphasis on being specific, it's only right to expect that to mean, if I ask God for something specific, that's what I am expecting to receive. Nothing else. Nothing less. Nothing different. I know it is sometimes said from a well meaning heart, but personally, I am having more and more difficulty being receptive to the common response "well you know God sometimes answers in ways different from what we pray for." Or "God may not always give us just what we pray for or in the way we pray for them."

Of course I know the thought behind the sayings but as I wrote in a different post, I think we can use that as sort of a "Plan B." If we pray for something and we do not receive it, then "God does not always answer in the way we want." Before anyone charges me with teaching bad theology, hear me out. Let's look at some Scripture.

"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matt 7:9-12)

Well God may give us "good gifts". Great. What are "good gifts"? If we read the WHOLE passage, what did the son ask for? Bread. What's a good gift? An apple? A carrot stick? A cracker? There is nothing wrong with any of those but they are not what the son asked for. Jesus is in no way implying that a father who's son has asked for bread will receive anything other than bread.

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"
32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
33 "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight."
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. (Matt 20:29-34)

Jesus asked the blind men, "what do you want?" They answered "we want to receive our sight." They had a specific need and a specific request. By our modern reasoning, we might say, "Jesus knows what is best for them and maybe receiving their sight is not what He has chosen for them for maybe He has something better which will come from their blindness." Would we say that? Sometimes we hear it said.

Once when I was unemployed I asked God for a job. Actually that has happened more than once but that's another testimony. During that time period I prayed for a Job in general, meaning I wanted employment, but specifically I wanted a job in my career field. Actually I don't recall using the specific words in my prayers that I wanted a job in my career field but that was my heart's desire.

Receiving a job could have consisted of a number of different types of jobs, including flipping burgers and offering frys, or working on a road crew sweeping roads or something of the sort. Well, those would have been jobs and if God sometimes answers our prayers in ways which are different from what we have prayed for, those would certainly be different for me. Of course, I did not want anything like that for a job. I wanted a job in my career field. Doing something I had been trained for, had a natural talent for and a lot of experience at and felt the most home in.

Now as to the part of God not always answering in quite the way we expect or pray for, yes. That happens. During that period of job seeking, I came across four (you've heard this story from me already. I know. I'm sorry to repeat myself but I am not sorry to repeat the lesson.) For each of those particular job leads, as the interviewing process went on and the positions (one at a time, not all at the same time) looked more and more like they were perfect fits for me, I prayed specifically for each one that I would get the job. I was very specific in my petitions to God even naming the companies as I worked to exercise my faith and claim His promises that the jobs would be mine. I did not get any of those jobs.

So you are correct, God sometimes answers in ways which are different from what we pray for. But, there is a bigger point. That is, God does answer our specific prayers. What was my specific prayer? That I would get a job. And more importantly that the job (though as I said, I don't recall if I actually included in the conscious prayer that it be in my career field) that it was indeed in my career field. The job I did receive was in my career field. And, it was a great company to work for. I prayed for a job. That was my requesting my Heavenly Father for bread, and He did not give me a stone. Nor a snake. He gave me the bread I had asked for.

If I am praying for the healing of someone else, I can pray, "Lord heal them but have Your Way". Or "Lord heal them" and think, well maybe He has other plans for the situation. Perhaps He will use their not receiving a physical healing for His Glory. Or, maybe this is His Will that they receive "the ultimate healing", you know what that means.

That's not what I prayed for. I prayed for their healing. Is it God's Will to heal them? What was God's Will when the two blind men approached Jesus and asked Him to restore their sight? He healed them and restored their sight.

God will always have His will and His way in all situations regarding us and our lives. We too easily think that when we ask for healing, for ourselves or someone else that it's probably not God's will to heal them. Or ourselves. Why do we think that way? Honestly, I believe it is an out for our unbelief. We're just not sure God will heal and thus we want some answer to fall back on if the healing does not occur. And, with that sort of disbelief, we probably will not be disappointed.

Let me summarize it this way. If I am praying for something for myself, for a loved one or anyone, I want to have one and only one expectation. If you ask me to pray for healing I will expect only one answer from God. I really want to make sure that I do not fall into the all too common practice of saying or even thinking "of course you know sometimes God answers in ways which are different from what we pray." If that is my expectation before I begin praying, why should I even bother? What happens will happen so why bother praying? "If a man's son asks for bread will his father give him a stone?"

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Faith, the Size of a Man's Hand (By Dan Dooley)

Matthew 17:20
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

When we think about having just a little faith, which is enough faith to move those mountains, the mustard seed comes to mind. I like to think of a different faith picture. Faith which is the size of a man's hand. "What's that all about, Dan?"

If we have faith, and that is faith to any degree, even as Jesus used the figure of speech to say "as little as the size of a mustard seed" and as faith is the opposite of doubt, then if we have faith, we do not have doubt. That's enough faith to accomplish what we are believing for. Well, I didn't say it. Jesus did. I'll take His word for it and that's good enough for me.

Interestingly though, sometimes faith can be something seen. "That does go against the definition of faith, Dan. The Bible says that 'faith is the evidence of things not seen'." That is true, but when we see God's hand at work in a situation, our initial sight shows something very small. Something of minuscule importance and effect on the scale of the magnitude of the need. Consider Elijah's opinion on the smallest of the sign and what that tiny sign really meant to the whole of the miracle.

"Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked.

"There is nothing there," he said.

Seven times Elijah said, "Go back."

The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea."

So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'"

Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:43-46)
Elijah prayed. He saw nothing of an answer to his prayer. He prayed again. Still, he saw nothing. Again and again. Seven times in all. Finally, did he see rain? No. All that was seen was a tiny cloud. Now think about that the next dry spell of the summer and when you are really hoping for rain. Go look at the tiny clouds in the sky? Do they shout "rain" to you? Hardly.

That was not what Elijah saw. When we pray for a miracle in our lives we may not always immediately see the answer. In fact, we may have to pray again. And again. And again. Remember, Jesus told us to do that anyhow. What do we have to see to know that the answer is on the way? The deluge of rainfall? That's what we are praying for, after all. No. We just need to see the tiny cloud. Once the tiny cloud is seen, the rain is on the way.

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Healing Faith (By Dan Dooley)

'In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."' (2 Kings 20:1)

Hezekiah had been given a death sentence. He had just been given what is the equivalent of the message from the doctor who says, "I am sorry. This particular type of cancer you have cannot be cured. The expected life expectancy of your stage is six to nine months." Those are the words he had heard from the prophet Isaiah. "The sickness you have has no cure. You will not recover." We heard the same message from my bride's oncologist. According to him we could expect another six to nine months for her to live. According to the prophet, Hezekiah may have had only a few more days. The Scripture does not tell us how soon Hezekiah would die.

Hezekiah was faced with two paths he could follow. Since God said "you are going to die and not live" Hezekiah could have taken the path which is so easy for any of us to take. Regret, disappointment, sorrow over his life to be now cut short.

My bride and I were faced with two paths we could follow. Since the doctor had told us that there was no cure for her disease, we could feel the same emotions. She would not see the grandkids grown and married and starting families of their own. She would never see her great grandkids. We would not enjoy our Christmases and other family holidays together. We would not be able to do any of the things we had long enjoyed doing together. Instead, we would care for her as her health slowly failed and finally, I would have to think about making funeral plans.

Hezekiah did not accept that prognosis. Yes, it was from God that he had heard that he was going to die, but he did not accept that statement. The Bible says, 'Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,'

My bride and I likewise refused to accept the prognosis the doctor had given her. We "turned our faces to the wall" so to speak, and we prayed to the Lord.

God turned the prophet around and told him to go back to Hezekiah and tell him "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you." Hezekiah was healed and God added fifteen more years to his life.

God spoke to us through His Word and the Holy Spirit speaking to us when we prayed and we praised Him and told us, "Sandy will be healed. She will not die." Now we are beyond the time frame the doctor had given us and she is doing well. Well on the path to full restoration of her health. She's not finished with her treatments now but her health is good and she is feeling no effects of the cancer.

What makes the difference? Hezekiah decided that he did not want to accept that his life was over. We decided that we did not want to accept that her life was over. We know God's Word. Hezekiah knew God's Word. We knew that we do not have to accept that what the enemy puts on us is the end of the story. Hezekiah could have remained in his sickness. He could have claimed it as his own. "This is my sickness and through this sickness I am going to die. God told me I am going to die." We could have made the same admission regarding my wife's sickness. Just as Hezekiah refused to accept that as the state of his life, we refused to accept what the doctor had said was the state of my bride's life.

This applies to any sickness, any disease, any bondage you have in your life. You can accept it and claim it for your own. You can keep it and "live with it" and even celebrate it. Talking about it and dwelling on it and accepting that it is something you have and you will live with. Or die with. We did not. We did not claim this cancer as being a possession of hers. We did not say "she has cancer". Yes, there was a cancer in her body working against her best interest, but in no way were we going to claim it as her possession. It was an alien condition. One not natural to her body and one certainly not welcome. If it is unwelcome, it is not free to remain where it is. It had to go.

Again, this attitude applies to anything which is going wrong in your life. Don't accept it. Don't consider it the normal for you. It is not. It is contrary to God's will for you and you can get it out of your life. Pray to God for deliverance and for healing. Read the Scriptures on faith, prayer and believing. Read the testimonies of those healed and delivered by Jesus during His earthly ministry. Decide that it is going to be gone out of your life.

Now acknowledge that God is the healer and God is the deliverer. You cannot do it on your own. Don't even try. Let Him do it but trust that He is going to do it. Not just a trust which is a "I hope He will heal me" or "I hope that He will deliver me." Trust Him because His Word is true and fully faithful. What He said He will do, He will do.

Then reject its hold on your life. I am not talking about "just make positive thoughts." Positive thoughts do nothing. Trust in God does everything. We are not "wishing away" a disease or a bondage. We are knowing that God will act on behalf of those who trust Him.
Now start thanking Him. What? Thank Him before I have had my healing? No. Thank Him because you have your healing. Maybe you have not seeing it yet. Just because you have not see it yet, does not mean you have not received it yet. It will manifest itself. It may be instantly or it may come in steps. After all, remember what the definition of faith is? "The evidence of things not seen." Not YET seen. That means they are fact even until we see them. But, on the matter and subject of faith? That's a whole study of its own.

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Work as if for the Lord

I am a supervisor at my job, so I don't have to tell you that being liked is a challenge when dealing with co-workers who want a paycheck but want to do the least amount of work possible to get it. I have learned, however, to lead with a smile. And, because we expect everyone to keep a work log to list their activities for every minute of the day, I, too, keep a work log whenever possible so my co-workers know that I don't just sit in an office chair and answer phones. I am actually working as hard as I expect them to work.

When we are short handed, I have to do my regular supervisor duties as well as cover the area of the employee that didn't show that day. When I am off work, I have to keep my phone on in case someone calls in and the manager on duty doesn't have enough coverage. Over time, all of this can become stressful and sometimes, as supervisor, I get the feeling that I have no life except my job.

I wonder if I am making a difference as a Christian.

Colossians 3
22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

I try to follow the Golden rule at work (Matthew 7:12 All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets). I follow the ten commandments. I do everything I do that I might be an example to my co-workers how to live, and what being a Christian really is.

There are moments that make it all worth it.

Last night, a co-worker approached me. She said, "May I speak with you?" Of course, I said, "Sure!"

She said, "I just want to apologize to you. I have been really rude to you and sometimes downright mean, and you have been nothing but nice to me. I want to let you know that I am going to try to do better. I sometimes feel overwhelmed and frustrated and I think that is why I take it out on you, but that is wrong and I want to change. Will you forgive me?"

I was taken aback. Truthfully, I was so used to being treated that way I don't even notice it anymore. I just work around it. I told her, "For someone who is that overwhelmed and frustrated, I think you do an awesome job and I look forward to seeing you grow, no apology necessary."

She said, "I just know that as a Christian, I am supposed to do that when I know I am wrong." I smiled and said, "I forgive you, now go, and keep up the great work!" She laughed.

It made me think of how often we, as humans are overwhelmed by our lives, frustrated, discontent, and any other negative description of our day to day experiences. When we get on our knees, we sometimes whine, shake our fists, and question His authority over our lives. We may even decide to stay in bed rather than go out and do what He has called us to do. Then, just like those employees who want a paycheck but don't want to do the work to get it, we wonder where our reward is.

And, yet, God reaches down and consoles us, sends us peace, let's us behold the beauty of the morning sunrise, taste the delicious meals we are provided with, and warms us with the clothes we have been given to cover our nakedness and hide our brokenness. Over time, He blesses us with healing and sustenance. How often we are ungrateful and unable to see all the ways our Father provides for us that we don't even have to ask for.

Don't you think it is time to ask God to forgive you?

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

When you are in over your head...

I am reading Nehemiah in the Bible. As I read, I am ever expecting God to speak to me through His Word in the Bible, as He so often does. Today, the verse that jumped out at me was this one:

Nehemiah 2:4
“Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.”

How many times in our lives have we had to make hard decisions and not known which way to turn? Or, how many times have we had to petition our employers, our parents, or our leaders for something that would help us and the people around us, yet we find ourselves afraid of speaking up?

For one, fear is not of God. Fear is of Satan. However, a lot of other things are of Satan too: Pride, error in our ways, being mislead by a charismatic personality, among other things. No one wants to make wrong decisions, but no one should be afraid of making a decision.

In Nehemiah chapter 2, verse 4, the King is asking Nehemiah to tell him what he needs, because he has seen that Nehemiah is sad and low in spirit and he understood that this was not the Nehemiah he was used to. However, if Nehemiah were to say something that angered the king, he could very well find himself thrown in the dungeon, or headless. He did the only thing he could do in order to be as honest as he could with the king: He prayed.

When you find yourself in a position to make a difference with what comes out of your mouth next, always pray before speaking. In this way, God will send His angels before you to clear the path from obstacles that endanger you.

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Empty Me...

With the new year comes a desire to make changes that will ultimately better our lives. The changes I wish to make in my life are dietary. I have decided to go on a "God Diet" in hopes of losing some weight (Like, about 100 lbs).

Another New Year's Resolution I made was to study God's Word more. That is easy. I just pick up where I left off while reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I am in Nehemiah right now.

While reading the first chapter of Nehemiah, this verse jumped out at me:

Nehemiah 1:4
“And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,”

This prompted me to do a search on fasting and study it more.

What the Bible Says about Fasting

I had been wondering about fasting as a part of my diet. What did this verse and my study tell me about Fasting?

1. Fasting is a way of clearing up the channel of communication between us and the Father.
2. Fasting should be used in times of distress or mourning or memorializing.
3. Fasting should only be done on a certain number of days. It is not a hunger strike. It is a cleansing technique.
4. Fasting should always be accompanied by prayer.

I hope this is useful to you as you study the Word of God and attempt to incorporate it into your life!

If this has inspired you, please share it!