Study, Meditate, Follow

“Behold, I am instructing you. Be strengthened, and be steadfast. Do not dread, and do not fear. For the Lord your God is with you in all things, wherever you may go.” (Joshua 1:9) I would love to claim that promise for myself. However, it was not a general promise to all, nor was it without conditions. “Therefore, be strengthened and be very steadfast, so that you may observe and accomplish the entire law, which Moses, my servant, instructed to you. You may not turn aside from it to the right, nor to the left. So may you understand all that you should do. The book of this law shall not depart from your mouth. Instead, you shall meditate upon it, day and night, so that you may observe and do all the things that are written in it. Then you shall direct your way and understand it.” (Joshua 1:7-8) If I am to claim any of this promise, I must read, study, and meditate daily on the scriptures. Many centuries after Joshua, Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture, having been divinely inspired, is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in justice, so that the man of God may be perfect, having been trained for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Realize that the Scripture to which Paul is referring is the same Scripture God commanded Joshua to study. Do you want to be a man or woman out God? How can you expect to follow God if you have not studied His word? Any fool can claim to be right before God. But only a student of scriptures can be confirmed righteous. Prayer Lord, as I study and meditate on Your word, lead me in the path of righteousness. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    Laundry

    This week my wife and I took our dirty clothes to the laundromat. As I was watching the clothes swirl around in the glass door of the front loading machine, the seed of a musing was planted in my brain. I imagined what it would be like to be an article of clothing in that machine. As I thought backwards on the life of one of those shirts sloshing back and forth in the washer. I can see the beginning of its life as the seamstress or tailor cuts the clothe and stitches it into a shape pleasing to them. Next it it’s packaged and purchased. It begins its life. It has a purpose to clothe the naked. However, as time goes on it becomes soiled. So, to the laundromat it goes. It is mixed with other pieces of laundry, some are shirts similar to itself however, some are socks, shorts, slacks, and dresses. At first they lay quietly while comforting warm water bathes them. But soon a motion begins. At first it is a gentle rocking. But then things begin to change. The motion becomes more turbulent and sometimes painful. Then things begin to spin faster and faster. It then slows to a stop. The shirt breathes a sigh of relief. But then the spinning begins again and again. At last the shirt, all tangled in a wad with the rest of clothes is placed in the dryer. Once more it begins to spin, but slower this time. Warm air begins to dry the clothes and they separate from the soggy ball into their individual forms. At last the shirt it’s removed from the dryer and is once more ready to clothes the naked. I see so many parallels between the shirt and our walk with God. He creates us to His design and sets us to work on His plan (psalm 139:24). Along the way, bits and pieces of this broken world begin to cling to us (Romans 3:23). Words, thoughts, and deeds not of God but of the world inhibit us from fulfilling His plan for us. He has created a community of believers each with their own gifts and duties (1 Corinthians chapter 12). Through His baptism he brings us together. It is necessary to occasionally shake things up in our lives to get its back on track, and sometimes the shaking is painful (Hebrews 9:15). Then in the warmth of God’s love we are once more ready to be about our Father’s business. (Psalm 51:12) Prayer Father, your lessons are everywhere if we will but seek them. Give us a seekers heart. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    The 23rd Psalm Revisited

    1.  The Lord is my shepherd. Isaiah 30:21 “and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.”

    2.  I shall not want. Philippians 4:19 “And may my God fulfill all your desires, according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

    3.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures. Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

    4.  He leads me beside the still waters. Jeremiah 31:25 “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” 

    5.  He restores my soul. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think over you, says the Lord: thoughts of peace and not of affliction, so that I may give you patience and an end.

    6.  He leads me in the paths of righteousness.
    Psalm 16:11 “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.”

    7.  for His name’s sake. 1 John 3:2b Most beloved, we are now the sons of God.


    8.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Isaiah 41:10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not turn away, for I am your God. I have strengthened you, and I have assisted you, and the right hand of my just one has upheld you.

    9.  for You are with me.

    Matthew 28: 20b “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    10. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Ephesians 6:10-18 “the full armor of God … belt of Truth … breastplate of righteousness … the gospel of peace … shield of faith … the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
    11.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Romans 8:38 & 39 “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    12. You anoint my head with oil. 1 John 2:27 “But as for you, let the Anointing that you have received from him abide in you. And so, you have no need of anyone to teach you. For his Anointing teaches you about everything, and it is the truth, and it is not a lie. And just as his Anointing has taught you, abide in him.”

    13.  My cup runs over. 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make every grace abound in you, so that, always having what you need in all things, you may abound unto every good work,”

    14.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Romans 7:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

    15.  I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 

    Prayer
    Thank you, Lord, for your presence with us in the past, in the present, for the future, and for life eternal.
    Amen

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    Lead Us, Lord

    Jude 20-24

    Dear friends, use your most holy faith to grow. Pray with the Holy Spirit’s help. Remain in God’s love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life. Show mercy to those who have doubts. Save others by snatching them from the fire of hell. Show mercy to others, even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives. God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in his glorious presence without fault.

    Lead Us, Lord

    In just four short verses Jude gives Christ’s followers a list of things to do.

    • Grow in faith
    • Pray in the Spirit 
    • Remain in God’s love
    • Look for mercy
    • Show Mercy
    • Save others
    • Snatch them from hell
    • Don’t fall
    • Be full of joy
    • Stand without fault

     Add these to your daily To-Do List.

    Nearly every Sunday our church congregation sings “Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make thy way plain before my face.”

    We sing it as though that path is hard to find. It isn’t. Book after book and page upon page in the Bible tells us, as in the passage from the book of Jude, what is expected of God’s children.

    If you are in the dark, you want a flashlight. Well, friends, I’m telling you, when you feel lost, alone, and don’t know which way to turn, open the Bible. It will light your way. It may be a blazing floodlight or a dim flickering candle, But it will be enough for your next step. And the next. And the next

    Prayer:

    Lord, we your people sometimes cry out to you asking for guidance even though we haven’t done our part in accepting the guidance you’ve already given us in your holy book. Forgive us, we pray.

    Amen.

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    Tough Love

    2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

    Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed.  Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers.

    Tough love

    Paul was advising his readers to apply tough love to those believers who were not following his commandments. It reminds me of being a parent. You love your children and want to be their friend and play with them. But at the same time, you have a duty to train them up to be responsible adults who contribute to society rather than a drain on their community..

    In like manner, the more mature in Christ must take a leadership role in guiding and strengthening those weaker in the faith. And sometimes that means not being their “buddy,” but being their true friend and warning then of their errors.

    Prayer:

    Holy Spirit, be my guide. When I all weak let me take good instruction from the strong. When I am strong, help me, in love, lift the weak among us.

    Amen.

  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

  • Idleness 

    2 Thessalonians 3:6

    Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us.

    Idleness 

    This short section of scripture caught my attention. Paul isn’t saying to stay away from idle people in general. No, he is specifically saying to stay away from BELIEVERS who won’t work. It would be nice to get all “churchy” and make this some spiritual lesson about “working for the Lord”. However, it is very clear that Paul as actually writting about working for money.

    In verse eight he reminded them that when he had been there, he worked and earned money to pay for what he ate.

    What he was telling his listeners was not “if you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  He was trying to show that, as he had been an example to them, they were to be seen as example to others. 

    Being idle in one area of a persons life is an indication of an attitude of general lazyness. A person with that mindset will always be a drain on others rather than a contributor. Jesus was all about being a “doer”. “Take my yoke upon you” means that he expects us to work along side him. I challenge you to find anyplace in scriptures where God appeared to a person and didn’t say in effect, “Go. Do”.

    Prayer:

    Lord, we want to be your faithful follower. We want to contribute to your ongoing work in this world in anyway that we can. Search us and remove any idleness from us.

    Amen.


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    Prophesies

    Luke 21:5-19
    When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, ““As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

     They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

    And he said,“Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”

    Then he said to them,

    “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.”


    Prophesies


    I have a confession to make,: I hate prophesies. I’m not good at understanding them. The only way to determine if a prophecy is true, is after it has be fulfilled. And even then you can be left wondering, was this THE event prophesied about or will there still another event yet to come that will be the REAL fulfillment?

    Some of what Jesus said had come true; and some almost immediately. The apostles were nearly all handed over to be exceeded for teaching about Jesus. The temple was destroyed within the lifetime of many of his listeners.
    Wars and famines as well as earthquakes and floods have always been with us. So how are we to know?
    We aren’t supposed to know the WHEN.  That’s the point of what Jesus was saying. What we are supposed to be doing is staying strong in the faith even when persecuted, even to death.

    Prayer:
    Lord, you know that your children always want to know every twist and turn of the road before we even take that first step. Give it’s the courage and trust to keep moving forward, under your guidance, even when we can’t we where to place our foot in the next step.
    Amen.

    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)

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    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

    Bookends of Love

    John 14:15-21

    If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. You will live because I live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me and that I am in you. Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them.”

    Bookends of Love

    In this brief section of Jesus’s teaching and instruction to his apostles and disciples, he links love and commandments twice: “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” and “Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me.”  I found it interesting that love came both before and after the commandments. It was as if they we wrapped in love. Love is the reason for obeying his commandments and obeying his commandments is proof of our love.

    Prayer:

    Jesus, lover of my soul, I love you more than anything that this world had to offer. Your commandments are simple to understand but,sometimes, difficult to follow. Thank you for the Spirit of Truth that you have given us to guide our steps through this ungodly world.

    Amen.

  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
  • https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
  • https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams