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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    First Choice or Last Hope

    Our church has a wonderful prayer chain. Anyone can email a prayer request to the church. That email is then forwarded, along with a wonderful prayer, to all who have agreed to be “prayer warriors.” However, I often notice from these requests that it appears that prayer (God) is the final option when going to God should be the first option. And I will admit that I am too often guilty of this myself. Understand I have nothing against modern medicine. Indeed I thank God for the wisdom and knowledge is available to us. However, I fear that our faith in doctors is sometimes greater than our faith in God. James 5:13-15 13. Are you having troubles? You should pray. Are you happy? You should sing. 14. Are you sick? Ask the elders of the church to come and rub oil on you in the name of the Lord and pray for you. 15. If such a prayer is offered in faith, it will heal anyone who is sick. The Lord will heal them. And if they have sinned, he will forgive them. Philippians 4:6-7 6. Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 7. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. Prayer Lord, we believe that you hear our requests. We believe that you will answer in your time and in your way. Forgive us for not coming to you first. Forgive us for turning to you oily when we have given up hope. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    (For further reading: Preaching to People Who Have “Heard it all Before” — By: J. Brian Tucker )

    FROGS

    FROGS

    Mark 6:7-13

    He called the twelve apostles, sent them out two by two, and gave them authority over evil spirits. He instructed them to take nothing along on the trip except a walking stick. They were not to take any food, a traveling bag, or money in their pockets. They could wear sandals but could not take along a change of clothes. He told them, “Whenever you go into a home, stay there until you’re ready to leave that place. Wherever people don’t welcome you or listen to you, leave and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.” So the apostles went and told people that they should turn to God and change the way they think and act. They also forced many demons out of people and poured oil on many who were sick to cure them.

    Jesus had been training the twelve to be servants completely relying on the Master. At this time they are to be emissaries for the Master, acting as the Master and with all of the authority of the Master. And, as in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27), they are expected to bring an increase into the kingdom of God.

    Now they are commissioned to go into the world and tell everyone the Good News while curing them. It is the same command that he will repeat to them in his last few earthly moments. (Mark 16: 24-18, Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:8)

    They are to go with nothing but the clothes in their backs. They are tobe Fully Reliant On. God. It is the same thing Jesus requires of all his followers: be willing to abandon everything and everyone that would keep you from serving God. (Mark 8:34)

    Are you ready to be a F.R.O.G.?

    Prayer

    Jesus, Master, we struggle to empty ourselves of self and to be full of you. We know that when we are weak, you are strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10.) Please show us how to trust in your strength so we can allow ourselves to be weak. Amen Also visit my other blogs
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    Practice Makes Perfect

    Bounce, bounce, bounce. Our young neighbor spends most of his free time shooting hoops. He is only in elementary school now. By the time he reaches middle school and high school, he will amassed thousands, maybe tens of thousands of hours dribbling that ball and aiming for that net. I have to believe that it will make him a force to be reckoned with. Practice makes perfect, they say. Paul encouraged the church at Philippi to practice what is good and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8-9 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. And do what you learned and received from me—what I told you and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you. His advice to that first century church still hold true today. By continued practice of what its good and worthy, we will be preparing ourselves to stand inn the day of judgement and give a good accounting of our life. Prayer Heavenly Father than you for sending Jesus as our perfect example of the life you expect us to live. Give it’s the courage, strength, and wisdom to follow the prompting of your Holy Spirit. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    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

    Lighting the Darkness

    Mark 4:21-23 Jesus said to them, “Does anyone bring a lamp into a room to put it under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it put on a lamp stand? There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light. Let the person who has ears listen!”

    Matthew 5:14-16 “You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.

    Mark and Matthew may be describing the same event or perhaps Jesus used the same illustration at different times to a different crowd. In any case the message is clear, let your light shine.

    Though the analogy seems totally different than Jesus’ story about the farmer scattering seed, in both cases he requires us to share what we have. Seed and light are both symbols of the gospel.

    Are you hiding your light? Have you lifted it high so that it will reach further into the darkness?

    Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

    Prayer Lord, you have entrusted us with the job of spreading your good news to the people around us. Sometimes we have done as commanded however, sometimes we’ve failed. Forgive us when we’ve failed to share your light. We ask that your light burn so brightly in us that people in darkness are drawn to it. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    Preparing For Battle

    My daily personal Bible studies are like snacks that feed me, however the pastor’s sermon and the hymn singing is a full meal. Sunday school is where we exchange ideas and gain new perspectives and helps to sharpen our swords for the daily battles.

    “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:3-5) Prayer Forgive us, Lord, for allowing the things of this world to distract us from our true duty. Thank you for the sanctuary of your church where. by Your power, our spiritual wounds may be healed, our armor repaired, and or sword sharpened. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    NO UNEMPLOYED

    Matthew 11:25-30

    At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from wise and intelligent people and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, this is what pleased you. “My Father has turned everything over to me. Only the Father knows the Son. And no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son is willing to reveal him. “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    I read this scripture, before I accepted the forgiveness of God’s gift of love and restoration, and it frightened me. I didn’t understand the truth of “Place my yoke over your shoulders.” I imagined a heavy wooden yoke placed upon my shoulders and then being forced to pull a plow or a wagon with a huge load in it. Now, having accepted the gift of salvation, I realize that I previously had my own yoke on my shoulders and was pulling that load alone. With Jesus’ yoke, we are sharing the load and he is doing nearly all of the work.

    Make no mistake, in the kingdom of God there are no unemployed. Every Christian had a duty to perform. However, Christ is with us doing all of the heavy lifting

    Prayer Thank you Lord for lifting that load. I ask now for the strength to lighten the load of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen IF YOU LIKE MY BLOG, PLEASE HIT THE LIKE BUTTON AND MAYBE LEAVE A COMMENT.
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    THEY HAD ONE JOB TO DO

    Mark 14:32-42

    Then they came to a place called Gethsemane. He said to his disciples, “Stay here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him and began to feel distressed and anguished. He said to them, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying. Wait here, and stay awake.” After walking a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible he might not have to suffer what was ahead of him. He said, “Abba! Father! You can do anything. Take this cup of suffering away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine.” He went back and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake for one hour? Stay awake, and pray that you won’t be tempted. You want to do what’s right, but you’re weak.” He went away again and prayed the same prayer as before. He found them asleep because they couldn’t keep their eyes open. They didn’t even know what they should say to him. He came back a third time and said to them, “You might as well sleep now. It’s all over. The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. Get up! Let’s go! The one who is betraying me is near.”

    This person had one job to do, paint two parallel yellow lines in the middle of the road. For mile upon mile he had done just that. And then something happened. Maybe he dozed for just a moment or maybe he was distracted momentarily. For whatever reason, he failed to do the one thing he was supposed to do.

    Jesus gave Peter, James, and John one job to do, wait and stay awake. He had told them, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying.” Three times he prayed and they slept. One simple job, and they failed … repeatedly!

    Imagine for a moment that your best friend had just told you that they felt like they were dying and they asked you to wait and watch over them while they prayed. What would you do? Now put yourself in the other place. You are the one who feels like your dying. What would you expect of your friends?

    I would expect to pray with my friend and have them pray with me. I certainly wouldn’t expect them to fall asleep when I was at my darkest hour.

    Prayer
    Lord, forgive us for times that we also “fall sleep”. It may no not be actual sleep but times when inattentive to you calling to us. Or those times when our friends have needed us and we’ve not been there for them. Open our ears that we may hear. Open our eyes that we may see. Open our minds that we may know. Open our mouths that we may speak, and open our hearts that we might love. Amen

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    For You and Me

    Hebrews 2:14-17
    Therefore, because children have a common flesh and blood, he (Jesus) himself also, in like manner, has shared in the same, so that through death, he might destroy him who held the dominion of death, that is, the devil, 15. and so that he might free those who, through the fear of death, had been condemned to servitude throughout their entire life. 16. For at no time did he take hold of the Angels, but instead he took hold of the offspring of Abraham. 17. Therefore, it is fitting for him to be made similar to his brothers in all things, so that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest before God, in order that he might bring forgiveness to the offenses of the people.

    Jesus, God with us, CHOSE to live the life of a human being. He likewise chose to die a physical death to free us from the fear of death. This is how much he loves us and chooses to have us share eternity with him.

    Prayer
    Jesus, thank you for your great sacrifice for us. Forgive us for the times we have failed to makes the tiniest sacrifice for you.
    Amen.

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    • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
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    ©2020 Thomas E Williams