Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Blessings with a Purpose

I will make you into a great nation,
   and I will bless you.
Genesis 12:2

God not only blesses us, but he blesses us for a purpose.  He blesses us so we will be a blessing.  The word bless means, “to benefit.”  It implies abundantly or greatly. In the Bible we are reminded that God blessed Abraham abundantly by building a great nation through his seed.  He made Abraham’s name great.

God’s blessings are different toward each one of us. Sometimes our blessings may come through the most difficult of trials. The purest gold comes through the most intense heat, and the most beautiful gems are formed through immense pressure. Other blessings may be in the rich joy of family members or friends in our lives.

Everyone can look at unique ways God has blessed their lives. The question is, “Are we focusing on the blessings God has given us or on the frustrations?” Let’s thank God each day for the wonderful ways He blesses us, and then let’s be diligent to use our blessings to bless the world around us.

How does God want to use your gifts and talents to benefit others today?

When Disaster Strikes

Currently the word “crisis” is becoming an everyday term, as we see devastation both here and abroad. Our hearts go out to the people who were hit hard by Hurricane Ida, as well as the those who are attempting to flee the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. If you are like me, you wonder what you can do to help and bring hope to those facing such daunting challenges.

First and foremost we are called to pray. Paul wrote to the Colossian church, “Be devoted to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Let us pray without ceasing, asking for God’s comfort, care and strength for those in need. We can thank the Lord He is present in the midst of the storms of life, and He can do far beyond what we can ask or imagine.

Second, we can look for opportunities to help. Being “watchful,” means we search out ways that we can make a positive impact. There are trustworthy organizations which have “boots on the ground” in places of disaster. Two organizations I recommend for hurricane relief are Samaritan’s Purse and Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief.

As far as helping abroad with the crisis in Afghanistan, there is an organization that is committed  to helping persecuted Christians around the world. They are currently aiding those in Afghanistan. The Nazarene Fund’s mission is, “To liberate the captive, to free the enslaved, and to rescue, rebuild and restore the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious and ethnic minorities wherever and whenever they are in need.” They are currently working to help believers in Afghanistan find safety.

Thirdly, consider one step you can take to help those in crisis, whether it is donating to the needs of a national crisis or taking a meal to a family in personal crisis or joining a relief team to provide hands on help in a crisis. We can’t do everything, but each of us can do something. Take one step forward as you consider ways you can make a difference.

Let’s not sit on the sidelines, rather let’s step into action by praying, searching and taking one step to offer a cup of cold water to someone in need.

Photo by John Middelkoop on Unsplash

He Speaks

The LORD had said to Abram,

“Go from your county… to the land I will show you.

Genesis 12:1

              God is not a silent god; He is a God who speaks.  In the Old Testament God spoke to His people through prophets, through visions, and sometimes He spoke directly to His servants. He spoke to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah to name a few.  Does God still speak to His people today?

            One of the ways He speaks to us is through His written word, the Bible.  We learn who God is and how He wants us to live as we read His word.  His Spirit speaks to us. Often He speaks through that still small voice within us, lovingly prompting us to follow His direction and gently convicting us to turn from sin.

Now we must be careful not to think that every thought we have is from Him.  We must test it against scripture. The more we get to know Him through scripture and prayer, the more we recognize His voice. Just as sheep recognize their shepherds voice, so we recognize our Good Shepherd’s voice as we grow to know Him and trust Him.

Father, open our ears to hear and our hearts to understand. Help us to follow your ways and honor you in everything we say and do.

Walking Together

Enoch walked faithfully with God. Genesis 5:23

            When we walk with someone, we enjoy fellowship with them as we travel together. We have a choice to walk with God in a close relationship, or we can choose to wander in our own direction doing as we please. Enoch chose to walk with God. Additionally, the Bible tells us that, “Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” Even in the Garden of Eden God we see a hint of God’s walking as we read, “The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”            

Paul wrote that just as we have received Christ Jesus as Lord, we are also to “walk in Him.”  We can walk with God as we pray to Him throughout our day. It’s one thing to know God as an acquaintance we simply see on Sundays. It’s another thing to walk with Him in close fellowship. God invites us to walk with Him. Will you accept the invitation?

This is an excerpt from my devotional Pursuing God in the Quiet Places

The Power of Rest

On the seventh day he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2

The Bible tells us God does not slumber or sleep. If He does not grow weary or slumber, what does it mean that He rested?  It means that He ceased from His work. He deliberately stopped and set aside the work of creation.  He chose to establish the seventh day as a holy day, a day of Sabbath rest.  The word Sabbath means intermission or repose from labor. The Sabbath was a covenant sign of God’s lordship over creation. The Israelites were instructed to observe a Sabbath rest, thereby identifying themselves as God’s redeemed people. 

God wanted His people to be set apart and be different than the rest of the world by ceasing from work one day a week. When we take a break from activity it gives us time to reflect on the goodness of God and trust Him for our provision. It also allows us to mentally and physically recoup from our work.

Thank you Father for you know what is best for us. Thank you Father for establishing a pattern of rest for us.