Good Man, Good Plan

Proverbs 12:2, “A good man obtains favor from the LordBut a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.”

Much like the post yesterday about an excellent wife and excellent life, there is a lesson for men too.  This is how I hope that I am for my wife just as she hopes she is excellent for me.  Men, it is time to be a good man with a good plan.

A good man obtains favor from the Lord.  When being a good man or husband, it starts with God.  Being a man of God means leading himself or himself and his family closer to God.  This is accomplished through bible studies in the home, prayer in the home and conducting one’s behavior properly.  Being good does not mean that we have to be perfect.  It means allowing God to come in and be the “good” inside of you.

A man needs to be a leader both of his own life and his family.  That does not mean that he needs to boss people around but that he is in control.  I know that in my life, I take control of the day-to-day affairs.  My wife and I communicate to make sure that what we are doing is best for the family and for God.  A man needs to be there for his wife just as she needs to be there for him.  A marriage is a partnership.

Wicked men’s intentions condemned by God.  The opposite of good is bad and that means going against God.  We all go against God but choosing to come back to God makes one good.  We all sin and the punishment for sin is death.  We all deserve death but through Jesus Christ, we may be saved from death.  Not physical death, but spiritual death.  We are saved because God wants us to be saved.  He loves us so much.

We need to be good and not wicked.  Our intentions are so important.  As we go through our lives, we need to mindful of our thoughts and our ways.  We need to follow God and be Godly men so that we may Godly families to make a Godly world.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this wonderful day that You have blessed us with.  Help all the men of the world to turn to You.  Help us love You with all that we are.  Guide us on how raise our children, be with our wives and live for God.  You alone are our God and we should only follow You.  Help us to make an impact on the world for You.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

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Excellent Wife, Excellent Life

Proverbs 12:4, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.”

This Friday, the twenty-third of February, will mark my 11th wedding anniversary to my beautiful bride.  It is amazing to look back on all the memories that we have.  The great memories and some that we would like to forget.  The point is, I have an excellent wife and an excellent life.  All of this is due to God.

It is said that an excellent wife is the crown of her husband.  For me, that is absolutely true.  My wife and I are both saved and very active in our local church.  That is not to say that we are better than anyone else or more spiritual than anyone else.  My wife has pulled me back from a terrible mistake many times and I for her.  We are not perfect.

A wife that is God-fearing is a special woman indeed.  Having a woman who will keep you grounded in the faith is worth more than a huge pile of money.  In a marriage, it is about watching each others’ backs against the enemy and having a wife that is there to back you up is so helpful

The devil seeks to ruin marriages and looking at the divorce rates, he is doing well at that.  Christian marriages are his favorite to destroy.  That is where an excellent wife comes in.  An excellent wife will be a helper to her husband and can guide him in decisions.  My wife and I share decisions all the time and it would be unnatural for us to try to do something alone without talking about it.  Bonding together makes the devil’s job that much harder.  Having God as your defense makes his job impossible, as long as we have faith in God to protect us.  That is why there needs to be active prayer in the home.  Active reading of the Word in the home.  Active Christianity, not just church when you feel like it.  Church needs to be a “home thing,” not an “occasional thing.”

There is a flip side to this.  A wife that causes shame is like bones that are rotten.  So many times, the wife (this can happen with the husband too) makes some poor decisions.  These decisions drag the whole marriage to a bad place.  A place where the devil can sink his teeth in and not let go.  This is when marriages crumble and sin abounds.  If God is not allowed in the marriage, the marriage is owned by the devil.  The souls of those people are lost.  This is where people in good marriages need to come alongside people in bad marriages and help out.  Nothing makes for more strength in the faith than people who are bonded together with God.  This is why the church body is so strong.  Many souls together with God as a shield of protection.  The devil cannot penetrate that.  He must flee if God is there.

The devil is always lurking in the shadows and on the edges.  Always trying to come up with ways to destroy.  If you are in a good marriage, that makes me happy and God happy.  If you are in a bad marriage, do not give up.  There is hope.  The first step is to turn to God.  Pray for healing and restoration.  Communication is also a big point that needs to be made.  Miscommunication leads to many sins that push a marriage to the brink of disaster.  Marriages are work but are a blessing from God.  I have found the perfect wife for me in this life and I pray that you find that wife for your life, too.

Heavenly Father,

I humbly plea today that you make a hedge of protection around all marriages today.  I pray that You keep the devil out and not allow him to attack the sanctity of marriage.  We know that You alone are in control.  I ask that You take control as we are not able to do anything without You.  Guide us and use us as You see fit.  We are Your instruments.  Bless us and keep us safe as You promise to do.  Thank You for being an awesome God.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

Who are We to God?

Psalms 8:3-4, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”

In the grand scheme of the whole universe, what are we?  We are just one small part of a universe that is so large that it is almost incomprehensible.  When we factor our stature into the whole Earth, we are quite small.  Why does care about us, being how small we are.  Who are we to God anyway?

David was having a moment of deep thought in this passage, reflecting on all that God had created.  Everything that we see is of God.  The heavens were created by God.  The moon and stars are created by God.  David was in awe of the creation and rightly so.

Consider the skies and the heavens.  Just take a moment out of your busy day and just admire the skies.  The clouds and the sun in the day and the moon and the stars in the night.  All that is up there is controlled by God and made by God.  It is the work of His hands.  God’s fingers and hands were a part of everything that exists today.  This is because God is the only One that can make something out of nothing.

God has a plan and has stuck to His plan since the beginning of time.  No one has changed God’s plans.  Nothing happens that is outside of the will of God.  The sun rises in the morning and sets at night.  The moon is more visible at night than in the day.  This is all part of God’s design.  Eclipses, rainstorms, clouds, and even tornadoes and hurricanes are all part of the beauty of God.  Though they can be destructive at times, this is because of man and the fall that this occurs.

And then there is mankind.  Created on the sixth day by God.  Man was created to take care of the Earth.  Through disobedience, man’s role has changed.  Who really is man to God?  Man is so minuscule.  God is so colossal.  And yet, man is loved by God.  Through all the years that man has disappointed God, God is still there and He still loves us.  He sent His Son to die for us.  He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us.  God is with us even though we are such a small part of all that He made.

We are always on God’s mind and God is always with us.  It is beyond our understanding why but God has a plan.  He cares about each and every soul of each and every person.  God knows everyone personally because He made them.  God is so far above us and beyond comprehension.  Yet, He is so near that we can have Him in us.  What a wonderful God we serve.  What a complex God we serve.  What an awesome God we serve!  Who are we to God?  Everything according to Him.  We are everything to Him.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for all that You have created, including us.  We will never know everything about You or what You have planned but we can have faith.  Strengthen our faith in You so that we may trust that You will do what You say You will do.  You have never failed us and You will never fail us.  We ask that the Holy Spirit goes deep into our soul so that everything that is evil is removed.  Help us to be good as You are good.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

Patience is One of God’s Strong Points

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

God is perfect in all areas but patience is one area that God has an infinite amount in, beyond comprehension to our minds.  He promises to love us always and part of His love is His patience.  Patience is just one of God’s strong points and thankfully, He is very patient.

The Lord is not slack in His promise, or really anything.  God made a promise to the world, never to destroy it all at once again like the flood.  God makes a way for each and every person to come to Him for repentance.  He is very patient, sometimes waiting until someone is on their death-bed for them to be saved.  We should never want to wait that long to be saved but being saved is better than passing on the greatest gift we can receive.

Some people think that God is slack because He does not save everyone from Hell.  Some people feel God is unfair because He seems to choose whom he wants and does not want.  God is not slack.  God does not play favorites.  God has a plan.

The fact is, God does not want anyone to die without being saved.  He wants every single person to go to Heaven.  He knows that not every person will not choose Him.  We have free will which allows us to choose God or reject God.  If we did not free will, we would have to accept the choice that God makes.  That would be for everything, not just salvation.  There are some that would not mind that but many would not want to be controlled like a puppet.

We all have a choice in everything that we do.  Choose salvation or rejection.  Choose God or the world.  Life or death.  The fact is that everyone in the world gets this choice.  What will you choose?  What is your decision?

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for choosing to give us salvation.  Thank You for the choice that You give us.  We must make the decision to come to You.  Help us to spread Your Word to others so that they may also make the choice of You.  Your salvation is a gift and as a gift, it is meant to be shared.  If someone does not know You, may this message find them and compel them to choose life over death.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

Forgiveness in Prayer

Mark 11:25-26, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Prayer is such an important part of a person’s life.  Someone who spends a lot of time in prayer is someone who is truly communing with God.  We should always be striving to be in prayer more and more.  Part of prayer is a spirit of forgiveness.  When talking to God, there can be forgiveness in prayer.

There is no right or wrong way to be when praying.  For most, prayer involves having eyes closed and sitting down.  Prayer can be done with eyes open and standing up.  Closing eyes eliminates much of the distraction that is around.  Sitting eases the pain of standing for those who can’t stand a long time.  The point is that there needs to be prayer, in whatever position is comfortable for you.

If you have anything against anyone, forgive him.  This is so important because forgiveness is not about the other person but about yourself.  Having something against someone can lead to judgment.  What someone says or someone wears can be offensive.  Instead of showing love to them, we tend to make bad comments or judge in our minds.  If someone does something to you, we need to forgive them.  Forgive them even if they meant it.

God will forgive us of our sins.  We need to forgive others because when we do, God will forgive us of our sins.  We need to think of offenses like this.  We mean to sin sometimes.  We do things that we know are offensive to God and do them because we want to.  Other people do things to us that we don’t like and they want to.  So if God can forgive us for all our sins that we do to Him, we can forgive the few sins that others do to us.

There is a “part b” to this equation though.  If we will not forgive others, then God will not forgive us.  If someone sinned 1 time against us and we cannot forgive that, why would we think that God, who we sin against countless times, would forgive us?  It is simple: if we forgive others, God forgives and if we don’t forgive, God does not forgive.

No matter the offense against us, is it worth throwing away your salvation?  Letting someone else’s sin cause you to miss Heaven is simply unacceptable.  Forgive so that you may be forgiven.  In the grand scope of eternity, one sin against you is not worth throwing away a life devoted to God.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for forgiving us for all our sins that we have committed.  Help us to forgive others as You forgive.  When we have eternity in mind, forgiveness seems so easy, yet it can be hard.  You are there to help us through anything.  Help us to love others as You love us.  We need You and love You.  Thank You for Your Son who showed us true love on the cross.  Thank You for the removal of our sin.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

Sinners and Tax Collectors

Matthew 9:9-13, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office.  And He said to him, “Follow Me.”So he arose and followed Him.  Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’  For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Sin is a sickness that is almost as old as time.  Since the first sin committed by Adam and Eve to now, the sickness has only spread more and more.  There is only one cure to sin: death.  The death of the individual or an intermediary to take the effect of death and sin.  That intermediary is Jesus.  He is who came for the sinners and the tax collectors.

In the process of finding all His disciples, Jesus came across Matthew.  Now He was already picked by Jesus but there was one problem with him.  Matthew was not a fisherman like Peter or John but he was a tax collector.  Tax collectors were considered “scum of the earth.”  They were lower than low.  They were employed to take taxes from the people and give it to the government in charge.  Tax collectors would also take a small percentage for themselves over and above what was collected.  This made them unlikable.

Jesus told Matthew to follow Him and Matthew listened.  There is no mention of an argument.  The fact that someone wanted Matthew to be with Him was probably a comfort as most people did not befriend the tax collector.  Jesus knew that having Matthew as a disciple would cause issues but knew the future and the lesson that could be shown at a later time.

Picture this: Jesus and His disciples sat down to have a meal as they had done many times before.  They were probably discussing what had happened in the day or whatnot and suddenly tax collectors and “sinners” came and sat down with them.  These individuals most likely knew Jesus and wanted to be near Him to hear what He would say.  They may have just been curious of this person and His men.

“Sinners” is an interesting term.  Everyone is a sinner but these individuals were especially wicked individuals.  These would have been the robbers and murderers.  The “less than salt” of the Earth.  By lumping sinners and tax collectors together, this would show that these people were less than righteous or even self-righteous.

Speaking of the self-righteous, the Pharisees saw the table where Jesus was and approached Him.  They had a question for Him but chose to ask Jesus’ disciples instead.  They wanted to know why Jesus would associate with the “lowlifes.”  The people who were “not worthy” of Jesus’ time.

Jesus did not allow His disciples to field this question but took it on Himself as He knew that He was more qualified to answer it.  He answered this question perfectly as He had before.  It said that only sick people need a doctor.  The people who are well do not go to a doctor.  Doctors treat sick people with medicine and people who are well continue on without need of medicine.

He gave the Pharisees another lesson.  This one was from the Old Testament, which the Pharisees would be familiar.  This quote comes from Hosea 6:6.  Jesus desires mercy and not sacrifice.  All the sacrifice in the world will not save.  Mercy from God is required for salvation.  The Pharisees thought that in all their works that they would be saved.  They thought they were wiser than all, better than all and above all except God.  The problem is that they did not recognize Jesus as God.

Jesus came for sinners.  He came to save those that truly knew the state that they were in.  The problem with the Pharisees is that they did not think that they needed to be saved.  They thought that their works and the law would save them.  Jesus knew already the hearts of everyone and knew who would come to Him.  He knew the Pharisees.  He knew that they were not open to listen so He chose to focus on people who would be more receptive.

We need to remember that everyone is a sinner.  There is no bigger sinner or better person.  We need to witness to everyone and everyone is deserving of the love of Jesus.  Let us be open to being used by God to help out all those that are in the world.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your Son, who came to be a perfect example for us.  We are all sinners and in need of salvation.  Help us to not judge others based on their actions but to love everyone as Jesus loves everyone.  We need Your mercy for what we have done.  We need You always.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

Youth can Teach Much

1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

Timothy, who is the namesake of this book, was young.  He was young but also called by God and raised by Godly influences.  In His youth, he displayed wisdom.  He had much to teach many who needed the words of God.  This is why youth can teach much.

Even for the immaturity of youth, there is much that can be learned from those that are younger.  I am a parent of three children and consider myself to be of reasonable intelligence and yet, my children teach me different things every day.  New ways to look at topics.  New ways to approach the Bible.  New ways to explain God and other Biblical topics.  My children teach me all the time.

At first, I used to dismiss them, thinking that they could not teach me anything.  Then I listened to God.  God told me to listen to my children.  I have to say that I am glad that I followed God because my children keep me on my toes.  They ask questions and even remind me of lessons I taught them before.

I have even caught my children teaching other children lessons from me.  It is rewarding to see my children learning and then teaching.  They are becoming great examples to others on how to follow God.  I do not despise anyone who is younger than me anymore because I know that I can learn from anyone now.

Paul was speaking to Timothy and warning him that there would be those that would see him as young and dismiss him.  Dismiss as if he could not teach them anything.  Paul was telling Timothy to not let that get to him.  Timothy had a gift from God for teaching.  He had a message from God and it needed to be delivered.  No matter who tried to despise him, he was to carry on with his mission from God.

No matter what age, we can all be examples to other believers and non-believers.  We can be examples in the six areas listed in this verse.  We can show that we are following God.

In word.  What we say and more importantly, what we don’t say, has an impact on those around us.  As Christians, we need to be mindful of the words that we say to ourself and to others.  Our words need to be there to lift up and not put down.  To care instead of disregard.

In conduct.  What we do or don’t do has an impact on those around us.  We need to act in a way that is honoring and pleasing to God.  We need to show that God changed us.  We need to do as Jesus does.

In love.  God is love so as He is love, we need to show love, too.  we need to be as an example of Jesus in us.  That means loving those that seem unlovable.  Giving to those in need.  Helping especially when it will not benefit us.  Love needs to be shown so that love can be seen everywhere.

In spirit.  When we are not with others, we are thought to be with them “in spirit.”  Just as God is with us with the Holy Spirit, we are to be with others in spirit.  We are to pray for others.  We are to think about others.  This is how we should act and we would want the same from others for us.

In faith.  Our faith in God is important.  Showing our faith in God to others is also important.  In order for our salvation with God to be effective, we need faith.  Faith that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.  Faith is so essential to the walk of the Christian.

In purity.  Being pure is all about maintaining what goes into the body.  Watching what is eaten, what is done, and what is seen.  We should only want to put good things into the body.  Avoid watching things that are against God, avoid doing things that are against God, and avoid eating things that will harm our bodies that are made by God.

All these ways can be taught or re-learned depending on the life lived.  Doesn’t matter if it is someone who is 5 or 105, these are lessons that can be taught or learned by all.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for all that You do for us.  Help us to always be willing to learn, regardless of our age or who is teaching.  Help us to be open to hearing from You and trying to be the best that we can be.  Ultimately, we thank You for Your salvation that You give us.  It is a gift that we can never buy or pay back.  We owe everything to You, Lord.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

Like a Thief in the Night

1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

Since the time that Jesus ascended into Heaven after His death and resurrection, people have been looking to the skies for his return.  They have been waiting for Jesus to come back and take His people home.  This day is not known but one thing that is known is it will come like a thief in the night.

A thief in the night seems like an odd analogy at first when being compared to our Lord Jesus.  Jesus never sinned, let alone stole anything.  He is not a thief at all.  But like a thief, Jesus will be back to Earth and then in Heaven.  He will be quick like the thief that does not want to be caught.

Night provides the proper cover for most crimes to be committed.  It conceals who people are which is why most crimes are committed at night.  Though Jesus’s coming is not a crime, He may come at night.  He could come during the day.  There is no exact time when Jesus is coming.  There is no exact date that Jesus is coming.  Jesus is coming and that is all that we need to know.

The day of the Lord will be a day of excitement for all those that call Him Savior.  He will come for all those that followed Him in their lives, whether dead or living.  The day of the Lord will also be a day of terror for those that do not call Him Savior.  It will be the moment where hope diminishes.  The moment where everything in the Bible really is true and the time has come.  The Bible is true and when the Bible states that Jesus will come back, He will come back.

Anyone who can read can know that Jesus is the Son of God.  His mission was to come to Earth, live, die, take away sin and death, and then ascend back to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God.  As the Son of God, He cares for each and every person.  He does not want to see anyone perish and not know Him.

If that is anyone reading this right now, I would ask that You pray this prayer right now.

Heavenly Father,

Please forgive me for my sins that I have done against You.  I acknowledge that You sent Your Son to die for my sins and the sins of the whole world.  I ask that You heal me and come to live inside of me.  I want to be ready for Your Son to come back to gather Your people.  Please help me to live as You would want me to live.

In Your name I pray,

Amen

**If you prayed this prayer for the first time, please comment to me.  I would like to send you a message of encouragement as You start your journey with the Lord.**

Christ, Dweller in Us

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Think about a house, similar to the one that I have pictured.  In a regular house, we can have chairs, sofas, lights, appliances, and other belongings.  We can even invite people into our homes.  Our souls are like houses.  We can let people in and keep people out.  We can even allow things in or keep them out.  One that we should let in is Christ Jesus to be a dweller in us.

Let the word of Christ.  The Word is the Bible but more importantly, the Word is Jesus.  Jesus is the living Bible, with His life lived out for us to live by.  Jesus’s life is the perfect example that anyone can use as a basis of how to live.  His life was without sin and ours is not.  That does not mean that we should not try to live like Jesus.

Dwell in you richly.  Jesus should literally “dwell” in us.  Not our live but richly live.  When we let Jesus in, we can’t help but get excited.  Jesus in our lives makes life worth living.  Without Jesus, there is only sadness because our souls are lost.  When Jesus comes in, our souls can be at rest and in peace.  True peace.

In all wisdom.  Only true wisdom comes from God.  All other earthly wisdom is foolishness to God.  With Jesus, we have the wisdom of God.  The wisdom of God is so desired and sought by men but can only be received through the power of God.  We can never attain all the wisdom of God but it is a work in progress, similar to getting a college degree.  Constant learning from God.

Teaching and admonishing one another.  On the education note, God is there to teach us and admonish us.  Admonishment is simply a harsh reprimand.  In life, there is teaching all the time.  We should never want to stop learning.  We should never want to stop being corrected when we mess up.  Teaching and admonishing from God should be welcomed and not feared.  This is all done out of love from our Creator.

In psalms, hymns, and songs.  Music is such a beautiful thing and music to and for God is also a beautiful thing.  The words bring honor and glory to God.  The notes speak a language that is beyond comprehension.  Whether it is a hymn from the 18th or 19th century church to a psalm from the time of David to a contemporary song of today, Notes and words to God honor God.

Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  So when we sing and dance and praise, we do so to God above.  When we are truly singing with our souls, grace is given to us from God and our hearts and souls are overjoyed.  God wants to bless us with so much but we limit how much God can bless us.  We limit him with how much trust and faith we put in Him.  When we come to God, we need to come to Him fully.  When we sing to Him, sing to Him fully.  Put everything behind it.  Show God who is number one in your life today.

Heavenly Father,

Please come in and dwell in us.  We ask that You come in and “clean” our houses out and throw away anything that is unsatisfactory.  We only want You and if there is something that is stopping us from serving You better, help us remove it.  We need You and our whole being depends on You.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

Who Can Rise Against Us?

Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

There are several powers that are at work in this world.  There are powers of good and powers of evil.  Powers that are working for God and powers that are working against God.  Like in this verse, we cannot help but ask who can come against us.  Who can rise against us?

What can we say to these things?  In the previous verses, there is talk that all things work together for those that love God, we are conformed to God’s image, we can be justified and we can have a destination of Heaven above.  These are all true statements that are fully backed up in the Bible.  There is little more that needs to be said regarding these things other than God is in control and will save all those that choose to be saved.

If God is for us.  This is a choice.  We can have God be for us, fighting our battles for us.  God is willing to step in and even conquered sin and death for us.  He will help us through trials and temptations.  He can help us with bad habits.  The list can go on and on for all that God has done for us.

Who can be against us.  There are many that try to stand up to God but none compare to the knowledge and power of God.  Even Satan, who was known as Lucifer, tried to stand up against God and lost.  The story is already laid out and the winner is already known.  God will be the winner in the end times.  All those that align with God will be with God and all those that don’t will not be with God.  To answer the question, there are none that can match up to God.  God alone will stand victorious.  God alone will rule Heaven and Earth.

We have nothing to fear with God on our side.  We can rest, knowing God can and will stand with us.  We are weak and struggle in the fight but the fight is much smaller than God.  God will always be there and no one can stand against Him.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the glorious and wonderful day that we are blessed with.  You are there to fight our battles.  You are there to talk to when we get scared.  If we would only stay on Your side, You promise to be with us.  Help us to completely put our faith in You.  Help us to stand strong with You behind us.

In Your precious name we pray,

Amen