Monday, May 7, 2018

The Call of God and Call for a Believer

The Call of God
Please read 1 Samuel 3:2-18
   As a young child, Samuel lived in the temple with his mentor, Eli the priest. One night, after hearing his name called, the boy ray to ask Eli what he wanted. The priest, however, hadn't spoken, so he sent the child back to bed. This happened two more times before Eli realized that the Lord was the one calling the boy. Then he instructed Samuel to respond by asking the Lord what He wanted to say.
   Almighty God still speaks to us today. For example, we start hearing Him when He calls us to salvation. The Holy Spirit makes us aware that something is missing in our life, and then He points us to Jesus Christ as the answer.
   Without the Savior, we are lost and hopeless. Everyone is born with a sinful nature that's bent away from God. The Father, who is holy and perfect, requires holiness in His presence. Therefore, the penalty for sin is death—eternal separation from Him. But God loves us, so to correct that situation, Jesus came to earth, lived the perfect life, and died as a substitute for mankind. He took the penalty for our sin.
   Salvation is the greatest gift. To receive it, all we have to do is trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Then, He abides with us and continues to speak, gently guiding and encouraging us toward righteousness.
   Have you sensed the heavenly Father speaking to you? If so, don't delay. Ask Him to forgive your sin; then accept Christ's substitutionary sacrifice on your behalf, and choose to follow Him. Share your decision with a pastor or trusted Christian friend so that you can have guidance on this beautiful new journey.
Stanley, Charles F. "The Call of God." In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. Atlanta: In Touch. May 2018. page 10.

The Call for a Believer

Ephesians 4:1+
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,. .  
 . . . After leading us to salvation, God still has work to do in our life. If we listen carefully, we'll be able to hear our Father directing us in three ways.
   First, THE LORD CALLS US TO SANCTIFICATION. This means being set apart by Him and for Him. Through His Spirit, He continually reminds us to use His power and resources so we can obey and live righteously.
   Second, HE CALLS US TO SERVICE. The Lord has planned good works for us to accomplish (Eh. 2:10), and He gives us abilities, time, and resources for that purpose.
   Third, HE CALLS US TO ACCOUNTABILITY. Romans 14:12 teaches that one day we all will give an account of how we used the resources God gave us to glorify Him. This report will be based on the truth we've heard and the opportunities that were available. So we should be sure to listen daily as our heavenly Father reminds us to utilize it all for His glory.
   Has life become so hectic that God's voice is inaudible? Foster your own ability to listen by spending time in the Word and waiting for answers when you pray. And teach your children to tune in so they can hear God, too. What a shame it would be to tackle life without guidance from above.
Stanley, Charles F. "The Call for a Believer." In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. Atlanta: In Touch. May 2018. page 11.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"War Room: Prayer is a Powerful Weapon" by Chris Fabry, book review

Yes, War Room is fiction, yet bursting with truth! Miss Clara was fixing to sell her home and move in to an apartment her son had made for her. As a widow, she knew the heartache of a military family. Although Clara had no concept of military warfare, she did know another conflict. It is the battlefield for the human heart. With years of being on the front line of life, she knew real challenge and change happened deep in the soul. Enter Elizabeth, the realtor; Miss Clara becomes a mentor to Elizabeth.

After seeing the movie three times and reading the book, I will not give away the plot. Find this for yourself. My plan is to just highlight a few of my favorite narratives:

Page 105, Clara tells of family fights with no resolution. “I was fighting against my own marriage and my family. I tried for years to fix…I couldn’t…” answer, “Cause it’s not your job!...” Read the rest of the page to learn YOUR job
Page 123, Miss Clara was a prayer warrior. She had her own prayer closet. Prayer is not for her only; everyone has the power to talk with God.

Page 126, the purpose of prayer is not to get what we want. “Prayer changes the person who prays.” Clare presents family examples.

Page 127-128, “When we pray, we participate in what God is doing. He gets the glory, and we get the privilege of walking with Him, and in that process we are changed.” Philippians 2, “The goal of prayer is not to change God’s mind about what you want. The goal of pray is to change your own heart, to want what He wants, to the glory of God.”

Page 218, “His [God] goal is to make me holy, like His Son.”

Page 284, “If God knows everything and if He’s working out His will in the world, what’s the point [of prayer]?” Read the author’s answer!

Page 145, focus on the real enemy, “Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And he is stealing your joy, killing your faith, and trying to destroy your family.”

Page 325-326, talking about the purpose of Jesus death, “He [God] snatched victory from the enemy and provided salvation for anyone who would call on the name of the Lord….”

So many narratives spoke to my heart, such as pages 107-108, 182, 202 feelings, 237, 267, 295, 302 Bartimaeus, 306 voices, and 311 God is our anchor. What words are speaking to YOUR heart? How about sending an email or contact me on Facebook, Selma Blackmon, we can share our thoughts.

War Room: Prayer is a Powerful Weapon.Chris Fabry novelized the motion picture by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick. The book is published by Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois.

Excellent book and movie! Recommend for every family. Purchase a copy and watch or read often!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

God's Loving Rescue

1 John 4:7-10 

God’s Love and Ours

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  New International Version (NIV)
   Christianity is unique among world religions — the others all require certain behaviors for people to become acceptable to their god. Therefore, they must perform intense labor, undergo self-denial, or observe specific rituals. But none of us can earn a place in heaven, because we can never reach the Lord's standard of utter perfection and holiness.
   God has provided an entirety different way of salvation. In His wisdom, He reached down to us by sending His Son. Jesus came to live a perfect life and then, by dying on the cross, paid the penalty our sin deserved. Why did God choose to rescue us? The reason was not that we deserved it but because of His great love and mercy. Instead of punishing us for our sin, God poured out His wrath on His Son, thereby satisfying divine justice. Now all who believe in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross are forgiven and accepted as children of God.
   Becoming a Christian doesn't require working or pleading for the heavenly Father's acceptance. Our salvation comes through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ — God's only begotten Son, who went to the cross to die in our place, thereby paying our sin debt in full.
   What do you believe about Jesus Christ? Choosing to trust in Him is the most important decision you'll ever make. After this life is over, all people will have to give account to God for their life. (see Romans 14:12.) There will be no condemnation for those who have received the Savior, but for anyone who has rejected Him, the outcome will be eternal separation from God.

Stanley, Charles F. "God's Loving Rescue." In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. March 2018. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. page 14.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Finding Favor With God and Man

Proverbs 3:1-4 

The Rewards of Wisdom

My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man. New American Standard Bible (NASB)

   One of our basic human needs is acceptance. Without it, we feel alienated or maybe even rejected. In the Bible, acceptance is often referred to as "favor." For example, when Joseph was sold into slavery, Genesis 39:4 says he "found favor" in the sight of his master Potiphar and was put in charge of the official's entire household. Joseph found acceptance and approval because of his exemplary behavior.
   Whose favor are you longing to receive? Do you desire God's approval? Today's text shows us how we can find favor with both God and man.

   FIRST, WE SHOULD VALUE THE LORD'S TEACHING. God blessed us by giving us HIs Word, but not everyone makes it a priority. We should recognize Scripture as our most valuable earthly possession because it is God's revelation of Himself and His instructions for us.

   SECOND, WE SHOULD MAKE OBEDIENCE TO GOD A MATTER OF THE HEART. Following His commands is about far more than just external rule keeping; it involves not only our actions but our attitudes and thoughts as well.

   THIRD, WE ARE TO LET KINDNESS AND TRUTH CHARACTERIZE OUR LIFE. When we are wholeheartedly living in obedience to God's commands, the effect will spill over into our relationships, as kindness and truth become the guardians of our words and actions.
   Although the Christian faith may evoke a negative response from some, believers shouldn't be discouraged. A life that reflects Christ pleases God. And in bringing light to a dark world, an obedient life will also bring the favor of many in its circle of influence.
Stanley, Charles F. "Finding Favor With God and Man." In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. February 2018. Atlanta, In Touch Ministries. page 35.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Encouragement in Every Season

Psalm 62:5-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
   Maybe there's not enough money in the bank to cover that bill. Or a loved one died. Or your family is facing hard times. In difficult or painful circumstances many believers turn to the Bible in search of comfort and guidance. Within its pages, we find assurance that encourages us through every season of life: "The Lord's loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for HIs compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).
   God truly is faithful. In other words, we can count on Him to be and do exactly what He says. For instance, the Bible assures us that the Lord is trustworthy, loving, and incapable of failure ( Psalm 37:5; Romans 5:8; Joshua 1:5). Out of deep love for us, He'll use any aspect of His multifaceted nature to provide exactly what He knows we need. He's our Savior, Comforter, and Discipliner, who safely guides us through life's changes and challenges.
   No matter what hardships we face, we can trust God because He knows all things. He's aware of the duration and intensity of our current season and uses his knowledge to offer us the best possible help and support. What's more, the Lord is all-powerful, which means He is more than adequate to meet needs and change circumstances according to His plan. And our Father is everywhere, including right beside us in whatever we face. He promises, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
   Difficulties may cause us to question God's dependability. But if we'll place our trust in our omniscient, omnipotent Father, we can begin each morning with a fresh sense of His faithfulness, which will carry us through the day.
Stanley, Charles F. "Encouragement in Every Season." In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. February 2018. Atlanta. page 18.

Monday, January 8, 2018

"The Treasure Principle" by Randy Alcorn

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 
Matthew 6:21

Randy Alcorn founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) writes from God's word and his heart. In his book, The Treasure Principle, the author offers six treasure principles. These principles are Jesus teaching on giving. "Open my eyes, Father. What am I holding on to that's robbing me of present joy and future reward?"

Then in 31 Radical, Liberating Questions to Ask God About Your Giving, the author reminds the reader to ask specific questions of God. "As God's children, we should ask Him more that just rhetorical questions... (Mathew 7:7) The Lord has no trouble handling our most challenging questions," page 97. On page 98, the reader is reminded, "God is the owner of all and we are His stewards, His money managers."

Before the reader can begin to understand and ask questions, I am asked to consider and sign My Giving Covenant based on the six principles. The covenant consists of six statements, example: "I affirm God's full ownership of me and everything entrusted to me" page 96.

Do you want an abundant life with Christ? Do you want an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father? Do you want more of Him? He wants all of you!!!

For helpful resources,read the endnotes. An example: Randy Alcorn, "Nineteen Questions to Ask before You Give to Any Ministry," Eternal Perspective Ministries, resources

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Tough Command - give thanks

16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    Many divine commands seem perfectly reasonable. With the Ten Commandments, for example, we easily understand why God forbids adultery, idols, and murder. But elsewhere He gives instructions that ostensibly make little sense. Let's look at why He calls us to the seemingly impossible task of giving thanks in everything.

  The Scriptures clearly teach that giving thanks is meant to be a way of life, not just a seasonal event (Psalms 92:1-2, Philippians 4:6-7). The problem is that we often do not feel appreciative, particularly when facing painful circumstances or faith tests. In fact, expressing gratitude for bad news seems irrational. What seems logical to the human mind, however, cannot compete with God's greater knowledge of what is best for His children. As a result, we live a successful Christian life only by choosing to thank Him for everything He sends or allows across our path.

   The Lord knows that gratitude powerfully impacts the believer. Trials can leave us feeling isolated, but thanking God for His ongoing care or provision reminds us of His constant presence. Equipped with the knowledge that He is in full control, we can submit our will to His. Though our circumstances may remain the same, our attitude is divinely transformed through trust.

   The Lord has a purpose for every circumstance He allows in our life, and thankfulness motivates us to seek His purpose. In God's perfect time, the divine plan is revealed, and then we can tell Him with sincere hearts, "Lord, thank You!"

 Stanley, Charles F. "A Tough Command," In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. 22 November 2017. Atlanta, Georgia. page 28.