The Lord’s Day 10-22-17

“For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.” – Psalm 18:31-32 NKJV

There is no comparison to our Great God! Creator, Sustainer, Deliverer, Shield, Fortress, and Righteous Judge over the nations. We serve a mighty God who will strengthen our very souls if we ask; “For it is God who arms me with strength.” May His name be praised today!

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The word “saint” isn’t a title, it’s a position. It’s being “in Christ” and “set apart”. As Paul opened his letter to the troubled church at Corinth, he specifically reminded them of the following:

“…to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:2 NKJV

Today, the word saint is often used by some to describe a person worthy of special recognition, but in the Bible, the word means an unworthy person recognized by someone special…Christ. And based on that, a disciple is one who has committed to follow a different path than the world around them. The church at Corinth was being weakened and defiled by acceptance of the cultural norms of the city. And as a result, there was no power in the Spirit, no passion for righteousness, and no peace in the fellowship. So, as saints, they were being “called-out” to live like saints…in Christ.

Do you consider yourself a saint? Perhaps you think it’s prideful to do so. It’s not based on what you’re doing, it’s based on what’s already been done. Understanding that should bring humility and gratefulness, not pride and arrogance. Will you prayerfully commit to walk as a saint today?

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“So Moses went down and spoke to the people.” – Exodus 19:25 NKJV

The incredible mountain top experience for Moses included many things; the Ten Commandments, instructions regarding worship, and guidance for daily life. However, once he came down, he found things back at camp worse than before. Those closest to him must have peppered him with questions about his time with God.

Have you ever been on the mountain? Have you traveled up and sought out God’s instructions? What did you hear? What did you see? And then, what did you find when you came back? Often the stuff going on “in the camp” can cause us to doubt what we heard on the mountain. Truth that was so loud and clear can become distant and hazy over time.

Moses’ conversation with God must have been amazing and he probably had many days where he wished to go back for reassurance. The life of a disciple can bring days like that, but don’t doubt what you heard on the mountain, and don’t second-guess God’s Word. There will always be those in the camp who don’t understand, but they weren’t there…you were.

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Ever struggled with letting go of a grudge?

If there’s anyone in the Old Testament who could have justified a grudge, it would have been Joseph. As Jacob’s favorite son, his jealous brothers sold him to slave-traders, which led to a life of serving others against his will in a foreign land. That event and others could have easily produced a vindictive spirit within him…but it didn’t.

His story is one of the most amazing in the Bible. Joseph had a stubborn love for God that remained, even while shaken. Instead of looking back to the past, his faith looked forward to the future. God gave him favor in the eyes of those around him and he quickly became governor. However, in the midst of the favor, the events of the past suddenly broke through into the present. His brothers showed up to buy food and Joseph struggled to keep himself together. He was overwhelmed with emotions, and when he revealed himself to them they feared the worst. They feared “pay-back” and punishment, but Joseph offered forgiveness and restoration. He loved them and said this:

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” – Genesis 50:20 NKJV

Grudges look backward, faith looks forward. Which way will you look today?

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Wisdom 10.9

“He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.” – Proverbs 10:9 NKJV

Finding sure steps on tricky terrain can be tough; but the Word sheds light on the path to reveal the next move. And though it’s tempting, “short cuts” rarely lead to the right destination. May our steps be sure today…

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Joseph was done wrong.

First he was sold into slavery, then imprisoned by a false accusation. While confined in the Egyptian prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of two officials who were being punished by Pharaoh. When one of them got word that he was to be restored to his former post, Joseph asked for a favorable mention; but for two long years, he heard nothing. Joseph probably felt like the butler had completely forgotten him…and as-a-matter-of-fact, he had:

“Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” – Genesis 40:23 NKJV

Then one day, Pharaoh himself had a dream and the forgetful butler’s memory was jostled:

“Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I remember my faults this day…there was this Hebrew…”” – Genesis 40:9-12 NKJV

So even though time had passed, Joseph was remembered. Once he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream (foretelling a severe famine), many life-changing things were set into motion. He was released from prison, elevated to governor, and placed in charge of preparing for the famine (which eventually led to his family moving to Egypt). In the end, the timing had more to do with God’s plan than a forgetful friend.

Do you ever wonder about timing? Perhaps you feel someone “dropped the ball” on your behalf or the “in-between time” continues to drag on forever. God’s plan may not be visible yet, but it’s there nonetheless, and His timing is always, always…always perfect.

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What does it mean to be a friend?

Is it a relationship based on shared time or mutual interests? Or a common connection like school, sports, or work? One great description for friendship is trust. It’s simply an earned confidence that says, “I trust this person.” The Bible describes Abraham in various ways, but there’s something extra special about this one:

“And the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.” – James 2:23 NKJV

He was called the “Friend of God.” He trusted the Lord with a proven confidence in Him and His character. But for two people to form a friendship, it must go both ways. If one is always the taker, and the other is always the giver; the friendship eventually fails. With God, His part is always faithful and true, so it’s up to us to reciprocate; and Abraham did. In practicality, that means we initiate conversations with Him, listen to what He says (as coming from one who loves us), while also believing He still cares when circumstances may suggest otherwise.

Could your relationship with God be accurately described as “friendship”? Jesus not only forgives sin (which is huge), He also made the way for us to know God. He said to His followers, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). What will that friendship look like today for you?

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