Daily Word Archives

Daily word from Open Door ~ January 2012




Now that we are officially into the new year, it is appropriate to look at the concept of "new" from the Bible:


We remember that His mercies are new every morning ~Lamentations 3:22-23


Being born again is referred to as the "new birth".


It is interesting that in regards to our daily living we see verses like:


Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. ~ Romans 6:4


But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. ~ Romans 7:6


These represent a great challenge to us, something to strive for, and should bring joy to our hearts to know that God wants to lift us out of a mundane existence.


Be it done in us according to Thy Word O Lord - that we walk in newness of life and serve in newness of spirit.




When evaluating anything, a good question might be: What's the purpose?


Finding the purpose of something can often help clarify things - in our own lives especially.


Then we can ask: What is my purpose? - both long and short term.


A purpose helps to direct us, keeps us on track, motivates us toward a goal even when difficulties arise. When our purpose is clear we are better able to implement what is necessary to achieve that purpose. If we cannot clarify the purpose of goal, then it is difficult to know what tools to use to bring about a good result.


The scriptures have a lot to say about purpose and how important it is. It outlines the purpose of God in Christ Jesus. Clarity of purpose was something that was first and foremost in the life of Jesus. We note one in particular: "... For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." ~ I John 3:8


Paul stated that his purpose was as open and transparent as his faith, doctrine, and manner of life - II Timothy 3:10. May our purpose in life be so clearly defined.


We say all of this because the term "purpose" is the exact opposite of today's term "whatever".

We should not be living in the world of "whatever". For many of course this is just a term used today, yet it may indicate a pattern of thinking that will take someone down a wrong road.


We hope this contrast will help us get on with our purpose. We ask God to help us fine-tune it and keep us on the straight and narrow. If you live in the land of "whatever", you will have to settle for "whatever" you get.




"... in the multitude of counsellors there is safety" ~ Proverbs 11:14 & 24:6


A great blessing in your local church should be wise counsel. We mean Godly counsel and advice because the scriptures further tell us:


Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. ~ Proverbs 19:27


Good counsel should always come from the pulpit of course but a wealth of good counsel often resides with your brothers and sisters in the congregation. Often your brethren have gone through some of the things you may be facing.


If you are facing a decision or if you are thinking about getting into some venture, someone in the congregation might have knowledge/experience in just that area. They may have contacts that they know are trustworthy. They may just be able to tell you not to do what they did.


There are so many things we face in the natural world each day that require us to make decisions, investigate, and look into. It is likely that someone in your congregation has been in the exact same place that you are.


Let us not be so prideful that we would not seek the counsel and advice from others. Their experience and knowledge might be just the way God has to bless us.




As we enter in to 2012, new opportunities are often a part of what people hope for. We must realize that sometimes the new opportunities do not come wrapped in a pretty red bow. Often these opportunities have to be worked on and developed.


Sometimes they come looking like problems or their appearance is one that seems threatening. When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, we wonder what kind of answer Paul would have given to the question: Is this imprisonment a problem or an opportunity?


It could be both depending on a person's attitude or perspective. Certainly it was not pleasant and they had been wounded. But their response was to pray and sing praises to God ~ Acts 16:25. They knew to seek God in this situation - to get their attention and focus on Him. That was where the answer was coming from regardless of how they might analyze their situation of being in prison.


Of course we know the results were miraculous and we rejoice in that. But we also see the rejoicing came before they saw anything worth rejoicing over. There was no use complaining - we can see how that would be a natural response but it is just the opposite of seeking God and giving Him praise for being the answer in every situation.


This is a great lesson to us. We are daily confronted with things that may be difficult and appear as problems without an obvious solution. Yet we know the source of all wisdom Who told us to ask for wisdom when we need it. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." ~ James 1:5


Lord, regardless of what we face, help us to see it from Your perspective. Show us the right way to handle it, that good would come out of it, that the kingdom of God would be promoted, and show us the opportunity in it to be a help and a blessing.


Let us train ourselves for this when the pressure is not on so to speak. We want the right attitude and spiritual outlook to become such a part of us that is just flows out - like rivers of living water that Jesus spoke of.




As 2012 has begun, many have decided to read the Bible through in a year. There are a number of plans out there that help you to do that - breaking chapters down by the day so that you have read the Bible through on December 31, 2012.


Regardless of how many times you do it, it is amazing how many things you come across that are new. We saw it last year we know, but it did not register. Also, there are free audio Bibles online that you can listen to as you go about your day. Listening to the scriptures allows another one of our senses to experience the Word of God. It is amazing what you will hear that will come across as "new".


We encourage you to develop a consistent reading and study regimen in God's Word. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path ~ Psalm 119:105


Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God ~ quoted by Jesus in Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4 ~ Originally in Deuteronomy 8:3


This is another way to draw near to God and develop our spiritual lives




It is unlikely that anyone has ever had a perfect day - one with no mistakes, no problems, no difficulties, or no disappointments. It has been said that we may not be able to dodge every difficulty, but we are able to decide how we respond to every situation.


The bad things in life do not have to defeat us. That is why we need faith, strength and courage on the inside. That is where the victory begins.


Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; ~ Colossians 1:11


That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; ~ Ephesians 3:16


The words of Jesus: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33


We all know how bad things can hit us on the inside - they will take hope and faith out of us and replace them with depression and fear if we let them.


Therefore let us feed on the scriptures above as well as take unto ourselves the full armor of God (Ephesians 6), building ourselves up on our most holy faith praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 1:20), looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and believing God to deliver us from every evil work and preserving us unto His heavenly kingdom (II Timothy 4:18).




Give us this day our daily bread ~ Matthew 6:11


Most people have heard this expression and likely know that it comes from the Bible. A study of the scriptures will show us that daily bread (or sustenance) is more than just physical food.


Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God ~ Matthew 4:4


Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. ~ John 4:34


Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. ~ John 6:27


Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ~ John 6:49-51


As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: ~ I Peter 2:2


From these verse and others, we could say our "daily bread" is what we need to maintain our lives during this earthly existence - spirit, soul, and body.


Remember this statement from Jesus: The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. ~ Luke 12:23


Thank God for our food and raiment, yet we thank Him further that He understands we need more than just those things in this life if we are to be successful. As we pray and ask for our daily bread, let us be open to God's abundantly supply to meet our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19), that He might give us knowledge of witty inventions or ideas (Proverbs 8:12), and that we might prosper and be a good success as we seek Him and His word (Joshua 1:8).


This would indeed be a daily feast!




Psalm 102 is one that most of us can relate to. The writer starts out with complaints and describing all he is going through. We note again that the Bible does not sugar-coat the difficulties and tribulations we face in this life.


This "gripe-session" goes from verse 1 through verse 11. But then the attention changes from looking at the writer to looking at God.  We know that all scripture is given to us for instruction, and God is aware of life's difficulties and what we go through. Remember that Christ was tempted in all points like we are yet without sin ~ Hebrews 4:15.


The Daily Bread had a particular devotional a year or so ago that related to Psalm 102. It talked about a pastor who was upbeat, positive, could always be thankful no matter what the situation. The story went along that this particular day was just a dismal one, bad things had happened, the weather was absolutely atrocious, and very few people had made it to the service that morning.


Before the beginning of the service, those who were there commented on the terrible day and the terrible things that had happened.  One person commented "I bet he wont be so upbeat today" and another one chimed in "I would like to see him find something to be thankful for this morning".


The Pastor came in, greeted the people with a smile on his face, and opened the service with prayer. Somewhere in the first few lines was a sentence like this: Dear heavenly Father, we are so thankful that we do not have many days like this one.


The line is amusing but it might make us think a little bit. Regardless of what we are facing it is likely to pass. Whatever it is, good or bad, we know that seeking God and His Word is a great first step. Whether good or bad, we need the mind of God. When we are dealing with some of the absurdities that are in the world today, we often do not know what to do: We could let our righteous indignation loose and see what happens or we could drop to our knees and intercede with tears.


When the difficult times come - nothing will take the place knowing the will of God, how God wants us to respond, and how to deal with every situation. One of the first ways to begin is lift our voices in praise and give Him glory.




From yesterday's message on Wisdom:


The choices we make determine the directions we take.


If we choose to pray before making decisions, it will likely keep us from being forced to pray afterward.


Proverbs 8 is all about the wisdom of God. We invite you to read the entire chapter. You will see that everything that this wisdom brings is good and beneficial. We pray the Word stir every heart to seek after and walk in the wisdom of God.  Blessed is the man who hears it (verse 34) and whosoever finds it finds life and shall obtain favor of the Lord (verse 35)




Honesty is a characteristic that is greatly appreciated. Most of us can think back to our childhood when our parents gave us instruction in this area - usually because we had violated it in some way. We know how we feel when we are treated dishonestly, and we know the ripple effect that can occur when such a thing happens. Family members and friends are often impacted when dishonesty occurs.


If you have ever given someone a performance review or recommended someone for a job, the question of honesty will always come up. It should certainly describe anyone who would call themselves a Christian.


Honesty and words like integrity are seen throughout the Bible as characteristics that should be readily apparent in the lives of God's people:


Let us walk honestly ...  ~ Romans 13:13


That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. ~ I Thessalonians 4:12


Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. ~ Hebrews 13:18


Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. ~ Acts 6:3


Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. ~ Romans 12:17


Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. ~ II Corinthians 8:21


Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8


Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. ~ I Peter 2:12


Honesty is something that will readily enhance our testimony for Christ.




We have talked about the term "grace" before. It is more than just a spiritual pat on the head.


And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. ~ Acts 4:33. We pray this type of grace be manifested more in our midst.


We have noted that if anyone gives you grace, it will be to your benefit. It is given to help in a situation that you are dealing with - a situation that is against you in some way. It will take care of a problem or in some way give you some relief.


It is grace that brings us salvation and indeed any blessing of God. The word "grace" is in the New Testament 122 times. It would bless us all to search these verses and find out what "great grace" God has given us.




Every person is familiar with temptation. The opportunities to do something wrong are all around. Yet each person can think of temptations that they would just laugh at - something they would never consider doing.


Some people for example would never consider illegal drugs, robbing a bank, being unfaithful to a spouse, etc. They really cannot be tempted in these areas (or an area that you can think of in your life) - they are steadfast and unyielding.


The real question is: Why can't we do that in every area? Our purpose here is to point out that we can be successful against temptation. If we can honestly see what really tempts us and what we are prone to yield to in our own lives, we have taken a major step in dealing with these things.


If we can target these areas, we can apply the Word of God there, and build the scriptures into our lives that will work against these temptations. Of course this should be a matter of prayer as well. We take a major step to deal with temptations with "it is written" from the Word of God and pray for God's help and wisdom to be successful.


That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. ~ I Corinthians 2:5. The power to resist temptation is indeed a formidable weapon.




Two words that can change your destiny are: I'll try.


Sometimes in life we are at the place that those words might be the best we can do. But those words indicate that we will do something. These words involve risk because we know we might fail or might not do it well.


But words like "I'll try" are necessary for us to do anything in life. Think about an attempt to get a child to do something. They are hesitant and it is something new, but you have a pretty good idea if they launch out they may enjoy it and it likely will bless their life. What a joy it is to you to hear those words: I'll try.


Whether we are talking the things of God or just our natural life on earth, the words "I'll try" will set things in motion like nothing else. Maybe God has something in mind for you to try.




Many are familiar with the hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


We can apply both the words and the thought of the hymn in two different ways:

1. Whenever we sin we could think of the price that had to be paid for it to be forgiven - the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus. This should compel us to abhor sin all the more and determine to resist temptation with renewed zeal.


2. We think of the cross and the love of Christ that He would willingly go in order to secure our pardon. We rejoice and are so thankful but still this should compel us to abhor sin all the more and determine to resist temptation with renewed zeal.


Two ways of looking at it and both are valid. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" ~ Romans 11:33


May God grant us the right way to look at it when we need it and respond accordingly.




Many people know the story behind the hymn "It is Well with my Soul" written by Henry Spafford. Many have heard about his daughters who died in an accident at sea. But his son died at age four and the Chicago fire brought great devastation to his life before the accident with his daughters.


If you have never read the story of Henry Spafford's life and this song, know that it is indeed inspirational. Many are familiar with the first and last verses but the middle two are powerful as well.


Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!




There is no doubting the assault that came against the soul of Henry Spafford. But he recognized the victory he had in Christ and rejoiced in the power that salvation brought him.


We pray that each one reading, regardless of how you have been buffeted, know the power of the risen Jesus and the inside and can indeed sing:


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.




Yesterday our topic was the song: It is Well with My Soul


Today we look at a popular song: How Can I Keep from Singing


We do this song at church from time to time and we did it yesterday. If you have never heard it, it is on Youtube by Chris Tomlin and well worth a listen. It talks about singing and giving praise to God - in the good and bad. This certainly carries on from our subject yesterday and also is an encouragement today to those who may need a breakthrough.


We hope the words below are meaningful and listening to it (and joining in) would be a great way to start the week.


How Can I Keep From Singing


There is an endless song echoes in my soul I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come I am holding on to the rock I cling



How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough how amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes in the darkest night for I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You knowing You'll see me through and sing the songs You give


I can sing in the troubled times, sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step, and fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up, sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord, when I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath, sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels, and the saints around the throne




The following is from a Kenneth Hagin exhortation on joy:


The teachings contained within the Psalms are the greatest on turning your petitions into statements of praise. Praise is not only for when things are going great, In fact, the treasure in praise is found when all hell is breaking loose. Verses such as these:


Then will my head be exalted above the enemies who surround me, at His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy, I will sing and make music to the Lord (27:6)


God is ascended amidst the shouts of joy (47:5)


People of praise are not pushovers. They are not weak-willed, flowery people who are just nice and never get ruffled. NO! They know how to fight and what is worth fighting for. Joy is your inheritance -  don’t let the devil steal it.




Whether it is in our daily lives here or whether we would be on the mission for the lives and souls of others - we are encouraged to treasure the truth, to trust in the Lord, to be thankful, to be creative, learn how to smile, and realize that joy is for the benefit of others as much as yourself. Your joy can be a light to others - and bring hope into a life that may be surrounded by darkness.


Remember also that joy is a power on the inside, so do not look to external things to bring you joy. Oh we like the good things that we receive in the natural - thank God for them. But they are not the source of our joy. So often the power on the inside seems to weaken because we are not concentrating and putting effort toward our spiritual lives and the realm where this power comes from.


Sometimes we have to stir ourselves up toward the things of God. Often a word like this will remind us to do it.




Yesterday was a word concerning joy. We continue today with this verse:


Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. - Nehemiah 8:10


Many are familiar with this verse and charismatic chorus that came out of it back in the 1970's. Perhaps you are familiar with this chapter and the children of Israel rebuilding when they returned from the Babylonian captivity. We know that everything was not "rosy" or "peaches and cream" about their task and the work that they were doing. But an important point was made about joy.


We can benefit from that word as well. It is hard to exhibit strength if we are "down in the dumps". Depression and discouragement bring weakness and hopelessness into our lives - we are in no way productive in this state. We need to recognize it as an attack against our faith and against the strength that God has given us.


Thus, meditating on God's Word, praying in the spirit and with understanding, and some good praise music are all helpful in both breaking the "blues" and tapping into God's strength. Therefore we should strive to maintain the joy of the Lord each day.




Many have been blessed by the song: Just As I Am


It has certainly been made famous by the Billy Graham Crusades as it is always used for the altar call. Perhaps someone reading this responded to the gospel while this song was playing and came forward to call upon the Lord for salvation.


For those of us who have responded and know we have been born again, we also know that we still come to the Lord the same way. Even now we come "just as we are" for what we might need or talk to the Lord about.


Travis Cottrell has taken this song and added a verse and a bridge section that is so meaningful. His additions are:


Just as I am I would be lost

But mercy and grace my freedom bought

And now to glory in Your cross

O Lamb of God I come I come




I come broken to be mended

I come wounded to be healed

I come desperate to be rescued

I come empty to be filled

I come guilty to be pardoned

By the blood of Christ the Lamb

And I'm welcomed with open arms praise God

Just as I am


Be blessed to hear this song at:




Whatever state you are in, we invite you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ.




Jesus took the blame for us so we could enjoy the following:


And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. ~ I Thessalonians 5:23-34


And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: ~ Colossians 1:21-22


And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. ~ I Thessalonians 3:12-13


As one minister put it, we should now try to live like we appreciate what Jesus has done. Indeed, we should not treat it lightly.




When you ask someone about the great stories of the Bible, one that is often left out is the story of Joseph. This story is such a great teaching tool in so many ways. Today we focus on it as one that parallels our lives, the troubles that befall us (sometimes unjustly), how patience is needed, how we need to forgive, how God will use us, and how blessings can come to us and others as we deal with things.


After the death of Isaac, Joseph's brothers were afraid that Joseph would seek revenge upon them because what they had done to him. Note his response:


But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. ~ Genesis 50:20-21


One of the best things we can do is to seek God's plan in whatever we are dealing with - even if it is very difficult to see anything Godly in the situation. This was certainly the case with Joseph throughout a number of years. But God had something in mind that would bless both Egypt and Israel.


Who could have imaged it? In our lives we could think the same thing in all the craziness that goes on. God needed someone who would be strong and endure hardships - one who developed skill and discipline who could nations and deal on that scale.


Could God use our situation for good, that many people might be saved. Our first response to difficult situations is often to complain, but first we should seek God's perspective in it and ask Him for the right way to respond. This takes humbling ourselves and seeking God's will before our own. We can start working on that heart attitude right now.


Read the story of Joseph with this in mind if you have not done so lately.




An interesting word that is used today in many circles is "connection". It has been noted that people need to experience a "connection" with any organization or group if they are going to stay with them.


This has been especially applied to church. It seems people need to connect with either the general program or the people. This is understandable but we need to remember that it works both ways.


Also we need to understand that when we "hook up" with anything, it should be based on more than the "what's in it for me" mentality. It could be looked at like a partnership - what does each party bring to the table? This of course starts to sound like a business venture and we know relationships involve emotions and feelings that can run deep.


Further we know that a church family can be considered more than all we have mentioned. It is a spiritual organization at its foundation. The Bible calls the people the body of Christ. We know from the scriptures that this body should be cared for, nurtured and maintained. This of course can be a lot of work.


This topic could certainly be a sermon series, but we wanted to note the reality of it here. So if you are one trying to find the right place, seeking where you fit in, and asking God where He wants you, perhaps the first step is prayer and just getting started - we should not let a day go to waste.




Yesterday we mentioned Christians as being the body of Christ - as being a unit and being together. We noted that this body, like our own bodies, need to be cared for, nurtured and maintained.


From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. ~ Ephesians 4:16


This scripture says every part has the job of edifying. We could say this is full-time ministry for all of us. We pray God show us how we can best fulfill this ministry each day.




Are any of you still writing 2011 for the date? If you are, surely it is not because you do not know that the year has changed. It is likely we have all done it during this month. What we see is the power that habits have in our lives.


For 365 days, 2011 was the real deal. It was a part of our lives in many was and we developed the habit of using it - writing or typing it for the most part.


We pray that good habits would develop in our lives so that they would be so common place and done without thinking. We know it is true with natural things and certainly with the spiritual things that we see from God's Word that we ought to do.


We can start be developing just one of these beneficial habits at a time.




When we take the time to study the scriptures, we find God always has a practical reason for what He tells us to do. Certainly there will be things we do not completely understand and we do them by faith. There will be things we see more clearly as we mature and our experience deepens.


One area in particular is praise and worship. The world often scoffs at both worshippers and a God who would want it. But consider this aspect: When we praise and worship, we are getting attention off of ourselves and putting it on the One who can meet any need that we have.


Often we need a touch, need an answer, need divine intervention, need mercy and grace to help in a time of need. In the natural we will look to ourselves, other people, or things that might offer a solution. But worship gets our attention and focus where it needs to be. It is our way of drawing near to God - He who is a very present help in time of trouble.


Worship helps relieve pressure and tension as we come into the presence of Him who has fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures for evermore.


Certainly we worship God for who He is and what He has done for us. But hopefully we can see some practical benefits of coming before our Father who has all the answers, He knows the plan, He knows what coming, and He knows the way of deliverance ( I Corinthians 10:13) for each one of us.


Spending quality time in praise, worship, and seeking the face of our heavenly Father is certainly more than worth the effort.




A few days ago we talked about the story of Joseph and what lessons we can learn from it. We particularly remember Joseph's words that what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good - to save many people.


This same theme was repeated by Nehemiah:


On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. ~ Nehemiah 13:1-2


Many will remember the story of Balaam and that he did end up blessing the children of Israel. This and other stories describe how God is able to turn situations around that would be impossible (or past finding out) for the human mind.


We enjoy learning this things and put our faith out for those things we deal with in life. But when we are in the middle of it ourselves and the pressure is on, we often struggle to "keep the faith" as the expression goes.


Keeping faith in the tough times is another one of those good spiritual habits we should all work on developing. Work on it before the crisis comes. May we develop in being strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Let us pray and stand for the breakthroughs we need - find some good faith and Word people to hook up with you.


As we do this, we will see the demonstration of the scripture: If God be for us, who can be against us ~ Romans 8:31. The stories mentioned above certainly attest to this. May God grant us such a testimony.




A well-known minister was asked this question: What would you tell anyone going into the ministry that they could do to essentially guarantee success? A seminar was coming up and he wanted to address the question the next day.


He knew of course a person should always pray and be in the will of God, etc. But he knew the people wanted some type of practical answer that they could take and run with. The day arrived and he began to give his answer.


He said he was reluctant to give anything with a guaranteed success, but he wanted to give his best answer - one that would give them their best shot. He explained it this way.


Whatever you decide to do and whatever way you decide to do it, make sure the focus is on the betterment of others. Whether you are talking about the spiritual or about the natural, when you make your focus to help, to uplift, and  to meet needs of others, you are sowing good things into the lives of others to make them better off. Then teach them to do likewise.


He spent the rest of that session answering specific questions and giving advice. He ended the time with this: We have spent our time with a lot of examples and a lot of ways to minister. I have used a lot of words in my explanation. Perhaps the New Testament says is best with just a few words:


Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. ~ Galatians 6:2


The good part about his answer is that all of us can fulfill such a ministry as he describes.




Yesterday we discussed ministry to others - endeavoring to enrich the lives of others and bearing one another's burdens. As Christians we know there is that ministry in the natural things that people need, and we know especially the spiritual aspect as we desire to demonstrate Christ. We desire to share and live the gospel of Jesus in hopes that people will come to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.


Taking our topic further, we know that we all desire to be a success in this life, and countless books have been written about what that should mean to a Christian. Regardless of the differences of opinions that exist, no one ever stands up and declares "I want my life to be a failure". We would consider that utter nonsense, so we certainly should consider saying we want to be a success a normal goal.


In the Old Testament:  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. ~ Joshua 1:8


In the New Testament: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. ~ III John 1:2


Success is a wonderful thing if it is used in the right way. In keeping with our theme from yesterday, it is one thing to be successful yourself and it is another to help others be successful. This comes primarily from learning skill in that area - learning what it takes to be successful.


Success is so much more than the list of things we may possess. " And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." ~ Luke 12:15.


It has been said that God has no problem with me having things and long as the things do not have me. We do not bow our knee to things - we recognize them as tools that can be used to bless ourselves and others.


Our main goal here is to emphasize that individual success can be far reaching if we understand that we want to help others with it. We can begin by having others as our thrust in this area in particular. Lord is there someone out there that I can help in this area? We should also recognize that God likely has those out there to help us as well.




If you ever take any business classes, one thing that is usually covered is "avoiding pitfalls". One of those pitfalls involves patterns of thinking. If you deal with a set of circumstances the same way for a long period of time, your mind becomes accustomed to it. This set of circumstances can then become "set" in our minds. We start thinking that this is the way it is supposed to be or that this is the way it will always be. This can become a trap.


To counter this you hear the expression that we must start thinking "outside the box" and be "more creative". All of these strategies and explanations of things can be helpful at times, but they do not guarantee a good outcome.


We certainly want to apply principles of "good thinking" in our lives. Thinking "outside the box" is helpful if the box you have is not working for you. Just to try something because it is "new and different" may not bring god results.


As we have mentioned the last couple of days, the Bible clearly teaches that God wants us to be successful. When we open ourselves to "God's possibilities" that we see from the scriptures, we will not be limited by today's circumstances that may tend to trap us. Let us make a point to meditate on God's Word each day that our thinking may be refreshed by His Spirit.


Some scriptures to note:


"... But we have the mind of Christ." ~ I Corinthians 2:16


" But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" ~ I Corinthians 1:30


" If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." ~ James 1:5


" And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." ~ Romans 12:2


"When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:" ~ Proverbs 2:10-11


There is nothing that can take the place of the wisdom of God in our lives.




For the past few Sundays our morning message has been on the wisdom of God and how important it is in our lives. We also encourage everyone to study the Word for yourself to find out what is true. Remember the Bereans:


And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. ~ Acts 17:10-11


We as well should be like them - we should have readiness of mind to receive the Word, but we should search the scriptures daily if what is presented is so.


We also remind you of some of the scriptures we noted on wisdom. It will bless us all to meditate on them and ask God how we can act on them:


Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. ~ Proverbs 4:5-9


Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly. ~ Proverbs 15:21


The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. ~ Proverbs 15:33


Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established ~ Proverbs 24:3


The wisdom and understanding of God always brings a blessing and good to us - we should do our best to both obtain and walk in them.




Many of us were blessed with parents who endeavored to instill good character and a sense of right and wrong within us. We learned for example that we should keep our word when we give it. Some of us learned the hard way that lying can bring swift and painful penalties.


The Word of God tells us about an upright person: "... He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not."  ~ Psalm 15:4


We know sometimes that this will not suit well with our flesh. But keeping our word, no matter what, is a good demonstration of integrity to the world around us.


All we have to do to get a good perspective on it is to see how we feel when someone does not keep his word to us. We definitely want others to keep their word, so why not us. We always quote the Golden Rule so we ought to be willing to do it.


In the message Sunday morning, we noted that some things we are required to do seem hard. These things may certainly be uncomfortable to our flesh - like swearing to our own hurt and changing not.


This should certainly remind us to think before we give our word. We also want to be people who have a reputation that if we give our word, it is as good as done.

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