Friday, November 16, 2018

November 16

Ezekiel 33

Becoming Watchmen

 

What is the role of watchman? Ancient cities were protected by walls. Watchmen were posted along the walls to warn their families, friends and neighbors of any approaching enemy. They were responsible for the safety of the entire city. They always had to stay alert and sound the trumpet when danger was imminent.

So, who are the watchmen today? Who is going to say there is danger ahead, the enemy is approaching, we are under attack? Will the CBS and CNN news anchors sound the alarm?  Will politicians warn us of the approaching horsemen of the apocalypse? Sadly, even Christ followers have gotten caught up in the spirit of the age and have neglected this sacred duty. Rather than warn of the imminent danger we have actually joined the enemy forces. 

 

What are the enemies that are approaching the gates?

1. Godlessness: living life without centering everything on our relationship with our creator.

2. Consumerism: thinking the accumulation of stuff will satisfy our souls.

3. Socialism: putting government as the savior of our nation.  

4. Comfort: living with my comfort and safety as the highest goal.

5. Destruction of the family: even attempting to change the definition of a family.  

6. A culture of death: death and violence dominate our entertainment. We are so confused we're unable to define when life begins and how it should end.  

 

There has never been a better time for us to offer the alternative of living according to God's light.

 


--
"Multiplying leaders to change the world"

Thursday, November 15, 2018

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2018


"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Hebrews 12:14,15)

"As water reflects a face,/ so a man's heart reflects a man." (Proverbs 27:19)


These verses from Hebrews explain, in part, why churches may struggle. Ultimately, each individual coming to the body has responsibility unto the others to seek God wholeheartedly, to live in purity, and to show grace. These ethics not only strengthen our personal relationship with God, but also for others in their relationship with God.

Our Western culture generally considers the individual to have precedence over the group. Our Constitution and its interpretation stresses the principle of "voluntary association." We are grateful for the freedom of speech that this right avails.

As followers of Christ, we immediately become part of His body while remaining present in this world. Living in holiness allows our practice and testimony to line up for a watching world. In addition, purity before God strengthens our connection with Him: "Blessed are the pure in heart,/ for they will see God." (Matthew 5:8) Due to human reality, holiness will not translate into perfection; after all, we remain fallible in our humanness, drawing us closer to God. Yet, holiness involves yieldedness and surrender to God's plan as superior to our own and His Spirit as our strength and guide. Living outside of this channel leads to disappointment and upset hearts and minds. May we seek this yieldedness today!

Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews urges us to settle accounts with others, not allowing bitter roots to grow. These bitter roots emerge after a period of unforgiveness. This unforgiveness saps our energy, drawing us away from God and causing us to dwell on the hurt we've encountered. Often, this pain will result in legitimate grievances; in no way should we diminish this reality. Still, we have the freedom to choose forgiveness or unforgiveness, and we only have the strength to forgive because of the forgiveness from sin that Christ has won for us on the Cross. Because of this vertical forgiveness, horizontal forgiveness is not only possible, but entirely consistent with our status as grace-bought believers.

May God bring us into this place of yieldedness and sensitivity to seek Him fully and to forgive others freely. It will allow our hearts to experience real freedom, joy, and love. And God will be glorified and real to us!


Lord God, thank You for seeking us out through sending Your Son to this earth. Pour into us a hunger and thirst after You. Help us to live in purity and to extend forgiveness to others. Give us victory this day, that our hearts and minds might be "white as snow." Thank You for anchoring our freedom in Christ by the completed work of the Cross. In Jesus's Name, amen.


________________________________________________________________________
596 Glenbrook Road, Unit 13 | "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection
Stamford, CT 06906-1423 | and the life. He who believes in me will
(C) 203.820.1741 | live, even though he dies; and whoever
(H) 203.355.9374 | lives and believes in me will never die.
(E) swe@edwa.info | Do you believe this?'" -- John 11:25,26

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nov. 14

Hebrews 11-12

Hebrews 11, the infamous "Hall of Fame", outlines Jewish heroes who, by faith, followed God in spite of obstacles and even persecution. Each person knew the assignment given to them by God and walked worthy of their calling. What an incredible example this sets.  As we get into chapter 12, it doesn't read "By faith, Jesus ran with endurance the race set before Him", but let's look at what it does say because I think it goes way deeper than that.  "For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame; and He has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God".  Do you really think that Jesus would have gone to the cross if He didn't know He was 100 percent correct in that this was the only way that we could be made right with God? Take a moment to think about that, AND He did it with joy!  Nothing else mattered to Him because He knew when it was all said and done, He was going to sit down at the right hand of the throne of God and we would not only have salvation but we would also spend eternity praising Him!  Yes, our Old Testament heroes were great examples of faith in action, and Jesus is the initiator and perfecter of that faith!  He doesn't replace it, He completes it. So knowing this is truth and holding onto God becoming a part of the human family so that we could become a part of his heavenly family,  keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, how would you fill in this sentence, "by faith, _____________________ (fill in your name), did___________________.  Here's mine: Being born into a Jewish family, by faith, Randi stepped out and received Yeshua as her Lord, Messiah, The Word that became flesh. By faith, she believes what she can't see, believes all Scripture is God breathed and runs the race set before her.  I pray we all make a statement of faith knowing that God is faithful and will keeps His covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. (Deut. 7:9)


Randi 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Today's blog "Pride and prejudiced"

As we read today, I will start with a joke: When was meat first mentioned in the bible? Punchline at the end (don't scroll down to see it, read down to see it).

In Ezekiel, we read about Pride and how it can bring down kingdoms and countries.

In the Hebrews reading we see sinful, messed up people living by faith, and through that faith accomplish great things because of their obedience oh and most certainly reluctant obedience at times. 

In Psalm reading we see Gods is faithful when we are not. We see God is graceful when we do not deserve it. We see God keeps His promises always! We may not understand the timing and the method He uses, but He is an on time God. He is never late nor is He ever early, He is an on time God. 

The Proverb reading I will not address since today Ruth and I celebrate our 25th anniversary. 

God today show us area's of pride which get in the way of what you want to accomplish in and through us! Lord show us area's in which we need to show grace and love in difficult situations. God today and we start our day give us forbearance to take on the day in Your strength and nor our own! Helps us today as we encounter our spouses, children, coworkers, neighbors, and all of the random people that we will pass by today without thought! Help us to pause today and say hello, reach out, engage, embrace, and show the love of Christ through our care, our hearts, and our actions. Punchline: When Noah brought HAM into the ark, Gen7:13. 
      
Chuck Goulart
Anytime Appliance
Repair Biffle
and More, LLC.
203-943-0961


 "Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter." –Francis Chan


Monday, November 12, 2018

Blog Post Monday November 12th

A Prayer Of Faith (Hebrews 11:1-16)


Thank you Lord for the examples of faith you have given to us.  You do not simply call us to faith in you but you give us examples of what that faith looks like in action.  Those examples are real and show faith in the face of adversity, pain, weakness, human frailty, and mortal inability.  Faith that is sure of what it hopes for and certain of what it does not see is lived out in what often times looks like uncertainty and impossibility.  But Lord I thank you that you are God that is beyond the impossible and uncertain.  You are God who's strength is beyond our ability to truly comprehend.  You are God who loves even when it is not deserved.  There is nothing to great or to small for you to overcome, to make right, to heal, to supply, to bring comfort to, and so much more.  No matter what this life holds for me I can live in faith, live in hope and certainty that this life is not it.  I have the faith to know that there is something more that awaits me beyond the boundaries of my human mortality, an eternity with you in a place that no longer holds the struggles, challenges, and pains of life.  A place awaits where my faith in no longer needed because all that I have hoped in and been certain of has been revealed and given to me.  Lord, I ask for you to encourage hearts today to have a faith that is sure, not unsure, but confident in the hope of what is not seen and that is in you and your salvation which is sweeter than anything else we could hope for.  May you encourage hearts today to be certain of what you have told us through your word but that we do not see.  Help hearts to not loose focus on the certainty of who you are, on your strength and power, and not to loose focus and certainty of the love you have and always will for us, a love that caused you to suffer and die for us so that you could rise again and be an example of the hope and certainty we can and should have in you.  May today be a day of renewed hope, of renewed faith in hearts and lives. 

AMEN

Saturday, November 10, 2018

November 10: Of Choices and Consequences (The Remake)



Ezekiel 21:1-22:31

Hebrews 10:1-18

Psalm 108:1-13

Proverbs 27:12


"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty."

- Proverbs 27:12


I paraphrase and preach this verse to my kids: "choices have consequences".  I think I've written about this before, but the message is so important it is well worth repeating.


In today's OT reading, the people reject God's ways.  They walk away.  Now anyone knows you can't stay dry when it's raining if you walk out from under the roof.  The same is true with God.  He loved us enough to give us free will, in the hopes we would exercise it for the good, choosing to be with Him rather than apart from Him.  With Him, we enjoy His grace, His comfort, His provision and protection.  Apart from Him, we are on our own.  Our choice to make, so our consequences to face.  And the consequences before the Israelites are very severe indeed.  


How, then, to make good choices?  Thankfully, not by our own devices.  In the reading from Hebrews, Paul reminds us of how the Holy Spirit works - "I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."  To make the choices, then, that keep us under God's roof, we only have to turn to the words He's already given us.  We only have to make ONE good choice - to choose Him.  He then does the rest - guides us, keeps us under His roof.  


Easier said than done, though.  I preach the verse to my kids, as I said…but very often I still could use a good dose of it myself.  


Father, help us all to make the only good choice  that counts, from which everything else follows.  Give us the grace, the faith, and the good sense to choose You.  Then allow us to stay under the roof of Your protection and provision. 


Friday, November 9, 2018

Nov 9

Psalm 107

Holy habits are essential for a victorious Christian life. There are two habits in our reading today that must become daily practices in our lives if we want to grow. The first is reading the Word.

Psalm 107:20  He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

When we read the Word of God it brings healing to us and it saves us from death. I have seen God's Word heal my marriage, my family and my life. Without the Word I would probably be a hippie, living on a commune somewhere in Vermont. But God's Word has healed my life. It is still healing my life. That is why I take time every day to read it and give it top priority.

The second habit is giving thanks.

Psalm 107:21-22   Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.  Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

The Hebrew word thanksgiving means, "to throw out the hands." It is the idea of publicly praising God as you extend your hands in adoration.

We don't always feel like doing this but because of our love for God and our appreciation of everything He has done for us, we discipline ourselves to extend our hands and declare our thanks.

This week, during our African Challenge, I have been reminded of how blessed I am. When I was in Africa, I literally saw people who had no access to clean water. I saw people who only had one set of clothes. I saw people who never held a Bible in their hands. On our visit to Kenya we encountered a mother and child who were eating rocks to fill their stomachs. The great tragedy in our country is we are so blessed, and yet we don't recognize it, nor do we honor the One who has provided these blessings.

So, take time right now and verbally express to God five blessings you are thankful for.


--
"Multiplying leaders to change the world"