VIDEO A Family For Joe

Apr 1, 2013

Tv movie pilot where Robert Mitchum plays a homeless man who is enlisted by four orphans to pose as their grandfather to keep them from being sent to separate foster homes.

Grateful for Everything

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10

In Australia, it can take hours to drive between towns and fatigue can lead to accidents. So at busy holiday times rest stops are set up on major highways with volunteers offering free coffee. My wife, Merryn, and I grew to enjoy these stops during our long drives there.

On one trip, we pulled in and walked over to order our coffee. An attendant handed the two cups over, and then asked me for two dollars. I asked why. She pointed to the small print on the sign. At this stop, only the driver got free coffee; you had to pay for passengers. Annoyed, I told her this was false advertising, paid the two dollars, and walked off. Back at the car, Merryn pointed out my error: I had turned a gift into an entitlement and become ungrateful for what I received. She was right.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, Moses urged them to be a grateful people (Deut. 8:10). Thanks to the blessings of God, the land was abundant, but they could easily treat this prosperity as something they deserved (vv. 17–18). From this, the Jews developed a practice of giving thanks for every meal, no matter how small. For them, it was all a gift.

I went back to the woman and apologized. A free cup of coffee was a gift I didn’t deserve—and something for which to be thankful.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. A Jewish thanksgiving prayer for meals

Be grateful to God for even the smallest gift.

By Sheridan Voysey 

INSIGHT:Why do we sometimes find it difficult to be grateful? How can a sense of entitlement hinder a thankful spirit?

Humility and Greatness

Matthew 20:20-28

What do you want Christ to do for you? That’s essentially the same question Jesus asked the mother of James and John. Before we look down on her for asking Him to give her sons a place of prominence and authority, we must consider what we would ask of Jesus. Would there be any selfishness in our request?

We are born with a self-centered nature, which remains present even after salvation and comes out in a variety of ways. Furthermore, we live in a culture that clamors for greatness and constantly tells us to assert ourselves so we can move up the ladder of success or get what’s rightfully ours. But what Jesus taught about greatness is the exact opposite: Become a servant to others (Mark 9:35).

True greatness is measured not on earth but in eternity. When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, He’ll be looking for humility rather than impressive earthly accomplishments. This doesn’t mean Christians should turn down positions of prominence; rather, we should accept such roles as opportunities to be a steward for Christ and a servant of all.

Humble people understand who they are—and who the Lord is. They recognize Him as the source of their life and every possession and ability they have. Their assignment while on earth is to use whatever He has entrusted to them, whether great or small, in a way that glorifies Him and benefits others. Though it’s doubtful anyone will praise us for our humility in this life, we must remember that the reward of a true servant comes only in eternity.

Christians and the World

“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” (John 17:6)

In the wonderful intercessory prayer of Christ for His disciples just before His death, there are several important references dealing with the relation of the Christian believer to the world around him. In the first place, according to our text, they have been called out of the world and thus are not really a part of its system any more once they belong to Christ.

Yet, they necessarily must still live in the world. “These are in the world. . . . I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (vv. 11, 15). They are not of the world, however, for they have been separated from the world and unto Christ, whom the world continues to crucify daily. “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (v. 14). Like Christ, they are bound to be hated by the world.

Nevertheless, Christ has sent them into the world as His witnesses. “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world . . . that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. . . . I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (vv. 18, 21, 23).

And the most wonderful thing about all these relationships to the world we live in is that God planned them even before He created the world! “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (v. 24). HMM

“They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters.”

1 Samuel 10:1, 17-27

1 Samuel 10:1

It has been remarked that only a vial of oil was used, and not a horn as in the case of David; this seemed to foreshadow the shortness of Saul’s reign, and his own want of the plenteous grace of God.

1 Samuel 10:17-19

This is only one form of a common evil among the Lord’s people; they cannot walk by faith pure and simple, but want some intermediate arm to lean upon; they are not spiritual enough to rest content with the invisible God. Providence is not enough for many, they must have visible treasure; neither are they satisfied with the Lord’s aid, but cry out for an arm of flesh. To such the Lord often sends that which they seek for, and it becomes a plague to them, just as Saul became rather a curse to Israel than a blessing. When we pray we ought ever to say, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt,” lest the Lord should answer us in anger, and give us the desire of our hearts to be a solemn chastisement for our presumption.

1 Samuel 10:21

He knew from what Samuel had done to him, that the lot must fall upon himself but he was modest or else fearful to undertake so weighty a business. Crowns are heavy things, and make the wearers’ heads ache full often; Saul was by no means to blame for hiding from so burdensome an honour. If men knew the trials of the great, they would cease from ambition.

1 Samuel 10:22

God knows where we are. Let us never dream of hiding from him. We are like bees in a glass hive, and all we do he observes.

1 Samuel 10:23

The kind of man to impress the populace and command respect. They might well look up to one who was taller than themselves by his head and shoulders.

1 Samuel 10:25

Saul was to be monarch under God, and to govern constitutionally. The book was the nation’s Magna Charta.

1 Samuel 10:26

They saw God’s hand in Saul’s choice, and stood by him.

1 Samuel 10:27

No man may hope to please everybody. The man whom God himself points out, is not the man for disaffected people. Saul was of good family, of noble stature, modest and unassuming, but all these things went for nothing with the malcontents. May none of us ever belong to that evil class of persons, who are always in opposition, always faultfinding, never willing to work with anybody. This is not the mind of Christ, nor the fruit of the Spirit, which is ever peaceable.

1 Samuel 10:27

This was a very sensible course of action. The man who can be quiet will defeat his enemies. Be not hasty to defend yourself, or answer slanderous tongues. Stand still, and see the salvation of God.

 

Being Led by the Holy Spirit

Matthew 9:27-30

It may be hard for you to believe, but most of what we have done in life has been initiated by us, not by the Spirit of God. After the ball is rolling and we’ve already started “doing our thing,” that’s usually when we pray and ask God to bless what we have initiated. We just assume that it is His will because it seems like such a good idea. No wonder we have such poor results!

We must learn to put on the brakes, stop ourselves for a while, and learn to wait until the Holy Spirit speaks clearly to our hearts. It may seem as if this way of doing things takes longer; but when He does speak, the results will be more rewarding and longer lasting. Furthermore, we can avoid pitfalls that would have cost us a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Believers must learn to let the Holy Spirit lead them. Take healing as an example. How many ministers have thought, I’m going to empty all those wheelchairs by praying for those sick people! But after they finished praying, most of the people were still in their wheelchairs and those ministers left feeling embarrassed, defeated, and powerless. Didn’t God want to heal those people? Of course He did, but the anointing may not have been present at that exact moment to heal in that particular way.

Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit is important if we want to see successful results in any sphere of life, including healing, family, business, and leading a church congregation. Only the Holy Spirit sees and knows everything that should be done; that’s why it is so imperative to learn how to follow His leadership if we want to be successful in life.

I think a classic example of being led by the Spirit can be seen in the account of the two blind beggars in Matthew 9:27-31. These two blind beggars heard that Jesus was walking by, so they waited for Him to heal them. However, Jesus walked right past, never stopping to heal them. The two blind beggars were so upset that Matthew 9:27 tells us, “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.”

The word “followed” is the Greek word akoloutheo, which means to follow after someone or something in a very determined and purposeful manner. Even though these two men were blind and couldn’t see where they were going, they were determined to follow Jesus until they got His attention! The verse continues to tell us that they were “crying” out. The word “crying” is the Greek word kradzo, and it means to scream, yell, exclaim, or cry out at the top of one’s voice. In other words, they were screaming as loudly as possible to get Jesus’ attention! What a dramatic picture! Think about it—here were two blind men, desperately wanting to be healed, who were screaming, shouting, and yelling, trying to get Jesus to notice them. But He just continued walking on as though they weren’t even there. Pursuing Jesus relentlessly, they groped along in their darkness, still screaming, yelling, and crying out for Him to heal them.

Jesus couldn’t have missed these two blind beggars because they were yelling so loudly; yet still He didn’t stop. So they just kept screaming at the top of their lungs, over and over again, “Have mercy on us! Have mercy on us! Have mercy on us! Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on us!”

For years this section of Scripture perplexed me because I couldn’t imagine why Jesus wouldn’t acknowledge the two blind men. I wanted to know why He didn’t immediately turn around and heal them. They were so determined to get His attention that they followed Him all the way to the house where He was staying, crying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Finally, Jesus came to the two blind beggars and asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They answered, “Yea, Lord.” Matthew 9:29 says, “Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” But why didn’t Jesus stop and heal the blind men when He first saw them? Why didn’t He immediately turn to heal them when He recognized their blind condition? And why did He answer them, “… According to your faith be it unto you”?

Jesus evidently did not sense the anointing to heal at that moment; otherwise, He would have stopped to lay His hands on those men. However, this didn’t stop the two blind men from receiving. It was as though Jesus said, “I don’t sense the anointing to heal right now, so you’re going to have to receive this on your own! Be it unto you according to your faith!”

So the only explanation for the fact that Jesus didn’t stop to heal the two blind beggars is that the Holy Spirit wasn’t leading Him to heal at that exact moment. The good news is that the two blind men could use their own faith to be healed anyway—and they were healed!

As for those whom the Holy Spirit led Jesus to heal, He healed them with a perfect, 100-percent success rate. The Bible describes His healing ministry this way: “And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him and, healed them all” (Luke 6:19).

You see, when that healing virtue was flowing, everyone got healed. But when it wasn’t flowing, Jesus didn’t attempt to heal. There are other instances like Luke 5:17 where Jesus was busy teaching the Word of God. Suddenly He sensed that “… the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”

When Jesus sensed the anointing to heal, He put aside His teaching and followed the leading of the Spirit. As a result, multitudes were healed that day, including the paralytic whom a group of friends lowered down into the room through an opening in the roof of the house.

I love this example in Luke 5:17, for it shows Jesus’ pliability in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Although He was busy teaching at the moment, suddenly He felt the anointing shift. The power of God was suddenly present to heal the sick, and Jesus knew it was time to set aside the preplanned program and go with the flow of the Holy Spirit. He faithfully followed wherever the Holy Spirit led, and He did what the Holy Spirit told Him to do. If the Spirit told Him nothing, then nothing was the right thing for Him to do.

In John 5:30, Jesus told of His complete dependency upon the Holy Spirit. He told the disciples, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just….” Notice that Jesus said, “… As I hear, I judge….” You see, Jesus was constantly listening to the voice of the Spirit, waiting for that divine signal to act, to heal, to deliver, or to cleanse someone who was sick.

Then Jesus said what He did as soon as He was confident of the Spirit’s direction to act: “… I judge: and my judgment is just….” The word “judge” and “judgment” are both from the Greek word krino, a legal term meaning to make a decision on the basis of information, like a jury who has heard all the evidence in a trial and now possesses all the information needed to take action.

This word is used in John 5:30 to let us know that Jesus never acted until He had all the direction He needed from the Spirit. Once that direction was given and Jesus had all the information He needed, He acted. Because He acted on directions given by the Spirit of God, He was able to say that His actions were always right. In other words, Jesus had a 100-percent success rate because He followed the Spirit’s leading!

Jesus didn’t go with a preplanned program or act mechanically every time He was confronted with a need. Therefore, we need to learn from His example and depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit just as He did. If we will listen to the Spirit and do what He tells us to do—if we will learn to wait until we hear Him speak—we will have powerful results just like Jesus had in His earthly ministry.

So what about you, fiend? Are you ready to let the Holy Spirit become the Leader in your life today?

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I want to learn how to follow You more closely! I want to learn the sound of Your voice, to sense when You are speaking to me and trying to lead me, and to become so sensitive to You that I know when to act and when to wait. I am sorry for all the times I’ve acted before praying—and then assumed that You would bless what I was doing. I don’t want to function this way anymore. I only want to initiate what I know You are leading me to do. So please help me become more sensitive. Give me the boldness to do what You say to do and to wait when I hear You tell me to wait.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus was constantly listening to the voice of the Spirit, waiting for that divine signal to act, to heal, to deliver, or to cleanse someone who was sick, I am also sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice and wait for Him to speak to my heart. When He speaks, I hear; then I do exactly what He instructs me to do. Because I follow His voice, I make few mistakes and I see great results!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Has there ever been a time when you suddenly sensed the Holy Spirit leading you to stop what you were doing so He could use you to do something different than you had previously planned?
  2. Did you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, or did you stick with the preplanned program because you didn’t want to interrupt your schedule?
  3. Is there a reason you resist when you sense that the Holy Spirit is trying to redirect your steps? What are those reasons?

 

Hunger To Know God

In his hunger to know God, Moses made three requests of the Holy One:

 

“Teach me Your ways.”

 

Unlike Moses, who longed to comprehend the ways of God, our focus is often centered on self-promotion, self-pity, and self-preservation. God reminds us of the gap between His magnificent attributes and our limited understanding:

 

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My waysAs the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8a, 9)

 

So if we are to know God and His ways, we must first begin to grasp the bankruptcy and futility of our practices. It is only then that we are positioned spiritually, like Moses, to cry out to learn the ways of God.

 

“Grant me Your Presence.”

 

During the desert journey, Moses realized that to continue he must experience the accompanying Presence of God. In response to his intense request God reassured him, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

 

So today, if you are lacking an inner sense of rest, perhaps you need to entreat His Presence to lead you through your endeavors.

 

“Show me Your glory.”

 

Paul, who understood his own inclination toward self-glorification, wrote:

 

God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14 – kjv)

 

QUESTION: In exactly what are you glorying? In the cross of Christ, or in your bank account?

 

In the cross of Christ, or in the power you wield over others? In the cross of Christ, or in the recognition you receive from your colleagues?

 

It is only when we transfer our focus from self-glorification to a passion for His glory that we can begin to experience and comprehend intimacy with Him.

 

 

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