Get Up

God tells Joshua twice in chapter seven to “Get up”, or some versions say “Rise up.” What was Joshua doing? Lying prostrate and asking God “Why?” They had just lost a battle that they thought was going to be an easy one, in fact all of their fighting men hadn’t even gone along to the battle. Even worse, it was the very first battle after they saw the walls of Jericho fall down.

Joshua was perplexed, he was doing what most of us do…lie down and cry out “Why didn’t you come through for us, are you just going to let me die?”

So God patiently explained Himself- Nope, He told Joshua to “Get Up!” He had already given them something to do with very clear instructions. Yet they hadn’t obeyed. God told Joshua they had sinned. When we disregard God’s instructions there are consequences. They hadn’t won the battle at Jericho because of their strength and courage, but because God’s strength! When we obey, He always has our backs.

Are things tough, maybe it wasn’t your fault, maybe it was sin, no matter what, don’t lie and cry. Get up! Repent if you need to, and then get back to the battle. Have you left something unfinished? Get up and do it!

James 1:22 (NIV), “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Heart Factory

Our hearts are a factory. They can either be factories for good, or factories for evil. In fact God says that we are born with evil hearts, because of Adam’s sin, and that they only produce evil.

Genesis 8:21 (ASV), “And Jehovah smelled the sweet savor; and Jehovah said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, for that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.” (Emphasis mine)

Thankfully that wasn’t His plan for us, so He made a wonderful way for us to be like Him. His heart is LOVE. If we love Him and see our need for His saving grace He takes out our hearts and simply replaces it. A huge deal to us, but no biggie to Him, He was the first heart surgeon.

Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV), “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

There are a few places in the Bible that talks about Him giving us a new heart, but this one scripture in Ezekiel specifies that this new heart is “undivided”. It serves one master, it has one nature, and it isn’t schizophrenic. These new hearts have the ability to love like God, to live like Jesus, and to beat to a new drummer. David in the Old Testament realized the importance of a right heart; we see it in several places.

Psalm 51:10 (KJB), “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

One of the few things Jesus railed about was the condition of the hearts of the religious leaders during His time with us.

Matthew 12:33-34 (BSB), “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Out of the abundance of the heart, our mouths speak. We say what is brewing up in there. We produce whatever we have laid on the assembly line. They have the power to be a factory for good it’s our choice. After He puts that new heart in there, think of it as a brand new crock pot, we decide what goes in. If we keep the lid on nothing will get in that isn’t supposed to (guard your heart and mind, God tells us). So if the finished meal tastes like… manure, you have to ask yourself, “What did I put in there?” Got it? It isn’t going to produce anything if we aren’t putting something inside, it will produce garbage, yuk, stink, etc, if we aren’t putting in good wholesome things.

If our hearts are a factory, think of your eyes, your ears, your brain, as the source of the materials you will be building with. You can build with quality building materials (precious stones), or poor materials (wood, hay, and stubble). You choose. They can produce bitterness, angry, perversion, murder, and everything ugly from the pits of hell.

Or they can produce the most beautiful garden from heaven. The best thing we can put in our hearts is God’s word. The word takes root and grows in our hearts. Love takes root there, generosity, grace, mercy, truth; all of those wonderful attributes of God grow well in our hearts

What are you producing in your factory?

 

Two New Books

Look_Up_Cover_for_Kindle

Higher_Up_Cover_for_Kindle

I have recently released two new Devotionals. “Higher Up” will be the last of the “Walking With God” series.  “Look Up” is a short 21 day devotional to get your focus back on God. They are both available on Amazon, paperback and kindle version. “Higher Up” is also available on smashwords in every possible digital version available. Of course if you would like a signed copy, just let me know.

Higher Up Paperback

Higher Up Kindle

Higher Up smashwords

Look Up Paperback

Look Up Kindle

Not currently available on smashwords

Book Review for “The Kingdom: Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams -Christian Testimonial

untitled

“This is an inspirational story of a journey on the narrow path, in a quest to discover the way, the truth and the life.  In a battle between good and evil, Joanna finds the King, confronts the dragon, discovers her destiny, meets the chosen one and finds her inheritance. Those who enjoy Christian fantasy and true life adventure will appreciate this unique book.”

My Review: I was given a copy of “The Kingdom: Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” by the author, Joanne Rolston, in exchange for an honest review. Ok, let me start by saying I thought this was going to be fiction, but instead I received a new and very enjoyable testimony! It is written and reads like fiction, a modern day fairy tale actually. I loved it! Candid and very open about her life, questioning God, her struggles, and her mistakes, this is a great read for anyone who is struggling with their walk, or just wants to strengthen their walk with the King. I give it five stars! Mature content so teens and up, though I would say it is more geared for adults.

 

Book Review for “God Moment” – Christian Non-Fiction

25649813
“Reads almost like fiction but is actually true. The factual account relays awe-inspiring miracles experienced after following God’s personal and specific words heard in prayer. Through personal testimonies, the authors give hope and encouragement that even after falling into doubt and disobedience the Lord can still provide outstanding miracles. As the Lord deals with defeats from major depression, bipolar disorder, and marital separation He creates a victorious conclusion. Bette and Wayne’s transparent account, full of God, is sure to uplift and inspire.”
My Review:
I received a copy of “God Moment” from the authors in exchange for an honest review. I sure enjoyed this book! It is an honest and transparent testimony of God working in the lives of Bette and Wayne Price. They tell about the good and the bad, their faith and lack of faith, struggling with Bipolar and with backsliding. It is written in both of their first person perspective, and at times I had to slow down to see who was talking. The print is different but if I was distracted by something it took a minute to reacquaint myself with who was speaking. I give it four stars. I really liked it. I’d say best suited for adults.

Set Your Face Like Flint

a6b82eb26631b1c1e936c08dc895af9d

Isaiah 50:7 (ESV), “But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”

 How many times have you heard someone say, “Practice what you preach”? I thought of that while reading through proverbs. Solomon didn’t do that!

 Proverbs 1:2-9 (NIV), “For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

King Solomon spends verse after verse insisting that his son listens to his teaching, he grasps for wisdom and understanding, and then he gives chapters of wise sayings and warnings to anyone who will take heed. Solomon is written about in the Bible as the” wisest man that ever lived or ever will live”. (I Kings 3:12). So, what happened? We clearly see by reading Kings, Chronicles, and Ecclesiastes that somewhere along the way, Solomon stepped off the path. In fact he couldn’t have gotten any farther away. He built pagan altars, places of worship to false gods, and even worshipped them himself.) One of those false gods was Molech the god who demanded children be sacrificed in his ovens, I Kings 11.)

I can’t help thinking, “if he was so wise…what happened?”

Clearly “wisdom” isn’t the key to staying on track. If it had been, Solomon would never have turned his back on God, or ever left the path that God had laid out for him.

What do you think caused his backsliding?

We know that his many wives and concubines had something to do with it. The bible says, “Solomon married seven hundred princesses and also had three hundred concubines. They made him turn away from God,  and by the time he was old they had led him into the worship of foreign gods. He was not faithful to the Lord his God, as his father David had been.” (I Kings 11:3-4) It is easy to put the blame on all of those women, but let’s dig a little deeper here.

Why did Solomon marry so many “Princesses”?

He was trying to broker peace with other nations. It was s common practice in the day to form alliances through marriage. The thinking was that rival kings wouldn’t attack if their daughters were married to and living in the palace of the king. God had already told Solomon that he reign would be a peaceful one. God had planned it all out and His plan didn’t include hundreds of women! Solomon was trying to work out something God wanted to give him. Does that sound familiar? Think of Sarah and Abraham, or Adam in the garden, and what about Satan’s temptation of Jesus (to give Him something by means of another way instead of by God’s will.)

He stopped looking to God as his source. In all of his hundreds of relationships, he left out the most important one! His relationship with God. All the wisdom in the world won’t get you far without a relationship with the one who gave you the wisdom to begin with.

After turning his back on God, Solomon tries everything to find meaning in life. Instead he finds that it is all vanity!

Ecclesiastes 1:2-8 (NIV), “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say.”

These verses sound like someone in the throes of depression. If you read through Ecclesiastes you will see he tried everything, work, leisure, pleasure, and even turned himself over to false religions and idol worship, yet found no meaning in life. All the wasted time, the wasted life, and the ruin of a whole nation! All he had to do was repent (turn back to God).

Compare his lamenting in verses 2-8, to the scripture in Isaiah. Isaiah states that he had not been disgraced, or put to shame. He set his face like stone, keeping his eyes and his focus on God. Maybe that is why he had such a great revelation of Jesus. Yet, Solomon’s life is full of shame and disgrace, so much that his sin caused the kingdom to be divided, leaving a legacy of selfish, hard-hearted, kings in his wake.

In all of the warning he gave his sons, and us, through proverbs, he didn’t practice what he preached.

A sad story.

We know that at some point he came to his senses. We can read in the last chapter of Ecclesiasts, Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

He realized his mistake, yet he couldn’t undo the evil influence that he propagated to the people of Israel, or his own children. God had made it plain what would happen if Solomon or his children didn’t do all that He had commanded. The die was cast and there was no taking it back. Sadly for Solomon and Israel, it was “too little, too late”.

Thankfully, we live in God’s glorious grace! It’s never too late for us to return to our first love. Any move to gain more intimacy with God is never too little.

Set your face like flint! Don’t let anyone pull you away from your relationship with God. Make Him number one.

Staying On Course

path[1]

Psalm 119:1-8 (Message Bible), “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, GOD, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.”

Every one of us can get off course. We get distracted, frustrated, or confused and the next thing you know, you have stepped off the path, or taken a completely different one. Thankfully, God is merciful and we are only ever one step back. His mercies are new every morning. Every day is a clean slate, as long as we have repented of yesterday’s wrong doing. However, there are blessings when we stay on course. God’s plan was never for us to step on and off the path. In His great love, He never leaves us and continues to help us stay on track, but His perfect plan is for us to never step off to begin with.

Remember when you were a child? Then you know there were times when Dad and Mom did “know best”. They tried to warn us, or give us clear instructions, but we did things our own way, only to find out that there were consequences for our, dare I say, stupidity. Maybe you have youngsters around now, even teenagers, who can be some of the most stubborn people on the earth. You may have tried to guide them, but since they are flexing their wings, they still did something their own way and now you have to let them learn the lesson. It isn’t always life and death. The consequences sometimes are little more than being late for an appointment, or some burnt toast, but things could have been easier.

That is God’s plan for us. His way is best. Always. We will miss out on some things if we take our own way. According to Psalm 119 we will miss out on blessings for sure. He didn’t “prescribe” a right way to live just to see if we could obey, or because He loves watching us try to live up. He did it all because He knows what is best for us. Earthly parents may make mistakes. Maybe in some situations they, or we, didn’t know best. God is perfect though, and He can’t make a mistake! It’s impossible. So, His way is perfect.

Just being on God’s path doesn’t keep us from trouble. In fact Jesus promised us we would have some of that stuff.

John 16:33 (NIV), “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

There may be some obstacles along the way, but He promises to give us a way around or over each one. He has already overcome, He won. He is the one who declared, “It is finished.” We just have to walk in that victory.

I Corinthians 10:13 (NLT), “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Not sure how to find that path? Just ask. He’s faithful. His word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. It will point you in the right direction. He is there, not just beside you, in front of you, and behind you, but He is in you! Don’t hang your head, walk tall. Go in His strength. Be blessed.

Matthew 28:20b (NIV), “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”