December 13, 2017 Promise Of God

John 3_34

John 3:34 New International Version (NIV)

34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.

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Amos 8:1 A Basket Of Ripe Fruit

This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. “A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered. Then the LORD said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.” Amos 8:1

God continues to give Amos visions of what is coming up with the nation of Israel. This time it is a vision of a basket full of ripe fruit. The meaning is that they are ripe for destruction. Israel had chosen to walk away from God and follow many idols. After many tries to get them to turn back, God is saying that He will no longer work with them, they are set to be destroyed.

Fruit that is ripe is fully mature ready to be picked and used. Usually that means it is  ready to be eaten in a positive way. In the case of Israel, they were ripe with a pungent, horrible smell ready to be destroyed. Their sin was rising before God as a horrible smell of death and destruction.

Nearly a thousand years later, Jesus came along and talked about fields being ripe. This time He was talking about them being ready to be harvested for good food. People were out there ready to hear the saving message of the gospel and to turn their hearts towards God.

In a large field, the crops will usually be ripe for something. There will always be some that are ripe for destruction. Something destroyed some of the crops and it is ready to be put into a burn pile. At the same time there is a lot of the crop that is ripe for the picking for the table to be eaten.

Today you are ripe for something. You are either ripe for salvation and doing things for God, or you are ripe for God’s destruction. You have a choice to make as to which thing are you ripe for . God does not want to have to destroy you, His desired choice is to give you an abundant, eternal life.

To know what you are ripe for, you must look at your life. Are you serving God? Or are you serving self and this world?

Allow yourself to be a part of a basket full of ripe fruit ready to be used by God, not destroyed by Him.

I pray today that you will choose God and His ways for your life; that you will not be found guilty of sin; that you will be ripe for being used by God; and that you will seek others who are ripe and bring them the gospel message of Jesus. 

Being Too Busy

christmas yard

One of the busiest seasons is upon us–Christmas season. Although it has two different holidays where most people get it off or at least partially off, they are busier than normal.

It seems as if there is always a million things to do each day and not enough time in the day to get everything done. With Christmas there is the time of trying to figure out who I need to get gifts for. Then decide what gifts should I get, along with what can I really afford to get. Along with the gifts, there are Christmas concerts, recitals, plays, and services going on almost daily somewhere. There are friends and family putting on events that you must attend.

christmas play

As if that is not enough to make a person crazy, one must also decide which family member to go visit for Christmas, how long you will stay, how will you get there, and where you will stay during the visit.

At the home, you must also set up the Christmas tree and hang up or set up all the decorations. Decisions must be made on how the outside of the house and yard will be decorated. Then time must be taken to get all the supplies, change out all the burnt out lightbulbs and set it all up.

Inside the house, decisions on what deserts must be made. Baking all the Christmas cookies, cakes and candies are being done at a rapid pace.

christmas deserts

As all this is occurring, most people are still working a regular job, taking kids to practices or school, cooking meals, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and the list goes on.

With all of these things occurring, many people often regret Christmas or lose sight of what the meaning of Christmas is all about. On Christmas morning, some families pull out a Bible and read the story of the birth of Jesus. It is often the only time that they really thought about the meaning of Christmas in all the hustle and bustle of life and getting ready for Christmas.

As you are getting ready for Christmas think of this verse:

Psalm 46_10

Look at the scene in this picture. See the trees, water and snow are sitting perfectly still. All of creation is sitting still knowing God is God and He is in control of it all. Nature does not show any hustle and bustle about anything.

Relax and get back to the real reason why you celebrate Christmas. It is about God loving this world so much that He gave His one and only Son to save you. It is not about all the giving and getting, lights and decorations, or even visiting family, it is completely about Jesus.

If you do not get all the decorations up, if you do not get everyone the perfect present, if you do not get some baked goods completed, it will be ok. Life in this world will still go on. Jesus will still save you from your sins.

Take a moment at least once a day, preferably many more times each day, to stop and thank God for the season. Give thanks to God for His great love in sending His Son to save you. Thank God for the greatest gift ever given–life.

Take a moment to realize the meaning of this great holiday. It is to remember what God has done for you.

Do not allow yourself to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this season so much that you miss out on what Jesus is doing in your life. Be still and know that He is God.

Amos 7:7-8 Built Straight And True

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.” Amos 7:7-8

Amos was given a vision of God holding a plumb line up to the people of Israel. They were found to be off of being straight and true to God, so God planned to destroy them.

Plumb lines are used by carpenters to determine if something is built straight. The line that is being determined is the vertical line, going up and down. If a building or a wall is not built perfectly straight, it will cause many problems, very quickly. It could easily fall over, and the other sections of the building will not be able to line up correctly.

If a carpenter holds up a plumb line and the wall is not straight, he will tear it down and restart. Throughout the building process, he will use the plumb line on a regular basis to keep everything straight. Most people who are not carpenters will not use the plumb line. They will just use their eyesight and trust it is straight.

God has a plumb line that He uses to measure the success of building people up. His plumb line is Jesus and His Word. The plumb line is the measuring tool to determine if a person is lining up correctly with what God wants. This line is from earth to heaven, from sinful man to God’s holy righteousness.

Very often people try to build themselves up, but do not use God’s measuring line. They use their own eyes and measure themselves against others. This can cause problems, because their plumb line may not be straight and true. Their life is built on a crooked line.

As a believer, you must keep your life lined up with God’s standards. Allow God to build you up His way, which will always be straight and true to His Word. Do not follow people or churches, but God. Let His plumb line be your measuring device.

How do you measure up to God’s holy righteousness?

I pray today that you will know God’s plumb line for your life; that God will reveal to you how to live your life for Him; that God will build you up straight and true to Him; and that God will find that you are a great building for His kingdom.

Amos 6:1 The Danger Of Being Complacent

Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come! Amos 6:1

The leaders of Israel were satisfied with where they were at. They sat down always dining, eating fancy food, and always lying on beds resting. They felt secure and as though they could not fall. Complacency had set in despite the fact that the nation was falling in ruins and was being warned of being destroyed.

Being complacent satisfied with one’s own accomplishments and believing that self is the best. Throughout the lifetime of a person, there will be time when one will accomplish things, some of these things will be of great value. Some of these accomplishments can occur whether one is a believer or not.

The problem comes in when the person thinks that he has made it and is the best. He is satisfied with where he is at and often feels that he does not have to do any more because he has arrived.

When this type of feeling is embraced, it causes a person to not see danger when it is coming. It keeps a person from realizing mistakes being made and any deviance off the path that he is supposed to be on.

Believers can easily fall into this trap of thinking. A believer may have finally overcome some sin in his life or maybe accomplished some great ministry task. As this happens, he may begin to think that he has made it and that there is no more to do or accomplish. He will often let his guard down to keep from falling into sin. He feels strong enough, in himself, to be able to overcome any situation. Yet, this is not true, he can still fail and fall.

Take a look at your own life and see where you are at. If you feel satisfied that you have made it, then you are being complacent and are in danger of falling worse. If you are not satisfied with where you are at, then focus on continuing to change and become more like Jesus. Do not allow yourself to remain idle and not move forward.

Seek God and He will show you any area you need to work on. There is always work to be done, until Jesus returns. Don’t be complacent.

I pray today that you will always work to be more for God; that you will always strive to learn more of God; that you will not let your guard against sin down; and that you will always do more and more for God. 

Amos 5:4 A Way To Have Life

This is what the LORD says to Israel: “Seek me and live;” Amos 5:4

Israel had chosen to follow after other gods, refusing to follow God. The result of following those other gods was that God was going to bring death and destruction upon the people of Israel. Even though they sought life among the other gods, all they would find is death. God tells them to seek Him out and they will live, they fill find life.

Although there are many people who attempt or actually commit suicide, most people want to live. Event those who commit suicide have a part of them that want to live, it is just they do not want to live with the pain or trouble that is in their life.

Everywhere people are searching for life. Most people are searching for it in things, other people, or actions. Some think that they find life in accumulating more and more things, cars, sex, houses, bank accounts, drugs, alcohol and more. Each of these things are dead in themselves and cannot give any life.

Others seek life in excitement and adventure. They will travel around the world, ride on thrill rides, participate in dangerous thrilling extreme sports and more. Again with these, each of them are dead in and of themselves. None of these can bring about any life in a person.

Then there are some who seek life in actions or helping others. Many people help the homeless, the abused, the sick, those in prison, and others. They feel that doing something good will bring them the satisfaction of life that people desire and want. While none of these are necessarily bad, they are just actions, and there is no true life in it. The actions are done to humans who cannot provide true life.

The only way you can find a true life that is worth living is in seeking God. God provided life for every human being through Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. Apart from Jesus, you will die, you will not have life. It may seem like a good life for a while, but in the end, without Jesus, you will die.

Do not be like the Israelites and reject seeking God first. Put God first in your life and seek only Him. Then He will give you life and that life abundantly.

I pray today that you will only seek Jesus; that you will know life in Jesus; that you will not seek life in the things and people of this world; and that God will pour out the abundant life worth living upon you.

Amos 4:9 Getting Your Attention

“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, destroying them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet, you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. Amos 4:9

In this chapter, Amos is quoting God, who is upset with Israel. They had chosen to walk away from God, so God brought on many different calamities, drought, plagues, and death. God had struck their gardens and vineyards, which is their livelihood and food. Yet, the people refused to return to Him. They chose to continue to live in their sinful ways, knowing God was angry with them.

Disaster strikes people all the time. Some of those disasters are caused by another person, while others are caused by the weather. The world looks at those disasters as a bad luck of the draw, part life. Many will blame others for the natural disasters, claiming that it is because of the way people run things. It is natural for the world to see things this way, because they do not know God and have never known Him.

For believers, it is a different story. When disaster strikes a believer, the first thing he should do is turn to God for help. Disaster can strike a believer for one of two main reasons: 1) God is trying to get his attention, because he has walked away from Him 2) God is allowing Satan to strike and test him. Either way, the believer should turn to God.

There are many believers do not choose to turn to God, but turn to other people and things of this world. They reject God’s help, especially when it is being done because of sin in their lives. They will seek help in medicine, drugs, alcohol, entertainment, music, people, and even doing more ministry work, everything but turning to God.

In your own personal life, things may be occurring that are making things extremely difficult for you. As you are going through these situations seek God out. Take a look at your life and see where you are really standing with God.

Are you walking with God? Then trust that He will give you the strength to make it through the situation.

Have you walked away from God? Then turn back to Him and repent of all sin. Seek to know His ways and then follow them.

I pray today that you will always follow Jesus; that you will not turn from the path God has for you; that when disaster strikes, you will turn to God first; and that you will know that God is always waiting for you to return to Him.