Numbers 1:2 Counted As Family

People census

Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. Numbers 1:2

All around the world, nearly every nation does a regular count of how many people there are in the nation. Often this is done for the purpose of taxing the people. It can also to see changes in growth to plan the infrastructure for the future of the nation.

Most of the time, the census is taken for personal gain of the nation. It is not done for true care and concern for the people or even the individual.

While the Israelites were in the wilderness, God told Moses to take a census of every man with them. He was to list each man’s name, one by one, clan by clan and family by family. It was to be a very detailed listing of who was living in camp.

God knew the names of every person before Moses was to even begin the count. He also knew the number of people in the camp. Taking this census is one way God can show that He knows the name of every man and his family. As Moses counted the people, he would be able to tell them this information is for God. He wants to know each person by name. This was a physical showing that God knows their names.

Very often people think that God does not know who they are or where they are in life. They feel as if God has forgotten or ignored them. This becomes especially true when the person is going through a difficult time. Or they are praying for something and God does not seem to answer or hear.

There are times that every believer needs to be encouraged that God knows his name. He needs to be reminded that he is on God’s census list.

You may be at one of those times of struggle, wondering if God even knows your name. Rest assured that God does know your name. He is taking a census on a daily basis of who all of His children are and where they are. In fact, it is a constant census, every moment of the day.

God knows your name and is right there with you. As long as you believe in Jesus and follow Him, He will keep counting you as family.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know that God knows your name; that you will be a part of God’s eternal family; and that you will trust that God is always with you, even in the deserts of life. 

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Mark 3:35 Are You A Part Of His Family?

Family

Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. Mark 3:35

As Jesus was talking His mother and brothers came up wanting to see Him. Some people told Him that they were waiting. He then asked the question of who His family was. Then He answered His question with stating that those who do His will is part of His family.

Family blood runs deep with some families. Those who are related by blood will often do whatever is needed to protect and take care of other members of the family.

One illustration of dedicated family is of the mafia families that are often portrayed in movies. They are seen to take care of family members, as long as the member does his part as a member of the family. If one member of the family betrays the other members of the family, he is often cut off from the family. In the movies, that person is often killed.

People are born into being selfish and sinful, doing their own thing rather than what God wants them to do. At that point, people are not a part of God’s family. They are a part of the family of the devil or this world.

To be a part of God’s family one must do what God wants that person to do. God wants people to believe in His Son Jesus, who died on the cross for their sins. He wants them to listen to Jesus and obey all that He says. 

Once a person gives his heart to Jesus, he has repented of his sins and begins to obey God. This obedience is doing God’s will. At that point he is now a member of God’s family. He is either a brother, sister or mother to Jesus, with God the Father being the Father of all.

Doing His will is easy, if you allow it to be. It comes down to two simple rules: love God and love everyone else. This is exactly what Jesus did when He came and walked upon this earth. He loved God by obeying what He wanted Him to do. He loved everyone else by dying for their sins on the cross.

How are you doing at doing what God wants you to do?

The more you do what He wants, the more you are a part of the family of Jesus. Are you a part of His family?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will obey God; that you will do what He wants you to do; and that you will love God and everyone else.

What Is Your Motivation?

Work And Life

I am currently in a position of a job transition. I am transitioning from a known job into the unknown. At this point I do not know what my next job will be, but I know that God has one out there for me.

In the process of searching for a job I have to look at various different factors. One factor is what type of job do I want. Another is how much I want to work, or how many hours I want to work. Another is what benefits are there and what benefits do I want.

One factor that many people do not look at is the motivation factor. Motivation is the reason for a person to behave or act in a certain way. This brings up the question of why a person wants a particular job. Most people look back at the above factors in looking for a job. Some want the high pay, others the great side benefits, and still others the hours worked.

Money

While paying the bills is an important motivator for working, it is not necessarily the most important factor.

As a believer in Jesus, my time in worship and ministry is extremely high on the priority list of life. I want to be able to go to church and do ministry in the church. I want to be able to lead my family in worship and service to God, both in and out of the church.

As a happily married man, I place a very high priority of spending time with my wonderful wife. I want to be able to take her out on a date once in a while. I want to be able to spend time with her at home without falling asleep exhausted from work.

Family

As a man with a large family, I place family as a very high place on the priority of life list. I want to spend quality and quantity of time with my family. I want to be able to play with my kids and mentor my kids in work, worship and ministry. Working automatically places a damper on the amount of time spent with my family.

Some of the jobs I look at will pay very well. This will allow for all bills to be paid and still be able to get everything my family needs or wants. However, to get that high pay requires that I put in very long hours, cutting back family  and ministry time.

Other jobs I look at allow for a lot of time with the family, but do not pay very well. They will not be enough to pay the bills and other needs of the family. Thus it puts a lot of stress upon me and the family.

You may be in this position or you may have been there, or you may be in this position some day. Most people have been there or will be there some day.

In order to solve this dilemma one must look to God and His word. The first thing is:

Psalm 37-23_24

God guides those who seek Him. He will guide your steps. God is there to help you grow, not cut you down.

It is easy to look at this verse and agree that God guides your steps, but it is harder to actually act upon it. He may open a door that does not look good, or close a door that looks great. He sees the big picture and wants to guide you down the correct path. 

Often we look at a path God wants us to walk down and just see problems with it. Yet, that path may be the best one for us. It may be difficult, but it keeps you focused on God. It may be insane, but it draws you closer to Him. This brings you to the point of trusting God.

proverbs 3_5-6

You must let go of your own understanding and the wisdom of this world and trust God’s wisdom and understanding of the situation.

Now that I have talked about God guiding your steps and trusting in the Lord, what does all this have to do with motivation? I started talking about motivation at the beginning.

Ephesians 5_8-10

 

You need to first find out what pleases God. When you or I look at a job, it must be through the eyes of God. Does it honor God? Will it please God to have you working there? Will it be a hindrance to your walk with God? Or will it build your walk with God?

Colossians 3_23-24

 

No matter what the job is that you do, you must do it as though you are working for God. Don’t do it just for the paycheck, or the position, or the benefits, but do it for God.

God opens and closes doors. If you are in a job, it is because God wanted you to be there. The purpose to being there could be to build you up or to help you reach others. The paycheck is the last thing God is really concerned about. You can have a great paycheck and be lose eternal life, because you missed God.

The two greatest motivators for anything that you do, must be to please God and to do it for God.

This can be translated into work, play, or anything else in life. What is your motivation? Is it something temporary of this world? Or is it eternal in God’s kingdom?

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.

Danger Of Past Hurt

People get hurt by other people on a regular basis. This is more true with the more friends and family that you have. If you only have a few friends or very little to no family, the chance of getting hurt drops dramatically, but you also have a lot less chance of being loved and loving someone.

In today’s society, many people are blaming their actions on someone else. They look back to a time when they were a child and got hurt by a parent, a sibling, a relative or some other friend. Usually this hurt was something that occurred over and over again, over a longer period of time.

Being hurt by someone is something that will happen. If it has not happened recently, just wait it is coming. The difference is how much that hurt really hurts.

When an enemy does something against a person, most people just accept it, because they half expected it to happen. Very few people expect to be treated nicely by someone who is an enemy. In fact, with most of the world, if they are being treated nicely, chances are they are friends and not enemies.

Treating the enemy nicely is something that God talks about and even commands.

Luke 6:27-36 New International Version (NIV)
Love for Enemies
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

However, what I want to look at is past hurts and the dangers of those hurts. As I stated above, the cases where someone gets hurt the worst is with a loved one, usually a family member. The one you love is the one that can and usually will hurt you the most. When they do something that hurts, it goes deep into the heart and soul of a person, because they lost trust and love that should have been there.

Many people grow up mad at their parents because of something that they had done wrong to them when they were a young child. Some of those things are very wrong, in both the eyes of the law and the eyes of God. Some of those things were done on purpose, with the purpose to hurt or take advantage of.

Other things were done by mistake and not knowing the best way to do things. Every person has things that they need to learn. In the process of learning those things, often there are many mistakes made. Many parents discipline in a way that was too harsh, causing pain and anger for many years to come. This is part of the learning process. Some parents learn over time how to do things better, while some never seem to learn to do it the best way.

The danger of being hurt comes in how that hurt is held on to. Thousands of family members are fighting with each other their entire lives, because they refuse to forgive each other. I have seen parents go to their death-bed refusing to forgive a child of some wrong done to them many years before. I have also seen children watch their parent die and refusing to forgive that parent of a wrong done when they were young.

Bitterness sets into the heart of a person that has been done wrong to, and he refuses to forgive and move on. Children refuse to talk to parents. Parents refuse to talk to children. Siblings refuse to talk to other siblings. All these things because of a past hurt and the bitterness that has set in.

With bitterness, there is no real joy in life. People look to things or other people to try to bring that joy. Always looking for the next thrill or person to love. All the while refusing to look to God.

Ephesians 4:31 New International Version (NIV)

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

God wants a person to get rid of all bitterness. Many, however, will say that they are not bitter. They say that they just cannot forgive the person and will not deal with them anymore. That is a sign of bitterness and not love.

We are told to forgive:

Ephesians 4:32 New International Version (NIV)

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

God had forgiven you of all the wrongs you have done to Him. Jesus went to the cross to pay the price for your sins, so that you could be forgiven. Think about how many times you have hurt God with a sin, both small and large. Yet, God loved you enough to forgive, rather than holding a grudge against you and being bitter.

Hebrews 12:15-17 New International Version (NIV)

15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Do not allow the root of bitterness to grow and manifest itself in your life. Just like a little cancer cell in the body grows to the point of killing a person, so a little bitterness can grow and kill you. It can kill you and others around you. It sets a pattern in your life and the lives you touch, to where others catch that bitter root.

God does not want to see you ate up by bitterness and anger, because of a past hurt. He wants you to work at forgiving and showing His love to the person who has hurt you in the past.

If you have been hurt in the past by someone, give it to God. Ask Him to show you His love for you and His great love for the other person who hurt you.

Ask God to show you how much He has forgiven you, so that you can work at forgiving the other person. Ask God for strength to forgive and move on, getting rid of all bitterness.

The hurt and pain may always be there, but love can override those things. Relationships can be rebuilt in God. As long as you and the other person are alive it is still possible to mend that relationship. There is always a chance to forgive. God will make a way for it to happen if you allow Him to do so.

Proverbs 31:10-27 The Right Wife

The passage that I have chosen today is too long to want to copy all of it here. Please click on the link Proverbs 31:10-27 and read the passage.

There are many views on who the right wife is for a man. Each person, man, woman, mother, or father, has a different view. In this passage a description is given that is often ignored.

The wife described here is not one who is a door-mat, that just gets walked all over by her husband or her children. Nor is she one described as the boss of the household.

Often wives have a career and are focused on moving on up in that career. They are focused on how to look better in this world. It may be to look better in this world for her husband or children, but the focus is still on her. The wife described here is focused on making life better for her husband and her children.

She is willing to work with her own hands to provide the best for her family, not for herself. Many marriages are built around the concept of his and her own stuff. Each one has their own checking account, own vehicles, own food, own life and are not together. Everything done is for self, rather than for the family.

This is not about women’s liberation, but about love for family. When a woman puts her family first and meets their needs first, she will be blessed in the end. Her family will see all the hard work she does and bless her. Her husband can trust her to make all the right choices in this life and for the family.

If you are a wife and are reading this today, what is your focus in your family? The first level of focus must be on God, the second is on your husband, and third is on your children. The last area of focus is to be on yourself.

God will provide for your needs as you pour out yourself into the needs of your family.

The method of meeting your family needs will be different for each wife. Seek God to know how you can best do that and be the wife that is blessed.

I pray today that God will give you the strength to work for your family; that God will guide you in what to do for your family; and that your family will see a treasure in you.

God’s Protection And Favor

IMG_1037.JPGWe live in a double-wide manufactured home in the country. We have oak trees all around the house, several within just a few feet of the house. This gives you a slight picture of what our place is like.

This last weekend we had a large storm that rolled through the area. On Sunday evening, at about 7:30pm, we heard a large crashing sound and the house rumbled some. A couple of my boys suddenly noticed that there was a tree laying down on our porch outside.

I went out in the rain and looked at it. Along with that tree on the porch, there was another tree leaning up against the corner of the house. I immediately went back inside to see if there was any internal damage.

At the corner of the house where the tree hit, is a bathroom. Above the bathtub in the corner, the ceiling was partially caved in. Water was coming through in a solid stream. The amazing part in the water coming through, was that it was running straight into the tub and down the drain. This was the first protection of God in this terrible situation, along with that fact that no one was hurt at all.

With it raining hard, I knew that we could do nothing about it that evening. I just praised God that it was draining into the tub.

About one hour later, the power shut down on us. We had no lights and our water supply is from a well with a pump, causing no water available.

As this was happening in the great storm, we lost cellphone reception and all internet connection. We could not look up what was happening or if the power company even knew about the power outage. There was no way of knowing how widespread the outage was or when to expect power back on.

Since it was extremely dark in the house and there was nothing we could do, everyone went to bed around 9-10 pm. I have a family of eight children. All were home at the time this was happening.

Around 1:30 am, I was awoken with a very loud bang that rumbled the entire house. I jumped out of bed and began to head through the house to find out what had happened.

As I was going through by flashlight, the power was still off, I met one of my boys coming towards me with a flashlight, also trying to find out what had happened. I looked outside and could not see anything other than a large tree covering our porch.

I went back in to the bathroom and saw a large surprise…part of the ceiling was completely missing and one wall had a huge hole in it. I could see the sky with no problem through the bathroom.

Going back outside, I went around the porch and the fallen tree to see what had happened. The second tree that had been leaning on the house had fallen the rest of the way. It took out the wall behind the bathtub from floor to ceiling, along with a section of the roof.

The next blessing at this point, that God had blessed us with, was that it had stopped raining.

Four of my children helped me then to start putting a tarp over the hole and roof of the house.

While we were doing that my wife stayed with my youngest children and worked to calm them down. Two of my boys were sleeping in a room right next to the bathroom and so they heard and felt the shake really bad.

It took about 3 hours to get the tarp on the roof and over the missing wall. I knew the plastic that I used was not great, but knew it would be better than nothing. It would at least keep some of the rain out of the house.

At about 4:30am I was able to go back to bed. Since I normally get up around 5am, I was wide awake by about 6:30 and unable to sleep.

I got up and started doing my devotions and normal morning things. At about 7am someone drove up to our house. I did not recognize the vehicle so I went out to find out who it was. It was a friend from our church that had heard of our situation and showed up with a chainsaw ready to work at removing the trees.

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Immediately we set to work at cutting the tree branches down and moving them off the porch. At about 8am two more friends showed up to help. Several more called and said that they would be there at some point in the day. One of the friends that came, had come with two of his friends, who we did not know, to help out. Several people had a chainsaw. Our neighbor allowed us to borrow his tractor to move the parts of the tree to a burn pile area on our property.

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One lady showed up with food and water for everyone to eat. It was enough food and water to feed an army. This provided more than enough food for everyone working. This was the next blessing from God.

By around 2pm, we had both trees completely cut up and moved over to burn piles, the house had two tarps covering the hole in the roof and the wall completely, and the hole inside the house was patched over.

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The amazing thing in all of this was that the weather forecast the entire week was to be rain every day. God gave us the entire day with absolutely no rain at all. It was very beautiful weather to work in, not too hot, not too cold. God was pouring out His blessings on us in the midst of an extremely hard and dangerous situation.

God also blessed us with the fact that during the time of the cleanup, no one was injured in any way.

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Right now we are waiting on the insurance company to get an inspector come out to see what the damage was and how much they will pay. We don’t know how God will get all of this fixed, but we know that He is in control.

Not all of the people who helped us were members of the church that we go to, but they were believers in their own churches. This was a great example of how the family of God takes care of its members, regardless of denominational differences.

Along with this, throughout the entire situation, God helped me to remain calm and not get angry, as I normally would have. I had a peace that was supernatural and a strength that was only from God. God provided help and strength above what I had expected. Without His help and the help of all the friends, it would have taken us several days to get the trees cleared.

I want to encourage you, that no matter what you are going through God is right there by your side. He can give you the strength that you need to make it through your situation. God loves you and I and promised that He will take care of all of your needs. Trust Him today and give Him praise, even in the storms of life.