Every year, almost everyone makes a choice to do better or get more of something in some way, whether it be more money, better relationship, better health, etc… Unfortunately, the choices made are usually only honored for a short time, and can sometimes benefit us even less. Joshua brought the people of Israel together to give them a summary of the events of their lives and the lives of those before them. He spoke upon the promises made between the ancestors and God, the trial and tribulations they endured, the battles fought, the foolish choices made in the midst of them all, and in the end, God kept them in spite of themselves.
In the end, Joshua requested them to choose whom they would serve; the gods of the world, or the Lord God in entirety. he also made it clear that whatever they choose would be on them and Joshua’s choice was already clear… he and his house would serve the Lord. Why? Because that was the choice that would last. It was the choice that would take him through any and all situations and circumstances; keep him in times of doubt, confusion and sorrow, and guarantee success no matter how the outcome.
If you are going to make a choice for the new Year, make sure it is the one that will stand the test of time, trial and tribulation… choose God.
Reference Joshua 24:14-15
The term ‘love is an action word‘ does hold truth, yet what actions should we take? in this season, the focus on love gives way to the desire for ‘things’. We spend great amounts of money on stuff for each other, yet these things rarely last. The things that do are usually ignored, and we further settle for these things as proof of love, yet they are no where near proof of anything other than an instinctual following of the times.
Christ showed the greatest example of love with the sacrificing of his physical life for the salvation of us all. Each day, God shows love for us by going ABOVE AND BEYOND that which we deserve, and asks, can we do the same for each other? Can we go above and beyond the physical gifts, remedial words, and show love to others in a way the LASTS? Yet, how do we achieve this? First, we MUST establish and build our relationship with God, and since GOD IS LOVE, we then build pure love within ourselves, thus allowing us to share this with others. And the best thing about this… IT DOESN’T COST A DIME.
Referencing 1st John 3:16-18.
Many people in this age delight in violence, especially when it is focused on others; strangers and those involved in their lives are both subject to the watching, mocking and instigation of pain and suffering of those around them. Social media has tagged on to this foolishness in a great way be making it easier and easier to share videos of violent acts from all types of individuals for the sake of a laugh, and ‘like’. What amazes me about this is that those who do this are just as likely to have it done unto them, yet they show no care of this fact… until it happens to them. then they want to yell FOUL, or talk of INJUSTICE. The hypocrisy is steadily growing among the people of God and yet the enemy continues to capitalize off of our ignorance.
I encourage all that read to boycott this because it is nothing but fuel for the enemy’s ultimate goal.
Referencing Obadiah 1:11-15.
The marketing industry spends billions of dollars annually on ways to convince you and me that the product or service they are trying to sell is worth buying. This is done through billboards, television, radio and Internet advertisements which are among the most popular. We expect this to occur and in this, push the industry to be more creative and more convincing as time goes by. We are creatures of short attention spans and smaller levels of satisfaction, so this signifies why we would need to be convinced to spend our money, or our time on anything nowadays.
Thomas, in the story, who was shown the power of Christ on many occasions, still did not believe that He was able to overcome the finality of death, so he needed to be convinced. He needed to have his senses satisfies through touch; needing to feel the holes in his hands and the piercing in his side. Then once convinced, he believed, yet Christ made it quite clear that his belief was hollowed because it lacked faith.
How many of us consistently seek proof of God? We have all asked for a sensual convincing, usually in the form of a sign of some sort, or most commonly, a financial issue be resolved in our lives, and even then, we are still skeptical. Our FAITH should be our assurance, yet because of our reliance on our physical senses, we seek an earthly way to validate The Heavenly Father in our limited and insignificant lives, thus placing God on a marketing platform that we continue to push to reinvent and resell.
Only when we are able to lean on our faith that God CAN and thus TRUST that God WILL can we get past the worldly lack of faith and distrust that comes with our inherent need of convincing.
Referencing John 20:18-29
We must never forget where our lives and all the possessions we take for granted in our lives come from. By the grace of God we are provided for, yet sometimes we can forget and slip into the ‘it was my will and my skill’ way of thinking real quickly, especially when our egos are fed by the world.
Many of us have prayed for things to come into our lives, or change in our lives, and once God provides, we, a first, will thank God for blessing us. As time goes on, and what we asked for starts to benefit us, or increase for the better, we can get caught up in the feeling of accomplishment, especially when the results begin to show to others. In time, if not careful, we have convinced ourselves that we are in control of the outcome and even boast of our magnificence, only to ultimately be stripped of all that we believed to be of our making.
Remember, our lives are gifts, not privileges, and never to be confused with being deserved or earned, thus it is imperative that we keep in the FRONT OF OUR MINDS that it was not OUR will, but God’s.
Referencing Deuteronomy 8:11-20
To betray someone, that is, to hurt someone by not giving help or doing something morally wrong, has levels of intensity depending on the amount of love, trust, and commitment invested into the relationship.
As the Word of God explains, when an enemy shows deception, it is EXPECTED. That level of betrayal is hardly felt and the emotional strain from it can be avoided altogether BECAUSE of the expectation. However, when the enemy is loved by you, trusted by you, and you are committed to this person for WHATEVER reason, and have fully invested time and resources into this person and they betray…. the results can be devastating. How do you recover? How do you get through? How do you find forgiveness? So much has been burned and since trust is a VERY DIFFICULT THING TO REBUILD, this can become an aftershock that can last a lifetime.
Now how does this relate to us and our relationship with God? Many of us have this delusion that God can be walked away from AT WILL, vows can be un-kept (that was me), games can be played, we can get tired of God and try the enemy for awhile and leave God as an afterthought, we can play church until we get what we THINK WE WANT and then just ‘dip out’; not just ONCE, but OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN… we reproach God and expect that it has NO effect. Unfortunately… it DOES.
Ask yourself, how would you feel if someone you LOVE, CHERISH, AND HAVE SACRIFICED FOR did that to you? Would you be okay with it? Would you brush it off? Would you continue to show them forgiveness and understanding and love as God has for us in our continued betrayals? Is this FAIR to God? And would God be justified in turning God’s back on us when we reproach God? I wonder…
Referencing- Psalms 55:11-14
The saying ‘what’s worth having is worth working for’ is how we usually validate the value of what we desire. The thought of giving something freely, is in so many cases, unacceptable to the majority of us, because we have been taught that if is not worked for, it is not worth anything.
As parents, we give gifts to our children, only to usually watch them show little to no regard to the gift, yet the same child will cherish that thing he or she earned. This is something that we take with us through our lives… we use this in every aspect of our lives, ESPECIALLY love. Many have been emotionally scarred because of the given not earned concept of love… I gave them my love and they threw it away. Why? because they did not do anything to EARN it. This example connects with the Word of God in that we are spiritually spoiled and rarely appreciate what God gives to us everyday, and what Christ gave to us many, many years ago. Not counting the events that lead to is crucifixion; the beatings, ridicule, mocking, disrespect and desertion of those who vowed to be by Christ side through it all… all of this so that we would have life, yet what do we do with the gift? many of us take the blood shed for our transgressions, and spit it right back in God’s face.
The point is to appreciate the gifts of God. Appreciate the sacrifice of life so that we ALL could continue to live, and always be reminded that this gift, honestly could NEVER BE EARNED.
Referencing John 3:16-17