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Posts Tagged ‘lessons’

Home and Harvest

November 21st, 2012

A Blessed and Joyful Thanksgiving Season to our friends and readers of EveryDay Life! As you gather with family and friends, may you thankfully remember the faithfulness of God and enjoy ample provision from His hand. Gayle and I are thankful for you and your fellowship with us in this written ministry expression of Christian Communications, Inc. We are appreciative and encouraged by your kind responses and privileged to share the  practical wisdom and wonder of God’s Word with you and the friends with whom you choose to share EveryDay Life.

For our friends in the San Antonio area

I have been invited to speak this Sunday, November 25,  at 9:00 am and 10:30 am at Trinity Church, 5415 N Loop 1604 E (at the Judson exit on NE Loop 1604). It would be our privilege to share the morning’s ministry with you.

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Home and Harvest

Home and harvest are a good place and a great time.

“Eye has not seen . . the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NKJV

Circumstances distracted and misdirected Naomi. Read Ruth 1-4. The book of Ruth is just four brief chapters, but a most amazing story of God’s providence. Naomi, her husband and two sons, experienced a famine in Bethlehem, so they moved to Moab to put the tough times behind. It is usually wrong to assume another place will be better when things are not good where you are. Things weren’t better; they became worse. In tough times, look for lessons not exits.

You can grow more in adversity than in prosperity, but you must keep your problems in perspective and your confidence in God. When I was a young teen, I recall my Father observing, “More people can stand adversity than can handle prosperity.” I have witnessed that truth in many lives.

Uzziah reigned as a king until it was said of him, “He was marvelously helped until he was strong. When he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction for he transgressed against the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 29:15-16 NKJV. Prosperous times have their hazards as can adverse times. Prosperous times might promote a faulty assumption that you need God less, when you may need Him even more. Adverse times can suggest that you can care for yourself better than God has.

Naomi and her family left Bethlehem thinking Moab was their solution, but their problems grew worse there. In Moab, Naomi’s sons married, but later died, as had her husband. When you lose what you love, a famine is a small thing in comparison. She was left in a foreign land with only her Moabite daughters-in-law, but determined to return home to Bethlehem. See the gracious, providential hand of God in her return, “[Naomi] heard in Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread . . now they came to Bethlehem [the House of Bread] at the beginning of the barley harvest.” Ruth 1:6/22 NKJV. What great news to hear and good time to return home. In God’s timing, home and harvest are a good place and a great time.

Naomi inaccurately described her plight, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.” Ruth 1:21 NIV. Her excursion to Moab left her empty; the Lord brought her home in time for harvest, beyond anything she dared imagine. Her pain and loss made her fail to see, “’The Lord has brought me back’ . . at the beginning of the barley harvest!” Your Father will bring you home to blessing, if you let Him. Read Ruth 4:13-17 NKJV. Naomi’s grandson would become the grandfather of David, and the lineage of the Messiah promised to Israel! See Matthew 1.

Like Naomi, you may not yet know what God has prepared for you but this is true, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NLT. God’s timely harvest will wipe away your loss from the famine. She left in a famine; God brought her home at a time of harvest.

The Bible says you can, “[learn] to be content whatever the circumstances.” Read Philippians 4:11-13/19 NKJV. Contentment is a lesson life teaches learners. Happiness doesn’t come from having all you want; happiness is found in thankfulness for what you have. In tough times, you learn that faith, family, and relationships matter more at all times.

At this Thanksgiving season, be joyful and thankful for a bountiful harvest, whether at hand or still ahead. Now is a good time to enjoy home and harvest when you, “enter His gates with Thanksgiving.” Read Psalm 100:1-5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you find God’s place of fullness and stay there in His will.

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Examples

March 7th, 2011

“These things happened . . as examples.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 NIV

“The experiences and examples of others are valuable means of learning.”

My thoughts today are about “examples.”

The Bible records life as it is so we can learn how it could be. Someone has said, “I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” See 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NKJV. God tells the stories of men and women as they were, not as we wish they had been. Probably so we can more readily identify with them. Abraham has remarkable faith but battles with fear at other times. Elijah confronts false prophets but flees from an angry queen. Peter confesses his allegiance unto death, and then denies ever having known Jesus.

We see both the spiritual heroism and the common humanity of their earthly journey, and are shown how God works in and through both. Their examples are both guidelines and guardrails for your own journey – guiding your steps on the right paths and guarding you from wrong ones. A good example is a powerful thing. “These things happened to them as examples, and were written down as warnings for us.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 NIV. A good example is better than a great explanation; the experiences and examples of others are valuable means of learning. From others’ examples, you can learn what to do; from experiences, you may learn what to avoid.

My life is and ministry is indelibly influenced by my Dad, as well as others. His example of personal faith and practical wisdom still shape so much of who I am, what I do, and what I believe and teach – all the product of what I learned in our conversations and saw from his Godly example. God uses the real lives of others, then and now, to teach, encourage, and warn us.

You can learn from their accomplishments, as well as their mistakes. Some lessons are more safely learned second hand from others. God doesn’t waste the lessons others have learned, often the hard way, and neither should you; benefit from the experiences of others. Be diligent to observe and learn; you’ll be better and wiser for it. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NKJV.

God wants you to live wisely. Everything in Scripture is written for the benefit of your study and application. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true . . It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right . . God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT. Biblical examples are given for your instruction now and to encourage your confident hope. You can learn the truth about God and life, and be strengthened to persevere when things are difficult.

God’s goal is for His truth to become a living, practical part of your everyday life. The question is whether truth is woven into your everyday life. You can readily identify with the stories of others’ experiences, good or bad, and be inspired by examples of courage and steadfastness. Biographies can impact you in powerful, profitable ways.

My prayer for you today is that your example inspires others to know God better.

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