Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Devotion Thoughts - 15/05/2011

1 Samuel 17:1-58. 1 Samuel 18:1-4
Then said David to the Philistine, You come against me with a sword, a spear, and a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, ... (v.17:45).
Because the battle is the Lord's ... he will give you into our hands (v.17:47).

It was no accident that David had great faith in God's ability to protect him. His relationship with God had been developed from when he was dutifully taking good care of his father's sheep.
When God gives us duties to perform, handle them as being for the Lord; He sent them to prepare us for greater responsibilities as His servants.

John 8:21-30
He [God the Father] that sent me is with me; he has not left me alone; for I do always the things that are pleasing to him (v.29).
There we have it, straight from the mouth of Jesus: if we do those things that please our heavenly Father He will always be with us. That's not to say that when Believers do things that He does not like that He is going to drop us. Jesus is simply putting a positive slant to our spiritual walk: please God and we will know His presence!

Psalm 111:1-10
I will thank GOD with my whole heart wherever I go (v.1.) (My paraphrase).
There is no point in pretending to worship God; He knows when we mean what we say. In Isaiah 29:13 the Lord said, 'These people honour me with their lips ... but their hearts are far from me ...' (my paraphrase). Trying to con God will anger Him. Rather tell it 'like it is' when we pray; He respects that even when it does not come with praise.

Proverbs 15:11
If God can see what is going on in the hearts of the dead then He can certainly see what is going on in our hearts and minds! Let us honour Him for his Omniscience!

Almighty God is well aware of all that's in our heart;
to those who honour Him for that His grace He does impart.

Edward John Kidgell: May 2011).

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Be obedient!

Be obedient!

When God gives commands then be sure to obey,
and not be like Saul who did things his own way.
His deeds made God angry, so God did disown
the king He had chosen, and Saul lost his crown.

If we would be honoured by God, then be sure
to honour Him first and live lives that are pure;
for God detests sin; but to those who uphold
His every command He keeps riches untold!

(c) Edward John Kidgell, May 2011

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Devotion Thoughts - 14/05/2011

As from today I am going to write 'believers', that is, those who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, as 'Believers'. Too many who claim to be Christians are not born again; in spite of 'serving' God they are going to be rejected by Him at the Judgment (Matthew 7:21-23). Believers believe that the whole Bible is the Word of God, designed to help us to honour Almighty God in thought, in word and in deed when we believe what His word says and do what He wants.

1 Samuel 15:1-35
... but Saul ... (v.9).
... to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (v.22.) ... rebellion is as bad as witchcraft, and stubbornness is like idolatry and idols ... Because you rejected the word of GOD, He has rejected you from being king (v.23).

The warning to Saul about obedience being better than sacrifice (or religious activities) is also appropriate for Believers. We are to obey God's word to the letter and not decide for ourselves what He should have told us to do, ending up by only partially obeying Him.

1 Samuel 16:1-23
Jehovah said to Samuel, 'Don't look at his face ... or height, or size ... because I have rejected him: for ... man looks on the outward appearance, but I look on the heart'. (v.7)
God is never fooled by appearances and a glib tongue. Many will only find this out when they are rejected at His Judgment throne. Seeing as we can't ever fool God, it makes good sense to be honest with Him at all times. In my younger days I would get upset when God did not answer my prayers the way I wanted, and shouted at Him (but always apologised afterwards). I have since learned to accept His will, so now I don't shout. You could say I related to God much like I related to my earthly dad; saying how I felt, but never losing my respect for Him, which He could see in my heart.
Try being natural with God yourself; He understands very well!

John 8:1-20
But when they continued asking Him he ... said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her (v.7)
It is a good idea to judge ourselves before passing judgment on others. If we can see that we are no better than others in God's eyes (and we aren't!) then we must surely want a compassionate judgment to be passed on us. And it will happen if we put into practice these words of Jesus:

'For with what judgment you judge [others], you shall be judged; how you measure others shall be used as a measure against you' (Matthew 7:2).

Psalm 110:1-7
I will make Your enemies Your footstool. (v.1)
YHWH? To 'my Lord'? Of course! The Father and Son of the Holy Trinity!
Just as God the Father looked after His Son , so He will look after us, but we must approach Him via Jesus' name. The name of Jesus is powerful with the Father! This, to the point where, in Jesus' name, we will be enabled to rule over all that comes against us (v.2).
Think on this: like any other father who wants to see his child succeed, God is longing to help us cope with the challenges of life!

Proverbs 15:8-10
The underlying message of the Bible is: those who honour God will be honoured by Him; those who dishonour Him are losers. Sometimes (v.10) it takes some serious testing and correction to get one who has strayed from God to return to Him.

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Devotion Thoughts - 13/05/2011

1 Samuel 13:23. 1 Samuel 14:1-52
Jonathan said to his armour bearer, 'Come, let us go over to the garrison of those uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will use us to fight: for it is no problem for Him to save by many or by few'. 1Sa 14:6 (my words).

Presumably the Philistines allowed Saul and Jonathan to have swords for ceremonial purposes. But the God of Israel needed just one sword in the hand of Jonathan to overthrow a garrison of Philistines. We can be powerful witnesses even if our resources are limited.
Saul's silly rule, forbidding his troops from eating, was not a good idea (v.24), for when they became faint with hunger they became less effective as fighters. Don't make Saul's mistake; God wants us to ask His guidance before making any rulings or plans, a lesson Saul needed to learn.

John 7:30-53
'His hour was not yet come' (v.30).
God has a time for everything that must happen. Trying to hurry Him is not going to work. Learn to rest in Him, assured that His good plans for you will be put into operation at exactly the right time. When we are ready for God, He will be ready for us; then rivers of living water will flow out of us.

Proverbs 15:5-7
v.5. A fool seldom learns from his father's instruction,
but those who are smart always heed sound advice.

v.6. The house of the righteous is built on good business;
the wicked make money from their avarice.

v.7. The wise share their knowledge to help those around them,
but hearts that are foolish do not give a care.

Now if you would honour the Lord by your conduct -
be honest; be caring; be ready to share!

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Devotion Thoughts - 12/05/2011

1 Samuel 12:1-25
And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand. 1Sa 12:4
How wonderful it was for Samuel to look back over the years and to know that there was not one person who could dispute his honesty. Any person alive today can be proud of such a record ... but it is not enough to get anyone into heaven! We are saved through faith, not by the works we have done for God (Ephesians 2:5,8,9). There is not a man who can say to God: 'You owe me, for I have done many good things in Your name'. God has decreed that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved.

1 Samuel 13:1-22
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD has sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be captain over his people, because you have not kept that which the LORD commanded you. 1Sa 13:14
If there is one thing God wants of us it is obedience to His commands. Saul was told to wait for Samuel to offer the sacrifice. But when Samuel did not come when Saul expected him Saul went ahead with the sacrifice, something he was not authorised by God to do, in spite of being the king; it cost him his kingdom.
When you are required to wait on God then wait! Thinking that you have no time to wait for God to act is foolish, arrogant, and a slight upon Him, implying that He has lost control of the situation.

John 7:1-29
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment (7:24).
There is not a man alive, no matter how much training and study he has done, who can look at another man and know exactly what is going on in his heart and mind. Whatever assessment he comes up with will be superficial, and subject to change as more information about the subject person is discovered. Only God knows everything about a man, and He knows everything about every man, woman and child who has ever lived.
How can we judge with righteous judgment? By comparing a man's behaviour with what God has commanded in His word.

Psalm 108:1-13
Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. Psalm 108:13.
There is something of an exultant mood expressed in this psalm, and it must have to do with the writers confidence in God's ability to help should trouble come. Believers who constantly seek after God through prayer, meditation and the reading of His word know that He is a great, big, wonderful God!

Proverbs 15:4
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
As translated in the Good News Bible: Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.
If we are wise we will speak kindly at all times; and bite our tongue when we are about to say nasty things to others.

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Devotion Thoughts - 11/05/2011

1 Samuel 10:1-27; 1 Samuel 11:1-15
10:7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.
10:9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.

How wonderful to know God is with us when we face our daily round! Believers know the presence of God because, after receiving salvation, God dwells within them and they have 'another heart', a heart geared to seeking after God.
It was because the Spirit of God was in Saul that he did not break down in despair like the other Israelites did (11:5,6) but prepared to meet the challenge. Because God indwells believers, we can honour Him by facing all our challenges in the assurance that victory will be ours by letting God control us!

John 6:43-71
6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting life.
6:48 I am that bread of life.
6:54 Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; ...
6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, ... You have the words of eternal life.

Some followers of Jesus left when they could not make sense out of His words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. After His death and resurrection, bread and wine were understood to be the symbols of Jesus' body and blood. (Some believers were accused of cannibalism!)
Underlying communion should be an awareness that it not only represents Jesus' death on Calvary, but it requires being born again in order to have eternal life and to partake of communion worthily. Those not born again are not worthy to partake of communion (1 Corinthians 11:27) despite wanting to honour God (Matthew 7:22-23).

Psalm 107:1-43
O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psa 107:1
Paul was also one for giving thanks to God (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We can never thank Him enough for all the blessings we receive from Him. He is a loving God Who desires to have fellowship with us every day!

Proverbs 15:1-3
The eyes of the LORD are in every place. Pro 15:3
There is no place in the universe that is hidden from God. He sees everything that goes on, not only in the present, but simultaneously in the past and the future. He is Almighty God for Whom nothing is impossible. He created time for us to live in, but He lives in eternity, as do believers who have died ('absent from the body; present with the Lord'; 2 Corinthians 5:8). How good to know that He is fully aware of what is happening in our lives, and will intervene appropriately when necessary!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

God is waiting to answer our prayers!

2 Chronicles 7:14

God will answer prayer when He knows it is time;
but He has been waiting until the right clime
when His true believers are down on their knees
confessing where they disobeyed His decrees.
When God hears confessions, He's quick to begin
with boundless forgiveness for our every sin.

But He will go further by healing our land
with plenteous blessings from His loving hand.
So don't wait, my brother, there's plenty to do;
it's not just for others, it's also for you
to humble yourself and to ask God to bless
our land and our people with fresh righteousness.

(c) Edward John Kidgell, May 2011

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Devotion Thoughts - 10/05/2011

1 Samuel 8:1-22
How unfortunate that a God-honouring man like Samuel had sons in the ministry who 'walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre' (8:3). Every person must choose whether or not to serve God, regardless of what their parents, friends, or families do.
God did not blame Samuel for the people wanting a king, saying they had rejected Him because they did not want Him to reign over them (8:7). Nothing has changed; most people do not want God to rule their lives, preferring to choose a way not 'restricted' by His commands, a way that always ends disastrously.

1 Samuel 9:1-27
In looking for a king, Samuel was led by God to Saul, 'a choice young man' (v.2). Nothing happens by chance; God had told Samuel he would meet Saul coming into the city (v.15). The temporary loss of the asses was part of God's plan to bring Samuel into contact with Saul.
In Psalm 139:16 David says that every day of his life was recorded before he was born. This cannot be about David only; it has to apply to everybody who has ever lived. In that case, every letter in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) has significance. Whichever way the Hebrew is 'read'- every second or every third letter; backwards; forwards; in fact, in every direction possible - our names and details of our lives are recorded. Applicable research presents a credible case for believing David is right!
Now think on this: if everything we have ever done was recorded before we were born, does anything ever happen by chance? I can't see how!

John 6:22-42
People are still looking for Jesus today; the true Jesus; the Son of Man; the Jesus Who is King of kings and Lord of lords; Who is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world; Who is the Bread of Life (v.35); Who gives everlasting life to those who believe on Him (v.40,47)? Are we able to help them find Him?

Psalm 106:32-48
For believers to choose to find entertainment in questionable company and settings is spiritually dangerous (vvv.35,36). Their influence will likely be stronger than that of the believer. Believers might drift away from God and create even worse defilement for themselves (v.39).

Proverbs 14:34-35
The United States government, once very strong financially, has lately been struggling with budget problems. This is not surprising to a believer.
Nations that have reduced or eliminated the worship of God in public life and government have experienced a rise in corruption in business and government, murders in schools, and natural disasters, to name just some of their growing problems. The answer to any nation's problems lies in the hands of believers and no one else:

'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land' (2Chronicles 7:14).

God listens to individual prayers.

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Ask Him now!

Proverbs 14:32-33

There's a heaven for all God's righteous ones
who have done all things well;
but for those who chose a life of sin,
their steps will lead to hell.

For the righteous, in their wisdom, chose
to serve and honour God;
while the foolish sinners, by their choice,
the road to Hell have trod.

Yet it's not too late to make the change
from sinner; Christ will save
all who trust Him for salvation even
just before the grave;

like the dying thief on Cal'vry who
was almost at death's door
when he asked the Lord to help Him ...
and was saved for evermore!

Even now, if you will ask Him, Christ
will offer you His hand;
then together you will walk with Him
into the Gloryland!

(c) Edward John Kidgell
May 2011

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Devotion Thoughts - 09/05/2011

1 Samuel 5:1-12
YHWH is the only god! There is only one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God, co-equal in power and glory.
Everything and everyone in the world will one day bow before Him in adoration and worship. Very soon now every knee - including those of atheists, godless evolutionists, so-called Christians, and non-Christians - will bow before Jesus Christ, their tongues confessing that He is LORD!

1 Samuel 6:1-21
Amazingly, the Philistines did not realise that YHWH was the only God, and continued to worship their own 'gods' even after the display of God's power. As for the Bethshemites, although they were Israelites who had rejoiced at the return of the precious Ark, they were punished for daring to dishonour God by treating His Ark as a common thing. God, and the things of God, must always be treated with honour and respect.

1 Samuel 7:1-17
God's command: 'There shall be no other gods before Me' (Exodus 20:3) is so important that it is number one on the list. Just as soon as we surrender to Him every other attraction ('gods') - including beloved family members and friends, and desires prompted by covetousness such as envy, and all fleshly appetites - and humbly bow before Him, making Him Number One in our lives, that is how quickly He will help and restore us (Matthew 6:33).

John 6:1-21
Jesus was always ready for a challenge by which He could honour His Father (giving thanks in v.11). Too many believers see their challenges as being impossible to handle. If God dwells within us, and nothing is impossible for Him, what is holding us back from stretching our faith? Perhaps a good way to start - if you don't already do it - is to tithe on your income. I believe that if we give willingly, with a good heart, we will be blessed more than we should expect (Luke 6:38). But don't tithe to get; tithe in obedience, to honour God. It works for me!

This psalm continues recounting the events in the life of the nation, Israel. Given that God had proved Himself to them again and again, their continued sinning does not make sense Sometimes even believers, who have experienced God's power in their lives, doubt His love for them when things don't go the way they want.
Make a point of accepting that God is in control in your life; trust Him, and relax. You only create 'problems' for yourself when you disagree with Him about how you think matters should happen to be in your life.

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Devotion Thoughts - 08/05/2011

1 Samuel 2:22-36

God said: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Pro 22:6) . When God says 'He that spares his rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him when necessary' (Proverbs 13:24), then we had better believe that God knows best. Those who think corporal punishment will warp the character of the child are correct only if the rod is applied unjustly and more than necessary. When I misbehaved at school I was caned, but never told my parents, for they would have punished me as well for wasting the teacher's time! They feared God, believed His Word, and gave me a hiding when I needed it. I am glad about that!
Eli was too soft on his sons. God intended to kill Hophni and Phineas (2:25) for which their father had to share the blame (v.29); not only because 'they knew not the Lord' (v.12), but because Eli did not stop their ungodly behaviour which, in effect, made them superior to God. Jesus warned against ungodly behaviour (Matthew 18:3-7). Satan lost out for trying to be superior to God.

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Although it might not be as audible a voice as Samuel heard, God's call to His servants to give up all and follow Him is always clear. It can come through scripture repeatedly brought to mind; a challenge in a sermon; or a direct word through a fellow-believer. However the call comes, it is confirmed in one way or another. Samuel heard his call via the audible voice of God. I did not hear an audible voice but, along with repeated scripture passages, there was an inner voice telling me that God wanted me to leave my secure, well-paid job and go into full-time service for Him. I have never regretted following that call.

1 Samuel 4:1-22

There is no doubt that Eli was a godly man (v.13), fearing as he did for the safety of the ark of God. But the ark was only a symbol of the presence of God. Believers know that they have the presence in their hearts; that God goes with them everywhere they go!

John 5:24-47

This seems to contradict 2 Corinthians 5:6,8. However, a closer examination of other verses relating to the return of Jesus indicates that when we die our spirit leaves our body and enters heaven, while our bodies are buried. When Christ returns He will have the spirits of the 'dead' saints with Him. Their spirits will then join their resurrected but now incorruptible bodies (1Co 15:52) and, together with the living believers whose bodies will also be made incorruptible, will go to heaven. As for the spirits of dead unbelievers who have been sojourning in hell, a place of torment (Revelation 20:13), they will also join their resurrected bodies, but will end up in the Lake of Fire (v.29; Revelation 20:14) after Judgment.

Psalm 106:1-12

Children who have parents they love and cherish are fortunate and blessed. How much more of a privilege is it to be children of a loving God, and to offer praise to Him as our heavenly Father; to know that we are part of His family and will dwell in His house, the house of the Lord, forever! It will be ours through believing in the Lord Jesus for salvation! What's more, God is so keen to have us in His family that He is willing and waiting to adopt us as His sons and daughters!

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God wants to BLESS us!

I've been blessed by God above in many ways that show His love.
If you would His rich love enjoy then spend your time in His employ!

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Proverbs 14:28-29

Proverbs 14:28

People who are popular have earned it by their deeds;
doing things for others; reaching out to meet their needs!

Proverbs 14:29

Take your time to think things out before committing acts;
bad decisions will be made should you know not the facts!

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Devotion Thoughts - 07/05/2011

1 Samuel 1:1-28. 1 Samuel 2:1-21
We should not wait for confirmation before believing. Our faith, in itself, is evidence of our belief and expectations (Hebrews 11:1).
Samuel's parents, Hannah and Elkanah, were a God-honouring couple. When Eli the High Priest told her her petition would be granted she did not doubt. In due course she had Samuel, which means 'Because I asked him of the Lord'. She did not forget to thank God for answered prayer (21:1-10).
Being a priest did not guarantee that Eli's sons grew up to honour God. Children must be TAUGHT to worship and respect God (Proverbs 22:6). Samuel was taught by the example set by his parents.

John 5:1-23
In 'The Practice of the Presence of God', Brother Lawrence tells of his daily chats with God amidst the mundane things of life such as preparing food and cleaning up the kitchen. It was a routine thing for him, the result of a deliberate plan to talk to God every day, something we can all do.
Here's a suggestion:
List what you are going to do (the Lord's Prayer is a helpful guide). Start with praise and worship of God, then your list of prayer requests. These must include a daily surrender of your will to God, confession of sins and asking the Holy Spirit to guide you into a life of purity and victory.
Follow a systematic daily Bible reading programme (I use my favourite translation of the One Year Bible on which I base my comments). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp the essential theme of each reading; write it down in a daily journal.
Don't expect everyone to gain what you have from each reading. Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified for His perfectly correct teachings!

Psalm 105:37-45
When God blesses He does so abundantly (v.37). He caused the Egyptians to push the Hebrew slaves out, but not empty-handed (Exodus 3:20-22). We must make a practice of believing that God is in control of our affairs (tell Him that you believe it to be so) and He will see to it that we do not go short. It is a great way of life!

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In praise of God

In praise of God

Lord, I love You;
Lord, I bless You;
You I worship and adore;
not alone for how You've blessed me,
but for much more ... much, much more!

You alone are God Almighty,
worthy of all mankind's praise;
by Your power You have created
all that is - in just six days!

Sun and moon; the stars; the heavens;
all earth's lands and seas and plants;
then all living - man included -
all were made to meet Your wants.

By Your love man was created
to have fellowship divine
with You, Lord - Son, Father, Spirit -
and to hear You say: 'You're Mine!'

(c) Edward John Kidgell
May 2011.

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Devotion Thoughts - 06/05/2011

John 4:43-54
We tend to give up when we see no reason to hope, and death normally means there is no point in continued faith. We can understand, then, the father's anxiety; he wanted Jesus to heal his son while he was still alive, that is, while there was 'hope'. But Jesus has no limits to what He can do, including the raising of the dead (See Luke 7).

Perhaps you are struggling with some situation where it appears hope is dead. You can still take the matter to Jesus and ask for His help. He can do miracles far beyond what we can think or imagine!

Psalm 105:16-36
This portion was written with hindsight into how God made things happen. He brought famine to Egypt after having previously prepared a suitable servant in the form of Joseph. He, after having been thoroughly proved by God through many trials, was used to bringing relief.
If you are going through trials right now, then know and believe that it is because God is preparing you for some important work (2 Corinthians 1:4) that only you can do!

Proverbs 14:26-27
If I want protection from any threats, I will not find it in a weak person. For the believer, his 'fear' of God is based on an awareness that God is Omnipotent; stronger than even the most powerful forces of nature (think earthquake, tsunami, etc) and therefore worthy of being feared and respected. So to Whom should we go for refuge? Common sense indicates that only God is a sure refuge!

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