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Human Opinion

What do we see in most newscasts, many TV shows, and on social media? Human opinion; opinion that leaves God out of the mix. But, we are lost when human opinion means more to us than God’s! Read 1 Sam 15:22-23, not in light of King Saul, but in light of what is occurring in our government and in society in general–man’s opinion rules and God’s doesn’t count. He won’t allow that to go on forever! Those of us who are part of God’s family through the blood of Yeshua, must, absolutely must bring God into our every interaction, every opinion that we express to others — especially our leaders.

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

The Greatest Sacrifice

By Sue

In the past few weeks, we have heard about the sacrifices made by our military and law enforcement. Indeed, they have sacrificed much for our freedoms and safety. Many have given the ultimate sacrifice—their lives. We should be very grateful!

Today, I am pondering the sacrifice that we hear little about in these times. This is the greatest sacrifice given to mankind—the sacrifice of God the Father and Jesus, His only Son!

God sacrificed His Son when He planned from the beginning of time to send His one and only Son from Heaven to earth. I think of Hannah finally giving birth to Samuel after waiting a long time to bear a child. She sacrificed time and pleasure with her son by surrendering him back to the Lord as a thank offering to be used for His service. This is a foreshadow of what Father God did. He relinquished His fellowship with His only Son to send Him to earth so that ultimately we could be able to, in turn, have fellowship with both Father and Son.

Jesus also sacrificed greatly! He left the Presence of His Father to come to earth. While walking here, He did not have a place to lay His head; He was rejected and despised by His brethren, denied by those He poured His life’s message into for three years, and eventually was beaten and cruelly placed upon a cross for our sins! He did not consider Himself to be equal to God, but emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men. He then humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:6-8)

Consider this! Would you willingly give your only child to send him to a place knowing he would be abused, hated, and rejected by those around him—to be innocently accused and sentenced to death! And for what purpose? So that each one of us could be forgiven of our sins and receive eternal life, and live a life of peace, joy, and hope while on earth.

I will be forever grateful for the greatest sacrifice given. If you have never considered this sacrifice, I would implore you to do so now! Today is the day of salvation—there may not be a tomorrow! Invite Jesus to be Savior and Lord of your life. He gave His all for you!

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

It’s Time to Decide

The following Lighthouse Network Devotion from April 24, 2021 is shared with permission.

On What Do You Rely?
Accomplishments and Failures … or Jesus?

Transformational Thought

Wouldn’t you love to have a rewind button for your life? Think about it. What if you had the power to go back and change a few events in your life? The chance to correct a decision that moved your life down a wrong or painful path. The chance to achieve the peace and fulfillment that is just out of your grasp.

We’ve all done things we wish we could take back. Maybe we’ve lived a sinful lifestyle, been selfish and unkind, made parenting mistakes, said hurtful things to a loved one, or just experienced a lot of failure in life. Maybe we still struggle with relationships, anxieties, guilt, shame, and “what ifs.” On the other hand, maybe we’ve lived a pretty good life and achieved a high level of success. In fact, we really like defining ourselves by our victories. We like feeling satisfied about what we’ve done. The praise and admiration of others energizes us. Maybe we really love helping others.

But you know what? Our accomplishments aren’t really that impressive to God. He sees our hearts. He knows that they are not always pure. Praise God that He doesn’t define us by what we’ve done … regardless of how good or bad it’s been. He judges us by whether we accept what Christ did for us. He knows we need Jesus. But we need to know that, too. 

I don’t know why Jesus gets such a bad rap or is so hated, but that’s another Devo. Jesus died on the cross so that the penalty for sin could be paid and our sins could be forgiven. And when we believe and accept the sacrifice he made for us, we are cleansed. Then God sees us as though we had never sinned! Our record is clean. We inherit Christ’s account. And that’s our new identity … a follower of Christ, clothed in His righteousness. 

You see, we know we’ve made mistakes. But, since we’ve done some good things, and we can do even more, we underestimate the big gap between ourselves and HOLINESS. No matter how hard and long we try, we can never, absolutely never, make up the gap between ourselves and God. One zillion (an indescribably large number) good deeds will not fill that gap.

We can’t do enough to earn our way. That’s why we need Jesus. We are defined not by our accomplishments or failures, but by who we are in Christ. All the accomplishments in the world mean nothing when it comes to getting right with God and spending eternity with Him. 

Today, if you are not a fully committed follower of Christ, you can make that decision right now. No matter what your past … no matter how good or bad your behavior … you need Jesus. He loves you and is reaching out to you right now. Do you want to meet Him? Just tell Him that you know you need Him … and that you want to follow Him. Why wouldn’t you want Jesus in your life? He is ready … are you? Whether you turn your life around now, or you are willing to settle for less is your decision, so choose well.

If you are a Christian, rejoice as you did the day you accepted Jesus in your life as your personal Savior. Send this to someone you love who needs Jesus and follow it with a phone call to discuss this blessing. Whether you make Him the Lord of your life, or you continue to exalt yourself as lord is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

My Father and my Lord, I believe that Your Son died for my sins. Please forgive me for all my past. I’m ready for a change. I want to follow You … and do life Your way. I know that I cannot undo my past through my own accomplishments. Thanks for sending Your Son to pay the ultimate price, to pay my penalty for me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, who died so that I may have eternity with the only God; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:23-24

The post On What Do You Rely? Accomplishments and Failures … or Jesus? appeared first on Lighthouse Network.

If you prayed to accept Yeshua as your Savior and made Him the Lord of your life or rededicated your life to Him, please contact me by replying to or commenting on this post.
Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Would I Be a Peter?

By Sue
While reading about and pondering the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus this past week, my heart has been drawn to Peter. I have been asking myself if I would have done what Peter did—deny Jesus, not once, but three times?

After walking with Jesus for a longer period of time than Peter did—51 years compared to 3 years—would I declare my love and devotion to Him, only to deny my closest friend and teacher?

On Palm Sunday, the crowd was cheering and welcoming Jesus as royalty. Peter and the disciples probably thought they were even more dedicated to the Master than the crowds. Then, less than a week later, some of those same people were calling for His crucifixion. And, at a desperate time when Jesus needed them the most, the disciples fell asleep and finally deserted Him.

When times of persecution come to us in our nation—and that is happening right now. When I am told that I can no longer worship or possibly even speak to others the Name of Jesus, how will I respond? When those in authority ask me whether I believe in Jesus what will I say? What will you say?? Will I be willing to lose my life to keep it? Will I stand with Jesus or desert Him?

These are very real questions that we need to wrestle with NOW! The day may be coming, though I pray not, when we will be challenged to stand firm with Jesus or deny Him. And, if we don’t have our hearts and minds settled now, we may find ourselves being a “Peter”!

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Happy Ressurection Day

I hope that you are enjoying your Easter Sunday, which is better referred to as Ressurection Day because we are celebrating the resurrection of Yeshua, the Son of God, and the Passover Lamb who was slain for your and my sins. As the following Stepping Stones devotion asks, “Where do you keep Yeshua (God)?”

Do You Keep God in a Box (or Tomb)?

Transformational Thought

For our Easter celebration, let’s continue our journey back in time to that first glorious Easter morning than more 2,000 years ago. When Mary, Mary, Salome, and the rest of their crew visited the tomb that day, they were sad, upset, worried, and edgy. They had just lost their leader at the end of a bizarre and devastating but prophesized week. It actually started with a triumphant entrance on Palm Sunday and ended with the execution of Jesus by all the powerful ruling elements in their land. 

Would they be rounded up as well to endure a mock trial, persecution, and violent execution? What should they do next? Remember, they didn’t have the benefit of the completed Bible like we do. They only had a promise of something that had never happened before. But they must have forgotten the prophecy that was passed down over the years. 

So imagine their surprise when they saw the stone already rolled aside. They had no idea what to make of the empty tomb. They still didn’t remember the prophecy. Thankfully, they met two angels who explained that Jesus was not there, He had risen. But, they still didn’t believe. They just thought the body had been stolen. Then they ran to tell Peter and John, who were perplexed as well. Didn’t they read all the Old Testament prophecies either? They needed to come to the tomb to figure it out. Once inside the tomb, seeing the evidence of the wrappings, they were still confused. Mary really didn’t get it until she spoke with Jesus outside the tomb.

I can’t understand their stupidity, ignorance, disbelief, and nearsightedness. Jesus performed so many miracles, talked of ruling His kingdom, raised Lazarus from the dead, and taught that He would rise from the dead in 3 days. Why were they afraid, sad, and surprised instead of expectantly excited? Why were they fearful when they saw an empty tomb? Why weren’t they expecting it, rejoicing and happily guessing where they would see Him for the first time? 

Stupid, thick, dim, mistrustful. Can you guess where this is going, cause we need to get off our high horses. How often do we react the same way as they did? Thinking that God is limited like us and restricted to the same reality we are indicates we don’t believe His promises and predictions either. We underestimate His power and knowledge every day. I have no right to criticize Mary, Mary, the disciples or other followers. I have the whole Bible, know how the story ends, and I still limit Jesus and God just as they did.

So today of all days, don’t put God in a box. My life has really changed since I realized He is bigger than I am and that He will stand by His promises. I now expect the awesome unexpected and so can you! Don’t think He’s dormant in a tomb. He is at work in and around you. Expect it, embrace it, and enjoy it. Thank God the tomb is empty. I hope you aren’t dismayed in the midst of your everyday trials, because God will show up. Remember, He didn’t rise from the dead immediately. He waited three days for a specific reason. So be patient. His timing is always better than yours.

Happy Easter from Honey Lake Clinic and Lighthouse Network. May His power over death give you boldness and courage as you advance against whatever trials and threats you face. Please go and wear His power on your sleeve so that everyone without exception will see your joy and His glorious victory over despair and death. Whether you let God be God, or you put God in a box and keep Him in the tomb is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

Thank You, Father, for Christ’s death and resurrection, which has given us power over sin’s grip and Satan’s schemes. Give me a heart that will love You even 1/1000th of what You love me. Keep Your promises and character fresh in my mind, so that I don’t put You in a box and limit my expectations and understanding of Your plan and power, especially during times of uncertainty. I pray You grant the Stepping Stones readers eyes that see and trust to accept Your awesome plans for them. In Christ’s powerful and magnified name; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth

For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40

for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. Mark 9:31

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” John 2:19-20

The post Do You Keep God in a Box (or Tomb)? appeared first on Lighthouse Network.

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Disclaimer: As mentioned in my Welcome post, I do not necessarily endorse authors or organizations that I quote or repost. This also applies to Lighthouse Network. I am blessed by many of the Stepping Stones devotionals and they give blanket permission to share them. However, I have not researched any of their help resources and, therefore, I do not personally endorse them.

Tempted and Tried

Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long,
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.
Farther along we’ll know all about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

SOUTHERN FOLK HYMN

Yeshua is always by your side if you will just look to Him! Have a good day!

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Can You Hear Me?

In the world in which we live, many voices are vying for our attention. There is the voice of our flesh, the voice of our enemy, the devil, and the voice of the media—many voices speaking seemingly at the same time. 

Amidst the clamor for our attention, are we missing the most important Voice of all-our Daddy God? I believe that sometimes He is so desperate for us to hear His Voice that He has to “yell” by bringing undesirable circumstances into our lives! I believe that this grieves His Heart. However, His love for us is so great that He wants to share the secrets of His Heart if we will only listen to His Voice! 

Have you ever just sat quietly with the Father and asked Him what He has to say to you? I believe His Word for today is “Be still and know that I AM God.”

Quiet all the other voices and let your Daddy share His Heart and secrets with you. Another benefit will be that His Presence will bring the fullness of His Joy to your heart!

This post was written by my wife, Sue.

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Without a Doubt!

From my journal, March 6, 2021

Oh Lord may we know without a doubt that You are God! (Ezek. 36:35). We, Your followers, call You God, but how many of us really take that as fact? How many, myself included, really know beyond any shadow of a doubt that You are God, the living God? We may proclaim it, but do we really live it?

Beyond Your followers, the rest of mankind must see and know that You are God—the only God! As I originally wrote that last sentence, I sensed Him saying “It isn’t quite time, but it will be soon.” Lord, let it be so. May all Your followers not only proclaim that You are God in word but in deed as well. May You also reveal Yourself to all mankind in no uncertain terms!

Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

Staying on Course

Are you staying on course, as you travel through 2021? Are you following your own way, determining your own path? Are you making the right decisions? Do you wish you had a map and a guide? One is available to you..read on…

The following Stepping Stones devotional is shared with permission.

Map to the Promised Land

March 1, 2021

Transformational Thought

Hopefully, as you have been with us, you have recognized an area we emphasize consistently: decision-making. All of life comes down to choices and decisions. Every day, we come to many forks in the roads of our daily walk that call for decisions. Amazing as it seems, we make more than 80,000 decisions each day. And that is actually a conservative estimate according to most scientists. 

Thankfully, we aren’t puppets with someone else controlling the strings. Fortunately, and unfortunately, God gave us free will to make our own decisions. Being loving and desiring that we not be overwhelmed at each fork, God also gave us the Best Instruction Book for Living Everyday, the BIBLE. You see, God is all about helping us make great choices so we can enjoy maximum growth and fulfillment. The biggest decisions we have to make is whether we will: 1) trust Him to guide us, and 2) trust the guidance He gives us. 

The Bible promises us that if we follow God, all things will work together for our and His good. I have found this to be so true. As I trust Jesus to help me make the right choices, I know without a doubt, that no matter how things may look right now, in the end they will work out for the best. His way is always the best way, and His timing is the best timing. 

So why should you trust God? First of all, He loves you more than you love yourself. He sacrificed more for you than you ever have or ever will sacrifice for yourself. In fact, He loves you so much that He gave up heaven. He then painfully died on the cross—for you. His love is perfect, and nothing can ever separate you from that love. You are that important to Him. 

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death
nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 

Second, He knows what is best. He knows what is best for you in the here and now. And more importantly, He knows what is best for you for your future. He sees the whole picture—a perspective none of us can ever have. Today’s scripture beautifully expresses the blessing of trusting Him in all your plans and decisions.

And lastly, God is able. He has the power over all things to work out circumstances for your growth. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

Today, you will be on the verge of making some knee-jerk decisions that won’t be good ones. Instead, try this. Stop for five seconds and choose to trust His way when you get to that fork in your road. “Why?” you may ask. Well, we laid out our case above. But if that didn’t convince you, look at your own track record. Really, what else are you going to trust? Yourself, other people, material things, your looks, your sparkling wit, your health, your job, the economy, our world leaders, your bank account? Has that strategy really delivered the abundant life and Promised Land Living you’ve been yearning for? Trust Him. You will never regret it. Whether you trust God at today’s forks in-your-road of life or you trust your me-centered gut for guidance, it’s your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

Dear Father God, forgive me for the times I thought I knew more than You. I know that You love me and want only what is best for me. I have finally realized that I make many mistakes and You don’t. And I know that no matter how things may look, Your way is always the best way. Help me to trust You more and choose to do things Your way. Even when I feel pressure to follow my own will, strengthen me to follow Your will instead. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the one I trust completely, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!

The Truth

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.” Psalm 119:1-3

“The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is WITHIN REACH. The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.” Deuteronomy 30:9a, 10-11,14-16

The post Map to the Promised Land appeared first on Lighthouse Network.

Thought for Today

Wherever I walk, whatever comes my way,
I have no fear
because You, the Lord of my life,
are with me!
Your rod and staff guide and comfort me!!

(From ps 23)

As a follower of Yeshua, you have no reason to fear or worry because He is by your side every step of the way! Let this be your declaration today and every day!

Until next time…”May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Bill

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