America opening up…now what?

How do you go forward in this new world  when you are not sure what to do next? 

The answer  James 1:1-8

The book of James has so much practical advice in living during frustrating times with strong spiritual truths and common sense.  The preamble to the whole chapter is found in the first eight verses.

There are two truths that the remainder book rests on.  First, you will be frustrated and challenged in your mind and heart.  So knowing that understand these struggles will make you a stronger Christian and mature you in ways that a comfortable life would not. You will also be in situations where you do not know what to do next. And to ask God for wisdom to make decisions in a new world environment.

FAITH IN FRUSTRATIONS

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Count it as joy even though it is not joyous.  You can choose to be happy about your situation because God is growing stronger in you.  You will need to control pride, anger, outbursts.  But, aren’t you suppose to do that already?  Maturity only comes through struggle.  

  • Why not keep a journal of some kind to help process feelings and to consider your thoughts and prayers each day.
  • Know that God is at work in the situation and in you.
  • Repent when you fail and learn from the failures and God’s Grace.
  • Worship God and His goodness.  His timing and plans are not ours.
  • Ask and believe for wisdom.

ASK & BELIEVE FOR WISDOM

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

We are all facing a world that is beyond our experience.  Worry and fear can keep us awake at night, feeling unable to know what to do. Ask for wisdom from God.  The Bible says, “It will be given to you.”  Fact, Truth, Bible!

We have a natural ability to doubt.  We look again at the high walls of Jericho (COVET-19) and want to begin to doubt instead of following God. Believe, not feel.  Believe not hope it might be true.  Believe God is giving you wisdom through the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Rest in that truth.  Don’t waver. Someone who doubts becomes more than useless,  they become unstable,  unreliable,  driven by fear and gossip.  No, my friend…BELIEVE you are receiving wisdom from the Holy Spirit.

Personally,  in the last three years, I have faced each year a strong trial that challenged me greatly.  Before the last three years,  life seemed to move smoothly for several years then…BAM.  Three difficult situations I found myself in.  God took me to James.  I asked for wisdom.  I had to work at believing I was receiving direction from the Holy Spirit.  It was work to believe.  I had to say it out loud, “I BELIEVE YOU ARE GIVING ME WISDOM AND I RECEIVE IT!” As I walked slowly through these three events,  God helped me.  All three events are past, and I can say I have matured in my walk with Christ and my belief in God-given wisdom.

As you are reading this blog,  you will be faced with challenges this year as our nation tried to manage life with the virus.  Be a JAMES 1:1-8 student.  Manage joy in frustrations and faith for wisdom.  You will grow more mature and feel the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, helping you through your situation.  Your lightnside will burn joyfully and wise in the coming days.

Coronavirus and Christ – book review

“playing the odds is a fragile place to put your hope…There is a better place to stand: a Rock of certainty rather than the sand of probabilities.” John Piper

virus - piper

“I am moved to write because playing the odds is a fragile place to put your hope. Odds like 3 percent versus 10 percent, youth versus old age, compromised health versus no history of disease, rural versus urban, self-isolated versus home meeting with friends. Playing the odds provides little hope. It is not a firm place to stand. There is a better way. There is a better place to stand: a Rock of certainty rather than the sand of probabilities.”

I recommend this book.  It is encouraging, honest, and God centered.  John helps us understand God and His character in a difficult time.  I will share a few small quotes and leave the rest for you to discover in his small but powerful book.

Truth and understanding of God comes from the Bible which is a living book.  Piper states in this book ” The way we come to know the glory of God in Scripture is similar to the way we know that honey is honey… We know that this is honey because we taste it. Similarly, there is a divine sweetness in the glory of God in the message of the Bible. It touches a part of us that we know was put there by God. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103). “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8).

The book is two parts.

The God Who Reigns over the Coronavirus  (5 chapters)

What Is God Doing through the Coronavirus?  (6 chapters)

Much of this book deals with the solid foundation of trusting God and resting in His sovereignty.  This book also points to a world to awaken to it’s need of God and a call to repentance.

This book will challenge you and help you feel secure during our national crisis.  It’s not sugar coated but rather, mercy coated.

You can find this book and a short video from John Piper here.  https://www.desiringgod.org/books/coronavirus-and-christ

Blessing to you and your lightnside.

But if it dies…HOPE.

John 12:24  Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  

Seed-1240x698

This chapter in John has such a range of emotions.  Starting with the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem.  Such joy, such hope.  It would seem this event is the spark that would bring about the kingdom of Christ as the savior of the world.  But it was instead a final celebration before suffering and death.

Victory through death?  YES

Christ made clear that the triumph He sought was not by His own strength and popularity.  It would be in suffering and dying.  Jesus shared a model for us to follow.  We do not become a more powerful person by asking God to just bless our lives.  By asking Jesus to give us more of what we want in life.  It is rather us dying to our desires and plans to allow something new to birth in our soul and heart.

The hour has come to die then God glorifies

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified…  27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” It was not the entry into the city that was triumphal,  it was His death that produced much life.

What you feed grows and what you starve dies.

We can walk around and try to be a good  Christian by our own power.  It will not work.  It is the act of dying to our desires and allowing some issues of our heart like anger, lust,  pride, judgementalism to die so God can birth something holy into our life.  One statement I remember from college is the statement “what you feed grows and what you starve dies.” I will be first to say, God is dealing with me to put to death some of my emotions and desires of my sinful nature that wants to rise up.

The Cross is the path to Resurrection.

Allow the Holy Spirit to identify areas in your life that need to die so that God can birth a resurrection of healing and life.  There will always be tension between our desires and following God.  As we come to the Cross and lay down our heart and desires before God,  His righteousness, and the power of Christ’s death takes that offered seed and produces much fruit.  Are you frustrated in sins and attitudes,  place them on the altar to die.  God will birth the power of His presence and the Holy Spirit to produce more than you could ever be on your own.

Die to God and watch your lightnside burn bright with resurrection power.

 

COVID-19 : Fasting for God’s help

 

Fasting

Full Fast
Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).

The Daniel Fast
Eat no meat, no sweets, and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.

Partial Fast
A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.

Also, you can choose to fast from social media, tv etc.

 

ANOINT YOUR DOOR POSTS – use some kind of oil and ask God to protect your home from the effects this virus.

READ PSALMS 91   Place it on the fridge, mirror, on phone.

 

Join me on this fast to ask God’s help in this Pandemic.

 

Blessings

Dave Rose

 

Rainbows Needed

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13

Rainbow-In-Real-Life-Wallpaper

God set the rainbow as a promise to the people that God would never again flood the earth with water.  It is interesting that the rainbow is only seen when there is water present.  After a rain or a storm, we can sometimes see the rainbow and remember God’s Promise.  It makes us smile and feel comforted.  We need that feeling during our walk through the nation’s crisis.

I have recorded some of the promises of God.  You can almost see the rainbow promise as you read them.  You can click on the verse to read the complete passage.

rainbow small

Joel 2:32  “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

Psalms 23  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…

 

Psalms 91  He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty…

 

John 14:1-6  “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me…I go and prepare a place for you…I am the way the truth and the Life.

 

Romans 8:37-39  “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us…nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

rainbow small

Standing on the Promises of God  Hymn by R. Kelso Carter (1849-1928)

I used to sing this song as a child in church.  As we sang this hymn and it would repeat over and over “standing on the promises of God.”  That means constantly looking and believing the promises in the scripture.  I want to share verse 2 and the chorus:

Verse 2

Standing on the promises that cannot fail.

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,

By the living word of God I shall prevail

Standing on the promises of God

Chorus

Standing , standing, standing on the promises of God my savior,

Standing,  standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.

Look at the rainbows of God’s word.  Even if we face difficulties and trials, just like the rainbow in the sky is present with the water,  look to God’s word for His rainbows of scripture. As you are “Standing on the Promises” your lightnside will reflect God’s rainbow to others.

Virus, sparrows, and fear

Luke 12:6-7 

 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

sparrows

 

Today, the world (thanks to media) is in great fear and worry.  Not only for the Coronavirus but the upcoming election,  stock market, health.  Many are living in fear and stress.   Jesus said don’t be afraid of what might happen on earth.  God is completely aware of everything about you. There are over 10,000 different species of birds and an estimated 100 billion birds on earth. God is aware of each bird.  He knows when they fall to the ground.  Imagine that, all the thousands and thousands of birds that have almost no earthly value, but “Not one of them is forgotten by God”.  You are worth more than many sparrows. 

God created fear

Why did God create fear?  It should help us run away from harm.  God told Adam and Eve to not touch the tree of life or you will suffer death.  I am sure for a while just the sight of the tree caused fear.  But the devil manipulated God’s word to transfer fear to lust.  Today we are sidetracked from God’s commands and warnings because of selfish desires.  As Christians, we are to have a clear understanding of  God’s commands and consequences.  Where there is no fear,  there is no restraint.

Faith in God

We must trust the scripture.  God is watching over his followers.  Does that mean nothing bad will happen to us?  No, but it means as events take place God is there with you and His grace is at work.  We are to rest in verses like Psalms 91 speaking of God’s rescue in troubled times and His presence in our lives.

What Jesus says about fear—eternity

Luke 12:5   But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Jesus says we should have fear of God’s ability to place us into heaven or hell for all eternity. Many would say it is not real fear but just respect.  I believe we should honor and respect God but also have a fear of His all-seeing eyes and His holiness.  After our physical bodies die,  your soul and a resurrected body will live forever and ever.  I am now 63 and one day in eternity I will be 100063!  I will be where God places me in eternity.  THIS TRUTH IS SOMETHING TO PONDER ON AND FEAR.

Have faith in God for His presence and blessings and have enough fear of eternity and God’s authority over it to follow Christ and live according to God’s word. I fear God and I love God.  I trust God and I believe God loves me.  It is the fear and honor of God that helps me live holy.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,  but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Psalms 36:1 I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

God is aware of all the tiny sparrows.  God is very aware of you.  Come what may in this life,  know that God is watching over His children.  Live under God’s law and have faith in Christ.  Let your lightnside shine bright as you look forward to eternity.

The SUPERMAN verse?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

How should we use this verse?

superman kid

Is this a superman verse?

You hear it all the time.  It’s quoted when under pressure or when trying to get the courage to ask a girl out on a date maybe.  When speaking to a group of people or applying for a new job.

 

Former football star Tim Tebow had the superman verseTebow reference right under his eyes.  The verse is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  So if you have two athletes competing against each other and both claim this verse doesn’t one have to lose? Does that mean the verse is not always true? Maybe the verse is misused or can this verse really mean you can do ALL things. How about running the mini-marathon without training.  I mean what does the meaning of “all things” really mean?

While I do believe Christ does give us power,  this verse has been used way outside its original purpose. In fact, the original use of this verse was not to do fantastic feats never before seen by man.  It was used at the end of a discussion about living life in such a way to be happy and content whatever the situation.  Being content may be a challenge in today’s hyper-emotional, fearful, hurting and socially confused society.

A closer look

To understand the meaning of this verse we need to start at the beginning of Paul’s statement. He is talking to the church about how to live a calm life when all around there are temptations to your emotions and faith.  Paul gives us three specific rules to follow which will enable us to endure and manage anything in life without losing our sanity and do something we will regret later.

In Philippians 4:4-13  click here to read verses

We are to rejoice in Lord always. This is number one.  In any situation no matter the tragedy there is always something to rejoice in the Lord about.  By making the choice of finding something to rejoice even in dark times we are protecting ourselves from the dark places our mind and heart would go.  In everything, you can find something to thank God for and rejoice.  Second, go to God in prayer about your situation.  Tell Him all the bad, the good, the ugly, and the dreams.  Verse six tells us not to bottle up our stress in worry but rather express our fears and hopes to God.  Just telling God our issues brings peace to the heart.  And finally in verse eight Paul says we need to choose what we allow our minds to think about.  The verse says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

In tough times  “Praise, Pray, Ponder”

Paul is telling this church if you practice these three things, “Praise, Pray, Ponder” you will enjoy a life of contentment rather than stress and worry.   This takes practice.  You have to learn to apply these rules.  They are not natural to our emotions.  It is a learned behavior.  But if applied through intentional efforts you will be able to handle situations you find yourself in and be more at peace.

Paul ends up this instruction with the more correct version of the super verse.  In the NIV Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all THIS through him (Christ) who gives me strength.”  The word THIS refers to the three steps mentioned in verses 4-12.  

You can do all these things through Christ who strengthens you!

I don’t know what you are facing this week.  But I know this truth can be applied to you if you practice the three steps of Praise (find something to thank God for in the situation), Pray (tell God all about it), and Ponder (control what your mind dwells on).  Practice these three steps and you will able to endure and enjoy life.  With Christ’s power and a determination to practice these steps and you will become a superstar.  Live life in peace and contentment and you will live with LIGHT-N-SIDE.

What do you crave?

I need coffee.

Every morning.  Dark and black.  Several cups…then I start my day.

Our bodies crave what we have taught to be important.

Our bodies crave nourishment,  caffeine, maybe sugar.  Whatever we have placed in our bodies over time we “teach” our bodies to crave it.  Some foods and drinks we crave may not be the best for healthy growth.  But we crave it anyway.  After it is eaten we feel like it was a bad choice but we were unable to resist the cravings.

Changing what you crave is WAR

If we are convinced to become healthier, we must confront the cravings about this new goal.  It is WAR.  Ever been on a diet?  Maybe you are one of those who can eat anything without gaining weight. ( I am repenting of jealousy right now. )

Changing a craving is war!  Our bodies want what it wants.  It is not a fair fight.  The cravings are like a huge elephant and our desire to change it is like us riding the huge elephant trying to guide it. It takes time and patience to train the cravings (elephant) to accept something new.

What does your soul crave? 

In reality, your soul hungers for hope and peace.  However, for many we have taught our souls we can find hope and peace through sugary and exciting substitutes through entertainment, emails, texts, news, social media, other people’s lives.  This covers for a while the real carving of our souls for “heaven’s manna”, food from God’s word and His presence.  

Craving God’s Word and Talking to Christ.

I need coffee in the morning.  I also need God’s word and prayer time.  I crave both.  Coffee stimulates my body,  God’s Word and prayer stimulates my spirit and His word challenges me and glorifies Christ.

If you want more of God in your life and Holy Spirit direction you may need to deal with your cravings.  It will be a battle to change the direction of your craving.  It will take time and focused effort. But it will become a great craving as you experience Truth and Fellowship with Christ.  There are many tools to help.  I use YouVersion and a prayer guide.

Don’t let your soul live on sugary input.

Decide to teach your soul to crave the truth and power of God’s Word.  Let it work on your heart and life.  Allow time with Christ to give you strength, comfort, and direction as you feel the presence of God with you.  Consider the following verses:

Psalms  5:3  In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

 

Psalms 42:1  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.

Psalms 119:105  Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

 

What are your cravings?  Turn them toward God and your lightnside will glow brightly as you feed your craving for God.

Contentment is not natural – it’s learned by Grace

…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  Philippians  4:11  (NIV)

*Normally I would write from my own heart.  This devotion was shared by our Teen Challenge President Gary Blackard from a YouDevotion.

Contentment is not Natural

These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow quickly.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man—as weeds are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and weeds; they come up naturally enough because they are indigenous to earth. Just so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education.

“Precious things must be Cultivated”

    But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plow and sow; if we want flowers, there must be a garden and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated, as it will not grow in us by nature. It is the new nature alone which can produce contentment, and even then we must be especially careful and watchful, that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.

    Paul says, “I have learned… to be content,” as much as to say, that he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain the mastery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave—a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome.

Hush the murmur – acquire the grace of Contentment.

    We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities and share the cold dungeon with him—if we too might by any means attain unto his high degree of contentment. Do not indulge the notion that you learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally but a grace to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it is, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Contentment.

 

Contentment in a trial is a grace that makes your lightnside bright.

 

The Alter

Exodus 29:37b Then the altar will be most holy, and whatever touches it will be holy.

 

 

Where are the altars? 

 

In today’s world, many churches have no altars.  I am afraid we are losing something very important in the scriptures.  The relationship of God, the alter and us bringing ourselves to the place where God works in our lives and heart to make us holy.

 

MOST HOLY

 

In Exodus 29:36-37 God instructs the priest to consecrate the altar by placing the blood of bulls over it as a sin offering for seven days.  God said the altar will become MOST HOLY.

Holiness is God’s work.  Only He can make something holy.  We can never become holy by our own actions.  The source of Holiness is with God. “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty”  Isaiah 6:1-3Revelations 4:8.  It was God who made the altar MOST HOLY after the priest obeyed his commands for its construction and consecration.

 

“Whatever touches it will become HOLY.”

 

The altar is made ready and MOST HOLY. The altar is so holy that whatever touches it, no matter how sinful the offering represents,  no matter how long the sin,  no matter how often the failure, the sacrifice becomes HOLY if placed on the altar. It is made HOLY by God’s work and not our own.

 

Walking to an altar

 

The act of us walking to an altar is to acknowledge we need something in our lives that only God can fix.  We need to lay something on an altar that is broken and dirty and allow God to make us HOLY again.  In Matthew 23:19  Jesus is talking to the church leaders and He makes a statement about the altar. “For which is more important—the gift (sacrifice) on the altar or the altar that makes the gift (sacrifice) sacred?

 

It is the act of acknowledging our need for God’s Holiness and our recognition of our sin and brokenness.  The miracle is this…what ever touches the alter becomes HOLY.  That part of us that we know is broken and messy becomes HOLY as we come to the altar of repentance and honesty before God and place our life on His altar.

I remember a time when I knew I needed to repent of jealousy about another pastor’s situation.  I was at a revival and the preacher said if you have sin in your life come down to the altar.  Pride kept me at my seat for a while but as I began to walk to the altar I felt a growing realization,  I was going to meet God and my sinful feelings would be covered by God’s Holiness as I lay my sacrifice (confession and repentance) on the alter.  I stood up from the altar Holy and free.

You can make an altar anywhere but I would hope to see more alter times in churches.  After worship and preaching the hearts of many are ready to meet with God but suddenly,  the service is dismissed.  We need more altars!

The cross became the MOST HOLY ALTAR ever and always.

Jesus died on the cross and that cross became the MOST, MOST HOLY altar.  Take your broken sacrifice to the cross and lay it down.  God will meet you there and His Holiness will be invested into your heart.

There is an altar right beside you

Right now.  There is an altar right beside you.  Place your brokenness and failures on that altar.  Confess your sins and need of Christ’s blood to cleanse your heart.  As you place your sacrifice of confession and honesty on the spiritual altar “whatever touches this altar will be made HOLY. ” In Colossians 1:20-22 “having made peace through the blood of His Cross. And you who were once alienated and enemies through your mind by wicked works He has now reconciled in the body of His flesh through death to present you holy and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”

Let God’s holiness brighten your lightnside.