"May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace." (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)
Have you stopped to think about the times that God smiles at you? Not because you have done or said something funny, but because He is pleased with you.
When I held my granddaughter during one of our visits and she snuggled up to me, I could tell that she was truly happy to be with me. She hugged me and laid her head against my chest and we just sat there. That made me smile.
I wonder if it really is that simple to make God smile. When one is truly happy to spend time with Him... When we warmly embrace His word with an obedient spirit...When our hearts consistently turn our thoughts toward Him...I believe these things make God smile.
"When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a spring rain." (Proverbs 16:15 NLT)
For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:10-12 NLT
Do you long for happiness and joy to be a more consistent and active part of your life?
Practice these four things today and see what happens.
1. Watch what you say - "If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless." James 1:26 NLT
2. Avoid evil - "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7 NLT
3. Do good things - "So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true." Ephesians 5:8, 9 NLT
4. Search for peace - "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT
When you do these things you can count on God's help along the way.
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT)
The scripture admonishes us not to worry. Is that easy for you? It often seems that worry is my first response to many of life's circumstances.
We tend to stop and focus on the the first four words of this passage, then continue trying to figure out a solution in our own way of thinking. All the while we're still worrying about the present situation.
We miss the word that is key to not worrying: "instead". Don't continue worrying, instead, pray. In place of worrying you should pray. Also, don't worry while you pray.
In your prayer tell God what you need, be specific. Thank Him for what He has done as well as what He is going to do.
Instead of worrying you can walk in God's peace.
Sounds like a plan to me.
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” Amos 3:3 NLT
Do you understand the implication of this simple question? To walk with another person requires agreement on where you're headed.
So, are you walking through life alone or are you walking with Jesus? It will cost you - it won't be easy - you may suffer along the way.
“As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”” Luke 9:57-58 NLT
“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT
Oh but the destination - the destination will be worth the journey…the journey.
When I think about the journey I'm reminded of one of the great hymns of our faith - "Wherever He Leads I'll Go" by B. B. McKinney.
“Take up thy cross and follow me,”
I heard my Master say;
“I gave me life to ransom thee,
Surrender your all today.”
Wherever He leads I’ll go,
Wherever He leads I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so,
Wherever He leads I’ll go.
He drew me closer to His side,
I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide,
Wherever He leads I’ll go.
It may be through the shadows dim,
Or o’er the stormy sea,
I take my cross and follow Him,
Wherever He leadeth me.
A simple agreement - "Wherever He Leads I'll Go"
Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. (Psalms 66:16 NLT)
He found me. He saved me. He loved me before I knew Him. He's blessed me. He's provided for me. He's talked to me. He's listened to me. He's comforted me. He's forgiven me. He's opened doors of opportunity for me. He's closed doors. He has protected me. He has encouraged me. He gave me my family. He's given me a church where I can serve Him.
He's taught me. He has shown me patience and understanding. He's loved me unconditionally. He has been my strength. He's helped me. He has been my guide. He has been my light in the midst of darkness.
He has healed my broken heart. He has walked with me. He has carried me. He's given me grace and mercy. He's given me my heart's desires. He's allowed me to see Him through His creation. He's allowed me to know Him through His word. He's brought friends into my life who have changed me, challenged me and loved me in spite of all my faults.
He has done all this and so much more.
Yet, here is the coolest thing of all, HE'S STILL DOING IT.
Thank you Lord Jesus for all you have done and are doing in my life. I am truly a blessed man.
How about you?
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2 NLT
The ways of the world often run contrary to the ways of God. We are challenged more and more to conform to standards set by others that are in direct opposition to scriptural teachings.
God's process of transformation in our lives involves changing the way we think. Paul reminds us to "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT
He also tells us, "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." Colossians 3:1, 2 NLT
In order to let God change your thinking you must surrender your will to Him. "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." I Corinthians 6:20 NKJV
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!......How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! Psalms 116:1, 2, 5 NLT
Have you ever had the feeling that no one is listening, that no one knows what you are going through? Alone. Isolated. Helpless. It seems as if no one cares. Don't listen to the lies of the enemy.
The truth is you have someone who hears, someone who leans in closely to listen to what is being expressed from the very essence of your heart. He is a kind, good and merciful God who is waiting to hear from you today.
Join with the psalmist as he said: "My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.” Psalms 27:8 NLT
“The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:33-35 NLT
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”” John 7:37-38 NLT
The promise of Christ as the true bread of heaven is life. Jesus says we will be filled and never be hungry again. Our thirst will be quenched by rivers of living water flowing from His heart.
When we partake of Christ, our hunger for direction and truth are met; our thirst for love and life are fulfilled because Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life.
Go ahead, taste and see.
"But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy." (1 Peter 1:15 NLT)
We have been chosen to be holy in everything we do. This appears to be an impossible task. How do we live holy lives while living in this world today?
It all begins with your clothing. What are you wearing today? Are you dressed for holy living?
"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful." (Colossians 3:12-15 NLT)
Mercy...kindness...humility...gentleness...patience...forgiveness...thankfulness...peace and love.
A wardrobe of holiness.
“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalms 73:21-26 NLT
As children of God sometimes we can do some really foolish things, "yet" we still belong to Him. The scripture says He holds us, guides us, and counsels us. What a wonderful promise from God. Even when we mess up God is ready to restore and help.
Can you along with the psalmist declare that you desire God more than anything on earth?
Allow Him to be the strength of your heart today.
Bro. Joe Metts