Friday, January 6, 2017
I enjoy watching documentaries, animal adventures and public broadcast programs. Well, in light of that passion, I began watching this series “Special Selection” on the History channel. It deals with inductees in a special two week training program, who wants to become “Special Op” service personnel for the various branches of the military. It is a grueling program, and I really don’t think that I ever had or would have the desire to do anything like that.
However, there are quite a few women in the program and some of them appear to be as tough as the males. The trainers are harsh and intimidating, and I promise, if you don’t know who you are, then they will get into your head and turn your life around. My heart goes out to all of the trainees.
One of the things that I have noticed about the trainers is that they look for those persons who appear to be weak, and they ‘ride them’ hard. They attempt to weed out the weakest ones as soon as possible, so, as one instructor put it, “They can get on with the training of those whom they feel will really make it.”
Each instructor, in his own personal interview with the producer of the program has emphasized the importance of being mentally tough; of being able to make your body continue the rigorous 22 hours per day training, when everything in you screams, “I quit.” It is mind over matter; the ability to endure and not to stop.
As I’ve watched a couple of the full episodes and several of the clips, I’ve pondered a Scripture that Paul wrote: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5
Jesus never gave up on His intended goal to provide salvation to humankind. Even during the last 24 plus hours of His life, when He was dragged from one ‘kangaroo court’ setting to the next, beaten three times with 39 lashes each time; spit upon, called names, mocked and derided for no reason other than fear and jealousy: yet He endured it all and came out a winner.
I’ve learned that when I yield my heart and mind to the will of God, my endurance increases and my desire to quit is extremely lessened. Therefore, my prayer is: “Lord, help me to endure unto the end, keeping my mind stayed on you, and never entertaining the idea to quit anything that will bring glory to your name.”
More: Lessons About God
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Are you a doubter? Have you ever been told something, by someone you loved or truly trusted, then later doubted the validity of the matter? It seems to come so easily to most people to just naturally doubt the word of others, regardless of how close the relationship.
As my husband and I sat reading our evening devotion together, on two occasions, we ran across, the enemy of God, trying to create doubt in the hearts of God’s followers; for that is where doubt originated: with satan.
The first one, literally, was in the Garden of Eden, when he spoke directly to Eve, as she neared and possibly admired the Tree of Good and Evil.
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’ And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:1-6
Up until the time Eve encountered satan, in the form of a serpent, she was perfectly content to believe whatever God or Adam said to her. There was no reason to doubt, nor was there ever any implication of doubt on either part of her or Adam.
The next reference that my husband and I encountered during devotion was found when Jesus was just finishing up His 40 day fast in the wilderness.
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But he answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’.” Matthew 4:1-4
It is so interesting that we encountered both of these Scriptures on the same night, because together, they encapsulate the “fall of mankind” and the “victory over sin for mankind”, which equals the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christ overcame on the very same point, whereupon Adam and Eve fell: appetite. In both cases, the enemy of souls sought to instill doubt in those whom he encountered.
He was successful with Eve, when he stated: “…hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” This was the very first indictment against God. The enemy sought to undermine the validity of God’s Word; for God had explicitly said:
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17 (Italics added for emphasis)
For some unknown reason, Eve chose to doubt the Words of God, and listen to the words of satan, and thus become the first doubter, and doubting has successfully followed mankind, to his chagrin, up until this very point in time. As a matter of fact, some of you may be doubting that what you’re reading is actually true.
When satan approached Jesus, in the wilderness, after fasting for 40 full days, he just knew that he would be as successful with Christ as he had been with Eve! For Eve wasn’t even hungry. She didn’t know what hunger was. Whereas, Jesus is near starvation; surely He wouldn’t be able to resist the doubt that he would bring up to Him?
However, when satan approached Jesus, with the words, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread’; he was trying to make Jesus disbelieve the words, which God had just said, only 40 days earlier, at His baptism.
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’.” Matthew 3:16-17 (Italics added for emphasis)
Jesus would have none of that foolish doubting; rather than be suckered into doubting what God had actually said about one situation, He quickly retorted with additional Words from God to counteract the temptation of satan: ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’.” Deuteronomy 8:3
Therefore, I have learned that although the words of humankind cannot always be believed and trusted, the Words of God are immortal! You can NEVER GO WRONG WITH HIM! He cannot lie! Titus 1:2
More: My Death Poem
Monday, January 2, 2017
If you’re anything like the countless millions of people born in the southern part of the United States, you probably cook black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. My parents used to say that by doing this, you would have money, throughout the year. Having money for many people is not a big deal, but when you’ve been raised poor, it is.
One of the other things that I was taught about New Year’s Day was that, whatever you did on that day, you would be doing it throughout the year, as well; meaning that it would be a prominent activity in your life.
Lastly, I was told that if a dark-skinned Black male was the first visitor at your house on New Year’s Day, it would bring you good luck all year. Consequently, as a young woman and on into my early adulthood, I held on to these old New Year superstitions.
However, if I were to still believe in those things, I would be a sorry little puppy this incoming year. Why? Because the first thing my husband and I did, upon rising and completing our daily morning devotion together, was to go to our local church and clean the entire fellowship hall. We swept and mopped three floors and a hall, cleaned two bathrooms, wiped down over a dozen tables, washed dishes and cleaned the top of a cast iron stove.
The first person to arrive at our house today was a female, followed shortly thereafter, by two young girls (her grandchildren). Dinner consisted of white or navy beans and cornbread, a fresh garden salad, water and a chocolate chip cookie. Hummm! That doesn’t sound like the correct combination for money-gathering or good luck charms.
However, I’ve since learned, in my older years, along with my years of Christian maturity that superstitions are for non-Christians and for those who believe in games of chance; I am neither.
I’ve learned that God is the provider for everything that I have, and that much of that is based on my willingness to be a faithful tithe-returner; I can’t “pay” tithe, because everything already belongs to God, I can only return that portion to Him that He requires, in order to be considered a faithful “returner”.
Consequently, if the way that my day went on New Year’s is a true indication to how the rest of my year will be going, then I’ll arise early each morning; have devotion with my husband; dress and go out exercising; eat healthy nourishing meals, with modest deserts; have my home filled with adults and children, who will in turn, give me countless hours of happiness and entertainment. Hummm! The thought of that doesn’t sound so bad, after all. Perhaps I need to rethink this?
NOT! God is still Supreme – hands down! I pray that your new year will be filled with good food and good friends; also, that your fondest dreams will be realized. J