7/24/14: Live Out What We Claim

•July 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

#HeartForTheWord

Ezra the prophet enjoyed the favor of the Persian King Artaxerxes. The king had placed satraps and governors over Jerusalem, but he wrote a letter to them stating that he was allowing Ezra to lead a delegation back to the city to rebuild the temple. He realized he needed to show some respect to the powerful God of the Israelites because he said, “Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?” (Ezra 7:23, NKJ) Not only did Artaxerxes give his permission, but he also provided supplies and money from his own treasuries to finance the project.

Ezra realized that the favor of this foreign king had come his way thanks to “the good hand of God” Ezra 7:9 and 8:18. He also realized that his deportment was a witness to this king. After all the riches were accumulated, Ezra and his group had to get it all to Jerusalem, but it would be a treacherous journey because of the possibility of ambushes along the roads. Ezra faced a dilemma.

  • Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. Ezra 8:21-23

Ezra had done all this big talking to the king about how great his God was. He had so convinced the king that the man had put his own money toward a project that would honor the God he didn’t even serve. For Ezra to then turn around and request protection would be a boldfaced denial of all he had claimed God could do.

If we say our God is a powerful protector, we had better be about the business of leaning on Him when we are threatened. It is a witness to the world when we live out what we claim. Our dependence upon Him gives God the opportunity to show Himself strong. Worship God today for being our protector.

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©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

7/23/14: The Finisher

•July 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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#HeartForTheWord

When I’m teaching my English students about crafting conclusions to their compositions, I tell them a poignant statement I once read: Any writer can stop writing; great writers finish. Then I turn their attention to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens as the quintessential example. That book doesn’t only start with the amazing opening line “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…,” but it also concludes with a marvelous closing line: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the original great Finisher. In his greeting to the believers in the church at Philippi, Paul tells those folks that he is “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 (NKJ). The Greek word for “complete” in this verse is “epiteleo (ep-ee-tel-eh’-o)” which means “to fulfill further, execute, terminate, and accomplish.” Paul was encouraging those believers and is encouraging us today to hang in there because God intends to finish in their lives that which He has started.

When we get to a place where it seems God is no longer using us, or we have somehow blown our effectiveness in the Kingdom, we must hearken back to a time when we were on fire in our zeal. We were certain of what God wanted us to do. God doesn’t change so neither has His call on our lives. Jesus is able to bring to fruition that which He began in us.

Keep working. Second Chronicles 15:7 says, “Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” God’s great first line in our lives was affecting our salvation through His Son; Jesus now has no intention of stopping His writing of our story until He drafts our amazing closing line. Worship God today for being the great Finisher.

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©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

7/22/14: Do a Search

•July 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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#HeartForTheWord

We live in the information age. Thanks to the Internet and devices like our desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets, we can access a wealth of information just by typing in a few words. Whenever we want to know something—anything—all that’s needed is for us to “do a search.”

Things were not quite that easy back in Old Testament times, but records were kept, and information could be sought out. One such incident happened in the book of Ezra when the builders of the temple were challenged. Tattenai, the governor of the region containing Jerusalem, noticed that the Jews were rebuilding the temple and asked them who had given them permission to do so. When the builders told him they had permission from the powers that be, he wanted to check out their story, so he sent a letter to King Darius asking about the matter.

Ezra 6:1-2 tells us, “Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written” (NKJ). Sure enough, the former ruler, King Cyrus, had issued the decree that the house of God be built at Jerusalem. King Darius didn’t just stop at telling Tattenai that fact; he added his own decree and a request:

  • Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they     are not hindered. And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail, that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons. Ezra 6:8-10

This story teaches us some lessons about working for God.

  1. Work candidly. Be involved openly in doing the work God has called us to do. Unless God has placed us in a ministry that involves undercover operations, we should not be ashamed of what God has called us to do. Anyone can see it and even challenge it if they’d like.
  2. Work consistently. We should not stop working for God just because we are challenged. When Tattenai confronted the workers, they answered him but kept right on working. “But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius” Ezra 5:5.
  3. Work confidently. When our work is firmly based upon the Word of the Lord, we can be confident in knowing God will back us up and supply abundantly for the work to be accomplished.

If we are involved in work we clearly know God has told us to do, we can expect to be challenged. We need to keep working, but hand the confronters a Bible and tell them simply, “Do a search.” All God-inspired work will be backed up somewhere in the pages of Holy Writ where the treasures of truth are stored. And we shouldn’t be surprised if those same challengers end up helping in the completion of the work. Worship God today for being the validation of our work.

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©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

7/21/14: Get the Hell Out

•July 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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#HeartForTheWord

People usually use the phrase “get the hell out” in a derogatory manner. They are most often shouting it to someone whose company they no long desire. However today, believe it or not, I discovered a new use of the phrase from the words of the writer of the 86th division of the Psalms. The Psalmist says, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Yourname. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore. For great is Your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol” Psalm 86:11-13 (NKJ).

You see, the Psalmist realizes there is at least one huge benefit attached to living for God. Once he knows God’s ways, he determines to live by them. Once his heart is linked to God’s heart, he will respect God’s name by his obedience to God’s word. All of that results in praise, with the ultimate realization being that he notices that he has gotten the hell out of his future.

We too get the hell out of our future when we allow God to teach us His ways, walk in His truth, and unite our hearts to fear Him. We too will praise God with all our hearts and glorify His name every day of our lives. Worship God today; He’s praiseworthy because of His merciful action of delivering us from the depths of hell.

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©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

 

7/18/14: If It Ain’t Broke…

•July 18, 2014 • 1 Comment

#HeartForTheWord

Most of us have heard the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, as long as something is working, there’s no need for change. Perhaps that bit of wisdom wasn’t available for King Asa of Judah because in Second Chronicles chapter 16, he changed the way he dealt with God, and that change led to his own ruin.

Asa and the people of Judah had been experiencing peace and prosperity. The people had followed the king’s example and everyone relied on God. In chapter 14, they saw God deliver them from an attack by a million-man Ethiopian army when they had been greatly outnumbered. In chapter 15, God encouraged the king by letting him know that because of his trust in God, his work would be rewarded. Oded’s prophecy and the king’s reaction were as follows:

For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage… 2 Chronicles 15:3-4, 7-8 (NKJ).

For a while after this, King Asa and the people were gung-ho about pleasing the God. They “removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin… restored the altar of the Lord… [and] gathered in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with [King Asa]… They offered to the Lord at that time seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep from the spoil they had brought. 12 Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul… Then they took an oath before the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting and trumpets and rams’ horns. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.” The king even removed his own mother “from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah; and Asa cut down her obscene image, then crushed and burned it by the Brook Kidron” 2 Chronicles 15:8-17. Chapter 15 ends by telling us “and there was no war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa” (15:18).

Ah, but then comes chapter 16. After 35 years of enjoying the peace that came with serving the Lord with his whole heart, a problem arose. King Asa had apparently become self-confident. The three-and-a-half decades of comfort had hypnotized him into the belief that he could handle his problems without God.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Keep depending on God and doing things His way. That’s what works. Worship God today for being trustworthy.

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©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

Sharon on the Radio – Sunday, July 13

•July 11, 2014 • 1 Comment

Hello Blog Followers! I will be interviewed on KSBJ Radio Houston, the Sunday Night Live Show with Kim Wier this Sunday evening, July 13, at 7pm Central time (5pm PST). The station does stream live at http://www.ksbj.org, so please listen in! What fun! Love, Sharon

7/9/14: Less is More

•July 9, 2014 • 1 Comment

#HeartForTheWord

We’ve all probably heard the phrase “less is more.” Usually, that wording is used to discuss the impropriety of an over-dressed woman, an over-decorated room, or an overly wordy conversationalist. We want things toned down; someone is just doing too much or trying too hard. We give the soft advice, “Less is more.”

But when reading Second Chronicles 13 and 14, we find that the phrase “less is more” can take on a totally different meaning. In these two chapters, God helps considerably less people beat up on considerably larger groups. In chapter 13, Abijah’s 400,000 choice men of Judah rout King Jeroboam’s 800,000 choice men of Israel (13:3). Then in chapter 14, after Judah had been enjoying ten years of peace under Asa, the Ethiopian army of “a million men and three hundred chariots” decide to attack (14:9). Asa only had an army of 580,000 (14:8).

In both of the above cases, less proved to be more because the numerically smaller side had a secret weapon: God. Abijah had warned Jeroboam saying, “Now look, God Himself is with us as our head… O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” 2 Chronicles 13:12 (NKJ). And Asa had cried out to God, confidently praying, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” 2 Chronicles 14:11-13 (NKJ). What was the outcome? Abijah’s men reduced Jeroboam’s army down to 300,000 before it was all over (13:17), and “the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled… [and] were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the Lord and His army (14:12-13).

What we’re facing may seem as large as a million-man army, but if God can handle all those men with swords, shields, and slaughter on their minds, certainly He can handle issues that threaten to overwhelm us. All this news gives a whole new, encouraging twist to the words of First John 4:4 which states, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world,” doesn’t it? (NKJ). Worship God today for being more than the majority.

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©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 
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