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/)

 

7-7-14: Keep At It

•July 7, 2014 • 5 Comments

#HeartForTheWord

After Jesus’ resurrection, the apostles had a rough go of it as they traveled the known world preaching the Gospel. An example of one of those hard times happened when Paul and Barnabas got to Iconium. Acts 14:1-3 reports, “Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (NKJ).

The surprising phrase in this passage is “therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly.” What? Even though people’s minds were being “poisoned” against the apostles’ message, Paul and Barnabas stayed a long time, continuing to contend for the faith.

Do we keep at it when we find ourselves in day-to-day conversations about the reality of our God, the truth of the Word, and the importance of belief in Jesus? Or do we get frustrated, wave folks away with the back of our hand, and use as an excuse for our giving up that we are not going to “cast [our] pearls before swine”?

In the first place, let’s stop misusing Scripture. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine” as Jesus says Matthew 7:6, must not be referring to witnessing. We are supposed to consistently spread the Gospel to everyone who doesn’t know Him already. We cannot give up on people who need to know the truth. We cannot allow ourselves to get frustrated because folks disagree, react negatively, treat our message disrespectfully, or even try to stir others up against us.

The encouragement for Barnabas and Paul to keep at it is mentioned at the end of the Acts 14 passage quoted above. “…the Lord… was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” Acts 14:3b. This incentive proves to us that God will have our backs too as we contend with others for the faith. God will bear witness to His own Word, and is still able to grant signs and wonders by our hands to validate His Word. Worship God today for being the energizer of our witnessing efforts.

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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/)

 

July 4: Yes, No, Not Yet

•July 3, 2014 • 2 Comments

#HeartForTheWord

Sometimes it feels as though the Lord is not answering our prayers; however, when we say that, we usually mean we prayed but didn’t get what we wanted. We were expecting a yes answer when God has other options besides the affirmative.

At times, God says, “No.” When Cain took an offering to God in Genesis 4:4-5,

“the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.” In essence, God told Cain, “No, what you’re bringing Me is incorrect.” God also said no to Jesus. When our Lord knew He was about to face the excruciating crucifixion, He asked God for an out. Matthew 26:39 tells us Jesus “fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (NJK). We know that God said no to this request, and that’s why we have our salvation today.

At other times, God puts a hold on our requests with a “not yet” answer. King David wanted to build a house for the Lord, but God told him “not yet.” Solomon, David’s son, would be the one to build the temple. (See I Chronicles 28:1-6)

The thing to remember about prayer is that its main purpose is not about collecting; it’s about connecting. Prayer is conversation with God and the ultimate goal is supposed to be about strengthening our relationship with Him. God wants to be more to us than a Sugar Daddy or a Deep Pocket. In fact, we complain about people who just throw money at their issues rather than roll their sleeves up and do the hard, personal involvement work of actually making things better. Why do we expect of God what we don’t even approve of in people?

We will get yes answers from God only when we pray according to His will. First John 5:14-15 clearly says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (NKJ). The question is: how do we know we’re praying according to His will? We can hedge our bets by knowing His Word well enough to know what to ask and what not to ask; however, sometimes we don’t know. Cain thought his offering was great. David thought building God a temple was a good idea. Jesus wanted to avoid all that coming pain. All three of these men did what we have to do: ask God and find out what He’s going to say. We’ll know we’ve hit the mark on God’s will when God says, “Yes.” But no matter whether He says yes, no, or not yet, we can be excited that God is talking to us.

Worship God today for being the prayer-answer-er.

____________________________

©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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