7/30/15: God Gives Up

•July 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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#AHeartForTheWord

Did anyone have a mom who would only put up with your foolishness for so long? She would speak to you, place you on time-out, scold you, or even spank you about something you kept doing. Then your stubbornness to continue in your folly finally caused her to look at you and say, “Okay, you just keep on, I’m done.” Somehow you knew you had taken her across the line for her to have given up. You also knew that you were hanging out there on your own and you were on your way to a worse consequence than Mom could ever dole out. Once Mom gives up on you, watch out.

God is even more patient with us than Mom, but He comes to times when He gives up. As with Mom, God gives up when we push Him to do so. We can’t blame Him for the negative consequences that follow because He gives us chance after chance, and warning after warning that something bad is about to happen.

In the Old Testament, God gave up when the wickedness of mankind got ridiculously out of control. Genesis 6:5-7 tells us, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them’” (NKJ). After this, God flooded out the earth.

God gave up again in Numbers 14:22-23. He had brought the children of Israel out of the cruel Egyptian bondage and was taking them to a wonderful land, but most of the people kept disobeying and disrespecting Him. Finally He said, “Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (NKJ).

One would think we’d learn to simply do things God’s way, but no. We get to the New Testament, and Paul tells us that despite the things about God that are “clearly seen,” we have still pushed and pushed for our own way. Some of us have pushed God to give up yet again. And the consequences are dire. Those who have “suppress[ed] the truth in unrighteousness… God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator… God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” Romans 1:8, 24-28 (NKJ).

So what happens when God gives up? In Genesis, it was a worldwide flood. In Numbers, it was exclusion from reaching the Promised Land. In Romans—the current dispensation, which means today—the consequences are the shameful exchange of the natural use of one’s body, an earned penalty related to one’s health, and a debased mind. Ultimately, God says, “those who practice such things are deserving of death” Romans 1:32 (NKJ).

Here’s the good news. It is not necessary for any of us to suffer these consequences because we’ve pushed God to give up. Experience His amazing mercy today by trusting His word rather than your feelings. We glorify God by honoring our bodies, using them in the way He intended. Restoration is available in repentance. He will not give up on us when we line up with His word.

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©2015 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.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv. (Stream current show Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or view past episodes anytime!)

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Trouble-copy-2

Why I Get Into Trouble as well as other favorites, Boomerangs to Arrows, and Power Suit

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Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

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

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Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

7/29/15: What Understanding Brings

•July 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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#AHeartForTheWord

I do not like being confused. If I am involved in something, I want to be able to understand everything that’s going on. This helps me give my all to the situation, organization, or project. When someone can explain, or when I can read and comprehend the instructions, I feel immensely better and much more confident about my participation. I guess you could say that I then own my connection. Understanding the inside scoop means I am truly a part and this brings me joy.

The people of God need to understand God’s word so they can own their connection as well. In the chapter 8 of the book of Nehemiah, we see how this works. Ezra the scribe brought the Book of the Law “before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding” Nehemiah 8:2 (NKJ). Upon hearing the word of God being read, the people’s first reaction was to answer “‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (verse 6). The Levites then joined in and “read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” (verse 8).

Upon understanding the word of God, the people’s resulting reaction was joy. And the result of that joy was strength. Yes, this is the context of the oft-quoted words, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (verse 10).

God does mean for us to understand Him, and we do that by understanding His word. Lots of people who have never read the Bible like to express their opinions about God, Jesus, and the stands taken by Christians, but unless we read and study the Bible, our joy is not full, our outlook is weak, and our opinions are moot. Read the Bible, and you’ll receive understanding, joy, and strength—such a deal.

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©2015 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.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv. (Stream current show Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or view past episodes anytime!)

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Trouble-copy-2

Why I Get Into Trouble as well as other favorites, Boomerangs to Arrows, and Power Suit

Why I Get Into Trouble link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Boomerangs FrontCover

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

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

Power Suit Cover

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

7/29/15: It’s Not What You Think It Is

•July 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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#HeartForTheWord

Have you ever come to a conclusion before completely investigating all of your options? If so, you may have been embarrassed about your original thought because more information revealed new truth. Our conclusions based on what we see at first are not necessarily accurate. We see evidence of this truth in the Bible.

Acts 28:1-6 relates part of Paul’s journey to Rome. After escaping a terrible storm, they found themselves on the island of Malta. Here’s the account:

Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. (NKJ)

 

The natives of Malta knew Paul was being transported to Rome as a prisoner, so when they saw he was bitten by the snake, their first conclusion made sense to them—“No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”

However, upon further observation, they changed their conclusion, again based upon what they had seen. “But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.”

Here’s the kicker—both times their conclusions were wrong. This teaches us that even though we observe activities with our eyes, our conclusions about what we see could still be incorrect based upon missing information. The citizens of Malta were missing information about Paul’s spiritual identity. He wasn’t a murderer and he wasn’t a god. Paul was a representative of the Kingdom of God and the power of God was working on his behalf.

When observing God’s people, it behooves us to be careful about the conclusions we draw based upon what we see. Especially before drawing negative conclusions, we should gather all the evidence. And our conclusions must take into account the fact that God is working on their behalf. Just because a viper may have bitten them—or some other serious problem has arisen—that doesn’t mean they can’t ever be all right again. We cannot allow problems to define us or our estimation of others.

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(c)2015 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.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv. (Stream current show Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or view past episodes anytime!)

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Trouble-copy-2

Why I Get Into Trouble as well as other favorites, Boomerangs to Arrows, and Power Suit

Why I Get Into Trouble link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

 

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

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

 

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

7/27/15: Got Life?

•July 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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There’s a difference between getting a gift from China and getting a gift of china. A gift from China could be anything, but a gift of china is something specific, namely the precious and costly plates, saucers, bowls, and cups out of which we eat but which are usually reserved for special occasions and honored guests.

In the same way, there’s a difference between a gift from God and the gift of God. A gift from God could be anything (and any gift from God is good, see James 1:17); but the gift of God is something specific, namely God Himself. God further defines this gift, calling it “salvation.” Ephsians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (NKJ). You see, salvation is the gift of God. When we “get saved” we get God and when we get God, we get life – abundant now and eternal – and that life is in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” I John 5:11 (NKJ). Got life?

(c)2009 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.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv. (Stream current show Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or view past episodes anytime!)

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Why I Get Into Trouble as well as other favorites, Boomerangs to Arrows, and Power Suit

Why I Get Into Trouble link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

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

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

7/26/15: Vision

•July 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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In Acts 10, we read of two men whose worlds were about to intersect. Cornelius was a God-fearing Gentile, a really nice guy, but also a centurion, a leader of the Italian Regiment who was in Caesarea to control it for the Roman empire. Peter was a Jew, a Christ-follower, and the head of the Jerusalem church, the group of new believers just after the resurrection.

Both Cornelius and Peter saw visions. An angel appeared to Cornelius and told him to find a guy named Peter, send for him, and listen to what he has to say. Cornelius obeyed immediately. Peter saw a vision of a sheet filled with “…all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air” (vs. 12 NKJ). The Lord’s voice said, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (vs.13), but Peter refused saying he’d never eaten anything common or unclean. This vision repeated to Peter three times, each time with the Lord’s response, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (vs. 15). The passage then takes up the story:

Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. “Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” Acts 10:17-20 (NKJ)

Thanks to these men acting on these two visions, the mission of the Church was advanced. Cornelius’ faith was made complete when Peter preached Jesus to him. Cornelius was baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, and his whole household was saved. Peter’s vision helped him understand that salvation was for the Gentiles also (who were considered unclean by Jews in those days).

Acting on vision is still important. Maintaining a God-consciousness allows God to communicate clearly what He wants to happen. When reading the Bible or listening to a sermon, keep the heart attitude that asks, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” The vision may start as a prick in your heart, something that causes you to raise an eyebrow and say, “Wow.” Go with that. Move in the light of that vision and don’t allow it to dim.

When God gives you a vision, it is specific and individual. Although it’s expressly for you, it is also intertwined with His bigger picture. Your job is to obey the vision you’ve received just like mine is to obey the one He’s sent to me. Then, as with Cornelius and Peter, when our worlds intersect, the mission of the Church will be advanced, God receiving the ultimate glory. Only by obediently acting upon the individual vision God gives us will we be operating in harmony with His bigger plan. We’ll then be pleasantly surprised and awed as we witness mighty moves of God’s hand, and amazingly humbled to realize He’s used us to accomplish His work.

©2009 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.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv. (Stream current show Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or view past episodes anytime!)

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Trouble-copy-2

Why I Get Into Trouble as well as other favorites, Boomerangs to Arrows, and Power Suit

Why I Get Into Trouble link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

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

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

7/25/15: Dirty Little Secrets

•July 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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It never ceases to amaze me to see how public figures think they can hide their dirty little secrets. Politicians cheat on their wives and think no one will find out. Financiers swindle investors and figure they’ll never get caught. High-profile lawyers conceal evidence to get their guilty clients released and feel their cleaver courtroom antics instead of the truth will sway the judge and jury in their favor. Actors and musicians act out in public thinking they can do what they want because of their celebrity. Sooner or later, they all find themselves behind a microphone on the news, as the scandal headline in the papers, and as the butt of jokes on late night talk shows. Their families are torn apart, their fortunes suffer, and their character is forever tarnished.

This type of thing existed in Bible days too. Just when the remnant was rejoicing over safely having delivered all the treasures to the temple they were rebuilding, the word of a dirty little secret came to Ezra. “After these things had been done, the leaders came to me and said, ‘The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices… And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.’” Ezra 9:1-2 (NIV). Ezra was doubly hurt to discover even the leaders’ involvement and knew God’s blessings would not continue unless they cleaned up their act.

Public figures, church leaders, or regular folks like us are all subject to universal truths that have been set in place by God. What’s done in the darkness will be brought to the light and what goes around, comes around. Especially in our lives as believers, we cannot expect to enjoy the abundant life God offers if we insist upon living shabby, slipshod lives of questionable character. Even the little things matter. Read some of God’s wisdom on the subject:

¨ Dan 2:22 He reveals deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.

¨ Jer 23:24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

¨ Luke 12:2-3 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

¨ Heb 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

¨ Num 32:23b …be sure your sin will find you out.

(All previous verses from NKJ)
I think it would be a good idea to get rid of your dirty little secrets, don’t you? Confessing them before God means turning from participation in them. Do whatever you have to do to fix what you’ve messed up. Start today.

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©2009 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.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv. (Stream current show Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or view past episodes anytime!)

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Trouble-copy-2

Why I Get Into Trouble as well as other favorites, Boomerangs to Arrows, and Power Suit

Why I Get Into Trouble link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Boomerangs FrontCover

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

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

Power Suit Cover

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

 

 

7/24/15: What Are You Saying?

•July 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I have adorned every car I’ve ever owned with some kind of Christian insignia. In addition to the icthus (the little fish), sometimes I even add a clever bumper sticker designed to send a message to other drivers and challenge their thinking about God. For example, one of my little signs had a picture of flames across the bottom and read, “If you think there is no God, you’d better be right.”

Nowadays, people have taken getting their message across to a whole new level with the tattoo craze. I’m not exactly sure who those messages are for, but some people’s bodies have quite a lot to say.

In Ezra 8:22, Ezra thought about sending a message to the king, but after some consideration, he thought better of it. He says, “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’” (NKJ). In other words, Ezra considered whether the message he would write would match the testimony of his life. If Ezra really believed God was as great and powerful as he said He was, why would he need the king’s help for protection? What would his request say to the king about Ezra’s God?

While I’m driving around in some very challenging Los Angeles traffic, I’m cognizant of the fact that I emblazon Christian signs and sayings on my car. Even my driving should reflect what I say I’m all about. I can’t flip people the bird when they cut in front of me or impatiently honk their horns when I’m not moving fast enough for them. My stickers say I’m a Christian and Christians represent their Lord all the time. I personally refuse to do the tattoo thing because of Leviticus 19:28, but I wonder if those painfully-etched pictures and sayings will perpetually represent the character of the person wearing them like my bumper stickers represent my character.

Maybe you’re more low-key than someone with tats, me with my bumper stickers, or Ezra on his travels, but you are sending a message with your words and life. Do your actions show your words to be true? The old saying is really correct: actions speak louder than words. James says it this way, “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” James 2:20 (NAS).

Exactly what message about God and your faith are you getting across?

__________________________________

©2009 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.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Watch The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network’s new internet TV show Life That Matters with Sharon Norris Elliott from any internet-connected device at www.HSBN.tv. (Stream current show Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or view past episodes anytime!)

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Trouble-copy-2

Why I Get Into Trouble as well as other favorites, Boomerangs to Arrows, and Power Suit

Why I Get Into Trouble link to our eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5131814

Boomerangs FrontCover

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

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

Power Suit Cover

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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