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Never a Nobody

Recently, I was listening to an old song.  It was saying I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody.  I love the song.  It is talking about Jesus.  But the more I listened to it, the more I realized that Jesus is somebody who can take anybody who believes they are a nobody, and He can make them somebody special to Him.  We are never just a nobody to Him.

There are numerous examples in The Word of Jesus making somebody out of someone who was a nobody to others.  One such example in found in John, 4:4-30.  This is the account of Jesus meeting a woman of Samaria at a well.  The woman had gone out that day to draw water, and she met Jesus there at the well.  Jesus had a conversation with the woman, a conversation that custom said He should not have had.  You see, Jews didn’t have dealings with the people of Samaria, especially an unmarried woman of Samaria.  She was a nobody to the Jews and to her own people of Samaria.

But a nobody to us is a pearl in the making to Jesus.  He has a way of taking a nobody and making somebody out of them, then using them to spread the Word about who He is and how He can save anybody.  Toward the end of their conversation, John 4:28-29 says, “The woman left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come see a Man Who told me all the things I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?’  Then they went out of the city and came to Him.”

Jesus took a nobody and made somebody of her.  She left her waterpot on the spot and went home a different person.  She was now somebody.  Imagine her saying to the people, “Look at me!  He told me more about me than you all know of me.  Could He be Christ, the savior of the world?”  Later the scripture says many of the people of Samaria believed Jesus that day and were saved because of the word of the woman who was a nobody who Jesus made somebody He could use to save anybody.

This story is not just about a chance encounter with a nobody who became a somebody.  The place where Jesus and the woman met—the well—was Jacob’s well from many generations before.  This was the place where Jacob returned to his homeland after having lived away for many years.  When he returned, he bought this plot of land and dug the well that he passed on to his son Joseph.  This is important because Jacob had left his land over 20 years earlier as a nobody and he returned a somebody, a child of the covenant of God.  Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt as a nobody, but he was released and made a somebody, second to Pharoah in command in all of Egypt.

Jesus had plans for Jacob and Joseph many years before they were born.  He has plans for you and me too.  So now, it is high time for you and me to step out of being nobody of importance to anybody and into becoming somebody special to the Lord.  We’ve got to come back home from wondering around for many years.  We’ve got to endure times where we may feel like we are in prison.  We must wait patiently until the day we go to the well for water because we thirst to be saved from the things that beset us daily.

So, let’s do like this woman did.  Let’s go to the well, draw some water, and look for the opportunity to have a life transforming conversation with the Lord.  Let’s leave our waterpots full of stuff right there and return to live a life of somebody who Jesus saved from being a nobody who now can tell anybody of how great the Lord is to everybody who is willing to come to Jesus because they listened to somebody who had been transformed by the Love of Christ Jesus.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.   

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Respectful Behavior

I’d like to make this the shortest message I’ve ever done, because it is simple and filled with common sense.  I could also make it a book with an infinite number of pages because it is simple, filled with common sense, but we generally don’t care about common sense when it doesn’t suit our sense.

The Bible tells a story about King David.  Before he was made king, David was anointed by God as a young boy to be His king.  The scripture says the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward until his death.  After this anointing, David killed the giant Goliath.  Goliath was the Philistine champion warrior who blasphemed God.  David took care of that.  You can read this account in 1 Samuel 16 and 17.

Goliath had a behavior problem.  Some people may have feared his size, but they did not respect his behaviors or his attitude.  He got what he had coming to him because of his behavior and attitude.

Later the king of the Israelites, Saul, was angry and jealous that David had been anointed to be the next king, even before Saul was dead, preventing Saul’s own sons from becoming king.  Saul attempted to kill David.  Saul had a bad attitude and some behavior problems.

Imagine his lack of common sense.  He had seen firsthand how David killed Goliath; why then would Saul think he could kill David.  That’s the problem with bad attitudes and bad behaviors; they don’t permit you to use the sense common obvious to everyone around you.  You do crazy stuff.  You are not respected for your behaviors.  If you don’t care about your behaviors, and others will not respect you because they do not care for your behaviors.

Scripture says this about Saul and David in 1 Samuel 18:12-15.  “Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David, but had departed from Saul…. And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.” When Saul saw that David behaved wisely, he was afraid of David.  Now this word afraid is more like respectful of him.

How is it then that David was able to behave in ways that Saul would respect while Saul was actually trying to kill David because he was jealous of him?  Well, David lived in ways that Saul and people like you and me find it difficult to live because we can’t get past living for ourselves.

David had this testimony from the Lord.  He was anointed King of Israel because God Himself said that He had found David to be a man after His own heart.  Here are five ways David showed himself to be a man’s after God’s own heart:

  • David allowed God to shape his desires; David’s wants were God’s wants.
  • David allowed God to save his life.  In other words, David lived a Delivered Life.  God uses the lives He delivers.
  • David allowed God to challenge his will.  David submitted his will to the will of God.  God changes the wills of those who submit their wills to Him.
  • David allowed God to search his heart.  David wanted God to know him as much as David wanted to know God.
  • David allowed God to Love him.  David didn’t just go around talking about how God loved him.  David was transformed, strengthened, and favored by the Love of God to do amazing things.

From these things, David was able to form an attitude that others respected because God was in all the things David was in.  Even in his failures, which were many, David had the sense to invite God to be in everything he was in.  People saw this about David and they respected David’s behaviors because of it.

Its easy for us to live like Saul.  All we have to do is live like we are our own king.  If you don’t care about how people think about how you behave, you are probably on that path Saul took.  If you don’t care about what you think about your own behavior, you are probably lost in your own ways.  Learn to live and behave like something great has a hold of you, and something great will happen around you.  Learn to live with respected behavior.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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The Authority to Be

Scripture tells of a time that Jesus spoke to a crowd about the difference between the life they were living and the life God wanted them to live.  But I want to talk about what happened after Jesus ended this talk.  According to Matthew 7:28-29, “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” 

Authority?  What are they talking about?  And Scribes, why didn’t they have this authority?

Authority gives someone the right to enforce a law, rule, or custom.  Authority gives you the right to make decisions, to command compliance, or to enforce corrections when needed.  Authority is simple.  It justifies and makes legitimate the actions you take with someone who may be in violation of an authority.  The authority to do means there must be an authority that was violated.  That is not the type of authority the people were referring to here with Jesus.

And the Scribes.  Who were they?  Scribes were common people who had knowledge of the law and customs.  They could draft legal documents like contracts for marriage, divorce, loans, inheritance, mortgages, the sale of land, and things like that.  But they were not the law themselves.  They were trained to know a lot about many things.  They were authorities in knowing about things, but they had no authority to enforce compliance with anything.  They were teachers teaching about things they had learned.

So then, just how is Jesus different from both the law and how the law is taught?  In Mark 3:4, Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”  The Pharisees didn’t answer Him because to respond would have weakened the power they enjoyed by being the authority over enforcing compliance with the Sabbath law.  My sense tells me its never lawful to do evil, not on Sabbath or on any other day.  And it is never lawful to kill anyone, not on Sabbath or on any other day.

Jesus is saying, we don’t need to have authority to do what is right or to be what He calls us to be.

Back then as now, scribes needed the backing of authority to teach about the things they knew.  But Jesus came to personify the things that the scribes taught about.  He needed no authority to be Jesus.  He needed no authority to do good because He is good.  He needed no authority to work on Sabbath because He is the Sabbath.  And like that, we need no authority to Be the persons God calls us to be.  We don’t need authority to love someone; we can just be love.  We don’t need authority to forgive someone; we can just be forgiving.  

We don’t need authority to be kind, patient, longsuffering, good, or anything that God wants us to Be.  We need only to allow Him to make us these things.  When you do this, you will be able to stop living a life that needs the authority of someone else to make the things you do be the right things.  A life with Christ is not supposed to be a life where an unchanged you has learned about the things of God. 

The things of God should transform your life from one of doing to one of being.  Then you will go from having to do things under the authority of something or someone to living life having God’s authority to Be the person He wants you to be.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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A New Year with the Lord

It’s New Year’s Eve 2021.  Many of us will stay up late so we can see the new year, 2022 arrive.  Many of us will find a celebration or a party or some other type of event to attend to celebrate the new year.  Many of us will have more memories about what we did to bring in the new year than what we did to make a difference in 2021.

I’m not sure God gets excited about fireworks and parties and socializing to bring in the new year. So, I want to offer you three ways believers can do to bring in the new year so that God would want to join in your celebration.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”  The Lord’s Love is steadfast towards us, so much so that it covers us and keeps us throughout the year.  We can see another day because His Love carries us, and we can see another day because His mercies cover our failings.  And His Love and His mercies toward us are never old; they are new each day because we bring new trials upon ourselves each day.

Given the Love and Mercies and His faithfulness towards us, let’s bring the new year by:

Praising Him.  Psalm 150-6: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”  Let your praise of the Lord be the fireworks of your life given to Him!  Wouldn’t that be great?

Waiting for Him.  Lamentations 3:25: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.”  If you have lived the whole year ahead of the Lord, now would be a great time to close out the year waiting for Him.  Don’t just wait on Him.  He may not be heading in the direction you are going.  Instead, wait for Him.  He will bring new direction for you.

Hoping quietly in Him.  Lamentations 3:26: “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly.”  Just as we will wait in anticipation of new year’s fireworks that will come and go in moments, do something better.  He finds it good that we would hope in Him for our enjoyment and all else.  Let’s find time in the year to hope in the Joy of the Lord.

So, if you are waiting up till midnight to see the old year pass and the new year come, consider praising Him for filling your life with His Love and with His mercies.  Wait for Him to show you the way you should go for 2022.  And hope in Him for goodness to be your shadow in 2022 and for all the days of your life.

In that second between the end of 2021 and the entry of 2022, if you are up celebrating, celebrate that He is our savior.  Its just a second in your life.  You won’t miss much of the passing of the old year or the entry of the new year.  But you will end the old and start the new with Him at the center of your heart.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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It’s Only the Beginning

I did not intend to do a message today, but obviously I intended wrong.  I will be short.  It’s the day after Christmas 2021.  

Yesterday, Christmas Day 2021, I was outside in my yard talking with a neighbor for a few moments.  He said Christmas was a happy day for him, but he was already sad because tomorrow—now that is today—would come, and all the struggle and hurt and pain of life would return.

I was hurt a bit by his vision of Christmas, and more by how he saw life in the days after Christmas.  I said to him, “If Christmas is any joy to you at all, then all the days thereafter should be to you even greater joy.”

Why is that?  Because the birth of Christ was Only the Beginning of the life of a resurrected Christ that lives now in each of us.  What does that mean for us?

In Luke 2:20, the bible tells us the shepherds who were told of Jesus’s birth returned happy after seeing Him.  Scripture says it this way, “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told to them.”

You cannot really be happy and fulfilled unless you are full of praise and adoration for the Lord.

Today is the day after Christmas, and I am glad for our sakes because today marks the beginning of the rest of our lives that are now filled with the Life of Christ, who is a gift that will never grow old.  He is a toy that will be new every time we touch it.  He will be like a Christmas dinner and never like leftovers.  He will be an old friend but new every day.  He will be the same old job that feels like a new job each week.

So, don’t look at today and think Christmas is passed now for another year.  The day itself is gone, but it is only the beginning of the rest of the days of what Christmas means to us.

God deposited praise and glory into your life yesterday.  Let it work in your life so you can live each day now full of joy and happiness and peace with the things that are around you.

It’s only the beginning.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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How Can It Be?

In Luke 1:1-38 scripture gives the account of the coming birth of Jesus.  What had been spoken of by prophesy many years before was about to come to be.  How could that be?

In verse 12, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, a priest.  The angel told him that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son, and that he would call him John.  This would be John the Baptist as we know him.  Zacharias and his wife were very old, so Zacharias said to the angel, “How can this be? I am an old man, and my wife, Elizabeth is well advanced in years”?  In short, he said, “How Can This Be?  It is past possible for Elizabeth and Me to bring forth a child.  We are too old.”

Well, Elizabeth was indeed pregnant.  And she did have the baby John, nine months after the angel’s visit with Zacharias.  Now, God’s plan for John to go before Jesus and proclaim His name was in motion.

A short time after this, the angel Gabriel goes to Mary. In verses 30-31, he tells her she is going to have a baby, and hers will be the son of God.  At the time, Mary is still a virgin and unmarried, so she doesn’t understand how two humans are going to be parents to the Son of God.  So, she said to Gabriel, “How Can It Be?  I am not married, and I am still a virgin.”  Mary was saying it is not past possible for me to bare a child, but she still asked, “How can it be, given I’m not married yet and I’m still a virgin.”

An angel appeared a third time in the story of Jesus’s birth.  This angel goes to Joseph, Mary’s future husband, and tells him that Mary is indeed pregnant with the Son of God and that Joseph should go ahead and take her as his wife.  Joseph did not understand how but he understood what was happening.  So, he took Mary as his wife.  But, if he is anything like the others, he probably said to himself, “How can this be?”  Joseph probably thought, not only is it possible it is probable.

  • Zacharias was greeted with some amazing news from God.  He responded in doubt, “How can this be?”
  • Mary was greeted with some amazing news from God.  She responded in awe of God, “How can this be?”
  • Joseph was greeted with some amazing news from God.  He responded in obedience.  He did as he was told to do, but asked, “How can this be?”

We are in the time of year when we observe the day of Christ’s birth, Christmas.  So, I have a few questions for us:

  • How can it be that doubt in what God says to us cannot stop what God wants to work in us?
  • How can it be that questioning what doesn’t seem possible yet does not stop God from doing what is not possible yet?
  • How can it be that obedience, even when we may not understand, does not hinder God’s plans when He wants to use us?

Well, I don’t know exactly.  But this I do know.  How can it be that Jesus would be with God; and then He would be born of a virgin; and then He would become flesh and live among us; and He would live and die and be raised again from death for our salvation.  How can it be?

Well, this is how.  Christmas marks the day Jesus the baby, yet a savior, was born.  How can it be that all the things we doubt, all the things we question, all the things we cannot believe possible, all the things we do not understand so we do not obey, will never stop Him from loving us?

I didn’t have an angel visit me today to give me an answer, but this is what I feel.  How can these things be possible and how can many more things of God will be possible?  Well, it’s because Christmas is the day God made it possible to be given the gifts of you and me and all others who would come to know and love Him.  To God, Christ’s birth is the day God Himself was given the most treasured gift He could ever have: the opportunity to love you and to have your life with Him in eternity.  How can that be?  I don’t know, but I’m glad it is.  And I’m glad God is glad to have this day for Himself.  Let’s make this a Merry Christmas for the Lord and give Him all our hearts.  Merry Christmas Lord.  Live a Delivered life.  Love you.

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Where Do You Stand?

Joshua and the Israelites are about to cross the Jordan river into the Promised Land, but the city of Jericho stands in their way on the opposite bank of the river.  Scripture records an encounter Joshua had at this moment in history.  

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand.  And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”  

Joshua 5:13

I guess we should think this was a natural thing to do.  Joshua was about to take God’s people across the Jordan and into the land promised to them, so he wanted to know if this Man with a sword drawn was going to stand with or against them.

The Man’s response was interesting.  It is one we should consider.  He said to Joshua, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” 

 Joshua had queried the Man the way many of us would have.  He asked two questions.  Are you for us?  Or are you against us?  The Man answered both questions with one word: “No.”  No, I am not for you, and no, I’m not against you.  Joshua asked the wrong questions.  The question he should have asked is, “Who are you?”

Sometimes we make assumptions about the people and things in our lives.  We ask if they are here for this thing or that thing when we should be asking, “Who are you?”  And often we ask questions when we probably should start by saying, “This is who I am.”  This Man’s response to Joshua almost demanded that Joshua tell Him who he was.  In a way this Man was saying to Joshua, now that you know who I am, tell Me, where do you stand?  Are you for Me or against Me?  Joshua had things all backwards.  Are you on My side or are you for My adversaries?

So, the questions for you and me now are these.  Where do we stand?  On whose side are we?  When we are on the Lord’s side, we will learn to wait for Him to lead the way for us.  The Israelites walked around Jericho for seven days; when we are on the Lord’s side, we will learn to walk in the places He tells us.  The Israelites didn’t talk while they walked around Jericho until the end of the last day; when we are on the Lord’s side, we will learn to walk around our adversaries while we keep our mouths shut.  Often, we talk more than we should, and often, we walk less than we should.

The people of Jericho saw the Israelites walk around their city daily for that week.  They had time to realize these were God’s people even though the people said nothing.  They had time to see God’s ways by observing the ways of God’s people.  Perhaps some had time to change their ways because they saw the ways of the Israelites.  Your quiet walk can be a powerful example.  When we are on the Lord’s side, people will see our ways, and that more than anything will be the reason they may change their ways.  

So, ask yourself today, where do I stand?  If it is for the Lord, then we might learn from Joshua and the people.  Let’s learn to walk quietly before our adversaries.  This way we won’t confuse them with our walk that doesn’t match our talk.  Stand up and walk quietly if you are on the Lord’s side.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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A Real Miracle

In a few days, our family will attend the wedding of our third son and his beautiful young bride-to-be.  As I prayed about their wedding and prepared some thoughts for the occasion, I was reminded of the account of a wedding in scripture.

In John 2:1-12 scripture speaks to us about a wedding that Jesus attended.  The first two verses say this to us, “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.”  It says the host ran out of wine before the event was over, so Jesus’ mom went to Him and told Him they had run out of wine.  Jesus responded by telling the servants to fill six stone water pots with water.  Then He told them to draw some of the water from one of the pots and give it to the host of the wedding feast.  When they did, the host realized it was wine, some of the best wine he had ever tasted.

Verse 11 says to us, “This was the beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and He manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him.”  The “beginning of signs,” it says.  Signs may be thought of as miracles.  Miracles may be thought of as things that happen that cannot be explained, yet they are as real as anything we can see or taste or feel.  Miracles are beyond explanation, but they cannot be denied for their reality.

As I prayed for my son and his soon-to-be wife, I thought of this scripture, and I thought how I wanted the young couple to start their lives just as miraculously.  You see, we don’t know much about the people who got married that day, but we do know this. They were wise enough to invite Jesus to their wedding.  But why?  I’m sure they didn’t do it because they anticipated they would run out of wine.  Why, then, was Jesus the son of God invited to their wedding?

I don’t know why.  But I can see another miracle happened because they had the sense to invite Jesus to be there.  I believe someone knew this would simply be an event about a wedding if Jesus were not present.  But with Him present, it would be an event about a marriage.  You see, the wedding is what we get happy and excited about, but the marriage is what Jesus gets happy about.  A wedding is what brings two people together, but Jesus is not in the business of weddings.  Perhaps that is why He told His mother His time had not come yet.  Jesus is in the business of creating marriages at weddings.  He wants to come to weddings so He can put two lives together with Him in the middle, creating a marriage of three people to live together as one.  He manifests His glory in this way.

Two people becoming one person with Christ in the middle.  That is want I can see from this event.  That is what we want for our children as we celebrate their wedding.   I can see that perhaps Jesus was not at the wedding in Cana of Galilee to perform a miracle with water.  Maybe He was there to help people understand that the joy of a wedding must carry into the life of a marriage with two people in Him together.  Could it be that He was there because He wanted us to be ready for the marriage that needed to come?

It was no coincidence that Jesus was invited to the wedding.  I believe the people knew they needed Him to turn a wedding into a marriage.  First with Him and then between them.  You see, a wedding focuses on the joy of two people coming together with their prospects of building lives together.  But a marriage is about the wonders of being the bride of someone else.  A marriage is learning how to live in a loving and selfless way so that you make the life of someone else better than it could have been without you.  When we invite Jesus into our lives in this way, we ask Him to help us become one in Him so that we can help to magnify the glory of who He is to all the people we know and love.

The wedding is simply an event that many will forget in time, but a marriage is a life that will be lived with Jesus in the middle for all life that remains.  Jesus is always looking for a bride to share life with and to live with and He is always ready to enter into a marriage with us when we are ready to live with Him as His bride.  So, He is always happy to be invited to our weddings.

You see, Jesus knew a wedding without Him would lead to an empty marriage.  And a marriage that is empty of the Lord is like:

  • Baking a cake without adding sugar;
  • Having an apartment building without any tenants;
  • Having schools without any students;
  • Hospitals without patients;
  • Rivers with no water;
  • Church with no spirit.

So, as we are ready to get married, let’s make sure we invite to our weddings the One who can make the marriage complete for now and ever after.  I have seen the love for the Lord in our son and in his soon-to-be wife.  I want to make certain that the Lord is invited to their wedding to be a part of the beginning of their lives together.  I want the miracle of the marriage for them, just like the one Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Surely Surely

I saw this riddle one day.  It said, “I am something that follows you wherever you go. I normally come in pairs. I get messed up by water, wind, and rain. What am I?”  I will give you the answer a little later in this message, but I want to use this to get you to think about things of God that follow those of us who faithfully live for Him.

We can see the answer to this riddle in the book of Joshua.  God tells Joshua, “No man shall be able to stand before him all the days of his life.  As God was with Moses, so He will be with Joshua.  He will not leave Joshua nor forsake him.”  This is an astonishing promise that God makes to Joshua.  In a time when it seemed man was an enemy to every other man, God tells Joshua don’t worry; no man will be able to harm you, not in all the days of your life.  Then He says to Joshua, “Just as I walked with Moses from the time I brought him out of Egypt until his death, I will be there with you.”  He reassures Joshua that He will never leave nor forsake him.  Amazingly, God is not going to find something better to love than Joshua.  By the way, God will not find anything better to love than you, either.

But Joshua was asked to do one thing.  Joshua was to depend on the Lord rather than on himself.  Seems like a small ask, but it is the one thing that God asks of us that we almost always fall short of in some way.  We like to think that we must fight our own battles.  We like to think that we have to take care of our own enemies. We like to think that we must make sure people who bother us must pay the full extent of what is possible.   We like to think that people who bring hurt and harm into our lives should be removed.  And we like to think that if anything good is going to happen in our lives, we must make it happen.  But the way we like to think is the way satan likes for us to think.  It is not the way God’s wants us to think.

Psalms 23:6 tells us, “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.  And I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.”  God wants us to know goodness and mercy are things He gives to us.  They are not to be sought after by our own efforts.  Rather, they are the product of lives that follow after Him, lives that are dependent on Him for all things.  When you follow God, goodness and mercy will follow you.  When you love God, Love will follow after you.  When you honor God, honor will follow after you.  When you are faithful toward the Lord, faithfulness will follow after you.  When you favor the Lord, Favor will follow you.

God says, surely these things will follow you when you follow Him.  When you allow Him to be your shepherd, goodness and mercy will follow you.  When you allow Him to lead you, goodness and mercy will follow you.  When you allow Him to set your path, goodness and mercy will follow you.  When the Lord is your shepherd, you must be the sheep.  When the Lord is your shepherd, your life is His responsibility; your posterity is His responsibility; your safety is His responsibility.  Surely then, goodness and mercy shall follow after you wherever you go because He is leading you.

And that brings us to the answer to the riddle.  Footprints.  Footprints come in pairs and are easily disturbed by rain and the wind and water.  But here’s the best part.  When Jesus is leading you, the set of footprints that are always following you will be His.  He will lead you to step where He has stepped.  So what you see before you are the His footprints leading you to places where His goodness and mercy can be found in your life.  What you see behind you is goodness and mercy following after you.  You can never capture what follows you unless you pursue after the thing that is leading what you seek.  Pursue the Lord and you will have goodness and mercy following hard after your life, just like footprints.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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True Persons

Today’s message may be a little difficult for some of us to understand right away.  It was difficult for me to study and hear what God said to me about being a true person.  I didn’t even know what a true person was.  My mother used to tell me often, “That is not who you are,” especially when I was about to do something she knew I shouldn’t do.  My mom knew something about me that I didn’t know.  How could that be? I have always wanted to be the best person that I could be.  Don’t all people want that for themselves?  My mom never really said this is who you are; she simply pointed out who I was not.  So, one day, I asked God, not expecting an answer, why wasn’t I the person I was supposed to be?  Then it came to me.  I wasn’t who I was supposed to be because I kept trying to be who I was not.  Now that sounded like my mom.

Then one day I was studying Chapter 23 of the book of Proverbs.  It is a chapter that warns us about hanging out with the wrong people because they do not have our good at heart.  Perhaps verse 7 of this chapter is the most widely known.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Many of us paraphrase this scripture to say as a man thinks so is he.  That is partially true but not all the truth that God meant.  Paraphrasing is ok, it’s just not exact.  I always tell you this is what a scripture means to me.  I do that because I want you to know there are times when I am paraphrasing something that you should read for yourself.  With this verse, there is more said than what we typically say.

But is a man really the product of his thinking?  Does the life of a man follow his thinking?  I believe the answer to both these questions is yes.  But Proverbs 23:7 is meant to be taken in the context of the verses before it and after it.  When you read the verse in context, you will see that the reference to “for as he thinks in his heart” is not talking about you or me but about other people.  Now don’t be excited too fast.  For you and me are the other people when someone else is considering this verse; they are looking at us.  So how does this help us know our true persons?  Because in verse 6 it tells us we should not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies.  Now a miser is just a reference to a person we might associate with.  Then there is more to verse 7.  It goes on to say that the miser tells you to eat and to drink, but his heart is not with you.  He does not have your best interest at heart.   Verse 8 says the morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up.  I see this saying what the miser offers to us will come back out of us.  Our true persons lie at the heart of the motives we have in our hearts.  We must know the heart of ourselves if we are to know the heart of others.

Proverbs 23:7 is powerful.  We must be careful of how we think because thinking leads to actions.   Life follows our thinking.  If we want to know our true selves, we must learn to recognize the true persons of others.  To recognize the true persons of others, we must get past what they do and get to the heart of who they are and why they do what they do.  A miser is one who hoards things of value and gives away as little as possible or nothing at all.  But this also means this person has already hoarded the good things of the heart before we see it in their actions.  The miser’s heart is not with you; it is after something it wants from you.  Oh now, there is our warning.

So, in a way we should be careful never to hang around someone whose heart is to hoard what is good and to give sparingly.  Why?  Because it will cost us something.  They give so they can get more.  They love so they can get more love.  They friend so they can be thought of more as friends.  They care so they can be cared about more.  They forgive so you must forgive more.  Whatever you give the person whose heart is not with you, it will cost you something of your heart.

A person whose heart is with you will have you at the heart of their lives.  They will give you all they have.  Their every motivation will be for your best interest.  And finally, they will let you see their heart and their true motives because they want you to know the true person they want to be for the true person in you.

So, we ought to let the true persons in us shine through to the eyes and hearts of others.  They will see our actions for sure, but they will also know the true persons of the heart we are.  We must learn to be who we are at the heart of our motives.  That’s where the true person lives.  That is where you will find the person you are supposed to be.  That’s who you are.  Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.