Friday, August 18, 2017

Finder's Keepers, Loser's Weepers

Have you ever lost anything of great value? Have you ever misplaced an item and you try to retrace your steps but you cannot recall where the thing is? You might start to feel nervous or panic. You start asking others if they have seen it, describe it, and even request they help you look for the missing article. I know I have! Some of the things I seem to lose track of is my glasses, my cell phone, and on occasion my keys. Those are inconvenient to lose and with the exception of my glasses, life can pretty much continue as usual for me if I don't have them, but what about the really important things that are not as easy to replace? Important papers, a specific document, money, and the list could truly go on and on, differing with each individual.

When I have lost something of particular importance to me, I will start searching! The first thing I do is acknowledge that I am missing the item. I recognize that it is gone and that I need it. I go over to the light switch and turn it on so I can see well. I then start picking stuff up and putting it away. Maybe I had just overlooked the pile of mail on the coffee table. Those two or three pairs of shoes at the door really didn't look out of place but why not put them up? I have been known to move furniture and start sweeping behind things in hopes that I will discover my missing item! I start picking things up, looking everywhere I can think of. The search is on and I will leave no stone unturned! Have you ever been like that?

Well when I finally find the item I am overjoyed! I am smiling from ear to ear! I have joy! I have a burst of energy! I feel so victorious and so good! It's just incredible when I have searched and prayed and asked God to please help me find what I have been missing. I look around and even my house is in better shape than it was before I lost the item!

To me, this reminds me of when a sinner acknowledges they need a savior. They realize that they are not on the right path. Perhaps a minister has just preached a compelling message of the cross and they are convicted in their hearts and that prompts them to seek out a savior. Maybe someone has been going astray, making compromises here and there, and they are not on the right road towards home, then a friend or neighbor witnesses to them of what God has been doing in their lives and that person has a quickening in their spirit to seek out that same God. When that person gives their heart to Jesus they are cleaned up! They become a new creature! The old is gone and there is now a transformation that others can notice! Like the house, the person's soul is in much better shape than it was before! That's the power of God at work in their life. Friends, the Bible says it best. This is Jesus talking; let's read it together!

Luke 15:8-10
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver,  if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house,  and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, "Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost."
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

There was a celebration when you and I got saved. The angels had that joyous feeling when something had been lost but now it's been found! Reminds me of the tune "Amazing Grace" where it says I was once was lost but now I'm found! Praise the LORD for those who have been found!

Jesus puts His light inside of each one of us. We turn to the Light because He is the Light. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." We all need Jesus. No matter who you are, how famous, or how important you may think you are, you need to be saved by Jesus. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. We cannot clean up ourselves or else we would have done it already and we wouldn't have needed Jesus to die for our sins. Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. And it doesn't matter how bad you have messed up, or how far you have ran from God, it just takes a humble heart and He will free you from your sins. I John 1:7-10 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

If you are reading this today and you recognize that you need saving, please ask Jesus into your heart today! There will be a party in heaven with the angels rejoicing that Jesus has done it again! He has brought another one into the fold! Maybe you are reading this and you are saved, but you see that you are not as close as you once were. Maybe you would really like to draw closer to God. He is waiting! He wants you to come closer! James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. He is waiting. James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.

I hope you have been encouraged today! Seek God while He may be found and you will never regret it! Each day His mercy is new and fresh. This could be your day! God bless you!
~Bridgett Owens

Friday, April 28, 2017

Even Dogs Get Crumbs

Can you imagine what it must have been like to walk and talk with Jesus, or to have been on the planet at the same time as the Master? For me, a Christian, I think about those things a lot and I am not sure how it would have been for me - a Gentile - in those days. Jesus came to the seek and save the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). So would I have cared to know more about this son of a carpenter who is also the Son of God? I want to say yes, of course I would! He has a way to draw in people like me. Thousands of people just like me, searching for answers and truth, surrounded Him and followed Him, believing Him for the miracles He performed. But would I have accepted Him or would I be one of the many crying out "Crucify Him!" as they attempted to determine His fate.

If you go to church, you seek to do the right things, and you are saved, you may say with complete confidence what you would do, but I don't know. I cannot truthfully give an answer. I have tendencies to be most like Peter in the Bible and even he denied Jesus three times! He ate with the LORD, and Jesus even washed his feet!!! How can I assume I would be different?

The Bible says that Jesus came shining His magnificent light into this dark, vile world and it didn't even understand it! The dark world ignored the best gift God could ever give. They didn't comprehend what was taking place. John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

What if you were in the days when Jesus was alive and working miracles. Let's say you had a daughter and she was full of the devil. You love your daughter and you cannot stand to see what the enemy is doing to her. You may have tried all kinds of methods to cure her but things get worse instead of better. Then someone tells you about a man named Jesus. Maybe it was the blind man that He healed, or a leper He had cleansed. You start to feel hope well up in your spirit and you look for Him. You want to ask Him to help you. But there is a problem. You are not one of the chosen people. Will He ignore you? Will He make time to listen to you? How will you get close enough to even ask Him what you need? But you are desperate to find help for your daughter that you love so much. You have to try!

Matthew 15:21-28
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
She is crying out to Him for mercy and deliverance for her daughter. Jesus does not answer her. She has to cry louder. Perhaps He did not hear her. The disciples are blocking her. They want Jesus to send her away. She is getting on their nerves. Sometimes the religious people can be the ones with the least compassion. They don't care what she wants. They are annoyed and want her gone. Jesus however, even though He had remained silent, chooses to speak to her in front of the disciples but He does not immediately banish her from His presence. Watch this:
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
He tells her that His mission is to save the lost people in Israel. She doesn't belong in a category that He came for. Does she give up? Does she lose heart? Is her hope gone? No! She worships Him! If you do not get the answer you want from the LORD, do you worship Him and ask Him to help you? Do you get mad and gripe and pout and complain? She worshipped Him. That had to get His attention and she needs help for her daughter, so she is going to have no shame in begging Him for help!
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
She isn't even upset or offended when Jesus called her a dog! Watch this. He said it wasn't right for Him to take away something meant for the children of Israel and give it to someone like.... someone like ME! Someone like YOU if you are not a Jew. But she still doesn't give up! She still presses on and says, "You're right! I know you are right and that is true, but don't the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master's table?" In other words, if there is something that happens to fall by the wayside, can't I just have a little bit? I don't want much...it isn't even for me. Can I just have a crumb of a blessing?
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Just like that, from her faith in what Jesus can do, that never wavered, but was firm and sure, He was impressed! He told her how much faith she had! Remember how He has said time and time again to the disciples, "Where is your faith? Ye, of little faith." And here He is letting everyone know that He sees her faith and He is going to do what she asked of Him and she doesn't even have to wait for an answer. Immediately the daughter was healed and complete. It was gone!!

The pain and the torment the girl had suffered left her the moment Jesus spoke the words to her mother. He could have walked on and said no. He could have ignored her cries and gave in to the disciples plea that the LORD send her away, but He didn't. He was moved by her faith and persistence and sometimes that is all that you and I have to have.

What are you asking the LORD for? Are you afraid to ask? Just talk to Him. He will do so many wonderful things for you!! We are now engrafted in and we have been adopted so that we are His children and we can have those blessings, too. 

God bless you!
~Bridgett Owens

Friday, April 21, 2017

SOAP to study the Bible?

I use the S.O.A.P. method to study the Bible. It works wonderful for me and I enjoy it so much! I have a video on how to do the S.O.A.P. method on my YouTube channel. I will include it at the end of this blog post if you want to check it out.

The S.O.A.P. method has been around for a long time. I do not know who came up with it but it is a WONDERFUL way to study God's Word. I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those who want to have a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

S.O.A.P. is an acronym for Scripture(s) Observation Application Prayer. I will explain each letter in detail and then provide an example in this post of what a study might look like using this method. Please let me know if you use this method and what you think about it. My email is on the sidebar or you can leave comments on my YouTube video link. Let's begin.
Scripture

The Bible study starts out with a scripture of your choice. Simply find the passage you want to study and write it out in a notebook. This can be your favorite Bible verse, a passage of scriptures, or even longer. The fewer verses, the better, in my opinion. The fewer scriptures you are looking at, the easier it becomes to truly pull everything you can from those passages, but I have some pretty lengthy studies in my notebook. I highly recommend you start out in prayer over where the Holy Spirit would lead you in the Word of God. If you have trouble knowing where to start, you can always look online at www.biblegateway.com to search a particular topic or phrase and it will find scriptures related to that search. This resource is particularly helpful if you want to cross-reference different versions of the Bible because you can select the version you want and even do side-by-side comparisons. If you follow my Bible studies on my YouTube channel or here on the blog, then you know by now that I truly love the King James Version.
Observation

Observation is the next part of the study. You are looking back at the scriptures you have chosen and you want to pull out the things you are observing that is taking place. Look for things like location, people, scenery, who is talking, who is the audience, what is the main theme. Ask questions here about what you are reading. Is this in the New Testament? Old Testament? Are there words you do not know the meaning of? Look them up and use this section to define those words. Perhaps you have a study Bible or something with a commentary, you might look at what your study resource is saying about that subject and write it down. If anything in particular stands out to you, write it down.

Please do not misunderstand me. The Bible is of no private interpretation. 2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. So just like the men who wrote these books of the Bible were not just writing a bunch of their opinions and thoughts on how to live a life that pleases God, we are not to take bits and pieces that we like from the Word of God and twist the scriptures to fit our lifestyle. Rather, we are to conform to the Word of God.
Application

This is a really cool part of the Bible study. This is where you take what you read and have learned and apply it to your daily walk with the LORD. This is where you are making a list of things you can do differently, or change, so that you are lining up with the scriptures. You can write a lot or a little, journal, use bullet points, draw a picture, or whatever you want to do in this area so that you are making a plan to obey what you have observed in the scriptures. This will be different for every single person who does this study. I will show you my Application process in the example that follows, but remember you and I are two totally different individuals. We are not the same. We do not have the same life circumstances, history, or needs. I am only showing how I would apply the scriptures to my life as an example.
Prayer

To wrap up the study, you will write out a prayer. Perhaps you are thanking God for the new knowledge and wisdom He has imparted to you about a particular scripture. Maybe you are asking for guidance to truly apply what you have observed. This is very individualized. I will give an example of a prayer I might use but I do not write the same prayer for any study I do. Each time is a new prayer because I am speaking to my Heavenly Father about a new subject, a new study, a new area, or whatever in my life that I want to share with Him. I highly recommend you do not skip this part. It will be invaluable in your learning process.

I have read back through my Bible study notebook and I look at how much I have learned from the scriptures, what was gleaned from the passages. It's amazing how much the Holy Ghost has revealed to me in these times of study. I also read the applications again and see where I might need to revisit some of those areas and continue working. Other times I see how far I have come. ALWAYS the prayer part is inspiring and encouraging as I see the hand of God moving in ways I had truly forgotten. I look back and see prayer after prayer that He has answered and it encourages me to keep on going for Jesus!

BRIDGETT'S EXAMPLE

Scripture: ROMANS 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Observation: This passage is referring to suffering that we must go through while we are on the earth. I have had a lot of trials and tribulations in my life. Sometimes it felt like it would never end. I am in college right now, in a program that is extremely difficult, and it feels like the struggles consume me at times. Yet, I am reminded here that these troubles and problems will not even be worth comparing to what God has prepared for us after we go Home to be with Him. We will not look back at the trials or hard times and remember them anymore. The reward will be far greater than the sacrifice and hard times we have now. This is true of the career I am in. I know that once the struggles and hard times of studying, testing, showing, proving, and trying of my skills and abilities is all over I will be where I wanted to be in this career path and I will not even dwell on the struggle to get me to that point. I won't forget how hard I worked to get there but I will be so full of joy that I made it through that it will not even be worth comparing to what I had to endure to make it.

Application: I am going to make an effort to look at the joy before me and while I go through the suffering remember that better days and brighter times are coming my way. I will choose to ask God for grace and mercy as I struggle and persevere in this life and continue to thank Him that Heaven is in view and I am going to make it! No struggle on the earth will ever be worth comparing to what He has in store for me. I will remind myself to keep going through the pain, because there are rewards on earth as well when we do not give up.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You! Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for instructing me today that I am not alone. These trials and struggles are not new. The men of old in the Bible times and even since sin entered the world have struggled with things to overcome or forge through. Lord, thank You that there are temporary rewards here on earth that make the struggles a little easier to get through. And Father, thank You that You are preparing a great and wonderful, glorious event to celebrate that Your children have made it Home. I am so eager to go Home Lord, but I know I must wait a little while longer. Give me grace, mercy, and compassion for myself and those all around me Lord, as we struggle through the suffering in this present time. Keep our hearts stirred up about the glory which shall be revealed in us so we can continue to long for Home and keep striving to enter in. I bless Your Holy Name Lord JESUS! AMEN

I hope that this has been helpful for someone. I enjoy this method a lot. If you would rather see a video tutorial on this subject, for those who are visual learners, I will share the video below. Thank you so much for sharing the journey with me. God bless you!!

~Bridgett    

Friday, April 14, 2017

Home, Sweet Home

We go through a lot of trials down here on this earth. Some of us will choose to go through this life trying to find our own path, going about solving our problems on our own. It's a miserable existence. I have been there. I thought I could take charge of my own life, forge through life and not worry about anything except what I thought was good and right. Others will rely on God and ask for His help to navigate through this crazy, scary, hard, sometimes good and pleasant life. For those who call upon the name of the Lord and are saved, we have beautiful promises! We have HOPE! We can cling to these beautiful scriptures that fills our hearts with joy and eager anticipation!

Today is Good Friday and it starts off Easter weekend for many of us believers. However, I want to encourage you to look beyond the cruelty of cross. Never forget the supreme sacrifice that was paid for our debts there by the precious blood of Jesus! Thank You Jesus for dying for our sins and raising again to give us eternal life. But, I want us to look at our future and what God has in mind for us when our time on earth is no more.

One of my favorite verses to read is in Isaiah. It's a beautiful picture of the way the Lord promises to take away the pain of death and nullify it forever. We will not cry anymore because there will be no sorrow, no goodbyes, no death, no sickness, and no suffering. That is very special to me! Are you waiting for Him? Are you waiting for Him to wipe away your tears and save you? I know I am!!
Isaiah 25:8-9 
He will swallow up death in victory; and the LORD GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

I used to be afraid to read Revelations. I was scared of it. I didn't understand it. I would just not even go there! Some ministers had scared me at an early age and I was just too terrified to read it, but then I had someone open up the scriptures to me in a much different way and I am so glad. Turn to the last book of the Bible and take comfort in knowing that in the end God wins! Spoiler alert!! God's people are redeemed and what beautiful promises we are given here.
 
Revelations 7:11-17 
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

I love how this illustrates the Church, God's elect, chosen to be a part of this wonderful new beginning that will never end. We are His Bride and look at the promise of no sorrow, all the old things are gone. The trials and tribulations of this life just melt away. They are gone and there is only joy beyond comprehension! I am so eager to go!

Revelation 21:1-4
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Finally, the last part of the Bible, it gives us this glorious good news! If reading this doesn't make you shout for joy, nothing will! This is wonderful!! We are safe. We are home! We made it. There is no need to be shut in the city of God because nothing vile, evil, or sinful can ever enter in! We are finally free!!
Revelation 21:23-27
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Is your name written in the Lamb's book of life? If not, there is still time. Just call out to Him. Acknowledge that you are a sinner who needs saving and He will do it! He will save you and you will never be the same. Don't miss heaven for the world!!
God bless you!

~Bridgett Owens

Friday, April 7, 2017

Coming Soon!

 
Why is it we hear that a movie is coming soon to a theater near us and we start making plans to go? Or, how about those signs by a construction site telling us about a new restaurant coming soon, and we begin to research the restaurant's reviews, look at the menu, and ask friends and family if they know anything about it? Maybe it's the announcement of your favorite store coming soon to your hometown. You don't know for sure when it's coming but you start watching and waiting with eager anticipation. Yet when someone says Jesus is coming soon, there is all kinds of scoffing, disbelief, and rejection. Do you know there is a promise in the Bible that the MAIN ATTRACTION is coming soon? Oh yes, this is BIG! It's the announcement that Jesus will return and it's repeated again and again in God's Word.
 
Jesus told us He would come and get us. John 14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." He told us to watch and pray. Mark 13:33 "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." He even told us to watch for signs that would mean time is running out and He would soon be here. Matthew 24:3-13 And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" And Jesus answered and said unto them, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, 'I am Christ'; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
 
Friends, are you ready? Are you waiting for Christ to return and take His Bride away? Are you ready to go? We do not know the exact day or time, but we can look around discern that it's close! I don't want anyone to go to hell. I don't want anyone to be lost. God doesn't want that either. John 3:16, 17 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
 
I want to share the good news with you that He is coming back for us! He's coming to get the ones he knows; that is life eternal. John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent." He said the day would come when he would divide the sheep (the believers) from the goats (those who refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior). Matthew 25:31-34, 46 When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: And these (the goats) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
 
Be a sheep. Follow the good Shepherd. Follow Jesus. Don't put it off. Don't think you have more time. Don't let it catch you unprepared. Get ready. Jesus is coming soon!
 
God bless you!
 
~Bridgett Owens 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Are you disobeying God?

If I tell my children to clean their bedroom, that is a reasonable request. My daughter is 15 years old and my son is 9. My children are healthy and completely competent to make their beds, change the trash, pick up their dirty clothes, and straighten up their rooms. They both can sweep their floors. These are not difficult tasks for them, but if you watch their reactions when they are told to do this, you would think that I asked something nearly impossible.

After telling my children to clean their rooms, I give them some time and then I check in on their progress. If I find them sitting on their bed, playing video games or watching television, then I will be upset with them. They heard what I asked them to do. They understood what was expected of them. They chose not to do what they were told. They have become disobedient!

What does the Bible say about obedience? Does it talk about disobedience? Are there any rules or instruction from God on this subject? The answer my friends is yes, the Bible has plenty to say on obeying/disobeying. We will look at this together and see that it is a heart problem, not a head problem.

Let's start with the basics of children obeying their parents as in the example I am using in this post. Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Children are instructed in the Word of God to obey their parents because it is the right thing to do and because it pleases God. The obedient child makes God happy. As a mother, I can say that when my children obey me it pleases me very much! We parents, are to look to God our Heavenly Father for the example on how to parent our children. Right? He is full of unconditional love and unfailing compassion. He is full of love, grace, and mercy. If we parent our children like that, it sure makes it easier for our children to want to obey us and please us, doesn't it?

Children are not the only ones who must obey. God created man and in Genesis 2:15-17 we see that God gives instruction to be obeyed. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." We all know that man disobeyed and sin entered into the world, separating us from God. So disobeying has serious consequences.

Romans 5:19 clearly illustrates this point. For as by one's man disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. We know the one man is Adam (and Eve) and that through their disobedience all of mankind is born into sin. We also know through the scriptures that by the obedience of another man, Jesus, we are all made righteous. Jesus came to set things right between God and man. Hebrews 9:28 says So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Because He overcame sin and death on the cross and through His resurrection, we are now able to have freedom from sin and death when He cleanses us from all unrighteousness as we walk in obedience.

Hebrews 5:5-10 So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but He that said unto Him, "Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee." As He saith also in another place, "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son yet learned He obedience by the things He suffered; And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec." Jesus learned obedience from His suffering. Isn't that incredible? God allows us to have suffering sometimes in order to teach us how to be obedient, how to crucify our flesh, how to feed our spirit and starve our flesh.

Before we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Bible says we are the children of disobedience. Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Before we come to accept Jesus as our Savior, we walked according to the way the world tells us. We look at magazines, television commercials, store advertisements, billboards, television programs, movies, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, our classmates, people we work with, family, friends, neighbors, sports figures, and on and on.... We look to the ways of the world to see if we have any worth, if we measure up, and then we conduct ourselves so that we can be just like the world. The Bible says the same spirit that caused us to do those things is the prince of the power of the air. Is there any wonder that satan controls the wavelengths and satellite signals? Of course those types of media can be used for good, but the control over most of those platforms is the devil! He is our enemy and he hates the things of God. He does not want us to walk in submission to God so he works in the hearts of the children of disobedience.

How can you tell if you are disobeying God? Maybe you think you do a pretty good job of obeying the ten commandments, and you go to church. Maybe you have a special group at church you attend or help with, you could be in ministry. Are you doing the things that are right; those things that please God? Let's look at the teachings of Paul to find out more.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. So Paul is saying that we are flesh and bones, but we don't need to go after the things our flesh desires. We are not fighting a war against people and against ourselves, but rather we are in a spiritual battle with weapons of the Spirit. Our weapons are powerful because they are from God and they can break those strong holds that the devil likes to just tie us up with. It may look like he is wrapping you with pretty bows and strings, but it is an illusion and you are really being tied up into bondage of sin. We are to throw down the things we imagine and believe that exalts itself against the Word of God. So many times we just choose to remain neutral or we won't speak up when we know the truth should be told, but friends do not be fooled, that is the work of satan. He wants you to stay silent. He wants to stifle your cry in the wilderness because then you can be in disobedience. We are disciples sent out into the world to share the gospel message to the hurting, the sin-sick, the dying, the halt, the blind, the maimed. We have an obligation to be obedient, even if we stick out or if we are singled out, and yes even if we are persecuted!

We have a choice in this life. Some people get really upset at the thought that our religious freedoms may be stripped away from us. I get that! I understand! But, I also know that even if they take away my freedom, they cannot take away my Jesus from my heart! I will still speak of Him and share my faith with those around me because this world needs Jesus. Plain and simple, Jesus and the power of the cross, is the message we need to get to every single person on this planet. We get to choose. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants are ye to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? He says don't you realize that you will choose to obey something: good or evil. You will obey sin and receive death and eternal separation from God or you will obey God and become His righteousness. Hebrews 2:1-4 warns us to be careful about the choices we make and the lasting effects that result from those choices. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the Word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will? We have proof. We know the Bible is true! We need to hold tight to what it says and do what it tells us to do so we can be obedient. 

Maybe you would rather not obey God and you think you can do some big service for God instead. You know what God has called you to do, but you want to skirt around what he told you to do and you think that you can just obey in part and then somehow make it up to God with a special sacrifice of your time or service on down the road. I Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, "Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and than to hearken than the fat of rams." It's better to obey the Lord and walk in what He told you to do rather than giving up something that means something to you later on in life. You see, it doesn't have the same value to God as it does to you. It's far better to obey because your sacrifice doesn't mean as much to Him as it does to you. Your willing heart to serve Him and do what is right means so much more to Him.

If my children go ahead and clean up their rooms after they have been told to, I am so happy! I am quick to reward their obedient behavior! They will get hugs and kisses. I will tell them thank you and brag on their efforts. I will bless my children. If they disobey they still have my love. I will still hug and kiss them. I will still tell them that I love them, but the relationship will be strained a bit because they know they did wrong, and I will not feel respected by them. Their obedience in doing the task I have set before them is far better than doing something "extra for me" later on.

Pray and ask the Lord to show you areas of your life that you may be in disobedience. He will do it! He wants to help you and correct you with His great love and unfailing mercy. He will give you the grace and strength to complete each task He has given you. Don't put it off! Ask Him today and let His Spirit lead you. God bless you!

~Bridgett Owens

Friday, March 17, 2017

Loaves and Fishes


When I was on my medical mission trip recently, I had the opportunity to get to know members of our group a lot better. One of the women who went stated she really wanted to know the Bible better. She had a basic understanding of some things, but she didn't have the experience of learning the Bible stories like so many of us who have grown up in the church. I started to think, I wonder if she would know the story of the loaves and fishes. It's a great message to build faith and look inward at our hearts to check our motives. We can read it together.
JOHN 6:1-14

Jesus had been healing people of different diseases. By speaking His Word after seeing one's faith, if they had an illness or infirmity, Jesus would heal them. Obviously this started to get people's attention. Some may have been curious. Some may have been skeptical. Some may have wanted to be healed, too. The Bible says regardless of the reason, many followed for the miracles (verse 2). Are you following Jesus? What is your motivation? Is it to get something you want? Check your heart. Are you drawn to Jesus because you want more of Him or you want more from Him?

Jesus went up into a mountain and sat down with his disciples. I just came back from my medical mission trip in a mountainous region. It was magnificent to see mountains everywhere I looked. They were all around me. I was in the valley, but how amazing to have scaled the mountain with Jesus, my Savior, and sit down with him like the disciples did. Jesus is with us when we have to climb the spiritual mountains in our lives too. He doesn't leave us in the valley, he takes us up higher.
The passover feast of the Jews was coming up. Jesus was up on the mountain and from that view he could see the crowd approaching. When you are on the mountain with Jesus, following where He leads, you can see things coming at you from afar off and start preparing for it. Jesus starts preparing the disciples for the crowd of people who are coming after Jesus.

Jesus looks right at Philip. He could have asked any of the disciples but he questions Philip as to what should be done. This is a time of feasting. These people will be hungry. Jesus asks the disciple how he can provide food for them. Jesus has a plan! He always has a plan! But He wanted to see what Philip would do in this situation.

Philip looked at it from a financial standpoint. He knew it would cost a lot of money. If they had the money, how could they afford to feed everyone? Has God placed something in your heart to do and you start wondering how you can afford to do it? There is something very important God has placed in my heart to do and I know that we will but I do not know how we will get the finances we need to make it happen. It's easy to look at our situations from a financial perspective, and start to worry, but the Bible says in Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Another disciple, Andrew, looked at the physical situation. He sees a young boy and thinks it might work but there just isn't enough. He sees something that if there was just more of it, it would do. What do we need God to multiply in our lives to fit the great need? There is nothing that God cannot do. In Jeremiah 32:26-27 we read, Then came the Word of the LORD, unto Jeremiah, saying, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?" I can answer that! No, LORD! There is nothing my God cannot do!

Both of these men, Philip and Andrew, are sitting right next to the answer! Jesus already knew what He was going to do. I wonder if any of the other disciples had ideas of how to feed that many people. That is a lot of people to feed! In verse 10, the number is 5,000 men. That's a lot of appetites to fill! This doesn't even say how many women and children were with these men. That is a lot of food to prepare. A small dinner party can cost a lot of money, but to feed 5,000 men...Philip was right to think it would be astronomical to pay for the food. So how could they minister to these people and help them if they couldn't feed them?

The Bible doesn't say if there was an exchange between Jesus and the boy. Was the boy willing to give up his five loaves of barley and two small fishes to Jesus? Did he just offer it up? Or was he asked of Jesus and then quickly obeyed? Did the boy hesitate and wonder how he was going to explain things to his mother when he had given all the food away. All we know is that Jesus took what the boy had, all that he had to offer, and multiplied it to meet a greater need!

In verse 11 it says they ate as much as they wanted! They were full. They didn't just get a bite or nibble. They didn't have an appetizer or snack to "tide them over" until they got somewhere else. No, they were with Jesus and He is the God of more than enough! He will fill up empty stomachs and bless hearts and lives until they overflow!

I love that in verse 12, Jesus tells the disciples to gather up the remaining fish and bread so that nothing is lost! He didn't want one crumb to go to waste! There was a big blessing in store for the obedient boy and Jesus wanted to make sure he got it all!!!

The boy gave all that he had. This must have taken a lot of faith, but we are to have that childlike, trusting faith to just simply obey! The boy may have been on his way home to feed his family with whatever fish he caught that day and some bread, but instead the boy obeyed Jesus and there is no mention of the child even being a little reluctant to give all that he has to Jesus. Yet when we are asked to give something up, or to give something away, how quick do we obey? How quick are we to make excuses and only want to give a portion, not the whole thing? This boy was rewarded for his obedience and by giving all that he had, he was blessed with even more than he started with. God is so good like that!

We can't forget the other people in the story. We talked about the disciples and we talked about the boy. But what about all those men who ate the food? They had to see the bread and the fish multiply and multiply, row after row, man after man grabbing and eating until they are full! In verse 14 it says they believed in Jesus after seeing this miracle. That should make anyone a believer! Sometimes God allows us to get our backs against the wall and seemingly no way out, so we can put our faith in Him and watch Him work it all out for our good and for His glory. It increases our faith! It builds our confidence in Him. It teaches us that He is for us, not against us. He is our ever present help in our time of need. He will bless us with what we have need of. He loves us. He cares for us. He can do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or think!

Let me encourage you with these scriptures in closing! Don't be afraid to take your needs to Jesus. Give Him all you got and watch Him multiply it to meet the needs of you and so many all around you! You cannot outgive God!

Psalm 68:19
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Romans 8:31
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I John 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.

I Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.

Ephesians 3:20
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

~Bridgett Owens