oak tree

The devotion in the Open Windows today is based in Genesis 15. In verses 1 and 6 we find, “(v1) After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.(v6) And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”(KJV)

While there is a wealth of information and learning to be received form those scriptures, I simply want to focus on two (2) things.

1. v1, “....Fear not...”
2. v6, “...he believed..”

It is human nature to resist change. Oftentimes, this resistance comes from fear of the unknown. We like to control things as humans and change disrupts our ability to control.

Therefore, when we come to Christ or begin to serve Him for the first time, we are confronted with the abyss of the unknown--what will happen?, what will my friends & family think?, will God actually care for me?, will I really make a difference?, what if?

All those questions are the fear mechanism kicking into gear.

Now, that being said, v6 comes into play, “..he believed..”

The way to overcome our fear and embrace change is simply to believe that God will be there, that you will make a difference (even if you cannot see it), that God will turn the thoughts of your friends and family to good and will use that as an entry point for you to speak to them, that you will further God’s kingdom.

Belief is truly easier said than done, however, belief is an action that when enacted transcends and overcomes fear.
Every day we stand for something. We are either standing with God or against Him.

As our world transforms and the societal norms and mores (values) change from God centered to Godlessness, Christians are increasingly being confronted with persecution.

Christians are now being silently persecuted for praying at council meetings, for refusing to leave their Bibles at home when they go to school, for rejecting abomination in their congregations or for enacting visitation programs--some are even being persecuted for just accepting Jesus.

Satan is exercising his influence upon our nation and our nation’s leaders and Christian’s are the target of the attack. Unfortunately, his strategy of deceit is effective.

What is even more atrocious is that preachers are not taking a stand. Many preachers, though preaching against Satan and his whiles, are only pulpit servants--preaching the Word, but not “rocking the boat” outside the pulpit. This is a travesty.

Over 50 years ago, our Nation had bouts of revival--though that word implies something that was dead being brought back to life--true life changing, community changing revival. Today, most “revivals” are nothing more than “extended” praise and worship services--change lasts until they get into their vehicle.

True “revival”--a better word would be rekindling as it implies a spark still exists but has become ineffective in sustaining a fire--is lasting, it propels transformation, it makes a dramatic impact, it gets things accomplished.

True “revival”/rekindling, reinvigorates the spark of Christianity,it fans the flames of concern for the lost, it forever changes the lives of those consumed by the rekindling.

However, it comes at a cost.

True rekindling, can only be achieved when Christians truly “sell out” for God. When they take a stand and say, “Regardless of the cost, I stand for God and He will take care of the consequences.” True rekindling, means willing to accept losing your income for God. Losing your “old” acquaintances for God. Being homeless for God. Facing your enemies for God.

Just like Israel in the Old Testament, they forsook everything and went into the desert. They followed God without concern for the consequences. They crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan River BECAUSE GOD SAID TO!! They marched around the walls of Jericho, blew trumpets, and shouted BECAUSE GOD SAID TO!

However, today, we argue with God. “I have a family, I cannot quit my job to serve you.” “I am in a position of authority in a public position, I cannot take that stand for you I might lose votes.”

Consider this, there is no reward if there is no sacrifice. Nothing we have on this Earth to sacrifice for God is near as valuable as the Son He sacrificed for us.

Christians, Brothers, Sisters!! This is your call to stand!! The LORD GOD JEHOVAH is calling you right now!! WE need rekindling in our personal souls, we need rekindling in our Churches, we need rekindling in our communities, WE NEED REKINDLING IN OUR NATION!!

Will you answer the call? Will you make the sacrifice? Will you stand with GOD and be counted faithful?

Will you?

If so, just like Israel, GOD has promised to care for you and He will provide all you need regardless of what the may be!!

If not, then you are giving Satan an opportunity to infiltrate your life and slowly destroy your testimony and influence. The inability to follow God is nothing short of a lack of trust and faith in Him.

Make the right choice!! Step out in faith. Choose to take up the cause. Choose to be a spark regardless of the consequences!! If you do, not only will He bring you through the Red Sea and Jordan River, He will cause the enemy’s fortress to crumble and enable you to defeat them. He will slay your Goliath. HE WILL BRING YOU TO YOUR CANAAN!!

If you do, GOD WILL make a transformation in you and those around you that is so profound and lasting that its effect will be greater than any movement our world has ever witnessed in history!! But it takes you to willingly choose God over everything else!!

The choice is yours. Regardless, of which choice, there will be consequences--either God will handle them or you will be left to handle them.
Conducting a Bible study on Wednesday nights. We are going through Charles Stanley’s book, “ 30 Life Principles”.

Principle 1 was: Our intimacy with God. This principle really is the basis for all others. If one ponders what intimacy is, one begins to understand that intimacy is rooted in trust and love. Only through exhibiting unrelenting trust and love can we truly know intimacy. A good example of this is God’s love for us. He set the standard by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our transgressions (sins).

Thought: When we are in an intimate relationship, there are no inhibitions and there is truly nothing we would not do or sacrifice for the object of our intimacy. To be in an intimate relationship with God means that we forget ourselves and “sell-out” to God. That we do what ever He desires because we love Him and desire to please Him.

Principle 2: Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. The basis of this principle is faith. Consider this, to have an intimate relationship, one must have faith in the object of their intimacy. Faith that they can be vulnerable to the object of their intimacy and not be taken advantage of or exploited. Intimacy with God, means being vulnerable to Him--putting it all out there without reservation. Thus, we should be willing, even eager, to do anything God requests without reservation or hesitation.

Thought: When we obey God unconditionally and do what He requests, we are in effect saying, “Ok, God. I trust You. I have faith that regardless of the consequences, You are in control and that You will take care of me with whatever I need.” See, God looks for a willing heart that is all He requires--not education, experience, fluency, or any other attribute, just a willing heart. For when we are willing, we exhibit true faith and with that God works miracles.

Principle 3: God’s Word is an immovable anchor in times of storm: Isn’t it nice to know that when storms arrive we have an anchor that holds true? Just like a ship at sea that “drops anchor” to keep it from being tossed about by the tumultuous waves. If the anchor is sure and steadfast, the ship will stay afloat and not be thrown off course. Conversely, if the anchor fails to hold, the ship will be in peril.

Thought: As we take the leap of faith and obey God at all costs, storms will surely ensue. These storms may vary in their intensity, however, no storm is really a picnic to endure. It is assuring to know that our faith is made whole in the anchor of God’s Word. The very fact that His Word provides us the assurances we need to weather the storm reinforces that He is trustworthy and thereby deepens our intimacy with Him.

Principle 4 will be discussed later, however, we can begin to see a trend in Principles 1 through 3 and how each one builds upon the other while simultaneously working in sync, or synergy, with the other Principles. It is imperative that we as Christians strive to have a true intimate relationship with God. As we draw nearer to God the the intimacy of the relationship deepens and we begin to realize what true fellowship is about. We also begin to realize just how much God really does care for and love us as we begin to see the fruition of His blessings.

Certainly, no one can argue that prior to the eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve enjoyed the most intimate relationship with God than any human other than Jesus. Their relationship with God was so intimate, He would leave Heaven to walk in the garden and commune with them--this is the level of intimacy we should strive to achieve with God (that He would desire to fellowship with us so much, that He would leave Heaven to do so).

One final thought....

What do Intimacy, Obeying, and an Anchor all have in common? They all are actions and require something to be done. Keep this in mind, one cannot have a one-sided intimate relationship, one cannot “obey” and do nothing, and one cannot benefit from an anchor if they never cast it into the sea.

It is all about actions.

Have a blessed day!!
Are you going through a tough time? Are you struggling and do not know what is next? Fret not. God is in control.

The valley’s of our life can be viewed as either a drudgery or as a time of growth--the choice of perspective is ours to indulge.

Consider this, what is an acorn?

The answer depends on what one does with the acorn. If one keeps it on their table, the acorn is nothing more than a decoration. If one plants the acorn, it has the opportunity to transform into a mighty oak tree.

The acorn’s transformation into an oak tree, however, is no easy feat. The seedling must first break through the hard exterior shell, then it must simultaneously grow upward and downward through the hard compacted soil. Upward to the surface and the necessary sunlight that will bring about the process to photosynthesis. Downward into the depths of the soil to establish a root system that will create sustainability and act as an anchor in tumultuous times.

The fragile acorn does this without complaining or worry, instead, it just trusts God to care for it and nurture its growth. Then one day, the seedling looks around and it is a mighty oak tree bearing seeds of it own, providing shade for those who pass by, and reaching upward to God with its branches.

We are like the acorn. When we go through the valley’s of our life, those are the times where God is stimulating our growth and strengthening our root system. If we will simply yield to Him and be patient, we will one day have our eyes opened and see that we too are a mighty oak bearing fruit, caring for others, and worshiping God.

Will you embrace God’s spurring of growth in you, or will you resist growth and remain unfruitful in your shell missing out on the blessings of God?

The choice is yours.

May God guide you to the decision you need to make and may He bless you in every endeavor to partake!!