ARE WE DESPERATE ENOUGH???

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Mark 7:24-30 – “Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  28 But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”  30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.”  NASU

 

Jesus said in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  He repeatedly informed us that “if we seek Him we will find Him or be found of Him.”  He instructed us in (Matthew 7), to “Ask, seek, and knock” which by implication instructs importunity and persistence.  It demands a determination and persistence that we will be satisfied with nothing short of the answer.  Here, we have an object lesson or a teaching moment in Scripture of both persistence, faith, and grace.

A woman, not a Jew, heard of Jesus and knew of His location and managed to come near Him.  Sadly, too often we seem to be unaware of where He is and thereby fail to come near.  This woman had a daughter that was demon-possessed and she had heard of Jesus’ miracles and power and had such a love for her child she was determined for deliverance.  She probably was making somewhat of a scene in her constant petition for Jesus to heal her child and cast out the devil.  Jesus said, and it seems, more than once, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  In our Politically Correct world, Jesus would have been branded a bigot and a racist for He just called this Gentile woman a dog.  His statement was an insult to those of her race.  Jesus would have been attacked vehemently for his insensitivity and compassion.  Yet, He was seeking something and revealing something in this powerful moment.

This woman, rather than becoming offended, and holding a press conference or posting on Social Media the insensitivity of Jesus she said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”  AMAZING!  She was so hungry for God’s mercy and the deliverance of her child she identified herself as unworthy but addressed the Grace of God that even those unworthy are made worthy by His Grace and Love.  When she said this, Jesus, not because it changed His mind but so that those watching and hearing would realize that Jesus was looking for humility, faith, and persistence and found it in that statement.  He HEALED the child and set her free.

May we humble ourselves and come before Him determined to press in and touch the hem of His garment determined to not go until we receive His touch in and on our lives.  May we recognize our unworthiness and realize that we are made worthy through Him and He invites us to enter His presence.  May we become desperate enough to receive!

God, bless you as you embark on today’s leg of your life’s journey in Christ Jesus our Lord!

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FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS…

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Psalm 103:1-5 – “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.           2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”  NASU

 

No, I am not talking about some casual sexual relationship but want to offer you a view of OUR GOD and HIS PROMISES or Our Friend and the Benefits He offers us.  The more I discover and experience God’s Promises the more I am amazed at God, our God, THE LIVING GOD, Creator of all things.  HE IS AMAZING!  This Psalm is so powerful it should be committed to memory and quoted multiple times each day to remind us of this Friend and His benefits.  Consider the Psalm with me briefly.

It begins with PRAISE, WORSHIP, and our BLESSING the LORD with our entire being, “all that is within me.”  This is more than a casual mental acknowledgment or verbal expression of Who God is but it is heartfelt and flows out of our “innermost being”.  It reaches to our core and gushes forth like an artesian well or a geyser.  This is how we should begin our day in ADORATION, WORSHIP, and PRAISE of the LORD our God!  We enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with Praise. 

It transitions into REMEMBRANCE where we instruct our mind, heart, and soul – REMEMBER!  “Soul, you dare not forget any of His benefits!”  What are those benefits?  Pardon of ALL our iniquities.  That alone would be sufficient for us to be in a continual state and attitude of Praise to God.  FORGIVEN is the one word that I would want on my tombstone.  I don’t need to be remembered for anything else, those things that I have done will take care of themselves but as a testimony of God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace FORGIVEN is how I want to be remembered.  Heals ALL our diseases.  That is nothing short of amazing and while I cannot explain sickness or disease in believers the declaration of the Psalmist of a benefit of this friend is healing of ALL disease.  Therefore, I am perfectly comfortable with praying for healing for myself and others and expecting that to become a present reality and why I never pray, “If it be thy will, regarding sickness.”  I do not believe that God is the author of sickness but it is spawned from hell and is not meant to be part of the children’s bread.  Yes, believers get sick and some die from those diseases and I would never want to infer that I believe it is their fault or a lack of faith.  I would rather suggest that each of us focus on the benefits of God that include healing and encourage any sick to pray determinedly and earnestly for the fulfillment of the benefit.

As we move forward in the list of benefits we are not to forget we find an interesting one beginning in (v.4) – “Who redeems your life from the pit…”  The KJV translates that as destruction and the word means “a trap”.  God promises to redeem us from the ‘snares of the wicked.’   Remember Psalm 91?  Not only are we kept from or delivered out of the trap of the devil, no matter what that trap might be, God then “…crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion.”  WOW!  God’s favor, mercy, grace, peace, power, provision, and anointing is given to us.  We are CROWNED with it!  The Promise only grows stronger and more wonderful in (v.5) – “Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”  That is both wonderful and inspiring.  The KJV renders it “satisfies your mouth.”  God’s provision is in all things and we know from James 1:7 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above…”  They come from the Father.  So, one of the benefits of this friendship is GOOD GIFTS that satisfy our every need in life and a continual renewal of our strength like the molting eagle enabling him to soar year after year.

Jesus is our Friend who provides benefits that we must NEVER forget and should ALWAYS be thankful and offer Praise to Him.  May the Lord watch over you, guard and guide you on this day and bless your richly!

SHOOTING FROM THE LIP – “Telling It Like It Is.”

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James 1:26-27 – “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” NASU

 

I have known Christians through the years, including preachers, who proudly declare “I always tell it like it is.”  Frequently that was a justification for blasting everything they did not like or agree with and sometimes a rationale for being self-appointed fruit inspectors and protectors of truth.  I suspect that God both laughs at that and frowns deeply.  He laughs at the idea that anyone could presume to know all truth and have such moral superiority they could judge others and frown because of those things.

The words of James have long been a deterrent for me in ‘shooting off my mouth’ and ‘speaking my mind’ without discretion.  It has not always succeeded but has worked more than not to cause me to ‘zip my lip’ when I would like to ‘give a piece of my mind.’  I heard a preacher as a parishioner who told him, “I would like to give you a piece of my mind.”  He said, “I suggest you refrain from doing so, I’m not sure you can spare any of it.”  It was not well received initially but after a few minutes, they both burst into laughter.  James takes us to task about our perception of our religious or spiritual stature.  He plainly states, that IF we have a lofty view of ourselves spiritually or religiously but do not or cannot ‘bridle our tongues’ we are living in self-deception.  That would be bad enough but he continues saying, “This man’s religion is worthless.”  WHOA!  That is an incredibly strong statement.

Proverbs 18:21 instructs that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”  In 1 Peter 3:10 we read, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”  In Ephesians 4:29 we find, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  In Proverbs 12:18, “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.”  In Proverbs 15:14, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.”  In Proverbs 13:3, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”

The tongue, James 3 describes as being small but incredibly powerful and capable of doing incredible damage or good.  We want our words to be springs of life that encourage and inspire. We want our words to be uplifting, filled with grace and hope.  We want our words to glorify God not do damage and harm.  We do not want our tongues to be like a match in a dry forest.  We do not want our tongues to be sharp swords of harm but able to be the fruit of righteousness.

I suggest that each of us should ask the Holy Spirit to set a guard at our lips and weigh our words before uttering them.  Let’s be voices of Hope.  God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in December in Jesus!

WHO ARE WE???

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The Gospel Song, “Who Am I?” comes to mind as I reflect on this day and what the Holy Spirit is saying to us today.  Who are we?  I am confident that when we truly discover WHO we are we will be able to BECOME that person in life and impact our world.  There is a myriad of verses in the Bible that identify who we are in Christ Jesus and it is only through Him that we can truly fulfill our mission, assignment, and purpose in life.

Back in 1995 I was sitting alone meditating on life and the things of God I wrote the following little poem and I want to share it with you, hoping it will encourage your heart and help you know the value of your life and every life.

God, bless you and may your life be rich, full, and free in Christ Jesus!

MISTER, Are You Somebody?

As I was walking through a busy Airport one day

In quite a hurry to get on my way

I felt a tug at my sleeve

And saw a sight that I could not believe.

A dirty tattered young lad

He was still sobbing, obviously, sad.

He looked up at me, with eyes full of fear

And mumbled these words as he brushed back a tear.

They told me somebody would help me today

And they pointed for me to come this way.

Mister, you’re the only person I see

Tell me, are you, somebody?

Today, I think back on that and grin

But it wasn’t that way back then.

Disheveled and alone was this small lad

He had no mother, he had no dad.

An outcast, nobody wanted to claim

He wasn’t even sure of his name.

Hungry, heartbroken, and shaking with fright

Etched on my memory, forever that sight.

I took him by his soiled, little hand

And led him over to the nearest refreshment stand.

Let’s get you something to eat

I said while ushering him to a seat.

As I heard this lad’s awful plight

And I gazed upon that pitiful sight

I knew that my flight I’d have to delay

For with this child, I would surely stay.

He was barely eight years old

And the night was ever so cold.

It was morning before the authorities came

Soon they found out his name.

They called an uncle who responded with joy

He now has custody of that frightened little boy.

Exhausted I now caught my flight

And the airport slowly disappeared from sight.

The Lord, caused me to recall

A man in the Bible, who on hard times did fall.

Somebody came to his aide

And for his care lovingly paid.

I guess the answer to the question, he asked of me

Is Yes, in Christ, I am Somebody!

© 1995 Roy Beaird

As you embark on today’s leg of life’s journey I pray that you will realize not just Who you are but Whose you are.  May the Life of God powerfully flood your heart and mind and enable you to be a walking manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Love!

Abundant Blessings is my prayer!

 

SEEKING or EARNESTLY SEEKING GOD???

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Hebrews 11:6 – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  NKJV

Hebrews 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” NIV

 

How many times have we declared that we are those who are ‘Seekers of God’?   I have, and some time back the Holy Spirit checked me and asked, “Are your seeking or earnestly seeking?”  That took be by surprise for in my mind they were the same, but are they?  Obviously, if we examine the reality we quickly understand that one can ‘SEEK’ something without fulfilling the description of ‘EARNESTLY SEEKING.’  The passage in our text reveals a number of things but the one that leaped off the page at me was the last portion, “a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY  or EARNESTLY seek Him.” 

The word translated, ‘diligently’ or ‘earnestly’ means to ‘search out, investigate, crave, demand and by Hebraism worship.’  This is more than a casual looking for but a determined, diligent, earnest, and THIRSTING for God.  Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  The image of ‘earnest seeking’ can be seen in Psalm 42:1 – “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.” The imagery presented in that of extreme thirst that without a refreshing and life giving drink death results.  Therefore, if we are those who ‘earnestly seek God’ we are those who are so thirsty for Him that unless we find the Water of Life in Him through the Spirit we perish.  This is the kind of pursuit that will not be deterred by anything or anyone.  It is a matter of life or death.

The imagery is presented by our Lord in Luke 18 in the story of the widow and the judge.  She refused to be denied and because of her persistence the judge granted her request. In her case, it was a matter of life or death and denial was not acceptable.  She deemed her life without value or significance WITHOUT THE PROPER VERDICT from the judge.  Is finding God’s will, direction, provision, and fellowship that important to us in our daily lives?  Are we so desperately hungry and thirsty for God that we will be satisfied with nothing less than His presence?  Are we committed and determined to ‘SEEK HIM’ until we find Him?

Remember the words of God to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:13-14 – “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” WITH ALL YOUR HEART, not casually looking when it is convenient and costs little.  The Earnestly Seeking that I am referring to and which is required to FIND GOD and know that we know that we know is the kind of searching that is life or death.  In Deuteronomy 4:29 – “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” 

Let me offer some Good News!  God has does not intend it to be difficult for us to find Him.  He is never far away, remember the words of David in Psalm 139:8 –If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”  God is desirous that we find Him.  He has a will and were He to hide that will from us or make it so difficult to discover we would lose heart and quit. God wants us to know and do His will, therefore, He makes it easy for us to FIND HIM when we SEEK HIM with our WHOLE HEART or DILIGENTLY and EARNESTLY.  I encourage everyone, including myself to determine in our hearts that finding God and coming into His presence is LIFE and DEATH.

God, bless you richly on this day after Christmas is my prayer.  Let’s determine that we will EARNESTLY SEEK HIS FACE in all things and at all times!

MERRY CHRISTMAS – 2016

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Today is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Whether it is the actual day which He was born is not what is most important.  The more important is the WHAT and WHY we celebrate this day.  In our celebration we are recognizing that God in His incredible love cared enough for mankind that the He was willing for Jesus to come to earth, born of a woman and live among men.  This Jesus would not only have a miraculous birth where the seed of God would be implanted in a virgin maiden and the immaculate conception would transpire and that child would grow to be a man, live a sinless life, and offer Himself a ransom for ‘whosoever will come’ in repentance and faith and receive the forgiveness of sin.

Christmas is the Greatest Gift.  It was the gift of incredible love, given by God to mankind.  The gift we should offer in return is our lives our entire being to Him.  He gave us Hope of Life, what greater gift could be given to human beings than Forgiveness of Sin, Eternal Life, and Fellowship with our Creator?  Today, we celebrate Christmas and through the years I have had children and adults ask me about Christmas and the most frequently asked question is probably, “When Will It Be Christmas?”  With that thought in mind, I wrote the following and now share it with you.  As you read I trust the Holy Spirit will quicken the meaning of Christmas to your heart and cause the Love of God to well up within your being and you discover not only WHEN but WHAT and WHY Christmas.   MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

WHEN WILL IT BE CHRISTMAS?

 

When it be, Christmas asked the little boy

As he longed for that wished-for toy.

The anticipation for a child can be quite the trial

I remember my children’s anticipation with a joyous smile.

Their little hearts so eager to see

What might be under the Christmas tree!

 

Some years ago, a discussion I shall never forget

Those around the table offered lament and regret.

Christmas, to them, was not a time of glee

It was a time from which they wanted to flee.

The hustle, the bustle, the push, and the shove

Christmas, to them, was anything but the Season of love.

 

One laughed and said can we postpone Christmas this year?

My kids are asking, when will Christmas be here?

She said I hate this Season more than the rest

My patience, are severely put to the test.

This is not what Christmas was as a child,

And a tear ran down her cheek as wearily she smiled.

 

When will it be Christmas you might inquire?

When will we experience that, which will inspire?

The question of when is valid as an end

But what and why must be where we begin.

What is Christmas and Why?

The beginning of wisdom is my cry.

 

In the What we understand it was the Messiah’s birth.

When the Son of God would become man on the earth.

In the Why, I discover God’s love for me

Jesus was born to live and die so I could be free.

What speaks of the event of his birth and the why of His love?

Transforming, redeeming Grace from above.

 

As I discover the What of Christmas I see

A savior born who would rescue me.

As I discover the Why of Christmas I realize

The gift of love, that heavenly prize.

When is it Christmas, if you ask me

It is when from the shackles of sin, we are free.

 

When is it Christmas one might inquire?

It is when love ignites an inside fire.

When is it Christmas you might request?

It is when love is put to the test.

When is it Christmas for you and me?

Every day of the year when in our lives, Jesus we see.

© Roy Beaird –  2016

It is my prayer and desire that this day and every day of the year you experience Christmas in your heart and demonstrate Christmas to others.  Let the Love Light Shine brightly in your life as we conclude the year 2016 and embark on the journey that 2017 brings with its problems, promises, and possibilities.

God, bless you richly is my prayer and MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone!

HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN IT’S CHRISTMAS??? [Part Two]

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Luke 2:1-12 – “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, ” Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  NASU

 

Back to our question, “How Do We Know When It’s Christmas?”  It seems that the calendar, government, commercialism, people, and even religion are insufficient to truly answer that question.  So where do we turn to find the answer?  I am convinced that to truly KNOW WHEN we must first KNOW WHAT and WHY!  We must view the celebration from Heaven’s point of view and in that we find the Reason and Cause for Celebration.  I am talking about Christmas not the tradition of exchanging gifts, etc. but CHRISTMAS!

WHAT IS CHRISTMAS?

Is this just another of the many holidays recognized each year?  Is it a time for both hassle and pleasure in giving and receiving gifts?  It is a time for profit, merchandise, family gatherings, etc.  What is Christmas?   That is a worthy question I ask you to pursue with me.

Christmas is an Expression of God’s Love.  The birth of Jesus was God’s gift to humanity.  That child would grow up and perform the function of the Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World the Sacrifice for the sin of mankind.  The birth of Jesus revealed God’s incredible Love.  Christmas is Giving.  It originated with God in His gift to us, the first and best gift that could be given.  But what are we to give?  We are to give SELF both to God and to others.  We are to give GIFTS, not just token or reciprocal presents out of necessity or image, but the gift of help, love, concern, consideration, and friendship.  That is the Spirit of Christmas, LOVE, and GIVING.  Not giving for the return or reciprocation but out of love.  Christmas is Manifesting Love.  1 Corinthians 13 is a beautiful passage to read at this time of the year for it embodies what Christmas is all about.  Love cares.  Love acts according to ability, authority, and power.  Love does not falter or fail and is forever faithful.  GOD IS LOVE and He is the very center and foundation of CHRISTMAS which is LOVE.

Christmas is Living and living is a result of experience.  When we combine love and giving flowing from a heart in which Christ Jesus resides we have CHRISTMAS IN OUR HEARTS!  Christmas is Living in such a fashion as to demonstrate Christ’s love.  Christmas is Living in such a fashion as to always point to the Messiah.  Christmas is Living in such a manner as to prove that Christianity is real and works in practical application.

WHY CHRISTMAS?

Christmas’ purpose is to give Hope to mankind.  Christmas reveals the Hope of Access through Jesus.  Christmas expresses the Hope of Heaven through God’s Love and Grace.  Christmas declares the surety of God’s Promises.  Without this miraculous event, the Advent, the Birth of Jesus which we identify as Christmas we would have no basis for hope but because He came, lived, died, and rose from the dead WE HAVE HOPE!  We have CHRISTMAS!

WHEN IS CHRISTMAS?

From a legal, commercial, political, social, and even religious standpoint it is December 25th.  From a Spiritual standpoint, it is Christmas when the Spirit of Christian Love pervades our hearts and finds release and is demonstrated in our lives.  In truth, Christmas is Christ in us, Christ through us, and us in Christ!  It was Christmas (spiritually speaking) when Peter and John came to the Gate Beautiful and healed the lame man.  It was Christmas (spiritually speaking) when the woman at the well came to Jesus.

Christmas is in the Heart and its Spirit can and should last and find expression 365 days per year.  IT CAN BE CHRISTMAS TODAY and IT CAN BE CHRISTMAS next July.  Christmas is Christ in Us and Us in Christ!

            MERRY CHRISTMAS and God bless you richly is my prayer and desire!