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Maybe This Is Why Life Sucks, Psalm 16:4a

Buddy showing me that he’s eaten his dinner and needs a napkin.

Before I adopted Buddy from Silky Terrier Rescue, he had a different master who mistreated him. When he came under my protection, his life dramatically improved for the better, as he is now loved, adored and doted on, instead of being abused.

Some people wonder why their lives continuously suck and never improve. The Psalmist, King David of ancient Israel, gives a clue why:

“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;” Psalm 16:a

Now, honestly, I cannot recall why it was recommended in a book I’ve been reading that a person should memorize this Psalm, but I’ve been working on it, one verse at a time. And whenever I repeat this verse, I feel sad for people who have rejected Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the Christian faith, because they don’t realize that their lives could improve if they would accept Christ as their Shepherd and follow His direction.

Jesus never promised an easy life free of care, but that life would be “full of tribulation” (John 16:33). He did promise rest, peace and His love to help cope with the circumstances of life. After all, Satan still “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” warned Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:8. Jesus is our only protection from our “adversary”.

But what will happen is that you’ll stop shooting yourself in the foot. By faithfully reading the Word of God, the Bible, and asking the Holy Spirit to help you apply what you’re learning (which is wisdom, the application of knowledge), you’ll do and say fewer stupid and sinful things that get you into unnecessary trouble.

As I’ve grown in the knowledge of God’s love for me and others, I am learning where I fall short of perfect love. Like all Christians, I’m learning where my attitudes and behavior is unloving and how to grow and change. I know that I am a much better person than I was the day I became born again March 7th, 1989, and I will be a kinder person next year as God, through the Holy Spirit, continues to shine His flashlight of truth into the dark rooms of my soul and cleans out the dirt and cockroaches of selfishness.

So, please ask yourself: Are you shooting yourself in the foot?

God bless from Dawn and Buddy

***

If you said, “Yes, I’m tired of having sore feet,” please pray this short prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I have fallen short of your perfect standards and deserve punishment for my sins, which is eternal separation from You. But you sent Jesus to take the punishment that I deserve, because You love me and want to be my best friend and father. Please forgive my sins. I believe that Jesus died for my own sins on the Cross and was resurrected bodily from the grave. I ask Him to be my God, Lord and Shepherd. I ask for the Holy Spirit to enter into my life and be my guide. For Jesus promised, “your heavenly Father (will) give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13).”

If you prayed that prayer, please read the Bible every day and ask that God lead and guide you. Seek a Bible-based church to attend, once the lockdowns are lifted, so that you have fellow Christians to help you learn more about God and encourage you in your faith and life. The 23rd Psalm is a great Bible passage to memorize. It’s short and will encourage you.

Unforeseen Consequences of Obedience, Deuteronomy 34:10

Buddy is looking back at the flooding last Month at a nearby park in Scottsdale, Arizona. Normally, when it rains here, it pours and the parks quickly flood. As a result, often the parks are closed until the paths have cleared.

“Since that time no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Deuteronomy 34:10

After the death of Moses, Joshua took over the responsibility of leading the Jewish nation into the Promised Land. Moses could not have foreseen the future when he was a shepherd in the wilderness and led his flock near “Horeb, the mountain of God (Exodus 3:1)”. The day probably began just like any other day as he went about his daily duties instead of being idle. But the Angel of the Lord appeared to Him, commanding him to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

The Lord identified Himself as “I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14)” and commanded Moses to go to Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt and the most powerful kingdom at that time (Amenhotep II, 1446 BC), to demand that the Jewish people be set free from their slavery. After God sent a series of 10 Plagues upon the Egyptians to judge their idolatry and allegiance to false gods (Exodus 11:12), Moses and his brother Aaron led the Jewish people into the wilderness to begin their trek toward the land that the Lord had promised to give to the descendants of Abraham (Exodus 17:8).

Because Moses became angry and disobeyed God in the sight of the people of Israel, God did not permit him to enter the Promised Land (Exodus 20:12) but did show him the land from a high vantage point, Mount Nebo, before he died (Deuteronomy 34:1-5).

The point is this after this brief summary of history: Moses could not have foreseen that he would become the most famous man in all of human history, (except perhaps the Jewish patriarch, Abraham), when he chose to obey God and traveled to Egypt with his brother Aaron after exile in the wilderness for forty years. If he’d said “No” to the Lord, his name would probably have been lost to history, except in someone’s Jewish ancestral tree. Nor could he have foreseen that, although assuming the responsibility of leading such a mighty army of people according to God’s will, that one spell of anger would cost him entrance into the Holy Land.

When we choose to obey or disobey God’s commands as listed in the Bible, or choose to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us (if you’re born again), we cannot ultimately foresee the consequences. One small act of obedience, or disobedience, may have a snowball effect that we cannot predict.

Because only God knows the future.

You might feel like today is just another day. You’ve been trying to do good, but the seeds you’re planting do not seem to be blossoming and bearing fruit. But don’t despair. Seeds take time to grow. You cannot foresee the snowballing consequences of that one act of kindness or obedience that you’ve sown today. That encouraging word to a frightened unbeliever during this time of crisis might lead them to start their journey toward God.

And you cannot know when God may call you to greater deeds in the midst of an ordinary activity.

“Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

God bless and take care.

***

Information regarding who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was researched on the website: CrossExamined.org

Is This Preventing Your Blessing? Luke 16:10

Stripes of Shadows.wp

Buddy is a little dog–about 19 pounds–but he has a big personality and casts a big shadow in a room. You definitely know when he is around.

Jesus talked about the importance of the little things that we do.

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous also in much.”–Luke 16:10

God doesn’t just notice the big brave acts or mighty deeds of so-called important Christians: He is omniscient and omnipresent, meaning He sees everything we say, do and think. He is called El Roi–“The God Who Sees’–by Hagar, Abraham’s concubine, after God hears her pleas for help in the desert wilderness after she fled from his wife Sarah’s wrath. (Her son was mocking Isaac, the son born to Sarah and Abraham when they were elderly.) See Genesis 16:13

God cannot trust someone with big responsibilities if they cannot be faithful in the little things, when the stakes to act with integrity are much lower.

I think most people pretty much agree with the Eighth Commandment that God handed down to Moses as a basic guideline to the Jewish nation on how to live godly:

“Thou shall not steal.”–Exodus 20:15

Would you agree that God would not want to bless theft? And, therefore, He might withhold prospering someone financially to get their attention in an area where they might be stealing from another person and not be aware of it? He jealously guards His reputation and wants His people to act with integrity, so that nonbelievers will not slander His church.

Nowadays, these following forms of theft occur far too frequently: Downloading copyrighted music or copying music CDs that should be paid for and aren’t; copying photos or drawings and reselling them in some form, say a book cover or article, without permission to use them or haven’t purchased the rights; copying software loaned from a friend instead of purchasing the original software–this is theft of someone’s copyright.

Creatives depend upon the honesty and integrity of others for their financial support. Sometimes it can mean the difference between making a living or getting discouraged and giving up.

Just because the Internet makes theft easier, doesn’t make it right.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s a large corporation selling the material or an individual creative. Stealing isn’t right, regardless of who is being ripped off. Today I just read an article in the Seattle Times about how thieves are copying people’s books and reselling them online. It’s eating into smaller companies’ and self-publishers’ profits. (See the article by David Streitfeld sourced from The New York Times titled, “Sellers in Amazon’s bookstore feel beaten up by counterfeit Wild West” for the details.)

For example:

Let’s say, Joe obtains a CD from the library. He really enjoyed it, so he copies it to his computer.

That’s theft. Joe should purchase a copy of it.

Alice finds a great cartoon drawing online. She downloads a copy, prints off T-shirts with her own caption and logo, and sells them.

That’s theft. Don’t assume that, just because something is on Google Images or anywhere else on the Internet, that it’s fair game to copy and use it however you’d like.

So if you’re one of the persons who is wondering why you’re tithing and being financially responsible to the best of your ability, working hard and are not lazy, are not coveting or trying to sabotage someone else’s success, encourage and help others to succeed, yet God is not answering your prayers for prosperity, maybe it’s because you’re being unfaithful in a very little thing: stealing someone’s copyrighted material.

And some creative believer might be praying to God to protect their copyrighted material–and praying against you.

Because your little act(s) of theft are having a big consequence on their bottom line.

***

Sorry, but tonight I thought I’d share my pet peeve. I always strive to honor other people’s copyrights because I want my copyrighted material to be respected by others ie, The Golden Rule. It was actually a coincidence that I read the article in the Seattle Times today (6/24/19) at dinnertime as I had already decided to blog on this topic when driving home from work. I think that multiple coincidences in a short period of time can sometimes confirm it’s an issue God wants to highlight. However, please don’t put too much stock in coincidences because, sometimes, that’s just what they are: coincidences and not divine signposts.

And if I hit a sore spot tonight, please remember that if you confess your sin and repent, you’re forgiven. Christians live under an umbrella of forgiveness, bought by the blood of Christ. All our sins are covered by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We cannot earn God’s forgiveness. It’s an important distinction: It’s not that God won’t forgive or that He’s mean, but He cannot bless what breaks His rules and, thereby, encourage wrong behavior. He wants us to “walk in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).

Trust God to provide your desires in a manner that glorifies Him and protects your reputation for integrity.