Nature Joe: Love, Squirrel Purpose, and burying Nuts

God Gold of the day

‘“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ‘

Matthew 22:36-40

TBT: “Going in Your Purpose”

God Gold of the day

Acts 9:19-22

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

Once Paul was given this new life filled with the Holy Spirit, he didn’t sit around all hunky dory just happy to be there, he took the power and the truth he was given and gave back by starting his ministry. What’s even more impressive about him jumping straight to action is he knew there would be opposition because the people he was speaking to were the same people he used to work with, slandering and murdering over the name of Jesus, but that didn’t stop him. With Paul being a good steward of his new life, he wasn’t left high and dry to be spit on and ridiculed, but he was blessed by the Lord with strength to withstand it. We are put in situations all the time when we know there will be resistance and opposition whether we are spreading the Gospel to people who don’t believe or taking on strongholds of sin. I’ll be honest there is a lot of times where I’ve been weak and hid so I didn’t have to face the opposition and what’s encouraging to me is when Paul was facing even bigger opposition with people who probably wanted to kill him after switching sides, he stayed faithful, kept preaching, and was rewarded with the strength to keep on going, proclaiming the name of Christ even more.

My big challenges to myself and to you from this is not to wait around to spread the name of Jesus cause it will never be an easy task to be done with no resistance and in living a Christlike life through words and action, when the opposition comes, no matter how bad it is, we need to meet it at the door instead of hiding in a closet because if we stay faithful, right beside that opposition is going to be the Lord blessing us with the strength to stand firm and blow past the opposition. I know I read this and thought “yeah of course Paul would do that after being given this gift of new life.” Then I asked myself, “if that seems so obvious then why don’t my actions show how thankful I am for this gift I’ve been given?”

TBT: “For Such a Time as This”

God Gold of the day

Esther 4:12-14

And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

In these verses there is a decree sent out to have all the Jews killed. Mordecai (Jew) and Esther (Jew), he’s giving her advice on what she can do to help since she was brought into the kingdom in the most unusual of ways, now she is the queen.

After reading this I thought, “do I think if I back away, stay over where I’m at, where I’m comfortable and nothing bad will happen in the tough situations brought up by being a Christian?” Do we want to be comfortable and nothing bad happen, or be uncomfortable and something amazing happens, not for us but for the Kingdom? Another crazy thought, no matter what struggle we’re in, what enemies are around us, just any situation we may have, God’s Kingdom is going to prevail no matter what we decide to do, so wouldn’t we want to suffer over a good cause, Godly cause rather than suffer to our flesh and let the world push us down? What if the people around you at your jobs or wherever you are have been divinely placed in your path for such a time as this? We going to stand up or shrink back? Suffer for the Kingdom or suffer for yourself? What if this message was sent for such a time as this? Really sit back, pay attention to all the moments in your day, it’s crazy how God works things out for His children, question is what are we going to do about it?

To add to this God Gold message that was written sometime back now, I want to reinforce the challenge here to you with the challenge given earlier this week and the context that we face now in our lives. God has a crazy way of working things together, to place two Jews in an area such as the Kingdom of the land in such a brutal and hard time for anyone that was a Jew. How crazy is that? To you, who may be at home, no work at the moment, you’re quarantined for a while in the midst of this virus that is going around causing fear come to many of the people around us, We have a choice to make. We can sit comfortably in our homes, watch Netflix and do whatever please us in this time. We can spend our time hiding from the hurt and pain that is plaguing the world around us and our neighbors and act as if it isn’t happening because as long as me and my family are good that’s all that matters.

OR, we can rise up, as the “church” of Christ, His hands and feet we can step up and reach out to others around us that are in need. We can look to ways to offer our assistance even if that is a loving voice to talk to or a message of encouragement over the phone. God has placed us here for such a time as this, He has rid us of distractions and given us the gift of technology for such a time as this! He has given us an opportunity to serve the hurting others around us with His love!!! To give them hope when all they see is hopelessness, to give them joy when all they feel is despair, to give them faith where their faith may have been running low! ‘

For such a time as this, God has given us a purpose to walk in and everything we need to do it!!! Let’s rise up and take hold of what God is going to do in our lives and even more importantly, in the many lives around us!!!

It’s Not About Me

God Gold of the day

‘All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. (Verse 3)

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. ‘ (Verse 4-5)

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Tuesday on the God Gold we took a look at some big-time truth! We learned, as it states in verse 3, God is the source of all comfort. We saw areas in our lives where we seek out comfort in the other options the world offers us, in “things.” We took inventory of those “things” we seek for comfort and see when compared to the comfort God gives us, these “things” we use for comfort horizontally in this world are no match to the One whom we seek after vertically which is God. Thank the Lord for giving us Himself, the greatest and only source of true, everlasting comfort in our lives.

Today, we see “why does God comfort us?”

The answer is simple, it’s the same reason we endure suffering for the name of Christ. OTHERS!!!!

I know, it doesn’t sound too appealing right? I thought God was here to comfort us in our troubles solely for “ME.” Well, that’s just not true. Our comfort comes from God so it is never ours in the first place. We receive God’s comfort as we go through different trials and struggles in our daily lives not just so we can have a comfortable life, a “blessed” life. God is always up to so much more than we could ever imagine, God is always at work in our lives to the beat of His drum and not our own. God is simply doing more through our lives than we can see in the current moment. What we see as a struggle in our life, others see the same thing because they too face struggles. If you’re a breathing human being on this earth, chances are certain that you are struggling with something or going through some kind of trouble.

When others see you struggling, they can relate. BUT…..when others seeing you struggling and facing troubles in your life, and you handle them all with such peace and grace. Others see you getting hit by a storm but there you are swimming right through it with a smile on your face filled with joy. So others ask, “how can that be?” It’s odd to see someone handling tough circumstances so smoothly, the only answer to that is GOD!!!!

Out of all the tough situations and troubles I’ve been through, God has given me such comfort in knowing Him personally. God has comforted me in ways that I don’t deserve, but what I fail to realize a lot of the time is this comfort I receive isn’t God blessing me and me alone. What I’ve learned from these verses and what I hope will add some value to your life today is God opening up an opportunity. God shows here that. yes, we are going to suffer more and more as we live our lives for Christ. yes, He is always going to be there to comfort me, but what’s bigger than all of this is what God shows us as; The purpose in the pain.

There is purpose in our pain. When we go through things that are bigger than what we can handle, we have no choice but to lean on God and there He is, arms wide open there to comfort us through it all. But that’s not the extent of God’s purpose for our pain. God’s has a purpose in all that takes place in our lives, ALL for the purpose of pointing others to Him. That’s it! That’s the purpose in the pain. That is why God allows us to go through what we go through and takes care of us the way He does because He is working a bigger plan together that impacts so many more lives for the His Kingdom than what we only see in our little “ME Bubble.”

God’s purpose in your pain, God’s purpose in showing you His comfort in the pain, it’s not all for you, it’s for the ones He’s placed around you. So when you go through something hard and God delivers you, provides for you and gets you through it, it’s bigger than you. That is God opening the door for you to use those moments to impact other’s lives in a BIG way, a God sized way! Those moments God gives us the chance to explain and share with others, “yeah this is really hard but it’s only because of God and His comforting presence in my life that I am still here smiling and standing upright.” If we know others around us are facing battles with trouble too, do you see the opportunity to be had?!?!? God is giving you the chance to show them that this same God that came into your life, met you so mercifully in the midst of your storm and provided His faithful and loving hand of comfort, this is the same God that can do the same in your life.

It hurts to think of all these opportunities I’ve wasted worrying about ME getting through, and what does this mean for ME. Take a look around, there is druggies walking the streets, addicts looking for their next fix, people in our lives chasing so many comforts for their problems and here we stand with the greatest solution to their comfort issue. God has given us such a great opportunity to share with others that there is another way, these ways you’ve been trying that aren’t working, that have you feeling trapped and defeated, the ways of this world and the things we try aren’t the only option. There is a better option, the greatest option, the ONLY option that will fill your comfort need the way you are seeking, His name is Jesus and this is what He’s done in my life.

Move aside from thinking it’s all about you today and walk in the awesome opportunities God has given you to point the hurting people all around you to Him. He has called us for more than having personal comfort in Him. He’s given us a mission and a purpose in all we face and do to share with others the only way to find true comfort in this life. And that way is Jesus.