DRIFTING IS DANGEROUS.

Drifting is Dangerous

JULY,5 2018
THURSDAY

Proverbs 14:15-16

It was my best friend’s birthday,so we decided to celebrate her birthday on the beach in a canoe can you imagine that, that was way back in school anyway. We paid for the canoe and the guy who will take us on this risky adventure. On that faithful afternoon of her birthday we took off everyone on board and we drifted downstream talking, joking, having fun and carrying on. I’m not sure how much time passed as we floated aimlessly along, but we knew we were in trouble when a loud roar reached our ears. Up ahead, water was rushing over the stream. The guy paddling the canoe jumped into the water, Panicked, we grabbed the paddles left in the canoe and pulled hard against the current. Funny enough I don’t know how to swim like wise our friends. We all jumped into the water drowning but to God be the glory, we were rescued by some guys who came swimming. What started out as pure fun nearly ended in disaster.

That’s what happens to many people today. What begins as fun and pleasure ends in shipwreck because people drift along, neglecting to think ahead or notice how fast they’re moving away from the safety of the Lord’s plan. According to the prevailing attitude of modern society, God isn’t needed as long as the stream runs smoothly. In other words, when income is good, the family is safe, and health is stable, going with the flow seems fine. But in reality, a drifting man is being swept along by the world’s currents, which are dangerous without Christ.

Today’s passage reveals that the wise look to the future to avoid ruin. Let me put it another way: Drifting is foolish. In countless arenas of life—including marriage, family, vocation, and finances—we need to have a goal and navigation plan if we expect to be successful. Thankfully, God provides both in His Word. (See Prov. 3:6.)

In Christ.

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ARE YOU A TRUE FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST?

When Jesus walked this earth, He was often surrounded by a multitude. Such large crowds might give the impression that the entire nation of Israel was committed to Him as their Messiah. But by the end of His ministry, there were only 120 loyal followers gathered in an upper room (Acts 1:12-15).

The majority of those who followed Jesus around were interested only in what He could do for them. They came to be healed or to see the miracles He performed. After the Lord fed about 5,000 people a supernatural meal, they came back in the morning expecting breakfast. John 6:66 tells us that when Jesus refused to work another miracle for them and declared Himself the true bread of life, “many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”

Temporary Christ-followers are still around today. They want the benefits Jesus can offer but are unwilling to accept hard truths or deny their own will for His. These people are like the seeds that fell on rocky soil in Jesus’ parable. (See Matt. 13:20-21.) They stick around for a while, but if He doesn’t benefit them as they expected, they fall away.

When it comes to true Christ-followers, church rosters don’t give an accurate picture. False gospels promising a better life draw those who are seeking Jesus’ benefits but who remain uninterested in Christ Himself. True followers are more like Simon Peter in John 6:68. When Jesus asked if they too wanted to leave, they replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”

YOUR PAST DOES NOT DEFINE YOU!

Dear Lovelies,

I want to talk to you about Ruth. She was a Moabitess who grew up on the high plateau south of the Arnon River as part of a nation that worshiped the false god Chemosh. She married into a Hebrew family that came to Moab from Bethlehem to escape a famine. Naomi was Ruth’s mother-in-law.

After the husbands of both Naomi and Ruth died, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. Ruth refused to be left behind. She went with Naomi to Bethlehem and began a new life. She worked in the barley fields of Naomi’s relative Boaz, gleaning the edges of the grain field. She eventually won the respect and love of Boaz, who took her as his wife.

She is the only woman in the Bible called a “virtuous woman”.
But in her early years, born and raised in Moab, her past was with a people who did wicked things… involving the sacrifice of young children to Chemosh as an offering (2 Kings 3:27). Ruth was exposed to a perverse culture at a young age. Moab was considered a “cursed place”. Imagine coming from such a past – her upbringing was different from the man she married…

Ruth, who lived under the shadow of death all her life, had encountered even more death. He husband and her sons died… She who had known bitterness and disappointment that are a part of idol worship and now found herself living with a mother-in-law

who was bitter and disappointed.

All of these things must have played a part in making Ruth who she was. They must have had a major impact on her psyche. Do you ever wonder: What impact does our environment have on us? What influence do other people have on us?

But Ruth rose above her past- in light of her past and the events of her present, there was something great about Ruth. She had an ability to say, “I want something better, I want something more!”

Ruth 1:11-18, “Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? … Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”

You have to recognize your past and say “I want something better, there has to be something more!”
She refused to return to her past. She was saying to Naomi, “I’m going where I’ve never been to create something I’ve never had… because in knowing you, Naomi, I’ve come to love you and your God.”

Many people are where Ruth was in that moment. They each have a past they wish they could forget. You cannot enter your tomorrow as long as you hold on to your past, you must let it go!

Questions:

1. Have you recognized your past is not who you are?

2. How has your environment affected you?

3. Do you know there is greatness in you?

4. Where do you want to go? What is something “better”?

More to come…

In Christ.

WHICH GOD DO YOU SERVE?

A group of seminary students were given the task of organizing the Ten Commandments in their perceived order of importance. Interestingly, these students felt that the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder,” should be number-one on the list. The seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery,” was also placed near the top. But the group relegated the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” to the bottom of the list. They didn’t think it was all that important.

In God’s listing, however, it is a different story. He puts this commandment at the top of the list. But why is it the number-one offense to God? It comes down to this: If you have broken this one, then everything else will fall apart.

One day a man came to Jesus and asked Him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28 NLT). Jesus responded,

“The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (verse 29, NLT)

With that statement, Jesus essentially summed up the Ten Commandments: Put God in His rightful place. Make Him number-one in your life.

Could this be said of us today? A survey revealed that 76 percent of Americans believed they had been completely faithful to the first commandment. In other words, they might have problems with some of the other commandments, but for them, the first commandment was not a problem. But is that true? It’s hard to say.

You see, everyone has a god. Everyone, including atheists, bows at some altar. We don’t all worship the true God, but we all worship. Everyone has something they believe in, some passion that drives them, something that gives their life meaning and purpose. For some, their god is possessions or money. Others worship their bodies. They worship at the church of the perfect physique. Still others worship success or pleasure or relationships. But we all worship someone or something.

With the first commandment, God was establishing the fact that He is our God and was showing us His place in our lives: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:2-3 NLT). It is amazing how much can be revealed by a simple little pronoun such as “I.” Only one letter long, it conveys a profound and fundamental truth about who God is. When He said, “I am the Lord,” He was, in effect, refuting all other belief systems, including pantheism, polytheism, deism, and new-age thinking. When God says, “I am,” He is revealing that He is a being, not a mere force of nature. He says, “I am. . . . I feel. I think. I care.”

God is not an impersonal force, as pantheism would teach. Nor is He one of many gods, as polytheism claims. God said, “I am the Lord your God” (emphasis mine). As 1 Timothy 2:5 reminds us, “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity-the man Christ Jesus” (NLT).

In contrast to the teaching of deism, which says that God has no interest in the affairs of men, the first commandment shows us that we have a God who sees and hears and cares. God reminded Israel that He had blessed and protected them up to this point: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”

The Bible says that God is a jealous God. By “jealous,” it doesn’t mean that God is one who is controlling and demanding and flies into a rage without the slightest reason or provocation. The jealousy the Bible is speaking of is the jealousy of a loving Father who sees the possibilities and potential of His children and is brokenhearted when those things are not realized, or worse, are wasted and squandered.

Jesus said, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NLT). Is God number-one in your life today? Or, are you allowing other gods to crowd Him out?

 
In Christ.

TRUTH FOR CHILDREN

May 4
1 Samuel 17:34-35
A FEARLESS SHEPHERD

One day, while David was taking care of his father’s sheep, a lion carried off one of the lambs. When David struck the lion, it turned on him, so he grabbed it by the throat and beat it to death, saving the little lamb.
At another time a bear came to take one of the lambs. David went after the bear and attacked it, rescuing the helpless lamb.
Why would a shepherd risk his life for a silly sheep?
If you were a sheep, would you feel safe having a shepherd like David? David did not only care about his sheep; he was brave and strong enough to protect them!
A shepherd’s job is to look after a flock of sheep. However, not all shepherds are the same: there is a good shepherd who will do anything to keep his sheep safe, and one who looks after sheep only because he needs money. Someone who is paid to look after sheep does not care when a wolf comes to snatch away one of the sheep. Even if the sheep scatter, he will not risk his life to bring them back.
Jesus said, “I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Because His sheep belong to Him and are precious to Him, Jesus not only risked His life, He gave His life!
Jesus is the only Shepherd who knows every one of His sheep by name (John 10:3-4). When He calls us, we recognize His voice because we have learned to trust Him.
Jesus is also the Gate (John 10:9). Every sheep that goes through the gate is kept safe because thieves cannot come and steal them. But there are other dangers too: the devil prowls around like a roaring lion. Yet, all those who have entered through Jesus the Gate are part of His flock and are perfectly safe!
Verse for today
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

TRUTH FOR CHILDREN

MAY 2
1 Samuel 15:1-3, 10-21

What’s that noise?

Saul fought against the enemies of Israel and won every battle. One day, Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord says that you must attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they own—don’t leave a thing!”
So, Saul went out and defeated the Amalekites but he did not kill the best sheep and cattle or destroy things that were good. His army only destroyed what was worthless. Early the next morning, Samuel went to see Saul and asked, “What is all that mooing and bleating I hear?”
Saul explained, “My men kept the best sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord, but we did destroy the weak and unwanted.“
“Stop!” Samuel said, “I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night. He told you to destroy everything, but you disobeyed the Lord by keeping the best.”
“But I did obey the Lord,” Saul replied. “We fought and killed all the Amalekites.”
“You did not obey the Lord’s instructions fully,” Samuel said,
“and so He has rejected you as king of Israel.”

Is it okay to obey most of God’s commands?

Most kids in your grade would probably be happy to get eight out of ten questions right in a test. To pass a class test, you may not even need to score as high as that. What do you think God’s pass mark for obedience would be? Would obeying just some of God’s commands—or even most of them—be good enough?
Not doing what God wants us to do is as much a sin as doing what God has forbidden us to do (James 4:17). When it comes to obeying God, we must do everything He says! Even if we disobey in something we may think is small and unimportant, we allow sin to stain our hearts.
Perhaps you have done something that didn’t seem so bad at the time, but it bothers you now. Ask the Lord to forgive you; then your heart will be pure, and He can keep blessing and using you.

Verse for today

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10

MAKE GOD BIGGER

Make God Bigger

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together
(Psalm 34:3 NKJV).

One day, back when I was in Secondary school, my teacher projected an image of a small black dot in the middle of a very big white screen. He asked us, “What do you see?

Every student immediately responded to his question, “A black dot.” He paused, and then asked again, “What do you see?” 
When we gave the same reply, he told us that he saw a huge white space. While we saw a small black dot, he saw something far bigger. It had been there all along, but each one of us had missed it.

I share this story with you because the truth is we often see what our eyes are trained to see, and it takes effort and time to train them otherwise. How often do we focus on the small things in life instead of the big God that we serve? We can have twenty great things happening in our lives, but when one thing does not go right, we lose sight of the twenty and focus on the one little black dot.
This is why we must always decide to make God bigger than
anything else in our lives. The more we focus on Him, the smaller the dots will become!

In Christ.
Chioma Jesus Girl