Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Submitted by;
Dennis Dawson
Illinois Baptist State Association

When I meditated on the word GUIDANCE, I kept seeing "dance" at the end
of the word. I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The
movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is quite
uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes that, and lets the
other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music.
One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing
lightly in one direction or another. It's as if two become one body,
moving beautifully.
The dance takes surrender, willingness, and
attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the
My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE.
When I saw "G," I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i." "God, "u" and
"i" dance." God, you, and I dance. As I lowered my head, I became
willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again,
I became willing to let God lead.
My prayer for you today is that God's blessings and mercies be upon you
on this day and everyday. May you abide in God as God abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through
each season of your life.
If God has done anything for you in your life, please share this message
with someone else, for prayer is one of the best gifts we can
receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards; so let's continue to
pray for one another.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Blessed Indeed

By Matt Hofeld

Some religions believe in providing a sacrifice or offering at the feet on their god’s in order to receive a financial blessing. They go on living their lives with nothing changed hoping that their god will bless them.

A blessing is the act of one that blesses. In other words in order for you to be blessed their actually has to be someone who blesses you. We can be a blessing to other people and others can be a blessing to us. When you make a sacrifice to a god who does not exist there will be no blessing to receive because there is no one there to give the blessing. Think about it for a minute, does the god you worship bless you?

A blessing by definition is something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity. God desires only the best for you and that your life be to the fullest (see last week’s devotion). What I am saying is that God wants to bless you and He does not require a deposit or sacrifice in order for Him to do so. All we simply must do is ask. In 1 Chronicles chapter four is the story of a man who desired God’s blessing and got it by asking.

10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4:10
I would like you to notice two things about this prayer. First, notice that Jabez cried out. He didn’t approach God out of arrogance as if he was owed something, he didn’t approach God as is He were Santa Clause with a wish list. He approached God out of humility knowing that God had the power and ability to bless his life and make it even better than it was. He understood that God was bigger than he was and that the best blessings in life come from Him.

Secondly, notice that he cried out to the God of Israel. There were many gods that were worshipped in that day and the mentioning of the God of Israel is not in reference to just another god. It refers to the God of Israel because He is the God who answered the prayer of Jabez. The author of 1 Chronicles (Jewish tradition holds to Ezra) makes it clear that the only God who is able to supply the needs of his children and bring forth such an abundant blessing it the God of Israel.

Where are you looking for your blessing? Where do you go to try to find fulfillment? As in the day of Jabez there are many gods that are worshipped today, but only one who is able to be the one that blesses.

Look real quick at the very last of the verse.

And God granted his request.

Monday, August 22, 2005

More than Enough

We talked last week about the schemes of the Devil and one of the passages of scripture that I used was John 10:10 where Jesus says;

10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The focus last week was on the desires of the Devil to destroy your life and rob anything that is joyful. Today I want to focus on the second half of this statement. Jesus came to offer life and offer it abundantly.

Who’s life? Ours! He is letting us know that we have two choices. We can choose to follow God’s way or our own. While we don’t consciously make a decision to follow the Devil anytime we decide to follow anything other than is God’s desire for we are choosing to oppose him.

Why does he desire that we follow his will, because it is his desire that we live. He doesn’t want us drowning in misery and self doubt. He wants us living strong and joyful life. The word abundant means to have plenty or more than enough.
So, what does Jesus want to give us more than enough of? This first thing is joy.
10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11

Our joy comes through obedience! Jesus is the source of joy and he desires to give us HIS joy. It’s not just any joy that he is offering it’s the joy of Christ! It’s the joy that keeps us living when things go wrong. It’s the joy that increases our experiences when things go right. It’s not a joy that we find anywhere else, it’s only found in Christ and he gives us more than enough.

The next thing he gives us in abundance is peace. People look everywhere to find peace. They look in all kinds of lifestyles and philosophies and they find only things that only last temporarily. There is no sustained peace. The reason why is as long as you are looking for peace you won’t find it. Like joy peace comes from Jesus Christ.

27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

The peace of Christ is something that the world (people who are not believers) cannot understand. They will refute it and deny that it exists because they don’t understand. However, there is a noticeable difference when a believer goes through troubled times as opposed to an unbeliever. Notice the difference in the family at the funeral of a believer as opposed to the family of an unbeliever. What’s the difference? Believers have the peace of Christ!

Jesus also offers us abundant grace. Grace is unmerited favor, getting something that we do not deserve. It’s grace that allows us to come into salvation.

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
We would never be able to earn our way into heaven because we are imperfect people. In fact, if we were to get what we deserve for our sin, things we do outside the will of God, it would be eternal separation from God.

It’s out of His love for us that he extends grace, giving us what we do not deserve and He gives us more than enough. What you and I have to do is accept it, even though we do not understand it. I’ve heard so many people say that they don’t understand how God could love them and accept them because of all that they have done. Well, the truth is, I don’t understand it either, because He is offering me something I don’t deserve! However, I do accept it!

God’s grace leads to forgiveness. Our forgiveness from God is based on our confession of our sin to Him.

9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

When we confess we do it directly to God. There has not been a person yet who has caught God off-guard when they confess a sin to him. God knows what we do and when we do it! Confession is your acknowledgement before a Holy God that you recognize what you did was wrong. When we do that God immediately releases that sin and offers to us the chance to begin again, slat wiped clean.

Everyday we choose to live at the moment that we crawl out of bed. It’s my prayer that you choose to live abundantly through Jesus Christ.

Matt Hofeld
Mayfair Baptist Church

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tricks of the Trade

A look at the Devil’s schemes
By Matt Hofeld
Pastor Mayfair Baptist Church, OKC

I know a neat little coin trick where you look at a nickel, dime and quarter and choose one in your head. After you make your choice you tell me which one you chose and then I show you where I have already written down in advance the one I knew you were going to pick. It’s a neat little trick and that’s the point. I make you think that I can do something that I really can’t.

We have an adversary who uses several tricks to try to influence, tempt and tear us away from our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is called the Devil and he is very real! I’m amazed at how many people actually try to deny the existence of the Devil when the bible is very clear on who he is. In fact, Jesus spends more time talking about hell than he does about heaven. He wants us to know the reality of eternity.

We are first introduced to the Devil in Genesis 3:1 when he is getting ready to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden.

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

He was there in the very beginning doing what he does and that’s trying to turn people away from their focus on God. In fact, we even read about an encounter that Jesus had with the Devil in Matthew chapter 4.

Satan tempted the son of God so don’t think that he won’t try to tempt you and I away from God. In fact, that is what he does! He tries to take us away from God. In John 10:10 Jesus described him as a thief.

If we are believers in Christ the Devil tries to steal our joy and our witness.
You know those people who can find something to complain about in any good situation. That’s what the Devil does. He whispers in our ear and plants seeds of doubt and discouragement. It doesn’t matter what the situation is he wants to make it worse. Instead of having the peace of Christ he wants to fill your life turmoil.

He also wants to steal your credibility as a Christian. He is the best at bringing up the past and leading you to do things that go against what you believe and stand for. He wants you to not be able to tell people about Christ because of your lifestyle. Stop and think about your reputation at school, work and at home. Can you tell people about Christ the way you act, if you can’t you have let him steal your credibility. Get it back!

He does all this through deception. Look back at what he said to Eve in Genesis 3. "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
He knew what God had said to Eve and he used this one statement where he misquoted God to deceive the first man and woman into sinning against God.

He is still doing the same thing to you and me today, but the good news is that the Devil is subject to God’s authority. After the Devil had tempted him the third time Jesus had finally had enough and sent him away in Matthew 4:10.

10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

How do we get rid of the Devil and not fall for his tricks? Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only! Becoming a disciple of Christ means to follow Him with a desire to become like Him. The Devil will always be there and he will never give up on his task of attempting to steal you spiritual joy and witness. However when we worship and serve God only we learn to live in His authority and we are able to not only resist the Devil but also command him to go away from us.

Monday, August 08, 2005

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

It always amazes me how God uses us ordinary people. I mean after all He is God and could easily accomplish His will without our help. He spoke the world into existence you don’t think that He could do other things with out us?
God chooses out of love and mercy to use us. It’s God’s grace that compels Him to take ordinary people like you and I and do extraordinary things through us. By ordinary I mean human. We all have physical limitations and we all struggle with sin. At our very best we are ordinary!

It was an ordinary man that God used to lead the nation of Israel out of bondage. Moses had grown up in royalty but fled into exile when he murdered an Egyptian. Then he lived as a shepherd tending to his father-in-law’s flock until God called him from ordinary to extraordinary.

In Exodus chapter 4 God has already commissioned Moses to this huge task, told him that He would be with him and that the people would respond to him. In verse one Moses shows his reluctance.

1 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"

Here we can identify with Moses because we are often reluctant to follow God as well. Our reluctance is often caused by our fear. We fear rejection. We are afraid that our friends and family will not accept us the way that they did before we started following Christ. We fear failure. That we cannot live up to the person that God has called us to be. We fear acceptance. That people will accept the person we are in Christ and then expect us to live up to a higher standard.

God quickly shows His power to Moses in a demonstration using Moses’ Rod.
2 Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"
"A staff," he replied.
3 The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground."
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you."
In order for God to do extraordinary things through us a change of ownership has to take place. The staff that Moses had was much more than just a walking stick. Moses used it for protection, to carry things and as a tool. It was essential to his way of life. If you look down in verse 20 you see that the ownership of the staff changed.

20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.

Moses took what he had and gave it to God and God used it. With that staff Moses struck a rock and water flowed from it. With it he also parted the Red Sea. It wasn’t Moses or the staff; rather it was God using them. We may not have much but if we give God what we do have He will use it and use us. As God does this we will begin to see our reluctance fade because we become more and more amazed at what God is doing through us.

The next thing we have to do is deal with personal corruption.
6 Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.
7 "Now put it back into your cloak," he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
A person who had leprosy was considered to be “dirty.” They had to warn people of their presence. Their desire was to be clean. When God tells Moses to put his hand back into his cloak and he pulls it our clean God is showing his ability to cleanse us. The bible tells us that when we confess our sins (our dirtiness) that God is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9).

We have to understand that our sin keeps us from being that man or woman of God that we should be. He cannot live through and make our live extraordinary as long as we are living in sin. We have to deal with the corruption that is in our lives. We need to come to Him and receive His forgiveness and then move beyond that sin.

3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
Psalm 24:3-4

The final thing we have to do for God to make us extraordinary is honor personal correction.

8 Then the LORD said, "If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."

When I was a child my father disciplined me often (deservedly so). There were times after receiving my father’s discipline I where I mocked him or made fun of him (after he left the room of course). I didn’t honor his correction and I really had no intention of altering my life.

There were also times when my father just wore me out and I learned my lesson and made a conscious choice to not do whatever it was again. It altered my life!

God’s correction should always lead to us altering our lives. My dad never disciplined me out of meanness it was always out of love. The same is true for God! He corrects us out of love and His desire for us to become extraordinary.

This is the commissioning of Moses where God shows him his purpose. You and I receive our commission in Matthew 28.

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

It’s while we are living our purpose and God living through us that He does extraordinary things through us. It’s important that we understand that our purpose is advance Christ. That is why we exist and that is how we find meaning in life.

God does not always allow us to see the big picture. Keep in mind that Moses never entered into the Promised Land. What he did do was everything that God had asked of him. You and I are without excuse when it comes to not following God’s desire for us. Because we can’t see what the future holds means that we need to follow God closer not shy away from him.

It’s also important to understand that we all fulfill the Great Commission differently. A lady once criticized D.L. Moody for the way he did his invitation. He told her that honestly he didn’t like it either and inquired as to how she told people about Christ. She said that she didn’t and Moody replied, “Well, then I like my way better than yours.” It’s alright to be different in how we live the Great Commission as long as we do live it!

Go this week and let God make your life extraordinary!

Matt Hofeld
Pastor, Mayfair Baptist Church