BACK AGAIN

BACK AGAIN                                                                                                                                Andy Hollifield 11-14-18

Psalms 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

I began to think about something as I sat down to write. I got to thinking about how God just keeps blessing me over and over and over. I am not even close to being worthy of the least of his gifts and blessings, much less of salvation. I have been working on the H.O.P.E. Ministries Shoebox gift project. At times it seems overwhelming but when I really start to think about it, my attitude changes. Instead of being overwhelmed I become over-joyed that the Lord chose to allow me to be in this type of ministry, helping those in their darkest hours of life. I began to think back to how the ministry started and I had no idea what God was going to do with it. I guess you could say I was trying to count my blessings. If the truth be known, I can’t count that high.

While thinking on these things I also began to think about something else. I wonder what God would think if I came back as often to praise him as I do to ask for something. Do you know what would be wonderful? If we went before the throne just to thank God for all those little things we don’t even think about. Wouldn’t it be great to know that we went to God so much to praise him that he would tell the Son and the Holy Ghost; “Well, he’s back again.” What would be even better would be if we went so often before the throne that all of heaven got to looking for us to show up. Picture this in your mind for a minute; What if we went so much that the angels missed us when we didn’t show up on time and said to each other; “I wonder where he is, he’s always here by now?” I know that’s a little outlandish but do you get the point?

If we were as faithful to go and bow in his presence and thank him for what he has done as we are to go back when we want something from him; I wonder what kind of Christian walk we would have. Maybe everyone else does and I just need to do better. I could understand God saying, “Oh my, he is back again already.” But what if it was to praise and he said, “There he is right on time. I knew he would be back again to thank me, he always comes back again.”

That was just a thought I had and I wanted to share it with you. If you need your spirits lifted today, every time a blessing hits your mind, stop and thank God for it. Before you know it, you will go from being overwhelmed to being over joyed. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

WE’RE NOT READY

WE’RE NOT READY                                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 11-13-18

Daniel 3:15-16 (15) Now if ye be ready at what time ye hear the sound of the coronet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image I have made….(16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

This is a very familiar story to most of us but I noticed some words that I just kind of overlooked before. “Now if ye be ready”. Looking at the way the world is at a dead run away from the principles and precepts of God, this is something that a lot of us will have to face at some point. The time will come in most of our lives when we have to decide whether we are going to take a stand for the Lord and our beliefs or bow to the music and idolatry of the world. Not meaning music literally but whether we are going to get in lock-step with the modern culture. We hear stories with greater frequency of how someone has been jailed or lost their business or families have been threatened because they have stood on their principles.

It used to be called, “Drawing a line in the sand”. You would dare someone to cross your line and get in your space and if they did, you would retaliate swiftly and with all the force you could muster. As Christians, if we are going to live pleasing to the Lord, we are going to have to be ready to draw our line. A line that says that we will give no more and this spot is where we will make our stand. We have to have a place where we not only refuse to go along with the ideas of our modern culture and popular opinion, but where we will make a statement to back up our stand.

These Hebrew boys were slaves in Babylon but had by their character and Daniel’s recommendation, achieved a position of honor in charge of a lot of the kings affairs. There is always some coward that is jealous of a person’s position of honor that is willing to “rat out” someone of a different opinion. They are especially willing to do it if they think they will be viewed in a better light as being loyal to a cause or idea. This was the case with the Chaldeans that came to Nebuchadnezzar and told him about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not bowing.

I find it interesting that the king told Daniel in chapter 2 verse 47 that “Your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret”. Then in chapter 3 verse 1 he erects an obelisk 90 feet tall by nine feet wide on each side, and demands that at the sound of his music, everyone immediately bow and worship it. That is kind of what society is doing to Christians today. If you have a differing opinion from them, they will vilify you at every turn and try to either force you to agree with them or ruin your life because you don’t. That is the same type of society that Daniel and these three were living in. If you march to the beat of a different drum, you are a target.

I love the stand that these three took. It still amazes me that right after telling Daniel how great God was in chapter 2, in verse 15 of chapter 3 he is found questioning the three Hebrews as to why they think their God will be able to deliver them. Their answer was one of both sincerity and defiance. They said in verse 16, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter”. I like that spunk! In modern english they were saying, “We don’t even have to think about it”. They went on to say that God could deliver them if he wanted to but if he didn’t, they still wouldn’t ever serve or worship his gods. Verse 19 says that he was “Full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed”. We know how the story ends from there.

Now the question is “What about us?” What will we do in that situation? Will we cower down to the wicked or make a stand for the Lord? There is a gospel song that says, “I’ll dare to be different in a world of compromise”. That’s where we’re at and what we need to do. Paul said in Hebrews 12:4 “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin”. Are we ready to face that day? It may be just a conversation with a co-worker or a family member. When it is going to actually cost us something, how will we respond?

Nebuchadnezzar said, “Now if ye be ready.” Are we ready? Will we take the stand that Joshua took and say “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord?” (Joshua 24:15). My prayer is that I will have the Holy Ghost boldness to draw my line and let the world know, “This is as far as I go.” When the wicked come knocking will we go along to get along or stand up and say, “We’re not ready.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

FIXED

FIXED                                                                                                                                               Andy  Hollifield 11-13-17

Psalms 57 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise.

Psalms 108:1 [[ A song or psalm of David]] O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.

Psalms 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Fixed—–(1) fastened, attached, or placed so as to be firm and not readily movable; firmly implanted; stationary; rigid. (2) rendered stable or permanent (3) set or intent upon something; steadily directed (4) definitely and permanently placed (5) not fluctuating or varying; definite

In the four verses listed above, you will find the word “fixed” five times. It is a small word but has life-changing meaning. When we ever get our heart “fixed” on God, every little problem that comes up will not blow us out of the water. To really understand verse 7 of Psalms 112, you need to look back at verse 6 and the previous verses and see where the psalmist was in his life. You will find that he is writing this psalm because of fear in the first 6 verses. He is distressed to an extent because of what the enemy is wanting to do to him. He does however, even in his fear and distress, display great confidence in God in verse 2 where it says “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” In verse 4 he goes so far as to say “my soul is among lions.” In verse 6, he speaks of how the enemy is trying to destroy him. But then he gets down to verse 7. In verses 7-8 he declares that his heart is fixed. Now, if you look at the definition of the word “fixed” it will begin to bless you even more than you thought possible. Not readily movable. It is a joy to know that we have a God that is not fluctuating and is permanently placed. After verse 7, you will find that he closes the chapter praising the God that he believes is able to “perform all things” for him.

Psalms 108 is a chapter that is filled with praise until the circumstance was changed. Psalms 112 is much like 108 except in 112 he also discusses his desire to see his enemies taken down by the Lord. In verse 7 he declares that he shall not be afraid because his heart is fixed and trusting in the Lord. It is amazing to me how much better we might be serving the Lord.

The last verse speaks about the great gulf that is fixed between Paradise and the Earth. It also speaks about the rich man’s action toward Lazarus while they were living. It doesn’t say too much about their relationship but only to say that, after death, the rich man clearly wishes he had time for Lazarus while they were living.

The word “fixed” is only used five times in the bible and I have listed all of them. The one thing that we haven’t covered is your heart. Is your heart fixed? It’s interesting to me that every occurrence of the word, except this one, speaks of the psalmist having his heart “fixed” on the Lord and trusting him. This verse in Luke, speaks of one man who didn’t have his heart fixed and one that did. One that counted on God to destroy his enemies and one that was the enemy of God. Wouldn’t it be much better to be comforted by the word rather than to be tormented by it? As Lazarus found out, it was well worth the afflictions he endured in this life just to get eternal comfort in the next.

I am thankful that we don’t have to endure trouble and afflictions alone. We have a God that has stood the test of time every time. A “God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” even as sinners he still loves us. He has made us to sit in heavenly places just as Lazarus did (Ephesians 2). We have a God that we can run to for help for a refuge. A God that has never lost a battle even though there is a warfare going on between our soul and our spirit. Is your heart “fixed” on the Lord? If not, it can be. Christ bridged that gulf when he died on Calvary’s cross. He took our place and suffered the penalty of death for us so that we wouldn’t have to. Is your heart fixed on him when you are in trouble or do you get tossed with every breeze? There is something about eating in the presence of our enemies at the table God has prepared there for us. When the presence of our enemies don’t scare you, you better have God’s hand upon you and your heart fixed on him. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN

GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN                                                                                                             Andy Hollifield 11-14-17

Joshua 14:7-14 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. (8) Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God. (9) And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine for an inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God. (10) And now, behold the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. (11) And yet I am as strong as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. (12) Now therefore give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said. (13) And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. (14) Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.

What a wonderful story of a man who had lived his life for the Lord and was ready for retirement at 85 years old. Not just yet. If you remember, Caleb and Joshua were the only spies of the twelve that Moses sent to spy out the land that brought back a good report. When the other spies began to get the people distressed because of their evil report, the bible says in Numbers 13:30 “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” In Numbers 14, the people even spoke of making them a captain to take them back to Egypt. When they did this, Aaron and Moses fell on their face before the congregation and Joshua and Caleb rent their clothes. Clothes were an extremely valuable commodity and for someone to intentionally tear their clothes was an expression of disgust and shock. Joshua and Caleb continued to try to persuade the Israelites to go up immediately and take the land, even to the point of telling them that their enemies defence was gone from them and the Lord would certainly give them the land. They begged the congregation not to rebel against the Lord, to the point that the people wanted to stone them. At that time, the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle and told Moses that he would smite the Israelites and make a great nation out of Moses. Moses pleaded for the Israelites and God spared them immediate destruction but did pass sentence that none of them twenty or over would enter the land but would ultimately die in the wilderness. The only exceptions were Joshua and Caleb because they had believed God and brought back a good report. The Lord even said of Caleb that “he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” The Israelites, after judgment had been handed down, went to the top of the mountain and wanted to invade but Moses told them not to because the Lord was no longer with them. They continued on and got chased back off of the mountain by the inhabitants of the land.

The Lord affirmed his promise to Moses forty years later concerning Caleb saying that the land upon which he trod would be given to him and his children “because he hath wholly followed the Lord.” In Deuteronomy 1 and 2, the bible speaks of the preparation to go into the promised land. On over in Joshua 15:14 we begin to read the story of Caleb’s conquest of his inheritance. It makes for some really good reading even showing a softer side of Caleb showing that although he was a mighty warrior, he was still a soft touch for his daughter.

The thing I want to consider the most is the life of Caleb. It is interesting enough that, at eighty-five years old, he was as strong as he was at forty when he had first spied out the land. That itself, is more than any of us can say. But what stands out to me the most is the patience that Caleb had just waiting for his inheritance. Can you imagine spending forty years, walking around day in and day out with the very people who caused you not to have your inheritance yet because they wouldn’t listen to your advice? That is exactly what Caleb did and I am sure that he thought about that place every day and couldn’t hardly wait until it would finally be his. But there are some things about Caleb we sometimes forget. First off, he was now 85 and had been promised this land since he was 40. That’s 45 years and they were only in the wilderness for 40. During that 45 years, Caleb was still fighting the battles of the people that delayed his inheritance, put up with the uprising of Korah, seen the sin of Moses and later his death, lived through the judgment of the fiery serpents, all the while burying the dead that had rebelled against God. If Israel had of only been obedient to the Lord and not murmured and tempted the Lord those 10 times, Caleb and all of Israel would have been occupying the promised land and Moses would have got to go with them. Have you noticed that Israel would not have fought all the battles they did if they had of been obedient. The Lord was going to drive out the inhabitants but since they refused to go, they spent the next 40 years fighting and their children had to fight to take the promised land.

At 85 years old, Caleb had one more battle to fight. After helping Israel conquer the entire promised land, he had to go drive out the inhabitants of his inheritance. We can learn some lessons from Caleb. One is that what God promises, he is able to do. Also, just because God says we can have something doesn’t mean that we won’t have to work for it. And, I have found out myself that God has 3 answers to prayer but he does answer. They are yes, no, or not now. If we are obedient to his will, he will not withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly (Psalms 84:11). Sometimes, other people may hinder us from seeing God’s promises coming to pass, but even 45 years later, they will come to pass. Last but not least, and possibly the greatest lesson is that, anything worth having is worth waiting for.

I don’t know what your mountain might be, but just be mindful of the one who made you the promise. If God has promised it, he will do it. You may have to wait and you may even have some battles before you see it come to pass. There may be a lot of times that it looks like it’s not gonna happen and you may want to give up. People may stand in your way but God will bring it to pass. Just remember the dying declaration of Joshua. Even in our current legal system, a dying declaration carries significant weight. Joshua 23:14 says, “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” His testimony goes on to say in so many words that if they neglect God and go after idols or fail to obey his commandments and statutes, that he will bring evil upon them till he has destroyed them from off of the land that he gave them. Stay true to the Lord and he will give you your mountain. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

CHAIN BREAKER

CHAIN BREAKER                                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 11-12-17

Psalms 68:5-6 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. (6) God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

Mark 5:3-4 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: (4) Because he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

Acts 12:6-7 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. (7) And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Daniel 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

The Gaither Vocal Band has a song that talks about the Lord that says something to the effect of; if you’re in pain, he’s a pain taker, if you feel lost he’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving, he’s a prison shaking Savior, if you’ve got chains he’s a chain breaker. As I listened to that song recently it got me to thinking about all the times throughout the bible that people were bound by something; whether physical, psychological, emotional, or literal. As I began to think about this I looked back at times in my own life when I was bound. I have seen the time when I have been bound by physical issues in my body and also psychological and emotional issues in my mind. I have been bound by finances, relationships, tobacco, responsibilities, just like I suspect that everyone reading this has been. If you haven’t; give it time because you will be. That may not sound very encouraging but the truth is that life has a way of throwing stuff at you that you just don’t know how to handle. Those times when you are bound in your mind are far worse than physical bondage.

We read of the ministry of Jesus and see that a lot of his work in the ministry involved healing the sick and afflicted. That is to say those that are bound by physical issues that limit their ability to function as they should. I wrote recently of a good friend of mine, Bud Dillingham of Barnardsville, NC, that is living proof that physical bondage doesn’t mean uselessness. Bud had Spina Bifida as a child and has always been confined to a wheelchair ever since I have known him. Bud lies in his bed calling preachers and other Christians he has met on the phone once a week just to let them know that someone is praying for them. For Bud, making those calls every day makes that physical bondage a little less restrictive. I remember a time in my early twenties that I had a situation that just weighed so heavy on my mind that I had to keep working just to keep it off of my mind. I wound up using a tiller and dug out my mom’s basement. Hours and hours of labor just because something had my mind bound. There was a time in my late teens that was even worse than that. For literally over two years I sat and waited on a phone call that never came. I mean jumping every time the phone rang thinking that might finally be the call. Probably the hardest one aside from financial, is having problems with your kids or other family. Those are situations that you usually can’t do anything to change but yet you still have to live with the fallout no matter how bad or hurtful it might be.

The scriptures listed above represent a few of these situations in the bible. Psalms 68 talks of God putting those that have no one in a family. It might only be a church family but they are often closer than your natural family. I am glad that God always has a place for you. Mark 5 speaks of the demoniac of the Gadarenes and how once he encountered Jesus, he was freed from the chains that had him bound. It still works today just like it always has. He don’t always heal your physical needs and has often reminded me of that. I might not be moving very fast nowadays, but I am thankful that my guide has never missed a step and has always delivered right on time.

Acts 12 tells us of the time that the disciple Peter was in the inner prison bound between soldiers. It goes on to describe in detail, the peace that Peter apparently had that night. He was sleeping so good right in the midst of his problems that the angel that came for him had to smite him on the side and then raise him up to get him awake. It is hard to imagine me being that calm while sleeping chained to two soldiers and especially knowing that I was awaiting execution.

In Daniel 3 we find the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Three young men that were arrested for praying to their God just like they aways had. After being bound and cast into the fire, all the ropes fell off and they were seen walking with the Son of God.

Romans 8:15 speaks about the fact that when God saved us, he gave us the spirit of adoption and not of fear. Truly if we would only realize who our God is and how much he wants to deliver you, I believe that we would have a little more faith in some of the situations we wind up in.

Isaiah said it was appointed unto him to preach the gospel and to proclaim liberty to captives, to bind up the brokenhearted. Basically, his job was to encourage. I am thankful that is also my job. You may be bound by a job you hate, a stressful life, financial troubles, troubled relationships, car troubles, or whatever it might be; God specializes in it. Oh yeah I almost forgot; Isaiah also said his job was to proclaim the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Prisons come in all different forms and they are not always brick and mortar. Most of the time they aren’t. Most of the time it is just every day living that has us bound. He can break your chains just like he did for Peter that night. You don’t have to stay bound. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

NO FACEBOOK IN HEAVEN

NO FACEBOOK IN HEAVEN                                                                                                         Andy Hollifield 6-18-18

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Let me begin by saying that I hope every dad had a wonderful Father’s Day. To everyone else, cherish your dad every day and not just one day a year. The day will come that he will no longer be there so don’t leave anything unsaid or undone that you will regret later. This is the tenth Father’s Day without my dad. As a matter of fact, it was 11 years ago this past Friday that I made a statement to my dad, when he was extremely winded after walking out in the driveway, that he needed to go to the doctor and get checked out because something wasn’t right. Having no insurance, he laughed it off and said “I’m trying to hold out till 65.” I told him he might want to go ahead and get checked to make sure he made 65. Well, the sad truth is that he didn’t. I believe tomorrow, the Tuesday after Father’s Day,was the day that we found out that dad had lung cancer. Several other things came up and he graduated to the pain-free life mentioned in the scriptures above in October of ’07. I still regret the fact that, for reasons I won’t get into, I didn’t go to the Outer Banks the last time the family all went. None of those reasons seem all that important now. We had planned on going the next year but never had the opportunity.

The good news is that he is no longer suffering with any of the ailments or diseases that he left here with. Not only does he have a new body like unto the Son of God, but he is having a continuous family reunion even with some folks he never met here such as our first baby lost to miscarriage and waiting for us there, as well as a couple of nephews and at least one niece. Truth be known, like my uncle Carlos told everyone before his graduation, dad has “more family over there than he did over here” anyway. I take a lot of comfort in the fact that he is no longer hurting. I also take comfort in the fact that he hasn’t given any of us a thought since the morning he took his journey home. It just wouldn’t be heaven if he spent all those years missing us.

According to scripture, in Luke 16 we find that Lazarus was comforted after his death. We also find that the rich man was tormented because he rejected the Lord. He remembered his brothers and wanted them to be warned so they wouldn’t follow in his footsteps. I haven’t ever found where Lazarus had any recollection of anything about his former life. As much as I miss my family down here when I take a trip without them, I would hate to think that I would be remembering them and missing them for years if I get promoted before they do. I remember sitting on back of a trailer in Lincoln, Kansas when I was 19 years old, crying like a baby because I missed my family so bad. I had only been gone five days and was going to be home in only three more. I can’t begin to imagine how much I would miss them if I knew I wasn’t coming back.

David said in 2 Samuel 12:23 upon realizing his son had died as part of the judgment for his sin with Bathsheba, “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” I know that as much as my dad looked forward to heaven and seeing the Lord he had lived for most of his life, he didn’t want to go when he did. He loved life and people and would have loved to have lived long enough to grow old with momma. He finished his race. Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Dad never did like to miss an appointment and that is one we will all one day keep. I will get to go and be with him just because I have been born again by God’s grace.

I have thought a lot about what it must be like and what all is going on in heaven right now. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” No moon means no night there. Just one glorious day according to Revelation 21:23. Luke 15:10 tell us that “there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth.” I don’t pretend to understand a lot of things but I do know this; the saints are in the presence of the angels and redemption and the gospel is something “the angels desire to look into” according to 1 Peter 1:12. I suppose they don’t understand how Jesus could have loved us enough to die for us because they have never experienced salvation. Paul talked in 1 Corinthians 13:12 about the fact that “then shall I know even as also I am known.” As good as the reunions are going to be and as good as it will be to have no more death or pain or sorrow, and no more devil but it gets even better. When we get there, as many of our friends and family already have, we will see the one that died for our sins and get to worship and thank him throughout all eternity. There has never been but one day in heaven and it is Father’s Day. Not to honor our father’s but to honor and praise God the Father for saving our souls and bestowing his grace and mercy upon us.

No, there is no Facebook in heaven and those that are gone on before us wouldn’t be reading it if there was. remembering those that they left behind would bring them sorrow and there is none there. Besides that, they have better things to do; worshipping the one that got them there. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

GOD’S TABLE

GOD’S TABLE                                                                                                                           Andy Hollifield 7-3-18

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

I began to think about how many times in scripture that God fed his people. I don’t mean just letting them eat but I am talking about when he provided it in a miraculous way. I about said in a “supernatural’ way but that doesn’t give honor and glory to whom it is due. The times God provided with nothing are not natural at all and can only be defined as miraculous. I thought it would be good to look at what a miracle actually is. Dictionary.com defines it as 1) an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. The second definition is more to my liking. It says 2) such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God. The word “supernatural” itself is defined as 1) of, relating to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal. The second one is more accurate saying “of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.” Now we’re getting down to where the rubber meets the road. The definitions even say “beyond what is natural and unexplainable.” And the other deity it spoke of; that easy: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The word “table” is used 73 times in the bible and I want to look at a few of them. Some of the times that God miraculously fed his children are some of the most encouraging passages in the bible. One such story is the story of David. We think of him being anointed king as a young boy, him and Bathsheba, and also of him slaying Goliath, but we overlook one of the benefits that David at one time enjoyed. According to 1 Samuel 18-20, David was son-in-law to King Saul, his harpist, captain over his army, and had his own spot at the king’s table. Here he was, a lowly shepherd, living in the palace, married to the king’s daughter, and eating at the king’s table. That ought to show us that if we are obedient to God, he will exalt us in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. In 2 Samuel 9, David returned the favor by seeking out Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth to show kindness to him.

Psalms 23:5 says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…” In Psalms 78:19 the psalmist recounts the history of the Israelites when they asked “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” The answer is yes, he has and he will again. Verse 24 talks about how God rained manna down for them and had given them the corn of heaven. The next four verses talk how God gave them meat and brought it right to them and let it fall in the camp. In Genesis 21 Hagar has run out of water and is alone in the wilderness with Ishmael after being forced to leave Abraham. God provided a well of water even though she hadn’t seen any. Also in Genesis, we see the origin of the nation of Israel, the sons of Jacob, sustained during famine by the brother they had desired to kill years before. Joseph provided them grain and Pharoah even gave them the land of Goshen to come and settle in. After the resurrection of Lazarus in John 12, we find Jesus at supper in Mary and Martha’s house. That is the occasion when Mary anointed his feet with oil and dried them with her hair.

In 1 Kings 17 is the story of Elijah being sent by God down to the brook Cherith and being fed bread and meat by ravens twice per day. Then when the brook dried up due to the drought, God sent him to be sustained by a widow woman who was going to prepare a cake for her and her son to eat before they died of starvation. When she was obedient to the word of Elijah and brought him a cake first, her meal barrel always had meal when it was needed until the drought ended. In Chapter 19 we find Elijah on the run from Jezebel and he is fed by an angel twice and then fasted forty days while traveling.

In the New Testament Jesus fed a multitude of 5000 with only five loaves and two fish and took up twelve baskets of leftovers. That number doesn’t include women and children. In Matthew 15 Jesus fed 4000 with seven loaves and a few little fish and had seven full baskets of leftovers. All of these don’t even include Samson finding honey, Noah and his family having food for around 150 days on the ark, and Jesus cooking a fish breakfast on the seashore for his disciples. There was also the time that the lepers went into a city that had been abandoned and found plenty to eat and also on the spy trip into Canaan when the men had to carry one bunch of grapes on a pole between two of them. That is not to mention Paul’s shipwreck in Acts where he and 275 men had enough to eat after throwing cargo and tackling over the side.

I mention all of these instances for a purpose. If you notice in every one of these instances, the people who were fed were hungry and thirsty. Their food was provided by God and he always gave more than what was needed. He gave it in times of distress, either before or right after or during a hardship. You may be in that position now where it just don’t seem there is any way out. That was the shape Paul was in on the ship in Acts 27. When he got up that morning after two weeks of fasting, he told the men to eat.  He went on to explain how they were going to be safe and about the angel talking to him that night, “For there stood by me this night an angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.” If God sent an angel to stand by Paul in his journey and storm, why would he not do the same for you? God knows what you need and he knows right where you are. Matthew 6:26 says in so many words that God feeds the birds and they don’t sow or gather and he will feed you, “Are ye not much better than they?” Jesus also told them in verse 31 not to even give it a thought what they would eat or drink. You don’t have to worry about it neither because you have a place at the king’s table. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!