Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. ~ Proverbs 4:23, NKJV
Part of maturing in Christ is developing a Spirit-crafted heart, which is at once sensitive and strong. It is sensitive regarding others, in that we have loving empathy for them; it is strong regarding ourselves, in that we will not be enslaved by selfishness and self-pity. Regarding the latter, C. S. Lewis said, “Did we pretend to be ‘hurt’ in our sensitive and tender feelings (fine natures like ours are so vulnerable) when envy, ungratified vanity, or thwarted self-will was our real problem?”
If we do not guard against these little weaknesses of heart regarding our “selves,” the phenomenon will gain more and more ground in us, until it becomes, as Lewis also observed, “the most powerful engine of domestic tyranny, sometimes a lifelong tyranny.” Tyranny does not relinquish its power easily.
The key is to refocus, away from our “selves” and onto God and others: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Jesus, in Luke 10:27).
You and I live in a trashy world. Unwanted garbage comes our way on a regular basis. Haven’t you been handed a trash sack of mishaps and heartaches? Sure you have. May I ask, what are you going to do with it? You could hide it; pretend it isn’t there. But sooner or later it will start to stink. So what will you do?
If you follow the example of Christ, you will learn to see tough times differently. He wants you to have a hope-filled heart…just like Jesus. Wouldn’t you want that? Jesus saw his Father’s presence in the problem. Sure, Max, but Jesus was God. I can’t see the way he saw. Not yet, maybe. But don’t underestimate God’s power. He can change the way you look at life.
WHAT BELIEVERS ARE!
If you are a true believer- you have serious responsibilities in the matter of SOUL-WINNING!!!! We have the high title of SERVANT- 1 Cor. 4:1, Acts 26:16 We find that Paul even goes as far to call himself a "Bond Slave." We are not our own & how gladly should we subscribe ourselves as BOND-SERVANTS of such a great Master.
We are also STEWARDS- Titus 1:7, 1 Peter 4:10 The steward is to REVEAL the great mystery of the most High God.
We are AMBASSADORS- 2 Cor. 5:20 We are His chosen representative, we represent Heaven's court & we must speak with AUTHORITY.
We are WITNESSES- Acts 1:8 We do so at the expense of our on life- maybe sooner than you think!!! We must pour out our lives in testimony of the master. Acts 5:32 A witness must witness by LIP and LIFE!!!
We are MISSIONARIES- John 17:18 The word sent is "Apostolos." Paul was an apostle, a sent one. WE ARE ALL COMMISSIONED for Missionary service. Every believer is a foreign Missionary. The world is a foreign field; Heaven is our home. The Son came gladly when sent of God. The Holy Spirit came gladly when sent of Christ. And WE should go gladly bearing the message of Salvation. Phil. 3:20
We are BUSINESS MEN- Like 19:13 The word occupy is business- do business until I come!!! God has set each one of us up in business. We have the most sacred service- the winning of men from the kingdom of darkness. If we display our goods according to His will- we will find customers.
We are FISHERS OF MEN- Matt. 4:19 We have the promise- "I will make you."
Remember, there are different kinds of fish & different ways to catch them.
We must listen to the master & study the fish, study the water, and know the
seasons. "FOLLOW ME"- this is the secret. We must follow Him, study Him, live
like Him, and most of all OBEY HIM!!!!
NOW, GO CATCH SOME SOULS!!!!!!!
What was the content of the sermon of the angel on that first Christmas night? “Fear not” (Luke 2:10). Before Christ came, the world was filled with fear. The Romans feared rebellion, and was afraid. The Sadducees feared the Pharisees, and they both were suspect of the publicans. The hearts of people everywhere were filled with suspicion, fear, and distrust.
Four times in the Gospel accounts of Christmas the angels used the expression, “Fear not.” Zacharias, an old man, was filled with fear when an angel appeared. He was told that he would be a father and that his son would be the forerunner of the Messiah. The angle told him, “Fear not.” Mary was told that she would have the awesome privilege of bearing the Son of God. Fear filled her at first, but the angel said, “Fear not, Mary” (Luke 1:30). Joseph, betrothed to Mary, was filled with fear and embarrassment when he learned that Mary was pregnant. But the angel declared, "Fear not.” (Matthew 1:20).
Then when the Holy Child was born, the angel came to those shepherds in the fields and said, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). And that is what God is saying to us at this period of Christmas, no matter what our fears may be. He is saying to you right now, “Fear not.” Why? Because Christ is with us. Rejoice and celebrate with others.
He Came; He Is Coming
This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)
Many are celebrating our Lord's first coming this day; let us turn our thoughts to the promise of His second coming. This is as sure as the first advent and derives a great measure of its certainty from it. He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of His service. He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign.
This is our glorious hope, for we shall share His joy. Today we are in our concealment and humiliation, even as He was while here below; but when He cometh it will be our manifestation, even as it will be His revelation. Dead saints shall live at His appearing. The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mourning shall be ended. The long rest and inconceivable splendor of the millennial reign will be an abundant recompense for the ages of witnessing and warring.
Oh, that the Lord would come! He is coming! He is on the road and traveling quickly. The sound of His approach should be as music to our hearts! Ring out, ye bells of hope!
Assurance of Salvation
1, 2, and 3 John - In his gospel, John told us he wrote that we might believe in Christ and as a result have real life. In his first letter, John tells us he wrote so that we might have assurance of such salvation. He urges us not to sin, yet our assurance comes not at all from our attempt to live a sinless life but from knowing we have One who represents us in God’s presence, Jesus (1 John 2:1).
What does he mean when he says that “no one who abides in him keeps on sinning” (3:6 ESV)? This is best understood as saying that although we are not sinless, we will not continue to wallow in sin (habitually) as does the lost world. Assurance comes as we see the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, growing in our lives, for “he who loves is born of God” (4:7). We show that we love God by loving our fellow sinners (v. 21).
The second letter emphasizes the importance of the truth (2 John 1-2). Therefore John is made happy when he sees those whom he has led to Christ “following the truth” (v. 4).
In the third letter, John deals with a sticky situation in which Diotrephes is pushing his weight around in the church. Much better to be like Gaius of whom John can say “I know that it is well with your soul” (3 John 2). This inspired the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.” Another good example is Demetrius whom everyone knows is a good man (v. 12). So fill our hearts with love for you and people that we may have assurance of our salvation.
The Unspeakable Gift
Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the communities of the poor. No one whom he visited suspected that he was a wealthy, educated man, let alone their ruler.
One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the simple, spare food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he came back to visit the poor man again, this time dressed in his finest. "I am your king!" he said, and waited. He thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor.
Instead, the poor man fell to his knees and said, "You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!"
The King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave Himself to you and me. The Bible calls Him "the unspeakable gift!"
Be on guard!
As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas , let us not forget that the devil and his demons are watching our every move to destroy us and our Nation, our families, our communities, our Pastors, our Churches, our elected Leaders of Govt., and those in authority especially.
Don't lose your focus----keep your eyes on Jesus. Pray for our Nation. Pray for our Pastors. Pray for those in authority whether we like them or nor, pray for our families, pray for our children. THE DEVIL IS DOING EVERYTHING TO DESTROY OUR PEOPLE.
Pray in your hearts as you do your work, as you drive, as you wash the dishes, PRAY PRAY PRAY , AND FAST AND READ THE WORD OF GOD. THIS IS OUR WEAPON OF WARFARE.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, rulers of darkness. We cannot fight battles that come against us in the flesh! but with the armour of God.
Put on your armour. (Ephesians 6)
Christmas or no Christmas, don't let your guard down. Soldiers are ever vigilant--always looking out for enemy .
What do you have?
The Bible says, “Do not despise small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin!”
I see what others have done with their lives and before I even get started—I’m discouraged. What can I possibly do that God isn’t already doing through someone else?
Against a towering giant, a brook pebble seems futile. But God used it to topple Goliath. Compared to the tithes of the wealthy, a widow’s coins seem puny. But Jesus used them to inspire us all! Moses had a staff. David had a sling. Samson had a jawbone. Rahab had a string. Mary had some ointment. Dorcas had a needle. All were used by God.
What do you have? Much more than you might think! God inhabits the tiny seed. He empowers the tiny deed! Never discount the smallness of your deeds!
HOW YOUR STORY ENDS!
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16)
Did you know that God has already recorded every part of your life from the beginning to the end? He knows every disappointment, every loss, every challenge; and the good news is that with Christ, your story ends in victory. God has written out a plan to bless and prosper you. When you choose His plan, your final chapter concludes with you fulfilling your God-given destiny. Here’s the key: when you go through a disappointment, when you go through a loss, don’t stop on that page in your life. You’ve got to decide to keep moving forward. There’s another chapter in front of you, but you’ve got to be willing to take the next step.
Sometimes, we get so focused on what didn’t work out that we stay stuck, believing the disappointment. If that’s you, recognize that you’ve been on that page long enough. It’s time to let it go and turn the page to the new chapter God has in store. You may not understand, it may not have been fair, but remember, the next chapter is full of blessing, full of favor, and full of victory. Make the decision to let go of the old so you can move forward into the abundant life God has in store for you.
Are you broken hearted today?
Life can be difficult at times but we need to lean the word of God and the comfort and encouragement it can provide. The Bible verses for a broken heart are a clear call from God to cast your burden upon Him and trust in Him. No matter what you are passing through, be it single for a long time! or no job or financial problem to meet up with Children Christmas wears? Is it loneliness of the heart? Is it unfaithfulness from your spouse? Whatever it is, there is a solution. Psalm 34:18 says, The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
God knows all about your inner pain. Tell Him your problems. Your cry for help will not be in vain. God will give you strength when you are weary. When everything seems to go wrong, Lift your hand and reach out to Him. He will make your heavy heart strong. Look up to God, He holds the key, and knows what is best for you and me.
Only Him can make heartaches cease and fill a heavy heart with peace. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him and I am helped. Psalm 28:7.
DECLARE HIS PROMISES OVER
As we come to the end of this year, I want to encourage and challenge you to speak words of life over your life. You have the power to set the destiny for your life...by what comes out of your mouth. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that life and death are found in the words we speak. No one gets to decide the words that come out of your mouth except you. You have complete control over what you choose to say.
Your words have the power to set things in motion, good or bad. They’re like little seeds that you plant in life. When your words are filled with faith, hope and promise, then you’ll enjoy the fruit of them. But if they’re filled with discouragement, fear and other negative things, you won’t enjoy your life. As we come to the end of the year, let me encourage you to speak hope, favor and new life to your soul. You are filled with God-given destiny and passion. You are everything God has called you to be! I declare this in Jesus’ name over your life today.
If you want to see your circumstances and situations change for the better, you have to start by planting good seeds through your words. Make your confessions personal and real, and allow God’s strength and power to move. Instead of saying “I’m not,” start saying “I am.” “I am blessed! I am able! I am healed! I am smart! I am gifted! I am everything God has called me to be!” I wish you happiness and joy as we come to the end of the year.
God's got something better!
“When my daughter was a toddler, I used to take her to a park not far from our apartment. One day as she was playing in a sandbox, an ice-cream salesman approached us. I purchased her a treat, and when I turned to give it to her, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I had intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt.
Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less of my daughter with dirt in her mouth? Of course not. Was I going to allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where she was, but I refused to leave her there. I carried her over to the water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because I love her.
God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain. "Spit out the dirt, honey," our Father urges. "I've got something better for you." And so he cleanses us of filth; immorality, dishonesty, prejudice, bitterness, greed. We don't enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream. "I can eat dirt if I want to!" we pout and proclaim. Which is true—we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God has a better offer.”
YOUR LIFE SHOULD REFLECT HIM!
“Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:].” (Philippians 2:5, AMP)
When you reflect something, you are exhibiting its likeness. You are displaying its characteristics. Like a mirror, the Bible tells us that we should reflect the character and likeness of Jesus. We should have His same attitude.
That may sound like a pretty tall order; after all, Jesus was the Son of God. But remember, when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we become sons and daughters of the Most High God, too. We become empowered by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. That means we have the same spirit of humility, the same strength, the same love, the same power on the inside. We are empowered to follow His example and do what He did. When Jesus walked the earth, the scripture says He went around doing good and bringing healing to others physically, spiritually and emotionally. That’s what we should be doing, too.
Notice this verse starts by saying, “Let...” In other words, we have to invite God into our attitude and actions. Choose today to invite Him to work in you. Reflect Him in your attitude and actions, bring good to others, and reap an abundant harvest of blessing in every area of your life.
WAIT FOR HIS TIMING!
“My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15)
One thing I’ve learned is that God doesn’t always work on our time table. In fact, He rarely does. But, in a single moment, God can change your life. All throughout scripture, we saw examples of how God was working behind the scenes and instantly turned things around for His people. Scripture tells us that He is the same yesterday, today and forever which means if He did it for them, He can instantly turn things around for you, too!
You may be going through some difficulty today, but be encouraged because your times are in God’s hands. Trust that He has your best interest at heart. He wants to pour out His favor. He wants to take you further than you dreamed possible and work in your life in ways beyond what you have ever imagined.
Let this truth sink down into your heart today. Resist discouragement by speaking His Word over your future. Keep standing, keep hoping and keep believing because He is working behind the scenes. It will not tarry. Have faith because your times are in His hands, and He will lead you in the life of victory He has for you.
THE HOLINESS OF GRACE
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…Who satisfies your desires with good things…. ~ Psalm 103:1, 5
William Barclay said that the Talmud describes seven types of Pharisees, only one of which was good. One of the seven was the Bruised-or-Bleeding Pharisee, who in his own mind was so holy that he would turn away and close his eyes if he saw a female in public, thus always bumping into things, falling down, and injuring himself. Interestingly, these seven classifications of Pharisees parallel types of Christians.
Holiness is not your effortful negation of temptation. Holiness is the powerful inworking and outworking of Holy Spirit in your redeemed, yielded heart. The Bruised-or-Bleeding Pharisee new nothing of grace but knew all about hypocrisy, even as Jesus, in a lengthy declaration, said of all the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-26). Unleashed in your open heart, the grace of Christ will satisfy your sanctified desires, even as David implied in our text.
The contrast to the Woe-to’s in Matthew 23 is the Blessed-are’s in Matthew 5:3-12, part of the famous Sermon on the Mount. Is “Grace” really as “Amazing” in our lives as in the song we sing? When it comes to everything from salvation to service to grace’s progressive work in our lives, here is the key to it all: “whoever is willing.”
CHRISTMAS AS THE PARABLE OF
Then He [Jesus] told them many things in parables… ~ Matthew 13:3
It seems that, because of the Christmas Saga, stories at Christmas abound. A pedestrian definition of a parable might be “a powerful truth portrayed in a story.” Real though it is, we can look at the Christmas Story itself as a parable.
Through God’s delivered word, Mary was promised to deliver a Spirit-impregnated child, just as we are born-again through God’s imperishable Word (1 Peter 1:23). They kept Jesus near them, wherever they went, even as does a Christian (Hebrews 13:5). They nurtured the life given to them, just as Christians do (Colossians 1:8; 1 Peter 2:2; Amplified Bible). Along the way, God confirmed that they were on the right track (the Shepherds, the Magi, the dreams, Simeon and Anna), even as God confirms that we are on the right track (Philippians 3:15-16, The Message). In honor of the newborn King, the “Wise Men” brought gifts,
which would undoubtedly fund the Christmas family's fleeing to Egypt, as God would command (Matthew 2:13), even as Christians are given gifts of the Spirit to serve the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:1-12).
To be in this Christmas parable, you must accept Jesus into the center of your life, even did Mary and Joseph did.
"Through," Not Engulfed
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)
Bridge there is none: we must go through the waters and feel the rush of the rivers. The presence of God in the flood is better than a ferryboat. Tried we must be, but triumphant we shall be; for Jehovah Himself, who is mightier than many waters, shall be with us. Whenever else He may be away from His people, the Lord will surely be with them in difficulties and dangers. The sorrows of life may rise to an extraordinary height, but the Lord is equal to every occasion.
The enemies of God can put in our way dangers of their own making, namely, persecutions and cruel mockings, which are like a burning, fiery furnace. What then? We shall walk through the fires. God being with us, we shall not be burned; nay, not even the smell of fire shall remain upon us.
Oh, the wonderful security of the heaven-born and heaven-bound pilgrim! Floods cannot drown him, nor fires burn him. Thy presence, O Lord, is the protection of Thy saints from the varied perils of the road. Be-hold, in faith I commit myself unto Thee, and my spirit enters into rest.
What Christmas Is
"Christmas is not a date on the calendar. Christmas is a way of life. Like the innkeeper, we have posted a sign that reads, 'No room!' No room in our schedules…no room in our homes…no room in our hearts and minds…no room in our lives for Jesus. We can participate in the festivities of the Christmas season but until we truly receive the gift of Jesus we will never truly experience Christmas. To have a joy-filled Christmas, we must not only recognize Him as the center of a season, but as the center of our lives."
We use the phrases "good times" and "bad times." From Coast to Coast in America, we have "The New York Times" and "The LA Times," reporting to us about those good times and bad times. Maybe the best use of the word "times" is in this Bible verse, when David declared to God, "My times are in Your hands" (Psalm 31:15). Times change, but the unchanging God shall work all things for your good, if you love Him and serve Him (Romans 8:28).
God Is Saying To Many, "Give
Me A Chance To Touch Others Through You."
I was in Lowe's store walking around and I overheard a lady telling someone how sick she was with sinus infection. As I kept walking the Lord spoke to me to go and pray for her. I said, "Lord, I'm not used to praying for people in public. The Lord said, "I am. Most of My ministry of healing and deliverance was in public, not in the temple. Another thing, it's not about you but about Me. I just want you to be a vessel to give Me a chance to touch her. If she doesn't get healed, it won't be your fault. And if she does get healed, it won't be because of you either. I just want you to give Me a chance to heal her.
I stepped out and asked her if I could pray for her. She said, "Yes, I have had this sinus infection for many years and have had two surgeries and it still comes back often." I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to come upon her and I took authority over this infirmity to leave her. I felt the Lord's presence. She appeared to not feel anything, so I told her, "Sometimes God heals immediately and other times gradually." As I walked away, I felt a healing witness go through my own body. Perhaps being a channel for Him opens ourselves up to be touched as well as others.
IT IS UP TO YOU.
You can break even or breakthrough. The choice is yours. It may seem like others around you have no problems. As you look at their lives, you may wonder why things are always so good for them. They seem to move from one great experience to the next, while you’re struggling to get by and keep your head above water.
From a distance you start thinking things like, It’s not fair. Why can’t I get a break? When is it going to be my turn? If you’ve ever had these thoughts, I want to let you in on a little secret. We all face challenges and problems. We all face obstacles that tempt us to be discouraged, to settle for less or to give up hope. But the important thing is what we do when those challenges come our way. With every problem, we have a choice: Will I still believe God is a good God and that He has great things in store for me, or will I settle for less than God’s best?
When you face challenges, especially really significant ones, it’s easy to slide into survival mode, but we’re not supposed to stay there. Even in your most difficult season, there is still opportunity. God has given you everything you need to succeed. He wants you to do more than survive; He wants you to THRIVE. I want to encourage you to choose to fill your mind with God’s promises and His expectations for your life. This is really the key to thriving! Don’t let your problems shape your expectations. You can live with confidence knowing that great things are coming your way.
BE PATIENT AND HAVE FAITH!
“imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been
In our culture today, people are used to getting things right away. We’ve been programmed for immediacy. People don’t like to wait. But the scripture says, “It’s through faith and patience that we inherit God’s promises.” Sometimes, it’s easy for people to have faith. We declare, “God, I believe I’m going to accomplish my dreams. God, I believe I’m going to overcome this obstacle.” But, it gets harder when we have to walk in patience. When you pray, can you say, “God, I not only believe for big things, but I trust Your timing. God, I’m not going to get discouraged if it doesn’t happen immediately. I’m not going to give up because it’s taken a week, a month or years. I know the set time is already in my future, so I’m going to wait with faith and patience because I know that it’s on the way.”
Remember that through faith and patience we inherit His promises. Trust His Word, trust His timing and trust that your answer is on the way.
True Walking Posture
He that walketh uprightly walketh surely. (Proverbs 10:9)
His walk may be slow, but it is sure. He that hasteth to be rich shall not be innocent nor sure; but steady perseverance in integrity, if it does not bring riches, will certainly bring peace. In doing that which is just and right, we are like one walking upon a rock, for we have confidence that every step we take is upon solid and safe ground. On the other hand, the utmost success through questionable transactions must always be hollow and treacherous, and the man who has gained it must always be afraid that a day of reckoning will come, and then his gains will condemn him.
Let us stick to truth and righteousness. By God's grace let us imitate our Lord and Master, in whose mouth no deceit was ever found. Let us not be afraid of being poor, nor of being treated with contempt. Never, on any account whatever, let us do that which our conscience cannot justify. If we lose inward peace, we lose more than a fortune can buy. If we keep in the Lord's own way and never sin against our conscience, our way is sure against all comers. Who is he that can harm us if we be followers of that which is good? We may be thought fools by fools if we are firm in our integrity; but in the place where judgment is infallible we shall be approved.
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love Him—these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
I suppose that, since what we know of Heaven is only the patchwork scenes and isolated verses we have in Scripture, each of us has a “Dreamland of Similes” of what Heaven will be like. God has His secrets and sovereignly reveals in this world what He desires to reveal (Deuteronomy 29:29).
What we have of Heaven in Scripture certainly is, at least, part of what Paul meant by “these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit,” thus leaving us room to dream further by His Spirit in our redeemed hearts. One other thing is certain: it will be, as our text says, better than our dreams, for God has said that “those who hope in Me will not be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:23).
In the interim, we may use our hopes and dreams of Heaven as our strength and grit to get through this “Valley of Tears” (Psalm 84:6), even as Jesus used the surety of millions of souls being saved as He suffered His hell-paying Cross: “For the joy set before Him, He endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Surely, anticipation of Heaven is a great deal of the “joy set before” us. After all, our Jesus’ being there makes it Heaven, and we shall be with Him in glorious bliss forevermore. I believe that we can leave it to Him to prepare for us our eternal Environment, full of everything that is good and holy, even “perfect.”
God’s chosen vessels aren’t always gleaming and golden. They may be tarnished or cracked, broken or even discarded. They may be a Saul driven by anger, motivated to hurt. Saul was eager to root out and persecute the early Christians. But God saw possibilities in Saul and sent Ananias to teach and minister to him. What will you do when God shows you your Saul? He’s gone too far. She’s too hard. Too addicted. Too old. No one gives your Saul a prayer.
But you’re beginning to realize that maybe God is at work behind the scenes. You begin to believe. Don’t resist these thoughts. No one believes in people more than Jesus does. Don’t give up. Tell your Saul about Jesus, and pray. And remember this: God never sends you where he hasn’t already been. By the time you reach your Saul, who knows what you’ll find.
SURPRISED BY 'THE DAY'?
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever. ~ Isaiah 55:10-13
At times, it seems that, among other reasons, God created Nature so that He could use it as analogies for life. Scripture teems with such comparisons. Nature has God-designed laws and patterns. The seasonal cycle takes but a year, so we get our annual lessons.
Too bad that we don’t take such notice of our lives. Jesus said that, even before technology, people could gauge upcoming weather better than they could gauge the signs of the times (Matthew 16:2-3; Luke 12:54-56). Sure enough, time creeps up on us. Before we know it—or want it—our muscles ache too easily, our memory has a slip or two, our energy level has a lower threshold…and we never saw it coming.
Dear friends and fellow believers, we are closer to Jesus’ return than we know. We are near the Day of the long season’s end. We talk about it, talk about it, and talk about it…but soon it will happen, and then all talk of its someday happening will cease. The Day is near, and Paul said to Christians, “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this Day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6).
Life in the Spirit
Romans 8-10 - What a contrast between Romans 7 and 8. The seventh chapter is one of spiritual defeat. The word “I” is mentioned again and again, but the Spirit is not mentioned. In Romans 8, there is little mention of “I,” but note how the Spirit is mentioned again and again. The chapter begins with no condemnation and ends with no separation from Christ. In between we are given the conviction that in all things God is at work for our good—we who love him, whom he has called. Paul faces the fact that many Jews have not believed. He is deeply concerned for them, but they do not respond. The conclusion is that those only are saved whom God has chosen. If this is so, we realize a startling fact that he has evidently not chosen many Jews, to open the door to the Gentiles.
This emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation in no way dampens Paul’s enthusiasm for evangelism. He is deeply concerned for his own people, the Jews. “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (10:1). Oh that we might be so filled with love for people that we would give our very best to the task of evangelizing the world. God chooses whom he will save, but he uses one method to do this: we must proclaim the gospel and those who hear must respond with a faith in their hearts which they express by a confession of that faith with their lips. Have you done that?
LOVING WITH ALL
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. ~ 1 John 2:15, KJV
People of all stripes admit that love is powerful. It can consume. We even have a saying that “Love is blind.” As with most lasting, old sayings, that statement became famous because of some truth in it. The saying speaks to our “natural” sensibilities as imperfect humans. Love for something or for someone can be so consuming that it captivates the “vision” of the person, with a stubborn protectiveness.
This is one reason that, in Deuteronomy, Joshua, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we are commanded to love the Lord with all of our heart and soul. Loving the world, or the things of the world, with all our heart and soul results in that monomaniacal vision that is blindness to God. The beautiful irony is that, when we are born again, the “veil” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) is torn from our minds, hearts, and eyes, and we truly “see,” by Jesus-made faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), for the first time. Then, and only then, we have the capacity to love God with our all.
The soul is designed to love with an “all,” but it is not designed to love with its “all” both the world and God. (The “world” and its “things” are whatever runs contrary to God’s ways.) Jesus knows nothing of commanding partial love for Him; He speaks of an all-encompassing love, which then permeates all of our other “loves” in a positive way. A believer should love what God loves and hate what God hates. This capacity is by grace through—and only through—Jesus Christ (1 John 4:19).
WHY IT HAD TO BE THAT WAY
You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. ~ Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7
But we do see Jesus, Who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. ~ Hebrews 2:9
That, in the spiritual hierarchy, man was made “a little lower than the angels” was known by God’s people in both Old Testament and New Testament times, as our first text demonstrates. However, man was God’s greatest creation—made in His Own image. Jesus did not die for angels, who have no Savior. Lucifer and the angels that followed him in the Rebellion cannot be redeemed.
Jesus had to become human because the first human sinned. Adam gave up all privileges of pure God-consciousness and pure God-fellowship. Therefore, even though angels had some mysterious part in administrating the Law (Acts 7:53), only the “Last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), Jesus Christ, at-once 100% God and 100% man, could administrate salvation from sin. Among other reasons, His becoming human allowed Him to “suffer” and “taste” death, as our second text says, thus completely associating Himself with fallen man’s sin-wages (Romans 6:23). The sinless One paid the price for sinful man, thus judiciously allowing God to impute Jesus’ righteousness to anyone who would accept Christ by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This goes a long way in explaining the “why” of Christmas, including the virgin birth. Jesus had to be “made in human likeness” and, indeed, “was found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:7-8), devoid of the sin seed passed forward by a man (Romans 5:12-18). The God-Man Himself had to pay the price for Mankind’s sin, to “free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2;15). Satan had held the “death” trump-card since Eden; Jesus trumped Satan’s trump-card by His death-and-resurrection victory for us (1 Corinthians 15:55-56).
Listen to the Truth
Secular media have a dangerously hypnotic effect on our life's perspective. We should never allow secular media to define our values for us. Unfortunately, secular media have adversely changed American culture. It's time to reevaluate. The wisest source is the Bible, where eternal Truth is based. Actually, the person of Jesus is that basis. He proclaimed, "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). Later, the paternally minded John said, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the TRUTH" (3 John :4).
What You Were Made to Do
Many people stop short of their destiny. They settle for someone else’s story. Grandpa was a butcher, Dad was a butcher, so I guess I’ll be a butcher. Everyone I know is in farming, so I guess I’m supposed to farm. Consequently, they risk leading dull, joyless, and fruitless lives. They never sing the song God wrote for their voices. They never cross a finish line with heavenward-stretched arms and declare, I was made to do this! They fit in, settle in, and blend in. But they never find their call.
Don’t make the same mistake. Ephesians 2:10 says: “It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” Your existence is not accidental. Your skills are not incidental. God shaped each person in turn!
THE GREATER CREATIVE
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
The chorus of humanity is man’s abusing nearly every good thing that God gives him. The great marvel is that, at some point in His creative history, God did not say, “I will rescind this or that pleasure because man abuses it.” No, our God is not a quitter.
It is just like the Lord to solve this problem with even a greater creative Gift: Jesus Christ, Who so changes our natures that we become fully capable, by grace, to bring into balance all of the pleasures that God offers us. When we do that, the pleasures take-on a purer satisfaction.
I’m not solely talking about physical pleasures. The “higher” pleasures are also brought into the balance which the Manufacturer intended: “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely” (Galatians 5:22-23, The Message).
When, after salvation, we yield to the Spirit of Jesus, life works much better.
A Relationship With God!
Our relationship with God is exactly that– a relationship. His invitation in Psalm 27:8 is simple. Come and talk with me, O my people. And our response? Lord, I’m coming! We abide with him and he abides with us.
Psalm 119:105 says in everything, His word is a “lamp unto our feet.” It’s not a spotlight into the future, but He gives enough light to take the next step.
Our “Glory Days” are such because we learn to hear God’s voice telling us to turn this way or that way. Isaiah speaks of it in chapter 30, verse 21. “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go.” Wait until God speaks before you act. Be patient and monitor your impulse. If you feel a check in your heart, heed it and ask God again. Consult God in everything!
He Is God
Most people suffer from small thoughts about God. In an effort to see him as our friend, we have lost his immensity. In our desire to understand him, we have sought to contain him. The God of the Bible cannot be contained. He brought order out of chaos and created creation. He consulted no committee. He sought no counsel. He said, “I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9 NIV).
The greatest kings have surrendered their crowns. The queen of England is called Her Majesty, yet she must eat and bathe and rest. The True Majesty is never hungry. He never sleeps. He has never needed assistance or attention. “He sustains everything by the mighty power of his command” (Hebrews 1:3 NLT). He has authority over the world—over your world! And he has never, ever uttered the phrase, “How did that happen?”
More blessings to you!
“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of poverty. Christ takes poverty out of people, and then they take themselves out of poverty. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ changed human nature.”
“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace… Try as you may, you cannot put God in your debt. For every time you do His will, He simply pours out more blessings.”
GO FOR IT IF HE SAYS YES!
“For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of
fools will destroy them.”
God will never ask you to do something without giving you the ability to do it. You may get passive or complacent and think, “Yes, I know I need to do that. Maybe next week.” Well, next week turns into next month. Next month turns into next year. When we put off what God has told us to do, we miss that season of grace. But, if you’ll deal with things as soon as God brings them to light, you’ll have a special grace, a special empowerment. You’ll feel God’s enabling power helping you to do it.
Is there something you’re putting off? Something you know in heart that you are supposed to do? Don’t let the season of grace pass. Don’t let complacency destroy you. Your destiny stands before you. God has something amazing in your future. Be bold, be strong. Step out in faith, be obedient, and embrace the good things God has in store for you. You are blessed.
THY WILL BE DONE!
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. ”(Matthew 6:10, NIV)
God longs to give you a glimpse of heaven while you are here on earth. He wants to show you His plan and bring it to pass in your life. Have you ever thought about how God’s will is accomplished in heaven? In heaven, God’s will is automatic. There are no opposing forces, no doubt, no enemy or anything that would come against His will. On earth, His will is done in our lives, first, when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior; and then, we must choose to come into agreement with His will on a daily basis through our thoughts, our words and our actions. On earth, we have to stand against the forces of doubt and darkness. We have to refuse those negative, self-defeating thoughts.
As you open your heart to the Word of God and invite His will to be done in your life, you are coming into agreement with God. And when you get in agreement with God, there is power. As you declare what God says about you, you will experience all He has for you and see a glimpse of heaven in your life here on earth.
Let's get it right!
This is what we as Christians are up against. We are wrestling with all of this. You better be in a church where the Word of God is stinging and burning into your soul. You better pray the Pastor is preaching to where your toes are stepped on. Hell is an awful place and many are going there who think they are on their way to Heaven - my Bible says Heaven is only for the Pure and Holy and not evil will enter there. SO folks, we only get one chance - Let's get it right.
Ephesians 6:12-13 - "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Is He truly Lord of your
If Jesus Christ be our Master, we must be content to let the fairest prospect go, and all things that seem to tell for our success in this life must be secondary in our account. We must seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Ay, and sometimes love that has been longed for must go for Christ’s sake. Company that has been delightful must be forsaken for Christ’s sake, and if all this be done, yet still it is not enough. He that has Christ must give to Christ himself and all that he has.
I should doubt whether I were a follower of Christ if I had not in my very soul given up to him all that I am and all that I have, to be for ever his. He has bought us with a price, and it is not surely meet for us to give him one arm, and one eye, and one foot, and half a heart. He that is a true Christian is a Christian through and through. Whatever he possesses of talent, whatever of substance he owns, he looks upon nothing as being his own, but as all belonging to his Master, and he is prepared to use all for his Master’s glory, and to part with all if so it were needful for the maintenance of his Master’s kingdom.
ACCEPT YOUR CALLING!
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,2 PETER 1.10.
Somebody has rightly said that cemeteries of the world are full of dreams that never materialized, gifts that were never used, and potentials that were never harnessed. How sad! Many have lived and died without fulfilling God's dream for them, without becoming what God wanted them to be.
Make no mistake about it, The Scripture is replete with examples people who were called and anointed but never fulfilled their calling. Nothing could be more miserable than that. Some are waiting on the Lord to fulfill what He said about them but it doesn't really work that way. You are the one to make it happen. Peter said, make your calling and election sure. He didn't say, pray to God to make your calling and election sure.
A lot of us make unnecessary messes. But we can change that. May I make a suggestion? Before you face the world, face your Father.
Take this “pocket prayer:”
“Father. . .You are good. Your heart is good.” The words come slowly at first, but stay at it… “Your ways are right. The weather’s bad, the economy is bad, but God, you are awesome.”
Don’t underestimate the power of this moment. You just opened the door to God and welcomed truth to enter your heart. Who knows, you might even start to worship. Is your world different because you prayed? In one sense, no. But you are different. You have peace. You’ve talked with your Father.
You Can't Contain Him
Most people have small thoughts about God. In an effort to see God as our friend, we have lost his immensity. In our desire to understand him, we have sought to contain him.
The God of the Bible cannot be contained. With a word he called Adam out of dust and Eve out of a bone. He consulted no committee. He sought no counsel. He has authority over the world and. . .He has authority over your world. He’s never surprised. He has never, ever uttered the phrase, “How did that happen?”
God’s goodness is a major headline in the Bible. If He were only mighty, we would salute Him. But since He is merciful and mighty, we can approach Him. If God is at once Father and Creator, holy—unlike us—and high above us, then we at any point are only a prayer away from help!
ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into Heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down). ~ Romans 10:6
Paul was alluding to this Old Testament passage, relating to the fact that Jesus humbled Himself (Philippians 2:6-10) to come down to us: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in Heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” (Deuteronomy 30:11-12). However, I would like to take another, more metaphorical approach.
Some desire to “bring” the name of Jesus Christ “down,” claiming that He was a mere mortal or that He was a mere prophet among prophets, a good human, or a good teacher—or even worse. However, Scripture clearly says that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). The name of Jesus Christ, in the profoundest sense, is the ultimate “proper” noun, even though critics attempt to make it a “common” noun.
Note that Philippians 2:10-11 says that every tongue (believers and unbelievers, alike; Heaven-bound and hell-bound, alike) will confess that “Jesus is Lord.” However, one must confess from the heart “Jesus is my personal Savior” on this side of the grave to be saved and be Heaven-bound. It isn’t a matter of your “bringing Christ down”; it is a matter of allowing Him to “bring you up” with Him (Ephesians 2:6). No one will “ascend into Heaven,” as our text says, on his own merit—or by the merit of anyone besides Jesus.
God Knows Best
Maybe God and prayer are all you have. You face discouragement, deception, defeat, destruction, death. They roar into your world like a Hells Angels motorcycle gang. Their goal is to chase you back into the wilderness of sin.
Don’t give an inch. You are a member of God’s family. You come to God not as a stranger but as an heir. Earnestly make your requests known to him, not because of what you have achieved, but because of what Christ has done. Jesus spilled his blood for you. You can spill your heart before God. Jesus said if you have faith, you can tell a mountain to go and jump into the sea (Mark 11:23).
What is your mountain? Call out to God for help…today! Will he do what you want? I cannot say, but this I can. He will do what is best!
YOU ARE MADE NEW WHEN YOU
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”(2 Corinthians 5:17)
People love to get something new. But as a believer in Jesus, you’re not only getting something new, you are new. You are a brand new creation. Your eternal being, your spirit, is re-created in Christ. The old is gone, the new has come. You may not necessarily feel new right away. That’s because the Bible tells us that we are to “work out” our salvation. That means you have to retrain your body and mind to act, think, speak and live according to God’s ways instead of the old habits you used to have. Don’t ever get stuck in the rut of thinking, “I’ll never change...that’s just the way I am.” No, the Bible says that the Spirit of God aids us in our weakness.
He gives us strength to overcome. He empowers us to live as more than conquerors in this life. Is there something you want to change in your life today? If you’ve received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then start declaring, “I am a new creation in Christ! I am empowered to overcome. I am equipped to walk in the new, abundant life the Lord has in store for me.
YOU CAN BEAR IT!
The Apostle Paul knew hardships and he said in the book of (2 Cor. 11:24-27) "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been in danger from rivers in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen in danger from Gentiles in danger in the city, in danger in the country in danger at sea and in danger from false brothers.
I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep. I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food. I have been cold and naked." But in all of these things Paul did not quit. He did not give up. He remained faithful. Compare his suffering with yours? I want you to say I’m going to live by faith. I’m going to live in the strength which comes from the help of God.
No matter how many times you get knocked down, keep getting back up. God sees your determination. God sees your faithfulness. And when you do everything you can do that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.
We don’t like to wait. We are the giddy-up generation. We frown at the person who takes eleven items into the ten-item express checkout. We drum our fingers while the microwave heats our coffee. Come on, come on. We don’t like to wait.
But look around you. Do you realize where we sit? This planet is God’s waiting room. The young couple? Waiting to get pregnant. The guy with the briefcase? Waiting for work. Waiting on God to give, to help…waiting on God to come. The land of waiting. And you? Are you in God’s waiting room? You may be infertile or inactive, in limbo, in between jobs or in search of a house, spouse, health, or help.
Here’s what you need to know. While you wait, God works! God never twiddles His thumbs. He never stops. Just because you are idle, don’t assume God is. Trust Him and, in the right time, you’ll get through this.
IMPOSSIBLE MADE POSSIBLE
God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
Let’s say that my desire is to go from mid-America to Ireland “on my own,” with no money. I must walk across much drastically diverse terrain and through schizophrenic weather, finding my own food in the wild. I finally make it to the Atlantic shore, where from natural materials and self-made tools I must build a seaworthy boat. Even after I do that and have filled the boat with perishable food from the wilderness, I launch into the seemingly endless horizon, braving every notion of sea-weather and sea-currents. If I reach the Irish shore, then I have succeeded.
This is too much. I can’t do this. Neither can you. However, what I have described is actually an easier notion than someone’s thinking he can “work” his way to Heaven. It is implausible and, frankly, incomprehensible. What we need is to win an all-expenses-paid, all-inclusive trip to Ireland. We merely accept the conditions, and we will be there at the expense, effort, and provision of the generous benefactor. This is the very reason Christ had to come to earth, be crucified, rise from the dead, and ascend to Heaven—all on our behalf.
Dear neighbor, you can’t do it on your own. Perfection is beyond you, yet perfection is the very thing that a Holy Heaven demands: “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). No religious fervor, no self-provided sacrifice, no high morality, no “turning over a new leaf”—nothing will make you comprehensively “righteous” (i.e., “perfect”) from God’s point of view, other than your accepting the only One Who never sinned and your having His righteousness imputed to you. He is Jesus Christ, the One of Whom our text speaks (Romans 3:23-24).
THERE IS REWARD IN SERVING
When you're tempted to give up, when things aren't going your way, just say to yourself, "This may be hard. It may be taking a long time, but I know God is a faithful God. I'm going to keep believing because my reward is coming." All the good things he has promised, Financial breakthrough, Promotion, Healing, Strong relationship, Freedom from addiction. God has promised all these things to you in His Word.
As you are trusting in Him and standing in faith, as you boldly declare His promises, you are positioning yourself to receive His blessing. No matter what your circumstances look like, remember payday is on its way—and you will experience the blessing and reward He has promised all the days of your life. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19). His grace is sufficient for you.
Deuteronomy 28 - see the
curses and blessings.
We can still claim the blessings of God when we are walking hand in hand with the Lord. I used these scriptures many times. I curse the devil & free the Lord to work in my behalf. You see many times we tell the devil what to do to us when we speak. Remember this, after the devil thought he had Jesus when he killed him on the cross, but he didn't realize he just made the way for little Jesus' all over the world to spring up as Jesus sent back the Holy Ghost.
When Jesus went into the "belly of the earth" (HELL) for 3 days, he fought with satan & came up with the "Keys to Death, Hell & the Grave." and stripped him of all power. Jesus left the devil totally "defenseless." So, the question arises "How did the devil get the power he uses today." We must realize that "WE" ourselves gave it back to him, when we speak negative things, he is NOT a "MIND READER". The only thing he knows about us is what he hears us say. I could go on and on, but I pray I have painted a picture of how the devil works.
Luke 10:19 - Behold, I given unto power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
We have been given all the power we need to take control over any situation we are faced with. This applies especially to healing of our bodies. Jesus came & took the 39 Stripes on His Back, so we could have our Healing needs met. We tie His Hands ourselves.
TAKE YOUR BROKENNESS TO HIM!
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
In Genesis 32, Jacob had wrestled all night with a man, who was actually God. Genesis 32:27 says, “The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob,’ he answered” (NIV). What a strange request. God obviously knew Jacob’s name. Whenever God asks you a question, it’s never for his benefit. He already knows the answer!
The reason he asked this was that he wanted Jacob to admit what he was. In ancient times, names were chosen for their meaning, not for how nice they sounded. So you could be named after a profession like a baker or a carpenter or a smith. You could be named after a relative or you could be named for the situation you were in. Jabez was named “painful” because he came in a painful birth.Jacob’s name means “deceiver.” And — oh boy — did he live up to his name! His entire life he lied to get out of many situations and one conflict after another because he was a deceiver. He was a manipulator. When God asked Jacob what his name was, he wanted him to own up to who he was.
When Jacob says, “I am Manipulator,” God was not shocked. He didn’t say, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m fighting with a manipulator? How did I miss that? I didn’t see that one coming.” God already knew everything bad about Jacob, just like he already knows everything bad about you — even the stuff you don’t know about yourself. The Bible says in Malachi 1:2, “I have loved Jacob.” I like that verse because it gives me hope. If God loved Jacob who was so unlovable, who was such a manipulator, who was such a scoundrel, who was such a crook, who was such a liar — then God can love someone like you and me, too.
God is a Rewarder
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to
him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek
Do you see God as a rewarder today? Notice this verse doesn’t say that God rewards those who “deserve” it or have “earned” it. It doesn’t say that God rewards those who act perfectly and never make mistakes. No, God’s blessing isn’t based on our performance, it’s based on our faith — our belief in Him and His goodness. In fact, one verse says that He longs to be good to those who are looking for His goodness!
I encourage you today to spend some time meditating on His goodness and dwelling on His faithfulness. Look for Him and expect Him to act. Spend some time reading the Psalms and begin to praise and thank Him for all He is doing. Open your eyes of faith and see all of the wonderful things He has prepared for you. Let His Word shape your thoughts, and remember He is a rewarder. He wants to bless you today because you earnestly seek after Him.
Luke 24:21 - But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.
The scenario of this scripture is unusual. Two of Jesus' disciples are describing their lost hope due to the events surrounding Jesus' death to none other than Jesus Himself.
They don't recognize Him as they walk together on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. Spiritual cataracts blind them to the hope they thought was dead - right in front of them! Let's open our spiritual eyes to Jesus, who is walking beside us.
We often look for Jesus everywhere except where He really is, living inside us when we are born again. When we are walking and talking daily with Him, He is walking right beside us. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us and He never will.
PATIENCE WITH GOD
Paul: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, Who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
It is absurd to think that one would plant a seed on one day and expect to see a fully grown plant with fruit hanging from it on the next day…or the next week…or the next month. No, the planted seed needs watering, nourishment, care…and patience.
This describes our serving Christ, too. We modern folk of the microwave, “instant messaging” world of technology have little patience for patience. However, God, Who does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), will not “hurry,” simply because we want Him to hurry. Whether it regards our Christ-character development, our looking for answered prayers, or our wanting to see the fruit of our work, we must be persistent and wait on Him, Who will act better than and beyond our expectations (Isaiah 64:4; Ephesians 3:20-21). God has had incredible patience with us; we should have patience with Him.
Oswald Chambers observed, “Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don't want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of 'good time' is seldom in sync with ours.”
Praise be to God
Recently the Lord reminded me that the language of the kingdom of God is praise. The language of the kingdom of darkness is complaining. Praise builds faith. Complaining is based in unbelief. There is always something to thank and praise God for. When we enter his presence daily with praise, he enters our lives with power. God tells us to “offer a sacrifice of praise to God continually”… as we live a lifestyle of praise (Heb. 13:15).
When we complain we are really saying, “If I were God, I would not allow this to happen.” This opens the door for doubt and unbelief. Praise places our confidence in the Lord. When Jesus fed the 5000 and raised Lazarus from the dead, he first acknowledged and gave praise to His heavenly father. We are called to do the same. Let’s speak the language of the kingdom of God today, and expect the Lord to enter our lives with power.
You can't fool God
"A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by man." Leonard Ravenhill
This is so true for they who are called to Preach the Word of God. If we will be Intimate with God, we will not be Intimidated by Man. Wish I had said that, but this man of God did say it and it is so true. We must preach the word in season and out. We must preach to all who have an ear to hear. Remember, the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. So, if God calls you to do something, this you must do if you are a Christian.
There is an old saying I am familiar with "You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time - but you can never fool God "ANY TIME. "
THE GLORY OF REPENTANCE
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” ~ Isaiah 6:5-7
Isaiah was caught up into Heaven, in the very presence of a thrice-holy God (v.3), and immediately he was keenly overwrought with awareness of not only his sin but also the sin of all people. The pristine glory of the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God will do that to fallen man. The Lord’s incomprehensibly brilliant light reveals the tiniest sin which was invisible to us in the dark.
Ah, dear Christian, do not be discouraged when Holy Spirit reminds you of your sin; that is for your good and His glory. It means that you are closer to God than you had realized. The live coal represents nothing other than the sacrifice of Jesus, Who was seared by that unfathomable judgment on the altar of His cross. Your sin has been atoned for.
Conviction of sin, repentance, and joyful continuance are the elements of the cycle of a healthy, growing Christian life. (If God showed you all of your sin at once, you would buckle under the whelm.) However, never dwell on the sin for which you have been forgiven. Paralysis by continual guilt is the sign of an unhealthy Christian life. Immediately after Isaiah’s forgiveness, God asked, “Who will go for us?” and Isaiah said, “Here I am. Send me.”
Dear redeemed one, you are forgiven. With Jesus, keep a guiltless slate via confession and repentance, when they are needed. Do not drift into legalism; walk in awareness that you need God’s grace more and more, never less and less. Always respond gratefully for your salvation by saying, “Here I am. Send me.” Your Christian life will be dynamic.
Stressed. Tired. Depressed.
Anxious. Frustrated. Broken.
The labels stick to our hearts, covering our identities until we can't see who we are anymore. We come to believe that our struggles and circumstances define us. But those are just descriptions not determinations. Who you are doesn't change on the kind of day, week, or year you have. You are a child of God, a child loved beyond all you can imagine. No matter what.
When we have a bad moment of weakness, the enemy of our soul will hiss "You've lost." But that isn't true. The reality is we cannot lose. Oh we get knocked around by this life. We have bumps and bruises. Even our Savior left this world with scars. But that doesn't mean we are defeated. Don't let your wounds define you. Let them change the way you fight!
"You are going to be okay"-
CHRISTIANITY - BEING A
"Standing up for beliefs in face of group opposition is worth the effort, study shows"
This is a great article showing that God has designed us to be a witness! When we are a witness even in a hostel group our body reacts in a healthy way, but when we don't stand for the truth we react internally as if it is a threat!
Make sure you read this article, and make sure that you are witness for the Lord and stand for truth! You are physically blessed when you stand for the truth!
1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to
give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you
with meekness and fear:
The findings, published in the journal Psychophysiology, provide new insights into what it's like being alone against the group, investigating the experience as it happens" Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Exile and Return
The time of punishment has come for Judah. Now the nature of that punishment is foretold; they will be taken away into exile (17:4). They often trusted in other nations to rescue them rather than in God; such behavior results in God’s curse (v. 5). On the other hand, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD” (v. 7). Such a person is “like a tree planted by water” (v. 8), which is an obvious reference to Psalm 1. -A sin which especially troubled the Lord was that of working on the Sabbath. Under the new covenant, we are not to keep the Sabbath in a legalistic fashion, yet we must take time to rest and worship, to commune with God and to praise him with our fellow Christians. Those who do not take such time show their lack of interest in the Lord and in his plans.
Jeremiah is taught a lesson at the house of the potter where he sees this craftsman in the process of making a vessel of clay. Part way through a flaw is discovered in the clay, so the potter crumbles up the clay and reshapes it into another vessel. So it would be with Judah. God would crumble her in exile, but that would not be the end, he would begin anew to remake her. But while people are like clay in one way, in another they are not in that they must make choices. So the call to repentance goes out once again, “Return, every one from his evil way” (18:11).
Look and listen closely
Sometimes I wonder…how can our world get so chaotic? And I sometimes wonder why so many hearts have to hurt? Do you ever get doubt storms? Do you have turbulent days when the enemy is too big, and the answers too few? Every so often a storm will come, and I’ll look up into the blackening sky and say, “God, a little light, please?”
The light came for Jesus’ disciples. A figure came to them walking on the water. It wasn’t what they expected. Maybe they were listening for a divine proclamation to still the storm. One thing is for sure, they were not looking for Jesus to come walking on the water. “It’s a ghost,’ they said and cried out in fear.” And since Jesus came in a way they didn’t expect, they almost missed seeing the answer to their prayers. And unless we look and listen closely, we risk making the same mistake!
BELIEVE AND RECEIVE!
Genesis 15:1-6 “After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’ But Abram said, ‘O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children, so a servant in my household will be my heir.’
Then the word of the LORD came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’ He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
This is the first time that the phrase “the word of the Lord” appears in the Bible. In fact it is the only time it is found in the book of Genesis. What sort of word is this word of God? The word of the Lord is dynamic; it is not a static document to be dusted and glanced at and then laid aside. It lives and moves; it takes the initiative; it is sovereign, intruding into our lives, coming unannounced and unexpectedly to favor men and women, Believe and receive IT. You too can be the next.
Does not change
“Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging.”
Do it again, Jesus
Several years ago, three questions rocked my world. 1) Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler? 2) Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism? 3) When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which billions of people were poor and hungry, how will they judge your response?
I didn’t mind the first two questions. Those days are gone and those choices were not mine. But the third question has kept me awake at night. What if we rocked our world with hope? What if we infiltrated all corners with God’s love and light? What if we followed the example of the Jerusalem church? This tiny sect expanded into a world-changing force. What if we lived our lives by this prayer? Do it again, Jesus. Do it again! That’s the question we need to answer.
The Suffering Servant
Isaiah 53 is the highlight of the book of Isaiah, for with remarkable foresight and even detail it describes for us the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the basis for our salvation. Indeed Jesus came as “a root out of dry ground,” for the Judaism of his day, dominated by Phariseeism, was spiritually sterile. “He was despised,” both in being rejected by the majority of his generation and especially in being crucified on the cross, a form of the death penalty considered worst of all by Jew and Gentile alike.
But above all, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and by his stripes we are healed. In our place, Christ suffered the punishment for our sins, so that we might be “made whole” and “healed” spiritually. The story does not stop with Christ’s death. “He shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied” (53:11). Christ is in heaven rejoicing as he sees the result of his atonement: people from all nations trusting him and experiencing eternal life.
The atonement making salvation possible, the invitation goes forth to accept what Christ offers. “Come, everyone who thirsts.” That message will be successful, for “my word . . . shall accomplish that which I purpose” (v. 11). Father, we are thankful for that and we praise you that Jesus was willing to suffer so that we might have eternal life.
I asked for strength… and God gave me difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom… and God gave me problems to solve. I asked for prosperity… & God gave me a brain & energy to work. I asked for courage… & God gave me danger to overcome. I asked for love… & God gave me troubled people to help. I asked for favors… & God gave me opportunities. I received nothing I wanted, But I received everything I needed.
Satan doesn't want people repenting .... so he and his demon possessed humans kill them. Satan believes they missed out and don't have a chance at salvation? Is this the only time period for salvation?
In The New Testament .....Today is THE DAY of salvation: (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I scoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Corinthians 6:2).
In The Old Testament ....Today is A DAY of salvation: Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; (Isaiah 49:8).
Why did Jesus speak in parables? To make his sayings easier to understand? "And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest thou unto them parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is NOT given." (Matthew 13:10,11).
I’ve often wondered: what kind of man was Judas? Who were his friends? I’ve pictured him as estranged from the other apostles. Friendless. Distant. Yet I wonder if that’s true. Perhaps he was just the opposite. Maybe he was robust and jovial. There’s one thing we know for sure: He had no relationship with the Master. He had seen Jesus, but he did not know him. He had a religion but no relationship. As Satan worked his way around the table in the Upper Room, he needed a man who’d seen Jesus but who did not know him.
We learn this timeless lesson from the betrayer. Satan’s best tools of destruction are not from outside the church; they are from within the church. Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew the heart of Christ. Let’s make it our goal to know him…deeply!
RESPONSIVE OBEDIENCE TO THE
An angel to Zechariah: “People will come from faraway places to pitch in and rebuild the Temple of GOD. This will confirm that GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies did, in fact, send me to you. All this follows as you put your minds to a life of responsive obedience to the voice of your GOD.” ~ Zechariah 6:15, The Message
Never forget that it is the Great Cooperation. While all is by grace, God is looking to-and-fro throughout the earth for a willing, joyful vessel through whom He can work (strongly akin to 2 Chronicles 16:9). It is His choice: an ordained proclamation that many, many times, God will not do some things unless we offer ourselves as the agents through whom He will do the work.
For example, He says, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). He did not add, “but if you do not feel like doing it, I will do it by Myself.” It is called the Great Commission for a reason. God is still saying, “Who will go for us?” and He is still waiting for you and me to say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
There was much “sending” in our text, all aimed at the rebuilding of the temple. However, everything is dependent on that powerful last statement: “All this follows as you put your minds to a life of responsive obedience to the voice of your GOD.”
GOD'S SECRET THINGS
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. ~ Deuteronomy 29:29
Naturally, if we knew all that God knows, then He would be less God. Omniscience is one of God’s unique domains. We never see a Scriptural command demanding that we understand everything; however, we see often the command to trust God in everything (e.g., Proverbs 3:5-6).
One reason God keeps secrets is that it would be fruitless to attempt to explain the “how” and “why” of many things, since from His perspective nearly all things are interconnected. We could no more understand the unimaginable complexity of the secret than could my dog understand me if I tried to explain to him why I put him in his pen when I know a horrible storm is approaching.
Another reason God keeps secrets is that His workings are so intricate, so complex, so multi-faceted, that we would argue from shallow, selfish perspectives when He allows or disallows things in our lives. We can’t see the Big Picture (His will), as He does. It is enough to believe that He works all things in our lives together for the good of those who love Him and who are walking in loving obedience to Him (Romans 8:28).
Some secrets that God keeps are beyond imagination and are better than we could ever pray (Ephesians 3:20-21). As a father keeps a secret to joyfully surprise his children, so God does for His children. It will be worth the wait.
As our text says, God reveals what is needed. He takes into account not only us but also future generations. What He reveals should be accepted as good, perfect, and powerful gifts (e.g., James 1:7). It is enough to be grateful for what He does reveal. That is a source of joy and contentment.
Thomas Aquinas said, “[We] should not pry into things too high for human knowledge; nevertheless, when they are revealed by God they should be welcomed by faith.
A fit of anger. Uncontrolled debt. A guilty conscience. Icy relationships. Alarms in your life. When they go off, how do you respond? Be honest, now. Hasn’t there been a time or two when you went outside for a solution, when you should have gone inward? Ever blamed your plight on government? Blamed your family for your failure? Called God to account for problems in your marriage? Your circumstances may be challenging, but blaming them is not the solution. Nor is neglecting them.
Consider David’s prayer in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a new heart, O God, and
renew a steadfast spirit within me.” In Romans 12:2 Paul says, “Fix your
attention on God. You will be changed from the inside out.”
A bucket of prayer!
What if you could actually see the prayers you pray? The prayers being prayed for you? In John’s vision of heaven in Revelation 8:5 he saw the prayers of the saints ascending with incense into the presence of God. And there were noises, thunderings lightnings, and an earthquake. Behold the power of prayer. You ask God for help, and bam! You lift your concerns to heaven and turbulence happens!
Go ahead. Stand up on behalf of those you love. And yes, stand up on behalf of those you do not. The quickest way to douse the fire of anger is with a bucket of prayer. Rather than rant, rave, or seek revenge… pray. Scripture tells us (Luke 23:34) that while hanging on the cross, Jesus interceded for his enemies. Shouldn’t we do the same? Pray—then wait for the earth to shake.
What advice are you listening
Some think Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon in his old age. It is the work of a man who has had the opportunity to live life to the full and ends up disillusioned. The theme is “all is vanity.” It describes how a life of earthly success that leaves God out of the picture is ultimately meaningless. The author put forth great effort to acquire wisdom but found the search unsatisfying. He tried pleasure, the accumulation of wealth, and hard work, and yet all his success in these areas did not bring him lasting happiness. Many people seek happiness in the same ways. But lasting happiness is not found by making these things the top priority in life.
At the end of chapter 3, he considers the role of God in life and comes to the conclusion that it is best simply to enjoy the gift of life which God gives us. In the chapter 4, he uses the “better” formula that we saw in Proverbs. Perhaps he is thinking about himself when he says, “Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who will no longer take advice” (4:13). Tragically, Solomon’s spiritual life deteriorated over the years. This is true of a number of characters in the Old Testament, and it is a warning to us. Our spiritual life deepens over the years only if we nourish it through continuing to take the advice given to us in God’s Word.
The Love of God
Could we with ink the ocean fill
To write the love of God above
O love of God
-Frederick Lehman- 1917
Time for planting!
Many parents aren’t proud of their family trees. The harvest was taken, but no seed was sown. Childhood memories bring more hurt than inspiration. If such is the case, put down the family scrapbook and pick up your Bible. John 3:6 reminds us, “Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit.” Your parents have given you genes, but God gives you grace.
Didn’t have a good father? Galatians 4:7 says God will be your father. Didn’t have a good role model? Ephesians 5:1 says, “You are God’s child whom He loves, so try to be like Him.”
You cannot control the way your forefathers responded to God. But you can control the way you respond to Him. The past does not have to be your prison. Choose well and someday—generations from now—your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will thank God for the seeds you sowed!
Praying in the Spirit
I have always found it extremely significant that the book of Jude comes just before the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation shows in stark relief the Endtime spiritual conflict of the ages coming to a crescendo climax between the kingdom of God and the opposing kingdom of Satan. It is appropriate that the book of Jude speaks to us as a sort of spiritual prelude before the Endtime conflict gets fully underway, and Jude lays out before us in the same stark, black-and-white terms the spiritual conflict the last-days church will be engaged in. What has always stood out to me concerning the book of Jude is that, against the backdrop of the explosion of evil and ungodliness, is one passage that simply cannot be ignored except to our own spiritual peril: The divinely mandated source of the believers strength and source of endurance, as found in verse 20, is what will enable us to fulfill verse 21. Jude, being one of the 12 apostles as well as a follower of Jesus during His earthly ministry, was well aware of the true nature of the spiritual conflict between the Kingdom of God, and the kingdom of satan, his fallen angels, and hosts of demons, which Jesus and the disciples confronted at every turn. Jude was likewise there in the upper room at Pentecost, when the power from on high, the promised Holy Spirit, fell not only on the apostles, but on all 120 of Jesus' followers assembled with them, and he was witness to the power of the Holy Spirit bearing witness as apostles and evangelists and deacons preached the Gospel with signs and wonders following through the Book of Acts. It is this same Divine power that Jude implores his readers to stay in communion with, by "praying in the Holy Ghost". Human will-power and resolve will not be enough; the ferocity of the powers of darkness will only be overcome by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and by a dedicated exercise of praying in the Holy Spirit, as the apostle himself exhorted.
Love, love , love!
“...May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.”
There is tremendous power in love! In the same way that a tree will grow taller and stronger when its roots grow deep, you will be stronger and rise higher when you are rooted and established in love. Everyday choose to love through your actions by modeling your life according to I Corinthians 13. That means choosing to be patient and kind. It means not seeking your own way, not being jealous or boastful. Remember, love is the greatest thing. It is all that will last in eternity. Choose to establish yourself in love and let it be firm within you. Let His love build security in you and empower you to live the life of blessing He has in store for you.
Have a blessed day in The Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
DO YOU HAVE HIM?
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become
the righteousness of God.”
If you’ve accepted Jesus today, you are the righteousness of God. That means you are an extension of His virtue. You are approved by Him. You are in right standing with Him. Jesus not only paid the punishment for your sins, He actually became sin. He took sin upon Himself and into His being so that you could take God’s righteousness upon yourself and into your being. It’s the great exchange.
Don’t let sin hold you back any longer. Don’t let the enemy lie to you and make you feel guilty and condemned. First John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If there is anything in your life that is holding you back today, confess it to God. Let Him cleanse you and make you new. Remember, He paid a great price so that you could be His righteousness. Receive Him by faith and be a reflection of Him.
What are you eating?
"Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival, especially in a world that is moving away from belief in God… In an age dominated by the Internet, which magnifies messages that menace faith, we must increase our exposure to spiritual truth to strengthen our faith… I want to stress again the importance of really living what we claim to believe—not just in our personal and family lives but in our churches, our political choices, our business dealings, our treatment of the poor; in other words, in everything we do."
You Have The Supernatural in
“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11, NIV)
We serve a supernatural God. He is not limited by anything or anyone. He’s ready to do the impossible in you, for you and through you. Think about this for a moment: when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Spirit of God actually makes His home in you — the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead. That means that you have unlimited power, unlimited wisdom, unlimited ability, unlimited joy and unlimited peace living inside of you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a believer, you have the unlimited, supernatural, living God inside of you. You are above human destruction. Let it restore confidence and strength to your being. Let it energize your thoughts and attitude today. As you meditate on Him and the vastness of His power inside of you, you will tap into that power more and more. Every day, you’ll experience His supernatural increase as you put Him first — the Supernatural One is living in you.
How close are you?
David had a very personal relationship with God. In Psalm 138 this is especially noticeable with the constant use of “I,” “me,” “my” and even more “thou,” “thee,” “thy” (or more commonly today, “you” and “your”). This is biblical religion. It is also expressed in Psalm 139 where the psalmist is conscious that he lives his life in the presence of God. In Romans 3:10-18, Paul draws most of his witness to the depravity of man from Psalm 140. In Psalm 141 David is conscious of his own temptation to sin and prays for God’s help in this struggle.
Both Psalm 57 and Psalm 142 are noted as being written as a result of David’s experience of hiding away from Saul in a cave. His emotions fluctuate as ours often do, for in the former psalm he speaks with exaltation while here he cries out of the midst of a spirit of depression. But again he ends with the assurance that his God will not abandon him. Again in Psalm 143, at the beginning he is weighed down by his troubles, but toward the end he focuses on the need to be taught God’s will so that he may do it. How thankful we can be that we can know God’s will through a Bible which climaxes in the perfect revelation of that will in God’s Son, Christ. May our relationship with God be very personal as we are conscious of his presence, commune with him, and pray to him to avoid sin and do his will. Father, you are our God, we are your people; may we listen to you in Scripture and answer you in prayer.
Take Up Your Stakes and Press
Are there some tent stakes in your life that you need to pull up so you can press forward? Maybe you’ve stopped in a temporary place, and it’s time to keep going. Maybe you’ve gotten comfortable and decided that your dreams are never going to come to pass. Your health is never going to improve. I’m asking you to pack up your tent, gather up your belongings and start moving forward.
You may have taken a temporary delay, but that’s okay. That didn’t stop your destiny. Today can be your new beginning. God is breathing new life into your spirit. He has greater victories in front of you. The Scripture says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
Remember that the first place we lose the battle is in our own thinking. If you don’t think you can be successful, then you never will be. If you don’t think you can't overcome the past, meet the right person or accomplish your dreams, then you’ll get stuck right where you are. You’ve got to change your thinking. God said no good thing would He withhold because you walk uprightly. Get rid of a negative, defeated mentality. Make room in your thinking for the new thing God wants to do, pull up your stakes and let God lead you in to your promise land.
This fallen world is a morally corrupt Pain Machine. Losses happen. Death
overtakes all. Sin and evil crush the spirit. Bad people do bad things. Other
people’s craziness makes life difficult. Natural disasters add their misery.
It’s not all bad, and there is plenty of good in the world, thanks to God’s
creative heart, and the tarnished relics of the image of God still within us.
Yes, there’s a lot of good in the world.
And we’re all stuck inside it. . . .
When the Pain Machine has chewed you up for a while, it’s difficult to see
the grace. But you must. Search for it. Hunt for it. Dig it out. Because it’s
there. Grace is always there for you, because God is always there for you. In
Christ, he’s not against you. He’s for you. Not even the darkest night can block
his grace from shining down on you.
God has blessings in the pipeline coming your way. Don’t give up hope. Don’t blame God for your heartbreaks, either. He’s working to mend you, strengthen you, shield you, and enable you to rise above the power of the Pain Machine.
And one day, God’s giant Grace Machine will finish chewing up the Pain Machine, and will spit it out. Until then, find the grace. And don’t turn bitter against God.
Word of God
Every verse in this lengthy psalm speaks about the Word of God, using various designations such as “law,” “testimonies,” “precepts,” “statutes,” “commandments,” “ordinances,” “word,” and “promise.” The psalm is an acrostic in which the first eight verses begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph, the next eight with the second letter, beth, until the end of the alphabet is reached.
Over and over, the psalmist tells us how much he loves the Word of God. Surely we should love that Word too, and by reading it, let it shape our thinking and therefore our lives. The Scriptures fill the psalmist with awe as he considers how dependable they are. When we read the Bible, it must not be a ritualistic duty but rather a listening to the voice of god, which provides us with the directions we need.
Again and again the psalmist considers how God’s Word provides true freedom, how it gives insight into the situations we deal with, how we experience fullness of life as we obey God who speaks in his Word, and how that Word provides us with comfort, stability, and hope. The psalmist reminds us to keep God’s Word in a world that often disdains it. This Word is to be kept in the midst of the struggles of daily living. May we be able to say, “O how I love thy law!” (v. 97).
We thank you Lord for the Bible. Speak powerfully to us through its pages.
The Word, Necessary Food
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
If God so willed it we could live without bread, even as Jesus did for forty days; but we could not live without His Word. By that Word we were created, and by it alone can we be kept in being, for he sustaineth all things by the Word of His power. Bread is a second cause; the Lord Himself is the first source of our sustenance. He can work without the second cause as well as with it; and we must not tie Him down to one mode of operation. Let us not be too eager after the visible, but let us look to the invisible God. We have heard believers say that in deep poverty, when bread ran short, their appetites became short, too; and to others, when common supplies failed, the Lord has sent in unexpected help.
But we must have the Word of the Lord. With this alone we can withstand the devil. Take this from us, and our enemy will have us in his power, for we shall soon faint. Our souls need food, and there is none for them outside of the Word of the Lord. All the books and all the preachers in the world cannot furnish us a single meal: it is only the Word from the mouth of God that can fill the mouth of a believer. Lord, evermore give us this bread. We prize it above royal dainties.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:1-2
In this majestically practical roadmap to God’s will, Paul makes assumptions. First of all, he assumes that you want to know God’s will. Some are afraid of it. One person said, “I’m scared He will tell me to go Africa as a missionary.” Of course, God wants more than Africans to be saved. This is the wrong “fear of the Lord.” No one is more blessed or more content than he who camps in God’s will.
Second of all, our text assumes that you connect God’s mercy with grateful discipleship. Some never go there. They accept God’s mercy and move on. Our only reasonable response is to call Him “Lord” and mean it by doing what He says (Luke 6:46). Your snap of a life is an almost unrecognizable dot on the timeline of eternity. God merely says, “May I borrow your life for these few years? I will reward you beyond your wildest dreams in eternity, if you will.”
Third of all, Paul assumes a connection between your “knowing” and your “obeying.” Why have your bodies consecrated and sanctified, your mind transformed, and your knowledge full of God’s “good, pleasing, and perfect will” if you will not act on that knowledge? Loving obedience is proof that your heart, mind, body, and soul are in significant tune with your God.
JULY 4TH - TIME TO CHANGE OUR
TODAY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WILL SING, SAY AND PRAY "GOD, BLESS AMERICA." May I humbly suggest that America is in no position to ask for God's blessing.
We have crossed a line that has been drawn through the ages, It is time for Americans to awaken to the fact that WE NEED TO ASK FOR GOD'S MERCY.
God HAS blessed America! We need to be thankful for His grace, His protection, and, perhaps most of all, His patience. We may call ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave, but we are free because our country was formed by the faith of great men who founded it on godly principles. We can afford to be brave when we love God and follow Him. We cannot afford to be brave just because we are free.
We need to apply the principles of II Chronicles 7:14 - "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
I plead with you to open your eyes, see the reality of the way things are, and think twice before you ask God to bless what He cannot. Join with me in humbling ourselves, seeking His face and turning from our wicked ways, and praying for His mercy on America.
“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” ~ Samuel Adams
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” ~ Patrick Henry
What country ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned … that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? … Lethargy is the forerunner of death to the public liberty... Let them take arms… What signify a few lives lost? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
Loving the Moment
Having fun, loving the moment, doesn't mean you've forgotten about your pain. But living for today, for right now, makes room for GOD. And wherever GOD is there is JOY --- there is HOPE --there is freedom. GOD can be found in the moment. And wherever GOD is, I know my Mom is there, too! Pay Attention! Nothing pleases GOD more than a person who is fully ALIVE! Don't worry, He's got a plan! Wait in HOPE for it to unfold! Pray your way into it. Surrender to His will.
"May the GOD of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 14:13
YOU HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING YET!
The King Is Coming
At the arrival of the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem, a song was sung, part of which was Psalm 96. The psalm emphasizes giving glory to the Lord. It repeats the phrase “The LORD reigns” and says he is coming to judge the world. Psalm 97 again repeats this phrase and emphasizes God’s majesty and his judgment. Psalm 98 urges everyone to sing praises to God and commands the physical world to join in. Psalm 99 emphasizes the holiness of God but also rejoices in his forgiveness.
Psalm 100 is commonly used as a call to worship and inspired William Kethe’s paraphrase “All People That on Earth Do Dwell” and Isaac Watt’s “Before Jehovah’s Awful Throne.” In Psalm 101, David determines to have nothing to do with evil men. It is a challenge to all in government to be honest. All of the psalms which emphasize God as king who will come to judge remind us that Jesus Christ is King of kings and is coming to judge the living and the dead. The immorality all around us is evidence that the world pays no attention to this great truth. We who believe it should be motivated to live not like the world, but as those who know that God rules and that everyone must give account of his or her whole life before him. We must also make this part of the message we proclaim to the world. Lord Jesus, come soon that the struggle between truth and falsehood may come to an end. Scripture today taken from Psalms 96-101.
MAKE ROOM FOR MORE HARVEST
God wants to bless you and multiply you this month. He wants to increase you above and beyond what you could ever ask, think or imagine. But sometimes, we fill our lives with so much that we simply don’t have room to receive all that God wants to give us. People fill their lives with good things, noteworthy obligations and impressive accomplishments. But “good” can be the enemy of “best.” We have to take the time to evaluate what we have in our hands and be willing to move some things out in order to make room for the new thing God has for us.
Today, take some time to evaluate your life. Be open to what God wants to do in and through you. If your hands are full, maybe it’s time to use what you have to bless other people. Don’t let holding on to yesterday keep you from God’s best. Instead, make room because He has abundant blessings in store for you this month. The Scripture says, “I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new” (Leviticus 26:9–10, NIV) Receive it in Jesus Name, Amen
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship… Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we wrongly suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance and because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing."
"Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which we must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow … It is costly because it costs a man his life. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: 'ye were bought at a price' and what has cost God so much, cannot be cheap for us.”
Take your problems to Jesus. Don’t take them out on others. Temper tantrums never advance a cause. The moment you sense a problem, however large or small, take it to Christ. I can almost hear you say, “Max if I take my problems to Jesus every time I have one, I’m going to be talking to Jesus all day long.” Now you’re getting the point!
The Bible reminds us not to “worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this you’ll experience God’s peace” (Philippians 4:6-7).
An unprayed-for problem is an embedded thorn. It festers and infects—first the finger, then the hand, then the entire arm. Best to go straight to the person who has the tweezers. Let Jesus take care of you. He knows about thorns!
Do Not Be Afraid
Why are the words “Do not be afraid” found so often in the Bible? Because Bible characters were just like us. There were many times when they were afraid. But God tells us that we need not be afraid. Usually, when God tells us this, he gives us this powerful reason: He said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: When we consider the great power of God who could bring the whole vast universe into being with one word, surely we are foolish to be afraid. He is with us. He has promised to help us. He always keeps his word. So whatever your situation, here is God’s Word to you: “Do not be afraid.”
Joseph was a good man, but his governmental policies were questionable. When he gathered the food from the people during the years of abundance, there is no evidence he paid them for it. But when he distributed it, he sold it. The result was that everything ended up belonging to Pharaoh, and from then on there was to be a 20 percent income tax.
In many passages of Scripture, it is evident that God is on the side of the poor. God really owns the land and all the resources with which he has filled this world. We must develop policies that will provide for a fair distribution of those resources to all people. This takes a wisdom and love that only God can give us.
Father, take away our fears. Help us to work for justice for all people, both in our own country and throughout the world. Our scriptures today are taken from Genesis: 46-47.
Live All of Your Days Happy
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil (Proverbs 19:23, NKJV)
You have gone through disappointment or had a failure in the past.God has another victory in store for you. You wouldn’t be breathing unless God had something amazing in your future. It’s time to get your passion back and be determined to really live out all of your God-given days.Don't die before your time.
The scripture says that God wants to bring you to a flourishing finish, not a fizzled-out finish. Don’t let disappointment or self-pity hold you back. God has promised that what was meant for your harm He will turn around and use for your good. Not only will He bring you out, but He will bring you out better off than you were before. Receive it by faith today and press forward into the abundant, fulfilled life He has in store for you.
UNDERSTANDING AND TRUSTING
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
It is human nature to desire to understand. Watch a child. The world is a huge puzzle which he or she slowly but surely begins to assemble. Eventually comes adulthood, in which we still desire to understand but in which the puzzle becomes more complicated. The more difficult the circumstances, the more we want to understand, it seems.
Undecipherable circumstances—death of the innocent, senseless violence, unrequited evil, etc.—frustrate us and can lead to hard-heartedness, if not handled wisely. Life has plenty of incomprehensible situations, and the wisest way to handle them is declared in our text, which puts no premium on ignorance but which tells us where to go when our limited cup of understanding overflows to quandary. The ideal is to mesh your understanding with God’s word and then trust.
Something I have discovered—and, quite honestly, it is not always pleasant—is that, in these incomprehensible circumstances, God teaches me more about myself than He teaches me about the situations. The Lord has secrets (Deuteronomy 29:29), but He is able to work all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28)—which may involve revealing to us things about ourselves that we never previously knew.
Compassion matters to God. This is the time for service, not self-centeredness. Cancel the pity party. Love the people God brings to you. This test will be your testimony.
2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting or caring for a disabled spouse, did you? No, God enrolled you. Why? So you can teach others what He has taught you. Rather than say, “God, why?” ask, “God, what?” What can I learn from this experience? Your mess can become His message!
God Is the Ruler Yet
Book 2 consists of Psalms 42–72. Most of the psalms in Book 1 are ascribed to David, but these have a variety of authors. Psalms 42 and 43 are obviously connected by these common sentences: “Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy” (42:9; 43:2) and “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?” (42:5, 11; 43:5). The latter goes on to say, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” This is the conclusion of the matter. Our distress is not without hope; the assurance we have is that in due time God will deliver us.
Some psalms deal with national as well as personal situations. Psalm 44 deals with a national disaster which took place in spite of the faithfulness of God’s people. National disasters often come as a result of sin, but not always. God is the Lord of the nations, but often his ways are beyond our understanding.
A royal wedding is the occasion of Psalm 45, but there is an application in terms of Christ. Psalm 46 was the inspiration for Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” and describes God’s power as it is manifested in various areas of life. Psalm 47 describes a coronation scene. This is no earthly king; it is God himself, “For God is king of all the earth” (v. 7).
We rejoice that you are Lord of all the earth and also our loving Father.
Praise The Lord!
(messages posted 6/21/16)
“You crown the year with Your bounty and goodness...”(Psalm 65:11)
The Lord has crowned your year with bounty and goodness! That means there is
an abundant supply for whatever you may need spiritually, physically,
emotionally and financially. He has also set up a system by which to bless you.
It’s the system of seed time and harvest. If you have a need in your life, sow a
seed. For example, if you’re lonely and need friends, sow a seed by being a
friend to someone.
The more you sow, the greater the harvest you will reap. Remember, He’s
already crowned your year with His goodness. Take a step of faith today and sow
Praise the Lord, I do not know how God can show us anymore of His great beauty when all we need to do is to look around and see the glory of nature. I cannot understand how mankind can say 'there is no God." when He is everywhere we look. He is not only on the outside but can be on the inside. It is all up to us. We are born to serve the Lord. It is in our make-up - we are made in his likeness and in his image & the very breath of life, he breathed into our bodies. Why oh Why do people wait? Why O Lord God, did I wait? All the time you were bidding me "Come unto me."
How often would I have been able to come under your protection when I was
drifting out to sea, when the winds of time troubled my soul, when the endless
directions of my life seemed so helpless and hopeless!
The Godly Love God
What kind of person pleases God? Psalm 15 answers this question by describing a person who “does what is right” and “speaks truth” He is also described in negative terms as a person who “does not slander” and “does no evil to his friend.” We are saved by grace, but we are called to a life of godliness. The godly are also people who love God. In Psalm 16 we read “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord.” “The LORD is my chosen portion.” “I keep the LORD always before me.” Salvation establishes a personal relationship with God.
But the godly are not without trouble. In Psalm 17, David again cries out to God for help as he faces people who desire to hurt him. In this difficult situation, David pleaded, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 18 is similar to 2 Samuel 22, which provides the same historical introduction. When David has rest from his enemies, he is overwhelmed with thanksgiving to God. He begins by describing the role that God has played in his life, “I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress , and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. May God be those same things to us. Help me to be godly and to rejoice in my relationship to you.
Pain and Praise
In Psalm 29, God is praised as the writer considers the power of God expressed in thunder. Here we note one of the techniques of the psalms: repetition. The divine name “LORD” (Yahweh) is mentioned 18 times in 11 verses. The result is to focus our attention where it ought to be focused, on the Lord. The heading of Psalm 30 speaks of the temple, since the Hebrew word is bayith, which means “house.” But the occasion for the psalm must have been the dedication of David’s palace. This beautiful home is a symbol of his present prosperity compared to his years of being persecuted. Indeed, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” - We may endure long years of difficulty, but we shall have joy for eternity.
“Into thine hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth” from Psalm 31:5 is quoted by Jesus among his last words on the cross. The line from verse 13, “Terror on every side” is quoted by Jeremiah five times.
Psalm 32 is another penitential psalm. For the psalmist, communion with God is the source of his greatest joy. He describes how terrible it is to have that communion destroyed by his sin and how wonderful when, as a result of heartfelt confession, sin is forgiven and fellowship is restored. Psalm 33 is a beautiful example of a song of praise to God. Give us the joy of fellowship with you, O Lord.
In the first chapter of Joshua, God delivers the greatest pep talk in all of
Scripture. Moses had just died, and now his successor was called upon to lead
the nation of Israel into the Promised Land—a military action that would surely
involve significant risk. Joshua was no doubt unsettled by the prospects of
facing a strong hostile army. Therefore, the Lord spoke words of encouragement
to him that still ring true for us today.
What would have happened if Joshua had refused this daunting assignment? Most
likely, the nation of Israel would have languished in the desert indefinitely.
Fortunately, this leader was a man of great faith and courage, and he boldly
took up the cause of God.
Like Joshua, we face daily obstacles that seem to push our faith to the
breaking point. And yet, it is in the throes of adversity that God hones our
faith (James 1:2-4). When we refuse to follow Him into risky situations, the
results can be devastating to our spiritual growth. Consider the consequences of
disobedience on your life:
You will never become the person that God wants you to be.
Are you in some way refusing God’s call? The Lord is trustworthy. Whatever His plan of action for you, be assured He will see you safely through the ordeal.
“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time
running around shouting that he's been robbed. Fact is, most putts don’t drop.
Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful
marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often
dull than otherwise. Life is like an old-time rail journey — delays, sidetracks,
smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful
vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting
you have the ride.”
God sees success in failure!
Psalm 40:3 says, “He has given me a new song to sing…” Have you heard voices
of failure? When you lost your job, flunked the exam, or dropped out of school?
When your marriage went south…when you failed? The voices began to howl—and you
joined them! Failure finds us all.
Bookstores overflow with volumes on how to succeed. But you’ll look a long time before you find a section called, “How to Succeed at Failing.” Maybe no one knows what to say. But God does. His book is written for failures. David was a moral failure, yet God used him. Elijah was an emotional train wreck after Mount Carmel, but God blessed him. Perfect people? No. Perfect messes? You bet. Yet God used them. A surprising and welcome discovery of the Bible is this: God uses failures!
WALK IN LOVE!
“And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved
us and gave Himself up for us...” (Ephesians 5:2, AMP)
In today’s culture, we don’t often hear the word esteem used very often. Yet,
Scripture tells us to esteem and delight in one another. One definition of
esteem is to hold in high regard. That means we are to honor and value one
another. Even if we don’t always agree, even if they don’t necessarily act
honorably, we are to honor and esteem others because they are valuable in the
eyes of God.
Think of it this way: If you had a costly and valuable piece of jewelry, you would treat it carefully. You would put it in a safe place and protect it. Well, when we see others as valuable the way God sees them, we will treat them carefully as well. We should be careful in the way we talk to others. We should look for the good in them and honor them for who God made them to be. Choose to esteem and delight in one another. Sow good seeds, and you will see a harvest of blessing in return.
No wonder there is no wonder!
Ironic isn’t it? The more we know, the less we believe! Strange, don’t you think?
We understand how storms are created. We map solar systems and transplant hearts. We measure the depths of the ocean and send signals to distant planets. We’re learning how it all works! And for some, the loss of mystery has led to the loss of majesty! The more we know, the less we believe.
But knowledge of the workings should not negate wonder. It should stir wonder! Who has more reason to worship than the astronomer who has seen the stars? Why then should we worship less? We’re more impressed with our discovery of the light switch than with the one who invented electricity. And rather than worship the Creator, we worship the creation!
Are you ready?
( a message posted 6/2/16)
“...Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it...” - (Psalm 81:10)
(a message posted 6/2/16)
For do NOT Doubt that All You HAVE Sown "will" Prosper.
Do NOT Doubt that HE Hears Your Prayers The Desires of Your hearts
Shine, Jesus, Shine
(a message from Dane Hearn posted 6/1/16)
You life is to be an ongoing witness to the reality of Christ’s presence in your life. When you worship God with a pure heart, when you love others as yourselves, and when you do good without growing weary, you are a light shining. Every day you are surrounded by people living in the darkness, separated from the God who loves them. God uses you, like beacons from a lighthouse, to show the way to Him.
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was
allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid
from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn't seem fair. At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window - that thought, and only that thought now controlled his life.
Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence-deathly silence.
The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'
Epilogue. . . . You can interpret the story in any way you like. But one moral stands out: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.
Release your doubts!
Our moods may shift, but God’s doesn’t. Our minds may change, but God’s doesn’t. Our devotion may falter, but God’s never does. Even if we are faithless, he is faithful, for he cannot betray himself. He is a sure God. And because he is, we can confidently say with Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
What a huge statement. Look at the size of it! Goodness and mercy follow the child of God each and every day. Think of the days ahead. He will walk you through. He will take your hand. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me—not some, not most, but all the days of my life. Release your doubts. You are no candidate for insecurity. You can trust God. . .all the days of your life!
Food for more that
Think of what you do with natural food. You chew it over, break it down, swallow it, and let it become part of your system. It builds you up and it energizes you throughout the day. So do what the Bible says – meditate on God's Word daily. Chew it over. Absorb it into your soul. Let it become a part of you – to build you up and energize you. Desire the sincere milk of the Word. Let it renew your mind, so that you can think the way God wants you to think, walk in the way God wants you to walk, and especially talk the way God wants you to talk. There’s a world going to Hell, and you are needed on the front lines of battle.
Get up, don't stay
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise
Life is full of things that try to push us down. We all face disappointments and setbacks. It’s easy to get discouraged, lose your enthusiasm, or even be tempted to just settle where you are. But if we’re going to see God’s best, we have to have a “bounce-back” mentality. That means when you get knocked down, you don’t stay down. You get back up again. You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it’s a setup for a comeback! Remember, There is no challenge too difficult, no obstacle too high, no sickness, no disappointment, no person, nothing that can keep you from your God-given destiny. If you stay in faith and keep a good attitude, you will rise again. God will turn those stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and you’ll move forward into His victory!
Do you stand out?
Would the people you work with be shocked to learn that you are a
Christian? Would they be shocked to learn that you attend church on a
regular basis? If someone lined up 100 people and then asked one of your
co-workers to pick out the Christians, would anyone pick you?
Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they might see
your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven." ~ Matthew 5:17
Father, Help us today, as we seek to make our "walk" match our "talk". Help us live in such a way that there can be no doubt as to who we are and Who we represent. Amen.
ASK AND RECEIVE!
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7, NIV)
A lot of times, it’s easy to think that we’re not supposed to ask for
too much, but the Scripture encourages us to go to God with all of our
needs. He tells us to ask, and He longs to give you the desires of your
heart. In fact, Jesus said, “You have not because you ask not.” When you
step out and ask, it pleases Him and shows that your faith and trust are
Remember that when you pray, you make sure there isn’t anything in your heart that would block your faith. Begin your prayers by surrendering every thought and attitude to the Lord. Ask Him to purify your motives and show you if there is any unforgiveness in your life. When you release those things to the Lord, it opens the door for Him to move mightily on your behalf.
" I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand,
as in what direction we are moving:
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Who is Jesus to you?
(a message from Franklin Graham posted 5/23/16)
People today may give a variety of answers. Some say He was a great philosopher, some say a great teacher, some say a prophet. Others may say He was a great healer or the world’s greatest moral leader. Jesus himself asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter was right when he answered, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29). Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to earth to save us from our sins. He’s my Savior and the Lord of my life.
“Who is Jesus to you?” is the most important question you’ll ever answer—where you will spend eternity depends on it. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? The Bible says that one day every knee will bow and confess that He is Lord—so get ready.
(a message from Max Lucado posted 5/21/16)
Wait on the Spirit. If Peter and the apostles needed his help, don’t we? They walked with Jesus for three years, heard his preaching, and saw his miracles. They saw the body of Christ buried in the grave and raised from the dead. They witnessed his upper room appearance and heard his instruction. Had they not received the best possible training? Weren’t they ready? Yet Jesus told them to wait on the Spirit. He said in Acts 1:4-5, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised…the Holy Spirit.”
Learn to wait, to be silent, to listen for his voice. You don’t need a thing– you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene.
There lies the key!
(a message from Max Lucado posted 5/21/16)
To walk in the Spirit, respond to the promptings God gives you! Don’t sense any nudging? Just be patient and wait. Jesus told the disciples, “wait for the gift my Father promised—the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5).
Abraham waited for the promised son. Moses waited forty years in the wilderness. Jesus waited thirty years before he began his ministry. God instills seasons of silence in his plan. Winter is needed for the soil to bear fruit. Time is needed for the development of a crop. And disciples wait for the move of God. “God guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way,” a beautiful promise in Psalm 25:9.
It’s nice to be led by a master. Won’t you let your Master lead you?
(a message from Max Lucado posted 5/21/16)
All of us occasionally do what is right. A few predominantly do what is right. But do any of us always do what is right? According to Paul we don’t! Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous; no, not one.” Some beg to differ. I’m not perfect, but I’m better than most. I’d say I was a righteous person. I used to try that one on my mother. My brother’s room was always messier than mine. I’d say, “See, my room is clean; just look at his.” It never worked. She would show me her room and say, “This is what I mean by clean.”
God does the same. He points to himself and says, This is what I mean by righteousness. David said, “He leads me in the paths of righteousness.” God’s way is a narrow winding path up a steep hill. At the top of the hill is a Cross!
IF THE SON SET YOU
FREE, YOU ARE FREE INDEED!
Are you living in freedom today? So many people hear that God wants
to set them free, but yet, they still walk around feeling defeated and
carrying unnecessary burdens of the past. But you don’t have to live
that way when you embrace the freedom that Jesus paid for. You are set
free from the bondage of sin, fear, lack, sickness, worry and cares.
Think about that for a minute. How would you feel if you never had to worry about money? God wants to set you free. How would you feel if you never had to be concerned about sickness? God wants to set you free. How would you feel if you never had fear? God wants to set you free! God has a plan for you to be “free indeed” in every area of your life. He wants to direct your steps on the path of life and give you pleasures forevermore. Accept His freedom and follow His path for you.
WORDS CAN AND DO COME
TO LIFE" .....TRUTH
Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.....Your words, dreams and thoughts have power to create conditions in your life......What you speak about, you can bring about. If you keep saying you can't stand your job, you might lose your job.....If you keep saying you can't stand your body, your body can become sick....If you keep saying you're always broke, guess what? you'll always be broke.....If you keep saying you can't trust a man or trust a woman, you will always find someone in your life to hurt and betray you....If you keep saying you can't find a job, you will remain unemployed....If you keep saying you can't find someone to love you or believe in you, your very thoughts will attract more experiences to confirm your beliefs...Turn your thoughts and conversations around to be more positive and power packed with faith, hope, love and action. Don't be afraid to believe that you can have what you want and deserve.. Get out of your own way.. STOP, Think and Listen to what you are speaking and believing. What you energize with your faith, feelings, words and actions will materialize into your life what you focus On ...... The Bible says," The Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue"
PROVEN BY LIFE ITSELF
In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome…. ~ 1 John 5:3
Scripture is best proven by life itself, not be academic discussion. No debate can substitute actual experience. As a matter of fact, Scripture is meant to be tested by our lives. We talk and talk about obedience; but obedience is, among other things, the challenge to test God’s precepts and promises by our very lives.
That is one reason why love is a vital part of it all—and when I say “love,” I do not mean the modern, superficial notion of mere feeling. The love of which Scripture speaks always involves action (ultimate example: John 3:16). See how obedience and love are connected, even in a practical sense?
I’m afraid that many flinch from the word “obedience,” especially those who still have a drop of rebel in them. However, as our text says, love is the oil that makes obeying not just bearable but desirable. Love is the greatest motivator, making even the toughest commands unburdensome.
Quenching the Spirit
Is there anything in your life that needs to be removed? Any
impediment to the impression of God’s Spirit? We can grieve the Spirit
with our angry words and resist the Spirit in our disobedience. We can
test or conspire against the Spirit in our plottings. We can even quench
the Spirit by having no regard for God’s teachings.
But there is something that helps us stay in step with the Spirit from Galatians 5:22. We know that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” They are indicators on our spiritual dashboard. So whenever we sense them, we know we are walking in the Spirit. Whenever we lack them, we know we are out of step with the Spirit! Do your best to follow the admonition of Galatians 5:25 and “Keep in step with the Spirit!”
Plug into God's
I believe we can make the same mistake the Welsh woman made. She
lived many years ago in a remote valley, and felt it worth the cost and
trouble to have electricity installed in her home. Several weeks after
the installation, the power company noticed she had barely used any
electricity. A meter reader went to see her. “Is there a problem?” he
asked. “Oh no,” she responded. “We’re quite satisfied. Every night we
turn on the electric lights to see how to light our lamps.”
We’re prone to do likewise: depend on God’s Spirit to save us but not sustain us. We turn to him to get us started and then continue in our own strength. Scripture urges us to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). He directs and leads; we obey and follow. Plug into his power and leave the switch turned on.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. ~ Habakkuk 2:3
Is holiness more powerful than wickedness? Is good more powerful than evil? Is God more powerful than Satan? That we have the full canon of Scripture is enough to answer those questions with “yes.” We who have read the end of the Book see Who and what wins.
Present conditions may argue otherwise, but things are not always how they presently seem. We see these very questions played out in the lives of redeemed souls. Can the new nature overcome the old nature? The answer is again “yes.” Next only to God Himself, those who know Christ understand the radical transformation in their lives, imperfect though they are. The old saying proves true: “I’m not all that I can be, but thank God I’m not what I used to be.”
Through Christ, the victory has been planned and actualized in the omnipotence and omniscience of God, from before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). To us, who are “stuck” in time, thus with very limited vision, we may occasionally wonder how it can be. However, we have the “revelation” in a book named Revelation, which is “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1). God has appointed the time of victory over all things. In the meantime, He is working that victory (in microcosm) in your own redeemed life, making you more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), a born-again overcomer of the world (1 John 5:4), and a victor in triumphal procession (2 Corinthians 2:14).
'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
Faith is the mirror of the heart that reflects the realities of an unseen world—the actual substance of His Kingdom. Through the prayer of faith we are able to pull the reality of His world into this one. That is the function of faith.
Faith has its anchor in the unseen realm. It lives from the invisible toward the visible. Faith actualizes what it realizes. The Scriptures contrast the life of faith with the limitations of natural sight. Faith provides eyes for the heart.
Jesus expects people to see from the heart. He once called a group of religious leaders hypocrites because they could discern the weather but couldn’t discern the times. It’s obvious why Jesus would prefer people to recognize the times (spiritual climate and seasons) over natural weather conditions, but it’s not quite so apparent why He would consider them hypocrites if they didn’t.
Many of us have thought that the ability to see into the spiritual realm is more the result of a special gift than an unused potential of everyone. I remind you that Jesus addresses this charge to the Pharisees and Sadducees. The very fact that they, of all people, were required to see is evidence that everyone has been given this ability. They became blind to His dominion because of their own corrupted hearts and were judged for their unfulfilled potential.
We are born again by grace through faith. The born again experience enables us to see from the heart. A heart that doesn’t see is a hard heart. Faith was never intended only to get us into the family. Rather, it is the nature of life in this family. Faith sees. It brings His Kingdom into focus. All of the Father’s resources, all of His benefits, are accessible through faith.
To encourage us in our capacity to see, Jesus gave specific instruction, 'Seek first the kingdom of God….' Paul taught us, 'Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.' He also stated, 'For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.' The Bible instructs us to turn our attention toward the invisible. This theme is repeated enough in Scripture to make those of us bound by the logic of this Western culture quite nervous.
Herein lies the secret to the supernatural realm that we want restored to the Church. Jesus told us that He only did what He saw His Father do. Such an insight is vital for those who want more. The power of His actions, for instance, the mud in the eye of the blind, is rooted in His ability to see.
“I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase and the trees of the field yield their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:4)
God has set up seasons in our lives. There are plowing seasons. There are planting seasons. There are watering seasons. Sure, we would love for every season to be a time of increase left and right with good breaks everywhere. But without the other seasons, we wouldn’t be prepared. For example, it’s during the plowing season that God brings issues to light that we need to deal with.
He’s getting us prepared for promotion. If you’re not making as much progress as you would like, the key is to not lose any ground. Don’t go backwards. Hold your position. Keep a good attitude and do the right thing even when it’s hard. When you do that, you are passing the test, and God promises that your due season of harvest is coming. Be encouraged because your appointed time of increase, favor and promotion is on its way. He’s preparing you for the harvest—to see every dream and every desire fulfilled in Jesus’ name!
How can a person deal with anxiety? One fellow decided to hire someone to do his worrying for him. He found a man who agreed to do so for a salary of $200,000 a year. After the man accepted the job, his first question to his boss was, “Where are you going to get $200,000 per year?” To which the man responded, “That’s your worry!” Worrying is one job you can’t farm out—but you can overcome it.
David declares in Psalm 23:2, “He leads me beside the still waters.” He leads me! God isn’t behind me, yelling, “Go!” He’s ahead of me bidding, “Come!” He leads us. He tells us what we need to know when we need to know it. Hebrews 4:16 says, “We will find grace to help us when we need it!”
God leads us. God will do the right thing at the right time. What a difference that makes!
Nothing can compare!
(a message from Charles
Stanley posted 5/14/16)
"The enemy doesn't bring up tomorrow. Because he wants us to forfeit our future, he invites us to demand instant fulfillment of our desires. But there's nothing you or I "must have" now that's worth stepping out of God's will or losing the privileges and opportunities He has prepared for us. The Lord has a plan for our lives, and there is absolutely nothing that can compare with His will, His purpose, and His goals.”
Are you content?
You have every reason to be content! A man once went to a minister
for counseling. He was in the midst of financial collapse.
David wants to build a house for God, a temple in which to place the
ark. But God says that instead he will build a house for David. God will
establish the household of David forever. This is ultimately fulfilled
in Christ, for David’s descendants no longer occupy a throne in the land
of Israel, but Christ whom the Gospels call the son of David will be
king forever. We must focus on what God does for us before we consider
what we can do for God. Salvation is by pure grace, completely the work
of God. We now are to serve him in gratitude for such a great salvation.
And we must look to God for help as we serve him. This, also, is of
grace. Let the focus be on what God does for us and let this motivate us
to serve him faithfully.
God’s wonderful promises evoke a beautiful prayer from the heart of David. In it he humbles himself. He also exalts God. He says that what God has revealed gives him courage to pray. So it should be with us as we pray. After we read of the promises God made to David, we read of David’s victories, one after another, against those who had been a threat to God’s people. God was already beginning to fulfill his promise to build the household of David. May we too experience victories over the evils which still hold us in their grip. We praise you O God for what you have done for us. Enable us to serve you faithfully. Scriptures today are taken from - 1 Chronicles 17–20.
We want it our way
We humans want to do things our way. Forget the easy way. Forget the
common way. Forget the best way. Forget God’s way. We want to do things
our way! And according to Isaiah 53:6 that is exactly our problem. “We
all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way.”
You wouldn’t think sheep would be obstinate. Of all God’s animals, the sheep is the least able to take care of himself. David said, “The Lord is my shepherd.” We wonder…couldn’t David have thought of a better metaphor? Sheep are dumb. Why didn’t he choose something other than sheep? How about, “The Lord is my King and I am his ambassador?” Everyone stops when the ambassador speaks. But who notices when God’s sheep show up? Only one person notices. The shepherd. And that is precisely David’s point!
It's up to you!
(a message posted 5/6/16)
In order to be full of the Holy Spirit at all times is by you spending quality time praying to a Holy God who is concerned about his children. Do not be like some who are content to sit on the seat of do nothing and allow others to pray for them. It will come to naught. No matter how much someone prays for you to be healed, you must also have faith and believe the Word of God for yourself. Know ye not that Jesus took those 39 stripes with the Cat of Nine Tails so that we might have our healing needs met. Yes, Isaiah 53:5 - tells us that by his stripes we are healed, but I Peter 2:24 - says it this way - with his stripes we were healed. That word were is (past tense) & it tells me that as far as God is concerned we are already healed, it is up to us to receive our healing by Faith - yes, it is given unto each of us with salvation "The Measure of Faith" - you have the same amount of Faith we all have, you have to develop it by hearing the Word of God, by prayer and supplication.
National Day of
I have a question for you on this National Day of Prayer! How bold
are your prayers? As John Wesley crossed the Atlantic, he was reading in
his cabin, and became aware of heavy winds knocking the ship off course.
He responded in prayer and a colleague wrote it down:
“Almighty and everlasting God. . .Thou holdest the winds in thy fists
and sittest upon the water floods. . .command those winds and these
waves that they obey Thee. Take us speedily and safely to the haven
whither we would go.”
On deck his colleague found calm winds and the ship on course. Wesley
made no mention of the answered prayer. His friend wrote, “So fully did
he expect to be heard that he took it for granted he was heard.”
How bold are your prayers?
Breaking News For The
Month Of May
I heard hell screaming... "May Day! May Day! We Are In Trouble!"
It was a scream of incalculable loss and devastation, as if someone
was losing everything; as though their day of reckoning had come! Satan
himself was prophesying defeat to his own kingdom... "May Day! May Day!
May Day! We're in trouble... we're losing the battle and we're losing
this war! Our hold on multitudes of God's people is
Non-stop I heard the screams again from Hell. "May Day! May Day! This day we're losing whole generations to come. Babies not yet born are being freed from our generational curses." I heard the Father proclaim, "This day is "May Day" in Hell, but it's "My Day" upon the earth!"
This is the Day that His Prophets of Ages Longed to See
I heard the Father proclaiming, "This is the day that I have said was coming that My prophets of the ages longed to see as they prophesied it. This is the day that I have made for My people to rejoice and be glad in it!"
Hell could not stop screaming... "They are beginning to fight the
good fight of faith! They are finally believing that greater is He who
is in them than he that is in the world. They are believing now that the
battle is not theirs, but God's, and using the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth is their greatest weapon of "mass" destruction. The Father, Son
and Holy Ghost are now showing up to fight for them!"
Come near to God, and He will come near to you. ~ James 4:8
The closer the relationship, the more we should nurture it. The husband and wife, they and their children and grandchildren, the brothers and sisters—these are the relationships that should be more powerful and make us happier. Then we have our wider circle of friends and colleagues, close to us in a lesser manner. If we are Christian, we have our brothers and sisters in Christ, close in a uniquely eternal way. Is it work? Yes, but it is a “joyful trouble,” as Shakespeare said.
However, for believers, there is one relationship that is even closer and more important—that, with Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior, Who abides in them but Who constantly vies with our other distractions, important or not. Is it work? Yes, but again, it is a “joyful trouble.” In Christ, we are as close to God as we are determined in our seeking. A believer’s relationship with Jesus will affect his other relationships, and it will affect his effect for Jesus.
Are you “happy in Jesus,” as the old hymn sings? Spend time with Him.
Don’t let the relationship fall into that category of relationships of
years bygone: “we lost touch.” Make it a practice to seek Him. (Note in
our text, that the impetus is on us.) Spend the first-fruits of your
time with Him, in prayer, in Bible reading, then in more prayer. You
shall find a deeper happiness, if you will.
The writer of 1 Chronicles now tells us the same story we studied in
2 Samuel, adding some details and omitting others. Here he tells us
about all the people who helped David. Even David could not do what
needed to be done by himself. So also we need to work as a team with
others in the church of Jesus Christ. The New Testament makes it clear
that all Christians are part of the body of Christ, with different gifts
of the Spirit all to be used for God’s kingdom.
Two men helped David by each slaying 300 of the enemy at one time.
Another helped by taking his stand in the middle of a field and
defending it. Yet another killed an Egyptian seven and one half feet
tall. Others gave help of a more intellectual nature, such as the men of
Issachar who “had understanding of the times.” Today, we do battle
against unrighteousness, not with spears and swords, but with
understanding gained from studying the Word of God.
Yet David received help most of all from God. We are told that “David became greater and greater, for the LORD of hosts was with him”. “For your God helps you” (12:18). We need the help of other people, but far more important is the help that God will give us as we look to him in faith. Let us to work in the church as a team always relying on our Lord. Scriptures for today are taken from - 1 Chronicles 10–12 -
Pay Attention, family
Don't be upset if someone else gets what you wanted & you didn't. If
you can't be happy 'in the valley,' you won't be happy on the mountain,
either. Before GOD gives you anything, He wants to be sure that you will
be happy & grateful with or without it. Pray for a loving, grateful
heart in all circumstances. Remember, He wants us all to LIVE in
abundance! THIS is the day that the Lord has made; rejoice & be glad in
it, whether you have what you want or not! God will always give you what
you need, not necessarily what you want; Trust GOD! He's full of
"For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it." -1 Timothy 6:7
It's Your Choice
(a message posted 5/3/16)
Many times in our world today, we find that people are treating God like He is someone to use when they need Him and to discard Him for things that in life that have no substance when He has met the particular need of their life, be it Healing, be it Mental, be it Financial.
Let me tell you today that, He is not a Second Hand God to be used and then discarded. He must always be first in what we do. He is a Jealous God and a Righteous God and we who truly serve Him, must serve Him in all Righteousness and Holiness, leaning not to the right or to the left. Some think they can play with God and then say I am sorry and not repent and everything will be fine.
Today, as it was in the of Jeremiah & some of the old Prophets of God, people will not listen to sound doctrine, they have itching ears. They are evil minded and self righteous, thinking only of what they want and what they think is good for them. Lover's of themselves. They refused to listen to Jeremiah and they refuse to listen even now to those who are preaching the Word of God.
The Bride of Jesus Christ is the Church which has on the "White Robes of Righteousness and Purity, those who have not bowed to Baal and will not bow but will lift up Holy Hands unto Heaven to a Holy God and who will be Ready every day of their lives to meet Jesus in the air should He come for His Bride.
Are you counted in this number? Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb? Are your Garments White as Snow? Have you been to the Potter's House and been Made Over again and became Pure and Holy and Whole? If not then today is your day. You have been told what it will take to make Heaven your Home for Eternity or will Hell will be the Eternity you choose? It is up to you. God will not make you do anything, He gave unto us a free moral choice.
More than enough!
“In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they
will enjoy plenty. ”(Psalm 37:19)
We serve the God of more than enough! It doesn’t matter what’s
happening around you; God is able to provide for you. Notice today’s
verse doesn’t just say He’ll help you barely get by; no, it says that in
days of famine His people will enjoy plenty. The key is that we have to
get our minds off of this natural, earthly realm and start setting our
minds on things above. Remember, there is no recession in heaven, but if
you aren’t investing in God’s economy, you won’t see the reward He has
for you. Take a step of faith today and sow a seed. Ask God how you can
be a blessing to others. Remember, you are a steward over His resources.
When you choose to be obedient to Him, you will eat the good of the
land. And when you tap into God’s economy by obeying His Word, you will
have His results—more than enough!!
Have a superfluously blessed and divinely prayerful month ahead!
"Abba Father be with you and guide in The Lord Christ Jesus' name. Amen."
FAITH is to fix our
eyes on JESUS alone....!
ALWAYS Keep Praying.........!
Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months!—Jas 5:17 NET
Thank God for that! He got under a juniper tree, as you and I have often done; he complained and murmured, as we have often done; was unbelieving, as we have often been. But that was not the case when he really got into touch with God. Though “a man subject to like passions as we are,” “he prayed praying.” It is sublime in the original—not “earnestly,” but “he prayed in prayer.” He kept on praying. What is the lesson here? You must keep praying.
Come up on the top of Carmel, and see that remarkable parable of Faith and Sight. It was not the descent of the fire that now was necessary, but the descent of the flood; and the man that can command the fire can command the flood by the same means and methods. We are told that he bowed himself to the ground with his face between his knees; that is, shutting out all sights and sounds. He was putting himself in a position where, beneath his mantle, he could neither see nor hear what was going forward.
He said to his servant, “Go and take an observation.” He went and
came back, and said—how sublimely brief! one word—“Nothing!”
We say, “It is just as I expected!” and we give up praying. Did Elijah? No, he said, “Go again.” His servant again came back and said, “Nothing!” “Go again.” “Nothing!”
By and by he came back, and said, “There is a little cloud like a man’s hand.” A man’s hand had been raised in supplication, and presently down came the rain; and Ahab had not time to get back to the gate of Samaria with all his fast steeds. This is a parable of Faith and Sight—faith shutting itself up with God; sight taking observations and seeing nothing; faith going right on, and “praying in prayer,” with utterly hopeless reports from sight.
Do you know how to pray that way, how to pray prevailingly? Let sight
give as discouraging reports as it may, but pay no attention to these.
The living God is still in the heavens and even to delay is part of His
goodness.—Arthur T. Pierson
YOUR DROUGHT HAS COME
TO AN END!
“You, O God, sent a plentiful rain.”
Every person goes through times of drought, or dry seasons, when we don’t see the changes we hoped for. We’ve got big dreams, we’re standing on God’s promises, but things stay the same. It’s dry and barren. Maybe you are blessed in one area and in a drought in another. It’s easy to think, “This is the way it’s always going to be. I’ll always have this struggle.” No, in 2014 that drought is coming to an end. Any area of brokenness, dryness, loneliness, every empty place, if you will stay in faith, God is going to rain down favor, healing, and restoration into your life.
We declare that the remaining part of the year, you are going to see an abundance of rain. Every drought in your life is temporary. That dry season is not going to last forever. Struggle and lack is not your destiny. It’s temporary. Rain is headed your way. Declare it by faith, “Father,I thank You that the drought is ending and the rain is coming and in this 2016, I will see an abundance of Your goodness in my life!” Amen.
Read and heed!
From Genesis to Esther, the books of the Bible are historical. But
the writers are not interested in simply stating facts. They are
inspired by God’s Spirit to interpret the meaning of the facts. These
things happened because God responded to the actions of people. The
Israelites sinned constantly (v. 7). They walked according to the
customs of the pagan nations around them (v. 8). They did things in
secret that were wrong (v. 9). The Lord sent prophets, but Israel would
not listen to them (v. 13). They were stubborn (v. 14). They failed to
believe in the Lord. They even offered their children as burnt offerings
(v. 17). Therefore, the Lord punished them by causing them to be taken
captive by Assyria.
God is not mocked; whatever we sow, the same shall we also reap. The
God of 1 and 2 Kings is the God who rules supreme today. He has not
changed. He will call all nations and all individuals to account for
their deeds in the time of judgment. Christ is our one hope.
The Assyrians replaced the Israelites with people of other nations whom they had captured. When these transplanted people suffered from disobeying the Lord, the king of Assyria sent back a priest to teach them about the Lord. They then mixed true religion with false. Today, also, many people try to mix worship of the true God with that of their own gods, perhaps of pleasure or other false paths. Help us O Lord to understand what is happening in the world in the light of your judgments. Our Scriptures today are taken from - 2 Kings: 17 - May the Word of the Lord be our guide today.
YOU HAVE HIS SPIRIT!
(a message posted 4/27/16)
“And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11, AMP)
When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit makes His home inside of you. That’s the same Spirit and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. That resurrection power can bring back health, strength and life to your physical body, and it can bring back life to your hopes and dreams. In fact, it can bring life to any area that may seem dormant on the inside of you!
If you are overwhelmed by sickness, challenges or despair, remember that as a believer in Jesus, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. You may have been burdened by an addiction, fear, worry or sickness, but there’s nothing that can stand against the power of God. Rise up and declare by faith that He whom the Son sets free is free indeed. I am restored and healed because the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me. Amen.
Forgiveness: An Act of Love
(a message from Charles Stanley posted 4/27/16)
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Forgiving those who have wronged us is a tough command to follow. Our human nature finds it easier and more satisfying to hold onto our anger. But as vessels of God’s love, Christians no longer live according to the impulses of the flesh. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, when someone mistreats us, we can not only forgive but also show love to that person.
First Corinthians 13:5 tells us that . . .
• Love does not seek its own. Many people are preoccupied with their “rights.” Yet the idea of entitlements is a worldly construct, not a biblical mandate. That’s not to say we should allow others to take advantage of us; rather, the Bible teaches that our primary concern should be something other than our own interests—namely, we’re to be focused on showing God’s love to our enemy (Matt. 5:44).
• Love is not provoked. Maintaining a peaceful spirit when we are irritated is difficult. But the moments when we are persecuted or wronged are precisely the times we most need to be mindful of God’s love flowing through us. Think how often Jesus had to face religious leaders who deliberately provoked Him, and yet, on the cross, He sought the Father’s forgiveness for them, too.
• Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. God’s love flowing through us can carry away a hurt done by another person. But we must allow this to happen instead of holding onto pain.
People will wrong us. But if we have a caring attitude and refuse to be provoked or preoccupied with rights, then we will be able to let go of bitterness and forgive with love.
ALWAYS LOOKING AFTER
Jesus: "Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." ~ Luke22::31-32, Holman Christian Standard
Here, we have a peek into the Savior’s heart. Even knowing that Simon would deny Him three times, Jesus nevertheless warned Simon and prayed for Him, though Simon never asked Him to. Is that love or what? Yes, Satan deviously plans attacks against those who follow Jesus. “Therefore He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
However, note that Satan cannot attack us without our Lord’s permission, reminding us of the first chapter of Job. Why would God allow Satan to “sift” us “like wheat”? One reason is that we have chaff than needs winnowing. Peter would be stronger and humbler afterward; and those two qualities, strength and humility, are intricately connected in the fruitful spiritual life.
Not only did Jesus allow Satan to sift Peter like wheat, Jesus already had a plan for him after his repentance (“turned back”). Peter, who would then know the ugliness and humiliation of yielding to temptation to deny His Lord, would become a man capable of strengthening others through his experience. (Read carefully 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.) God uses even our failures in making us ministers for Him to others.
Are you growing young
Our culture is obsessed with youth. Stores are flooded with products
promising better health, fewer wrinkles, and a trim physique. However,
these will only touch the surface of our aging problem. Unless death
intervenes, growing old is inevitable. Living old, on the other hand, is
We each have to decide if we are going to flourish or dry up, grow
strong or become weak. Physically, we may have no choice in the matter,
but we can be young in soul and spirit, regardless of our chronological
When a righteous man is firmly planted in the Lord, he’ll become
fruitful in things that will last into eternity. We are never to retire
from bearing fruit. Rather, God wants us to abide continually in an
intimate connection with Him. In that way, we can do the work He has
given us to accomplish (John 15:4).
A righteous man will grow strong in the Lord like a cedar of Lebanon
(Psalms 92:12). These trees can grow to a height of 120 feet with a
girth of 40 feet. That is one strong tree! As we walk with Christ into
our latter years, we can have the confidence and stability that come
only from growing strong in faith. Each year is an opportunity to trust
God more and rely wholly on His Word.
Staying young while growing old begins with your mind. Never stop listening to the Father or learning from His Word. Allow godly thinking to shape your attitudes. Be thankful, keep laughing, and rejoice in your Lord. Above all, keep believing and loving Him with all your heart.
When peace like a
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened,
and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your
souls.] Matthew 11:28
It's easy to have peace when there's nothing to be upset about. Even
unbelievers have peace during easy times. But rest found in God is the
gift that keeps believers peaceful during times of trouble. It is a gift
from Him to His children.
Jesus said, Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and
bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you (John 14:27).
His peace is a spiritual peace, and His rest is one that operates in the
midst of a storm—not in the absence of a storm. Jesus did not come to
remove all opposition from our lives, but rather to empower us to go
through times of opposition peacefully.
Power Thought: I can rest in God and keep my peace no matter what is going on in my life.
We have all experienced physical burnout—those times when we are tired from our many activities or difficulties that assail us. Even more painful is spiritual burnout—the weariness believers can feel from the pressure of trying to obey God, attend church faithfully, and spend time in daily prayer and Scripture reading. Just contemplating everything we think we must do for success in the Christian life can be overwhelming! The trouble is that we become spiritually burned out if we rely on our own strength.
When we experience spiritual fatigue, it’s often because of a wrong view of our faith. We find ourselves keeping a mental checklist of dos and don’ts, striving to please God with religious activities. That’s not freedom. The Christian life isn’t some formula whereby we modify our behavior to gain the Lord’s approval. God reached down and reconciled us to Himself the moment we asked Him into our hearts, so we already have His approval. True spiritual maturity involves a growing awareness that nothing we can do—no change in conduct or attempt to live up to regulations—will make us acceptable. Rather, we give up our inability and weakness, and instead live by faith. Then God’s omnipotence can carry us through life.
Think of God’s power as a river coursing through hilly terrain. We can hike, puffing and sweating, along the footpath, or we can simply ease into the water. We won’t have to expend energy because the power of the current will carry us all the way to our destination.
YOU ARE EQUIP TO
“Every scripture is God-breathed…so that the man of God may be
complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every
good work.”(2 Timothy 3:16–17 AMP)
God has equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your destiny
through His Word. The Scripture tells us that as believers in Jesus
Christ, we are anointed. The word “anointing” is the power of God which
gives you courage, strength and ability. When you put the Word of God in
you, you are receiving that anointing, you are building your faith, and
you are being equipped for every good work.
The next time you start to wonder if you have what it takes, go to God’s Word and stir up your faith. Focus on His truth which says you are well able to do what He has called you to do. You can accomplish your goals. You have the ideas, the creativity, and talent to be successful. You can overcome every obstacle. You’ve been armed with strength for every battle; the forces that are with you are greater than the forces that are against you, and you are thoroughly equipped. Fight the good fight of faith and win your battles, Amen.
HIS FAVOR IS FOR A
Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the
remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His
favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the
Let this truth sink down into your spirit today that God’s favor is
not for a season; it’s for a lifetime. How do we obtain God’s favor?
Proverbs three tells us that when we honor His Word, when we obey His
commands and walk in mercy and truth, that’s how we find favor in God’s
sight. When we do our part, God will do His part.
Today, if you are believing God for something, maybe a turnaround in a relationship, career or your health, stand firm that God’s Word is true. When you put Him first place in your life, when you follow His commands, He promises to pour out His favor on you. When those thoughts try to tell you, “It’s not going to happen. It’s too good to be true.” Turn it around and say, “Father, I thank You for Your favor on my life, on my children, on my career, on my future. I am Your child, and I know it’s not temporary. It’s not seasonal. It doesn’t come and go. Thank you, God, for a lifetime of favor!”
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ~ Matthew 5:8
Genuine purity is defined by God, not by man. What is pure to natural man is impure to God, Who is the essence of purity. At the end of the Bible, holy purity is a prerequisite to entry into the pure New Jerusalem: “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Therefore, purity is of the heart and determines eternity. It also affects our vision, for we shall see things according to our heart’s condition: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted” (Titus 1:15). Jesus expanded this notion, using the metaphor of light/darkness: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:21-23).
Paul, in speaking of how God had accepted, through Jesus Christ, Gentiles as well as Jews, said, “God, Who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for He purified their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:8-9). John said, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
It’s all there. Have you trusted in Jesus’ sacrificially shed blood on the Cross to purify you from all sin? Are you born again of His Spirit, Who can purify your heart? By His grace, are you walking in the light of His word? If so you, you will see God and enter His eternal city made for His redeemed ones because your name has been written in the Lamb’s book of life.
" Were envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing
are there.” (James 3:16)
All throughout scripture, God commands us to love. First Corinthians
13 tells us that love is the greatest thing. When we are selfish or
self-seeking, the scripture tells us that it opens the door to confusion
and every evil work. But when we walk in love, when we choose to put
others first, when we choose to be patient and kind and walk in unity,
we are protected by love. We close the door to the plans of the enemy in
our lives. Today, check your love walk. Remember, love is not a feeling;
it’s a choice. Receive His love, walk in it, and find His supernatural
grace and protection.
"God bless you with the fruits of the Holy Spirit in His Son and our Saviour, the Living Lord Jesus Christ's name. Amen."
“I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his
praises.” (Psalm 34:1)
It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday, last week, last month or
last year; today is a new day. This moment, you have the power to make a
change in your life. Things may be bad all around you. People may be
negative, complaining and discouraged, but don’t let that spirit rub off
on you. Instead, choose to bless the Lord at all times. Let His praise
continually be in your mouth. Stay determined to set the tone for each
new day by speaking words of faith over your future. Expect that your
path will shine brighter and brighter each day. Enlarge your vision and
make room for God to do amazing things in every area of your life!
"God bless you and grant you heavenly wisdom and knowledge so that by faith you may exalt and honour the Living Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and
only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
life.” The phrase, believes in him, doesn’t digest well in our day of
self-sufficient spiritual food. Believe in yourself is the common menu
selection of our day. Try harder. Work longer. Dig deeper. Self-reliance
is our goal. In him smacks of exclusion.
Salvation comes in many forms, right? No. Salvation is found, not in self or in them, but in him! Romans 4:5 says, “To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Our spiritual legs have no strength. Our morality has no muscle. Our good deeds cannot carry us across the finish line…but Christ can!
What We Fear
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the
world." ~ John 16:33
The great composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) lived much of his
life in fear of deafness. He was concerned because he felt the sense of
hearing was essential to creating music of lasting value.
When Beethoven discovered that the thing he feared most was coming
rapidly upon him, he was almost frantic with anxiety. He consulted
doctors and tried every possible remedy. But the deafness increased
until at last all hearing was gone.
Beethoven finally found the strength he needed to go on despite his great loss. To everyone’s amazement, he wrote some of his grandest music after he became totally deaf. With all distractions shut out, melodies flooded in on him as fast as his pen could write them down. His deafness became a great asset.
FORGIVE BEFORE YOU
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone,
forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your
trespasses.” (Mark 11:25, NKJV)
Scripture tells us there are many things that can hinder our prayers.
One of them is unforgiveness. God knows that holding unforgiveness is
destructive because it puts up a wall between us and God. But when we
choose to forgive, the wall comes down. Someone said it like this:
“Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free and realizing the prisoner was
When you go before God in prayer, ask Him to search your heart and mind. See if there is any unforgiveness that is blocking your prayers and affecting your relationship with Him. The other person may have been wrong, they may have hurt you deeply, but there is nothing on this earth that is worth losing your peace with Almighty God. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the other person, it means you are trusting God with it all. Today, when you pray, choose forgiveness and don’t let anything stand in the way of the good things God has in store for your future. Amen.
Set your sights on
Jesus invites, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy
burdens, and I will give you rest… let me teach you, because I am humble
and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew
Do yourself a favor. Underscore, underline, and accept this
invitation. Jesus says, Let me teach you. . . how to handle long
Mondays, and cranky in-laws. Let me teach you why people fight, and
death comes, and forgiveness counts.
We need answers. Jesus offers them. But can we trust him? There’s only one way to know. Seek him out. Lift up your eyes, set your sights on Jesus. No passing glances or occasional glimpses. Search the crowded streets and shadow-casting roofs until you spot his face, then set your sights on him. You’ll find the only One and Only!
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. ~ John 1:4
The chief reason that those who have friends and wealth nonetheless suffer a note (or symphony) of sadness is that they have left God and His ways out of the equation. Those who have little of the world’s material things but who isolate themselves in self-sorrow are even sadder. You see, God, the Creator of mankind, has established principles of living that, when violated or ignored, result in dissatisfaction, at best.
God has made us to be community. Friends, family, associates, acquaintances—we need others, whether we acknowledge it or not. Indeed, with a nod to John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” The details of that community include our loving our neighbor as ourselves, as well as supremely loving God, the Creator-Redeemer of us all. Our decided variances from His plan always diminish our wholeness.
The God-ordained facts are that I need you, that you need me, and that we both need God—it’s the ultimate Family thing. His love is the fuel. The sooner we settle into that “Godly groove,” the sooner we walk more fluidly in the abundant life that Jesus paved for us and promised in Himself (John 10:10b).
Believe it or not!
Believing that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead is essential
for Christians. Merely recognizing that He died for our sins is not
enough; we must accept His resurrection in order to receive eternal
life. Christ paid our debt, but His sacrifice on the cross means nothing
unless He possesses power over the grave. In vanquishing evil and death,
the Lord made our salvation possible.
Jesus’ resurrection proved He was able to remove sin and its penalty.
Assuming Christ remained dead would mean accepting the opposite—that
believers are still in sin. And the inevitable end of a sinful life is
death. Consequently, a person who denies Christ’s eternal nature looks
toward a void future. Bertrand Russell, a famous atheist philosopher,
offered this sad description of such hopelessness: “Brief and powerless
is Man’s life; on him and all his race, the slow, sure doom falls
pitiless and dark.”
Instead of enjoying Christian liberty and anticipating a home in
heaven, those who reject resurrection are slaves to the present, with no
real hope or meaning in life. Career, family, and good works can offer
brief pleasure but not the kind of joy that comes from knowing we are
right with the Lord and working in His will.
Resurrection is not a denominational issue or a point for theological debate. Either we believe Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven or we do not. If we reject His victory over the grave, we deny ourselves a place in eternity. But if we accept the truth, we will be saved.
The Way of Faith
Many people consider Moses a biblical “pillar” of Old Testament
days—a man without equal in godliness. And certainly, he encountered the
presence of the Almighty in a most unusual way and was called to do
mighty things with the Lord’s help. But, like us, he was a normal,
sinful human being. What the New Testament commends him for is something
we all can have: belief.
Today’s verses come from the passage known as the Bible’s “Hall of
Faith.” Those honored with inclusion in this chapter were chosen because
they acted obediently, and God achieved great things through them.
We, too, can watch His hand in our lives as we act on faith. When we
trust Him and obey, God demonstrates His power and shows that He truly
is Lord. By operating out of His strength and through our weakness, He
teaches us to rely upon Him.
That’s not to say the path is easy; Jesus warned that the way of
faith includes suffering. Indeed, many early Christians were beaten or
killed for His sake, and faith is still met with harsh persecution in
various places around the world. While that may not be our experience,
each of us has encountered ridicule, misunderstanding, or lost
friendships because we follow Christ.
Even mild persecution can cause us to question whether living out our faith is worth the sacrifice. The truth is, it’s the best way to live. God responds to faith by enabling His children to endure difficulty, demonstrating His power in their circumstances, and providing joy.
The power of a godly
Have you known it? The doctor who treated you, the teacher who dried
your tears? Was there a hand holding yours at a funeral? A handshake of
welcome at a new job? A pastoral prayer for healing? Can’t we offer the
Many already do! You use your hands to pray over the sick. If you
aren’t touching them personally, your hands are sending notes, making
calls, baking pies. You’ve learned the power of touch. But others of us
tend to forget. Our hearts are good; it’s just that our memories are
bad. We fear saying the wrong thing, acting the wrong way. So rather
than do it incorrectly, we no nothing at all.
Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t make the same mistake? Jesus touched the untouchables of the world. Will you do the same?
WHAT IS IN YOU IS
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the
victory that has overcome the world — our faith.”(1 John 5:4)
Fear always presents itself much bigger than it really is. It’s
always the worst-case scenario. It always tries to get you worried,
anxious, uptight and panicked. Fear’s goal is to separate you from God
by trying to get you to doubt His Word. But when the spirit of fear
comes, recognize that it has no power unless you give it power. Don’t
give it power by speaking what fear speaks. Don’t give it power by
meditating on it. Instead, let the power of the Word of God rise up
within you. Declare what God says; declare that God has given you all
authority in heaven and earth. Declare that no weapon formed against you
Remember that no matter how big fear presents itself, it’s no match for the power of Almighty God in you. When you yield yourself to Him, you tap into His power. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. God is bigger than your problems and bigger than fear. Let faith rise up in your heart because faith is the victory that overcomes the world. You are blessed.
IMPROVE YOUR TALENT!
“That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy
of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all
things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and
increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and
clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].”(Colossians 1:10, AMP)
The key is that you have to take responsibility for your growth. Growth is not automatic. What steps are you taking to get better? Are you reading books? Listening to teaching CD’s? Are you taking any courses on the internet? Going to any seminars? Do you have any mentors? Don’t just coast through life relying on what you’ve already learned. You have treasure on the inside. Develop your talent and become all that God created you to be. Improve your talent so that you can get to the destination God has prepared for you. Amen.
"It is finished."
The implication of the Greek word is "This is complete." This is redemption complete. You can't add to it. You can't subtract from it. It doesn't need something the priest/pastor says added to it. Jesus made a perfect redemption for men. His blood was shed. It's more than all the blood of beasts. Because again, it says in Hebrews 10:9, "If the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works." He not only paid the total sum of human sin, He nailed it to the tree. That's what He did. "
Trust God's Timing
Most of us enjoy feeling in control of our own schedule and grow
frustrated when things don’t go according to plan. Yet if we truly
desire to walk in the center of God’s perfect will, we must become
willing to cooperate with His time frame.
Consider how you pray about situations in your life. Without
realizing it, you may be demanding that God follow the schedule you've
constructed according to your very limited human wisdom. Yet if we
believe He is who He says He is, how can surrendering to His way not be
to our benefit? Think about His unique, praiseworthy qualities:
Submitting to God’s timetable requires faith and courage. Believe in the goodness of His heart and His plans—and wait until He gives the signal to move forward. Then, as you follow His schedule, you’ll experience the joy of watching Him make all things beautiful in His timing.
THOSE IN CHRIST LACK
NO GOOD THING!
“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
When God created you, He put in you everything you need to fulfill
your purpose in life. You have the talent, the creativity and the ideas.
You are full of discipline, focus and self-control. You have strength,
determination and resolve. The Creator of the universe has crowned you
with His favor. If you’re going to live a victorious life, you have to
see yourself as a “no lack” person.
If you go around thinking, “I’ll never get out of debt. I’ll never
have enough,” what you’re really saying is, “I’m lacking talent. I’m
lacking ability.” Or, “I’ll never lose this weight. I’ll never break
this bad habit.” You’re saying, “I’m lacking discipline. I’m lacking
self-control. I don’t have enough.” If you see yourself as lacking, what
does that say about God?
Deep down you have to know that because you trust in the Lord, you are a “no lack” person. Meditate on the fact that Almighty God breathed His life into you. He has already equipped and empowered you. You may have difficulties, but it’s not a surprise to God. He has equipped you, and you are well able to fulfill your destiny in life. Fight the good fight of faith and win your battles, Amen.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of
power, love, and self-discipline.”(2 Timothy 1:7)
God’s desire is that we continually progress, that we reach higher
heights and go to new levels in Him. Oftentimes, as soon as we make the
decision to step out in faith and obey God, the enemy brings in fear to
try to stop us. He’ll bring thoughts like, “What if you fail? What are
other people going to say? You don’t have what it takes.” He’ll do his
best to use fear to try to convince us to shrink back and stay where we
The Bible says that fear is a spirit. It plays on our emotions and holds us back. But the good news is that we have power over the spirit of fear. The Bible says that perfect love casts out all fear. When we receive God’s perfect love, we will have confidence about the future because we know His plans are for our good. I’ve heard it said that fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Understand that fear is a lie. Don’t buy the lie. Instead, choose to believe God’s Word and receive His love so that you can overcome fear and move forward into the blessings He has prepared for you. Amen.
No Better Offer
The crowning attribute of Christ was this: his heart was spiritual.
His thoughts reflected his intimate relationship with the Father. Our
hearts seem so far from his. He is pure; we’re greedy. He is peaceful;
we’re hassled. He is purposeful; we’re distracted. He is pleasant; we’re
cranky. The distance between our hearts and his seems so immense! How
could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?
Ready for a surprise? You already do. One of the supreme yet
unrealized promises of God is simply this: if you’ve given your life to
Jesus, Jesus has given himself to you. He has made your heart his home.
It would be hard to say it any more succinctly than Paul does in
Galatians 2:20, “Christ lives in me.”
God is willing to change us into the likeness of the Savior. Shall we accept his offer?
“God bless you!” We hear it all the time, don’t we? From the pastor’s
benediction in worship to a simple courtesy when someone sneezes, we
hear wishes of God’s blessing so often that we don’t even stop to
consider what the phrase means.
Let’s break away from habit and discover what it truly means to be
blessed by the Lord. In Genesis 12, God’s commission of Abram shows His
wonderful promise to make the man into a prospering nation and give him
a great and enduring name. More than that, God extends His blessing to
those close to Abram and ultimately takes it to a global scale, pledging
to bless the entire world by what He’s doing in this one person’s life.
So, when the Lord speaks about blessing someone, it’s a promise to
intervene mightily and noticeably in that individual’s life. This could
mean a thriving, happy family or, possibly, financial prosperity. Maybe
it involves emotional security or spiritual insight. The heavenly Father
might have in mind to give honor, wisdom, or lasting purpose. In fact,
we see every one of these things in God’s pledge to Abram.
But let’s not overlook two conditions for the Lord’s favor. From
Abram’s life, we see that God values obedience and faith (Gen 12:4, Gen
15:6, Gen 22:2-3, 12).
God wants to bring abundance into your life. Be sure His blessing isn’t being hindered. Ask, Am I trusting Him? Have I ignored something He has asked me to do? Give in to His call, and open your arms to receive what your Father longs to give you.
Jesus: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:8
Sadly, a scant minority of people in worldly power have used that power for its rightful purposes. Among these governmental authorities, even fewer realize that they would not be “in power” if it were not for God’s establishing the positions (Romans 13:1), which can be shamefully misused.
Then, there is the spiritual power that God gives us. Read our text carefully. Jesus says that He gives us power for His use of us. Nevertheless, some get it backward: they think God gives them the power of the Spirit for them to use. This is more than semantics; it is the difference between right and wrong perspective, which determine our attitude in our actions.
He is the vine; we are the branches (John 15:5). Remember that the vine is indispensable, but branches are replaceable. The life comes via the vine and flows through the branches to produce the fruit. The useful branch is vitally attached to (“remains in,” John 15:4-7) the vine and is merely available.
GET READY TO MOVE
The Scripture says the path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter. Right now, whether you realize it or not, you have been divinely positioned for the next level in your God-inspired destiny.
I believe that God is already acting on your behalf. He is connecting
you to the right people, making your path straight, preparing your heart
for a new thing. He has more in store for you.
A better opportunity, a bigger dream, a brighter future. He is
elevating you to a whole new level. All you have to do is step out and
move up.That means the days ahead of you are better than the days behind
you. You are rising to a new level. With God on your side, your future
is bright.It’s easy to listen to critics, or even well-meaning
acquaintances, who say, “Don’t get your hopes up,” or “You’ve gone as
far as you can go.” But they don’t understand that you’ve been called to
go higher. Your path is getting brighter and brighter.
If you’ll receive it, your Heavenly Father will take you to a new level in your health, in your finances, in your relationships, in your career. Get a vision for it. Let that seed take root.The Most High God is on your side. You can’t lose. Get a vision of going to that next level and refuse to let it go. You are blessed, Amen.
DO NOT WORRY!
“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up”
When you see someone who is struggling, a co-worker who is
discouraged, a friend who is not up to par, how do you respond? Our
words can be what keeps a person going, our compliments can put a spring
back into their step. Now more than ever, we need to automatically let
the encouragement flow. We need to tell others how much we love them,
how we value them, and tell them that they are talented and creative.
Always remember, with your words you carry life-giving water. You carry
hope, healing, encouragement and new beginnings, and you can pour it out
everywhere you go.
Today, choose to speak encouragement. Choose to speak victory and faith. Instead of telling people what they’re doing wrong, instead of pointing out all their faults, find what they are doing right. Focus on the good and quietly correct the wrong in them. There are already enough critical, judgmental people in the world. Let’s be people who lift up others and restore them. Let’s be the light of Jesus in the world. God bless you as you do so, Amen.
REASONING WITH GOD
God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of His purposes. You don't find it lying around on the surface. It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven't a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn't have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That's why we have this Scripture text: No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—What God has arranged for those who love Him. But you've seen and heard it because God by His Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:7-10, The Message
This puts it delightfully clearly. Perceiving God is more largely a spiritual matter, not merely an intellectual matter. In his next letter to the Corinthians, Paul elaborated: “If our Message is obscure to anyone, it's not because we're holding back in any way. No, it's because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won't have to bother believing a Truth they can't see. They're stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, Who gives us the best picture of God we'll ever get” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, The Message).
God does not mind reasoning with people. As a matter of fact He invites it: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:18-20). However, look carefully at this Isaiah passage. You must reason TOGETHER WITH God, not demand that your reasoning be accepted. Also, note that the very next thing about which God speaks after His invitation is our sin and His salvation, which are completely reasonable to God, Who is omniscient.
As “mysterious” as it all may seem, God has lovingly made it as simple as He can by offering His salvation in one person: Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 14:6; 1 John 5:12), so that the sin issue can be completely resolved (since we can never resolve it on our own) and so that we can live with Him and everything that is good forever, rather than go into eternity separated from Him and anything that is good.
Just The Way You Are
What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you? His priorities would
be governing your actions. His love would be directing your behavior.
Would people notice a change? How about your enemies? Would they receive
more mercy? Keep working on this for a moment. Adjust the lens of your
imagination until you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your
life—then snap the shutter and frame the image. What you see is what God
wants. Nothing short of a new heart. In Philippians 2:5 it says, to
“think and act like Christ Jesus.” He wants you to have a heart like
I’m going to risk something here. It’s dangerous to sum up grand truths in one statement, but I’m going to try. God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus!
One King, One Lord
And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall
there be one Lord, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:9)
Blessed prospect! This is no dream of an enthusiast but the
declaration of the infallible Word. Jehovah shall be known among all
people, and His gracious sway shall be acknowledged by every tribe of
man. Today, it is far from being so. Where do any bow before the great
King? How much there is of rebellion! What lords many and gods many
there are on the earth! Even among professed Christians what diversities
of ideas there are about Him and His gospel! One day there shall be one
King, one Jehovah, and one name for the living God. O Lord, hasten it!
We daily cry, "Thy kingdom come."
We will not discuss the question as to when this shall be lest we lose the comfort of the certainty that it shall be. So surely as the Holy Ghost spake by His prophets, so surely shall the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord. Jesus did not die in vain. The Spirit of God worketh not in vain. The Father's eternal purposes shall not be frustrated, Here, where Satan triumphed, Jesus shall be crowned, and the Lord God Omnipotent shall reign. Let us go our way to our daily work and warfare made strong in faith.
WAIT FOR IT!
“The vision is yet for an appointed time...”
The scripture says, “The vision is for an appointed time.” That means
there is a specific time already determined for the fulfillment of the
desires God has placed in your heart. The appointed time is the best
time! We have to trust that God can see the big picture for our lives.
He knows what’s up ahead. He knows what we’re going to need, who we’re
going to need, and when they need to show up.
Remember, God has the advantage of seeing it all. The longer I live, the more I trust Him. The more I see His hand of faithfulness, the more I know that His plan is better than my plan. Today, trust that He knows what He’s doing. Trust that He has an appointed time, and it is the best time to bring to pass His promises in your life.You are blessed.
Thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.
Our Jehovah cannot so forget His servants as to cease to love them.
He chose them not for a time but forever. He knew what they would be
when He called them into the divine family. He blots out their sins like
a cloud; and we may be sure that He will not turn them out of doors for
iniquities which He has blotted out. It would be blasphemy to imagine
such a thing.
He will not forget them so as to cease to think of them. One forgetful moment on the part of our God would be our ruin. Therefore He says, "Thou shalt not be forgotten of me," Men forget us; those whom we have benefited turn against us. We have no abiding place in the fickle hearts of men; but God will never forget one of His true servants. He binds Himself to us not by what we do for Him but by what He has done for us. We have been loved too long and bought at too great a price to be now forgotten. Jesus sees in us His soul's travail, and that He never can forget. The Father sees in us the spouse of His Son, and the Spirit sees in us His own effectual work. The Lord thinketh upon us. This day we shall be succored and sustained. Oh, that the Lord may never be forgotten of us!
HE HAS AN EXITING
PLAN FOR YOU!
You were created and fashioned by the Master. He made you just the
way you are, and He has a specific and amazing plan for you, a destiny
for your life. I love what the Bible says in the book of Ephesians. It
says “we are God’s masterpiece.”
Today, God calls you His masterpiece! You have seeds of greatness
inside of you. You may be able to easily spot the greatness in others,
but today I want you to see the greatness God has put in you. You have a
destiny: a unique call, a special purpose that God created just for you.
God doesn’t see you as a “maybe” or a “what if.” He doesn’t see wasted
potential. When He looks at you, God simply says, “You are destined, you
are My masterpiece. ”I want to give you a fresh word from God, and I
declare over your life that today is a new day
No matter what people call you, God said that you are His masterpiece. You are not fake. You are filled with His greatness. Receive it in Jesus Name, Amen.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which
comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were
happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of
Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory
you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled [a] for the name of
Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on
you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or
evildoer, or a [b] troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a
Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
For it is time for judgment to begin [c] with the household of God; and
if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do
not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the
righteous is saved, [d] what will become of the godless man and the
sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God
shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
~ 1 Peter 4:12-19
The primary purpose of a mountaintop experience is to prepare us for
the valley. That’s why we can’t stay up there. When Peter, James, and
John came down from the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-9), they
encountered many difficulties that eventually led to their witnessing
Jesus on the cruel Roman cross.
As much as we might long to remain on the summit, God doesn't keep us
floating around in some ethereal counterfeit spiritual experience;
eventually we must return to the dusty, empty plains of life. His
intention is that we be strengthened by worship and His Word—and then go
about our Monday routine, prepared to make an impression upon others. If
Jesus walked among us today, He’d spend His time in alleyways, on street
corners, and in places where few of us in our dignity would want to be
The three disciples no doubt would have wanted to stay with the Lord
on the mountain, but that’s not the purpose of a spiritual high. The
point is that God may reveal Himself to us in a fresh way. Then He
readies us through that inspiration to go back to the common places
where we have to face tasks we might prefer to avoid. Life’s realities
aren’t to be escaped. God wants believers to learn to live every day in
reliance on His indwelling Spirit.
The Lord was using the time on the summit to prepare Peter, James, and John for their true purpose. When God lifts us up, He doesn’t intend for us to stay there. He gives exceptional spiritual experiences to strengthen us and make us more effective when we engage in everyday life.
An older couple had just gotten married. On the first night of their honeymoon, she was in the bathroom getting ready for bed. He was in the bedroom watching her through the open door. He cringed as he saw her gently slip off her fake fingernails and place them in a holder. She then removed her fake eyelashes and placed them carefully in their case. He watched as she meticulously placed her false teeth in a cup and her glass eye in its mold.
As she exited the bathroom, he entered with his pillow and a blanket. As he commenced to make his bed in the tub, she asked what he was doing. His comment was: “I’m going to sleep in the bathroom. There seems to be more of you here in the bathroom than any other place.”
As Christians, aren’t we much like that? We put on our “christian” cosmetics and manufactured images only to remove them when they are no longer needed to impress others.
Isaiah 29:13 (NIV); “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.”
We are quick to put on an air of religiosity. We may talk the talk
but God expects us to walk the walk.
Are you listening?
The Bible says, “The Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” (John.1:14)
The operative word here being among. He donned the costliest of robes, a human body. He took a common name—Jesus—and made it holy. He could have lived over us or away from us. But he didn’t. He lived among us!
And to us all he shared the same message, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. . .I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am” (John. 14:1,3).
Live with an ear for the trumpet and an eye for the clouds. And when he calls your name, be ready. You will look up, and he will reach down and take you home. . . when Christ comes!
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” ~ Matthew 6:9-13
Martin Luther saw this “model” prayer as proof that, often, prayer is guided by God. Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? You pray, and later you wonder at the prayers. “Did I actually pray that? I’m not smart enough to pray something like that.” Well, I have.
God’s covenant with prayer is given for many reasons. One reason that He wants us to pray for our needs, even when He knows them, is that it focuses our attention on Him, and when He answers, we know that it was He Who did it. It also gives us great joy that our Heavenly Daddy (the meaning of “Abba”) has taken care of us and has done such a great thing.
Scripture says that, when we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit prays through us, sometimes with wordless groaning (Romans 8:26), and only two verses later is that famous verse, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
The key is to be as completely open and yielded as possible when we pray. We pray what is on our hearts, but do not be surprised if God drops something into our hearts to pray. He gets the glory!
DON'T GIVE UP TOO
I have found that the intensity gets turned up when victory is near.
The enemy would not be fighting so hard if he didn’t already know he was
about to lose his grip on you. When those negative thoughts come that
would discourage you, just remind yourself that you are a child of the
Most High God. Let your words be, “I am an overcomer. I am the head and
not the tail. I am a victor and not a victim.”
Can you imagine if David dropped his slingshot and ran? What if Elijah had backed down? What if Joseph had stopped dreaming?
They didn’t give up, and God gave them victory. Their stories reveal that it is often the darkest right before the dawn.
Perhaps today you are facing impossible odds. Maybe you feel surrounded, maybe you feel forgotten. The good news for you is that our God can act suddenly in your situation. In a moment’s notice, everything can change for the better. He has done it for me and I believe that He will do it for you as well, Amen.
When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. ~ John 19:26-27
Consider that Jesus knew His ultimate destiny: the Cross. He was always purposefully heading toward it. However, with that horrid and glorious goal ever before Him, He never hesitated taking little detours and allowing little diversions when it came to teaching, healing, and ministering to people. After all, the Cross was all about people and their chance at eternal life.
To say that Jesus was a “people person” almost seems pedestrian. However, look at Him—talking to the woman at the well, taking up for the woman caught in adultery, casting out demons from a man’s pitifully tormented son, feeding thousands of hungry listeners, receiving a seeker who was of the Jewish ruling council, weeping with Lazarus’ family and friends. Still, He had the “fate” of mankind ahead of Him: the Cross, toward which He strove with a passion. In our text, I believe we see John’s marveling that the Savior of the world took time, while He suffered on that Cross, to take care of His mother by “giving” her to him, and him to her.
Dear fellow believer, let’s not be so consumed by the “big things” that we miss the more-important-in-the-moment “little things.” People are our business, as they were Jesus’ business. There’s the story of the man who was a great fisherman—so great, that he soon was in constant demand to speak at banquets and conferences and symposiums. He spoke so much about fishing that he lost his “touch” in actual fishing. He had to go back to the thing he once did best to recapture that about which he so eloquently spoke. Let’s not get caught in our own nets. Personal, one-on-one helping is more important, in the moment, than our big religious plans and grandiose responsibilities. Yes, as with Jesus, people are our business, too.
HE IS YOUR ALL AND
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
God is always with you. That means He is present at all times,
continually, perpetually, throughout all time. In your day of trouble,
He promises to be a help to you. How is He your help? “Help” means
something different to each person. That’s because “help” is specific to
your need. If you need money to pay your bills, He makes it possible and
because He is always with you, He always knows exactly what you need and
is always ready to provide it.
Today, are you facing trouble or adversity? Know that God is with you. Look to Him for help. Trust that He has the answer, and that He is working things out in your favor. As you continue to believe Him and follow His direction, He will lead you in the way that you should go. He will comfort you, revive you, restore you and bless you. He will be your ever-present help because He is forever faithful to His Word, Amen.
At our last Men's Bible Breakfast, we talked about how our Christian faith is being watered down. Much of the cause is because people seem more concerned with tolerance and political correctness than they do about teaching the word of God. I will admit, often it seems easier to offer such incite as this than to actually live it. For me, it is like pointing a finger at someone while three of your other fingers are pointing back at you. Too often we profess to be Christians, unless it is embarrassing. We attend church with our children, unless they have a sporting event. We say we believe God's teachings unless it effects our own lifestyle.
1 Corinthians 1:27 (NIV); "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."
Have you noticed how much time we spend preparing where we are going to spend a vacation and how little concern we spend on where we are going to spend eternity? We seem much more concerned with our child’s and grandchild’s athletic abilities than we are with their Biblical abilities. We spend more money on possessions and hobbies than we give to our church.
Matthew 6:21 (NIV); “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I wonder if they have “best looking”, “most popular”, “best dressed” or “most valuable player” in hell.
On Saturday the 26th of this month I shared a devotional that I found
on Facebook with our Union Presbyterian Church weekly soup kitchen. The
devotional is titled "God's View". The illustration shows a helicopter
as an example of how God views everything. Everything is present tense
to God. TB on the left of the illustration is for "the beginning" of
time and at the other end is TE "the ending" of time. A "B" represents
our "birth" and a "D" is for our "death". Since everything to God is
present tense He sees and knows all. Also somewhere between our birth
and our death if "someone" did as they were commanded to do (go yea into
all the world and preach the gospel) we would hear about Jesus and
"choose" to accept Him as our Lord and Savior or not. Once if we did God
looks back at the Cross and sees Jesus love for each of us, then sees us
as He sees His Son.
I also shared these (5) scriptures with the people. What is most
important is understanding the last sentence. In all the scriptures is
"verbs"; It has "all" been done, "past tense"
To God be the Gory!
You were made righteous with God!
The old you was crucified in Christ at the cross!
You were subsequently buried and then reborn in His resurrection!
We are Christ’s workmanship!
After this you ascended to heaven in Christ!
Notice the verbs; they’re all past tense! This is yours to embrace by faith just as you embraced your forgiveness by faith.
Day after day for years Harry shared with the Lord his concern for
his son-in-law John who had turned away from God. But then Harry died. A
few months later, John turned back to God. When his mother-in-law Marsha
told him that Harry had been praying for him every day, John replied, “I
waited too long.” But Marsha joyfully shared: “The Lord is still
answering the prayers Harry prayed during his earthly life.”
Harry’s story is an encouragement to us who pray and wait. He
continued “steadfastly in prayer” and waited patiently (Rom. 12:12).
The author of Psalm 130 experienced waiting in prayer. He said, “I
wait for the Lord, my soul waits” (v.5). He found hope in God because he
knew that “with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant
Author Samuel Enyia wrote about God’s timing: “God does not depend on
our time. Our time is chronological and linear but God . . . is
timeless. He will act at the fullness of His time. Our prayer . . . may
not necessarily rush God into action, but . . . places us before Him in
What a privilege we have to fellowship with God in prayer and to wait for the answer in the fullness of His time.
Pray on! Pray on! Cease not to pray,
God may delay our request, but He will never disappoint our trust.
WHAT A GIFT!
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8, NKJV)
We serve such a loving, gracious God. He loves you so much that there
isn’t anything He wouldn’t do in order to have a relationship with you.
The Bible tells us that sin separates man from God. But God doesn’t want
to be separated from us. That’s why He sent His Son into the world — to
pay the penalty for sin so that you and I could live in eternity with
So many people today think they have to earn their way to heaven. They think they have to be “good enough” or “do the right thing” in order to be accepted by God. They want to “clean up” before they come to Him. But notice what today’s verse says — salvation is a gift from God. You can’t earn a gift. You don’t pay for it. You can only receive it by faith. If you’ve never made Jesus the Lord of your life, I encourage you to receive this free gift. Let Him fill you with His eternal peace and joy so that you can live the abundant life He has for you. God bless you.
Easter Is Over
Easter is over
Some wept on Good Friday
But not the true believers
So please don’t let this be
Tell all you see,
E. P. Shagott
Buffalo City Mission
This was not the first time I was at Buffalo City Mission, for several years back I would sing there with the Good News Minstrels. Sometime in January my spirit was leading to contact Buffalo City Mission and present a God’s Love Outreach Ministry program. I tried several times to contact them via email and also leaving phone messages. I finally got a reply near the end of February. I was told that I should attend a volunteer orientation before I would be able to volunteer, which I did. I was then told I would be contacted by the Chaplin for an interview which took place a week later. After speaking with him he agreed for me to present a program the day after Easter.
The God’s Love Outreach Ministry has been established since January 2004 so God’s timing was 12 plus years for the Holy Spirit to touch lives at Buffalo City Mission. His timing is always, ‘right on time’. After the program, titled ‘The Easter Message’, was finished 6 to 8 men came forward and gave their hearts to the Lord. What I came away with after that program was a feeling and understanding of how blessed I am. The 20 plus men that were at Buffalo City Mission that night were there for food and shelter for that day. Their lives were empty for they had lost everything, for whatever reason, and was looking for something to eat and a place to sleep. Praise God 6 also got ‘saved’ that evening.
I pray that those 6 to 8 men, whom we prayed for after the program, the Lord will bring someone into their lives to help them to read from God’s Word and also start a relationship with Jesus and see their lives changed as only He can do. To God be the Glory!
THE REALIST JESUS
Jesus: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
The realist Jesus scatters the sentimentalist’s notions of the Christian life. To hear some believers speak, you would think that they live on a cloud above the world, never having a moment’s trouble. Look at this: “He [Jesus] took Peter, James and John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled” (Mark 14:33).
Why did He drag Peter, James, and John into His distress and trouble? It could be for many reasons. Maybe He wanted their company in His great time of stress. Maybe He wanted them to see more clearly His human side, even before the Cross. Maybe He wanted them to join Him in prayer. Whatever the reasons, the picture is clear: Even Jesus was troubled, but He would soon overcome the world in the triumph of the Cross and the Resurrection.
No rose-colored glasses here: “In this world you will have trouble.” However, look what is surrounding your trouble: His peace and His overcoming. That is plenty, and the experience will be a small part of what Paul called the “fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who
believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by
believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,
who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where
they laid him.”
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that
God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was
still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the
hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his
great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died
for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who
live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them
and was raised again.
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead
comes also through a man.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will
certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we
know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by
sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and
participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
Couldn't of said it
The Creator has a specific plan for each person’s life, and He’s
arranged our talents, abilities, and circumstances to fit with these
individualized goals (Eph. 2:10). When we connect with our God-given
purpose, we feel deep satisfaction and great joy. However, it’s
important to understand that we can’t achieve the Lord’s goals on our
own; only by His strength and direction are we able to succeed.
In John 16:33, Jesus warned us that trouble is an integral part of
life in this world. But easily forgetting how weak we are, we tend to
take on challenges in our own strength and resourcefulness. Human nature
wants to use its own power to tackle life singlehandedly and then take
credit. So when temptations, trials, criticism, gossip, and persecution
assail, many of us have the tendency to go into high gear and try all
For a while, life may actually seem good this way. But in the long
run, self-reliance creates a mess. It also interferes with the
fulfillment of God’s purposes.
The truth is, we sometimes have to experience failure in order to
realize our complete dependence upon God. He lovingly breaks our pride
by showing us that we cannot live fully without following the Spirit’s
Have you surrendered yet to the Holy Spirit’s control? Acknowledge your weakness and recognize His power, omniscience, and wisdom. The Lord doesn't call you to live the Christian life, which is a human impossibility. Rather, He wants you to yield control and let Him live His life through you.
Drawing Near to God
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8)
The nearer we come to God, the more graciously will He reveal Himself
to us. When the prodigal comes to his father, his father runs to meet
him. When the wandering dove returns to the ark, Noah puts out his hand
to pull her in unto him, When the tender wife seeks her husband's
society, he comes to her on wings of love. Come then, dear friend, let
us draw nigh to God who so graciously awaits us, yea, comes to meet us.
Did you ever notice that passage in Isaiah 58:9? There the Lord seems to put Himself at the disposal of His people, saying to them, "Here I am." As much as to say—"What have you to say to me? What can I do for you? I am waiting to bless you." How can we hesitate to draw near? God is nigh to forgive, to bless, to comfort, to help, to quicken, to deliver. Let it be the main point with us to get near to God. This done, all is done. If we draw near to others, they may before long grow weary of us and leave us; but if we seek the Lord alone, no change will come over His mind, but He will continue to come nearer and yet nearer to us by fuller and more joyful fellowship.
John 19:30 (NIV); “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is
finished.' With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."
I thank God it is finished. The ridicule and suffering Jesus went
through is finished. The loneliness of the Garden of Gethsemane and the
pain of the cross are finished. Messianic prophecy is completed,
redemption is accomplished and victory over death and sin is "finished".
This declaration from our Savior should permeate every heart and affect
Did the disciples and other followers really think Jesus would rise
from the dead? Was His body the "temple" Jesus spoke of rebuilding in
three days? Would Jesus conquer death and the cross?
John 2:19 (NIV); "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and I
will raise it again in three days."
Now starts the Easter vigil. Often believers will fast and pray today
in anticipation of the Resurrection. Jesus made only one request as He
Luke 23:34a (NIV); "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do
not know what they are doing."
This is where forgiveness and love were defined...at the foot of the
cross. We do worship a risen Lord. He has broken the power of sin and
death. He is now offering us a life of love and forgiveness. It is a
life we must share and show to others.
John 13:34 (NIV); "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
Have you ever had one of those days were nothing seemed to go right. You know…pity party express. Well, I was having one of those days today. I got to thinking; what was Jesus going through at this time 2000+ years ago? And He was doing it for me. It makes my problems seem almost insignificant.
How did you feel when you woke up this morning? Perhaps a little sore from yard work? Tired from a week of working and thankful it’s Friday and perhaps a holiday? You may have woken with a headache from yesterday or last night.
Friday is called Good Friday. Does it seem a little strange that on the day Jesus died, the day Jesus was viciously killed; we as Christians call it "good"? The word "good" here could be translated as Holy. A Holy day it was. Take a moment and reflect on how Jesus felt this morning over 2,000 years ago. Yes, Jesus died for our sins but we too often say that in such a trite manner; not really realizing or appreciating the magnitude of that particular act. Did Jesus die so we could continue knowingly sin and merely turn to Him whenever and get forgiven without any sense of repentance or shame? I think not. What is there in your life that needs to be taken to the Cross? Could it be an addition to alcohol, sex, drugs, pornography or whatever? Could it be the type of husband, wife or friend you "aren't"? Don't let Jesus die for you in vain.
Acts 4:12; (NKJV); "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Our sin and cruelty have made this the darkest day in human history. None of us can even imagine the burden of having the world's sins placed on you. The physical pain was immense, but the spiritual pain was only bearable with the strength and grace of God.
Thanks Be To God!
Just for us!
Jesus says to a doubting Thomas in John 20:29, “Thomas, because you
have seen me you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and
yet have believed.” When God entered time and became a man, he who was
boundless became bound. Imprisoned in flesh. With a wave of his hand he
could have boomeranged the spit of his accusers back into their faces.
With an arch of his brow, paralyzed the hand of the soldier braiding the
crown of thorns. But he didn’t. He stood silent as a million guilty
verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven.
After three days in a dark grave, he stepped into the Easter sunrise with a smile and a question for lowly Lucifer. “Is that your best punch?” He gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns. He did it for you, my friend. Just for you.
"Put your life in Jesus' hands, and one day you will reflect, "Look what the Lord has done!" Seek Him. Follow Him. It's the best decision you'll ever make, and all around you will benefit, as well. "Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21)."
Established and Kept
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from
evil. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Men are often as devoid of reason as of faith. There are with us
still "unreasonable and wicked men." There is no use in arguing with
them or trying to be at peace with them: they are false at heart and
deceitful in speech. Well, what of this? Shall we worry ourselves with
them? No; let us turn to the Lord, for He is faithful. No promise from
His Word will ever be broken. He is neither unreasonable in His demands
upon us nor unfaithful to our claims upon Him. We have a faithful God.
Be this our joy.
He will stablish us so that wicked men shall not cause our downfall, and He will keep us so that none of the evils which now assail us shall really do us damage. What a blessing for us that we need not contend with men but are allowed to shelter ourselves in the Lord Jesus, who is in truest sympathy with us. There is one true heart, one faithful mind, one never changing love; there let us repose. The Lord will fulfill the purpose of His grace to us, His servants, and we need not allow a shadow of a fear to fall upon our spirits. Not all that men or devils can do can hinder us of the divine protection and provision. This day let us pray the Lord to stablish and keep us.
INDIVIDUAL & CORPORATE
Jesus: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14
Rejection of the elderly’s wisdom is a nation’s punishment in itself. Preferring the harsher, gorier, more selfish aspects of human nature is a culture’s punishment in itself. Most importantly, the turning away from godly principles, even from God Himself, is a people’s punishment in itself.
We often think of judgment as something that God zaps form Heaven. However, He has built into humanity certain principles that pave the “narrow road” to blessing, peace, and prosperity—almost always centered around how we relate to Him and how we treat others (Matthew 22:6-40). Departure from those principles paves the “broad road” to heartache, unhappiness, emptiness, and eventual destruction. This latter pathway, the Bible calls sin.
Yes, since God has integrated these principles into His greatest creation, you can say (if you prefer) that, even in these examples, He judges individuals, families, communities, nations, and the world. However, you must realize that sin delivers its own paycheck—death (Romans 6:23). Jesus came to do the ultimate “reset” in people’s lives. (He is the narrow gate and the narrow road that are wide enough for the whole word, if they choose: John 14:6; John 3:16.) He does it one individual at a time, but He blesses the corporations (families, friends, communities, nations, etc.) which choose His design to abundant natural life, too.
It is Wednesday and Judas is making his plans. This day is often called Holy Wednesday. Some have called it "Spy Wednesday" because this is the day Judas Iscariot plots to betray Jesus. The Sanhedrin has been meeting and the talk is on how to kill Jesus. It was a secret meeting but Jesus knew what was happening. He knew that one of His close friends, someone who He had traveled with, had eaten with and had shared His mission with, was about to turn against Him and betray Him. I am sure Jesus' heart was broken.
Matthew 26:14-15 (NKJV); "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?' And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver."
Whether prophecy was being fulfilled or scripture validated, the Word of God is once again seen as true. Written hundreds of years before Jesus was even born:
Zechariah 11:12 (NKJV); "Then I said to them, 'If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver."
Judas did not cause Jesus to be crucified. It was not the crowd or Pilate; it was sin. As Jesus was eating at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary; Mary took expensive perfume and began to anoint Jesus with it. She was immediately chastised for wasting such expensive perfume that could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. Jesus corrected their misguided thoughts.
Mark 14:6-8 (NKJV); "But Jesus said, 'Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial."
Jesus knew He was going to die soon. What a heavy burden to bear, what a beautiful sacrifice to give.
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But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
Imagine seeing this in the classified ads: “Wanted: Men and women whom most others consider foolish. No one with a sparkling resume need apply; we are looking for inexperienced ones. Also, no people who are strong need apply; we are only looking for weak people. Must be ‘little nobodies’ who are despised by most people.” You’d think it a joke, right?
Because God often does things totally opposite from the world’s ways, look at what Scripture says: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
Oh, dear one, please listen. God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called. His grace would not be amazing, if you could do it on your own. Bringing your deficiencies, come to Him and offer yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). As you approach your final days on this earth, you will reflect, “Oh, look what my Big God did through my little life! To Him be the glory!”
Have you heard
the Good News?
You are free! So take off the shackles and chains.
Your sin debt has been paid for you in full. You cannot be condemned,
because He has given you His Righteousness, Holiness and Glory. Sin and
death have been destroyed in you.
There is nothing like knowing our liberty and freedom we have, "In
Christ Jesus!" Why? So, the religious world can't steal it from you and
put you on a work release bondage program trying to be something Christ
has already freely given you.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that
the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
God is Reliable
We all need to seek God's reliable counsel, not unreliable hunches or
our will or what Satan wants. When we know that God is reliable, we can
pay attention to Him, not to falsehoods. Have you ever wondered about
situations you have faced with faith and confidence in the past but now,
somehow you have misplaced that confidence or knowledge? Perhaps you
once stood firm in your faith in Christ, but something did not go your
way. Perhaps, the business and stresses of life have distracted you. Or,
perhaps you have started to believe in the ways of the world or
interests and emotions that tingle us but will cause us to veer off
God's path and onto a path of chaos and destruction.
Regardless of how things may look to us, God will make good on every promise that He has ever made. He will do what He has said He will do. No one is able to frustrate the plans of God, nor can anyone prevent His promises from coming to pass. God is reliable.
We must not rely on our emotions and feelings, because they deceive
our thinking. Jesus is real and Powerful; He is the real Truth! And,
Christ is coming again!
God is faithful He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on, and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.1 Corinthians 1:9
Calvary’s Hill. Two
thieves—gaunt and pale
Scripture says, “And when they had come to the place called Calvary,
there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and
the other on the left.” (Luke 23:33)
Calvary’s Hill. Two thieves—gaunt and pale. With the cynicism of most
of the crowd, one calls out, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it
by saving yourself, and us too, while you’re at it!”
The other in defense says, “Don’t you even fear God when you are
dying? We deserve to die, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.”
Lodged in the thief’s statement are what anyone needs to recognize in order to come to Jesus. Jesus is not on that cross for his sins. He is there for ours! And the thief on the cross makes the same request any Christian makes, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom!”
The Prayers of
The prayer of the upright is his delight. (Proverbs 15:8)
This is as good as a promise, for it declares a present fact, which
will be the same throughout all ages. God takes great pleasure in the
prayers of upright men; He even calls them His delight. Our first
concern is to be upright. Neither bending this way nor that, continue
upright; not crooked with policy, nor prostrate by yielding to evil, be
you upright in strict integrity and straightforwardness. If we begin to
shuffle and shift, we shall be left to shift for ourselves. If we try
crooked ways, we shall find that we cannot pray, and if we pretend to do
so, we shall find our prayers shut out of heaven.
Are we acting in a straight line and thus following out the Lord's revealed will? Then let us pray much and pray in faith. If our prayer is God's delight, let us not stint Him in that which gives Him pleasure. He does not consider the grammar of it, nor the metaphysics of it, nor the rhetoric of it; in all these men might despise it. He, as a Father, takes pleasure in the lispings of His own babes, the stammerings of His newborn sons and daughters. Should we not delight in prayer since the Lord delights in it? Let us make errands to the throne. The Lord finds us enough reasons for prayer, and we ought to thank Him that it is so.
DO YOU CRY DURING
PRAISE AND WORSHIP ?
I do most times. And I guess you do some times as well. You might
even be trying really hard to hold back your tears because you feel
embarrassed but couldn't. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of
people, including myself, cry during praise and worship for different
reasons. I am not saying that every one should cry as well — I don’t cry
in every service I attend but when I do, somehow, I realize why I cried.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no
regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Cor. 7:10.
When we think of how we have rebelled against a Holy God and what Jesus have done on the cross to atone for our sins, we realize how undeserving we are of His love and mercy. Most of the praise and worship songs depict how much God loves us and what He has done for us and this gives us godly sorrow — which brings us to repentance. In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” 1 Samuel 1:10.
YOU ARE PRECIOUS IN
"But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God"
Do you know how valuable you are to God today? Not only did He pay a
precious price in order to have a relationship with you; He cleansed
you, set you apart, and made you brand new.
Think of it this way, if you saved your money and purchased a very
rare and valuable piece of jewelry, you wouldn't just leave it around
the house or office. You probably wouldn't wear it to the gym or to work
in the yard. You wouldn't let your children play with it. No, you would
set it apart and protect it. You would polish it, keep it clean and show
it off on special occasions. You would handle it carefully because it's
Friend, understand today that you are precious and valuable to the Almighty God. He handles you carefully. As a follower of Jesus, He has set you apart for a specific purpose. He is proud of you. You are His most prized treasure. Let that sink down into your heart today. Meditate on His goodness as you realize your worth in Him. Serve Him in truth and in Spirit, Amen.
God Uses Imperfect
Throughout the Bible, God uses people, imperfect people, because no other kind are available. But the imperfections are a hindrance. Gideon had his faults. He was very reluctant to be God’s instrument. As we have opportunity to serve the Lord, let us not hold back. Later Gideon made a golden ephod. We cannot be sure what the ephod was, but in any case, it became an object of false worship.
Yet Gideon also had good points. He was reluctant to serve, but he did serve. He was courageous, breaking down the image of the false god Baal. He was obedient, getting rid of the large army and ending with only 300 men, so that God could show that the victory was not by human might but by God’s grace and power. And he refused to become king, realizing that this would be seeking to bring glory to himself instead of to God.
There are important lessons in the fact that God uses imperfect people like Gideon. It should make us less critical of pastors and lay leaders in the church. It should make us realize that God can use us whatever our failures. But, on the other hand, this must never make us complacent about our weaknesses. God may use us in spite of our faults, but we would be more useful if we, with God’s help, got rid of them. The Spirit of God came upon Gideon. That same Holy Spirit lives in us to make us more holy.
If God did not use imperfect people to accomplish his mission here on earth, he certain would not have chosen someone like me. I was nothing until I met Jesus Christ, now I am the daughter of a King, who will soon leave the Portals of Glory to come back to earth and Receive us as His own. I wouldn't miss His return for nothing this old world has to offer.
Father, we praise you for graciously using imperfect people. Take away faults that hinder our usefulness to you and your kingdom. In Christ. Amen.
Jesus, been there,
Christ lived the life we could not live, and took the punishment we
could not take, to offer the hope we cannot resist. Why? Jesus was angry
enough to purge the temple, distraught enough to weep in public, winsome
enough to attract kids, poor enough to sleep on dirt, responsible enough
to care for his mother, tempted enough to know the smell of Satan. Why?
Why would heaven’s finest son endure earth’s toughest pain? So you would
know that he is able. . .able to to run to the cry of those who are
being tempted, tested and tried.
Whatever you’re facing, he knows how you feel. When you turn to him for help, he runs to you to help. Why? Because he has been there. He’s not ashamed of you. Your actions don’t bewilder him. Your tilted halo doesn’t trouble him. So go to him!
How very true!
"So for the frustrations in your world today, take time to reflect on the good things! A thankful heart may find the good outweighs the bad and that alone is reason to be grateful. Gratitude is the key to joy even if ___even when___ fill in the blank. Customize it to you! Remember the Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 22:3 that God inhabits the praises of His people. “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabits the praises of Israel.” He lives in praise, so turn things around today and say goodbye to the frustrations. Offer praise anyway and watch Him totally move through your circumstances! That's what He does! I love how he does it!"
If we take one attribute of God—His love, for instance—and divorce it from His other attributes, including His holiness, we end up worshiping our own distorted concept of love instead of the true God. He is indeed love, but love as He defines it, not as we do. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).
The Crown of
We are frail creatures. We are not made of steel, we’re made from
dust. And this life is not crowned with life, it is crowned with death.
The next life, however, is different!
In Revelation 2:10, Jesus urged the Christians in Smyrna to “be
faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of
life.” You will also receive the crown of righteousness.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have done my best in the race, I have
run the full distance, and I have kept the faith. And now there is
waiting for me, the victory prize of being put right with God, which the
Lord. . .will give me on that Day and not only to me, but to all those
who wait with love for him to appear.”
Set your heart on that day. Crowned with life. Crowned with righteousness. Forever!
Not all guilt is bad. God uses appropriate doses of guilt to awaken
us to sin! God’s guilt brings enough regret to change us! Satan’s guilt,
on the other hand, brings enough regret to enslave us. Don’t let Satan
lock his shackles on you!
Colossians 3:3 reminds us, “your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
When God looks at you, he sees Jesus first. In the Chinese language the
word for “righteousness” is a combination of two characters, the figure
of a lamb and a person. The lamb is on top, covering the person.
Whenever God looks down at you, this is what he sees: The perfect Lamb
of God covering you.
So, do you trust your Advocate, Jesus, or do you trust your Accuser—Satan? Give no heed to Satan’s voice! You have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous! (I John 2:1).
A good quote
Whenever you find a man of God, you will also find an overwhelming passion for God that is almost beyond control. Not a curiosity about God, but a deep passion to experience God in all of His fullness. To know God is the one passion that drives a man into the very heart of God. ~ AW Tozer
Sin and Grace
There is a pattern which continually repeats itself in the book of
Judges. The people of Israel sin by serving the gods of neighbors whom
they had neglected to drive out of the land. After a time of much sin,
God allowed them to fall under the power of some nearby country. They
lived in subjection for some time. Then they cried out to God for help.
God graciously helped them by raising up a judge (a military leader) and
through the judge ridding them of their oppressors. But after the judge
died, they returned to their old sinful ways. This happened over and
over again. How patient and gracious is God!
The first judge was Othniel. He was the nephew of Caleb. Some
families seem to produce leadership ability. But much more important, we
read that “the Spirit of the LORD came upon him” (3:10). God usually
works through human beings. They are his instruments. They must act
responsibly. But only by the Spirit of God can God’s people be
delivered. Then the Spirit came temporarily on individuals, but since
Pentecost the Spirit dwells continually in the hearts of all of God’s
people. The purpose of such indwelling is that we might be instruments
empowered to carry out God’s redemptive plan.
The judges were different from each other, but this they had in common: God used them. Father, fill us with your Holy Spirit and use us as your instruments of deliverance in our day. Through Christ. Amen
Choose Whom You Will
As old Moses had gathered the people together to urge them to serve
God, so Joshua does the same thing. He recounted the history of God’s
gracious dealings with them. He pleaded with them, “Now therefore fear
the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness” (24:14). Then
he told them that they must make a choice. Will they serve false gods or
the one true God? He makes it clear where he stands: “As for me and my
house, we will serve the LORD” (v. 15). He points out to them that the
decision to serve the one true God must not be a glib one, because it
will not be easy; there will be many temptations. He reminds them that
serving the true God means ridding one’s life of things which are not
consistent with such service. We see that Joshua’s influence lasted for
a generation, but regrettably no longer than that.
What lessons are here for us! Let us consider the history of God’s
gracious dealings with our spiritual forefathers and with us. Let us be
moved by the plea to serve God sincerely and faithfully. Let us realize
that for us too the choice entails a lifestyle contrary to the common
way of life all around us, a life which we are so easily tempted to
No matter what other people do, let us commit ourselves wholeheartedly to serving God and training our family to do the same. Father, give us grace to be faithful to our commitment to you who are so faithful to us. In Christ’s name. Amen.
The Spirit of Revelation now rests upon the chosen of God in this
generation. The same Holy Spirit that gave the Word, is the same Spirit
needed to teach the Word and it will take the same Spirit to reveal the
Word. Paul said, "Which things also we speak, not in the words which
man's wisdom teacheth but which the Holy Ghost teacheth" (I Cor. 2:13).
The same Spirit gave the Word to yesterday's prophets now rest upon this
generation to reveal the Word!
Holy Ghost Revelation makes the Bible real to the individual! Divine Revelation is what brings the Bible alive! Revelation will bring the Church alive! The Spirit of Revelation is now resting upon a people of this generation and we will not miss it! By the Spirit we "Know" the things freely given to us of God! By the Spirit we "Receive" the things freely given to us of God!
It Is Finished But
Having conquered the southern part of the Promised Land, Joshua now
gives his attention to the north. Here he is faced with an army much
larger than his, one equipped with horses and chariots, with the kind of
military power he did not possess. But God said, “Do not be afraid”
(11:6). As someone has said, “One plus God is a majority.” “If God be
for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31 KJV).
Then we read, “Joshua took the whole land” (11:23). Yet at 13:1 we
read, “There remains yet very much land to be possessed.” This is not
contradictory. When Christ died on the cross, he said, “It is finished.”
The perfect sacrifice was complete, but yet much needed to be done by
the people of God in spreading the gospel. In similar fashion, on the
one hand God had given the entire Promised Land into the hands of Joshua
and his people, but there were still pockets of resistance in various
parts of the land.
So in our lives. We are redeemed, but there is a great deal of
mopping up to do. We are justified, but we are only partly sanctified.
There are areas of our lives which need work. Are we neglecting them?
There is in our lives the “already” and the “not yet.” We are already
God’s children, but we do not realize how many more wonderful blessings
are yet to come.
Father, I am thankful that I am no longer what I used to be. I look forward to what I shall be. In Christ. Amen
Accepting a Challenge
Having conquered the land, Joshua now divides it so that each tribe
may have a territory. In the midst of the (to us) rather boring
description of this process of dividing, we come across the story of
Caleb. Forty-five years earlier he had been one of the spies sent by
Moses to see what the Promised Land was like. Ten had come back saying
the task of conquering the land was hopeless. But Caleb and Joshua had
come back saying that with God’s help the job could be done.
Now Caleb is 85, but he doesn’t sit on his rocking chair. He asked
for a difficult assignment, conquering the giants that live in the hill
country. Notice that he is described as a man who “wholly followed the
LORD” (14:8). God is still looking for people like that, people who will
be completely dedicated to him, people who will be willing to accept a
challenge. Will you be one of those people, no matter what your age? How
would people describe you? Would those who know you best say that you
“wholly follow the Lord”?
Caleb volunteers for a challenge, but others need to be urged to
accept one. In the last part of chapter 17, the Josephites (the tribe of
Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh) complain that they have not been
allotted a large enough territory. Joshua challenges them to clear out a
territory which is now being held by the enemy.
Father, help us to be wholly devoted to you and therefore ready to accept a challenge. In Jesus' name.
The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity. An odd choice,
don’t you think? Strange that a tool of torture would come to embody a
movement of hope. Its design could not be simpler. One beam
horizontal—the other vertical. One reaches out like God’s love. The
other reaches up, as does God’s holiness. One represents the width of
His love; the other the height of His holiness. The cross is the
intersection. The cross is where God forgave His children without
lowering His standards. God treated His Son as a sinner, so that Christ
could make us acceptable to God.
Why would He? John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world.” Aren’t you glad the verse doesn’t read: For God so loved the rich?. . .the famous? The sober or the successful? No, it simply reads: “For God so loved the world!”
Walk in Light
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me
should not abide in darkness. (John 12:46)
This world is dark as midnight; Jesus has come that by faith we may
have light and may no longer sit in the gloom which covers all the rest
Whosoever is a very wide term: it means you and me. If we trust in
Jesus we shall no more sit in the dark shadow of death but shall enter
into the warm light of a day which shall never end. Why do we not come
out into the light at once?
A cloud may sometimes hover over us, but we shall not abide in
darkness if we believe in Jesus. He has come to give us broad daylight.
Shall He come in vain.' If we have faith we have the privilege of
sunlight: let us enjoy it. From the night of natural depravity, of
ignorance, of doubt, of despair, of sin, of dread, Jesus has come to set
us free; and all believers shall know that He no more comes in vain than
the sun rises and fails to scatter his heat and light.
Shake off thy depression, dear brother. Abide not in the dark, but abide in the light. In Jesus is thy hope, thy joy, thy heaven, Look to Him, to Him only, and thou shalt rejoice as the birds rejoice at sunrise and as the angels rejoice before the throne.
What a close call! A father took his son to a Pittsburg Pirates vs
Atlanta Braves training game in Florida for his 9th birthday. A batter
lost control and let the bat slip from his hand and in a split second it
went hurtling toward the stands like a rocket. Just as the bat was about
to reach his son’s head, the father’s hand reached out and intervened,
blocking what could have been a lethal blow, just at the right moment.
What an illustration this is of God’s hand of protection over His children. How many times does He extend His loving arm to defend us from harm—sometimes when we’re not even aware the danger is coming? I know that God has intervened for me many, many times in my life. I’m so thankful for the promise that “The LORD watches over you” (Psalm 121:5). Tell me—how has God watched over and protected you?
We should take time
to enjoy life more!!!
1. Today, I interviewed my Grandmother for part of a Research Paper
I'm working on for my Psychology Class. When I asked her to define
success in her own words, she said, "Success is when you look back at
Your Life and the Memories Make You Smile."
Your true enemies
Do you know why so many believers are losing the battle in their lives? They’re fighting the wrong enemy! They’ve been deceived into believing that just because a person said or did something to hurt them, that person is the one they need to fight. But they’re wrong. You see, the Bible says we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood. And since people are definitely flesh and blood, they’re never the source of our problem. You might say, “You just don’t know what So-and-so did to me!” It doesn’t matter. If you waste your time fighting So-and-so, your real enemy will get away scot-free. Who is that real enemy? Look at Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Satan and his demons, they are your lifelong enemies! They are behind every personal offense you encounter. The people who hurt you and persecute you are only Satan’s tools. When he wants to strike out at you, he uses them to get the job done. Remember this: Persecution is not the manifestation of another person’s hate for you. It’s a manifestation of Satan’s fear of you. When you get into the Word and start swinging it around using it like a sword of the Spirit it is he who gets scared. So he looks for some person he can send in there to stop you. Next time someone hurts you, don’t let yourself get sidetracked into fighting them. Bind the spirit behind them. Put flesh and blood battles behind and war with the weapons of the Spirit. Zero in on Satan with authority and the Word of God and bring your real enemy down! - (2 Corinthians 10:3) (Eph. 6:10-18)
Millions of people across the globe followed Joey Feek's cancer battle until her death on Friday (March 4). Through her husband's blog, This Life I Live, fans new and old walked through Joey's cancer battle, celebrating the highs and experiencing the lows along with Joey and Rory. One of the most touching moments from Joey's fight was revisited with the publishing of her obituary. The beautifully-written tribute, in which she is referred to as Mrs. Feek, highlighted some of the biggest moments in Joey's life like meeting Rory and the couple's subsequent Grammy nomination to the tragic death of Joey's brother in 1994. But, one of the most emotional statements closed out the obituary. Its author wrote, "While she was sick, her father accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. 'All of this was worth it if my story brought one person to Christ,' Mrs. Feek said before her death. “The fact it was my daddy,” she paused as her voice broke with emotion. 'I’m so proud.'" Joey first shared the news with Cindy Watts of The Tennesseean in November. “'I just cried,' she says. 'Now all of my family believes. And all of my family, when we die, we’re going to see each other again. I told my dad, ‘I would go through all of this again, if that meant one person came to Christ because of it. The fact that my daddy did, Dad, I would do it all over. I’m so proud of you. When I die, I’m going to be looking for you. And I want you to know, that after you hug my brother, I’m going to be next in line.'”
Someone has said, “The Seven Last Words of the church are, ‘We have
always done it this way.’” We have a tendency to get in a rut, to fail
to deal with opportunities creatively. Change is not to be inaugurated
for the sake of change, but neither are we to keep doing something a
certain way merely for the sake of tradition.
In this section of Scripture, we see that God uses a variety of
methods to accomplish his purposes. In the case of Jericho, he causes
the walls to fall down miraculously. Now in the second attack on Ai, he
leads Joshua to use clever military strategy. Then in the attack on the
Amorites, he uses the ordinary fighting of the Israelite soldiers but
augments their efforts by sending hailstones and causing the sun to
stand still. Following this, he uses ordinary military activities to
defeat the rest of the inhabitants in the Promised Land.
God uses a variety of methods and so should we. The essential message
of the church must not change, but we need to adapt our ways of
presenting the gospel to a particular culture.
The miracle of the sun appearing to stand still is a greater miracle
than it seems at first, because it really means the earth stood still
and at the same time God kept everything on earth from shifting. We are
not sure how to explain this miracle, but we believe God can do whatever
Father, use us in your service. In Jesus' name. Amen
God Loves You this Much
God’s people often forget their God, but God never forgets them. When
Joseph was dropped into a pit by his own brothers, God didn’t give up.
When Moses said, “Here am I, send Aaron,” God didn’t give up. When the
delivered Israelites wanted Egyptian slavery instead of milk and honey,
God did not give up. When Aaron was making a false god at the very
moment Moses was with the true God, God did not give up.
And when human hands fastened the divine hands of Jesus to a cross with spikes, it wasn’t the soldiers who held the hands of Jesus steady. It was God, the God who never gives up on his people, who held them steady. He held them to the cross where, with holy blood, the divine hand wrote these words, “God would give up His only son before He’d ever give up on you!” (John 3:16)
A message from
Certain people have had a great impact on our lives and we don’t even
realize it. Raymond Tomlinson who passed away on Saturday was certainly
one of those people. He invented email back in the early 1970’s–now the
whole world connects through email instantaneously. I wish I could have
thanked him and I’m sure you do too. Steve Jobs with his Apple computer
and iPhone is another. He made it affordable for the average home to
have a computer, and then later developed the iPhone which is what
really brought me into the computer age because of the touch features.
These men were innovative giants.
But no life has ever impacted the world more greatly than Jesus Christ. Our calendar is based on His life. Our laws and every segment of our society has been touched by Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God who came to this earth on a rescue mission to save mankind from our sins. When I was 22 years old He changed my life forever, and He lives today in the hearts of millions of people. I hope you are one of them!
Is this how you hear
After starting a new diet I altered my drive to work to avoid passing my favorite bakery. I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning and as I approached, there in the window were a host of goodies.
I felt this was no accident, so I prayed ... "Lord, it's up to you,
if you want me to have any of those delicious goodies, create a parking
place for me directly in front of the bakery."
And sure enough, on the eighth time around the block, there it was! God is so Good!"
Why did Jesus live on the earth as long as He did? To take on our
sins is one thing; to experience death, yes, but to put up with long
roads and long days? Why did He do it? Because He wants you to trust
Him. Even His final act on earth was intended to win your trust.
Mark 15:22.says, “They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha
where they offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
And they crucified Him.” Why? Why did He endure all this suffering—all
these feelings? Because He knew you’d be weary, disturbed, and angry. He
knew you’d be grief-stricken, and hungry, that you’d face pain.
A pauper knows better than to beg from another pauper. He knows he needs someone who’s stronger than he is. Jesus’ message from the Cross is this: I am that Person. Trust Me.
The God of the Past Is Present
Read: Joshua 1–4
The book begins with God assuring Joshua that he will be with him
just as truly as he had been with Moses. But Joshua must be sure to use
the spiritual resources provided for him; he is to meditate on the Bible
day and night. It is important for us to realize that the God who helped
the great men of the Bible will help us today! But we must not neglect
the means God has provided for us. Joshua had the five books of Moses.
We are faced with new challenges in our generation. We can cope with
them if the completed Scriptures are our daily source of inspiration.
To assure Joshua and the people that he is the living God, God does
for them something very similar to what he had done for the previous
generation. Moses and the people had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground.
Now Joshua and the people will cross the Jordan on dry ground.
The hand of God is not shortened. He can do for us what he has ways as he did in the days of the Bible when he had not yet so fully revealed himself through his Son, but he is the living God who loves us and will do even greater things for us as we put our lives in his hands. And what he does for us we must tell our children (4:22). Praise the Lord, he has given the supreme sacrifice so that we might be able to have every need met. We can come boldly to the throne of grace now and make our petitions known. Father, increase our faith, knowing that the great God of the Bible is the living God today. Through Christ. Amen.
The Song of Moses
Read: Deuteronomy 32–34
Moses is about to die but he has a song in his heart because of his
relationship to God. His song is about God. He speaks of God’s greatness
and of His faithfulness. Over and over again, he calls God the “Rock.”
The New Testament tells us that Christ is the Rock, the foundation upon
which we are firmly established.
When we think of God, we also think of His work. Moses thinks of how
God had graciously made Israel His people. But Moses also describes how
Israel had failed to respond in love and obedience. This is the story of
the entire Bible: God’s grace and man’s response. Let us be sure that we
respond in faith, living a life which pleases God.
Moses also pronounces his blessing on each tribe, even as Jacob had
done before he died (Deut. 33). As we grow older, let us not think only
of ourselves. As aches and pains increase, it is easy to grow more and
more self-centered. Let us be concerned with the future of God’s people.
Let us pray for revival in the church. Let us pray more and more for the
spiritual welfare of our children and grandchildren.
The book concludes with Moses standing on Mount Pisgah, seeing the
land which his people will possess, with the reins of his leadership
turned over to Joshua.
Father, raise up deeply godly men and women to be spiritual leaders in the next generation.
JESUS CAN MAKE YOUR
CROOKED PLACES STRAIGHT!
“Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and
hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made
straight and level, and the rough places a plain”
Have you been struggling in an area of your life for quite some time?
God has promised that He will go before you and prepare a path for you;
He’ll make your crooked places straight. He wants to smooth things out
for you. I believe that as you continue to commit your ways to Him, He
will bring you into a season where things are going to start falling
into place. You’re going to get breaks that you didn’t deserve. The
promises that you’ve been standing on, you’re going to see them begin to
come to pass. It’s time for you to get ready and get your fire back.
Start expecting that you are coming in to a new season. Maybe it’s in your finances. Maybe you’ve struggled for a long time. Begin to declare that you’re going to see supernatural increase, supernatural opportunities, supernatural promotion. Remember that the economy is not your source—God is. He’s the One who opens doors that no person can shut. Keep standing, keep believing because God is going to make your crooked places straight and lead you down the path of blessing and victory in every area of your life!.
GRACE MORE AMAZING
For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, Who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. ~ Romans 7:22-25
Some believers wish that Paul had never penned this passage, and I have heard it rationalized away in the saddest of desperate arguments. He speaks in present-tense verbs throughout this passage. Even as a redeemed one, he is not yet glorified. The fact is that the world is infected with sin, including sin in Christians. To think that the sin nature is dissolved at salvation or that sin is completely defeated in salvation, at some point, is merely a sophisticated self-righteousness or unrecognized blindness. No less than the great Bible expositors as Matthew Henry and John Wesley have written insightfully about this profound struggle that Paul describes in this passage.
I may think that God has much work to do in the lives of sinful people and lukewarm Christians, but He doesn’t have to worry very much about me because I am an advanced believer. Once again, this is deception. When we honestly consider our attitudes, thoughts, self-pardonable judging, slothfulness, prayerlessness, subtly critical words, etc., we realize that we are not the paragon of virtue that we may deem ourselves.
Paul had the brave audacity to objectively look at himself with spiritually piercing eyes. Our text is the culmination of his confession. Do you want to stay humble? Remember the dichotomy of the struggle. You are a new creature in Christ, but you must take up your cross DAILY and follow Him. You live in forgiveness, in spite of all of the unconfessed tiny sins which you didn’t realize at the time were sins, which you stubbornly refuse to admit are sins, or which you merely neglect to confess. From Heaven’s point of view, you are royal, priestly, holy, and chosen because of Jesus in you; but in practice you are imperfect, even while being changed to be more like Him. If grace skipped a beat, you could become horrifyingly sinful.
All of this makes me worship Jesus more! His grace is more amazing than the song we sing. The goal: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).
Curses and Blessings
(a message from Words of Hope posted 3/4/16)
These scriptures are among some of the best. I love to read them. It is good to know what is a blessing and what is a curse. Let us read them together. We can learn a lot, especially I like chapter 28. - Read: Deuteronomy 27–28
If you stand at Jacob’s tomb in Samaria you can see before you Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Moses commanded the Israelites, when they entered the Promised Land, to go to this place and have a ceremony solemnly reminding them of the tragic results of disobedience and the wonderful blessings flowing from obedience.
This passage is first of all addressed to Israel as a nation. She had been graciously chosen by God, but her continuance as the people for special blessings depended on her obedience to him. In fact, she was disobedient, so disobedient that God made a new covenant with his people in Christ.
Israel was to be a people so blessed of God that she would be a testimony to the world. Now the church is in that place of privilege and responsibility. Paul in his letters as well as Jesus in his letters to the churches in Revelation remind us that we too could lose that privileged position if we fail in our responsibilities to God. Are you all wrapped up in your own goals of personal pleasure or is your top priority that you as part of Christ’s church will carry out his mission?
God’s people are called to a life of joyful worship (28:47). When you enter the church sanctuary, can you honestly say that you are there worshiping God with “gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things”?
Please be sure and read these chapters: Deuteronomy 27-28 again and again. God was addressing Israel, but we can apply these same things to our own lives. I don't know about you, but I don't want the curses, I will take the blessings for my life. I love God's people and love to see them worshipping God with gladness and joy. There is pure JOY in worshipping God in truth and in righteousness. Worship Him with me today. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Think of this!
What is the fruit of sin? Step into the briar patch of humanity and
feel a few thistles. Shame. Fear. Disgrace. Discouragement. Anxiety!
Haven’t our hearts been caught in these brambles?
The heart of Jesus, however, had not. He had never been cut by the
thorns of sin. Anxiety? He never worried. Guilt? He was never guilty.
Fear? He never left the presence of God, He never knew the fruits of sin
until He became sin for us.
Can’t you hear the emotion in His prayer? “My God, my God, why have you rejected me?” These are not the words of a saint. This is the cry of a sinner. And these are words we should say… but these are words we don’t have to say because Jesus said them for us.
THE LIGHT OF HIS
Jesus: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot
be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the
house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they
may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” ~ Matthew
One of the surprising effects of the Law was that it actually made some people worse. Rebels at heart have the aim of breaking the law, which give them purpose in their rebellion. Some parents and teachers have discovered that to demand obedience sometimes taps into the rebel inside children. The characteristic of “light” that he Law has is that it reveals the rebel in us, showing us that we can never perfectly keep it.
The Law is good, but it cannot “make” people better; that has to come from inside them. It can be a code of conduct, an aim of behavior—if they are willing. In our text, Jesus says that our daily, luminous lives as believers will inspire others to look Heavenward, to glorify God as the only explanation.
The great George McDonald said, in commenting as narrator regarding one of his marvelous fictional characters, “Had he had more of the wisdom of the serpent, he would not have carried them the New Testament as an ending of strife, the words of the Lord as an enlightening law; he would perhaps have known that the only way to make them good is to be good—remembering well the beam and the mote; that the time for speaking comes rarely, the time for being never departs.”
THERE IS POWER IN THE
“Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against
You.” (Psalm 119:11, AMP)
The Word of God has the power to protect you and keep you from
committing sin. Scripture tells us that it is living and active. The
Word is powerful in our lives. There is the written Word of God, the
Bible, and there is the spoken Word of God which can come in many other
ways. The Bible tells us that God’s Word came through a burning bush, a
still small voice, and even a donkey. He may speak to your heart through
a friend or through a worship song. He may speak through creation. When
He does speak, your spirit knows it. There is confirmation in your inner
man. God’s Word is always truth, and truth always sets you free. When
you hold God’s Word close to your heart, it is a shield of protection.
Today, meditate on His Word. Focus on it, think about it, say it out loud. When you focus on God’s Word, you will move forward in God’s plan. You will be strengthened to live as an over comer in every area of your life. You are blessed.
Justice and Gratitude
Read: Deuteronomy 25–26
Deuteronomy 25 deals with the subject of justice. A society must have
a judicial system that determines guilt and innocence, but the
punishment must not be so severe as to degrade the guilty. One of the
high priorities in our society is to call for judicial reform.
Christians should unite with others to demand a better system of
Justice includes economic justice (vv. 13-16.). In many ancient
societies, a balance was used for measuring goods to be sold. Secretly
using two sets of weights, one when you buy, another when you sell, was
a way of cheating people. Christians need to realize that we are called
to absolute honesty in all of our business dealings.
Deuteronomy 26 deals with gratitude. When bringing offerings to the
Lord, we must remind ourselves who we are—people who have been rescued
by God, purely because of his grace. If we are those who live in a land
that produces riches, this is simply because God has caused it to be so.
Therefore we are to bring the first fruits of our labors to God as an
expression of our realization that we have what we have because God has
given it to us.
Here we are shown the spirit with which we are to worship. A danger
is that we go to church with a heart filled with anxious concerns for
the week ahead instead of with gratitude.
Giving unto the work of God is commanded, but also should be a joy. I
love giving unto the Lord. I know he will always supply every need I
have. If you have not learned yet to pay tithe which is commanded & then
give above & beyond, God will bless you even more when you sacrifice
more than just the tithe. The tithe already belong to him.
Father, help us to be utterly honest all week and to worship you with a heart filled with gratitude each Sunday. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
PEACE AND SWORD
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” ~ Matthew 10:34
Yes, in His first advent, Jesus came to bring peace to individuals but not to the world. (That will come later.) The Gospel was borne in the conflict, scourging, and suffering of the Cross; and we see that reflected in the sinful world’s reaction to the Gospel from then to now. Those living in their beloved darkness all their lives hate and react violently to the invasion of harsh light: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” (Jesus, in John 3:19-20).
The term “sword” in our text can be taken two ways, for it symbolizes
not only the strife of war but also the believer’s weapon: “For the word
of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it
penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it
judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12) and “the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) can bring individuals His peace (John 14:27), but that will come only in the aftermath of the battle for their souls. When you let Jesus win that battle, He Himself will be your peace (Ephesians 2:14).
To have the depth of REVIVAL globally.....we must everyday...
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the
deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”—Luke 5:4
So with us; our needs are to be met in the deep things of God. We are
to launch out into the deep of God’s Word, which the Spirit can open up
to us in such crystal fathomless meaning that the same words we have
accepted in times past will have an ocean meaning in them, which renders
their first meaning to us very shallow.
Into the deep of the Atonement, until Christ’s precious blood is so
illuminated by the Spirit that it becomes an omnipotent balm, and food
and medicine for the soul and body.
Into the deep of the Father’s will, until we apprehend it in its
infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and
care for us.
Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright,
dazzling, sweet, fathomless summer sea, in which we bathe and bask and
breathe, and lose ourselves and our sorrows in the calmness and peace of
His everlasting presence.
Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright,
marvelous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the
most thoughtful anticipation of our needs, the most accurate and
supernatural shaping of our events.
Into the deep of God’s purposes and coming kingdom, until the Lord’s
coming and His millennial reign are opened up to us; and beyond these
the bright entrancing ages on ages unfold themselves, until the mental
eye is dazed with light, and the heart flutters with inexpressible
anticipations of its joy with Jesus and the glory to be revealed.
Into all these things, Jesus bids us launch. He made us and He made the deep, and to its fathomless depths He has fitted our longings and capabilities.
Caring for Our
Read: Deuteronomy 22–24
The common theme running through the various laws in this section is
that we must be careful to protect the rights of our fellow human
beings, especially those in situations that put them at a disadvantage.
We are to reach out to help people whatever their need (22:1). Even
animal life must be protected. Care must be taken for a mother bird
“that it may go well with you, and that you may live long” (v. 7).
The Old Testament laws can be divided into three types: ceremonial,
which are fulfilled in Christ; civil, which for us today provide
principles as we seek to live with each other; and moral, which are just
as much for us today as when they were first given.
The laws in this section are civil laws, and the law of the parapet
(22:8) shows us one of these principles. In Israel, houses had flat
roofs. If a parapet was not built around such a roof, a neighbor child
might climb up, fall off easily, and be injured. The parapet was to be
added to protect against such accidents. In a culture where flat roofs
are not so common, the literal law is meaningless. But the principle is
abiding. We are to do what we can to keep a fellow human being from
Special concern must be taken in the area of sex. The Bible teaches
that sex is neither cheap nor dirty. It is a precious gift of God which
must be carefully guarded against misuse. It is meant to be fully
expressed only within the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman.
Father, in all our actions help us to be careful to protect the rights of our neighbors. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Entitlement is defined as: “The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” As Christians we should be willing to help others but there are those who choose not to help themselves. They expect and wait for others to do it for them. There is a huge difference between helping someone and carrying their responsibility. They must be willing to bear their own burdens of responsibility or we will end up with a society based entirely on feelings of entitlement with a lack of personal responsibility.
There is the story of a young girl who told her neighbor that someday she was going to be president of the United States. With sincere interest, he asked her what she planned to do as president. She quickly replied: "I would give all the poor people free food and a new house." He explained that she didn't have to be president to help needy people. She could come work in his yard and he would pay her $50.00. She could then take the money she earned and give it to a needy person herself. Her response was: "Why can't the needy person just work in your yard and keep the money they make?"
Welcome to the world of reality.
Galatians 6:5 (NIV); "For each one should carry their own load."
1 Corinthians 3:8 (NIV); "The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor."
1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV); “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
The church needs this
When he saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36. Jesus was Grieved over the Lost! We must have a burden for the lost. Church is not for perfect people who fill the church every week in their Sunday best, Jesus Christ is not for Perfect People! There are lost souls that need to know About Jesus Christ! I pray this morning that the Lord Breaks our hearts for the Lost. I pray that our hearts be so burdened and Broken for those who don't know Jesus Christ, The Prostitutes, The Drug Addicts, The Homeless Peeps, Our Family members, Friends, Our Neighbors, Mere Strangers all around the world. I pray that the lord puts a love in our hearts to RUN AFTER THE LOST , I pray that our hearts be so Burdened in the fact that people are dying every day Without Knowing Jesus Christ , I pray that the Lord Breaks our hearts over what Breaks His in Jesus Mighty Name! Charles Spurgeon Quoted: "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that!".
An oldie but a
Did you hear the one about the complaining monk? There was a man who joined a monastery and took a vow of silence. After the first 10 years his superior called him in and asked, “Do you have anything to say?” The monk replied, “Food bad.”
After another 10 years the monk again had opportunity to voice his thoughts. He said, “Bed hard.”
Another 10 years went by. Again he was called in before his superior. When asked if he had anything to say, he responded, “I quit.”
“I'm not surprised," said his superior. "You’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here.”
Real Estate in Heaven
Knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring
substance. (Hebrews 10:34)
This is well. Our substance here is very unsubstantial; there is no
substance in it. But God has given us a promise of real estate in the
glory land, and that promise comes to our hearts with such full
assurance of its certainty that we know in ourselves that we have an
enduring substance there. Yes, "we have" it even now. They say, "A bird
in the hand is worth two in the bush," but we have our bird in the bush
and in the hand, too. Heaven is even now our own. We have the title deed
of it, we have the earnest of it, we have the first fruits of it. We
have heaven in price, in promise, and in principle; this we know not
only by the hearing of the ear but "in ourselves."
Should not the thought of the better substance on the other side of Jordan reconcile us to present losses? Our spending money we may lose, but our treasure is safe. We have lost the shadows, but the substance remains, for our Savior lives, and the place which He has prepared for us abides. There is a better land, a better substance, a better promise; and all this comes to us by a better covenant; wherefore, let us be in better spirits, and say unto the Lord, "Every day will I bless thee; and praise thy name for ever and ever."
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…. ~ Luke 9:51, NKJV
When Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14), He Himself. was about to demonstrate this principle. The entirety of His ministry had a singular, focused destination—the Cross.
As our text says, He knew exactly where He was going, all the while. He knew what awaited Him in Jerusalem: ultimately, the Cross. Still, “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” While He Himself is for us the “way” (John 14:6) and the “gate” (John 10:7), the Cross was His “way” and “gate” (John 10:3) to redeem us from sin.
Surely, this in yet another way enlightens some of Paul’s writings in which He speaks of the Cross for us a something positive, even though literally it was an instrument of death. Christ, the Great Transformer, turned that symbol of death into a gateway for life, as only our God can. Death of self is transformed into life in Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Do your best!
Galatians 3:27 says: “All of you who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ.” We wear Jesus! And those who don’t
believe in Jesus note what we do! People make decisions about Christ by
watching us. When we are kind, they assume Christ is kind. When we are
gracious, they assume Christ is gracious. No wonder Paul says in
Colossians 4:5, “Be wise in the way you act with people who are not
believers, making the most of every opportunity.”
Our conduct honors Christ. It also honors his children. When you surrender a parking place to someone, you honor him. When you make an effort to greet everyone in the room, especially the ones others have overlooked, you honor God’s children. Do your best! You can’t control the attitudes of others—but you can manage yours!
Grace upon grace
Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir
of strength and protection. Grace comes to us not occasionally or
miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We’ve barely
regained our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes
another. John 1:16 calls it “Grace upon grace.”
We dare to stake our hope on the gladdest news of all! If God permits the challenge, he will provide the grace to meet it. We never exhaust his supply. He never says, “Stop asking so much! My grace reservoir is running dry.” Heaven knows no such words. God has enough grace to solve every dilemma you face, wipe every tear you cry, and answer every question you ask. Would we expect anything less from God? Having given the supreme and costliest gift, Romans 8:32 says, “How can He fail to lavish upon us all He has to give?”
THE ETERNAL PLAN
Isn’t it amazing that many people would rather stake their lives on
the temporary rather than the enduring? Many believers conduct their
lives on the contemporary values of our modern society.
Jeremiah 6:16: “Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the ways, and see, and
ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye
shall find rest for your souls.” What are these old paths we are to seek
after? Doesn’t it seem rather old fashioned to ask after “old” ways?
But what does this word really mean? The word “old” is "olam" in the Hebrew. It means “from time immemorial, without end.” In most places in the Bible this word is translated as “everlasting.” God’s ways for us are everlasting ways. They stand the test of time from the beginning of time to the end. They were refined in the courts of heaven before they were given to us on earth. They are divine, they are eternal, and they work!
"Our Lofty Idealism would argue that all Christians should be perfect, but a blunt realism forces us to admit that perfection is rare even among the saints. The part of wisdom is to accept our Christian brothers and sisters for what they are rather than for what they should be.
We do not wish to excuse the laziness of the saints or to provide
carnality with a place to hide, but it is necessary that we face facts.
And the plain fact is that the average Christian--even true
Christian--is yet a long way from being like Christ in character and
life. There is much that is imperfect about us, and it is fitting that
we recognize it and call upon God for charity to put up with one
another. The perfect church is not on this earth. The most spiritual
church is sure to have in it some who are still bothered by the flesh.
An old Italian proverb says, "He that will have none but a perfect brother must resign himself to remain brotherless." However earnestly we may desire that our Christian brother go on toward perfection, we must accept him as he is and learn to get along with him. To treat an imperfect brother impatiently is to advertise our own imperfections."
You don't need to be a Bible scholar to be familiar with the story of
Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus. Paul was one of the greatest
persecutors of Christians. With the appearance of Jesus, he became one
of the greatest supporters of Christianity and one of the greatest
missionaries ever. The story of Paul's conversion and anointing by the
Holy Spirit is found in the book of Acts, chapter 9.
Before his conversion Paul, as many of us, was under the power of
satan. What made him change so drastically that he was willing to die
for the same cause that he was so adamantly trying to destroy? He saw
the risen Lord. He saw Jesus who was raised from the dead and Paul heard
His voice. What a wonderful tribute to the assurance of the reality of
1 Corinthians 15:8-9 (NIV); "And last of all He (Jesus) appeared to me (Paul) also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."
By Grace Alone
(a message from Word of Hope posted 2/26/16)
Read: Deuteronomy 8–10
The Israelites had spent years in slavery and then 40 more years literally depending on God for their daily bread as they went through the wilderness. Soon, however, they would enter the Promised Land described elsewhere as a land “flowing with milk and honey.” They would suddenly experience prosperity and that would be dangerous to their spiritual life.
It was important therefore that Israel should constantly focus on the fact that they were saved by grace alone, and therefore humility was the only fitting attitude to have in response. So Moses reminds them of their former poverty. He warns them that the new prosperity carries with it the danger that they will forget that God alone is the source of all of their blessings. He points out that they were chosen to be God’s special people not because of their righteousness and power, but in spite of their stubbornness and weakness. Moses reminds them that they would have all been destroyed in the wilderness if it had not been for his intercessory prayers on their behalf.
The same is true of us: we were sinners saved by grace. The bottom line is we have chose God and he accepted us in spite of our sins and failures. And our material prosperity is also a gift far beyond our deserving, though it likewise endangers our spiritual life.
Father, constantly remind us that since we are saved by grace alone, humility is the only fitting attitude for us to have in life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” ~ Luke 5:31-32
I’m just old enough to remember when doctors made house calls.
Amazing as it seems to America’s younger generation, the doctor would
actually come to your sickbed in your home and treat you. Jesus compared
a doctor’s treating a physically ill patient to His treating a sin-sick
patient, which is all of mankind, by the way: “for all have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Just as a patient must accept the diagnosis and treatment from the physician, as well as follow His directions, we must accept the diagnosis that we are sinners, repent, and accept the only cure: Jesus Christ’s full payment for our sin, at the Cross (Romans 6:23). The difference, of course, is that, when it comes to Dr. Jesus’ diagnosis and His offered treatment, we are talking about eternity.
Yes, He still makes house calls. Do you hear Him, knocking on your door? (Revelation 3:20).
Hear So as to Be
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)
Note well that we must hear Jesus speak if we expect Him to hear us
speak. If we have no ear for Christ, He will have no ear for us. In
proportion as we hear we shall be heard.
Moreover, what is heard must remain, must live in us, and must abide
in our character as a force and a power. We must receive the truths
which Jesus taught, the precepts which He issued, and the movements of
His Spirit within us; or we shall have no power at the Mercy Seat.
Suppose our Lord's words to be received and to abide in us, what a boundless field of privilege is opened up to us! We are to have our will in prayer, because we have already surrendered our will to the Lord's command. Thus are Elijahs trained to handle the keys of heaven and lock or loose the clouds. One such man is worth a thousand common Christians. Do we humbly desire to be intercessors for the church and the world, and like Luther to be able to have what we will of the Lord? Then we must bow our ear to the voice of the Well-beloved, treasure up His words, and carefully obey them. He has need to "hearken diligently" who would pray effectually.
Most people embrace the assumption that God saves good people. So be
good. Be moral. Be honest. But for all the talk about being good—what
level of good is good enough? It’s an essential question; at stake is
our eternal destination.
Paul said in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through
faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” We contribute
nothing. Zilch. Salvation of the soul is unearned…it’s a gift. Our merit
means nothing. God’s work merits everything.
Paul’s message in Galatians 3:13 is this, “Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself.” Translation– Say no to the rules and lists. Say no to slavery and performance. He asked, “Do you know what this means?” And I ask, “Do you?” If you don’t, I know the cause of your fatigue. You need to trust God’s grace.
A message from
On February 23 back in 1940, Walt Disney released the animated movie
“Pinocchio.” I remember watching that cartoon when I was a kid. And the
story line had meaning—it showed children that lying had consequences.
Pinocchio’s nose grew every time he told a lie. I wish all of our
presidential candidates were as concerned about integrity as they are
about cutting their opponents to the bone. We need to be looking for and
electing leaders in government, at all levels, who possess integrity and
tell the truth. God’s Word says, “Lying lips are abomination to the
Lord: but they that deal truthfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22).
You may not have seen it in the past, but if you’ll stay in faith, it’s just a matter of time — victory is on the way. Don’t settle where you are. Rise up in strength today and begin to declare, “I will accomplish my dreams. I can overcome any obstacle. I’ve been equipped and empowered to live in victory in every area of my life.” You are blessed.
HE GAVE YOU STRENGTH
I have given you authority...to overcome all the power of the enemy;
nothing will harm you.
(Luke 10:19, NIV)
God has given you all power and authority to overcome every obstacle you may face in life. That means you are well able to do what God has called you to do. You can accomplish your goals. You have the ideas, the creativity and the talent to be successful. You have been armed with strength for every battle. God has already lined up the right people to come across your path; He’s already lined up the right opportunities. You have everything you need to live a victorious life.
Stay Focused on Him
John 15:7 (Ask and it shall be given)
God is showing us here that there is a science in asking of Him and receiving. When I was living my life for myself, I kept running into the same walls of heartbreak and emotional stress. Loving God but never walking with Him. Now that I’ve taken this scripture and have applied it by praying more reading and studying the word, i am seeing the fruits of this precious relationship. I not only pray but I listen for Gods voice in all that I do, living my life or him. Paying attention to signs and directions from him. Denying my own attributes and taking on His. He has blessed me with a husband and new opportunities to witness to people like i am to you. (Not acting out of my own “mood” but listening for the word of God to come and direct me.
BELONG TO GOD, HONOR THE LORD WITH IT!
“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with
your body.”(1 Corinthians 6:20, NIV)
Scripture says that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we
are to honor the Lord with our bodies. How do you do that? You take care
of it. You respect it. You treat it as valuable. You use your body to
bring Him glory. When you stand strong against temptation, you are
honoring the Lord with your body. When you take care of yourself by
eating properly and getting enough sleep, you are honoring the Lord with
your body. You are saying, “Lord, thank You for this gift of life. I am
choosing to take care of myself so that I can serve You with my whole
heart, mind and strength.”
Let this be an encouragement to you to stay on track with good habits. As you honor the Lord with your body, you will be strengthened and empowered by His peace. You’ll be able to stand against temptation and embrace the good things He has in store for you. God bless you.
HE TOO WAS DISTRESSED
In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. ~ Isaiah 63:9
Oh, dearly beloved Christian, never think that your Savior has no deep affinity with your pain, your suffering, your concern, your distress! You are the object of His attention every moment of the day. He, the omnipotent, omnipresence, omniscient Lord, can give you His full attention, while giving every other believer His full attention. It is more than knowledge; it is supernatural compassion. He shares your every distress, your ever hurt, your ever pain.
His presence is everywhere in our text. In two sentences, “He” or “His” is mentioned five times. He is with you right now, both externally and internally, both beside you and in you. His salvation in Jesus Christ is so much more than forgiveness of sins; His salvation is your healing, your solace, your peace, your provision. No money, no success, no self-confidence can come close to this Blood-bought gift: “His presence.”
It was His love and mercy that redeemed you—not any other consideration. Like the best of fathers, He takes you in His arms and carries you, close to His heart, so near that you can hear His whisper, feel His breath. Like a shepherd holding a little lamb, you—yes, you individually—are His precious, prized possession, worth more to Him than worlds and kingdoms.
You may be saying, well I
am not all that good of a person. I fail at the Christian life all the
time. We can all say that with all our earthly struggles and sins, we
commit daily. Welcome to planet earth. The Good New for us is, Jesus has
become our, "I" and it is no longer "I" but Christ living in you/me.
Jesus' sacrifice at the cross is far greater than the whole worlds sins.
Christ became our, "I" and now lives in us as our life. We have a new
reference point, and it is Christ and not our big or little sins. Christ
knew that we would fail repeatedly. That is why He fixed it at the cross
where we couldn't mess it up even if we tried. Christians have a default
setting built into them, and it cannot be altered or changed. He will
never leave you!
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed. ~ Isaiah 49:23
This promise applies to anyone who puts his trust in the LORD. It is a long-term promise, with short-term implications. We who know Christ have occasionally been disappointed in life’s events, haven’t we? However, those instances were not God’s final word. Could we see the Big Picture, as He does, we would see how even those circumstantial disappointments work into the good that He has planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28).
In the ultimate issues of life, we will not be disappointed. For example, we do not know when or (maybe) how we shall die; but, unless we are alive at the miracle of the Translation Trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), we shall die (Hebrews 9:27). His grace is sufficient in getting us believers through that “bump in the road to Eternity” called death, which Christ conquered in His death and resurrection, inspiring Paul to pen, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
The Lord Be with You
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."
One of the amazing things about the community of believers is that
it's designed to embrace all its members, whether sharp or dull,
generous or stingy, likeable or otherwise. It can lead to some annoying
experiences, true, or amusing, like the story below. But we're family!
Did you hear the story about the pastor who always started each
service off with the phrase, "The Lord be with you." The people, well
trained over many years, would then respond, "And also with you.”
However, one Sunday the sound system wasn’t working very well. The
pastor stepped to the pulpit and mumbled, "There’s something wrong with
The people responded, "AND ALSO WITH YOU!"
David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:37)
This is not a promise if we consider only the words, but it is truly so as to its sense; for David spoke a word which the Lord endorsed by making it true. He argued from past deliverances that he should receive help in a new danger. In Jesus all the promises are "Yea" and "Amen" to the glory of God by us, and so the Lord's former dealings with His believing people will be repeated.
Come, then, let us recall the Lord's former loving kindness. We could not have hoped to be delivered aforetime by our own strength; yet the Lord delivered us. Will He not again save us? We are sure He will. As David ran to meet his foe, so will we. The Lord has been with us, He is with us, and He has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," Why do we tremble? Was the past a dream? Think of the dead bear and lion. Who is this Philistine? True, he is not quite the same, and is neither bear nor lion; but then God is the same, and His honor is as much concerned in the one case as in the other. He did not save us from the beasts of the forest to let a giant kill us. Let us be of good courage.
Being a Christian
There has been a lot of talk the last couple of days about what it
means to be Christian. Simply put, a Christian is a person who is a
follower of Jesus Christ. I was 22 years old when I asked God to forgive
me of my sins and I put my faith and trust in His Son Jesus Christ. I
invited Jesus into my heart and turned my life over to Him—and I’ve been
following Him ever since.
Being a Christian has nothing to do with being a Presbyterian or a
Baptist or a Catholic—religion can’t save you. You have to confess your
sins, turn from your sins, and believe in Jesus Christ, who took your
sins to the cross, died, was buried, and God raised Him from the grave.
That’s the Good News, that’s the Gospel. The Bible says, “This is love:
not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an
atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
God’s Word promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1
Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Share in the comments below how and when you trusted Him as your Savior.
IF YOU HAVE FAITH, SPEAK TO YOUR MOUNTAINS!
“And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a
firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been
done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up
and cast into the sea, it will be done”
Everyone goes through tough times. During these times, it’s easy to
be tempted to talk about how bad things are. Maybe you are facing a
situation right now that looks impossible. Don’t get discouraged and
give up because God wants to do something awesome in your life. When you
release your faith like that, you’ll see God show up and do amazing
things that you’ve never seen happen before!
Remember, even if you don’t see how things could ever work out, God does. Just do your part and keep speaking to those mountains in your life. Declare favor over those situations and get ready to move forward in the victory and blessing God has prepared for you. You are blessed.
The Gift of Life
Three times a month, Jermaine Washington and Michelle Stevens got together for what they called a “gratitude lunch.” With good reason. At 25, Washington donated a kidney to Stevens, 22, whom he described as “just a friend.” In fact, theirs was Washington Hospital Center's first "friend-to-friend" transplant.
They met at work where they used to have lunch together. One day Michelle wept as she spoke about waiting on a kidney donor list for 11 months. Family members couldn't or wouldn't be donors. She was being sustained by kidney dialysis, but suffered chronic fatigue and blackouts and was plagued by joint pain.
Then Washington made his extraordinary offer.
"I saw my friend dying before my eyes," Washington recalled. "What was I supposed to do? Sit back and watch her die?
One customer at Jake's Barber Shop asked Washington where he had found the courage to give away a kidney.
"I prayed for it," Washington replied. "I asked God for guidance and
that's what I got."
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal
life through Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 6:23
I bet you're grateful for the gifts you're given. I am (or try to be!). If you've accepted the greatest gift of them all, eternal life through Jesus Christ, then there's SO much to be thankful for.
The Lord shall guide thee continually. (Isaiah 58:11)
What aileth thee? Hast thou lost thy way? Art thou entangled in a dark wood and canst thou not find thy paths? Stand still, and see the salvation of God. He knows the way, and He will direct thee in it if thou cry unto Him.
Every day brings its own perplexity. How sweet to feel that the guidance of the Lord is continual! If we choose our own way or consult with flesh and blood we cast ok the Lord's guidance; but if we abstain from self-will, then He will direct every step of our road, every hour of the day, and every day of the year, and every year of our life. If we will but be guided, we shall be guided. If we will commit our way unto the Lord, He will direct our course so that we shall not lose ourselves.
But note to whom this promise is made. Read the previous verse: "If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry." We must feel for others and give them, not a few dry crusts, but such things as we ourselves would wish to receive. If we show a tender care for our fellow-creatures in the hour of their need, then will the Lord attend to our necessities and make Himself our continual Guide. Jesus is the Leader, not of misers, nor of those who oppress the poor, but of the kind and tenderhearted. Such persons are pilgrims who shall never miss their way.
Can you imagine what life would be like if our time was not divided
into weeks and months and years? There would be a dreariness about it.
God knows that human beings need time broken up into segments. So to
Israel he gave a religious calendar which broke life down into
manageable segments. And all these segments were occasions for worship.
God gave Israel commandments to worship each day, each week, each
month, and on special occasions throughout the year. What was meant to
be a blessing, however, became a burden as the Pharisees in Jesus’ day
weighed down these times, especially the Sabbath, with a host of rules
On the one hand, for Christians, every day is the same. Every day we
worship Christ, every day belongs to him. But Jesus himself said, “The
Sabbath was made for man.” One day in seven, celebrated in a special
way, through rest and worship, is of great spiritual and physical
benefit. We hurt ourselves and others if we do not set one day each week
aside to encourage each other in the faith and thus develop and pass on
our spiritual inheritance as we worship God.
It is also helpful to celebrate the church year. Every day we rejoice
that Jesus came in the flesh, that he was crucified for our salvation,
and that he rose from the dead victorious on our behalf.
But celebrating these events with your church family once each year
keeps them in focus.
Father, we recognize Jesus is to be Lord of every day of the week. We praise you for him. In his name. Amen.
The wasted years of life. The poor choices. God answers the mess of life with one word–grace.
We talk as though we understand the term. Preachers explain it. Hymns proclaim it. Seminaries teach it. But do we really understand it? Have you been changed by grace? Strengthened by grace? Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart, and replacing it with his own. Rather than tell you to change, he creates the change. Do you clean up so he can accept you? No, he accepts you and begins cleaning you up.
To be saved by grace is to be saved by him—not by an idea, doctrine, or church membership, but by Jesus himself, who will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives him the nod. God can do something with the mess of your life. Grace is what you need.
Mis-use of the Mouth
There are those in God’s family who find a controversy and stake their claim to it. Every church has at least one stubborn soul who has mastered a minutiae of the message and made a mission out of it.
As long as Christians split hairs, Christians will split churches.
Religious leaders thought they could manipulate Jesus with their
controversies. But they were wrong. He was not trapped by their
trickery, flattered by their flattery, or fooled by their hypotheses.
Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. ~ James 1:23-24
The less we are pleased in what we see in reflection, the more we shall avoid mirrors. This is why many avoid the Bible, which not only shows God for Who He is but also shows us for who we are—amazingly constructed humans who are nonetheless tainted with ugly little and big sins. God has seen to it that preaching has a similar effect, so many will avoid preachers, who also can be simple lay Christians who speak the Word.
What is surprising is that, not long after we “see” ourselves as sinners when Biblical truth is presented and if we continue looking into the “mirror,” a second figure also appears. That would be Jesus, right there with us in the image, the pure and sinless one who paid for our ugly sin and offers the Great Exchange: our sin for His righteousness and, therefore, eternal life with holy God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When one has the Great Make-over (or should I say “Make-under”?),
becoming a new, beautiful creature, or creation, in Christ (2
Corinthians 5:17), that person does not avoid the mirror as much. Then,
Jesus not only is still in the “picture” but also seems to have become
enmeshed in the very image of the Christian, as “we all, who with
unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into
His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is
the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The Face in the Mirror
I looked in the mirror
I said, “Oh Lord ,
You never sinned
Then within a moment
If you can say yes
E. P. Shagott
Sharing the gospel
His kingdom is so simple–one person telling another about the Savior. Yet we’re busy and full of excuses. Just remember, someone’s eternal destiny is at stake. The joy you’ll have when you meet that person in heaven will far exceed any discomfort you felt in sharing the gospel.
OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS
"Philippians 4:8.Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think
on these things."
This message aims to help us change our attitude, our association,
our words and how we deal with other people in our life. Consider God in
every attitude we make. Consider others in every word we say.
What is attitude? Attitude is the EYE of your soul. Your attitude determines how you view life. If your attitude is negative, you will see life negative. If your attitude is positive, you will see life positively. If you have a thankful attitude, you will see things you encounter as gifts to be thankful for. “I may not be able to change the world I see around me but I can. change the way I see the world within me” God sees the heart of every one. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. God chooses what we go through. We choose how we go through it. Your attitude can determine your altitude, Amen.
HE WILL DO IT AGAIN!
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will
rise...”(Micah 7:8, NIV)
Anytime you set out to do something great in life, there will be
critics. If you’re going to be a great businessperson, coach, student,
leader or employee, there will be opposition. The more success you have,
the more opportunities there will be for distractions. The higher you
go, the more haters will come out. When you start stretching to a new
level and pursuing what God has placed in your heart, the jealous
people, the critical people, and the small-minded people come out of the
woodwork and start making negative comments, but you don’t have to let
that distract you.
If you are under pressure today, if the critical voices are coming
against you, know that it’s because you are making a difference. Don’t
let them throw you off course. Instead, dig your heels in, set your face
like a flint, and say, “I will not get distracted. I will not get drawn
into battles that don’t matter. It doesn’t matter what others think; it
matters what God thinks.”
Today, look beyond the critics. Stand strong in adversity. Press forward to what lies ahead and win the prize of life that He has prepared for you, Amen.
MARVEL AND WONDERMENT
And (Jesus) said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” ~ Matthew 18:3
Like you, I walked the passage from babyhood to childhood to adolescence to young adult to adulthood. It is the inevitable journey, if you live that long. However, one of the greater tragedies is that we (sometimes purposely, sometimes inadvertently) lose our childlike natures.
A child marvels first, then may seek to understand. If he can’t understand, he will immediately return to marveling (thus, Proverbs 3:5). He is a friend to all—nature, people, dogs, cats, shiny objects, toys, butterflies, bugs. He trusts, first and foremost. He worries little about food and clothes because he learns early that his parents will provide. (Jesus used this very analogy as a cure for worry: Luke 12:22-32.) I often smile at how a child will so easily and wholeheartedly “believe” and “love.”
Paul put childish things behind him, but not childlikeness, which is vital to faith. One reason that our faith may struggle is that we are less childlike as we ought to be. We get too sophisticated and may pack our brains with much knowledge. I challenge you to observe little children and explore this treasured lesson. After all, you are forever His child and never graduate kindergarten in the School of Christ anyway, compared to His omniscience. Not only will we never “enter” the kingdom of Heaven without childlike faith, but also we will never be maximally teachable unless we keep (or recover) that childlike marvel and wonderment.
Getting Plugged in to
In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan.
He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he could either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.
Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood.
Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted,
“Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.” He
gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to
Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life.
J. B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians l:19-20, “How tremendous is the
power available to us who believe in God.” When we make firm
ourconnection with God, his life and power flow through us.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so
you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:34-35
Are you plugged in to God? That’s the only way we can consistently love people -- by being connected to the source of love! Do it today!
Losing Your Temper
Read: Numbers 19–21
What a great man Moses was! How much he had to put up with in leading
Israel through the wilderness. How often he interceded for the people
when God was ready to destroy them. Once he lost his temper, with tragic
results. The people needed water and God told Moses to speak to the
rock. Instead, in anger, he struck it with his rod. The result was that
in losing his temper, he lost the opportunity of entering the Promised
That doesn’t seem fair, does it? But the fact is that a person may
live as he should, yet one burst of temper can have irreparable results.
What permanent damage can be done if we lose our temper just once with a
spouse or a child or an employee. Let us ask for God’s grace always to
be in control of ourselves. Self-control is one of the fruits of the
After his mistake, it was necessary for Moses to go on dealing with
the problems of life. The damage was done, but he still had
responsibilities. When we fail, we ask for God’s forgiveness and go on.
Moses had to lead the people as they fought the enemies around them.
He had to deal with the fiery serpents and make a bronze
Father, fill us with the fruit of the Spirit, self-control, and where we fail, forgive us and help us to continue serving you. For Christ's sake. Amen.
You Deal with God
I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to
destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man. (Hosea 11:9)
The Lord thus makes known His sparing mercies. It may be that the
reader is now under heavy displeasure, and everything threatens his
speedy doom. Let the text hold him up from despair. The Lord now invites
you to consider your ways and confess your sins. If He had been man, He
would long ago have cut you off. If He were now to act after the manner
of men, it would be a word and a blow and then there would be an end of
you: but it is not so, for "as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are his ways above your ways."
You rightly judge that He is angry, but He keepeth not His anger forever: if you turn from sin to Jesus, God will turn from wrath. Because God is God, and not man, there is still forgiveness for you, even though you may be steeped up to your throat in iniquity. You have a God to deal with and not a hard man, or even a merely just man. No human being could have patience with you. You would have wearied out an angel, as you have wearied your sorrowing father; but God is long-suffering. Come and try Him at once. Confess, believe, and turn from your evil way, and you shall be saved.
You are God's
If you pass your days mumbling, “I’ll never make a difference; I’m not worth anything,” guess what? You’ll be sentencing yourself to a life of gloom without parole! When you do that, you’re questioning God’s judgment, second-guessing his taste.
Psalm 139:14 says you were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He can’t stop thinking about you. Psalm 139:18 confirms it. If he could count his thoughts of you, “they would be more in number than the sand.”
Why does he love you so much? The same reason the artist loves his paintings or the boat builder loves his vessels. You are God’s idea. And he has only good ideas. Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” You matter to God!
A good message
My wife has a heart for single moms. She loves to include them at the
table when we go to a restaurant. Through the years I’ve noticed a
common appreciation from them. They love it when I pull out their chair.
More than once they’ve specifically thanked me. One mom in particular
comes to mind. “My,” she said, brushing the sudden moisture from her
eye, “it’s been a while since anyone did that.”
Has it been a while for you as well? People can be so rude. We snatch parking places. We forget names. Could you use some courtesy? Has it been a while since someone pulled out your chair? Then let Jesus! Don’t hurry through this thought. Receive the courtesy of Christ. He’s your groom. Let Christ do what he longs to do. For as you receive his love, you’ll find it easier to give yours away!
A message from
I’ve had the privilege of meeting every U.S. president since Lyndon B. Johnson. I remember I was in high school at Stony Brook School for boys in New York when my father asked me to join him for the weekend at the White House with President Johnson. I was scared to death! We went on Saturday and arrived in time for dinner—my father instructed me to eat everything on my plate! Even though I was scared, it was fascinating.
Throughout history, many of our presidents have expressed faith in God. Some have had a deep faith, and our country was blessed because of them. As we come to choosing who our next president will be, it is more important than ever that we choose a leader who doesn’t just say they believe in God, but someone who follows Him. We need a president who looks to God for wisdom and direction and lives his life in holy fear of the Almighty. Let’s make that our prayer this Presidents Day.
Billy Graham's Valentine
It was good to visit my father Billy Graham yesterday at his home in Montreat, NC. One thing’s for sure, at 97 years old and almost 9 years after her death, my father still misses my mother—his Valentine—more than words can say. They were married for nearly 64 years!
The good news is, he confidently looks forward to seeing my mother again in Heaven someday soon. That confidence of eternity in Heaven is something we all can have if we have surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ and received Him by faith as our Savior and Lord.
The Word of God tells us, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from
it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our
lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him
even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).
With any luck they will be out of the hospital shortly!
Todd's wife bought a new line of expensive cosmetics guaranteed to make her look years younger.
After a lengthy sitting before the mirror applying the "miracle" products, she asked, "Darling, honestly, what age would you say I am?"
Looking over her carefully, Todd replied, "Judging from your skin, twenty; your hair, eighteen; and your figure, twenty five."
"Oh, you flatterer!" she gushed.
"Hey, wait a minute!" Todd interrupted.
"I haven't added them up yet."
Bought my wife a new matching belt and bag for
We'll have that vacuum cleaner working in no time.
The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there He revealed himself to Samuel through His Word. ~ 1 Samuel 3:21
And He continues to do that. Your hearing His Word leads to saving faith and growing faith: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). After all, Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1-17, Revelation 19:13).
Do you want to go the same Shiloh where God revealed Himself to Samuel? You can...anytime you want. Go to His Word.
God Delights to Give
And the Lord said unto Abraham, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. (Genesis 13:14-15)
A special blessing for a memorable occasion. Abram had settled a family dispute. He had said, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between thee and me, for we be brethren"; and hence he received the blessing which belongs to peacemakers. The Lord and giver of peace delights to manifest His grace to those who seek peace and pursue it. If we desire closer communion with God, we must keep closer to the ways of peace.
Abram had behaved very generously to his kinsman, giving him his choice of the land. If we deny ourselves for peace's sake, the Lord will more than make it up to us. As far as the patriarch can see, he can claim, and we may do the like by faith. Abram had to wait for the actual possession, but the Lord entailed the land upon him and his posterity. Boundless blessings belong to us by covenant gift. All things are ours. When we please the Lord, He makes us to look everywhere and see all things our own, whether things present or things to come, all are ours, and we are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
Taking His Punishment
I read about a small boy who was consistently late coming home from
school. His parents warned him one day that he must be home on time that
afternoon or not expect his dinner. Nevertheless he arrived later than
His mother met him at the door and said nothing. At dinner that
night, the boy looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a
glass of water. He looked at his father's full plate and then at his
father, but his father remained silent. The boy was crushed.
The father waited for the full impact to sink in, then quietly took
the boy's plate and placed it in front of himself. He took his own plate
of meat and potatoes, put it in front of the boy, and smiled at his son.
When that boy grew to be a man, he said, "All my life I've known what
God is like by what my father did that night."
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it
is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." ~ 1 Corinthians
It's the little things, isn't it? Subtle acts of love communicate and change us. Today, find one small way to express to someone that you love them!
God's house is a
place for prayer and worship!
When religion is used for profit and prestige, people are exploited and God is infuriated! When Jesus entered Jerusalem the first day of Passover week, Matthew 21:12-13 says, “He went into the temple and threw out all the people who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of those who were exchanging different kinds of money, and he upset the benches of those who were selling doves. Jesus said to all the people there, ‘It is written in the Scriptures, My temple will be called a house for prayer. But you are changing it into a hideout for robbers!’”
Hucksters. Faith peddlers. People making a franchise out of the faith. This was not a temper tantrum. It was an intentional message from Jesus. Cash in on my people and you’ve got me to answer to. God will never hold guiltless those who exploit the privilege of worship.
God the Restorer
Once, an angry man rushed through the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt’s famous painting “Nightwatch.” Then he took out a knife and slashed it repeatedly before he could be stopped. A short time later, a distraught, hostile man slipped into St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome with a hammer and began to smash Michelangelo’s beautiful sculpture, "The Pieta."
Two cherished works of art were severely damaged. What did officials do? Throw them out and forget about them? Absolutely not! Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore the treasures.
By His sovereign grace, God can bring good out of our failures, and even out of our sins. J. Stuart Holden tells of an old Scottish mansion close to where he had his little summer home.
The walls of one room were filled with sketches made by distinguished artists. The practice began after a pitcher of soda water was accidentally spilled on a freshly decorated wall and left an unsightly stain. At the time, a noted artist, Lord Landseer, was a guest in the house. One day when the family went out to the moors, he stayed behind. With a few masterful strokes of a piece of charcoal, that ugly spot became the outline of a beautiful waterfall, bordered by trees and wildlife. He turned that disfigured wall into one of his most successful depictions of highland life.
Let God turn some ugly spot in your life into a beautiful thing.
"Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap
destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will
reap eternal life." ~ Galatians 6:8
Living life in a way that pleases God will bring not only fellowship with Him, but also the wonderful fruit of eternal life. May you choose life today!
I gave my donkey, did
I don’t know his name or what he looks like. I only know what he gave. He gave a donkey for Jesus to use on the Sunday he entered Jerusalem. An interesting bit of history is found in Matthew 21:3. It is the story of the man who gave the donkey to Jesus. The scripture says, “If anyone asks you why you are taking the donkeys, say that the Master needs them, and he will send them at once.”
Did the man have any idea his generosity would be used for such a noble purpose? Did it occur to him God was going to ride that donkey?
All of us have a donkey. Something that, if given to God, could move Jesus and His story further down the road. Maybe you sing or program a computer or speak Swahili or write a check. Whichever it may be…that’s your donkey. Do you give it?
The guy who gave Jesus the donkey is just one in a long line of folks who gave little things to a big God.
Our obsession with stuff carries a hefty price tag. We spend 110 percent of our disposable income trying to manage debt. Who can keep up? No one can!
Jesus warns in Luke 12:15, “Be on your guard against every form of greed.” Greed comes in many forms. Greed for approval. Greed for applause. Greed for status. Greed has many faces but speaks one language: the language of more. Wise was the one who wrote, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.”
The only way to feel full is to feel fulfilled. The only way to feel fulfilled is to understand that everything we have comes from God—and he gives us exactly what we need. All of it is on loan! And, someday we’ll have to give it all back, checking it at heaven’s door!
Your light shouldn't have to dim to make someone else's light brighter! The one the Lord has for you will CELEBRATE you , ENCOURAGE and SUPPORT you to be all that you can be in Christ, not take away from that! YOU ARE A COMPLETELY AWESOME CHILD OF GOD! Never ever settle for less then Gods Best for your life!
THE AVOIDABLE FAST
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the
devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The
tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these
stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, "It is written: ‘Man does not
live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of
God.’” ~ Matthew 4:1-4
For various reasons, I have kept for decades selected cards, letters, e-mails, and notes that have, in some way or another, touched me powerfully, either circumstantially or generally. Because of a rare melancholy or a particular period of discouragement, I may go to that cache of correspondence for a reminder of my purpose in life.
This is a faint shadow of how I look at Holy Scripture. I find that I must go to the Bible regularly, whatever my state of mind. If I begin to neglect my heartfelt oft-embracing of His Spirit-empowered word, a definite nagging of my soul drags me into discontentment. The Bible is as much nourishment to my life as food, even more vital to my life’s energy than vitamins.
As our text says, Jesus shows us this principle. Satan smiles when we relegate our reading and meditating on Scripture to an occasional meager duty or an option for our boredom, for he knows that we are then more vulnerable to all sorts of dangerous temptations. Yes, you should fast, from time to time; but never fast from God’s word.
We Belong to God
One purpose of Genesis is to show us how God’s people arrived in
Egypt. Exodus tells us the story of God’s people journeying from Egypt
to Mount Sinai. Leviticus takes place at Mount Sinai, and Numbers tells
the story from Mount Sinai to the borders of the Promised Land.
The book is called “Numbers” because it begins with God commanding a
census to be taken. The census was of men of fighting age, and they
numbered 603,550. When one adds men too old or too young to fight,
women, girls and the Levites, the total number of people must have been
over two million. It was surely difficult to control such a large group
in the middle of the desert. Therefore there had to be organization,
just as any such group today would need.
The Levites were a special tribe, assigned to the care of the
tabernacle. The place of worshiping God was so important that it was
given this kind of attention and personnel. The idea that the firstborn
of each family belonged to God in a special way was a reminder that all
belongs to God. All of God’s people were to worship, but it was
impractical that all should spend their full time at it. So payment was
made that the Levites might take their place.
The lesson for us is that we all belong to God and should spend time
worshiping him and serving him. We too have been redeemed, but at a far
greater price—the blood of Christ.
Father, help us dedicate ourselves to you. Through Christ. Amen.
Jesus: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ~ John
From the 1800s comes a story of an American runaway slave. Exhausted from the chase, he collapsed into deep sleep, lying in a brush on a tiny jut of land at a river. During the night came a storm, and he covered himself with a blanket from his knapsack and easily slept deeply again. The outlet of ground where he slept eventually broke loose and drifted downstream and across the river, gently coming to rest, entangled in some riverside roots. Unaware of the night’s events, he awoke, stepped onto shore and traveled on. Little did he know that, in his nocturnal shift, he had gone from a U.S. state where slavery was promoted to a state where slavery was outlawed. He had gone to sleep a slave and awakened a free man, though he didn’t at first realize it.
This is a fairly good analogy of the man who goes from slave-to-sin to freeman-in-Christ. The slave in our story would soon discover his new freedom and would have to learn what it meant to be free. He himself did nothing to effect that freedom, but he had to adjust his whole way of life in this “new world.”
Surely, once he had tasted freedom, he would not go back across the river to slavery. Paul told the Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
If You Walk with God
(a message from Words of Hope posted 2/9/16)
This passage reflects a principle stated throughout Scripture, that God will respond to us depending on how we have responded to him. The word if is prominent. If we obey God, he will bless us. If we do not listen to him, he will chastise us.
There is a danger that we take such passages and allow them to lead us to a work-righteousness religion. The New Testament reminds us that our best efforts fall so far short that we must trust in God’s mercy and grace alone, a grace revealed clearly to us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it is true that obedience will bring blessings, although not always of a material nature, and that disobedience will lead to God’s disciplinary action against us.
This disciplinary action is spelled out in detail here. To disobey is to walk contrary to God. This will lead to trouble. The purpose of this trouble is to lead to repentance. If this does not happen, yet greater trouble will come. The final trouble would be exile, something which actually took place in the history of Israel. If this would finally lead to confession of sin, God would receive them again in mercy.
These biblical principles are still at work today in God’s dealings with us. The last chapter talks about voluntary dedication of oneself and one’s possessions to God, a practice reported among God’s people in the early chapters of the book of Acts.
Father, give us grace to be obedient that we may experience your blessings. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
You can have a heart that is as big as
the world, but it's meaningless when it's made of stone!
And look what our wonderful God has always desired to do:
When I see the blood, I will pass over you. (Exodus 12:13)
My own sight of the precious blood is for my comfort; but it is the Lord's sight of it which secures my safety. Even when I am unable to behold it, the Lord looks at it and passes over me because of it. If I am not so much at ease as I ought to be, because my faith is dim, yet I am equally safe because the Lord's eye is not dim, and He sees the blood of the great Sacrifice with steady gaze. What a joy is this!
The Lord sees the deep inner meaning, the infinite fullness of all that is meant by the death of His dear Son. He sees it with restful memory of justice satisfied and all His matchless attributes glorified. He beheld creation in its progress and said, "It is very good"; but what does He say of redemption in its completeness? What does He say of the obedience even unto death of His well-beloved Son? None can tell His delight in Jesus, His rest in the sweet savor which Jesus presented when He offered Himself without spot unto God.
Now rest we in calm security. We have God's sacrifice and God's Word to create in us a sense of perfect security. He will, He must, pass over us, because He spared not our glorious Substitute. Justice joins hands with love to provide everlasting salvation for all the blood-besprinkled.
In many homes, discouragement is the language everyone speaks. The home is a war zone and the warriors have names like Stupid, Dummy, or Little Pain in the Neck. They live with scars and treat their open wounds.
In other homes, families follow the spirit of the western tune, “Home on the Range.” There, a discouraging word is seldom heard. People hide their hurts with smiles on their faces. Maybe the reason discouragement is seldom heard is because words are seldom heard. The silence is deadly.
Other homes flourish with encouragement. Everyone believes in one another, supports one another, and pats one another on the back. There are notes in the lunch boxes and love letters under the pillow. Hearts are expressed and prayers are offered.
Which home would you rather live in? Ephesians 4:29 says, “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger.”
THE BIG PICTURE
He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” ~ Mark 16:15
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20
These two commands may seem different, but they are two streams in the same river. The first speaks of evangelism; the second speaks of discipleship. In our linear thinking, we may believe that one is more important than the other, but from God’s omniscient and omnipresent viewpoint, they are equally important and also synergic.
God’s calling to ministry is unique to each individual; and together with His callings upon other people, He makes the mosaic of His will. For example, He may call one man to minister in one place for 40 years; He may call another man to go to 40 places during all of his years. Neither is superior; both are needed.
It is enough to do what God commands us, regardless of what others judge. It is vastly better to have the smile of God than to have the smiles of the masses, even of God’s people, who often judge from appearances—something that Jesus warned against: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” (John 7:24).
When you think of worship, what do you think of? Outdated songs
poorly sung? Dramatic prayers egotistically offered? Irrelevant sermons
carelessly delivered? What is worship? The essence of worship is simply
this: giving God the honor he deserves; applauding the greatness of God!
The definition in the book of Psalms 29:1-2 is this:
As Paul said in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do, whether in word or
deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the
Father through him.”
Worship–it’s a lifestyle. It’s an Action. It’s an attitude. It’s
Worship–it’s a lifestyle. It’s an Action. It’s an attitude. It’s everything!
This “Word of Faith” mess, that blessings are somehow related to the words and actions of the believer and not to the grace of God alone; is dangerous in that it becomes a faith of works to somehow “get something from God”. I submit that, for the less mature Christian, this is a dangerous doctrine--capable of heaping condemnation on the heads of those struggling in various areas of their lives. “I must not be spiritual enough,” they say to themselves. “I must have some sin in my life that is hindering God’s flow of blessings upon me.” How sad that so many of us are blinded to the realities of the Christian life by, most of the time, well-meaning men in the pulpit who themselves have been taken in by “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. God does promise that He knows the plans He has for us...to prosper us, not to harm us, and that He has a plan to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). But.. exactly where does it say that Christians are supposed to have economic security and that HIS prosperity should be equated with financial success?"
He Will Return
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18)
He left us, and yet we are not left orphans. He is our comfort, and He is gone; but we are not comfortless. Our comfort is that He will come to us, and this is consolation enough to sustain us through His prolonged absence. Jesus is already on His way: He says, "I come quickly": He rides posthaste toward us. He says, "I will come": and none can prevent His coming, or put it back for a quarter of an hour. He specially says, "I will come to you"; and so He will. His coming is specially to and for His own people. This is meant to be their present comfort while they mourn that the Bridegroom doth not yet appear.
When we lose the joyful sense of His presence we mourn, but we may not sorrow as if there were no hope. Our Lord in a little wrath has hid Himself from us for a moment, but He will return in full favor. He leaves us in a sense, but only in a sense. When He withdraws, He leaves a pledge behind that He will return. O Lord, come quickly! There is no life in this earthly existence if Thou be gone. We sigh for the return of Thy sweet smile. When wilt Thou come unto us? We are sure Thou wilt appear; but be Thou like a roe, or a young hart. Make no tarrying, O our God!
Receive God's Love
(a message from Max Lucado posted 2/3/16)
Need more patience? Is generosity an elusive virtue? Having trouble
putting up with ungrateful relatives or cranky neighbors? God puts up
with you when you act the same.
Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to
them without expecting to get anything back.” Can’t we love like this?
Not without God’s help we can’t. Our relationships need more than a
social gesture. Some of our friends need a flood of tears. Our children
need to be covered in the oil of our love.
But if we haven’t received these things ourselves, how can we give them to others? Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that apart from God, “the heart is deceitful about all things.” We need help from an outside source. A transfusion. Would we love as God loves? Then we start by receiving God’s love!
He Freely Gives
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
If this is not a promise in form, it is in fact. Indeed, it is more
than one promise, it is a conglomerate of promises. It is a mass of
rubies, and emeralds, and diamonds, with a nugget of gold for their
setting. It is a question which can never be answered so as to cause us
any anxiety of heart. What can the Lord deny us after giving us Jesus?
If we need all things in heaven and earth, He will grant them to us: for
if there had been a limit anywhere, He would have kept back His own Son.
What do I want today? I have only to ask for it. I may seek earnestly, but not as if I had to use pressure and extort an unwilling gift from the Lord's hand; for He will give freely. Of His own He gave us His own Son. Certainly no one would have proposed such a gift to Him. No one would have ventured to ask for it. It would have been too presumptuous. He freely gave His Only-begotten, and, O my soul, canst thou not trust thy heavenly Father to give thee anything, to give thee everything? Thy poor prayer would have no force with Omnipotence if force were needed; but His love, like a spring, rises of itself and overflows for the supply of all thy needs.
Hypocrisy turns people against God, so he has a no-tolerance policy.
Let’s take hypocrisy as seriously as God does. For starters, expect no
credit for good deeds. None! If no one notices, you aren’t disappointed.
If someone does, you give the credit to God. If no one knew of the good
you do, would you still do it? If not, you’re doing it to be seen by
Give financial gifts in secret. We like to be seen earning money. And
we like to be seen giving it. Matthew 6:3 says, “So when you give to
someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is
Don’t fake spirituality. Nothing nauseates more than a fake, “Praise
the Lord,” or a shallow “Hallelujah” or an insincere “Glory be to God.”
Bottom line: Don’t make a theater production out of your faith!
THE POWER AND
IMPORTANCE OF UNITY
If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. ~ Genesis 11:6
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. ~ John 17:20-21
The old saying "Together we stand, and divided we fall" owes its long life to a kernel of truth. It has both a secular and spiritual truth It is even true of the individual, for a human has complex psychological dimensions (thus the many commands that we should do such-and-such with "all" our hearts and that we should not be "doubled-minded").
Unification in purpose is powerful. Our Genesis quote is God's speaking of the earliest Babylonians building their tower. Our John quote is Jesus' praying for His followers. I doubt that the Babylonians let minor disagreements thwart their purpose, or God would not have said what He said. I cannot imagine their building being slowed by disagreements on the doctrine of tools or what they should call their activities in the tower or what color the tower ornaments would be or whether or not different teams of builders should call themselves different names.
Do not miss the most startling aspect of Jesus' statement in our text. Christians' unity (not uniformity, but unity of purpose and spirit) is one of the more powerful witnesses that Jesus is the Savior sent from God. If follows, then, that disunity is a great hindrance in Gospel work.
Remember the church at Corinth? A problem on every pew? Territorially selfish. Morally shameless. Theologically reckless. How do you help a congregation like that? You can correct them. Paul did. You can instruct them, which Paul did. You can reason with them; Paul did. But at some point you stop talking to the head and start appealing to the heart. And Paul did that.
I Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love. . .bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
He saw only one solution—love! Don’t we need the same prescription today? Someday there will be a community where everyone behaves and no one complains. But it won’t be this side of heaven. So what do we do? We reason. We confront. We teach. But most of all, we love.
What Are You Anchored
F. B. Meyer wrote about two Germans who wanted to climb the
Matterhorn. They hired three guides and began their ascent at the
steepest and most slippery part.
The men roped themselves together in this order: guide, traveler,
guide, traveler, guide. They had gone only a little way up the side when
the last man lost his footing. He was held up temporarily by the other
four, because each had a toehold in the niches they had cut in the ice.
But then the next man slipped, and he pulled down the two above him. The
only one to stand firm was the first guide, who had driven a spike deep
into the ice.
Because he held his ground, all the men beneath him regained their
footing. F. B. Meyer concluded his story by drawing a spiritual
application. He said, “I am like one of those men who slipped, but thank
God, I am bound in a living partnership to Christ. And because He
stands, I will never perish.”
"I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you
received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are
saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you
have believed in vain." ~ Romans 15:1-2
What keeps you from feeling adrift today? Are you anchored to the truth? Let the Holy Spirit fill you with the peace that comes from walking with our immovable God!
God hears you!
My God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)
Friends may be unfaithful, but the Lord will not turn away from the gracious soul; on the contrary, He will hear all its desires. The prophet says, "Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. A man's enemies are the men of his own house." This is a wretched state of affairs; but even in such a case the Best Friend remains true, and we may tell Him all our grief.
Our wisdom is to look unto the Lord and not to quarrel with men or women. If our loving appeals are disregarded by our relatives, let us wait upon the God of our salvation, for He will hear us. He will hear us all the more because of the unkindness and oppression of others, and we shall soon have reason to cry, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy!"
Because God is the living God, He can hear; because He is a loving God, He will hear; because He is our covenant God, He has bound Him-self to hear us. If we can each one speak of Him as "My God," we may with absolute certainty say, "My God will hear me." Come, then, O bleeding heart, and let thy sorrows tell themselves out to the Lord thy God! I will bow the knee in secret and inwardly whisper, "My God will hear me."
Jesus Paid it All
Here is where your determination to read through the Bible in a year
will be severely tested. Leviticus consists of detailed ceremonial laws
that God gave to the children of Israel. These first chapters deal with
various kinds of sacrifices that were to be made on different occasions.
All the sacrifices of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Christ.
These laws point forward to the perfect sacrifice he would make. The
people were made to realize that there must be great sacrifice to
approach God, so they would understand the purpose of Christ when he
We can be thankful that “Jesus paid it all.” Pagan religions also
included sacrifices, sometimes even the sacrifice of one’s own children.
Within the heart there is the realization that one cannot approach a
holy God without great sacrifice. How liberating to know that because
Christ died for sinners, there is nothing left for us to pay. Trusting
in him, we can be sure of salvation.
The hymn reflects biblical truth when it says, “Jesus paid it all,
all to him I owe.” We owe a great debt of gratitude that we can never
fully pay. In gratitude we are to sacrifice and serve for the cause of
his kingdom. Not to save ourselves, but with a desire that others should
know Christ, trust him, and also be saved, we ought to give most
generously for the cause of missions.
Observe and hear all these words, which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God. (Deuteronomy 12:28)
Though salvation is not by the works of the law, yet the blessings which are promised to obedience are not denied to the faithful servants of God. The curses our Lord took away when He was made a curse for us, but no clause of blessing has been abrogated.
We are to note and listen to the revealed will of the Lord, giving
our attention not to portions of it but to "all these words." There must
be no picking and choosing but an impartial respect to all that God has
commanded. This is the road of blessedness for the Father and for His
children. The Lord's blessing is upon His chosen to the third and fourth
generation. If they walk uprightly before Him, He will make all men know
that they are a seed which the Lord has blessed. No blessing can come to
us or ours through dishonesty or double dealing. The ways of worldly
conformity and unholiness cannot bring good to us or ours. It will go
well with us when we go well before God. If integrity does not make us
prosper, knavery will not. That which gives pleasure to God will bring
pleasure to us.
God led me
(a message from Max Lucado posted 1/30/16)
Be careful with the phrase, “God led me. . .” Don’t banter it about. People have been known to justify stupidity based on a feeling! God will not lead you to lie, cheat, or hurt.
When Luke justified the writing of his gospel to Theophilus, he said, “Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus” (Lk. 1:3). Did you note his phrase, “it seemed good also to me”? These words reflect a person at the crossroads. Luke pondered his options and selected the path that “seemed good.”
God creates the ‘want to” within us. But He will never lead you to violate His Word. He will not contradict his teaching. But he will faithfully lead you through the words of his Scripture and the advice of his faithful.
No matter the outcome of a situation even if undesirable , In the end GOOD ALWAYS WINS! It doesn't matter what the Devil throws at you! God will take that and turn it into something GOOD! Look at ALL the examples in the bible where God brought his people through .... He was that God yesterday , he is the same God today and he will be that same God tomorrow! He NEVER changes, (Hebrews 13:8) so if you are going through some fiery trials , lay them down at the foot of the cross , and TRUST HIM because with God on your Side, GOOD ALWAYS WINS! BELIEVE!
Giving in the Right Spirit
Having been given clear instructions how to build the tabernacle and its furnishings, two things were yet needed: the material for the work and the actual accomplishing of the project.
Though in the wilderness, the people had personal possessions, part of which had been given to them by the Egyptians, who after the plagues were glad to see them go. Pooling their resources, the material was thus furnished. In spite of their faults, the Israelites set a good example for us in how to give for God’s work. They gave with a “generous heart” and with a “willing heart” and gave so much that they had to be told to stop.
They had a worthy cause; we have a more worthy cause. They were to build a material building for God’s glory; we have the opportunity of investing our resources so that people everywhere may hear the good news of Christ. Let us then give with a generous heart, glad for the privilege of leading people to eternal life. There is no end of opportunities to do so.
Having the plan and the materials, now they actually did the job. It is not enough to have high ideals and great opportunities. We must determine to serve the Lord in the specific ways and opportunities he has given us. Let us not just talk about what needs to be done—let’s do it. We must be serious about the work of the Lord. So many people are trying to get by with "works" but Jesus wants us to give and do out of our "heart" because of "Love for our Lord."
Father, work in our hearts that we may want to give and to work joyfully. In Jesus Name. Amen.
God heals, not
A matter of semantics? No. If you think the power is in the prayer and not the One who hears the prayer, you fault the pray-er for unanswered prayer. “If I had prayed more, better, differently. . .”
The power of prayer is in the One who hears it, not the one who makes it. So if you are waiting on God to answer your prayer, don’t despair. We need to remember that many of God’s saints endured a time of unanswered prayer. Peter was in a storm before he walked on water. Lazarus was in a grave before he came out of it, the demoniac was possessed before he was a preacher, and the paralytic was on a stretcher before he was in your Bible.
We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. Please don’t interpret the presence of your disease as the absence of God’s love. I pray he heals you. And he will—ultimately! Till then— keep praying.
King of the Mountain!
Remember playing that game as a kid? The object is to push, claw, and climb until you get to the top. Once there, you fight to hold your position. Don’t even think about sitting down. Forget enjoying the view. Slack up and you’ll be slapped down. And then you’ll have to start all over again.
As grown-ups we still play King of the Mountain, but now the stakes are higher. The push for power has come to shove. And most of us are either pushing or being pushed.
I might point out the difference between a passion for excellence and a passion for power. The desire for excellence is a gift of God. It’s characterized by respect for quality, a yearning to use God’s gifts in a way that pleases him. The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity. But the quest for power— it’s childish!
By the way, you don’t have to play King of the Mountain.
Wafers made of honey
And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. (Ezekiel 20:43)
When we are accepted of the Lord and are standing in the place of favor, and peace, and safety, then we are led to repent of all our failures and miscarriages toward our gracious God. So precious is repentance that we may call it a diamond of the first water, and this is sweetly promised to the people of God as one most sanctifying result of salvation. He who accepts repentance also gives repentance; and He gives it not out of "the bitter box" but from among those "wafers made with honey" on which He feeds His people. A sense of blood-bought pardon and of undeserved mercy is the best means of dissolving a heart of stone. Are we feeling hard? Let us think of covenant love, and then we shall leave sin, lament sin, and loathe sin; yea, we shall loathe ourselves for sinning against such infinite love. Let us come to God with this promise of penitence and ask Him to help us to remember, and repent, and regret, and re-turn. Oh, that we could enjoy the meltings of holy sorrow! What a relief would a flood of tears be! Lord, smite the rock, or speak to the rock, and cause the waters to flow!
ARE YOU IN CHRIST?
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The
old has gone, the new is here!”(2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)
Everyone loves to get something new. But as a believer in Jesus,
you’re not only getting something new, you are something new. You are a
brand new creation. Your eternal being, the spirit on the inside of you,
is re-created in Christ. The old is gone, the new has come.
The Bible also talks about working out our salvation. That means you
have to retrain your body and mind to act, think, speak and live
according to the new spirit within you instead of the old habits you
used to have. Don’t ever get stuck in a rut thinking, “I’ll never
change...that’s just the way I am.” No, the Bible says that the Spirit
of God aids us in our weakness. He gives us strength to overcome. He
empowers us to live as more than conquerors.
Is there something you want to change in your life today? Remember, you are a new creation in Christ. You are empowered to overcome. You are equipped to walk in the new, abundant life the Lord has in store for you. May His name be blessed.
Listen to Him!
Ever feel like you are walking through a religious midway? The Torah sends you to Moses. The Koran sends you to Muhammad. Buddhists invite you to meditate and spiritists to levitate. The agnostic believes no one can know. Step right up—try my witchcraft. Psst! Over here. Interested in some new age channels? Oh the voices! And we pray, Father, help me out! Please modulate one and relegate the others.
If that’s your prayer, then Luke 9 is your chapter—the day God isolated the authoritative voice of history and declared, Listen to Him! On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was praying with Peter, John and James. And his face became different, and his clothing became white and gleaming. And a voice came out of the clouds saying, “This is my beloved son, listen to Him!” Hear Jesus amidst all the other voices.
God gets into things!
Red seas. Big fish. Lions’ dens and furnaces. Bankrupt businesses and jail cells. Look and you’ll find what everyone from Moses to Martha discovered. God in the middle of our storms.
A young woman missed her station on the subway. By the time she realized her mistake, she didn’t know what to do. She prayed for some sign of God’s presence. This was no hour or place to be passing through a rough neighborhood alone. At that moment the doors opened and a disheveled man plopped down next to her. God? Are you near? She prayed. The man pulled out a harmonica and played, “Be Thou My Vision”—her mothers’ favorite hymn. The song was enough to convince her Christ was there, in the midst of it all. And you? Look closer. He’s there. Right in the middle of it all!
He Acts on Honest
He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. (Job 33:27-28)
This is a word of truth, gathered from the experience of a man of God, and it is tantamount to a promise. What the Lord has done, and is doing, He will continue to do while the world standeth. The Lord will receive into His bosom all who come to Him with a sincere confession of their sin; in fact, He is always on the lookout to discover any that are in trouble because of their faults.
Can we not endorse the language here used? Have we not sinned, sinned personally so as to say, "I have sinned"? Sinned willfully, having perverted that which is right? Sinned so as to discover that there is no profit in it but an eternal loss? Let us, then, go to God with this honest acknowledgment. He asks no more. We can do no less.
Let us plead His promise in the name of Jesus. He will deliver us from the pit of hell which yawns for us; He will grant us life and light. Why should we despair? Why should we even doubt? The Lord does not mock humble souls. He means what He says. The guilty can be forgiven. Those who deserve execution can receive free pardon. Lord, we confess, and we pray Thee to forgive!
During WWII, C. S. Lewis' colleagues were
appalled when he said he had quit reading the newspaper. When pressed,
Lewis said, "The soul can only hold so much bad news. I've reached my
limit." You are not required, nor are you able, to carry the burdens of
the world. As Glenn Frey famously sang, "Don't let the sound of your own
wheels drive you crazy." Jesus anticipated all of this and offers us the
great promise of Matthew 11:28-30. Read that, and then go to Him. Have
an unburdened day as you worship Him!
Want To See A Miracle
Want to see a miracle? Take a small seed, put it under several inches of dirt. Give it light, water, and fertilizer. It doesn’t matter that the ground is a zillion times the weight of the seed. The seed will push it back! Never underestimate the power of a seed.
James, the epistle writer, wasn’t a farmer. But he knew the power of a seed sown in fertile soil. “Those who are peacemakers,” he said, “will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness” (James 3:18).
How good are you at sowing seeds of peace? Jesus modeled peace through acts of love, washing the feet of men he knew would betray him, and honoring the sinful woman whom society had scorned.
Want to see a miracle? Plant a word of love heart-deep in a person’s life. Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens!
Holy to the Lord
This passage completes instructions for building the tabernacle and describes the garments to be made for the priests. In doing so, it introduces one of the key concepts of Scripture, that of holiness. These are to be “holy garments” (28:2) and the plate of pure gold, which is to be fastened to Aaron’s forehead, is to have on it the engraving, “Holy to the LORD” (28:36).
Holiness means “separated unto.” Anything holy is to be totally dedicated to the service of God. Being separated to God includes being separated from sinful purposes. As Aaron’s garments were to be holy, so we are called to be holy, that is, so separated unto God that we continually separate ourselves from sin.
The Urim and the Thummim (28:30) are of special interest. They were apparently two objects, something like dice, which were used in the casting of lots to determine the will of God. They were kept in a receptacle in the breastplate of the high priest and were only used to determine God’s will for matters that dealt with the national affairs of God’s people. It was fitting then that they were kept in the breastplate which was adorned with 12 precious stones representing the 12 tribes. We can be thankful that through Scripture and the Holy Spirit we can determine the will of God in a much more mature way. I like to determine is will by examining His Word.
Father, help us to live holy lives seeking to know your will and, led by your Spirit, to do your will. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Obedience and Worship
In these chapters, God concludes the giving of commandments that are to regulate daily life and begins to give instructions for constructing the tabernacle, Israel’s portable place of worship. So also in the Christian life, there are two aspects: living godly lives day by day and offering our worship to God. The two must go hand in hand. Neither one ought to be neglected. What we do on Sunday should affect what we do on Monday through Saturday.
Among the commandments for daily living are those that tell how we are to treat the poor. We must not have just a personal piety; we must also have a concern for social justice. Because God cares how the poor are treated, so must we. We must not only say we care; we must do what we can to correct situations.
Connected to the call for obedience are promises of what God will do as a result of such obedience. God said to his people of old, “If you carefully obey” what I say, then I will bless you (23:22). God treats us, his New Testament people, according to the same principles he used in treating Israel.
In chapter 25, we also find descriptions of some of the furniture that is to be built for the tabernacle. The ark is to symbolize the very presence of God in their midst. God dwells in our midst in a far more immediate way—the Holy Spirit is in our hearts.
Father, may our Sunday worship affect how we treat people the rest of the week. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
God Will Take Care of
Pharaoh’s repentance was short-lived. That slave labor was too good to lose. The pursuing Egyptians filled the Israelites with fear. While Moses told them to stand still, God’s order was to go forward. Miraculously, the Red Sea or the Sea of Reeds opened before them. Sometimes God uses ordinary physical phenomena to accomplish his miracles; in this case it was a strong wind. Let us accept God’s help when he chooses to use ordinary means and simply believe. It was a miracle, for when the Egyptians entered the sea, the water flooded in and drowned them. As a result, the people worshipped God with a song of praise.
God takes care of us in so many ways; let us always be ready to
praise him. God not only takes care of the children of Israel by
protecting them from the Egyptians; he also provides them with water and
food in the wilderness. He does this in spite of their constant
complaining. Before we criticize them for this, let us examine our own
lives to see how often we complain in spite of God’s abundant care for
Father, thank you for your provisions for all the necessities of life. Forgive us for complaining. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Oh to be DTP-free
When you see the successful, are you jealous? When you see others struggle, are you pompous? Do you assume the worst about the future? If so, you suffer from what I call D-T-P’s—destructive thought patterns! Oh to be DTP-free. No energy lost, no time wasted. A lifetime of healthy and holy thoughts would render anyone a joyful genius. But where would you find such an individual?
Blame DTP’s on sin. It messes with our minds. So, God changes us by changing our mind…by considering the glory of Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” To behold him is to become like him!
BE PERFECT? HOW?
Jesus: “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:48
I must admit that this verse bothered me from the outset, since I am a recovering perfectionist. First of all, we all know that we cannot be perfect in behavior and performance, as God is perfect, because our sin nature is never extinguished in this life. The only way that this makes literal sense is that, in Jesus Christ, the perfect One, we receive His perfect righteousness, from Heaven’s point of view. (See 2 Corinthians 5:21). Notice it says “BE perfect,” not “perform perfectly.”
The word translated “perfect” here is a multi-branched word. It can mean “complete” or “finished.” Jesus was said to be made “perfect” through His suffering (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-9), yet He was perfect in His nature from the beginning. It also can mean “mature,” as in Philippians 3:15. Therefore, we are being made “perfect” as we seek to live out our Christian lives, reflecting Him in “ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In another vein, it is wonderful to know that God never can love you any less than He always has, even when you stumble in your Christian walk. Yes, He loves you steadily, even in your sometimes-imperfect attempts at maturing. He indeed is the truly perfect, loving, gracious, merciful Father.
Have you been
baptized in the Holy Ghost?
Please know that the same Holy Ghost that fell on the day of Pentecost is still Baptizing Christians with the Holy Ghost giving them the Fire and Power to be Sons and Daughters of God, that the He wants them to be. He wants us to be FULL of His Spirit and we can be. I ask once again, do you have the Holy Ghost who gives us a New Language, one we never had before, we have a prayer language the devil cannot understand. Is this present in your Christian walk with God. If not, it can be. Read the New Testament once again. See where Jesus promised the Comforter would come. Read about the 120 who waited upon the Promise. It is still Real today. I know it is Real for me. Glory to the Lamb of God Forever More. Read Acts 2:1-21
ONLY THE SON
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that
whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Had God manifested the Savior in any other way than as a Son, it would never have benefited us as much. His invention of family in Eden’s Garden was the highest expression of human relationship. He wanted to have all of mankind with Him in the most intimate relationship, which (again) is family.
Jesus calls Jehovah His “Father.” In His three-years-or-so ministry, He demonstrated how to love God as Father. We would complain that we do not know how to love God as Father, if Jesus had not shown us how. Not only that, He gives us the grace to love Him as our Heavenly Father, not just as distant God. In Jesus, we are instantly made “family”; that is why it is called new life, even being “born again” by the Son’s Spirit (John 3:3; Romans 8:15).
Jesus brought us closer to God than pre-fallen Adam was. God was Adam’s Creator and Lord; God is our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, the Son, the Lord, and the Savior. This is eternal life: to be in the Son: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12). Ask the Lord to give you a fresh revelation of what it means to be His child, what it means to call Him “Father,” and what it means that your Savior is also His Son. You will find a renewed warmth, love, power, and joy.
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
No man may turn his back in the day of battle or refuse to go to the holy war. We must fight if we would reign, and we must carry on the warfare till we overcome every enemy, or else this promise is not for us, since it is only for "him that overcometh." We are to overcome the false prophets who have come into the world and all the evils which accompany their teaching. We are to overcome our own faintness of heart and tendency to decline from our first love. Read the whole of the Spirit's word to the church at Ephesus.
If by grace we win the day, as we shall if we truly follow our conquering Leader, then we shall be admitted to the very center of the paradise of God and shall be permitted to pass by the cherub and his flaming sword and come to that guarded tree, whereof if a man eat, he shall live forever. We shall thus escape that endless death which is the doom of sin and gain that everlasting life which is the seal of innocence, the outgrowth of immortal principles of Godlike holiness. Come, my heart, pluck up courage! To flee the conflict will be to lose the joys of the new and better Eden; to fight unto victory is to walk with God in paradise.
(a message from Words Of Hope posted 1/19/16)
Again and again we read of Pharaoh hardening his heart. We need to realize that the Bible teaches we were born with hearts as hard as stone. Only by the gracious work of the Holy Spirit, the work of regeneration, are our hearts soft and submissive to God. Let us realize that were it not for the grace of God our hearts would be as hard as that of Pharaoh, and that we would suffer tragic consequences similar to those that befell him.
Pharaoh’s hard heart causes one plague after another to fall upon him and his people. Some of these plagues were similar to ones common in Egypt. The miraculous element was the intensity, the timing and the fact that in some cases they fell on the Egyptians but not on the nearby Israelites. People today don’t like to think of it, but the fact is that God punishes sin. He does it in many ways. Sometimes the punishment falls not only on the individual sinner but also has adverse effects on those around him.
It is important to confess sin. But sometimes such confession is shallow and ineffective. Pharaoh confesses his sin but then goes right on sinning. He also begins to try to bargain with God. He will do what God wants but with reservations. That accomplishes nothing.
Father, we believe You have produced a miracle in our naturally hard hearts. Thank You for being merciful. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Set it Free
You've been hurt! Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight. And you’re left with a decision. Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it?
Resentment is when you allow what’s eating you to eat you up. Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter. And mercy is the choice that can set them all free.
“Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus said on the mountain. “They shall be shown mercy.” (Mt. 5:7)
Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us. The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace. For it is when we forgive others that we begin to feel what God feels. Set your enemy—and yourself—free!
Confession; Heart Belief
If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)
There must be confession with the mouth. Have I made it? Have I openly avowed my faith in Jesus as the Savior whom God has raised from the dead, and have I done it in God's way! Let me honestly answer this question.
There must also be belief with the heart. Do I sincerely believe in the risen Lord Jesus? Do I trust in Him as my sole hope of salvation? Is this trust from my heart? Let me answer as before God.
If I can truly claim that I have both confessed Christ and believed
in Him, then I am saved. The text does not say it may be so, but it is
plain as a pikestaff and clear as the sun in the heavens: "Thou shalt be
saved." As a believer and a confessor, I may lay my hand on this promise
and plead it before the Lord God at this moment, and throughout life,
and in the hour of death, and at the Day of Judgment.
Victory for the
Are you timid? Cautious? Could you use some courage? Scripture says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). If you’re in Christ, these promises are not only a source of joy, they are the foundations of true courage!
When God looks at you, he doesn’t see you; He sees the One who surrounds you. Failure’s not a concern for you; your victory is secure. How could you not be courageous? In Hebrews 10:22, the writer says, “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus—let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”
The point is clear. The Father of Truth will win, and the followers of Truth will be saved. The prize is yours. Applaud the victory!
Christ and His
When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed. (Isaiah 53:10)
Our Lord Jesus has not died in vain. His death was sacrificial: He died as our substitute, because death was the penalty of our sins. Because His substitution was accepted of God, He has saved those for whom He made His soul a sacrifice. By death He became like the corn of wheat which bringeth forth much fruit. There must be a succession of children unto Jesus; He is "the Father of the everlasting age." He shall say, "Behold, I and the children whom Thou hast given me."
A man is honored in his sons, and Jesus hath His quiver full of these
arrows of the mighty. A man is represented in his children, and so is
the Christ in Christians. In his seed a man's life seems to be prolonged
and extended; and so is the life of Jesus continued in believers.
The Prison of Pride
You’ve seen the prisoners—the alcoholic who won’t admit his drinking
problem; the woman who refuses to talk to anyone about her fears.
Perhaps to see such a prisoner all you have to do is look in the mirror!
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive us” (I John 1:9). The biggest word in Scripture just might be
that two-letter one, if.
Confessing sins, admitting failure, is exactly what prisoners of
pride refuse to do. They say, “Listen, I’m just as good as the next
guy.” “I pay my taxes.” Justification. Rationalization. Comparison.
These are the tools of the jailbird. But in the kingdom of God they
sound hollow. Many know they’re wrong, yet pretend they are right. As a
result they never taste the exquisite sorrow of repentance.
Blessed are those who know they’re in trouble and have enough sense to admit it!
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe
that—and shudder. ~ James 2:19
The less personal and caring you perceive your God to be, the less you will worship Him, serve Him, and pray to Him. In our text, James was underscoring that mere acknowledgment that there is a God out there, somewhere, is not a living, redeeming faith. He was attempting to startle people into “testing” their faith to see if it were genuine (as Paul also said: 2 Corinthians 13:5) and challenging Christians to work outwardly their genuine faith into deeds (as Paul also said: Philippians 2:12).
Love inspires the greatest action. Think of the extent that you were willing to act for someone you loved with all your heart. The more one comes to love Jesus, the more he or she is willing to do in serving Him (a consequence of Matthew 22:37). It is out of gratitude fueled by the most powerful motivation in the universe: love (e.g., John 3:16).
Our struggles for His
God uses our struggles for His glory! The last three years of my dad’s life were scarred by ALS. The disease took him from being a healthy mechanic to being a bed-bound paralytic. He lost his voice and his muscles, but he never lost his faith. Visitors noticed. Not so much in what he said, but more in what he didn't say. Never outwardly angry or bitter, Jack Lucado suffered with dignity.
His faith led one man to seek a like faith. This man sought me out and told me because of my dad’s example, he became a Jesus follower. Did God orchestrate my father’s illness for that very reason? Knowing the value God places on one soul, I wouldn’t be surprised. And imagining the splendor of heaven, I know my father is not complaining. A season of suffering is a small assignment when compared to the great reward!
More than you can pay
You work hard, pay your dues, and “zap”—your account with God is paid
in full. Jesus says, “No way.”
The Bible says, “For what is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Don’t miss the thrust of this verse. You cannot save yourself. Not through the right rituals. The right doctrine. Not through the right goose bumps. Jesus’ point is crystal clear. It is impossible for human beings to save themselves.
It’s not the possessions—it’s the pomp that hinders us. It’s a different path. Admission of failure isn’t usually admission into joy. Complete confession isn’t commonly followed by total pardon. But then again, God has never been governed by what’s common!
Often I hear people say they don't want to go to church because it is
full of hypocrites. Actually that is true, the church is full of
hypocrites. Not going for that reason is like not going to the doctor
because sick people are there or not going to the gym because out of
shape and fat people are there.
Mark 2:17. "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the
healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the
righteous, but sinners.”
Of course, going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than
staying in a garage makes you a car. I feel the Apostle Paul was
directly inspired by Jesus and his teachings reflect the truths of God.
Paul was constantly teaching the importance of the church, meeting
together and support for congregants.
Philippians 1:8 (NIV); "God can testify how I long for all of you
with the affection of Christ Jesus."
I wonder how many fail to attend church because they are just too
tired or the service is too crowded, too loud or too long. The choir
doesn't play exactly the music they like or the pews are too hard. How
many of these same people will sit in freezing rain to attended a
football game or stand in line for hours to get tickets to a particular
event? I am thankful Jesus was not as selective when He chose to go to
the cross. I am sure the splinters in His back, the nails in His hands
and feet, the thorny crown on His head, the rips and tears on His body
and the jeering crowd, were much more than we will be called to bear.
However we should be willing and even long to suffer for Him.
1 Samuel 12:24 (NIV); "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you."
Joseph the Slave
The Bible is a constant story of humanity’s sin and God’s grace. Once again we see tragedy resulting from the sin of parents showing favoritism toward one child over another. Joseph’s dreams were from God, but one must ask whether Joseph was not guilty of “rubbing it in” to his brothers. The brothers were certainly sinful in the hatred they allowed to grow in their hearts toward Joseph and in the way they expressed that hatred. The interlude of chapter 38 deals with the recurring theme of sexual sin, plus a terrible double standard, one for men and another for women, which has been practiced throughout history.
Yet God’s grace has a way of overruling evil for good. The result is that Joseph is in the right place at the right time to save God’s covenant people from extinction by starvation. In the meantime, Joseph has much to suffer. He is a faithful steward, but due to the false accusations of Potiphar’s wife, he is put in prison. His resistance to sexual temptation by fleeing from it is a powerful example to us. He is away from home, but he knows that God is with him, and to sin anywhere is still to sin against God. Wherever we are, we live in the presence of the God of love and holiness.
Again, in prison, the Lord was with Joseph, and the Lord caused him to prosper. Let us so live that the Lord will be with us and cause us to be successful as he measures success
Father, give us grace to flee from temptation and cause us to succeed as we seek to serve you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Easing the Load
A black man was walking along Forty-second Street in New York from
the terminal to the hotel, carrying a heavy suitcase and a heavier
valise. Suddenly a hand took hold of the valise and a pleasant voice
said, "That's a heavy load, brother. Why don't you let me help? I'm
going your way."
The black man hesitated, but finally he allowed the young white man
to assist him carrying his burden. For several blocks they chatted,
eventually warming up like old friends until they reached the hotel
“For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; So
that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty." ~ Job 6:14
In Christ, there is no one better than another -- we are all God's children. Check your attitude today and make sure you are treating people as if they were Jesus Himself. Let's honor one another!
God can use you, my
If God chose only righteous people to change the world, you could count them all on one finger—Jesus! Instead he included others in his plan—sinners, the ungodly, the imperfect. God used and uses people to change the world. People! Crooks, creeps, lovers, and liars—he uses them all!
If you ever wonder how God can use you to make a difference in your world, just look at those he has already used, and take heart. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, God can use you. Because you’re imperfect, you can speak of making mistakes. Because you’re a sinner, you can speak of forgiveness. God restores the broken and the brittle, then parades them before the world as trophies of his love and strength. And when the world sees the ungodly turn godly, they know God must love them too.
God can use you, my friend!
He Came to Serve!
We want to be served, and served with excellence. This is the mentality of the world. We are all caught up regarding our rights. We demand our rights. And if we don’t get our way, we get angry and boisterous. However, this not the way we should be if we love God. Christ came to serve man. He healed us, He fed us, He washed our feet, He prayed for us, and ultimately He died for us. Can you imagine that God humbled himself to serve mankind?
Christ came with a mission. His mission was to set us free from the bondages of hell here on earth and to provide us with eternal freedom in Him. Freedom came with a terrible price. Christ had to die on the cross of Calvary to pay a debt. Our debt! He paid with His death so we can have a NEW LIFE in Him. Not just a make-over, but a brand new beginning. He did not come to establish a church or religion. He came that we might have a direct relationship with Father God though Him. He demonstrated this by teaching us the true way to love. To love as God we put others first. To love like God we look for ways to help and mend brokenness in people’s lives. True love is sacrificial.
Christ, facing His death on the cross, did not even defend Himself. He did not complain. He didn’t say it was unfair. He knew that His Father God was in control. Jesus knew He he did not need to protest. He stated that it was unto this end (the cross) that He came so we might have an abundant life in Him. He rested in the love of His father knowing that He completed His mission on earth.
The next time you want to fight for your rights, look instead at how you might serve someone. Let Christ be our example, not the world!
Let God be God!
We all have different journeys in life... Different directions and different ideas . It's about what God's doing in our lives. To be concerned about others opinions of us takes the focus off of God's intention is for us. It really doesn't matter what other people think it only matters what God thinks... so today thank him for making you a person who is not only able to forgive but thankful when you're forgiven... being slow to speak and even slower to anger is wise... sometimes quiet reflection is the best approach and even more so, so maybe not doing anything about it at all but letting God handle every situation no matter how big or how hurtful it may be... God truly has our best interest at heart how much more security could we need?
Reconstruction of the Heart
There’s a delicious gladness that comes from God. A joy which consequences cannot quench. His is a peace which circumstances cannot steal.
Nine times he promises it. And he promises it to an unlikely crowd: The poor in spirit. Those who mourn. The meek. Those who hunger and thirst. The merciful. The pure in heart. The peacemakers. The persecuted. It is to this band of pilgrims that God promises a special blessing. A heavenly joy.
But this joy is not cheap. What Jesus promises is not a gimmick to give you goose bumps or a mental attitude. No, Matthew Chapter 5 describes God’s radical reconstruction of the heart. It’s no casual shift of attitude. It’s a demolition of the old structure and a creation of the new.
God’s joy. And it’s within your reach. You are one decision away from joy!
Thou shalt see greater than these. (John 1:50)
This is spoken to a childlike believer, who was ready to accept Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel, upon one convincing piece of argument. Those who are willing to see shall see; it is because we shut our eyes that we become so sadly blind.
We have seen much already. Great things and unsearchable has the Lord showed unto us, for which we praise His name; but there are greater truths in His Word, greater depths of experience, greater heights of fellow-ship, greater works of usefulness, greater discoveries of power, and love, and wisdom. These we are yet to see if we are willing to believe our Lord. The faculty of inventing false doctrine is ruinous, but power to see the truth is a blessing. Heaven shall be opened to us, the way thither shall be made clear to us in the Son of Man, and the angelic commerce which goes on between the upper and the lower kingdoms shall be made more manifest to us. Let us keep our eyes open toward spiritual objects and expect to see more and more. Let us believe that our lives will not drivel down into nothing but that we shall be always on the growing hand, seeing greater and still greater things, till we behold the great God Himself and never again lose the sight of Him.
Nothing fosters courage like a clear grasp of grace. And nothing fosters fear like an ignorance of mercy.
May I speak candidly? If you haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness, you’re doomed to live in fear. Nothing can deliver you from the gnawing realization that you have disregarded your Maker and disobeyed his instruction. No pill, pep talk, psychiatrist, or possession can set the sinner’s heart at ease. You may deaden the fear, but you can’t remove it. Only God’s grace can.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Having received God’s forgiveness, live forgiven!
Burned Biscuits - A lesson we all should
When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!
All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing...never made a face nor uttered a word about it!
When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said, "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."
Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides--a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"
As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.
I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.
And that's my prayer for you today...that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!
We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!
"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket--keep it in
Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind
A Wonderful Guarantee
I will strengthen thee. (Isaiah 41:10)
When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us; and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls and the health of our hearts; and thus He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.
Do we not remember seasons of labor and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us, We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the self-same hour what they shall speak, My own weakness makes me shrink, but God's promise makes me brave. Lord, strengthen me "according to thy word."
Citizens of Heaven
Simply put—we are not good enough to go to heaven. So what can we do? We could start doing good deeds. Perhaps if we do enough good deeds, they’ll offset our bad deeds. The question then becomes how many good deeds? If I spend one year being greedy, how many years should I be generous?
No one knows the answer to that question. A rule sheet can’t be found. A code has not been discovered. Why? Because God doesn’t operate this way. God has been so kind to us. We have no way of balancing the scales. All we can do is ask for mercy. And God, because of his kindness, gives it.
God turned over our sins to his Son. Jesus Christ died for us. He did what we could not do so that we might become what we dare not dream—citizens of heaven!
Be careful not to play into the devil hands. Every cause though good
may not be a God Cause. Our Warfare isn't Carnal but Spiritual, if you
win in the Spirit, there will be no battle in the flesh. I'm not saying
roll over and play dead, I believe in protecting the Innocent with my
very own life. What I'm saying is we as Born Ones of Heaven are call to
engage the enemy satan @ a higher level and defeat him there through the
Power of the Cross, and we aren't suppose to allow him to pull us from
the spirit into the flesh where he reigns with Sin unto death. Some of
the things we will see in the near future are what I call Sucker Punches
to draw you from the Spirit to the Natural. Study in the Spirit
2 Corinthians 10:3-5,
Seek the Lord Jesus for what he wants you as a Royal Priest and King under his High Priesthood and Kingship to do. The Holy Spirit lives in you if you belong to Jesus, call on him. Learn to follow the Written Word of God and the Lead of the Holy Spirit not in Fear but as A Warrior of great Faith. Jesus Is Lord ! ! !
Rest on a Promise
The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it. (Genesis 28:13)
No promise is of private interpretation: it belongs not to one saint but to all believers. If, my brother, thou canst in faith lie down upon a promise and take thy rest thereon, it is thine. Where Jacob "lighted" and tarried and rested, there he took possession. Stretching his weary length upon the ground, with the stones of that place for his pillows, he little fancied that he was thus entering into ownership of the land; yet so it was. He saw in his dream that wondrous ladder which for all true believers unites earth and heaven, and surely where the foot of the ladder stood he must have a right to the soil, for other wise he could not reach the divine stair-way. All the promises of God are "Yea" and "Amen" in Christ Jesus, and as He is ours, every promise is ours if we will but lie down upon it in restful faith.
Come, weary one, use thy Lord's words as thy pillows, Lie down in peace. Dream only of Him. Jesus is thy ladder of light. See the angels coming and going upon Him between thy soul and thy God, and be sure that the promise is thine own God-given portion and that it will not be robbery for thee to take it to thyself, as spoken specially to thee.
God Came Near
If we’re not looking up at God, we’re looking inward at ourselves and outward at each other. The result? Quarreling families. Restless leaders. Fence-building. No trespassing signs.
If we see only ourselves, our tombstones will have the same epitaph Paul used to describe enemies of Christ: “Their god is their own appetite, they glory in their shame, and this world is the limit of their horizon” (Philippians 3:19).
It’s why God came near. To be seen. It’s why those who saw Him were never the same. Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. And Christian service is nothing more than imitating Him whom we see. The Bible says, “Unless a man is born again, He cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
God came near. There is no truth more worthy of your time.