Tuesday, December 25, 2012

God With Us

Reading from the Book of Matthew 1:21-23
 Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

The Creator came to dwell with His creation.
The all knowing One came to teach teachers and students limited by their lack of knowledge and understanding.
The ever present One came to comfort hurting people stuck in their suffering.
The all powerful One came to serve weak people, empowering them with His Spirit.
The Almighty sent His only son Jesus into the world, fully God and fully man.
Yes, the Word became flesh!

God is with us to face down our fears by faith.
God is with us in our doubts.
God is with us in our hurts, applying His healing balm of grace.
God is with us in our transitions to grow our trust in Him. 
God is with us at work and at home.
God is with us in our uncertainty. 
God is with us when we feel His presence and when we don't feel Him near.
God is with us in our successes and in our failures.
God is with us and for us for His glory!

God is with us in our modern technology and our antiquated activities.
The Lord is with us in our big cities and our small towns.
Jesus is with us when we feel joy, laughter and loss.
Christ is with us to comfort us in our pain and encourage us to persevere for Him.
He is with us in the ups and the downs.
He is with us and He is in us to work through us!
Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hope & Blessings

Christmas is a time of hope and blessings, a celebration of life and salvation. The Scriptures teach us that children are a blessing from God. It has also been said that the birth of each new child is a sign that God has not yet given up on this world.

That was never more true than the night two thousand years ago when the Son of Man was born in Bethlehem; born to bring the hope of salvation and the blessing of eternal life. No headline, no sorrow of life should turn our hearts from the love of God and the greatest gift ever given!

When the Christ Child came into the world, his cry pierced the night and split all of human history in half. No one can predict the headlines in the weeks and months ahead, but we can rest assured that one day every head will bow and every knee will bend before the King of Kings. The final victory has been won. All that is required of us is that we choose life.

While the focus of Christmas is, of course, Christ's birth in Bethlehem, each year I am reminded of Christmas' unique role in the birth of America. It was on Christmas night in 1776 that General George Washington crossed the Delaware River in a daring surprise attack on the Hessian mercenaries. Washington's victory at the Battle of Trenton was a turning point in the American Revolution. Surely God was there, and I believe that the God of Abraham is with us still!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! And may you enjoy much hope and all of God's richest blessings in the year ahead.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Things That Are Above

Reading from the Book of Colossians 3:1
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

If you want to live the resurrection life that Jesus provides, then seek that new, powerful life by setting your mind and keeping it set on things above, not on things on the earth. If you and I want the good life, then we must keep our minds on good things.

Many believers want the good life, but they passively sit around wishing for something good to happen. Often, they are jealous of others who live in victory and our resentful that their own lives are so difficult.

If you desire victory over your problems, if you truly want to live the resurrection life, you must have backbone and not just wishbone! You must be determined to have victory and refuse to settle for anything less than the best that God has for you.

You must be active, not passive. Right action begins with right thinking. Do not be passive in your mind. Set your mind on the things that are above.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Faithful Witnesses

Reading from the Book of Revelation 22:12-17, 20-21
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
The meaning of the lyrics in this song becomes more and more true and evident as the years go by.  There was a time when I thought that millions in our country would NEVER walk so far away from God and succumb to socialism, communism, radical Islamism, and extreme moral depravity like they have over the past four years under BHO.
The song "Leaving Eden" by Brandon Heath contains deep meaning within the lyrics that take a big bite out of the lies that this secular world of "anything goes" tries to place upon We The People here in America.  It exposes how "each step away" from the roots of our existence back in  Eden takes our nation to a point where many have forgotten God and His Word.  Such lack of wisdom of the knowledge of God and His Word as each decade passes continues to bring us towards an even worse state of being than the last.
 "Celeste" over at the You Tube site says it well: "These are dark times. But we have the light of Jesus; the only constant and perfect One in a world that's slowly falling apart. We have hope in God, the Alpha, Omega, Beginning, End, Healer, Provider, Savior, Father, Friend, Protector, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Light of the world. God is and always will be whatever we need most in our lives. When we hurt, He heals us, when we are tired, He carries us in His arms. We have left Eden, and we're stumbling through darkness, but we're going home." celeste84968496 
The song, which reveals an example of a "teacher hiding her Bible...but at least she has a job," indicates how far the liberal educational elites have taken us from our Christian heritage and founding.  It also indicates how socialism/communism/liberalism always takes more and more freedoms away from WE THE PEOPLE.  Years ago, "hiding one's Bible" seemed unthinkable in order to keep a job.  But now, Christians can be persecuted under falsely applied claims of "separation of church and state" - which, by the way, isn't in the U.S. Constitution.
 Our Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights tells what GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT DO - not what WE THE PEOPLE CAN'T DO!  But those who would like to take away the rights of Christians are actively using a secular language of "lawyer-ing" to sway others against Christian beliefs, displays, Bible reading, teaching; with the goal to shun the Christian believer's free speech rights of sharing the Gospel openly with others.  The threats of being sued - for any reason these days - makes pastors and preachers watch what they say in order "not to offend." 
Jesus offended many people in his three year ministry on earth.  He didn't mince or parse words.  He told it like it is.  And those who hated him tried to kill him - many times - over his call for repentance because "the kingdom of God is near." 
What Jesus told us is truth!  He stated, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  For I have overcome the world." 
We may be on a journey that is taking us further and further away from Eden. And it is painfully true that we can't go back.  But God has "many mansions" in heaven prepared for those who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.  There will be 1,000 years in the Millennial Kingdom on earth where Jesus will rule.  It will be like living in a new Eden.  The final chapter in the book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of how it will be in eternity with God.
What should Christians be doing until Christ comes back for His own?
Be faithful witnesses.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blindness of The Heart

Reading from the Book of Ephesians 3:17-20
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

Unbelievers can be so callous and hard that they are "past feeling." But this same verse says that they live by their feelings in unbridled sensuality and carnality. What appears to be a paradox here, the Lord showed me that some people are past doing what they should be doing with their feelings.

God gives people feelings for a specific purpose and use in their walk with Him. But people who have alienated themselves from God are hardened to the place where they are beyond using their feelings for the right purpose. Satan moves them into an area where they live riotous lives, doing whatever they feel like doing.

You and I are not to live that way, but to make the truth of God's Word our standard and to obey it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Into His Light

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

Not being "hasty in thy spirit to be angry" speaks to me of self-control. We cannot ever develop into victorious, overcoming believers if we do not learn to exercise self-control by managing our emotions, especially the emotion of anger.

Other Bible verses that address the subject of anger...

Proverbs 14:17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Man's anger does not promote righteousness. Part of righteousness, or the right way of being what God wants us to be, is fulfilling our potential. And we cannot do that unless we restrain our anger.

We all want more than we have in various areas of our lives, but we do not always want to operate within the boundaries of self-control. If we really want to grow spiritually, we must keep our passions under control. That does not mean we have to be perfect or that we can never make mistakes. Although the Holy Spirit will give us power to control our emotions, we may still lose our tempers at times. But as soon as we do, we should immediately confess and repent.

A disciplined, self-controlled life not only requires time and determination, and hard work; it also requires self-denial, but the rewards are worth the effort. By controlling your anger, God will lead you from the darkness into His Light.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Believe & Recieve

Reading from the Book of Colossians 1:26-28
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

You and I can only realize and experience the Glory of God in our lives because Christ is in us. He is our hope of seeing better things. The glory of God is His manifested excellence. As the children of God, we have a blood-bought right to experience the best God has planned for us. Satan furiously fights the plan of God in each of our lives, and his primary weapon is deception. When we are deceived, we believe something that is not true. Even though it is not true, it seems true to us because that is what we believe.

Much of the time we feel defeated as we look at ourselves and our lack of ability. What we need to do is remember that Christ in us is our hope. He keeps us encouraged enough to press on toward better things. We limit ourselves when we look to ourselves alone and fail to see Jesus.

The Lord has destined His church for glory. Glory is manifested excellence and goodness. He is coming back for a glorious church. We can be excellent people with excellent attitudes, excellent thoughts, and excellent words.

He is looking for those that will believe and receive.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fountain Of Living Waters

Reading from the Book of Jeremiah 2:12-13
Jeremiah  2:12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. 13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

The people in Jeremiah 2:13 worked hard to dig wells for themselves, but their wells could not hold water. I am sure they were very disappointed when they did not get the result they wanted after working so hard. We know what it is like to work so hard with no results. We can spend many years of our lives digging "empty wells' like these, and that can be frustrating and discouraging.

You may be digging an empty well right now. Like a bowl that does not hold water.You may be working on something or somebody. You may have your own little project going on, but you are doing it your way. You may be following your own little plan, trying to make things happen in your own strength and ability. If so, it is not going to work if you have left God out of your plan.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to do something about something you cannot do anything about. It is similar to having your car stuck in the mud and continuing to press the accelerator down and spin your wheels until you burn up the engine. We often burn out from weariness due to "works of the flesh," which are works that do not work.

Many times we make a plan and pray for it to work. God wants us to pray first and ask Him for His plan. After we have His plan, then He wants us to trust Him to bring it to pass. Stop digging "empty wells" and let God lead you to His "fountain of living waters."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Little Foxes That Spoil The Vine

15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies

Solomon uses rich and unusual imagery to portray the love between a man and a woman in marriage. In Song of Solomon the married couple share a oneness that can be found in no other relationship.

Tucked away in the midst of the romance of the Song of Soloman is an extremly valuable piece of wisdom for everyday life. It is the "little foxes" that spoil the vine. What this means is that people's lives are typically not destroyed by what we would consider "big' issues, but by a series of smaller, seemingly insignificant choices or compromises.

Watch the "little foxes" in your life. Forgive even the most minor offense so that your heart stays clean, do not cut corners in your finaces or on the job when you think no one else will notice, do not expose yourself to ungodly influences, thinking, 'It won't hurt me if I do it just this once'. Little things add up to big things, and before you know it, "little foxes" can ruin a strong, healthy vine.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stir Up Yourself!

Reading from the Book of II Timothy 1:5-9
II Timothy1:5 when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice and,I am persuaded, is in thee also.Therefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee through the putting on of my hands.For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner; but be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God,who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but in accordance with His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

It appears that Timothy was getting fearful, weary, and unsure of his call. His spirit was sinking. So Paul came in with a strong word to revive him. Paul reminded him of his faith and how it came to him. He told him in essence, "I remember your grandmother's faith. I remember your mother's faith. I remember when I laid my hands on you and we prayed for you to receive the gifts that are in you." Then he said, "Now stir up the gift that is in you."

Nobody can stir up your gift, that fire within you, the way you can. Other people can stir you up, but as soon as you are alone, you can grow cold again. That is when you have to stir up yourself. Pray, worship, and praise God. Remember what He has spoken to you. Preach to yourself if you have to. Just do whatever it takes for you to stay stirred up in God!

Stir Up Yourself!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

He Is

Reading from the Book of Colossians 3:1-11

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness which is idolatry.Because of these, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience,in which ye also once walked, when ye lived in them.But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.Do not lie one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds,10 and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him,11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
When you accepted Christ into your life, you became a new you. And the new you is different, is set apart and is special in God's sight.

Stop judging, stop comparing and stop criticizing. Everything you need to be concerned about is in Christ. Don't be looking so much at one another, but instead focus your attention on Him. Be in union with God.

Everything in you is now new. Your focus, your actions, your thoughts, and your heart desire are new. Don't compare with how you were, instead check the scriptures. Check the Holy Spirit. Check out all that is in God and you will find all that is to be in you.

Open your heart. Make room in your heart for God. Don't focus on yourself or on others. Instead, focus on God and the fullness that He alone has. Then become all that God desires.

He is full of tender mercies.
He is full of compassion.
He gives.
He encourages.
He will bless.
He will show.
He will shine.
He will forgive.
He will laugh.
He will cry.
He will help the poor.
He will extend His Hand to the weak.
He will give strength to the weary.
He will lift up the down trodden.
He will raise the dead. 
He will heal.
He will drive out devils.
He will heal all manner of weakness.
He will welcome the outcast.
He will speak tenderly to the broken.
He will pour out His Heart to the lonely

These are just some of the things God is and will do
Begin searching.
Begin looking.
Begin taking special notice, of all the things that He is.

These are the new things that He is doing in and through you.
He is full of tender mercies and wants you to do the same.
He is full of compassion and wants you to be full of compassion.
He gives and He wants you to give.
He encourages and He wants you to encourage.

And so it goes....
Each virtue,
Each fruit,
Each good thing is a gift from God

He is.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Are You Prepared?

Reading from the Book of John 14:1-3
John 14:1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

This scripture has been used and can be quoted by nearly every believer and we find great comfort in it, but I sometimes wonder if we have relegated this text to a text that only belongs to our future instead of appropriating its meaning into our present.

This text is all about preparation. First, the cure of a troubled heart is found in faith in God. Many in this day battle a troubled heart. In these unstable times it’s easy to give way to a troubled heart. We see the problems with the governments of the world crumbling, our financial systems in more trouble than we can pay our way out of, our educational systems no longer holding to the values of competitive lead, and many of the signs of the last days being unfolded before our eyes each night on national news. Fear can most assuredly take hold of our heart and lead us into a radical mindset of our own strength to make our way clear and straight.  

This scripture teaches us that the first step in our preparation is to believe in God. Believe in His strength, power, authority, and deliverance for our own life. If we trust the power of God and realize His power, the fears and worries we most often face will be gone, understanding that God is in control and will take care of us according to His great will for us.

Second, our future is in the hand and care of our Lord. He said, in my Father’s house are many mansions. There is a place prepared for us after this life is over that the Father has in store for us. The way you deal with your past is to appropriate your future into your present and that will destroy your past. For the Child of God this is our hope and our rejoicing. To the one who is outside of faith in Christ they cannot and do not have the hope of a glorious future, but to walk into faith in Christ gives us the hope of the future that the Father has prepared for us. He also said, “if I go, I will come again.”  This is a glorious promise for those who have trusted Him. He is coming again to take us to where He is. There is nothing that can hinder your joy if this truth is established in your heart.

Third, our present has been prepared by the Lord as much as our future has. Often we miss this truth that is in the text. Remember, He said in my Father’s house are many mansions. He isn’t preparing a home in heaven. Our home in heaven was already there when He spoke this to the disciples. So then what is he preparing? He went to the Fathers right hand to make intercession for us. His first order of business after He presented His blood as the sacrifice for sin was to pray to the Father for the giving of the Holy Spirit. The rest of this chapter teaches us that the preparation of the Lord for us is in the person of the Holy Spirit.  

The greatest preparation known to the world was the preparation of the Lord Jesus for and to us. Everything that God has ever done or will do has been a move of preparation. Therefore, we can conclude that God prepares for a prepared people. God prepares to make us a prepared people. God and God alone can make the preparation needed for you to be victorious in these last days.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Enter Into His Rest

 Reading from the Book of Hebrews 4:3
Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Those that believe God enter into His rest. Experiencing His rest is one way you can tell whether you are really 'in' faith, or whether you are just trying to 'have' faith. When you truly enter into the realm of faith, you enter into the rest of God.

Rest is freedom from excessive reasoning, struggle, fear, inner turmoil, worry and frustration, which develop beacuse of our working to do what only God can do. Being in God's rest is not neccessarily resting from physical activity, but resting in confidance in the midst of everything that goes on in life. It is a rest of the soul where the mind, will and emotions are at peace.

You can rest in God because you know He will take care of you and meet your needs. You do not know when or how and you really do not care because you are enjoying the life you have right now while God works on your problem. If you are worn out, I urge you to enter into His rest.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Strength, Our Rock, Our Fortress!

Reading from the Book of II Samuel 22: 32-33

32 32 32For who is God, except the Lord?And who is a rock, except our God?
33 33God is my strength and power,And He makes my way perfect.

God is our Strength, our Rock, and our Fortress. He asks us to put our faith in Him and to believe that we can do whatever He asks us to do. He is mighty to uphold us and make us stand. He will support us and keep us from falling.

God's strength is readily available to us, and we receive it through believing the promise He has made to give it to us. If we believe we are weak, then we will only manifest weakness, but the Bible says, "Let the weak say, I am strong!" (Joel 3:10).

When we can say we are strong with a heart of conviction--even though we are weak in ourselves--the Lord will be strong in us, and we will experience victory in our lives!

He is my strength when I am weak.
He is my rock when I am slipping.
He is my deliever when I am trapped.
He is my fortress when I an crumbling.
He is my refuge when I am pursued.
He is my shield when I am exposed.
He is my Lord when life spins out of control.
By Beth Moore

A heart that makes Him its own--one that can state, "He is mine"--is a heart that cannot help but love.
I love you, Lord!"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Be A Living Sacrifice

Reading from the Book of Romans 12:1
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Do you know what Paul is telling us here in this verse? He says that we are to dedicate everything about ourselves to God. Not just our possessions, money, time, energy, and efforts, but also our bodies, heads, hands, tongues, and even our minds, emotions, and attitudes.

We are to dedicate everything about ourselves to God as a "living sacrifice," holy, devoted, consecrated, and pleasing to Him. This is our reasonable, rational, intelligent service and spiritual worship.

Often we get the impression that to totally serve and worship God means to involve our bodies and spirits, but there is more. Here Paul says that we are to serve and worship God with our minds and emotions also.

We need to invite God to think and speak through us. This will let Him touch people through us. You can serve God with your face by smiling and showing yourself to be friendly to other people. You can serve God through your hands by helping or aiding someone who is sick, disabled, or homeless. You can serve God through your attitude, to someone who is depressed, angry or suffering a loss.

Allow God to use all of you. The more of yourself and your life that you release to Him, the more you will be full-filled and experience His peace and joy. Be a 'living sacrifice".

Friday, August 24, 2012

Are You Ready To Die?

 Reading from the Book of John 12:20-25
John 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

At this moment, Jesus had just made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, something prophesied 500 years earlier by the Prophet Zechariah. Large crowds of Jewish people in the city for the Passover Week had just cheered Jesus’ entrance, celebrating the arrival of the prophesied Messiah. Amidst the commotion, a group of Greeks wanted to meet Jesus. When the Disciples informed the Lord, His response taught a profound lesson about His mission and the life of every Christian believer who ever lived.

Many of the people who were following Jesus expected Him to establish an earthly Kingdom for the Jews. This was the moment many had been waiting for. Jesus had performed many miracles, He had taught with the wisdom of the prophets. But the pinnacle would be taking back Jerusalem, which at that time was under Roman occupation and retuning it back to the Jewish people who had lived there for centuries. This would be glory! But when Jesus spoke of being glorified, He was not referring being an earthly ruler.

Jesus uses a simple metaphor to make a very profound point. When the “corn of wheat” or a kernel of grain falls to the ground and withers, the seed is released which brings forth new plants and fruits. This is what Jesus had to do as well. This was the ultimate mission of the “Servant".

Jesus had to die because in His death He took the punishment for our sins. It allowed the wrath of God that every person deserves and has hanging over them for their sinning, to fall on Jesus in our place. With every wound He received on the cross, He was bearing the guilt, shame and sin of all of humanity. And in His death we can be “healed” from the death sentence of Hell all people receive as sinners who are clearly guilty in the eyes of a just and Holy God.

In His death, we literally obtained a way to eternal life. And the fruit is shown in the people coming to seek Him. Who wanted to know the way to salvation. Who wanted to know the way to Heaven. The explosion of the Christian faith throughout the world following the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus are the amazing fruits of His death.

And here is the challenge for the reader or listener. Are you in love with your life on Earth? Are you clinging to living life your way, continuing in sinful behavior and following your own personal desires over pursuing God and His righteousness? If so, then Jesus gives a strong warning: you will lose your life. Many people claim to “follow Jesus” or that “I’m not religious but I follow the teachings of Jesus” but being a true follower of Christ takes more than that. We are to “hate” our lives. What does this mean? It means realizing that we are sinners who have repeatedly and willfully violated God’s laws and as a result stand guilty before Him. And all sinners are destined for eternal damnation. Thus being willing to give up our personal agendas to put faith in Jesus and let His desires take over our lives. To let what pleases God become what pleases us. It means choosing a life of Biblical purity over casual sinning. We do not have to literally die. We have to crucify our former sinful past that only seeks worldly pleasure.

This is what Jesus commanded to strangers who desired to see Him and His glory. And He asks the same of you. Not only will faith in Jesus give eternal life, it gives the new believer a chance to help save the souls of others because now that person can go into the world and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Living a life for Jesus is the “death” that we must all be willing to endure. This is how Jesus is glorified. And the seeds of the Gospel that we can then share with others can bring in much more fruit to the Kingdom of Heaven. So beloved, are you ready die?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Of Mountains And Valleys

Reading from the Book of Isaiah 40:4-8
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

We all have "mountaintop" experiences and valleys (low moments) in our lives. We all have crooked places that seem confusing, times that are uneven (up and down), and situations that are rough and difficult. These verses teaches us that the flesh (people like you and me) is like puffs of smoke or blades of grass. We are here on earth for a very short time. We tend to be fragile, unsure, and shaky during our relatively brief lifetimes. God knows that and has no problem with it, because He is willing to work through us and to show Himself strong in our weaknesses. Actually, the Bible teaches that God's strength shows itself most effectively through our weaknesses (II Corinthians 12:9). Our weaknesses and shortcomings are like magnets for His power.

God can handle knowing what we lack and knowing that we fail. We, on the other hand, tend to beat ourselves up over our imperfections. We try to make excuses for them, try to compensate for them, and try to keep other people from seeing them. Instead, we need to admit our weaknesses and face them, not feel badly about them. We need to be honest about what we can do, but we need to be equally honest about what we cannot do, recognizing that those things are great opportunities for God to work through us.

Remember that God is not surprised by your inabilities, imperfections, or faults. He has always known about those areas of your life, even if you are just now discovering them. Only God is perfect. He chose you anyway, and He loves you in spite of all your shortcomings. 

We need to encourage each other to get up every morning, love God, and do your best in every situation. God has control of all of our mountains and valleys!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Joy Of Your Master

Reading from the Book of 1 John 1:4
I John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

It's been said that most folks are so busy trying to find happiness, they never find joy.  What is this strange little three letter word that can mean so much in your life?  What does it really mean?

Jesus spoke many times of our "joy being made full", expressing His desire that we share in His joy.  (John 15:11; 17:13)

John the Baptist found joy in being the "friend of the bridegroom", vicariously participating in the joy of Jesus in establishing His relationship with His followers.  (John 3:29)

Joy is listed as one portion of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  And we are even told to consider it joy when we are faced with trials (James 1:2-3).

John said in 1 John 1:4 that they were writing the letter so that their "joy might be made complete."  The word translated "our" might also be translated "your."  What did John mean?

The joy that the Bible talks about is a sure and certain knowledge within that you are a much-loved, chosen and adopted child of God… that He will cause all things that happen in your life to work for your good – even those that seem bad or that are bad – because you love Him and are called according to His purpose… that the trials you face come to pass, not to stay… that when things are the roughest, He is not just walking beside you, but instead, He is carrying you… that you are so important to Him that Jesus would have gone to the cross if you were the only one who needed to be saved.  That is joy.  Happiness is fleeting, but joy is permanent.  Happiness can elude you, but joy is right there in you. The joy is that of your Master.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Side Of Power

Reading from the Book of II Timothy 1:5-7
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,  
longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.  
5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.  
For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

It seems that Timothy was getting fearful, weary, and unsure of his call. His spirit was sinking, so Paul came in with a strong word to revival him. Paul reminded him of his faith and how it came to him. He told him essence. "I remember your grandmother's faith. I remember your mother's faith. I remember when I laid my hands on you and we prayed for you to receive the gifts that are in you. Then he said, "Now stir up the gift within you."

Nobody can stir up your gift, that fire within you. Other people can stir you up, but as soon as you are alone, you can grow cold again. That is when you have to stir up yourself. Pray, worship, and praise God. Remember what He has spoken to you. Preach to yourself if you have to. Just do whatever it takes for you to stay stirred up in God.

Timidity, which is the same as fear, is not from God and that God gives us power, love, a calm and well-balanced mind, discipline and self-control. fear will never stop against us. We must learn to do what God tells us do whether we feel fear or not.

The Word says, many times, "fear not."  The way to conquer fear is to press on through it and get to the other side of it---the side of freedom, which is the side of power.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sun-rising Victory!

Reading from the Book of Psalm 143:6-10
I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
Praise the Lord in the midst of the problem. David knows the importance of praise. He lifts his hands in worship. He declares what his need truly is: He needs God. God alone can water a thirsty soul. Do not be deceived into thinking that anything else can satisfy you fully and completely. Chasing after the wrong thing will always leave you disappointed.

Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
Ask for God's help. David asked for help. He is basically saying, "Hurry up, God, because I am not going to be able to hold on very much longer without You."

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
Listen to the Lord. David knows that he needs to hear from God. He needs to be assured of God's love and kindness. He needs God's attention and direction.

Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
Pray for deliverance. Once again David declares that only God can help him. Please notice that throughout this discourse, he keeps his mind on God and not on the problem.

10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Seek God's wisdom, knowledge, and leadership. David has indicated that he has gotten out of the will of God and thus opened the door to the attack on his soul. He wants to be in God's will because he realizes that it is the only safe place to be.

I know it is the power of the Holy Spirit working throughout the Word of God that brings victory into our lives. But a large part of the work that needs to be done is for us to line up our thinking with God and His Word. If we refuse to do this or choose to think it is unimportant, we will never experience victory. But we will win if we discipline ourselves to meditate on the good things God has done. Experience every day, with a Sun-rising Victory in your life!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Glorious Liberty!

"Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8:21)

This verse contains the first of eleven occurrences of the Greek word eleutheria, "liberty," and defines the basic spiritual message of this splendid word. Because of sin, God has subjected the whole creation, animate and inanimate, to "the bondage of corruption." That is, everything is governed by a law of decay--a law of such universal scope that it is recognized as a basic law of science---stipulating that everything tends to disintegrate and die. Christ died for sin, however, and defeated death, so that He will someday deliver the whole groaning creation from its bondage into the glorious freedom from decay and death that will also be enjoyed by all who have received eternal life through faith in Christ.

This ultimate, perfect liberty can even now be appropriated in type and principle through looking into "the perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25), the Holy Scriptures.

When we become children of God, the Holy Spirit henceforth indwells our bodies, and "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17).

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13).

Stand fast therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" (Galatians 5:1).

And look forward to the Glorious Liberty of the ages to come.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day Of Trouble

Reading from the Book of Nahum 1:7

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Do not be surprised by trouble. Jesus said that in the world we will have tribulation and trials, but we know that He will also strengthen us and enable us to do whatever we need to do in life. God is our strength, our refuge and our stronghold in the day of trouble.

God knows those that trust Him and He already has a plan for our deliverance before our trouble ever begins. In Christ we have won the battle before it ever begins, therefore, we have no reason to be afraid of anything that comes our way.

"What will you do in the day of trouble"? I believe we are wise to make up our minds ahead of time concerning what we will do when trouble comes. We need to decide to be stable before trouble comes. Decide to stay in faith and remain thankful for what God is doing in your life. When difficulties arise, keep praising Him, and do not ever give up.

God is with us in the day of trouble.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Prisoner Of Hope

Reading from the Book of Zechariah 9:12
12 Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will
 render double unto thee.

As "prisoners of hope" we must allow ourselves to be captured by and filled 
with hope.We must think hope and we must talk hope. When you face a 
seemingly hopeless situation remember that in God, you are a prisoner of 
hope. There is no way to get away from the hope that is in Him.

What is a prisoner of hope? It is someone who refuses to stop hoping in God,
no matter how bad his or her circumstances are. Abraham was such a man. 
We learn from God's Word that all human reason for hope being gone, 
Abraham hoped on in faith that God's promise would come to pass in his life.

Godly hope is not the same quality as what the world calls "hope". Usually 
when we hear people say they are hoping something will or will not happen, 
they are vaguely hoping, but clearly doubting. They speak negatively and   
complain about almost everything and then wonder why nothing works out for
them. True biblical hope is a solid foundation. It is a springboard for our faith 
to take off from and actually take hold of the promise of God.

I know this may sound simple, but I think we can say real hope is a constant 
positive attitude that no matter what is happening currently, things will change 
for the better. Satan cannot defeat a person who refuses to stop hoping in 
God. Abraham refused to give up hope, and just as God had told him, he did 
become a father when he was to old to father children. Hope is powerful. It 
opens the door for the impossible to become possible. All things are possible 
with God, but we must cooperate with Him by being hopeful and full of faith.

God promises that He will restore double what we have lost or had stolen if we 
will stay hopeful. It does no good at all to be hopeless. It only makes us 
unhappy, critical, and grouchy. Hopelessness leads to depression and many 
other problems. Be the kind of person who absolutely refuses to be negative, 
and get ready to receive a double blessing for your former trouble.

Become a "prisoner of hope".