Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"This I Know"

"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:13

Today I was thinking about what I don't know in regard to the upcoming year. For instant, I don't know what tomorrow may hold. I don't know whether the Lord will return this year or not. I don't know just how bad things might get before He does return. I don't know what we may face in the days, weeks, months ahead. I don't know if this year will be better or worse that the last. I don't know if I will even make it through this next year- perhaps He'll call me home. I just don't know.

But there is something I do know. I know I don't have to worry about what tomorrow may hold because I know who holds tomorrow and who holds me in the palm of His hand. I know that the Lord is faithful. I know that His mercies are new every morning. I know that He crowns the year with His goodness. I know He will meet and supply all my need. I know that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I know that He will be with me always even unto the end of the world. I know that as I acknowledge Him in all my ways He will direct my path. I know that a thousand shall fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand but it will not come near me. I know that there is no good thing that He will withhold from me as I walk uprightly before Him. I know He heals all my diseases and forgives all my iniquities. I know that nothing can separate me from His love.

There are many things in this life that are uncertain, but there is one thing that we can be certain of-- God will never change. There are many things we don't know about the future, but this we know-- the Lord has already seen the end as well as the beginning. There are things that we won't know until we get there, but we know this-- God already knows. We don't know what will happen from one day to the next, but this one thing we know-- God is in control. We need to stop being concerned about what we "don't know" and encourage ourselves in what we do know. And what we know is that we can trust the Lord with our lives.

Have a great day. There is a lot about tomorrow that we don't know... but always remember that as long as God knows we don't have to be concerned about what we don't know.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"As They Went"

"And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. " Luke 17:14

"As they went". Three little words, but very significant. These lepers had heard the word of Jesus. Faith was produced in them and they responded to His words by faith-- they went. Faith doesn't always sit back and do nothing, faith often takes a step. In the Book of James it says, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." (James 2:17)

So many times we will hear the word of the Lord and do nothing. We wait for Him to "supernaturally" manifest it (or bring it to pass) before we move. There is a time to be still and wait, but there is a time to put action behind the faith. For these lepers, the healing would come as they went. When He said to "go show yourselves to the priests", they had to obey His word and go- that's when the healing came- as they went. Faith responds in obedience to the word of the Lord. Obedience is the "work" of faith that James was talking about. As they not only heard His word, but obeyed His word, they were healed.

Has He already spoken to you and told you to "go" but you are still sitting there waiting for some "sign", for it to happen first then you will go? It doesn't work that way. His word to you is your sign, it's all the sign you need. If you remain there waiting for something to happen instead of doing what He told you to do to cause it to happen, it's not going to happen. Again, their healing and deliverance came as they obeyed and did what He told them to do. Seek the Lord, know that you have heard a word from Him- not another person, not your own desires, but from Him- then go and do what He said to do.

Have a great day. It happened "as they went", not "as they stayed".

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Troubled By Troubles"

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1

Only the Lord knows the degree to which this life can be "troublesome". Troubles are on every side. They come from without and within. They happen in our families, on our jobs, with our health, in every area. The target of trouble is your heart. If it can get to your heart, it can cause you to be anxious, distressed, agitated, disturbed and disquieted. But there is a solution when trouble comes so that you won't fall prey to it but be victorious over it instead.

The verse above in grammar is an imperative sentence. In an imperative sentence the understood subject is "you". So the verse could read, "You don't let your heart be troubled." There is something that you must do. You have the responsibility to not let your heart become troubled. You have the responsibility to guard it with all diligence. You have the responsibility to take the steps to see that it is restored to peace should you allow it to become troubled.

What is that part? What is the solution? How do we obtain victory? "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:16,17) When trouble comes, don't let the fear and worry that it brings stay. Give it to God in prayer. Cast it upon the Lord. "Ye believe in God", remember who your belief and trust is in. He is greater than the trouble. He is greater than the fear it brings- He hasn't given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

When I think about not letting my heart be troubled, I think about the potential there is for it to "run wild" just like imaginations that aren't captured and cast down. I can picture a team of horses that are held by a rein. If you don't keep a good grip on that rein, the horses can run wild and drag you behind them. What trouble wants to do to your "heart" is cause you to "lose hold of the reins" so it can take you on a "wild ride" and "drag you down". But again, that doesn't have to happen. You don't have to let your heart be troubled by the troubles that come your way. Your faith is in God who is the giver of peace.

Have a great day. Don't let troubles cause you to be troubled.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Who's This Baby?"

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Luke 2:16

When the shepherds got to the manger, they saw more than just a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. They knew this was not an ordinary baby, they knew they were looking at the Savior of the world. As you look at the babe in the manger this Christmas you aren't just looking at a baby who was born of a virgin. Let me tell you what/who you are looking at.

When we look into the manger and see this babe, we are looking at Jesus and everything He is. We are looking at the Incarnate Son of God. We are looking at the great I Am. We are looking at the Savior of the world. We are looking at He who was, is and is to come. We are looking at the door- the means of access to the Father. We are looking at the Lamb of God who takes away sins. We are looking at the Lion of Judah. We are looking at the Way- the way that leads to eternal life- the Truth, the Life. We are looking at the Light. We are looking at the Good Shepherd. We are looking at the Alpha and Omega, the Author and Finisher, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the ever Eternal One. We are looking at the healer, deliverer, provider. We are looking at the soon coming King and the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Just because we see Him as a babe doesn't make Him any less of who He is- that babe was Jesus. He may have been wrapped in flesh, He may have been wrapped in infancy, He may have been wrapped in humanity, He may have been wrapped in weakness, but we still behold His glory... as that of the only begotten Son of God. (John 1:1-4,14)

Have a great day. Don't just see a helpless babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, see Jesus... and all He is.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Hear The Babe"

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:19

Do you need a word from the Lord this morning? Do you need to hear from Him? Do you need for Him to speak to you? Did you know that it is His desire to speak to you? It has always been God's desire to speak to and with His people. It's always been His desire to have fellowship and communion with us. This was evident in the Garden of Eden. God came down in the cool of each day to commune with Adam. That was the reason we were created-- "and for Thy pleasure we were created". (Rev. 4:11)

Man's sin is what broke that fellowship with God. Man's sin put God on one side and mankind on the other. Man's sin caused a problem in our communication with God. Even though man's sin caused the division in our fellowship with God, it did not change God's love for man nor His desire to have fellowship, communion and a relationship with us. This was God's desire from the beginning and because He does not change, it has still always been His desire.

Because of God's desire to have a relationship with us- one where we walk and talk together- He had a plan to make that possible once again. That plan began to manifest when in the fullness of time God sent His Son to be born of a woman- a virgin woman named Mary. The birth of Jesus was God speaking to mankind. It was God saying, "I love you. I desire a relationship with you. If you will put your faith and trust in my Son, then you will have access into my presence once more." God loved us so much, He wanted a relationship with us, He was so willing to forgive us and bring us back to Himself that He sent us a gift- the gift of reconciliation- and it came wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in a manger.

A relationship with God grants us the opportunity and ability to "hear from the Lord", to have Him "speak to us", to communicate and fellowship with Him. The relationship between mankind and God that was broken was "mended" back together through Jesus Christ. So when you look at the Christ child laying in a manger, don't just see Him, hear Him- hear what He is saying. He is speaking volumes. He is speaking loudly. He is speaking the depth and breadth and length and height of God's love for you.

Have a great day. Don't just see the babe in the manger, "hear" Him, listen to what God is saying to you through Him.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"It's The Beginning"

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

When we celebrate Christmas- the birth of Jesus, we can't stop at the manger, we have to go on to the cross and the empty tomb. Even though we celebrate the birth, death and resurrection as three separate events on the calendar that take place at different times throughout the year, they are a culmination of one purpose. They are three distinct events that work in conjunction with each other to make up the one plan and purpose of God-- to redeem mankind and reconcile his relationship with the Father.

The angel's announcement to Mary let her know that there was a wonderful, eternal purpose of God that was coming through the birth of her son. He announced to her that this was only the beginning of Jesus' mission and reason for coming to earth. "For He shall save His people from their sins." So what we celebrate at Christmas, the birth, was the beginning- the beginning of the fulfillment of God's plan to redeem mankind; not the end- therefore, you can't stop at the manger. At the cross Jesus said, "It is finished". Jesus is the Author and the Finisher. He is the First and the Last. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Beginning and the End. So what happened in a manger two thousand years ago was only the beginning- the starting point, the fulfillment beginning to manifest. It was finished at the cross.

Christ is not divided. We can't divide His life and segment it when we remember the events that surround it. He was the babe born a manger as the Lamb of God to take away sins and the crucified Christ who is the risen Savior. We celebrate it all- not as individual events but as part of the one divine plan of God.

Have a great day. What was begun in the manger was finished at the cross.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Go Tell It- Part 2"

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 52:7

Yesterday we talked about the agenda of the ungodly to totally erase Christ from Christmas. One way they are trying to do that is by substituting the word "Christmas" for "holiday". They no longer say, "Merry Christmas" but "Happy Holidays". It's now become just a "holiday". Several years ago someone came up with a saying, "Jesus is the reason for the season". Well, this year I have come up with my own saying, "Jesus is the reason for the holiday". Either way you can't get around Jesus. Call it a holiday if you like, but He is still the reason for the holiday. As a matter of fact, Jesus is the reason for "every day".

Jesus is the reason the world exist and the sun rose this morning- it was created by Him. Jesus is the reason we are living and breathing- He graciously gives us life and supplies what we need to live. Jesus is the reason we can have eternal life- He died on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Jesus is the reason we can have a relationship with God the Father- He reconciled us back to God. He is the reason we can have hope and peace even in devastating situations. Jesus is the reason why I get out of bed each day. He is the one who sustains and keeps me going. He is the one who meets and supplies my every need. So the bottom line is "Jesus is the reason"-- everyday, not just at Christmas, not just on certain holidays, not just on Sunday.

Because of this we not only need to "go tell it on the mountain" and spread the gospel at Christmas time but everyday. We need to acknowledge Him Sunday through Saturday; 24/7; day in and day out. We can't just proclaim this good news once or twice a year. Our stand to keep Christ at the forefront is something we should be doing everyday and not just when they threaten to remove Him from a holiday that bears His name and was intended to celebrate Him.

Have a great day. We must remind the world everyday that Jesus Christ is the "reason".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Go Tell It"

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

"Go tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and everywhere, Go tell it on the mountain, Our Jesus Christ is born."
I don't have to tell you that we are in a battle. It really becomes evident at this time of year. It's a spiritual battle that is being fought in the natural realm by those who are against Christ. Those who are anti-Christ, those who adhere to political correctness, those who are atheistic in their beliefs are trying to take Christ out of Christmas. They are trying to remove His name from every social arena. They want to wipe out any sign of Him off the face of the earth. They attack anything and anyone that puts Him in the spot light.

As we were singing the Christmas carol above the other day, I began to think about this issue of removing Christ from Christmas. These that are propagating this are "telling it on a mountain". They are very outspoken with their agenda. They aren't being quiet. They aren't sitting idly by. They are shouting their message from the roof tops-- through the news media, through television, on the radio, on the street corners, in public as well as in private. They are "telling it" and telling it loudly without reservation.

This carol also reminded me that we have a message and we need to be telling it. We need to shout it from the mountains, the hills and everywhere. We need to remind them that "Jesus Christ is born". We can't let them forget the meaning of Christmas. We can't let them forget that a Savior came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. We can't let them forget that there is hope, and it entered the world in the form of a babe in a manger.

I am not "telling" this message for my sake. They may take Christ out of our celebrations, out of public eye, out of society, but they cannot take Him out of my heart. In my heart there will always be a place for Him, there will always be room, there will always be worship and praise. But we must proclaim the message for their sakes. They need to know because the message that is able to make us wise unto salvation and is the power of God unto salvation, started becoming reality when a virgin gave birth on that first Christmas day to the glorious Son of God- the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world.

Have a great day. Those who oppose Christ are telling their message... we need to be telling ours louder, clearer and with perseverance lest they forget.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"One Of Them"

"And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." Acts 3:8

Have you ever seen those people who are just overjoyed in their salvation? Some call them "fanatics". Others refer to them as "one of them". All they want to talk about is Jesus. They get a little "too" excited about the Lord. They lift their hands, they shout, they jump around, they dance, they act a little "wild" at times. Well, there are times when I am one of those kinds of Christians. I can't help myself... I just want to run, jump, shout and praise the Lord demonstratively, and can hardly contain it. Shall I tell you why? What prompts such behavior in me and in others when we tend to get "emotional" about the Lord.

The man at the Gate Beautiful is an example of "one of them". When the Lord healed him, he went into the temple "walking and leaping and praising God". His action wasn't just prompted by the fact that he was now able to use his legs that were once paralyzed. I believe it was because the man "came back to life"- he got his life back. He sat at the temple gate begging all day, everyday. He had to have someone carry him to the gate, he had to depend on others to support him, he had to have someone come and get him at the end of the day. This man had no life- he was as good as dead. But on that particular day when he was healed, he came alive. No wonder he was walking, leaping, running, shouting, praising God.

I shared that story to give you my answer. You see, I was once dead- dead in trespasses and sin- I had no life- but Jesus passed by my way and raised me up out of my "beggarly" state. He, who is life, breathed His breath of life into me. I passed from death into life. The wages of my sin produced death but He gave me His gift of eternal life. I came alive! When I think about that-- it makes me want to shout! I get so excited and overwhelmed at the fact that He gave me my life back. I have a reason to shout, so that's why I shout! That's why I dance! That's why I jump around! That's why I can't contain myself when I think about it! I was once dead but now I am alive! Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus!

Have a great day. I am glad to be "one of them"... and thankfully so!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"He Is Called"

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

One day Jesus asked His disciples what men were saying about Him. He wanted to know what they were "calling" Him. Was Jesus concerned about His reputation? Was He curious to know what people thought about Him? Was He interested in finding out whether the people liked Him or not? Was He like us, wanting everyone to think well and highly of us? Jesus already knew what they were saying about Him, He knew what they were calling Him. He was often called many things while He was on earth. Some called Him teacher, some called Him a glutton and drunkard, some even called Him the prince of devils. The disciples said that the people were calling Him John the Baptist, Elijah or a great prophet.

The point of Jesus' inquiry was not self motivated. He wasn't worried about what people thought about Him. He wasn't taking a popularity poll. Jesus had something else in mind. He wanted to bring the disciples individually to a place where they would search their own hearts and beliefs about who He was. His next question was,"Who do you say I am?"

Before His birth the prophet said that He would be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. In the garden Mary called Him Master. Peter called Him the Son of God. John the Baptist called Him the Lamb of God that takes away sins. At the cross the soldier called Him the Son of God. The thief on the cross called Him Lord.

Jesus still asks the same question today. His motive is still the same. And He is still asking it individually. Who do you say I am? What do you call Me? This morning, who do you call Him? Do you call Him a prophet who lived in times past? Or just another teacher? Do you call Him Savior, Lord, Master? Do you call Him wonderful, glorious, precious? It's a question that is posed to us individually, therefore, it is one we must each answer and can only answer for ourselves. So what is your answer?

Have a great day. Who do you call Him?

Monday, December 15, 2008

"He Is Great"

"For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength." Job 37:6

Thursday morning when we woke up it was snowing. As I watched the inches accumulate and the flakes get bigger and bigger and fall heavier and heavier, I could not help but think of the greatness of God. I stood looking out the back door in total awe of how God not only created the snow, but knew exactly how many flakes had fallen, how many flakes were in each inch, how many were still to fall. The number of flakes that fell just in my back yard alone were more than we have a number to express. Not only that but I have been told that no two snow flakes are just alike. I am overwhelmed by this more than amazing God.

I just want to spend this morning exalting God. I know we talked about this recently, but with each passing day He reveals a little more about Himself. And with each revelation it leaves us standing in awe of just how great, infinite and powerful He is. Take time today to meditate of the greatness of God. Look at His marvelous, complex creation and give Him praise for being Who He is... a great, great God.

Have a great day. God is so much bigger and greater than we can imagine.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Drink Water"

"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:14

Do you ever get thirsty? Sure, we all get thirsty at times for something cool and refreshing especially during the summer time. But I am talking about another thirst. We have a natural thirst that takes place in our bodies and we have an inward thirst that takes place deeper within us.

When I am physically thirsty, nothing seems to quench that thirst like plain old water- soda doesn't, juice doesn't, nothing, just water. The inward thirst is the same- there is only one thing that satisfies it. We try to satisfy it through relationships, through activity, through education, through social status, through entertainment, through possessions, but they still leave us thirsty. The woman at the well tried to satisfy her inner thirst through relationships- "For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband." (John 4:18)-- but always came up thirsting again.

The One who created us, who designed us, who knows what we are made of, who uniquely formed us knows what it takes to satisfy the inward thirst and He told us what that was-- "whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." If you have tried to satisfy your thirst but are still thirsty, it may be because you are trying to satisfy it with the wrong thing. As I said earlier, the only thing that truly satisfies my physical thirst is water. The only thing that can satisfy this deep inward thirst is water-- the Living Water that Jesus gives-- this water is Himself.

Have a great day. Thirsty? Drink some water--- living water.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"No Pain, No Gain"

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everything in life came to us easily. Wouldn't it be great if it came on "soft beds", "flowery pillows" and on pleasant sun filled days. But that's not reality. More things come, and are gained, through suffering, pain and hardship than they do through ease. Our precious children are born through travail. Muscles are built through strenuous exercise. Endurance is gained through pressing past the aches and pains. Even playing a guitar is accompanied by calluses.

Without the oven the bowl of dough would never become bread to satisfy the hungry. Without being crushed the fragrance that is within the flower would never be enjoyed. Without the firing process the lump of clay would never be changed into a vessel that is substantial and fit for use. Without pressure a piece of coal won't become a diamond. Without night day doesn't look at bright. Without battles victory doesn't smell as sweet. Without weeping laughter doesn't sound as good. Without thirst and heat cool water doesn't feel as refreshing.

Even the wonderful salvation we enjoy didn't come easy. It cost something- it cost God everything and it came through the suffering of Jesus. So don't despise trouble, affliction, suffering. Those things that are of more value, that are much more precious, that are eternal, don't come cheaply or easily, they come with a price, but in the long run the price is worth it. Remember the old saying: no pain, no gain? How true. But in God's "scheme of things" not only is there gain through those things we suffer, but it's great gain.

Have a great day. Without the rain we wouldn't enjoy the sunshine. Easy does not produce that which is priceless and eternal.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Real Strength"

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

Yesterday when I sat down to rock my grandbaby, I decided to turn on the television for a moment. Joni Erikson Tada and a friend, Renee, were on. As I watched these two ladies, I realized that I was watching two extremely "strong" women. No, they weren't physically strong. They were confined to wheel chairs. They couldn't walk, they couldn't run a race, they couldn't dress themselves, they couldn't even brush their own hair or change their shoes. But as I listened to their testimonies, as I heard their words, as I saw the peace that rested upon them, as I looked at the grace that surrounded them, I knew I was not looking at two ordinary women- not because they were paralyzed and couldn't use their hands or feet- but because they were women of incredible faith and confidence in the Lord.

Strength is not measured by how much weight you can bench press. It's not measured by how fast or far you can run. Real strength is not measured by what you can do physically... it's measured by what you do/are "inwardly". Is strength the lack of tears in a sorrowful situation? No, strength is the confidence that God will wipe the tears away and turn your sorrow into joy. Does strength mean you are always "on top"-- always on the mountain, never in the valley or pit? No, it means that wherever you are, you know you are not alone because the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. Does strength mean that you always understand what's happening to you so you can endure it? No, to that also. Real strength means that you don't try to lean to your own understanding, but trust that some how, some way God will work all things together for the good.

The strength I am talking about doesn't give up even when all odds are against you. It goes the second mile- even when the first one was painful. It keeps looking up even when everything else says to look down. It holds fast it's confidence in God even when you feel like He has "slain" you. Those who posses real strength know that it doesn't come from exterior circumstances or outside help, it comes from abiding in the presence of the Lord and letting Him "infuse" you with His strength-- for His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Have a great day. Truly strong people are not those who have bulging biceps, but those who keep their trust and faith in the Lord even in difficult situations.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Don't Blame God"

"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." John 11:21

Blaming God is nothing new... it started back in the Garden of Eden. "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." (Genesis 3:12) When things go wrong, or don't go according to our plans, or something bad happens, God seems to get the blame for it. Adam blamed God, Martha blamed God, Mary blamed God, many people all around the world blame God. They blame Him because He allowed something to happen, didn't allow something to happen, didn't stop something from happening, didn't work the problem out, didn't make a way, etc... the list is endless.

Blaming God is a two-fold mistake: 1) It's incorrect. When you blame God, you are misplacing the blame. God is never to blame for anything. 2) When you blame God, you are pointing a finger at your only true source of help. Job never would have made it through his time of suffering had he blamed God and turned his back on Him because God was the only One who could have gotten him through it. God was the only one who could bring him comfort, strength and healing. Mary and Martha blamed God/Jesus- the only One who could help them. He was the only one who could give life and hope into their situation.

Bad things happen and things don't always happen to our liking. There is usually a place to place blame when they do, but it's not on God. He is your source. He is your strength. He is your deliverer. He is your comfort. He is the fountain from which you can drink, find rest and receive comfort when bad things happen.

Have a great day. Don't blame God when things are bad, don't turn your back on Him, don't cut Him off... because you are cutting off your own source of help.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Christmas Picture"

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:11

I quit going to the annual Christmas parade a couple of years ago because it's just too cold to be standing out there. Well, last night I braved the cold because my daughter wanted to take my granddaughter to her first parade, and of course, Nana couldn't miss it. This morning I was reflecting on the night, and Christmas in general, and began to think about the real meaning of Christmas---- CHRIST BIRTHDAY! The more I thought about it, the more I found myself making some comparisons between celebrating Christ and celebrating His birth. Let me explain.

We will stand in freezing weather to watch a Christmas parade, but we won't get out of our warm beds to go to our prayer closet in our warm houses to spend a few minutes with the Lord. We will fight the traffic jam afterwards just to get back home, but we won't get in our cars on Sunday morning and go to church. We take our child to the mall and stand in a line of screaming children for hours just to get a picture with Santa Claus, but we can't sit in church for more than thirty minutes without squirming and watching the clock. We will spend the money that we don't have, borrow the money or max out credit cards to buy Christmas presents that we don't need, but we won't give tithes and offerings. We will get up in the middle of the night to be the first in line at the store to buy that hard to find item, but we won't get up even a few minutes earlier than we have to in order to have time alone with the Lord. We go to great lengths to cover our houses with lights, but we hide the light of Christ within us.

All that I have talked about are the things that we associate with Christmas, but something is wrong with the picture. There is something wrong when we give more attention, time and money to the "trappings" of Christmas than we do to the One that Christmas is all about. There is something wrong when we celebrate His birth but we don't celebrate Him. I think we need to step back and individually make some comparisons of our own lives during this time to see where we are putting the emphasis... on Christ or on Christmas?

Have a great day. Are you celebrating Christ? Or events?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"He's A Big God"

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Isaiah 40:12

On Wednesday nights at church we have been watching a video teaching by John Bevere. Last night he was talking about the awesomeness of God- exactly how big and how great God is. He used the scripture above and began to compare the size of God with the universe in terms we could understand (although it's still hard to wrap our little finite minds around some of those figures). He talked about the size of the universe and how long it takes to get to our closet star. If we traveled in a jet from the earth to the sun it would take 21 years to get there. Our next closet star is over four million light years away. He went on to say that our galaxy is only one of millions that are out there, yet as big as the universe is, God can measure it with the span of His hand. There are billions of stars in the universe, but the Lord not only created them, but calls each one by name (and never forgets a name).

Personally, I can't fathom how big the universe is, but God measures it with His hand. I can't even fully comprehend the size of all the oceans in the world, but God counts every drop of water in them and holds them all combined in the palm of His hand. He knows how much the earth weighs. He sets the mountains and hills on a scale and weighs them like you would weigh a pound of meat. He knows how many grains of sand on the seashore. He knows how many blades of grass in my front yard. He knows how many apples on each tree, and He knows how many apples are in an apple seed waiting to be planted. He tells the ocean how far it call go on the shore. He knows the number of fish in the sea, birds in the air, cattle on the ground. There is no way to fully comprehend how big God truly is.

But at the same time, this big, awesome and amazing God knows me. He knows how many tears I cry when I am hurting. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows how many times my heart beats a minute. He knows my DNA without looking at it under a microscope. He knows how many blood cells are in my body. He knows my every thought even before I think them.

Don't limit the Lord, He is bigger and greater than we have the ability to understand- He can do anything! But don't limit Him either by thinking that He is so big that He doesn't care about you or have time for you. You are more important to Him than the stars of the sky, the sands of the sea or the vastness of the universe. These are all evidence of the greatness of God. But He humbled Himself and took on the likeness of sinful flesh then died on the cross to take away your sins-- that was His evidence of how great His love is for you.

Have a great day. He is bigger and greater than we will ever be able to understand but He loves us so much.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Where Are You Looking?

"Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me." Micah 7:7

Do you know why we get discouraged? Do you know why we get fearful? Do you know why we start murmuring and complaining? Do you know why we get discontent? It's because of where we are looking! When the Israelites looked at the giants that were in the land, they got fearful. When Peter looked at the winds and waves, he began to sink. When Lot's wife looked at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, she became a pillar of stone. When the Israelite army looked at the size of Goliath, their hearts sank in fear.
When we look at what we don't have instead of what we do have, we become ungrateful and begin to complain. The Israelites looked at the meat they didn't have and complained against God instead of looking at the manna that He was sending them each day. When we look at our problem instead of looking to the "hills from whence cometh our help", we become fearful and faithless. When we look at the situation instead of looking to God, doubt and discouragement will come in. When we look at the mountain, we lose faith and give up.

When you read some of the writings of David in the Psalms, you'll read words of complaint and petition. He'll say such things as- my enemies pursue me, they are stronger than I am, they are out to get me, my soul is cast down, I am in distress, my strength is gone, etc. But don't stop there he always goes on to say- but the Lord is my helper, I will put my trust and faith in the Lord, the Lord will show me the way to take, He shall destroy my enemies, He is on my side. This is what I like must about David- one minute he may be acknowledging his problem, but the next minute he is acknowledging the power and provision of His God. You can tell when he turns from the problem to faith in God- there seems to be a 'dividing line'. Do you know what the difference was? He stopped looking in one direction and started looking in another. He stopped looking at his problem and started looking at God (his problem solver, the One who was greater than his problem, the One who was able to handle his problem).

Where are you looking this morning- at the storm, at the giants, at the mountain, at the impossibility of the situation? Are you looking at the great I Am, the Healer, the Deliverer, the Redeemer, the Supplier? Where you look will determine if you are defeated or have victory. Where you look will either make you grateful or ungrateful, fearful or full of faith, discouraged or encouraged, depressed or at peace. It all boils down to what you are looking at- God or the problem.

Have a great day. What are you looking at?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Did You Ask?"

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3

Someone who I am close to has been calling me for weeks to help give them some advice for a situation they are in. They have a decision to make and the time is getting short- they have to make it within just a matter of days. I asked her yesterday what was she hearing from the Lord in prayer about this matter. She told me that she really hasn't prayed about it. This amazes me! She is a very godly woman and even teaches the Bible-- the same Bible that tells her not to lean to her own understanding but to acknowledge the Lord in all her ways; the same Bible that says that it's not in a man to direct his own steps; the same Bible that says that there is a way that seems right unto a man but the end is destruction; the same Bible that says, "Without Me, you can do nothing."

There is a two-fold message in this word this morning: 1) Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. It does you no good to just know what it says, be able to quote it or teach it's principals to others. The benefit is in the application- in doing what it says, acting upon it, following it's instructions. The second is- you should never try to make decisions without the council of God. My friend keeps asking me what she should do-- I don't have any more of a clue than she does unless I seek the Lord for an answer. We (none of us) just don't know what's the best thing to do, we just don't have the answers, we just cannot make wise decisions on our own, we are so finite- confined to the knowledge of the moment- unable to see down the road, see the outcome or see the avenues that are hidden from our view. So it's no wonder she doesn't know what to do--- "you have not, because you ask not".

Let me combine the two messages into one word briefly: Look to God's word and apply it to every situation and decision you are faced with- no matter how big or small it may be- because you don't have what it takes to make the right choices on your own.... but He does, and He will show you as you "seek Him first."

Have a great day. Are you trying to make decisions on your own? You can't do it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

"How To Handle Problems"

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

A while back I read a little sign that was hanging on an office wall- I have also received it as an email (you probably have too). I want to share it with you this morning. It said, "Good morning, this is God. I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help... so have a good day." I thought it was a good reminder. When problems arise... not if... when... because they do arise, and more frequently than we wish, we tend to try to handle them ourselves. Even if we go to God with them, it's not long before we find our hands on them trying to solve the problem, trying to manipulate the situation, trying to make something happen. The end result of our "help" usually only makes matters worse. Abraham and Sarah tried to help God and got an Ishmael.

Are you trying to "help" God? Are you trying to tell Him how to solve the problem? Are you trying to take matters into your own hands? Are you trying to make something happen? Are you pushing God aside and trying to figure it out on your own? Or are you letting Him handle the problem- the whole problem- His way, according to His wisdom and plan, in His own time? Are you going to let go and take your hands off and trust Him to handle it? I would have a terrible problem if I had to figure out how to create a day. But He solved the "problem" of how to create it... because it was no problem for Him at all. "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27) Let the fact that today is here be a reminder to you that He is well able to handle anything on His own and does not need your help. If He does need it... like my parents used to tell me... "if I need your help, I'll ask for it".

Have a great day. He doesn't need your help, if He does He'll ask for it, so take your hands off or you are going to wind up giving Him more than one problem to solve.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"One Tongue"

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

There is a song that says, "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing praise to the King". If we had a thousand tongues we still couldn't praise Him enough. Would we use all one thousand of them to praise and honor Him? Since we don't have a thousand, but we do have one, I have to ask the question... "What are you doing with the one tongue you have?"

How are you using it? Are you using it to edify, to encourage, to speak words of kindness and healing? Are you using it to bring hope? Are your words words of peace, faith, blessings? Do your words truly glorify God? Or do you use your tongue to backbite, discourage, intimidate? Do you speak words of unbelief, doubt, cursing? Do you tear down, condemn, murmur and complain? Do you use it for both- blessings and cursing, truth and lies, faith and fear, encouragement and discouragement?

Often, we just say what we want to say and give no thought to our words. I encourage, and challenge, you today to pay attention to your speech. Give yourself a test and take note of how you are using your tongue. Here is a prayer for our tongues which is posted on my Khawdash blog. Maybe we should be praying it everyday??

A Prayer for the Tongue: I pray forgiveness for my tongue. Help me, Lord, to never use it as a weapon against my brother. Remind me to wear my bridle so I can keep it under control. Teach me to bite it, so that I may feel the pain that it could cause others. Show me where to purchase a lock for my mouth, so that my tongue will not escape. Help me to think of it as a valuable object so that I will keep it to myself. I pray that my mind will be in gear before my tongue goes into motion. Take away the gift of gab. Thank You for my little tongue. Help me to never let it get big. Let it always be used for good and it tell the world of Your love. Amen.

Have a great day. We must use our tongues in a manner in which glorifies God.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30

We will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day here in America in a couple of days. Hopefully, we won't be so caught up in the traditional meal, the family gatherings, our own unique customs, that we forget why we are celebrating. I realize that this is an American celebration commemorating a time in our history, but whether you live in America or another country if you are a born again child of God you have something- so much- to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is not just a day on a calendar, a holiday celebrated by a certain nation, a historical commemoration, it should be a lifestyle for those of us who have surrendered our lives to and placed our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is it for you? Is it your lifestyle? Is everyday a day of thanksgiving? Do you live with a praise of thanksgiving on your lips? Do you reserve your thanks for special occasions only such as when things are going well, once a year, during church service, when the Lord answers your prayers? Each day that we wake up is cause enough to give God thanks. Knowing that your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life is more than enough reason to thank Him daily. As a matter of fact, that fact alone is enough to keep a praise of thanksgiving on your lips morning, noon and night.

Have you lost your thanksgiving? Have you allowed the cares of life, it's problems, discouraging news, bad reports, personal trials, disturbing circumstances, unpleasant situations to rob you of a heart of thanksgiving? Has it been replaced with grumbling, self-pity, ingratitude? Then you need to get it back. You need to begin to bring a "sacrifice of praise" to the Lord. If you can't do it sincerely, then do it by faith... just start doing it. He is worthy and you have been too blessed not to!! "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Have a great day. Everyday is a day of thanksgiving... so thank Him today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Brick Wall"

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:6

Have you ever come up against a "brick wall"? You're going down the road of life then all of a sudden, almost out of no where, you run into an obstacle. Your path is completely blocked- you can't go forward, there is no way around it, it's just there. What do you do? Do you sit down and just stare at it? Do you turn around and go back? One of the two is usually the course that we take. Neither of them are the course of action we should take- one keeps you stuck in the present and the other pulls you back to the past. We are suppose to be advancing forward.

There is another course of action that we can take. It's called praise, speaking to the mountain, putting your trust in God. As you look to Him instead of at the brick wall- praising Him, seeking His guidance, stepping forward in faith and confidence in His ability to cause you to keep going forward no matter what arises, something is going to happen to that wall. You will see it either move aside to let you by, see it vanish away, find a door of passage through it, or you will discover loose bricks that can be removed one by one until the way is clear.

Don't sit there and stare at it. Don't be discouraged by it and turn back. Seek the Lord about it, listen to what He says, let Him show you what to do, then obey Him. The Israelites came to a "brick wall", it was called the Red Sea. Moses acknowledged the Lord and waited to hear from Him, God showed him the course of action to take and it was moved out of their way. The same thing with the walls of Jericho. Joshua sought the Lord for the course of action and the walls came tumbling down.

Have a great day. Seek God concerning the course of action you need to take so that you can keep moving forward.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"The Place Of Peace"

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1

The key to having peace of mind and heart depends on where you put your faith- what you believe in. There is so much in this life that will cause our hearts to become "troubled". We live in a world that is being shaken from one corner to the other. Countries are being shaken, governments are being shaken, economies are being shaken, the literal earth is being shaken through natural disasters- you never know what news you'll wake up to each morning. The whole world seems to be riding on a roller coaster- up and down, down and up, and back down again. It will make your head spin as the events move at such a fast pace, changing right before your eyes. Therefore, we have to place our belief (our faith, our trust, our hope) in the right place if we want to have peace.

Peace won't come by placing your faith in temporal things- in the things that are here today and gone tomorrow. It won't come by placing your faith in that which is frail- it falls at the slightest pressure. You can't have peace if your faith is in that which is limited- limited in strength, power and knowledge. "Don't let your hearts be troubled." Why? How is that possible? Because your belief is in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ. When your faith is in the Lord, it is rooted in that which is eternal- He will never pass away. It's anchored in the One who is anything but frail- the Omnipotent (All Powerful God). It is built upon the One who is not limited by anything- time, space, the economy, etc. He is not limited in strength, in wisdom, in power, in resources, in knowledge. There is no lack or limitation in Him. He isn't here today and gone tomorrow. His power and ability doesn't diminish with time. Bad reports done make Him shutter or shake, He doesn't become panic stricken, faint from fear or collapse under pressure. He is not affected by the economy, by world events, by the stock market, by fuel prices, by unemployment, by evil rulers, by terrorists, by threats of war or by bad reports.

God always remains at peace, because He IS peace. He doesn't just posses peace but the very essence of His being and His whole nature is peace. Wouldn't you feel safer, more secure, more at ease by placing your faith in the One who is peace. Let me give you a crude little analogy. Let's suppose you want to go for a swim, so you go to the coast with it's sandy white beaches and inviting blue waters. But instead of getting in the water, you lay down on the sand, start kicking your feet, make stroking motions with your arms and wiggle around in the sand- you call yourself swimming. But you aren't swimming, you are flouncing in the sand. If you want to swim, you have to get in the water. If you want peace, you have to "get into peace"- God is peace- get in God. Trying to find peace in any other place- in the temporal, the frail, the limited- is like "flouncing in the sand".

Have a great day. The key to peace is by placing your faith in the One who is peace.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Hide My Guilt"

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." Genesis 3:8

My little granddaughter is only ten months old so her knowledge is so limited. But today she was sitting in her high chair and I was at the kitchen sink and she dropped her bottle for the fifth time. I looked at her and the look on her face when I asked her if she dropped her bottle again seemed to say,"What bottle? I don't know what you are talking about." Her expression, honestly, appeared to be that of someone who was trying to ignore the conversation to hide their guilt. Even if she was able to fully comprehend the situation and was actually trying to hide the fact that she dropped it, there was no way she could hide her guilt-- I saw everything. I saw what happened. I was well aware of the fact that she had dropped her bottle. There was no hiding it from Nanna.

It reminded me of how we respond to God. When we "mess up", when we miss the mark, when we disobey, when we sin, we may try to hide our guilt or change the subject- but He knows. You can't hide it from Him. He sees everything. He sees what you've done, or haven't done- whatever the case may be. That was one of the first lessons He taught us in the Garden of Eden.

Adam tried to hide his guilt from God's presence. He tried to hide it behind a fig leaf. He tried to hide it behind excuses. He tried to hide it behind his wife. He even tried to change the subject by shifting the blame- but none of it worked. He couldn't hide his guilt from God's all seeing eye. He couldn't hide it, neither can we. We can come up with all kinds of "devices" to cover our guilt but it won't work. Therefore, we might as well come clean before Him and acknowledge what we have done. You know, we can never be successful in covering up our guilt, but God can. Once we confess it and repent, He can cover it by putting it under the blood and in the sea of forgetfulness. Wouldn't you much rather let Him deal with your guilt then you try to do something with it?

Have a great day. We try so hard to cover up our guilt and the only way it can be "covered" is by bringing it out in the open-- and letting God deal with covering it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Third Group"

"For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8

My husband was telling me about a conversation that he had with a friend recently. They were talking about being persecuted for Christ- more specifically what would you do if it came down to denying Christ or being put to death. My husband was telling his friend that he needed to decide and determine that nothing is worth denying Christ for and losing your eternal soul. On the subject of giving your life for Christ, I told my husband that there are three kinds of "Christians"- those who live for Him but aren't willing to die for Him; those who are willing to die for Him but don't live for Him; those who live for Him and are willing to die for Him.

I don't know about you but I want to be in that third group. This is the group that is talked about in Revelations- "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:11) I believe that this is a subject we need to give some attention to- especially here in America. We think that we will never have to make that decision- persecution to that degree is a foreign idea to us, we live in a land of freedom. The idea should not be that foreign- our brothers and sisters all around the world are being called on daily to make the choice to either deny Christ or die- it is something we need to think about because who knows what tomorrow may bring.

Even if we don't face this kind of persecution and have to make this decision under "duress" the choice should be simple for us-- nothing is worth sacrificing our relationship with Christ or our eternal soul. Let me take it one step further- out of a "physical" context. When you give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, the third group is true Christianity. Everyday you should live for Him- not just in word only. And everyday you should lay down your life for Him- you should "die" daily to self will, to the desires of the flesh, to being the lord of your own life. This is why the Revelation group I mentioned earlier had no reservations in laying down their lives for Christ- they already "reckoned themselves dead to sin and alive to Christ". (Romans 6:11) They were already "dead". We are to be "dead" men already having denied ourselves and living unto Christ. Are you already "dead"? Is Christ the only one living in you because you have died to self-will? Are you still alive? Which group are you in?

Have a great day. Are you willing to live and die for Him? The decision is easy if you are already a "dead" man... dead men aren't worried about losing their lives because they are already dead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Safe Place"

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." Proverbs 18:10

You don't have to look very hard, be out of bed very long in the morning, or go very far to find discouraging situations. Just turn on the television or read the newspaper and you'll find plenty enough to make you fearful, worried, anxious and concerned. We live in a day and age when there is so much happening around us- an unstable economy, wars, unemployment, world wide crisis, attacks on religious freedoms and so on. I hate to tell you this, but it's only going to get worse. No, that is not a "negative confession". The Bible tells us that prior to the return of Christ evil men are going to get worse and worse, there will be wars and rumors of war, evil will abound, nations will rise against nations and perilous times will come.

If I stopped here it would leave you feeling hopeless, and I would only be telling you part of what the Bible says. The Bible gives us good news- hope- for these times. We are told that for those who put their trust, faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a safe place when the world is being turned upside down and everything is chaotic. The Lord is our safe place. He is our refuge, a shelter in the time of storm. When the plagues were destroying Egypt, God's people were in a place of safety. When the fire was burning around the three Hebrews, the Lord was in the fire with them. He gathers us as a mother hen gathers her chicks and hides us with His feathers under the shadow of His wings. When the flood came and covered the whole earth, there was an ark of protection for Noah and his family.

God always has a place prepared for His people. Just because we are in the storm doesn't mean that He isn't aware of us, isn't with us and isn't providing for and protecting us. When the disciples were in the storm, Jesus was in the boat with them. They were fearful because they saw the waves and felt them beating upon the boat. They didn't realize that they weren't in danger of sinking because Jesus was in the boat. You may be in a storm, the whole world may be in a storm, but as long as you are in the boat with Jesus it's a place of safety and the boat is not going to sink.

Have a great day. If Jesus isn't in the boat, you'll sink. But if Jesus is in the boat, there is no way you can sink.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Source Of Happiness"

"Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart." Psalm 119:2

Everyone is in search of happiness. We search for it in relationships, through knowledge, through material possessions, through entertainment, through pleasure, through activities, through self improvement and so on. In our search to find happiness we often look for it in the wrong places. Happiness found in the wrong places tends to be temporary. Once the "newness" wears off so does the happiness. Once the relationship loses it's "excitement" we stop being happy with that person. After the event that we looked forward to is over, we begin our search for something else to look forward to. Once we make an improvement with our physical appearance we find something else about us that makes us unhappy and then pursue trying to change it too. It is a never ending cycle.

I have good news for you this morning. There is a "happiness" that doesn't wear off or fade. The Bible equates this happiness with blessings. These blessings aren't based on external conditions and they aren't temporary. To find them you have to look in the right places- not to people, not to things. But there is a condition to receiving them and the condition is written in the verse above.

The true source of happiness is found in keeping God's word- obeying it, applying it to your life, letting it be your guide through all paths of life, hiding it in your heart, renewing your mind with it, letting it transform you and change your attitudes. The true source of happiness comes from seeking the Lord with your whole heart. A divided heart, half heartedness, seeking only on occasion and turning to Him only in times of trouble, will not experience lasting happiness and true blessings.

Are you looking for true happiness? Are you wanting those eternal blessings? Then make God and living by His word your first priority. Start doing what the scripture says and stop running to and fro wasting your time looking for the blessing of happiness in all the wrong places.

Have a great day. Finding true happiness is not difficult-- just keep God's word and seek Him with your whole heart and you will find it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Last Place"

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Revelation 22:13

The Lord tells us that He is the first and the last, but just because He refers to Himself as the "last" doesn't mean we are to place Him "last" in our lives. Many put Him in "last" place in their lives. He is the "last" place they go when they need help. He is the "last" resort. He is the "last" one they seek counsel from. He is the "last" on their list of resources. This is by no means what He means when He says that He is the "last".

Placing Him only in last place in our lives is the source of many of our problems. If we would seek Him first, instead of last, we would not have as much confusion in our lives and many problems we face could have been avoided. If we put Him first, we would have a greater measure of peace because He would lead us in the way that we should go. If we place Him first we could save ourselves a lot of pain and heartache. Some of the "stupid" (yes, I said stupid) things that we do we wouldn't do because we would have received His wise counsel.

Abraham wound up with an Ishmael because he didn't seek God first- he listened to his wife instead. We too wind up with an "Ishmael" when we don't give God first place in our (all our) decisions. When we assume that this is God's plan instead of seeking Him to find out, when we lean to our own understanding instead acknowledging Him, when we think we can handle the situation instead of asking God about it, we wind up with something painful, something bigger than we can handle, something that brings conflict into our homes, distress to our hearts, weariness, grief, robs us of peace or even brings destruction in the long run.

What place are you giving Him in your life? Is He first or last? Is He last only- after you have already made your own decisions or only after you need Him to fix the mess you've made? We must not forget that God is "first" also and should be given first place and not last place only.

Have a great day. There is only one place that we should place God in our lives-- first... and last... and everywhere in between.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Will And Wheel"

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." Psalm 32:8

At the Recovery Center this morning one of the counselors played a song entitled, "Jesus, Take the Wheel". If you aren't familiar with the song it's about a woman who was living away from the Lord and had been going through a very difficult time. The song takes place as she was driving down the road with her baby in the car and suddenly lost control. As the car started spinning out of control she threw up her hands, letting go of the steering wheel, and cried out for Jesus to "take the wheel". Here's the chorus: "Jesus take the wheel. Take it from my hands. Cause I can't do this on my own. I'm letting go. So give me one more chance. Save me from this road I'm on. Jesus take the wheel."

Let me ask you this morning, "Who's in the driver's seat of your life?" Are you driving your own life? Going down the roads you desire to go down? Are you holding on to the steering wheel with a "death grip" not willing to let go and let God have full control of your life? If you keep steering your life in the direction you want to go, you will wind up on a dead end road, a path that leads no where, or worse yet go into a tail spin and crash.

There is only one way for you to "drive" through this world without "crashing", it's by surrounding the "wheel" of your life over to Jesus- giving Him the driver's seat. But that can only happen as you first surrender your "will". Once you surrender your "will" to His Lordship, then it will be no problem to surrender the "wheel" of your life over to Him and let Him navigate you through this life.

Have a great day. You need to surrender your "will" to God so that He can take the "wheel" and drive you safely through the rest of your life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Not Forgotten"

"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."
Isaiah 49:15

The Lord wants me to remind you again this morning that He has not forgotten you. He knows exactly where you are and what you are going through. Darkness cannot hide you from His sight. Trials don't "scare" Him away. The storm is not so violent that He can't reach you. The mountain is not too tall for Him to climb. The pit is not too deep that He can't see the bottom.

I am reminded of Hagar this morning. The Lord saw her in her plight. He saw her in the middle of the desert with no water, no place to go, cast out of her home. I am also reminded of Joseph- thrown in a pit to die, sold by his brothers into slavery, cast into prison, but the Lord saw him too. What about Daniel in the lion's den, the three Hebrews in the furnace, and the list goes on. What they were facing did not hide them from God's view and did cause God to forget them. He was well aware of where they were and what they were going through. He is aware of you too- He knows where you are, what you are going through, He hears your cries, He sees your plight, and He cares.

Don't think that He does not care because He hasn't brought your trying situation to an "end". He gave Hagar water to make it through the desert. He gave Joseph favor to make it through his captivity. He gave Daniel grace in the lion's den. He gave the three Hebrews His presence. And He is, and will, give you whatever you need to make it through what you are going through.

Have a great day. God has not forgotten you... and will not.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matthew 5:12

In context this scripture is talking about being persecuted for Christ's sake and what our response should be to that persecution and why we should respond not with "evil" but with rejoicing. But I want to "step outside of the context" this morning, without adding to or taking away from the scripture. We need to remind ourselves daily that regardless of what happens here in this life, this is not all there is. This life is temporary and there is a reward that awaits those who have put their faith and trust in Christ on the other side of it. Therefore, we have every reason to rejoice.

When I face disappointing situations, I need to remember, I have a great reward in heaven awaiting me. That knowledge will turn those disappointments into rejoicing. When I am down cast, I do the same, think about what awaits me and my heart if filled with joy. When life seems unbearable, I need to refocus and look past this temporary to the eternal- my hope is then renewed. When it seems as though this trial will never come to an end, look toward the "end"- the end of this life and the beginning of the new in heaven.

This life with all it's problems, heartaches and trials will not last forever, there is something more wonderful than we can imagine that awaits us. There are rewards, treasures and riches laid up for us in heaven- the greatest reward is ultimately to see our wonderful Savior Jesus and spend eternity with Him in His house. When you think about that, and place that thought above what is happening to you here at the present, even the difficulties pale in comparison and you can't help but rejoice.

Have a great day. Remember today that you have a great reward in heaven... this life is not all there is... so rejoice!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Facing It"

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philipines 4:11

Have you ever thought about all the things that we can face in a day? We never know what a day may hold- good or bad. Here are some of the things we might face: giants, mountains, fiery trials, temptations, illness, broken dreams, obstacles either large or small, grief, pain, suffering, persecution, failure, discouragement, disappointment, fear, doubt, unbelief, disillusion, weakness, hunger, thirst, strife, affliction, conflict, broken relationships, overwhelming odds, remorse and the list goes on. Oh, how depressing, I have to stop because it sounds like every thing we face is "gloom, despair, and agony". Thank God that life isn't completely full of misery, all though it may seem like it at times. We also face times of great joy, happiness, victory, peace, rejoicing, strength, hope, encouragement.

The Apostle Paul probably faced more than the average person but listen to how he speaks about what he faced. (I'd like to read it from the Amplified Bible.) "Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. (Phil.4:11-13)

Like us, he faced good and bad times, but he had learned something that got him through them all. It was the confidence in knowing that regardless of what he faced- good or bad, happy or sad, victory or defeat, feast or famine, weakness or strength- he wasn't facing it alone. "Lo, I am with you always." (Matthew 28:20) We have that same hope- that same promise. We never face anything alone-- "For Thou art with me." The Lord is with us, never leaving us, nor forsaking us.

Have a great day. I hope what you face today is all good, but whether it is or isn't you aren't facing it alone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"The Sun Is Shining - Part 2"

"My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?" Psalm 42:3

In one of the devotions last week we talked about God still being in control and the evidence was that the sun still rose that morning and it's still shining. One of my precious email friends wrote me back and told me that the comparison wasn't working on her end because bad storms were coming where she lives. I thought about that this morning and the Lord wants me to encourage you further in this area.

True enough storm clouds do seem to block out the sun. We have gone for days during the winter where the sky was gray and gloomy- not even one small beam of light penetrated through. But, you know, just because all I could see was clouds, gray and overcast skies... the sun was still there. Just because I could not see it did not mean that it wasn't there.

The first covenant that God established was with the sun. (Genesis 8:22) Since God is not only a covenant maker, but a covenant keeper, the sun will rise everyday until He returns and we live with Him in that city where the Lamb is the light and there will be no need for sun or moon. But until that day comes, the sun will always be there- even if you don't see it, even if storm clouds hide it, even if night covers it, even if the conditions in the atmosphere hinders it's rays from breaking forth... it's still there. And that is still proof that God is still in control.

God made a covenant with the sun, but He also made a covenant with you his child. If God is faithful to keep His covenant with the elements, He will be faithful to keep His covenant with you... and much more so because you are more precious to Him. It may be "dark" where you are today. Storm clouds may be covering God's promises, you may not be able to see the light of His presence because of the darkness of your situation, but He is still there, He is still in control and He is still faithful.

Have a great day. The sun is always there even if you can't see it for the storm clouds... so is God.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Impossible, Not Impossible"

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

The fact is, there is so much that it is impossible for man to do- the list is endless. But with God nothing is impossible- the list of what He can do is endless. I can't create a world, but He did- just by the word of His mouth. I can't part a sea and make it stand up like a wall- but He can and did.

But when we read another passage it says: "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:20) Here is says that nothing shall be impossible unto you. It almost sounds like a contradiction-- "with men it's impossible"; "nothing shall be impossible to you".

Whatever it is you are dealing with, in your own strength it is impossible- you aren't strong enough, wise enough, big enough. But the key is- "if you have faith". Faith in what, faith placed where? In the God with whom all things are possible. If you put your faith, trust and confidence in God, if you connect with Him, if you invite Him into your life, then because of Him, nothing shall be impossible for you. Let's look at a mountain for a moment. A mountain is a powerful thing. It's stationary, solid, unshakable. In order to move it or effect it at all you have to put a force against it that is greater than it is. The same when dealing with our "spiritual mountains", you have to put a force that is greater than it is in order to remove it. I am not a greater force than a mountain, I have no power, it is impossible for me to remove it.... but when I connect with a force that is greater, then it's not impossible any more for me to remove it. It will remove easily, all I have to do is "speak" to it. That greater force is the All Powerful, Almighty God, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.

Are you trying to move a mountain on your own- in your strength, in your wisdom, in your ability? You won't do it- it's impossible. But if you put your faith and trust in God and connect with Him, it's very possible. You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you.

Have a great day. What was once impossible for us is now possible when we put our faith in God.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"The Sun Is Shining"

"Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

We are all familiar with this passage of scripture, but did you read the one before it? A friend brought it to my attention because it had ministered to her during a situation that she was going through.

"And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law." (verse 9) "Mourn not, nor weep." One version says,"Don't cry, don't be sad."

I want to encourage you this morning- especially those who are facing insurmountable odds, enormous difficulties, disappointing situations, you're weeping over broken relationships, opportunities missed, you feel all is lost, you're wrestling with hopelessness, discouragement or depression. Let me tell you what these verses say- This is the Lord's day (He made it) so don't be sad, don't cry, don't be sorrowful, the Lord's joy is your strength. He will give you joy and that joy will be your strength- strength for the journey, strength to go on, strength to get up out of bed, strength to take up your bed and walk, strength to run through a troop and leap over a wall, strength to go through the fire, through the flood, through the darkest night, strength to take the bull by the horns, strength to climb the mountain, strength to swim the river, strength to hold your head up, strength to keep on keeping on.

You have His word, you have His promises, you have His Spirit, He is with you and He is still in control. When I have gone through these times, there is one thing that the Lord reminds me that I want to share with you. He reminds me when I look outside that the sun is shining- it came up this morning. Do you know what that means? It means that God is still in control. Because I have the assurance that He is in control I have peace, and that peace wipes my tears away and removes my doubts and fears. It turns my sorrow into joy, my mourning into gladness.

Have a great day. Look outside this morning. Do you see the sun? Then stop crying because His joy is your strength.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"It's A Big Deal"

"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Colossians 1:20

You don't hear as many preachers preach on the subject of sin now days- much less against it. It's almost "taboo" in most of our churches. I've even heard numerous preachers say that we should not "curse the darkness but light a candle instead". A lot of churches won't preach about sin because it's not a popular message, the people don't want to hear it, they are afraid people will stop coming, etc. It doesn't seem to be a matter of much importance to them, but to God it is a matter of great importance. Therefore, it is one that we must address more than we do.

Why is sin such a "big deal" to God? Let me give you a couple of reasons. Sin broke God's fellowship with mankind. God created man for fellowship- this was the greatest desire of God- to have someone to lavish His love upon. In the Garden of Eden Adam and God had a relationship that was so close that you and I can't even fathom. They walked and talked literally face to face each day in the cool of the evening, but sin put an end to that.

Secondly, sin cost God everything. We sinned but He had to pay the price for it. It cost the life of His only begotten Son Jesus. There was no other way that our relationship with God could be restored except through the shedding of blood, and the only blood that was able to pay such a high price was the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. Sin caused God to have to sacrifice His own Son so that our relationship with Him could be restored.

Lastly, sin is a much greater issue to God when it's in the life of those who have received Christ as Savior, whose sins have been forgiven, who are His children, washed in the blood of His Son. Why? The Bible lets us know that the blood has been applied to our lives- it's like a covering and a shield around us. When we sin, we do so by stepping through that blood that was applied to our lives and brought us salvation. You, literally- spiritually speaking- have to trod under foot the blood of Jesus in order to sin. On the night that the death angel went throughout Egypt, the Israelites were safe because the blood had been applied to the doorposts of their houses. If they had stepped outside they would have been killed like the Egyptians. In order to get outside they would have had to walk through the blood on the doors. In order to reach the place of sin, we have to step outside of the protection of the blood, and to do that we have to tread on the blood that has been applied to our lives.

If it's not serious to Him, why did He tell us over and over in His word that we have to confess it and repent of it? If it's not such a "big deal" than why is there a punishment for it and an eternal judgment because of it? So, yes, sin is a "big deal" to God. He had to pay the price for it, it cost Him everything and we should never take it lightly or for granted. "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"(Hebrews 10:29)

Have a great day. In order to sin, we have to step through the blood of Jesus- the same precious blood that saved us. That's a big deal to God.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"God's Wisdom Is Greater"

"Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee." Jeremiah 10:7

There is no doubt that there are some pretty wise people in the world- in each nation. For weeks- because of the election here in the United States- we have heard lots of learned people give their views, opinions and predictions. We have heard analysts, columnists, the financial savvy, professors and many many more each experts in their field. Some have had great wisdom, some just thought they were wise but their comments proved otherwise. The wisest man to ever live, the wisest head of any nation, the wisest king to ever rule was King Solomon. His wisdom was so great that even the Queen of Sheba said that only the half has been known.

All the wisdom of all the people on earth- who have lived, who are living or who will live in the future- their wisdom combined cannot compare to the wisdom of the Most High God. King Solomon recognized this, therefore, he prayed for God's wisdom in order to rule God's people. We must always remember- whether it is in the affairs of a nation, or a culture of people, or a certain sect of society, or in running a business, or in our own individual personal lives-- we must lean upon the wisdom of God. We can't look to man's wisdom to guide us, to direct us, to give us an answer or to provide what we need. James tells us that man's wisdom is "sensual"- fleeting, changing, of no value, it's even foolish compared to the wisdom of God.

This morning, I don't know what you may be experiencing, but you need wisdom to make the right choices, to go in the right direction, to know what to do and what not to do, to follow God's will, to get victory in the situation, but don't look to man's wisdom for your solution. "Forasmuch as among all the wise men in the world (paraphrase added)... there is none like unto God." God is your answer. His wisdom is endless, and it will always guide you in the right direction.

Have a great day. Trust in and lean upon God's wisdom... there is no one else who is as wise as He is.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"God Has My Heart"

"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29

Tomorrow we have elections here in the United States. It has been said that this is the most important election in our nations history. If the liberal party is voted in and has the majority rule in this nation there is no doubt that we will lose so many of the freedoms that we have enjoyed since it's conception- especially our Christian freedoms. Therefore, the main issue is not who will win the election, but what will you do depending on the outcome.

As followers of Jesus we have to remember that we are "kingdom" people before we are "government" people. We have to remember that we are first and foremost answerable to God. That we are commanded to live according to His rule and authority over our lives. How does that play out in the reality of living in this natural world? It plays out in choice. You must choose from your heart who you are-- a Christian first.

Before you read any further, don't misunderstand, I am not talking about rebellion against authority or government, I am saying that when the laws of the land conflict with the laws of God you must make the choice that it is better to obey God, and when the laws of the land don't conflict with the laws of God you must still make the choice that it is better to obey God and not get complacent and "at ease in Zion".

Having said that, let me say, while I would love to live in a nation where I could continue to worship the Lord freely, pray to Him in public, testify of Jesus openly, continue to assemble with fellow Christians on the Lord's day, have laws to protect the unborn, know that marriage according to God's definition is upheld and be able to keep my hard earned money-- I have to decide that even if that is not the case, even if I lose those liberties, I will continue to praise the Lord, pray to Him, lift up His name, fellowship with other believers, continue to give tithes and offerings to the work of the Lord, etc.

The question that we have to ask ourselves is,"What will we do?" Are you still going to serve the Lord regardless of your surroundings, regardless of the direction against God that society is going, even if it is not popular, even if it brings persecution, even if the decree is given as it was in the day of Daniel (no prayer to God) and the three Hebrew children (worship the idol)? The answer should be... "I will continue to do the same thing I have been doing". My heart belonged to God before and it still belongs to God regardless of who is in office, regardless of majority rule, whether godly or evil men rule in the nation, whether I legally have the freedom to worship or not and I will continue to give Him my heart, devotion and service.

Have a great day. As followers of Jesus we must decide and determine that He has our hearts no matter what is going on around us.

Friday, October 31, 2008

"If My People - Part 2"

"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." 2 Chronicles 7:14

In all the years I have been sending out the devotional I have never sent out more than one each day, but the Lord began to speak a word so clearly to my heart this morning and told me to send it.

The main focus of this scripture is not just prayer, and as absolutely vital as prayer is, it's not the only condition here. I am sure that most, hopefully all, of us are praying (we must keep it up), but God also said to repent. "...and turn from their wicked ways." Repentance is "action"- it's something you "do" not just "say". It's changing your mind, turning from the direction you are going and begin going in the totally opposite direction.

God did not say in this verse to pray then get up and keep doing the same things you were doing before you knelt in prayer. He said, "Turn from it!!". Go in a different direction. Get on a straight path, a narrow path, off the broad wide way that leads to destruction, off of the worldly path, get on the godly path, stop being conformed to this world, be transformed, stop trying to serve two masters, start giving God first place and make Him the priority of your life.

Jesus told the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, "go and sin no more".
Zachaeus was a "legal thief" (a tax collector), but he gave back everything, plus more, that he had unlawfully taken from the people.
Gideon tore down his father's idols and removed the groves they worshiped their false gods in.
The rich young ruler was told to sell all he had- because his god was his money- and follow Jesus.
Jonah not only prayed from the belly of the fish, but then he went to Nineveh and obeyed what God told him to do.

Don't just pray for forgiveness and healing... stop sinning! Repent and change your direction! Repentance starts in the heart and is confirmed through your actions.

If you are living in adultery, if you are living an immoral lifestyle, repent and turn from it.
If you are cheating people- stop and become a giver and make restitution.
If you are indulging in sinful habits, lay them on the altar and walk in temperance.
If you have been using your mouth to curse, then change your speech and replace it with blessings, God's word and praise.
If you are disobeying the word of the Lord, repent and start obeying.
If you are calling evil acceptable and trying to justify it, repent and start calling it what it is- agree with God on the matter.
If you are withholding your tithes and offerings and spending it on your own pleasures, stop and begin to honor God with your giving-- He gave it to you.
If you are looking to someone other than God to meet your need, repent for not trusting Him and begin to put your faith and confidence in Him- He is the Provider.
If you have been advocating what God hates, repent and start loving what He loves and hating sin.
If you are forsaking the assembling of yourself with other Christians- and you have the ability to go to church- then start going.
If you are neglecting prayer and Bible reading, repent and determine to make it a priority in your life by turning off the television or computer or iPod- whatever is robbing your time and keeping you from doing so.

If you are a minister of the gospel and are preaching those things that tickle the ears, promote seeker friendly environments, provide for tolerance of sin, are humanistic philosophies, with enticing words of man's wisdom, then stop, repent and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, preach the cross it is the power of God unto salvation, preach holiness for without it no man shall see God, preach self denial instead of self esteem, preach blessed are the poor in spirit instead of blessed are those who have vast material wealth.

I absolutely agree it is time to pray... but it is also time to repent, and not in word only, but in deed, action, attitude, lifestyle and speech.

Have a great day. If we not only pray, but confess we have sinned and turn away from our wicked ways and begin doing righteously, He will heal our land.

"If My People"

"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." 2 Chronicles 7:14

For years we have heard this message preached and preached, well, it is time to do more than just preach it... it's time to heed it and do it. It is time for those of us who are God's people to humble ourselves before our God, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. It is time we cry out and confess to God that we have sinned against Him and done wickedly.

What are the "wicked ways" we have done before the Lord?
1) We have put other gods before Him- pleasure, entertainment, prosperity, mammon, fame, fortune.
2) We have looked to the arm of the flesh instead of the arm of God for provision and protection.
3) We have placed our trust in man's ability to meet our needs- the doctors, the government, the welfare system, banks, loan institutions, etc.
4) We have done that which is right in our own eyes and have forsaken the council of God's word.
5) We have taken that which is holy and profaned it, blasphemed it and allowed it to be trodden underfoot by ungodly entertainers and politicians.
6) We have sought God's hand and not His face.
7) We have committed the two evils spoken by Jeremiah (Jer. 2:13)- we have forsaken the Lord, and invented our own faulty substitution to serve our wants and lusts.
8) We have murder thousands and thousands of innocent babies through abortion.
9) We have stolen, lied, cheated, deceived, stepped on and been abusive for our own selfish gain.
10) We have let down the standard of the blood stained banner.
11) We have had itching ears, rejected truth and not endured sound doctrine.
12) We have pursued our own selfish desires instead of His purposes.
13) We have lost our first love.
14) We have become lukewarm.
15) We have been hypocritical- drawing near to the Lord with our mouths while our hearts are far from Him.
16) We have rebelled against God's lordship over our lives.
17) We have sought to do our own will and not the will of God.
18) We have called good evil, evil good, wrong right and right wrong.
19) We have lived immoral, greedy, over indulgent, self centered lives.

There are too many more sins that we have committed to name here. But if we repent-turn from them and turn back to God- with our whole heart there is a promise that is attached to the condition-- I will heal their land. We need our land- our nation, our government, our society, our churches, our families- healed. Only God can bring the healing, but only as we humble ourselves and repent of our wicked ways.

Have a great day. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:8-10)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Will Versus Will"

"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39

Most of our problems, confusion and frustration comes as a result of placing our will above God's will. When we do it our way, instead of God's way; when we do what we want to do, instead of what God wants us to do; when we follow our path instead of God's path; when we make our own decisions, instead of surrendering to His guidance; when we pursue our plans and agenda, instead of His purposes-- we are placing our will above His will. This opens the door to "turmoil" in our lives. It did for King Saul when he put his will above God's will- he lost the kingdom. It did for Aaron when he put the will of the people above God's will- Moses rebuked him sternly. It did for Jonah- he wound up in the belly of a fish. It did for Adam- sin came upon all mankind.

Following our own will is not difficult- it is easy- because we can offer so many reasons and excuses to justify it- it's too hot, it's too cold, I'm too tired, everyone else is doing it, I'm not qualified, I've never done it like that before, it cost too much, I don't have to do it like that it will work like this just as well, I'll do it when I can, I don't have the time, the conditions aren't favorable, and so on. But the consequences aren't always easy to endure or live with though. In the end we wind up the losers.

Daily we face the decision to do our will or God's will- it can be something as "simple" as getting up when He wakes you to spend an extra hour in prayer, or something "bigger" like answering the call He has on your life. Whatever it is, you have to make the choice to surrender to His will or do your own will.

Have a great day. There are consequences to following our own will-- a lot of turmoil in our lives for one. So who is winning your will over this morning? You or God?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Redistribution Of Wealth"

"Riches and honor are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness." (Prov. 8:18)

In this presidential campaign one of the issues is that of the "redistribution of wealth". I am not going to get political this morning (so please keep reading), I am just going to obey the Lord. The Lord has been speaking this to me for the past several hours and wants me to talk to His people about "redistribution of wealth".

God's people been given tremendous wealth, we have a great treasure chest in our possession. I am not talking about money. Money does not equal true "wealth"- although most of our ministers have taught it that way. As a matter of fact, Jesus warned us not to "lay up treasures on earth", but lay them up in heaven instead. He went on to say that they are fleeting- "moths and rust corrupt and thieves break through and steal". Money is temporary, it loses it's value, is effected by the economy, perishes, spends so fast. The Bible even says that it "takes wings and flies". We are warned also about "lusting" after it, coveting to have more and not being content with such as we have. The Bible specifically says that you can't serve God and money (mammon). The greatest warning we have in the Bible is that the love of money is the root of 'all' evil. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."(1 Tim. 6:10)

What is this great wealth that we have, what is this treasure of great price? It's eternal life. There is nothing more valuable than your soul. If you lose it, you lose everything! Your soul is eternal- it lives on forever either in heaven or in hell. You and I have been given the most valuable gift- eternal life, forgiveness of sins, peace with God, salvation. The question is, "What are we doing with it?" The Bible tells us that "freely we have received, freely give."

God never called us to receive this great treasure and sit on it, do nothing with it, rejoice only that we have it, hoard it, withhold it from our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers. He commissioned us to take it into all the world. We need to "redistribute" it and get it outside of the four walls of the church. We need to give it to those who are perishing, to those who are lost, to those who are dying in trespasses and sin, to those who have not heard the good news that Jesus saves. This message of eternal life is worth more than gold, silver, riches and the treasures of this world, and it has been given to us to "spread" around. This is the true and eternal riches and it has been entrusted to those who have already received it to take it to those who have not. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)

Have a great day. What are you doing to help "redistribute" this eternal wealth that you have already received?