Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Light Bulbs"

"Let your light so shine before men..." Matthew 5:16

When you go to the store and buy a light bulb, is it shining in the box? Do you have to cover it up to keep it from shining in your place of storage before you are ready to place it in the room? A light bulb doesn't shine until it's plugged into the power source. We are like light bulbs-- we are suppose to shine in this dark world so that men can locate where they are (lost) and how to find the way to walk. When the light bulb is manufactured, it is designed to be a light bulb and it's purpose is to shine. When we came to Christ in repentance and He made us into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), He designed us to be "light bulbs" for the purpose of shining. Even though we are light bulbs, we don't shine unless we are "plugged" into the power source.

Many Christians each day are trying to "shine" but aren't because they are not "plugged in". Just because I'm a "light bulb" doesn't mean I am shining, I have to be connected to the power source. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:" (John 8:12a) When Moses left the camp and went up the mountain into the presence of God, there was nothing extraordinary about him- he looked like everyone else. But when he came down off of the mountain- after being in the presence of God- the Bible says that his face shone so brightly that he had to hide it under a veil in order for the people to be able to look at him. (Exodus 34) What happened to Moses? Why did he come back looking different? What caused his face to shine like the sun? He was "plugged in" to the power source.

You may be a light bulb but aren't shining--- and you aren't going to shine unless you get plugged in. The way you do that is by getting into the presence of God. We also learn from the story of Moses that it doesn't just happen in a minute or two. He was there forty days. No, you don't have to tarry for forty days in a mountain to get plugged in so that you will shine. But it does take more than that ten minutes you give Him in the car on the way to work. It does take more than just getting in His presence once a week on Sunday mornings. It does take more than a "microwave" moment while on the run. I can partially screw a light bulb into the socket but it still doesn't have a connection. It may look like it's plugged in but it's not so it still won't shine. Are you shining today? Are you plugged in? If you aren't you won't shine. Or is there a loose connection? If there is you won't shine.

Have a great day. You are a light, but you aren't shining unless you are plugged into the presence of the power source-- Jesus.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Unashamed Love"

"For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels." Luke 9:26

I was walking down the aisle at one of the stores in town yesterday and I noticed a woman headed my direction with her cart. In her shopping cart was a little girl- probably between one and two years old. I knew immediately that the little girl was this lady's granddaughter. How did I know? Because the lady was leaning over her cart close to the little girl making funny faces and silly noises at the child. (That was a dead give away that she was the grandmother.) It's amazing how grandchildren can turn even the most poised, dignified adults into silly "clowns". Like I told someone, they can sure make you look "stupid".

I brought this up because the woman looked so ridiculous and silly but she didn't care- what her granddaughter thought was all that mattered to her. When it comes to the grandchildren, you don't care what people think about your behavior-- you just love those precious little people and want to communicate your love to them, put smiles on their faces and happiness in their hearts. Honestly, you just can't help yourself, they bring it out in you. Back to why I mentioned this. I couldn't help thinking-- wouldn't it be great if we had the same attitude about our love for Jesus. How many of us are ashamed to show our love for Him? How many of us really don't care what others think about us where Jesus is concerned? How many of us hold back or are reserved because we are embarrassed for others to know that we love Jesus? How many of us give too much attention to what other people think, instead of being more concerned about what Jesus thinks?

How much pleasure and joy would we bring to the heart of the Savior if we lavished our love on Him unashamedly? Think about it, while there is nothing wrong with a grandparent being unreserved in showing their love for their grandchild-- it's natural-- it is "unnatural" for us to be ashamed to display our love for our Savior and Lord .

Have a great day. Are you unashamed to display your love for someone that is close to you, but yet you're ashamed for anyone to see that you love Jesus?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Be Sober"

"But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation." 1 Thessalonians 5:8

When we think of the word "sober" we immediately think it's the opposite of being drunk-- and that is one of the definitions. But it also means "to be calm and collected in spirit". As Christians-- children of the day-- there is a peace that we should possess that those who are "of the night" do not have. We have God's peace-- a peace that passes understanding-- not the world's peace. (John 14:27)

If ever there was a time when we need to be "sober" (calm and collected in spirit) it's now. Daily we receive bad reports- reports of great calamites, reports that promote fear and can make you anxious and worried, reports of instability in the economy, discoveries of new diseases, food shortages, evil men rising to power, death and destruction on every hand.

When we are faced with these things, we don't need to be moved by fear, become worried, or prompted by what we see and hear to act in a rash manner. How is it possible? How can we stay calm? How do we stay collected- in full control of our faculties (our emotions and thoughts)? By putting on the "breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation." These are part of our armor. We are "soldiers" of God in a spiritual war. (2 Timothy 2) There is a characteristic that is true of all soldiers-- they are trained and disciplined. As "soldiers" of the Lord we have been fully equipped with everything that we need to walk in a disciplined manner. We also have the Prince of Peace as our "Commander" leading the way and going before us. Even though He did sweat great drops of blood and prayed for the cup to pass from Him when he faced the cross, Jesus exhibited such great peace through His suffering. He was "sober" throughout His whole ordeal leaving us an example to follow and letting us know that through Him we can too. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Have a great day. Stay sober today... calm and collected.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Night Is Light"

"If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me." Psalm 139:11

It's pretty dark when your light is like night--- you can't get much darker than that. When it's that dark, you get disoriented. It's hard to tell where you are and in what direction you are heading. You can't see anything so that you can get your bearings. The darkness hides any familiar landmarks. It engulfs you and presses on you- overwhelming and overtaking you. You can actually feel it- it becomes tangible and real, no longer an inanimate object. It is so thick that you can't even see what is right in front of your face. It leaves you in a state of confusion.

Does that describe where you are this morning? Are you going through a dark time of trials and problems? Does it seem as if there is no glimmer of light to give you any consolation or hope? Read the next verse: "Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." (verse 12) While the darkness may be so thick that it is hiding everything from your sight, it isn't hiding it from God's sight. On the contrary, night shines to Him just like the day does- there is no difference; He can see in both.

The darkness can't hide anything from God and it can't hide Him. Darkness can never "cover up" God- He will always shine through it- darkness can't hide light, and He is Light. So keep your eyes on Him. Set your eyes in an "upward" direction-- you have to do this by faith. Fix your eyes on Him, He is your orientation, He is your landmark. He will help you get your bearings. He will give you "night vision". He will turn you in the right direction and guide you through it. There is no darkness so dark that He can't bring light into it.

Have a great day. He will bring light into your darkness... no matter how dark it is.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Abundant Life"

"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." John 12:27

Jesus did not come to give you an easy life or to take away your problems. He came to give you eternal life. We do people an injustice when we tell them that once they come to Christ they won't have any more problems- their life is going to be wonderful. That is far from the truth. Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world. The Bible also tells us that "many are the affliction of the righteous". Look at the saints of old, and the New Testament saints. Paul said that he was "often" in perils. His goal was to "know Christ.. and the fellowship of His suffering." He later summed it up like this, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12)
Yes, Jesus did say that He came that we might have life- abundant life. But abundant living is not the absence of problems. It's not the absence of pain, heartache, grief, calamity, tribulations. Instead, it's peace, grace, strength, joy, and the promise of His presence... when you go through them. Abundant life doesn't mean you won't face the furnace- it means that the fire won't kindle upon you. Abundant life doesn't mean that you won't be "thrown to the lions", it means that they won't devour you. Abundant life doesn't mean that you won't walk through the valley, it means that when you do He will be with you and His rod and staff will comfort you. Abundant life doesn't mean that you might not encounter some "thorns in the flesh", it means that when you do His grace will be sufficient. Abundant life doesn't mean that you won't have trials and tribulations, it means that you can have victory over them and come out on top instead of on bottom..."Be of good cheer for I have over come."

If He was going to take away all our problems, when He saved us He would have gone ahead then and taken us home because as long as we live on planet earth we will have problems. But He left us here and gave us the assurance that we won't face them alone. When He promised us abundant life, that promise included in it everything that we would need to live in peace and victory when the problems come.

Have a great day. Abundant life is not the absence of problems, but a promise from the Savior that we'll have everything we need to make it through the problems.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Morning To Night"

"To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night." Psalm 92:2

God is good to us all day long- morning to night. In the morning we awake to His lovingkindness. It was His lovingkindness that woke us up, that allowed us to see another day, that put breath in our bodies, that kept us alive through the night. At night, when we come to the end of the day, we are greeted by His faithfulness. We can look back throughout the day and see how faithful God was to us. He met and supplied all our need, He was with us all day long, He led us through the day, kept us protected, gave us strength and grace. He was faithful to give us every good and perfect gift.

The first verse of this Psalm says, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High." As you begin this day, look for a moment at His lovingkindness and give Him praise for it. When you come to the end of the day, reflect back over His faithfulness and give Him thanks. All day long you will continue to see His lovingkindness and faithfulness- morning to night. So when you do, take note of it and give Him thanksgiving and praise.

Have a great day. It was the lovingkindness of the Lord that woke you up this morning, and His faithfulness will see you through the day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Who's The Enemy?"

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35

Our brothers and sisters in the Lord are not our enemies. Even if they were we are to love and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). David (who was a type and shadow of Christ) said that he fasted and prayed for his enemies when they were sick- he denied his own self for their sake (Psalm 35:13). And Jesus Himself prayed for the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him - His enemies (Luke 23:34).

The Bible tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12) So there is some "fighting" we must do (spiritual warfare), but not against each other. We have a very real enemy who is out to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10a) ("For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12) As long as we are busy fighting against each other, then we won't lock shields together and join arm in arm to fight against him. And if we aren't fighting against him then he can go unhindered about the business of destroying people's lives without anyone to stand in his way.

I know that not everyone, or every "group", who calls them self a Christian is a true brother or sister in the Lord-- there has to be recognition of that fact and what is wrong and in error has to be dealt with so that others will not fall into the same deception. But those who are of the family of God, those who have been bought with the blood of Jesus, those who have given their lives to Him--- are not our enemies and we need to recognize that fact and start operating as the "body of Christ"- each member supplying to the next, each one doing it's part, each one receiving from the Head (which is Christ) and functioning as a whole "person". This is not a time for there to be divisions among us.

Have a great day. One can put a thousand to flight... two can put ten thousand to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"More Trials"

"Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me." 2 Timothy 3:11

You never reach a place in your life-- no matter how spiritual you are or how closely to God you live or how long you have walked with Him -- where you become exempt from trials, persecutions, afflictions, temptations, testing. As long as you live in this world you will face them. Paul the greatest Apostle that lived, Elijah the mighty prophet of God, and even our beloved Savior Jesus faced them throughout their lives.

You might be saying, "That sounds bleak and hopeless, is that all I have to look forward to?" That's not the end of the story. Even though we go through these times, we don't go through them alone. "For Thou art with me." We aren't defeated by them. "In all things we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus." They don't last forever. "But the Lord delivered me." There is nothing too great that the Lord can't deliver you from. "Out of them all."

Paul wasn't "disillusioned" he knew that just because he had the call of God on his life, just because he was preaching the gospel, just because he was used mightily by God, just because he was being faithful to the Lord, just because he had been devoting his life for years to the Lord, it did not mean that he would not go through difficulties. In the very next verse he writes,"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

Paul spoke of having multiple trials- persecutions, afflictions, etc. He faced them everywhere he went- Antioch, Iconium, Lystra. You may be having "multiple" trials in every area of your life. You may be wondering why all this is happening to you- you are living as closely and obediently to God as you know how to do. Be encouraged this morning. Don't think that it's strange that all these trials are coming on you. Just remember that even though---"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all." (Psalm 34:19)

Have a great day. The trials come to all, but the Lord is the deliverer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Looking Where?"

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." Psalm 5:3

I know that we have talked about this recently, but it is something I feel impressed to talk about again this morning. We all face problems. Some problems are like mountains. Some are like fiery furnaces. Some are like roaring lions. Some are deep pits. Some are wide rivers. When you face problems, where you "look" is important. The longer you look at the mountain, the bigger it gets. The longer you look at the furnace, the hotter it feels. The longer you look at the lions, the more furious they become. The longer you look at the pit, the deeper it looks. The longer you look at the river, the wider it seems. Looking (staring) at your problem never makes it go away, it only magnifies it.

When you are facing these trying times, there is one place you can look, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." (Psalm 121:1) Problems and trials are very real, but where you are looking determines how you get through them. As we have already said, looking at them only magnifies them. But when you turn from looking at the problems and look at the Lord and keep your eyes on Him, He is magnified and the problems decrease in size. The mountain shrinks to the size of a mole hill. The furnace becomes like a camp fire. The lions turn to kittens. The pit is only a dip in the road. The river becomes a stream.

When you stop looking at the problems and look at God, there is no comparison-- these things can't hold a candle to Him, they aren't as great or powerful as He is, they aren't as big as He is. When you look at the problem for a long time, you can't see any thing else-- no way of escape, no help, no hope, no answer. This is why it is so important that you change the direction you are looking and start looking up-- up to the Lord. When you look at Him you'll see hope, help, encouragement, faith, strength, peace, a way of escape, a solution, or grace to go through it.

Have a great day. Where are you looking? At the problems or up?

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Remember God"

"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." Psalm 143:5

All week long we have talked about our wonderful God- His goodness, faithfulness, greatness, His character and attributes. It's no doubt that we are living in the last days-- perilous times. Daily we are bombarded with bad reports, discouraging news, fearful events. We hear of wars and rumors of wars. There is talk of economic clasp, famine, disease, pestilence. In light of what we see and hear happening in the world, more than ever we must keep our focus on the Lord. We must daily remind ourselves of who we serve, of who we have placed our trust and confidence in, of who holds our lives in the palm of His hand.

God is still God regardless of the world's chaos. God is still faithful to meet and supply all our needs. God is still a good God in spite of bad things that happen around us-- and to us. God is still greater than the devices of the enemy. Don't let your hearts be troubled- don't let them be fearful, worried or anxious. Remember who God is-- remember His greatness. Remember that He is watching over the events of mankind. He hasn't forsaken you. He knows all- He knows where you are, what is going on, what the outcome will be, when it will end.

When you are tempted to fear because of the events taking place around you, stop and instead meditate on who God is- wonderful, faithful, all powerful, all knowing, etc. Meditate on what He has done for the saints of old- David and the giant, Sarah and her barren womb, Joshua at the walls of Jericho, Noah and the ark, the three Hebrews and the furnace, the widow's meal and oil, the disciples in the boat, the raising of Lazarus. Meditate on what He has done for you- saved your soul, redeemed you from the curse of sin, written your name in the Book of Life, made you His child, created you and put breath in your body, woke you up this morning, gives you your daily bread, put His Spirit within you. As you meditate on who God is and His great works how can you stay fearful?

Have a great day. Keep your heart and mind fixed and stayed on the Lord. Lift Him up (remind yourself of who He is) and fear and worry can't stay around you.

"My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." Psalm 63:5-7

"I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?" Psalm 77:11-13

"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Great God"

"Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name." Jeremiah 32:18

Often we forget just how great and mighty God is. I wanted to remind you this morning that He is not a weak God. He is mighty and powerful. His power has not diminished with time. He has not gotten old and feeble. He has not changed. He is still able to speak a world into existence. He is still able to part a sea. He is still able to fight battles and win. He is still more powerful than the enemy. He can still bring down giants, walls, quench the fires of furnaces, shout lion's mouths, send manna from heaven and water out of a rock. He can still feed thousands with a handful. He can still heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind, open the ears of the deaf, straighten limbs, and forgive sins.

How is it that we think that He is any less GOD?! We can't even comprehend GOD-- what that means or who He is. He spoke into nothing and created everything. He holds everything together by the power of His word. He sees the smallest sparrow when it falls. He sees each blade of grass as it withers. He can count the number of grains of sand on the seashores. He calls each star by name. He tells the ocean where to stop so it doesn't daily flood the earth.
Don't let what you see, hear or feel; don't let the mountain you are facing; don't let the impossibility of the situation you are going through; don't let those who are negative-- lessen the power and might of God. He is powerful and mighty whether you believe He is or not.

Have a great day. He is a great and powerful and mighty--- Almighty--- God!!!

"Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Great in counsel, and mighty in work: " Jeremiah 32:17,19
"The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power.." Nahum 1:3a
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Ephesians 3:20
"Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle." Psalm 24:8

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"He Is Faithful"

"Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations." Deuteronomy 7:9

What does it mean to be faithful? It's simply defined as: worthy of trust; one that can be relied on. If ever there was a true definition of God, I believe it's this one. He is worthy of our trust-- all our trust. He is reliable. You can stake your entire life on Him and His faithfulness. In the Book of Revelation we discover that "Faithful" is even one of His names. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war." (Revelation 19:11)

He isn't just faithful in one area, but in all areas of life. He isn't just faithful for a season, but He is eternally faithful- His faithfulness endures forever. He isn't just faithful when things are going good, but He is faithful when things are going bad, when things are falling apart, when problems arise, when night comes, when all others forsake you, when the storms rage, when the lion roars, when the bad report comes.

David found Him faithful when he stood before the giant. Sarah found Him faithful when she conceived a child in her old age. Daniel found Him faithful in the lion's den. The three Hebrews found Him faithful in the furnace. Joseph found Him faithful in the prison. Noah found Him faithful in the flood. Ruth found Him faithful in a foreign land. He was faithful to them and to many others throughout all generations. We can put our trust and confidence in Him knowing that because He does not change He will be faithful to us as well.

Have a great day. God's faithfulness does not change. Therefore, we can place our complete hope and trust in Him.

"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Cor. 1:9)
"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." (1 Thes. 5:24)
"But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." (2 Thes. 3:3)
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" (Hebrews 10:23)
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." (1 Peter 4:19)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"The Lord Is"

"The Lord is..." Psalm 23:1a

One of God's names is El Shaddai- the God who is all sufficient. He is and has everything we need.

The Lord is my strength when I am weak. The Lord is my rock- my firm foundation. The Lord is my healer. The Lord is faithful to me. The Lord is the one who meets and supplies all my needs. The Lord is my help in time of trouble. The Lord is the glory and lifter of my head. The Lord is my strong tower of refuge. The Lord is my shelter in the time of storm. The Lord is my peace. The Lord is my habitation. The Lord is my hiding place. The Lord is the lover of my soul and captain of my salvation. The Lord is my wisdom. The Lord is the giver of every good gift. The Lord is grace and comfort. The Lord is my shepherd. The Lord is the one who fights my battles. The Lord is the one who gives me victory and causes me to triumph over my enemies. The Lord is the one who helps me run through a troop and leap over a wall. I could go on forever declaring who He is and what He does and never exhaust the list. He is so infinitely great, awesome and wonderful.

While God is "all this" (and much more) He desires to be it to you personally. What "is" He to you today? Is He your Savior and Lord? Is He the one you look to for help? Is He your strength? Is He your provider? Is He personal to you?

Have a great day. He is more than we can fathom or comprehend... and the greatest thing is that He wants to be it to us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"God's Goodness"

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13

It seems like most of our attention is given to our problems and our conversations usually center around the bad things or trying situations that are happening. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging a problem. But this morning I want to talk about the goodness of the Lord. Do we spend as much-- or more-- time talking about God's goodness as we do the problems?

God is good. He is good no matter what is happening. He is good when everything else is bad. He is good in the daytime and in the night time. He is good in the times of rain and sunshine. God is good in times of plenty and times of lack. God is good when all is well and when it's not. God is good in times of peace and in times of war. God is good in times of sickness and in times of health. God is good everyday, not just at certain times. God is good even when I'm not. God is good when the mountain is before me. God is good when the lions roar. God is good when I am rejected by men. God is good even when the furnace is hot. God is good in the valley. God is good on the mountain. God is good in green pastures. God is good in the wilderness. He is good when I have problems and He is good when I don't. Need I say more??

God is good and we need to spend more time meditating on and talking about God's goodness then we do on the things that are happening around us. That's part of... "His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Which do you spend more time talking about--- your problems or His goodness? If we would do the latter, perhaps some of our problems would not seem as big.

Have a great day. Meditate on the goodness of the Lord today.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"It's Over When?"

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

We have a saying here in the states--- "It isn't over until the fat lady sings". (I mean no offense.) In opera when "the fat lady sings" her song, everyone knows it's the end. This term is also used in sports to encourage the fans that even though it may look like their team is losing, the game isn't over until it's over. As I thought about this saying, I realized that the truth is... "It isn't over until God says." God always has the last word. It's over when He says it's over.

Lazarus was dead. The disciples tried to talk Jesus out of going to Lazarus and putting their lives in danger because Lazarus was dead. Mary said he was dead. Martha said he was dead and was even stinking. The mourners cried in unison, Lazarus is dead. He was dead, it was over, it was finished. But it really wasn't over until God said it was over. He had the final word. His final word was, "Lazarus, come forth."

It doesn't matter what the situation is, it doesn't matter how it may look, it doesn't matter what others are saying... it isn't over until God says it's over. Always remember that He has the final say so in the matter. Sarah said her womb was dried up and her child bearing days were over, but God had the final word... she had a son. The king said to the three Hebrews that they were going to die in the furnace for not bowing to his image, but God had the final word... the king saw four men in the fire walking around. Even on the cross, it wasn't over until He said it was over. He had the last word. He's the one who said when the price for our sins was paid in full... "It is finished".

We often say that God is in control. The fact that He has the last word in any and every situation is our proof that He is in control.

Have a great day. It's over when God says it's over.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Satan Doesn't Change"

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8;44

I don't really like to talk about the devil because he doesn't deserve for us to waste our breath on him and he is a defeated foe, but the Bible says that we aren't ignorant of his devices so I must talk about him this morning in order to make you aware of his devices so that when he comes you will recognize that it is him and not fall prey to his schemes to steal, kill and destroy you.

The devil is the same as he has always been- his character hasn't changed. Jesus said he was a murder and liar from the beginning and he still is today. In the Garden of Eden- back at the beginning- he was a deceiver. In the Book of Revelation he is still called the deceiver at the end of time. (Revelation 20:10) Because he doesn't change- he has no new tricks in his bag- we can expect him to come against us the same way he always does-- with lies, deception, accusations, confusion, fear and questions to plant doubt. He came to Jesus in this same way when he tried to tempt him in the wilderness. He tried to deceive Jesus with the word of God. (Imagine trying to deceive The Word with the word.) He told Jesus lies, and tried to get Him to fall for his accusations.

Just because he is defeated doesn't mean that he gives up- he still thinks he can win and he still thinks the same weapons he has always used will still work. They only work if we are ignorant of them. They only work if we don't recognize them. They only work if we aren't aware of what they are. Once we realize that these are his weapons, each time he tries to use them on us we will recognize them and know their source. Once we know the source then we know what to do about it.

Have a great day. Satan is a defeated foe who does not change-- his methods, his weapons, his schemes, his devices, his character and his nature are always the same-- so he is easy to recognize.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"It's Pretty Clear"

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6

When I asked the Lord what He wanted to say to us this morning, the scripture above came to me-- I heard it as clearly as if someone had spoken it audibly to me. So as I sat down to write the devotional I asked the Lord to "expound" the scripture and tell me what He wants us to know through this verse today.
I heard nothing from Him. I asked Him again to lead me and tell me what to write-- I can't write anything unless He gives to me what to say. Then I heard Him say-- you don't need to talk about the verse; it's pretty "self explanatory". (Of course, since He is God He is right.)

Some things don't need a whole lot of explanation. They are as clear as crystal. This verse is one of those "clear" things- no explanation needed. So let me "sum" up what the Lord wants to say to us this morning... "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near."

Have a great day. Don't try to make some things more complicated than they are. Simply take it for face value and as it is.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Look Up"

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." Psalm 5:3

I have a word for you this morning from the Lord--- Don't lose your focus. Keep focused and looking in the right direction. When bad things happen, look up. When you hear bad reports, look up. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, look up. When things are chaotic, look up. When you face trials, look up. When relationships are threatened, look up. When the situation you are in changes for the worse, look up. When you face a storm, look up. When you face flood waters, look up. When you are in the lion's den, look up. When you face the giant, look up. When the situation seems impossible, look up. When it looks like you'll be destroyed, look up. When it appears as though the enemy has triumphed, look up. When the clouds are dark, the mountain too tall and the valley too deep, look up.

In describing the events of the end time Jesus spoke a word of hope lest our hearts faint because of the "fearful things" that are coming upon the earth... "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28) "Look up and lift up your head." This is His word of hope to us when things around us- whether they be on a small scale or large scale, whether they are personal and individual or worldwide and common- our hope in trying times is found in staying focused and looking in the right direction. "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." (Psalms 121:1)

Have a great day. Don't let the events, situations, trials and circumstances of life cause you to look to the left or to the right--- keep looking up... looking to Jesus.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"God Knows Me"

"But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not." Matthew 25:12

Last week we talked about how you can't have a relationship with someone you don't know. Even a relationship with someone goes beyond just an acquaintance with them. We discussed that one reason God reveals Himself in scripture the way He does is because He wants us to have a relationship with Him so He tells us all about Himself-- what He likes and dislikes, what He can do, what He can't do, who He is, His nature and so on.

God wants a relationship with us-- He wants us to know Him. But the real question is not whether you know Him but does He know you? So many people claim to "know" God. What they really mean is "they know about Him". They have heard stories about Him, perhaps they have heard someone else talk about Him, they have heard His name mentioned, etc. When we stand before Him one day, it's not going to be about us knowing Him... it will be about Him knowing us. If He doesn't know us, we won't get into heaven, we won't spend eternity with Him. He is not going to open the doors to His "house" and let "strangers" move in. "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:23

The word for "knew" in this verse means to have a relationship with; to be intimate with. Do you know Him? Does He know you? Do you have a relationship with Him? Will He profess that He knows you? Or will you be a stranger to Him on that day? If you don't have a relationship with Him what's stopping you? He desires to know you personally, intimately. Accept His invitation to come into a relationship with Him.... accept it today.

Have a great day. Does He know you?

Friday, July 4, 2008

"To Know God - Part 3"

"That I may know him..." Philippians 3:10a

A third reason I want to talk about this morning on the subject of why God reveals Himself to us through different names and titles has to do with relationship. There is a difference in having an acquaintance and a relationship with someone. When I am acquainted with someone, I know only a few details about them. But when I have a relationship with someone I know even "deep" things about them. For example, if you're an acquaintance I might know your name, where you live, who you are married to, whether you have children or not. But if I have a relationship with you, I not only know these details about you I also know how long you have lived where you live, the names and birthdates of all your children, what you like, what you dislike, what your favorite color is, your favorite dessert, your least favorite food, the kind of music you like including your favorite song, and so on. I don't just know facts and figures about you, I know personal intimate details. And the more I learn about you the deeper our relationship becomes.

God created us for His pleasure- to have a relationship with us. Because God is love, He created us out of a desire to express His love on someone and have them love Him in return out of a free will. In the beginning God had a relationship with mankind through Adam, but Adam disobeyed God and sin came into the picture. This sin was now an issue that caused a wedge between God and man. But because God does not change, His love for us never changed, His desire to have a relationship, fellowship and intimacy with us didn't change, He sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins- dealing with the sin issue- so that we could be reconciled back to God in a relationship of love.

Because God desires a relationship with us- that we might know Him- He reveals who He is through His names and titles. As we learn who He is through them, it deepens our knowledge of Him which in turn deepens our relationship with Him. Moses wanted to see God- he wanted to know Him in a deeper way. How did God let him "see Him"? How did He reveal Himself to Moses? Through His names- "And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD." (Exodus 34:5)

God desires a relationship with us that's why He is continually revealing who He is to us. It's not so that we will be acquainted with Him through knowing facts and figures about Him- just what He does, but that we will know Him through a revelation of who He is.

Have a great day. Because this infinite God desires to have a relationship with us finite beings, He reveals Himself to us through His names and titles. As He does we learn that He is our source for everything we need. This knowledge should cause us to desire to have a relationship with Him too in return.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

"To Know God - Part 2"

"...and his name shall be called..." Isaiah 9:6

Yesterday we discussed that one of the reasons why God reveals Himself to us through many names and titles is because He is God and there is no way our finite minds could comprehend an infinite God unless He tells us who He is.

This morning I want to discuss another reason why He reveals Himself through different names and titles. His names identify who He is- His nature, His character, His abilities. He reveals who He is because He knows that we are such a needy people and He wants us to know that He is the source- the true source, a capable source, a reliable source- that we can turn to when in need... whatever the need.

He reveals Himself as Counselor because we need council. We don't always know the right decisions to make in every situation- we need someone to turn to who does know what is the right thing for us to do and can give us direction. We need provisions- food, clothing, shelter- so He reveals Himself as Provider so that we would know that He is the source we can turn to when we lack. We all suffer times of weakness, therefore, we need strength. He lets us know that He is strength- there is no weakness in Him and we can become strong by looking to Him. He reveals Himself as Savior because we all need saving but none of us can save ourselves. So when we turn to Him as Savior we find forgiveness for our sins and salvation. Who doesn't need peace? He is the Prince of Peace- the one who gives peace of mind and peace of heart, who gives us an enduring lasting peace, who gives us peace with God, who keeps us in perfect peace when our minds are stayed on Him.

I could go on and on. But with each revelation of Himself we realize that He is who and what we need. It makes us aware that no matter the situation, no matter the need, no matter how great or small the problem-- He "fits the bill"-- He is exactly what we need.

Have a great day. When He identifies Himself through a different name or title, He is letting me know that He is what I need when I have a need in that area.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"To Know God"

"And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?" Exodus 3:13

In the scriptures God reveals Himself through many names and titles. Before I go any further let me say-- I am in no way implying or agreeing with the teaching that says that we all worship the same God even though we call Him by another name. I am talking about the One God, the only True and Living God, the God of the Bible. We don't all worship the same God.

He reveals Himself as Jehovah Jireh the provider, Jehovah Rophe the healer, He is the Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, The Way, The Truth, The Light, The Life, The Comforter, Savior, Lord, and hundreds of other names and titles. By revealing Himself to us through these names and titles He is identifying who He is-- that's what a name and title does. One of the reasons He does this is because He is God which makes Him unsearchable, past finding out, the depths of who He is is far greater that we can ever comprehend or understand in our little finite being. Because He is infinite in nature the only way we can ever possibly get even the slightest understanding of who He is is if He reveals it to us.

Rejoice today in the fact that God has made Himself known to us. He is not a God that is afar off, He is close enough to make Himself known. Each time you see a different name revealed of Him in scripture it brings a little more clarity to our understanding of who God is. He is a holy God who is so much greater than we can even imagine, but He desires that we know Him even if it is only a small part of who He is.

Have a great day. God identifies Himself to us so that we will have a little better understanding of who this unsearchable God we serve is.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Praise Is His Sanctuary"

"Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion." Psalm 114:2

"Judah was his sanctuary." Let me give you a "literal" interpretation of this based on the meaning of these words. "Praise was God's Holy place of habitation." Psalm 22:3 says, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."

Do you desire more of the presence of God in your life? Then make your life a place of praise. God doesn't dwell in murmuring and complaining. He does dwell in criticism. He doesn't dwell in backbiting and gossip. He doesn't dwell where arguing is, nor does He dwell in cursing and profanity. He doesn't dwell in words of doubt, fear and unbelief. He dwells in praise.

How much time do you spend giving God praise and honor each day? Is your mouth continually filled with His praises? Do you go around your home lifting up His blessed name in praise? Praise is not just something we do in church during the song service. Praise is a lifestyle-- a lifestyle of gratitude for the One who died for us, gave His life freely to redeem us from our sins, who gives us all good things, who daily loads us with benefits, who meets and supplies every need.

His praise should continually be in our mouths (Psalm 34:1), and the starting place each day is in the morning. When you get out of bed the first thing you should do is open your mouth and begin to praise Him for keeping you safe through the night, for waking you up to the dawn of a new day, for giving you life, health, peace, salvation, for loving you, for making His sun shine upon you, for allowing you the privilege of coming to Him in prayer, for hearing your request, for giving you access into His very presence, (should I continue?). Make your life a sanctuary of praise and watch how His presence will dwell in your life in a greater way.

Have a great day. God dwells in praise, not in complaining.