Friday, August 29, 2008

"The Package"

"And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." John 1:16

Let me give you a parable this morning. A young couple had a baby. When they left the hospital to go home, the hospital sent a "new baby package" home with them. Around 2:00 a.m. the baby woke up with a wet diaper and needed changing. They had no diapers so she sent her husband to the store to get some. Several days passed and this new mother decided to look in the package that she received from the hospital. The package had several items that the baby would need-- including diapers. Had they taken the time to look in their package they would have discovered the diapers and the young father would not have had to go to the store in the middle of the night to buy them.

The point of the parable? When we came to Christ as Savior and Lord, we also received a "package". Along with Jesus comes a "package". In it is every good and perfect gift, everything that pertains to life and godliness, spiritual blessings and everything we need to live an abundant life. But many Christians, like this young couple, aren't aware of what they have been given in Christ. They live defeated lives, constantly praying for the victory when they already have victory in Christ. (He overcame the world, His strong right arm got them the victory, He has triumphed on our behalf, He is the conqueror and has made us more than conquerors through Himself.)

This package includes victory over the enemy and over besetting sins, strength in your weaknesses, grace that is sufficient, peace that passes understanding, joy that's unspeakable and full of glory, wisdom, discernment, revelation knowledge, healing, love for your enemies and too much more to name. You are just going to have to look in your package to find out what else you have been given. Where is the package? It's found in the Bible. As you read it you will discover all the wonderful blessings, provisions and promises that the Lord has given to you. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

Have a great day. Jesus comes with a package, and it's contents belong to you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"In Common"

"The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men." Psalm 33:13

Hannah's soul was in distress because of her barrenness. Moses was on the backside of the desert in hiding. Joseph was sitting in a prison because of false accusations against him. Noah was shut up in an ark full of "smelly" animals. Lot was living in a place that vexed his soul. Peter was sinking in the storm. Jeremiah was thrown in a pit. Job was sitting in ashes scraping his sores. These each had their different set of circumstances and problems. They each had their own individual trials. They each one were going through some trying situation. They each lived at different times in history. There are so many things that they didn't have in common. But do you know the one thing they all did have in common? God saw where each of them were.

It doesn't matter how different our trials may be. It doesn't matter if we live on opposite sides of the planet. It doesn't matter if we are rich or poor, young or old, male or female, what race or nationality. We still have this same common factor in our lives. God sees where we each one are.

God sees where you are this morning- never doubt it. It may feel like you are hidden from His view. It may feel like He is a million miles away. It may feel like He has forgotten that you exist. It may feel like He has closed His eyes and shut up His ears. It may feel like He is more concerned about what others are going through than He is about you. But He hasn't. He sees you where you are. When you start feeling like this, remember the Bible characters that we have talked about and how God saw them. He is no different today for you than He was then for them.

Have a great day. God sees where "YOU" are-- wherever that may be.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Little Things"

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

I have to make the choice today to rejoice. I am not always in control of what comes my way but I am in control of how I respond to it. Am I going to let the "little foxes" spoil the vine today? Am I going to let those "little" things cause me to lose my joy, rob me of peace, get me aggravated and frustrated, make me bitter and angry?

It's not always the "big" things that the enemy sends our way to try to seal, kill and destroy that are harmful- I would recognize it right way and be on guard to resist it. But it's the little things that I don't always so easily detect as part of his plan of destruction for me that can do me more harm. I am talking about that dripping faucet- it doesn't seem like it drips until you lay down to go to sleep. It's that sweet little blessing that you gave birth to that asks you for the thousandth time-- "But Why?" It's the television that your spouse has turned up so loud that you can hear it all over the house. It's that phone call from a telemarketer that rings when you have finally gotten the baby asleep. It's that one little spot on your shirt- it seems to stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes it's a barking dog, a crying baby, a pebble in your shoe, an ingrown toenail, a paper jam, a spilt glass of milk, a buzzing mosquito.

Accidents happen- milk gets spilt. Mosquitoes are a part of life and when the door is left open they get in the house- and they buzz. Faucets wear out- so they drip. Children are curious- it's part of their growth and development. Doors squeak because hinges are subject to deterioration. It's all part of life, and life is the area that the enemy wants to "hit" you in. When he uses life to try to destroy me- even the smallest aspects of life- I have to determine that I am not going to let it effect me, I am not going to let it rob from me, I am not going to respond to it in the flesh. Instead, I have to determine that I am going to turn it into praise, into a lesson to help me grow spiritually, into something that will bring God glory. When I do, then I can walk in peace, joy and victory because it has not been stolen from me.

Have a great day. Watch out for the little things of life and don't let them "get" you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Wait Patiently"

"I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry." Psalm 40:1

"I waited patiently for the LORD." That is almost unheard of any more: waiting for the Lord, and waiting patiently for Him. We tend to always be in a hurry. We don't want to wait for anything. We want whatever it is at the moment we want it. This attitude runs over into our prayer life and relationship with the Lord. We tend to treat Him the same way. We don't want Him to make us wait for anything- the answer, the blessings, the provision.

Then when we do wait for Him- allowing Him to move in His time, according to the council of His own wisdom and by His sovereignty- we don't do a very good job of waiting patiently. Most of our impatience comes because we feel the "crunch" of deadlines, the pressure of the situation or the demands of others who want an immediate answer. There are mornings I feel the pressure of "time" to get the devotional out. I know I shouldn't wait too late because of the ones who want to read it before they go to work or school, so when I look at the clock and it's getting late I need Him to answer me then.

Let me remind you, and me, that He knows all about our deadlines, our pressures, our schedules and what time it is. He knows when to give us the answer. We live our lives by a clock- time is always staring us in the face- but He doesn't and isn't moved by the clock. A day to Him is like a thousand years to us, and vice versa. He doesn't even own a clock but His timing is always so perfect.

Stop being so anxious, stop being in such a hurry, stop fretting because it is taking God one minute longer than you want it to take. Learn to wait on the Lord, and learn to wait patiently. Patiently waiting is called "rest", and "rest" is called "trust", and you can trust Him to do anything and everything at just the right time.

Have a great day. Do you wait on the Lord? How do you wait?

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Your Conversations"

"They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power." Psalm 145:11

Child of God, what do you talk about? What is the main subject of your conversations each day? I know that we have to talk about many things, but is the Lord ever one of those things you do talk about? One of the men in our Sunday school class yesterday was talking about how the men he works with are as far away from God as you can get. He has been witnessing to them, letting his light shine, living a holy lifestyle before them, and talking to them about who Jesus is. One thing he noted was that we spend too much time talking to the lost about our churches and not enough about who Jesus is. As he shared this with us I remembered the scripture where we are told that if Jesus is lifted up then He would draw all men unto Himself.

The Lord never told us to "preach" about our churches. He told us to "preach" Jesus. Paul said that he preached Christ and Him crucified. Jesus doesn't seem to be the main theme of the church any more. We talk about our churches, we talk about the blessings, we talk about material gain, prosperity, everything else, but not about Jesus.

Today, take note-- what is the main theme of your conversations? When the opportunity arises, do you talk about Jesus or "other religious subjects"? Men may take note that you are different because of the light that they see shining in you, but it's only when we "lift" up Jesus-- talk about how great and glorious, loving and merciful that He is-- that they will be drawn to Him.

Have a great day. Who or what are you lifting up in your conversations?

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Test Time"

"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." 1 Corinthians 11:31

I am all the time getting "test" in my inbox- most of them are "jokes"- this morning I want to give you a test, and this one is not a joke. It is a spiritual self examination to help you see what's in your heart. The Bible says that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked and we don't know it (Jeremiah 17:9), therefore, we have to take time to examine ourselves to see what's in our hearts.

Here's the test- answer these questions:
What is the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up- praise the Lord for waking you up or complain because you have to get out of bed?
Would you rather go to church at the appointed time or go do some recreation?
Would you rather live in a cave with God or a palace without Him?
Would you rather suffer for the cause of Christ or live in the lap of luxury in Pharaoh's house?
Would you rather be Lazarus or the rich man?
Would you rather read your Bible or read something else?
Do you love your enemies or hate them?
Do you go the second mile when compelled or refuse to go even the first mile?
Do you do unto others the same way they do to you or do you treat them the way you want to be treated?
Are you slow to anger?
Do you give tithes and offerings to God? How do you give them? Cheerfully or grudgingly?
Do you show mercy? How about to those who don't deserve it?
Do you forgive those who trespass again you or do you hold on to bitterness?
Would you rather take revenge or let God deal with them?
Would you rather talk to others more than you want to talk to God?

That will conclude the test for today. I know these are very pointed questions- some of them are easy to answer, some may not be. But in order to know where our hearts are, we have to ask them, and we have to be real and honest with our answers because this is not just a test that determines whether you pass to the next grade or not, whether you have a high IQ, whether you and your spouse are compatible, etc... this is a matter of life and death for you. Answering these questions determine where your heart is with God- if He's first, if He has your heart, if He is your desire, if you love Him.

We take "tests" everyday, not just in a question and answer form like above, but the "tests" (trials, problems, tribulations) that come our way through just everyday life will also let us know where our heart is by the way we respond to them.

Have a great day. Did you pass the test?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


"He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster." Proverbs 18:9

We all know that the word squander means waster, but in my study and research of the word I discovered that there is a board game that you can buy called Squander. It's like Monopoly but in reverse. The object of the game is to loss your money instead of make money. The first person to loss all their money wins. Is that the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard? That is a foolish "ambition", yet how many of us daily "play" this game in our personal lives.

God has blessed us with resources that we squander by not using them wisely. We take the blessings of God- whether they be finances, talents, time- and squander them like the prodigal son on "riotous" living. The word "riotous" means to be a spendthrift- someone who is extravagant and recklessly wasteful. In plain English it's someone who lives above their means, spends more than they can afford, waste what they have on unnecessary things, and don't value what they do have. Are you guilty of squandering the resources that the Lord has given you? Do you waste His blessings on things that have no eternal value, that just get you deeper in debt, that rob you of peace of mind? Do you spend what you don't have or take from tomorrow to accommodate today? Is your motto: "Eat, drink and be merry today and tomorrow you'll pay for it." Do you "hoard" your resources and spend them only on self? Do you only use your talents when it benefits you or do you share them to encourage someone else? Do you use them to be creative and gain prosperity?

Let me move from the physical aspect of squandering to the spiritual end of the spectrum. The origin of the word "spendthrift" is someone who is able to spend money acquired by the thrift of predecessors or ancestors. In other words, someone else labored to acquired the resources that you are spending unwisely and foolishly. (Like the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance.) As I read this definition I thought about the price that Jesus paid for us to acquire the blessings of God- eternal and abundant life- and how often we squander them. He has given us an inheritance, such as the blessing of access to the Father but we squander it by neglecting the place of prayer- instead we waste the time of prayer on other interest- like entertainment. We spend hours in front of the television or playing computer games or talking on the phone. We waste the blessings of God by wasting the opportunity to share the gospel, to read the word, to encourage someone else, to go to His house, to fellowship with other saints, and so on.

Today look at your life and see if you are "playing a game" physically and spiritually with the blessings and inheritance that the Lord has given you. If you are wasting them then it's time to make a change before you become "bankrupt". It's time to repent and go in the opposite direction and become a "wise spender".

Have a great day. Are you squandering the blessings you have been given?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Expect Results"

"And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them." Acts 3:5

God's word is full of conditions and promises. When we meet the conditions, we should expect to receive the promises. When we seek Him first, we should expect Him to meet all our need. (Matt. 6:33) When we acknowledge Him in all our ways, we should expect Him to direct our steps. (Proverbs 3:6) When we give, we should expect to receive. (Luke 6:38)

The reason that we don't receive- in some cases- is because we don't ask. (James 4:2) And often we don't ask because we don't expect God to answer. Then there are times when we might ask but don't receive because we don't expect to receive. It's the attitude that says-- I knew it wouldn't work. Faith and expectation go hand in hand-- and the just live by faith. We should live in a state of expectation based on the faithfulness of God to His word. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." (Hebrews 10:36)

The beggar at the gate beautiful expected something when he asked. Blind Bartimaeus expected something when he cried the more loudly to Jesus. The centurion expected something when he sent his servant to Jesus. Abraham expected God to provide a sacrifice when he took his son in obedience up the mountain. Jacob expected a blessing when he wrestled with the angel all night. Moses expected to "see" God when he followed God's instructions and went back up the mountain. The woman with the issue of blood expected to be heal when she touched the hem of Jesus' garment.

Are you having a hard time in the area of "expectation"? Do you have unbelief? Are you not sure that you'll receive the promise after having met the condition? Then there is a prayer that you should pray. "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief". (Mark 9:24)

Have a great day. Expect results-- "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Cor. 15:58)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Attention Required"

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1

Each evening the program that I use to protect my computer will run a scan to see if there is anything that is harmful to my computer's operation hiding somewhere. Once it is finished it will list any possible threats. At times it will let me know that some low risk cookie that has been detected-- it shows up under the heading of "Attention Required". When this happens, I have to take the necessary action to get rid of the risk that could cause a potential problem if left unattended.

I wonder if there are things in our lives that come under the heading of "Attention Required". How many things- wrong attitudes, ill feelings, fears, undisciplined areas, besetting sins, unholy thoughts, etc.- do we have "hiding" in us that are potential "hazards" to our souls. Are there areas that the Lord has shown you that need some attention? Do they seem so small and insignificant- not worth the bother? We are told in the word of God that a little leaven leavens the whole lump and the little foxes spoil the vines. On my computer if these threats are left unattended they can cause problems, or a possible "crash" eventually. In our lives if these things are left unattended they can cause our lights to be hid, our salt to lose it's savor, our hearts to become hard, our love to grow cold, or worse, our relationship with the Lord to be hindered.

This morning let the Holy Spirit do a "system scan" on your heart to see if there is anything that is a hinderance to your Christian walk and growth in the Lord. ("Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. Ps. 139:23) If there is don't "hit the ignore button", give it the needed attention required and let the Lord "clean" it up. You will "function" much better-- it's called abundant life.

Have a great day. Is there something in your life that requires attention?

Monday, August 18, 2008

"A Good Mood"

"...when I awake, I am still with thee." Psalm 139:18b

Let me brag on my seven month old grand baby for a moment. She is such a good and happy baby. When she wakes up in the morning or from a nap, she is always in the best mood. You won't even know she's awake until you hear her cooing, "talking" to herself or giggling. When you peek a look at her and she spots you, she will smile at you from ear to ear. She spent the night with me last night and I happened to be in the bedroom when she woke up- it was no different, she woke up this morning just as I described. I immediately thought,"Why can't we wake up in such a happy mood--- especially if we are Christians?"

If you are a Christian, what kind of mood do you wake up in? It's understandable that a person who does not know Christ would wake up in a grumpy, irritated, mad, depressed, hateful, fearful, worried, anxious mood-- but it's not understandable for a Christian who wakes up in any of these moods. If I have Christ living in my heart, I should wake up with a smile on my face, joy in my heart, peace of mind, and in a good mood.

I know we aren't like little babies who have no pressures, no problems, who don't have to work for a living, who don't encounter mean nasty people, who don't have to deal with all the trials and temptations we face, or have to put up with the cares of the life. But just because we face "life" is no excuse for us not to wake up "happy"- with peace and joy and in a good mood.

It may sound "super spiritual" or "unrealistic" but we can (and should) wake up in a good mood because God has a solution for everything that would try to rob us of this part of abundant life-- it's found in His word and presence.
Are you burdened with cares? "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
Are you in need? "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
Are you struggling? In the valley of decision? Needing guidance or direction? "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5,6)
Are you having to deal with wicked, unkind people? "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9ff)

Do you see why I said that we can wake up in a good mood everyday no matter what is going on in or around us? If our trust and faith is in God, then we know that His eye is on the sparrow and we are of much more value than a sparrow. We know He doesn't leave us nor forsake us. He knows what we have need of even before we ask and He provides it. He gives us our daily bread. He equips us with powerful weapons to defeat the enemy. He loves us with an everlasting love. He did not spare His own Son for us and will give us freely all things through Christ. God is in control so nothing will happen today that He can't handle. Knowing this causes me to rejoice and gives me a peace that passes understanding, therefore, I can wake up in a good (great) mood.

Have a great day. If you are a Christian, why are you waking up in a "bad" (wrong) mood when God provides everything you need?

Friday, August 15, 2008


"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6

On Thursdays when I go to the Recovery Center to minister, I always get there in time for "feelings check". Yesterday, almost all of the clients- the men and the women- and even some of the counselors were feeling worried or anxious. The Lord gave me a word to encourage them and I want to share that word with you this morning.

None of us are exempt from problems, we all have our fair share of them. We encounter problems on a daily basis, therefore, we are constantly faced with the temptation to worry or become anxious over them. In our scripture above, the word "careful" means anxious, worried, or fretful. God tells us in His word not to be worried or anxious, but He doesn't just stop there. (The one thing you can count on with God is that when He tells you not to do something, He also tells you how to keep from doing it- He always gives you the "key".) Keep reading the verse- "but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." There's the answer.

1) Pray about everything- every problem, every situation, ever circumstance, every report, every thing.
2) With supplications- pray a little more earnestly, grab a hold of the hem of His garment, don't let go, attach yourself to Him like Jacob and wrestle with Him.
3) With thanksgiving- give Him praise in spite of the problem. Thank Him for being a Big God who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all you ask or think. Thank Him for meeting and supplying all your need. Thank Him for not forsaking you or being slack concerning His promises. Thank Him for being in control.
4) Make your request to God- don't try to figure it out yourself, don't try to come up with a plan or solution, don't turn to the arm of flesh, tell God about it.

When you follow His command not to worry, when you use the keys that He has provided to help you, then there will be an end result. Verse 7, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." The end result with be peace- in your mind and in your heart. Worry will leave, anxiety will leave.

Have a great day. Don't worry or be anxious. God has given you keys to help you stop worrying and walk in peace instead.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Those Thoughts"

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

This morning I woke up with a song playing over and over in my head. It's not a song that I would like to be there. I was in a store the other day and you know how they play music while you are shopping- well that's where the song got in my mind. This song is playing so "loudly" and "repeatedly" (it's almost like having a radio on) in my mind that it is trying to distract me from writing.

We have a very real enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. One way he does that is by coming against us in our thoughts. He will plant thoughts to try to distract us, confuse us, sadden us, deter us, hinder us or even stop us. If you allow those thoughts to continue they will rob you- rob you of joy, peace, abundant life. If you allow them to continue they will kill- kill the dream God has given you, kill your faith, kill the plan of God in your own eyes. If you allow them to continue they will destroy- they will destroy relationships, your ability to hear God, your confidence.

Did you hear what I said? "If you allow them to continue". I have the power to combat the thoughts he tries to plant in my mind. I can't stop him from trying to plant those thoughts, but I don't have to let them stay there. I do not have to entertain them. I have the ability and authority to cast them down. In order to hear the Lord's voice and write this word this morning I have had to do just that. I have to make the choice not to let the thoughts of the enemy distract, hinder or stop me.

You have been given power and authority over the enemy. He can make an attempt to destroy you through your thoughts, but he can't succeed unless you allow him to succeed. If he is coming against you in your thought life you have to do something about it. Get violent with him, get determined, pray against the thoughts, read the Word of God out loud, renew your mind with God's promises, replace those thoughts with praise, pray in the Spirit- do something to take authority over them-- you can't think on two things at once, and the "things" of God (these weapons) will always defeat the "things" (the weapons) of the enemy.

Have a great day. Don't let the enemy keep harassing you in your thought life- it's your mind, you control what you allow to be in it. And you do not have to let anything that comes from the enemy stay there!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"That's Childish"

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

The Lord is often accused of "not caring"- not caring about us, what we are going through, what is happening in our lives. Basically, that is what Martha and Mary said to Jesus, "You don't care". They reasoned in their minds that if He really did care about Lazarus, and them, He would have come when they first called Him- four days ago while Lazarus was still alive.

Just because He doesn't "show up" when you want Him to, or think He should, is never an indication that He does not care. On the contrary, He was well aware of what was going on with them. He was more aware than they realized- He knew Lazarus was dead before a messenger was ever sent to Him. As a matter of fact, the Bible doesn't record that they sent word to Jesus telling Him of Lazarus' death. (Perhaps they decided not to send word to Him, after all, if He had cared about them He would have come while Lazarus was still alive and there was "hope", but He didn't so why send for Him now.)

If the Lord doesn't do what we want Him to do or answer our prayers when and in the way we want them answered, we start playing what I call "childish" games with Him- we don't talk to Him, we ignore Him, we make accusations to Him, we don't read His word, we don't pray or praise Him for a while. It's almost like we are "trying to get back" at Him or "get even" with Him.

If this is the attitude that you get when He doesn't "show up" when and how you desire, then you need to repent and stop it. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are so much higher and wiser than ours. He knows what He is doing. He sees the whole picture. He was aware of what was going on with Lazarus and He was desirous to do a greater work than just healing him. Did He care about Lazarus and his sisters? You answer the question. Does He care about you? Answer that one too.

Have a great day. He does care so don't act "childish" if it looks like He doesn't.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Long Distance"

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

The Lord wanted me to remind you this morning that He is not a "long distance" God- He is near. He is not a God that is afar off. He hasn't left and gone to the other side of the universe, He hasn't taken a trip to a distant land, He is here. He is as near as your next breath. He is near enough to be aware of what you are going through. He is near enough to see your pain, your hurt, your grief. He is near enough to see the scares from past wounds. He is near enough to have a close look at your heart. He is near enough to hear the thoughts and intent of your heart. He is near enough to see your tears and hear your cries. He is near enough to know even those things that are deep and hidden away in secret in your life.

Because He is near enough to be aware of everything that is going on in your life, He is also near enough to touch you at the point of your need. He is also near enough to wipe away your tears. He is also near enough to embrace and hold you close to Himself. He is also near enough to speak a word to your heart- a word of comfort, strength, peace, healing.

Stop putting Him so far away. He isn't. He is near and will be even nearer to you if you'll let Him.

Have a great day. He is not a long distant (far away) God- He is very near.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Down And Out"

"Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul." Psalm 86:4

Ever feel down- discouraged, depressed, just don't think you can make it or go on? Has your soul lost it's joy? Does sadness feel your heart? You can't stay like that- you can't stay in that condition because it only gets worse. You need some "joy". Joy lifts you up. It's your strength. It wipes away depression, it brings fears into submission. Joy gives you a whole new outlook. It assures you of victory.

If you have lost your joy this morning, if you need a fresh touch of joy, if you are feeling "down and out" then you need to go to the Lord and "lift your soul up to Him". Ask Him to "rejoice your soul". Ask Him to give you your joy back. Ask Him to touch your life and remove the heaviness. Too often we will stay in these "conditions" when there is help available to us. Too often we go around with no joy, no peace, no direction, no strength, because we don't turn to God and ask Him for what we need. Don't spend another day like this. You have not because you ask not. When you ask you will receive. When you come to Him He'll not send you away empty handed. When you call out to the Lord He will answer you. When you lift up your soul to Him to fill you with joy, He will.

Have a great day. Don't spend one more day feeling "down and out", lift up your soul to the Lord and let Him restore your joy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

"Defeated Devil"

"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20

Jesus told His disciples not to rejoice that the devils were subject to them, but rather that their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life. I rejoice in the fact that my name is in the Book of Life... I thank Jesus for it everyday. I never want to take my salvation for granted because I know where I would be without Him. If Jesus had not paid the sacrifice for my sins I would still be lost and on my way to hell... and rightfully so. He did not have to come and die for me, He could have left me in my sins, but He loved me so much that He gladly, and with great joy, went to the cross in order to redeem me from the wages of sin.

Having said all that, while I rejoice that my name is written in the Book of Life, I am thankful that the devils are subject to us. I am thankful that Jesus has given us victory over them. I am thankful that I don't have to worry about them, they are not stronger than I am, they are not more powerful, they are not victorious and I do not have to fear them... they are defeated! Jesus defeated their "leader" at the cross. He gave him a "head blow". (Genesis 3:15) Jesus made a triumphant show of him openly before all principalities and powers. In the name of Jesus I have authority over them, and have been given authority to cast them out of lives that they are tormenting and holding in bondage.

Jesus has given you power and authority over the devil and his fallen angels. Don't let them intimidate you. Don't let them make you think that they are the more powerful ones. Don't listen to, or believe, their lies, their accusations, their threats, their deceptive persuasions. They are not greater than you are, because the Greater One lives inside of you. Walk in the authority over them that the Lord has given you. The Bible says they are "under our feet" because they are under Christ's feet-- that means they are not above us. One preacher put it this way... he is a "toe level" devil. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church." (Ephesians 1:22) "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10:19)

Have a great day. It is all right to give Jesus praise for defeating Satan on your behalf.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"The Answer Is Easy"

"...for I do always those things that please him." John 8:29b

One of my email friends wrote me a note in response to yesterday's devotional about keeping your mouth shut and not repeating something that will cause discord, hurt feelings, disunity or trouble because God hates it. She said that she was going through a similar situation that very day and wanted to say something to a certain person but after reading the Coffee Break she didn't. She said it was easier to keep her mouth shut although she had the opportunity to say something once she realized how God felt about it.

Her last statement really spoke to me. The key to doing the right thing is to know how God feels about it. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". (Hosea 4:6a) If you aren't sure what pleases or displeases God, what He calls sin, what He says is an abomination, then when the temptation comes you may give into it and be destroyed by it. Of course, we still have to make the choice to do the right thing even if we know how He feels. If your goal is to please God and do His will then when you come to a situation you will already know what to do if you know how God feels about it. Daniel could have eaten the king's meat but he didn't because he knew how God felt about it. Joseph could have given into Potaphar's wife's advancements but because he knew how God felt about it he fled instead. They did not have to ask what was the right thing to do-- there was no doubt, no confusion, no hesitation, because they desired to please God and knew that to do other than they did would not.

Knowing what God says about something, knowing what displeases Him, knowing how He feels about certain issues will settle the decision for you... there will be no question about what you should do... you'll do the thing that pleases God.... therefore, the decision as to what to do will be an easy one.

Have a great day. When you know how God feels about it, it will settle the question, "What to do?" for you... that is if you desire to do His will.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Don't Repeat It"

".... and he that soweth discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:19b

Have you ever had a conversation with someone- perhaps a family member, a friend or a fellow employee- and the conversation contained some "negative" ideas or opinions about someone else? For example, this happened just recently to someone I know. They received a call from a family member and during the course of the conversation this family member made some not so "edifying" remarks about their sister's son. They stated how they felt about him and it was not very "positive". The tendency is to want to tell someone else about the conversation-- especially the sister.

I saw this situation as a perfect example of what the Lord meant in our verse above. If this person had not had wisdom in knowing to keep their mouth shut, instead of telling the sister, it would have caused seeds of discord to be sown in the family. The sister would have gotten angry at the family member who had made the remarks, and would have probably told her son, who then in turn would have had bad feelings toward this person also.

Am I saying what the family member did was right in talking about this son? No, if they had a problem with him they should have gone to him and told him themself and seen if they could have gotten their differences, or misunderstandings, resolved. But they didn't choose to go that route, they chose to talk about them to someone else instead. Talking about them only opened up the door to the enemy to cause discord and hard feelings. But if it had been repeated by the one it was said to, it would have only added "fuel to the fire".

We have to learn when to speak and when to keep our mouths shut. We don't want to be guilty of causing discord, trouble, hurt feeling or division between anyone. If you'll go back and read the couple of verses prior to this morning's verse, you'll see that this is listed among the things that God hates. Therefore, if He hates it, we should too and we should do everything in our power not to be guilty of it.

Have a great day. Are you sowing seeds of discord by repeating things that are better left unsaid?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"All The Armor"

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:11

The Lord impressed on me the other day that we must be sure to put on the "whole" armor-- all of it. He has equipped us with every piece for every battle in every area of life. If we put on all of it we will be able to stand against any and all of the enemies plans, strategies and devices. This is reconfirmed in verse 16- "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." When we take up the shield of faith we are able to quench "all" the fiery darts of the wicked.

The word this morning is simply this: make sure you put on "all" the armor so that you will be protected from head to toe. Be sure to put on "all" the armor so that you can stand against "all" the enemy's attacks- no matter which direction they come from. Don't leave off any part of it- you leave yourself unprotected in that area if you do. The weapons the Lord has given us are mighty but they must be used and we must be fully clothed in them.

Have a great day. Be sure to put on "all" the armor.

Monday, August 4, 2008

"My Mouth"

"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

If you have a mouth and can speak, it's because God gave it to you. Therefore, what should you do with it? Should you use it to tear down or build up? Should you use it to bless or to curse? Should you use it to speak kind words or cruel hurtful words? Should you use it to criticize or encourage? Should you use it to speak truth or lies? Should you use it to accuse or to comfort? Should you use it to help or hurt? Should bitterness be in it, should anger come out of it? Should it be used for both good and evil? Blessings and cursing? Faith and fear? Pride or humility? Should you use it to glorify God or exalt self? Should it be used to praise the Lord and to witness for Him?

What should your mouth be used for? If He gave you your mouth and you belong to Him then all of you-- your mouth included-- belongs to Him. So that means that you need to speak only what glorifies Him, only what He puts in it, only what He would say, only what would please Him. Sadly, that is not always the case. We often use our mouths as a weapon against one another. We use them to glorify the enemy when we talk like he does. Our mouths are not always like a pleasant stream bringing words of refreshing. They don't always bring healing. They often do more damage-- especially in an already bad situation.

Pay attention today to how you use your mouth. Notice what words come out of it. Who do they sound like, who do they glorify, who do they help or who do they destroy? Are they pleasing to God? Would it be something that He would say? Would it be something that He would want to hear coming from them? If you aren't using it for His glory, then what does that say about your thankfulness that He has given you a mouth to speak?

Have a great day. He gave me my mouth, it belongs to Him... am I using it for Him?

Friday, August 1, 2008

"Don't Forget"

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 21:8

There is a chorus- part of it- that has been going over and over in my thoughts for a couple of days. It goes: "If it had not been for Jesus, where would I be? I'm so glad that the Lord saved me." If Jesus had not saved me, I know exactly where I would be... and I don't like to think about it. The other day at prayer group I mentioned that I have been thinking about the Lake of Fire and the horror that the souls who wind up there are going to face. One lady said, "I'm not going to be there." I agree, thanks to the mercy of God, and the forgiveness of sins that came through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, I'm not going to be there either-- in this I greatly rejoice.

But at the same time, I can't forget about the eternal damnation that those who don't know Christ will face. While I don't like to think about where I would be without Christ's salvation I have to remember least I forget and don't warn the wicked man to turn from his wicked way. We need to remember what it is that we are saved "from" as much as what we are saved "to".

Jesus saved me from my sins. He saved me from the wages of sin- eternal death. He pardoned my transgressions and forgave my iniquities. He took the sentence of death for me so that I could receive a full pardon. When the day comes that all men will stand before God, I don't have to fear that I'll hear the words, "Depart, from Me, I never knew you". My hope and confidence on that day will be in the atoning blood of Jesus- the sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. He saved me from the punishment-- eternal separation from God, eternal torment in a lake of fire that will never, never be quenched and has no way of escape. He has saved me from my appointment with the wrath of God.

Have you forgotten? Have you forgotten what He saved you from and where you were headed? Have you forgotten that those who don't know Him as Savior are still heading there? Have you forgotten that if they aren't warned to turn then they will not escape eternal death and damnation? Have you forgotten that it's your job to warn them to flee from the wrath to come, to get right with God, to confess their sins and turn to God in repentance? I can never forget what the Lord did for me when He saved my soul- I am eternally grateful. But I can't forget either that there are still souls heading to a place of eternal torment if they aren't warned to turn. If I am as truly grateful for my salvation, as I say I am, then I won't forget to warn them so that they can enjoy the peace that comes from knowing it is well with your soul.

Have a great day. Don't forget about what awaits those who don't turn to Christ for salvation.