Monday, November 30, 2009

"Black Friday"

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

A friend was sharing with me about her "Black Friday" experience. (Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving when the stores have big sales in order to bring in lots of buyers. The sales usually start around 4:00 am and last until around noon.)

I quit going to the Black Friday sales years ago because the crowds are so large, you have to park blocks away from the stores, you have to stand in long lines and you have to get up very early in order to get there before the sale items are gone. My friend was telling me that this is exactly what she went through. She said she got up at 2:30 a.m. that morning to go and shopped until 7:00 p.m. that evening.

As I was listening to her, my mind immediately wondered, "Would we be willing to go through all this for Jesus?" When was the last time we woke up so early just to spend time with Him? When was the last time we went through any sort of inconvenience to get into His presence? Isn't it amazing that we will make room for and make sacrifices for the things we really want to do, but when it comes to Him it is more than we are willing to do. Most aren't willing to make even the slightest effort to study their Bible, pray or commune with Him. (What is wrong with this picture?)

Which describes you? One who makes room, makes sacrifices, goes the second mile, puts forth the effort and gets out of your comfort zone for Jesus or for everything else but Him? If you are one who will do it for the latter and not for Jesus, then there is something terribly out of order in your life and it needs to be corrected.

Have a great day. Is Jesus on your list of priorities? Is He on your list of things that you are willing to make adjustments and sacrifices for? Is He at the top of that list?

For Further Reading:
Psalm 96:4
Isaiah 29:13
Psalm 73:28
Amos 5:4

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Enter When You Desire"

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." Psalm 100:4

While this verse is specific in the fact that it tells us "how" to enter into the gates and courts of the Lord (His presence), it isn't specific as to "when" to do this. The reason is because the choice is up to us. Jesus broke down the middle wall of separation that kept us out of the presence of God. The veil was rent in two. Nothing stands in the way any longer. We have been granted access to freely come through the door (Jesus) which is never closed to us.

This means that we can enter into His presence whenever we desire. We can come to Him whether it's morning, noon, night, Sunday or any other day of the week. We have been given access to come to Him as often as we like- once an hour, twice a day, once a week, once a month, etc. We have also been given access to come into His presence during good times, bad times, trying times, peaceful times, abundant times, lean times- it makes no difference.

How often and when do you enter into His presence? Are you taking advantage of the privilege that has been granted to you by the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ? It cost Him everything to be able to open up the way of access for you and keep it open. So don't take it for granted.

Have a great day. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and praise, any time you'd like!!

For further reading:
Ephesians 2:14, 18
Hebrews 4:16
Matthew 27:50,51
Psalm 95:2
Psalm 100

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Study For The Test"

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

I woke up with this scripture on my heart this morning, and a thought accompanied it. The thought was this-- too many Christians depend on someone else to do their studying of the scriptures for them. They depend on the television preachers, their pastor, some sermon series, etc. We should be thankful for these and there is nothing wrong with learning from them. But God never intended that they take the place of personal study and responsibility.

Would you let someone else do your studying for you when it comes to taking a test? What they know does not do you much good if you don't know it. The Bible says that God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Is there a lack of knowledge, or a lack of studying to gain the knowledge?

There is a danger in taking everyone else's word for it especially when it deals with life and death issues, as do the scriptures. We will all take one big final test one day- the one where we stand before God and give a personal account of our lives. If you haven't studied to find out for yourself what answers are acceptable and which aren't, you might fail.

Have a great day. When we stand before the Lord one day, we will take a test- an "open book" test. Will we know the answers?

For further reading:
Hosea 4:6
John 5:39
Psalm 119:11
Revelation 20:12

Thursday, November 19, 2009


"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8

Abraham was "called" to go out not knowing where he was going. Yes, God will "call" us, "lead" us, "direct" us to do something and we will not always understand the why or what. He will not always show us the whole picture or explain the reason behind it. He will not always give us all the details either. He didn't to Abraham.

It was "afterwards"- after his obedience, after he made a step of faith, after he left his father's house, after he trusted the voice of God- that he received the place he was called out to as an inheritance. It was not before. Our problem is that we always want the "afterwards" before we will do the "before". We want to receive the end result first. We want to receive the blessing before we meet the condition. It doesn't work that way. We have to do what the Lord tells us to do then "afterwards" we will receive.

The bottom line is this: God will direct us but not always tell us why or what His plan is. We just have to step out in faith and obey like Abraham did. And after we do, then we will receive.

Have a great day. Just obey the voice of the Lord whether you understand why He told you to do it or not. If you obey then afterwards you will receive.

For further reading:
Proverbs 3:4,5
Matthew 7:7
Matthew 6:33
Isaiah 1:19

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Unchanging God"

"...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5b

There is a song entitled, "God of the Mountain". The words of the chorus are as follows: "For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He’ll make them right. And the God of the good times, is still God of the bad times. And the God of the day is still God of the night."

I want to encourage you this morning that your situation doesn't change God. It doesn't matter what you are going through, He is still God. It doesn't matter if it is a big problem, an impossible situation or a tremendous burden, God is still all powerful, all wise, all knowing. He is still the same whether you are on a mountain top or in a valley.

He didn't change in power, strength or ability when the three Hebrews faced the fiery furnace, when David faced the lion, the bear or the giant. He was the same powerful God for the Israelites at the Red Sea as He was when they were in Egypt.

He was with Joseph when he was in the pit, in Potiphar's house and in the palace. It's amazing to me that we tend to think that God was only with Joseph when he was in the palace. We think, or act like, God is only there when things are going well, when the blessings are flowing, when the money is coming in, when there are no conflicts and our health is good. This isn't true, He is with us wherever it is. Don't let your situation shroud the knowledge that God is there with you- on the mountain and in the valley.

Have a great day. God is with you no matter where you are and He is just as powerful in every situation and every place.

For further reading:
Genesis 28:15
Isaiah 41:10
Deut. 26:8
Isaiah 43:2
Malachi 3:6
Hebrews 13:8

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Rejoicing Today"

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

Why is it that we spend most of our days worrying about the cares and affairs of this life? Why do we spend them anxious about things we have no control over? Why do we spend them complaining about what we don't have? Why do we spend many of them sad, depressed, upset, frustrated, aggravated and agitated?

Why don't we spend them rejoicing instead? Why don't we spend them rejoicing in the fact that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life and that our sins are forgiven and we have a home that is being prepared for us in heaven? Why don't we spend our days rejoicing over the faithfulness of God to meet our need, to never leave us nor forsake us, to go before us, to guide and direct us, to give us wisdom, strength, joy and peace? Why aren't we rejoicing each day because of the grace that has been given to us? Why aren't we rejoicing that we are victorious through Jesus Christ and no weapon formed against us shall prosper? Why aren't we rejoicing because we are more than conquerors through Him, we have been given power over all the powers of the enemy and that the greater One lives in us?

Why is it that we can find so much to murmur and complain about yet nothing to rejoice about, especially when we have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness; especially when we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; especially when we have been given great and exceeding precious promises from a God who cannot lie but who keeps those promises? How can we do anything besides rejoice when we remember how much God loves us?

Think about it today, what are your days filled with? Are they filled with rejoicing or murmuring? Thanksgiving or complaining? Do you talk about your problems constantly or the faithfulness of God who your problem solver, way maker, provider and constant companion?

Have a great day. Why don't we spend our days rejoicing? Especially when we have so much to rejoice about.

For further reading:
Philippians 4:4
Isaiah 61:10
Habakkuk 3:17-19
1 Thessalonians 5:16

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Obey His Way"

"And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." 2
Kings 5:10

Naaman almost missed his miracle because he didn't want to do what the prophet told him to do. Many of us are like Naaman. We want a "word" from the Lord concerning our situation but often that "word" will require something on our part. This is where we will "miss it" if we aren't careful. We want the word, we want the miracle, we want the need met, we want God to do something, but when He tells us what we are to do, we don't want to obey it because it involves doing something that we don't want to do. We want Him to do His part, but we don't want to do our part. Or we want to do something else besides what He tells us to do.

Is this where you are this morning? Are you struggling with doing something the Lord has told you to do? Do you want the miracle/answer to come in another form or through another way? God's ways aren't our ways. If we could do it our way we wouldn't need God. And if we aren't willing to do what He tells us to do in order to receive the answer, why do we even bother to go to Him?

The key to receiving is obedience and obedience often involves sacrifice. But we have to do the "sacrifice" when that is the condition that the Lord has placed on the receiving, if we want to receive-- we learned this from Naaman's experience also. He could have washed in another river, he could have washed only one or two times in the Jordan, he could have washed five or six times, but he still would not have received his healing, because it still would have been disobedience because he would have been trying to do it his own way instead of God's way.

Have a great day. Our answer often comes through God requiring us to do something, and the "something" may not always be what we want to do. But do it, if you want to receive.

For further reading:
2 Kings 5:1-5
1 Samuel 15:22
Isaiah 55:9
Proverbs 4:4

Friday, November 13, 2009

"It Will Change You"

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

Yesterday I passed by a church and the sign on the marquee said, "You won't change His message, but His message will change you." So many people try to "change" God's word and make it say what they want it to say. They try to twist it to where it will condone what they do. They try to make it fit their situation. They try to make it line up with what they desire. Try as you may, God's word is unchanging. You may try to make it mean one thing, but God will always judge you through His word by what He means and says.

The reason some try to do this is because they think that if they can "change" it, then it won't change them- because basically they don't want to change and line up with it. You can't read the word or hear the word- the true, uncompromised, un-waterd down, kept in context word- and it not bring about change in your life. The word will convict, it will reprove, it will instruct, it will correct, it will guide and it will provoke you to righteousness. When you read or hear the word you will either have to conform to it or rebel against it.

As you conform your live to the teachings, statues and commands of God's word a change will come, a transformation will take place in you. Your actions, your attitude, your speech, your way of thinking will all begin to change. You won't be the same person you once were- which is the goal. The word is intended to bring such a transformation in you as you allow it to do it's work in you through heeding and applying it to your life that you will no longer look like you, but like its Author- Jesus.

In conclusion I want to ask a question- are you trying to change God's word to make it say, fit and line up with what you want, or are you allowing it to do a change in you; a transforming change?

Have a great day. God's word is eternal and forever established, it will not change, but if you will let it, it will change you.

For further reading:
Psalm 119:89, 93
2 Timothy 3:16,17
James 1:23-25
Matthew 7:24
2 Peter 1:1-8

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"The Enemy Knows"

"And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you." Joshua 2:9

Rahab had never met these Israeli spies yet she knew some things about them. She knew that the Lord had given them the land, she knew that the whole city was in terror because of them, and she knew that all the inhabitants of the land- the whole country- was faint because of them. I want to ask you this morning, what does the enemy know about you?

We talked yesterday about how times of trials, testing and problems help define us and reveal to us what is on the inside in our hearts. They also let your enemy know what's in you. When a trial comes your way, how do you react? With faith or fear? When tempted in a certain area, do you give in or stand strong in resistance? What comes out of your mouth when you are going through a hardship? Worry, doubt, unbelief, praise? These times reveal your strengths and weaknesses, and in doing so lets the enemy know where you are and aren't vulnerable to his attacks to destroy you.

When temptations came to Jesus in the wilderness, He stood unwavering against them. Therefore, the enemy could find nothing in Him to attack Him with. Remember Daniel when his enemies plotted against him, they could not find any area to accuse him in. Look at Peter, his reaction in the garden- pulling out the sword to kill those coming after them- let the enemy know that he was afraid to die. So where was he attacked? He denied Christ three times so as to not suffer death with Him that night.

The way you handle the situations you face lets you know, others know and the enemy know what's inside of you. So what does your enemy know about you from your reactions, from your attitude, from your words, from your daily activities. Does he know that you know you are victorious over him? Or does he know that you can be easily defeated?

Have a great day. What does your enemy know about you? Does it need to change?

For further reading:
Daniel 6:4
Matthew 26:35
Mark 14:31
1 Peter 5:8,9

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Defining Moments"

"Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him." Genesis 45:15

In all our lives there are moments that "define" us- they define who we are and our character. This was one of those moments for Joseph when his brothers stood before him, the same brothers who had hated him, who wanted to kill him, plotted against him, had no mercy on him, sold him into slavery. At that moment he didn't just stand before them as their "little brother", he stood before them as the second most powerful person in all of Egypt; he stood before them as the "ruler of the world"; he stood before them having the authority to either imprison them, make them slaves or kill them.

At that moment Joseph could have taken revenge, he could have made them suffer, he could have persecuted them, he could have done to them what they had done to him. The moment defined who Joseph was. It revealed what type of heart he had. It revealed his character.

We have those moments too. Sometimes they come to us the way they did Joseph through what I call "big opportunities". Sometimes they come on a day to day basis through the "mundane" duties of life. For school children they may come by being tempted to cheat on a test. For an employee they may come when confronted by your boss about an issue and your tempted to lie to make yourself look good. They come in many ways, through many avenues, through many forms and through many people. Regardless of how they come, the point is they come and when they do they will define you- you will see and others will see just who you really are.

When we talk about how "all things work together for the good", we don't usually think about it in the area we have talked about this morning. But when you are faced with a situation, when you are going through a trial, when things are happening in your life, if you can't "see" some tangible thing that looks good coming from it, remember this- if it reveals who you are and your character, what's inside of you, what's in your heart, then it has worked a "good work" because it revealed something to you about yourself. Did it reveal Christ's nature in you or did it reveal flesh? If it revealed something other than "Christ", then rejoice because that was a good thing, because now you know what's in your heart and you can work with the Holy Spirit to bring a change in you- a change that will ultimately cause Christ to be formed in you.

Have a great day. The things we go through define us, they let us know who we are and what's inside of us. How are your trials defining you?

For further reading:
Jeremiah 17:9
Mark 7:21,22
Psalm 139:23,24
Romans 8:28
Isaiah 6:5
Genesis 45:4-15

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"That's Just Me"

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Have you ever heard anyone say, "That's just the way I am."? Perhaps you have said it yourself. When God designed us, He placed certain abilities, talents and personality in each of us to make us uniquely individual according to the plan and purpose He has for each of our lives. We are what we are but by the grace of God- it was He who made us and not we ourselves.

But if the "way you are" is contrary to the way He is, if you are behaving contrary to the scriptures concerning your conduct, then you can't just excuse your actions by saying that's just the way you are or who you are. When we come to Christ, there is a change that takes place in us- we become a new creature. From there we have to daily continue in a transformation process. This process includes renewing our minds, changing our attitudes, modifying our behavior, being transformed into the image of Christ.

Being "who you are" is part of God's design for you. But "who you are" needs to be transformed. The "rough edges" in your personality need to be smoothed. Certain behavior needs to change and line up with His requirements. For example, I have heard some say, "I am a worrier, that's just the way I am." This example is what I am talking about that needs to change. He did not make you a worrier. Jesus is not a worrier. Worrying is a sin because it shows lack of trust in God. Change in us needs to take place when "who we are" does not look like or act like "who He is".

Have a great day. Is "just the way you are" like the "way He is"?

For further reading:
Psalm 100:3
Ephesians 4:13
Romans 12:1-3
Psalm 138:8

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Lip Love"

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:30

When Jesus answered the question about which commandment was the greatest, He did not include loving God with all your mouth- it was your heart, soul, mind and strength. So many people want to love Him with their mouth only. They talk about loving Jesus, they profess they love Him with their words, but that's the only "evidence" that you see in their lives- their words.

Lip service was not in the definition of true love toward God. Any one can "say" they love God, but words are often cheap, empty and hollow. God's desire is that we love Him with our heart, not our words. Our words are backed up by action. If our words of love for God are words only, you'll know it by the actions because the actions will be contrary to what the definition of true love is. If our words of love for God are true words of love that come from our heart, they will be followed up by deeds and actions that honor and glorify God. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about that fits both- true love from the heart and mere words of love. Jesus said that if we love Him we will keep His commands. If you say you love God and are keeping His commandments, then it is love from the heart because your actions have backed up your profession. If you say you love God but don't keep His commandments then it is "love from the lips" only- which is not love at all.

If you are merely talking about loving God or loving Jesus but aren't backing it up with your actions and don't mean it from your heart, then you have already broken the first and greatest commandment. So right up front and at the beginning you have proved that all you have is a love from the lips and not from the heart. And love from the lips is not true love for God at all.

Have a great day. He didn't say to love Him with your lips but with your heart. Just because you "say it" doesn't mean that you really love Him. But if you mean it, you will say it and your actions will prove it.

For further reading:
Isaiah 29:13
Deuteronomy 6:5
Matthew 22:37
Luke 10:27
Matthew 15:7-9
John 14:23,24; 15:10
1 John 2:3-5

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Why Not?- Part 2"

"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20b

Yesterday we talked about the fact that many Christians live with the belief that they are exempt from having bad things happen to them. We discovered from the scriptures that this just isn't so. As a matter of fact, we also learned through God's word that sometimes He leads us into, allows or even orchestrates some of these "bad" things. This was the case with Joseph when he wound up in the pit, Potaphar's house and the prison. This was the case with Jesus in the wilderness, it was the Spirit that led Him there. This was the case with Job, God pointed Job out to satan.

This morning I am not going to attempt to answer the questions about why God does what He does. What I do want to do is give you this note of encouragement if you are going through one of those "bad" times. If you are in a pit situation, Potaphar's house, a prison, a time of catastrophe, fiery trials, terrible testing, you are not alone. Like the saying goes, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it". And as He brings you through it, you will not be alone in it, He will be there with you. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. He was with Joseph the entire time. He was with Jesus. He was with Job. He was with the Israelites in the wilderness, while they were in Egypt, each time they were in captivity. He was with David when he faced the lion, the bear and the giant. He was with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. He was with Daniel in the lion's den.

I don't always understand the ways of God- never will, they are past finding out. I can't answer all the questions as to why He allows some things to happen, why He doesn't stop others. But this I do know, that when things come our way, He is right there with us. He never takes His eyes off of us. He is watching the entire time. He doesn't take a break and leave us. So take heart this morning, you're not alone. He is with you and will stay with you from the beginning to the end and beyond.

Have a great day. Things happen in all our lives, but God promises to be with us every step of the way. He does not leave nor abandon us.

For further reading:
Genesis 45:6-8
Hebrews 13:5
Matthew 4:1
Psalm 34:15
Proverbs 15:3

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Why Not?"

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." Psalm 34:19

Yesterday we talked about the fact that when something happens in our lives we tend to start asking "why?". The real question though should be "how?". We may never know the "why" but we should always desire the "how"- how can God get glory out of this situation? One of my email friends wrote back and said that she asks, "Why not?" Her reply prompts me to write on this subject this morning.

I think she made a very good point- "Why not, me?" Why don't I think that bad things won't happen to me? Why do I think that just because I am a Christian I am exempt? So many Christians believe and are taught that nothing bad- no trials, no pain, no grief, no heartache, no problems- is ever suppose to happen to them. The scriptures don't back up that way of thinking. Jesus Himself told us that we would have tribulation while we live in this world. The Bible tells us that it "rains" on the just and the unjust.

Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean that you are "exempt". There are consequences to our actions and choices. If we make the right choice we will not suffer the consequences that are attached to them. So in that way, we become "exempt" from facing many additional problems. But there are times when God will allow or even bring to you certain situations that will try you, but each one is planned to work together for your good. Just ask Job- he was a righteous man, yet he suffered. Joseph had a call upon his life, yet he went through a pit, slavery and a prison. Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for a time of testing.

We are also told in the scriptures not to think that it is strange when some trial comes upon us- it serves a purpose. Therefore, if your question has been, "Why me, how could this happen to me I am a Christian?", you need to change your way of thinking and "step up to the plate" in faith and remind yourself- "why not me?". When you do, it will better equip you to then ask the question "how" and put you in a better position to be able to glorify God, bless others, and let it accomplish its perfect work in you.

Have a great day. The Lord never said that we would be exempt from problems, but when they come they serve a purpose in our lives that will work together for our good and His glory.

For further reading:
James 1:12
Psalms 105:17-19
John 16:33
Matthew 5:45
Job 23:10
James 1:2-4

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Not Why, How"

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

For those of you who don't know, I was involved in an accident yesterday. I was heading to the nursing home and was in the turn lane when a truck pulled into my lane on me. He did not see me coming until it was too late. When I saw him, it was too late. I am fine, no one was injured, the vehicles are going to need some repair but we were both able to drive them away from the scene.

When things happen to us, we tend to start asking the question- WHY?? I would like to clarify something this morning, the question is not "why" but "how". There are some things that happen that we will never know why they happened. So for the Christian we need to focus on the "how"- how can God get glory from this, how can I use this as a testimony to give Him praise, how can I witness to others about God through this.

In my case yesterday, I want to turn this situation around for God's glory this morning. His faithfulness, grace and mercy were there. No one was hurt, the vehicles were drivable, the impact was not hard. I thank God that my grandbaby was not with me because he hit me on the side she rides on. It could have been worse. The policeman told us that there was another wreck a week or so ago in that same area and it was really bad. Something exciting about the whole situation was that the man who hit me was so nice, the policeman was so nice, I had just an overwhelming feeling of grace surrounding me, wasn't the least bit upset or nervous- that was God. The really exciting part was that the three of us talked about the Lord. The man who hit me, turns out, goes to church with my sister and she said that he just got saved about a year ago and has a wonderful testimony that he never minds sharing. The policeman when calling in my tag number spelled it out then said it- it is personalized and reads "are you forgiven". He told me that he did that intentionally so that everyone who was on the radios would hear it and perhaps it would touch some lives. I was thrilled! All things truly do work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. This whole situation has, is and will glorify God, that's one of the reasons I am sharing it this morning, that He might get glory through this testimony of His loving-kindness, great grace, tender mercies, protection and provision.

When bad things happen to us, and they do and will, the Bible tells us that, we need to change our way of thinking as "kingdom people" and stop thinking and dwelling on the "why" and start dwelling on "how"- how can I give God praise and glory through this, how can He be exalted through the situation? In doing so the enemy is defeated in this area because it cuts him off leaving him with nothing to use against you. In doing so others will be encouraged and blessed and perhaps their faith will be renewed. In doing so our Father is honored because it is a reflection on who He is and He will be glorified.

Have a great day. Stop always asking "why" because you may never get the answer. Instead, start asking "how".- how can I glorify God through this? Once you do, it will lift you above the situation and you will see God's grace and glory.

For further reading:
Matthew 5:45
John 9:2,3
2 Timothy 1:12
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
John 11: 20- 40

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Not A Captive"

"We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion." Psalm 137:2,3

I went through a period of time years ago when I felt like I had lost my joy, my song, my victory and my fight. The verse above was my "theme song"- I had hung my harp upon a willow tree. Each time I thought I could take it off and pick it back up, I was "hit" again with the same discouragement that kept me in defeat.

One day a friend shared something that the Lord had shown her from the verses above. She said that the enemy would taunt Israel while they were in captivity to sing them the songs of their homeland knowing they would not because of their physical condition/location. Then she related what was happening to them on a spiritual level. The enemy tries to make us feel like captives then he taunts and mocks us to sing a "song"- to rejoice, to testify, to sing praises- but we allow the situation to make us feel like captives so we don't. She went on to say that we are not captives; we have been set free. Jesus set us free. He destroyed the works of the enemy that he uses against us. We are not in bondage, the chains have been broken, the prison door opened, we have no reason to hang our harps, our heads or our hands down. We are free.

Once she said that my eyes were opened, I received the truth of God's word and regained my "fight", my song, my joy and my victory! And anytime the enemy has come to attack and try to make me lay my harp down and take away my joy, he can't do it. My situation may not be the best. Conditions around me may look like captivity. It may look like defeat and not victory. It may not look like I am winning, but I am a winner. I am more than a conqueror. I am victorious and not a captive because Jesus already got the victory on my behalf. He broke the bonds of prison for me. I am not defeated, the devil is!

Don't listen to the lies of the enemy. He tries to make you think that you are a captive, that you are defeated, that you have lost, that you will never win, that you have no reason to sing, but it's all lies. Jesus defeated him and his works and he can no longer take us captive. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. Jesus didn't give us a partial freedom, He didn't give us temporary freedom, He didn't open the prison door a little, He didn't destroy a portion of the enemy's power-- He did it all and when He did it... it was finished!!! So pick up your harp and start singing and rejoicing, you are not a captive!!!

Have a great day. You have no reason to hang your harp on a willow tree or lay it down, you are not a prisoner... Jesus freed you!

For Further Reading:
John 8:36
Romans 8:37-39
Colossians 2:15,16
Psalm 98:1
1 John 3:8

Monday, November 2, 2009

"More Time On Who?"

"And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord, and the king's house." 1 Kings 9:10

King David wasn't allowed to build the temple of the Lord, but his son Solomon built it. Solomon also built himself a house. It took him seven years to build the house of the Lord and thirteen years to built his own house. If you look at this on a "spiritual" level, what's wrong with this picture? It took him over twice as long to build something for himself than it did to build something for the Lord.

Are we the same way? There is no doubt that we may be spending on the Lord, working for the Lord, giving to the Lord, but are we doing more or less for the Lord than we are doing for ourselves? Is my life being "spent" on me- my plans, my dreams, my agenda, my wants and desires- or on the Lord's will and plan?

Sure there are responsibilities that we have to take care of and we should not neglect them. But is the emphasis in our lives placed more on self or on God? Is it about what pleases Him or pleases self? There is a kingdom principle given to us in the scriptures- "Seek ye first, the kingdom of God, then all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) I believe that this verse has a two-fold meaning- one, it's a condition to blessings, and two, it's a command.

Are you following this principle? Are you seeking Him first or self first? Are you seeking His will or your own? Are you putting His plans above your own plans? Are you spending your life on those things that please you or Him? Again, it's not a bad thing to tend to the affairs of this life, but your affairs should never take priority over His affairs.

Have a great day. Are you spending more time on your "house" than on His "house"?

For further reading:
2 Chronicles 26:5
Jereniah 29:11
John 5:30; 6:38
Mark 14:36