Friday, January 29, 2010

"Enoch- Part 4"

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:5,6

There is one last lesson that I want to talk about from the life of Enoch. From his life we learn what it is that pleases God. Do you have a desire to please God? Have you often wondered what it takes to please God? Have you wondered if it is even possible to please God? Enoch pleased God, so that means that it is possible. The answer is found in verse six of our scripture text this morning. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." So, it's faith that pleases God.

Not only does faith please God, but He also rewards those who have faith and are faithful. Through the life of Enoch we discover that our faith in God is not in vain. His faith so pleased God that God did something in his life that we have only seen happen in the scriptures one other time- God translated Enoch and took him to be with Him without tasting death.

Though there is very little written in the scriptures about Enoch, it was through his life that we learned that faith is what it takes to please God and that God will reward those who are faithful. So, hold on to your faith in God this morning. Don't stop believing. Don't give up. Keep diligently seeking Him. Remember that He will reward your faith and it is not in vain.

Have a great day. What wonderful lessons we have been taught through the life of Enoch. Are you applying those lessons to your life?

For further reading:
Hebrews 11
Psalm 119:2
1 Corinthians 15:58

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Enoch- Part 3"

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints." Jude 1:14

Continuing our discussion about Enoch this morning, another thing that his life teaches us is that those who walk closely with the Lord have revelation and insight. Like we said yesterday, Enoch lived during the time of the Old Testament. According to the verse above, he was the fourth great grandson of Adam. He lived during the beginning of history, yet he is prophesying about events that will happen at the end of history.

How was he able to do that? How did he know these things? How did he know that the Lord was going to return to earth and bring judgment? How was he able to know about a return when he lived in a time that had not yet known about His first coming-- the cross?

Enoch knew these things because it is God's desire to reveal Himself and His plans to us. He desires to show us things that we don't know. He desires to show us things that are hidden from our understanding. When Moses asked to see God's face, God didn't rebuke him and deny his request. He didn't show him His face because no one can look upon it and live. But God did grant his request by placing Moses in the clef of a rock and declaring who He was as He passed by. Enoch walked closely to the Lord and the Lord revealed His plan for mankind to him. God gave him a glimpse into the future and gave him hope.

The lesson for us- God desires to reveal Himself and His plans to us as well, and He will if we will walk closely enough to Him to listen. Yes, because God is a sovereign God there are things that He reserves for His own understanding- that means, He doesn't always tells us everything. But the reason we don't know "more" about God, His plans and the things He does want to show us is because we won't walk close enough to Him for Him to tell us.

This morning, how closely are you walking to God? Close enough that He is able to reveal His plan to you? Close enough for Him to show you deeper insights, greater revelations and a clearer understanding of spiritual things? Close enough to know Him a little better?

Have a great day. The closer we walk to the Lord, the more He can show us about Himself and His plans.

For further reading:
Psalm 84:11; 103:7
Amos 3:7
Jeremiah 33:3
Exodus 33:18-34:8

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Enoch - Part 2"

"And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters." Genesis 5:22

Yesterday we talked about Enoch and that his name means "teacher'. We said that even though we don't know much about him, what we do know teaches us a lot. This morning I want to look at another lesson that we can learn from his life.

We know that Enoch walked with the Lord. According to the scriptures, he walked so closely to the Lord that one day while they were "walking" together, he just walked right on up into heaven- never seen on this earth again.

From this we learn that not only can we "walk" with God, but we can walk as closely as we desire. There are no limits or boundaries as to how close to God we can walk-- at least none that the Lord puts on us. If there are limitations, we placed them on the relationship we have with Him.

Think about this also. When did Enoch live? He lived in Old Testament times. He lived after Adam sinned, but before Jesus came to reconcile us back to the Father and give us access into His presence. If Enoch was allowed to have such a close intimate relationship with God during the time when they had to offer sacrifices, how much closer a relationship can we have because of grace and mercy which came through the eternal sacrifice that was paid by Jesus.

There is nothing that hinders us from walking as closely to God as we desire. Enoch walked with God before the way was made into His presence, before His throne of grace, through Jesus Christ. This morning, how closely are you walking with the Lord? If Jesus moved the wall of partition out of the way, what is keeping you from getting closer to Him? What boundaries and limitations have you set? He hasn't set any- He moved them out of the way through the cross.

Have a great day. How closely you walk with the Lord is determined by you. He taught us through Enoch that we could walk as closely to Him as we desire and then He moved everything out of the way through Jesus that would be a hindrance.

For further reading:
Hebrews 11:5
James 4:8
Ephesians 2:13-18; 3:12
2 Corinthians 5:19
1 Peter 3:18
Hebrews 7:26,27

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Hebrews 11:5

The name Enoch means "teacher". When I discovered this, I thought, "How fitting". Although the Bible doesn't tell us a lot about Enoch, it tells us he walked so closely to God that one day God translated him and took him to be with Him. Enoch didn't make it to heaven by way of the grave like the rest of us- his arrival took place through supernatural means. He was only one of two men recorded in the Bible who did not leave this earth through death.

Why do I think the meaning of his name is fitting? Even though we don't know a whole lot about him, what we do know "teaches" us a lot. We can look at his life and learn from it- which is what a teacher does.. teaches. His life teaches us that he was no ordinary man. Those who are followers of the Lord and walk with Him, are not "ordinary" people. We are considered by God as a "royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people". (1 Peter 2:9) There should be nothing "ordinary" about us because we are children of God, ambassadors of Christ, representatives of the King of kings and Lord of lords and bright shining lights in a dark world. (Matthew 5:16)

Enoch's life also teaches us not to follow "status quo". While so many Christians seem to be content with just going to church and barely getting by in their relationship with God, we should be going above and beyond the norm and in pursuit of a deeper relationship with Him. The Book of Psalms compares this pursuit of a relationship with the Lord that we should have to a deer that is thirsting for a water brook. We should those who are "radical" for Jesus. We should be among those who are told that "it doesn't take all that". We should be those who are called "fanatical" in our love for Jesus. It is pretty obvious that Enoch was on the "radical side". His relationship with the Lord went way past just a Sunday morning church service or "casual Christianity". If it hadn't, the only thing that we might know about him would be just his name-- and it would be just another name among a genealogy that stretched out over thousands of years.

Even from such a brief testimony of his life, there is so much that we can learn. What have you learned this morning? Is your relationship with the Lord "status quo" or "radical"? Are you pursuing your relationship with Him, or is it just a "church thing" to you? Are you acting like everyone else, or is there some sort of obvious distinction between you and those who don't profess to know the Lord?

Have a great day. Has Enoch's life taught you anything this morning about your own life and walk with the Lord?

For further reading:
Genesis 5:22-24
Psalm 42:1
2 Kings 2:11
1 John 3:10
Ephesians 5:1
2 Corinthians 5:20

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Follow Close"

"Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off." Luke 22:54

The first time we saw Peter in the scriptures he wasn't following Jesus. The rest of the time we see him in scripture he is following Jesus closely. But in this verse he is following Him afar off. After Jesus' resurrection and the rest of Peter's life he followed Jesus more closely than he had followed Him when He was alive.

Let's bring this issue of following Jesus home- on a more personal, individual level. Are you following Jesus? How closely are you following Him? Are you following Him afar off? Are you endeavoring to follow Him more closely today than ever before? Are you following Him daily? Are you following Him only when it is convenient for you? Are you following Him on Sundays but not on the other six days of the week? Are you following Him when things are going well only? Or when things are going bad too?

When Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, He meant that they were to follow Him close enough for Him to tell that they were following Him. That goes for us modern day disciples too. As a matter of fact, if you aren't following Him, you really aren't His disciple, because that's what a disciple does.... follows.

Check your walk and relationship with the Lord today. Honestly examine your life to see where, or if, you are following Jesus. It was never His desire for you to follow afar off. He wants to be "up close and personal" with you.

Have a great day. The only true way to follow Jesus is closely, and growing closer every day.

For further reading:
Luke 5:4-11
Matthew 16:24
John 10:27
John 12:26
John 21:14-19

Friday, January 22, 2010

"The Other Side"

"And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side." Mark 4:35

If you recognized this story from the scripture above, you'll remember that this was the time when Jesus and His disciples were in the boat heading to Gadara and a storm came up that threatened to destroy them. When they got in the boat, Jesus told them that they were going to the other side. When He told them this, He was telling them what His plan was-- go to the other side. He also was giving them a command to take Him to the other side of the sea. This was the "mission" that Jesus had given them. It was their task to get Jesus to the other side so that He could fulfill the plan of the Father once He got there.

I said it was "their task to get Jesus there" because we all know that boats don't guide themselves. Some one has to be hoisting the sails and attending the oars. Boats don't just "drift" and happen to make their intended destination. Some one has to be piloting them.

Jesus had a plan to fulfill and the disciples were to take Him to the place where it could be fulfilled. Now, I have been very wordy to get to this point. We have a task- or assignment- to "take Jesus to the other side". It is our job to get Him from one place to another (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world) so that God's plan might be fulfilled in the earth. He gave us the commission and He gave us the message-- Jesus.

Are you fulfilling the commission you have been given? Are you taking Jesus to the "other side"- to your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, classmates, etc.? Are you letting the storms of life, the trying times or the fierce winds stop you? They will come, they did that evening to Jesus and His disciples. The enemy is always trying to kill and destroy us, but we can't let anything stop us. We have to keep going on in faith and rebuke the hindering circumstances.

When they got to the other side, a man who was possessed with a legion of demons was gloriously delivered, set free and restored to "life". People like him still exist today- the lost, the bound, the infirmed, the hopeless and so on. They need Jesus and someone needs to take Him to them.

Have a great day. You have been given the commission to "take Jesus to the other side"...are you?

For further reading:
Mark 4:35-39
Acts 1:8
Mark 16:15
Romans 10:14

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"A Prepared Place"

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

When we read this verse, we usually think about the place the Lord is preparing for us in heaven. Certainly, it is a place so beautiful, so glorious, so unlike this world that we can't define or describe it accurately. Who can imagine, without actually seeing it, what the streets of gold, gates of pearl, mansions and the rainbow around the throne of God really look like.

But this verse is also talking about the "here and now". God has prepared some things for us while we are still here in this world. (That's part of the abundant life that Jesus was talking about.) For one, He has prepared a place of peace and rest for us. When the plagues were falling on Egypt, God had prepared a place called Goshen for the Israelites to dwell in. The Bible records that while the Egyptians were suffering because of the plagues the Israelites were dwelling in safety. The plagues weren't touching them. They were in a place of peace and rest. They could relax in their homes with no fear that the plagues were going to destroy them.

Jesus showed us first hand what this place looked like one night when He and the disciples were in a boat crossing the sea and a violent storm came up. Where was this place? Was there a cabin on the boat and He was safely below deck? No, the place was a place of peace and rest that He found in the Father. The waves were beating upon the boat, the boat was being tossed on the sea, water was filling the boat, but Jesus was asleep through it all- until the disciples woke Him up. How could He sleep through a storm? Because He had found that place of peace and rest that God had prepared.

Have you found that place? Are you at peace when you see the "plagues of crisis" that are coming on the world? Are you resting in faith and confidence that the storm that is hitting your life will not drown you nor destroy you? That place of peace and rest that God has prepared for those that love Him is found in Him. He is our safe refuge- our place of peace and rest.

Have a great day. God has prepared a place for those who love Him here and now... and in heaven.

For further reading:
John 10:10
Exodus 8:21-23: 9:26
Mark 4:37-39
Psalm 4:8
Psalm 91

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Mending What's Broken- Part 3"

"She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:11

Continuing on the subject of "broken things". I told you yesterday about a little tea cup which belongs to my mother in law that is at my house awaiting repair after my granddaughter broke it. When something gets broken, I either try to put it back together again or just discard it. When the tea cup got broke, I would have thrown it away and not given any more thought to it. But my mother in law wants to repair it. Evidently, it means something to her and she believes that it can be "saved".

We tend to do this with people. We look at them and are ready to "throw them away". We are quick to give up on people. We would have given up on the prodigal son. We would have given up on the prostitute that was caught in the act of adultery. We would have given up on Peter. We tend to look at people's lives and say, "There is no hope". We look at the drug addict or alcohol, the rebellious child, the criminal and say, "They will never change. What's the use?"

I am so glad that God doesn't look at us the same way. I am sure that many people thought that I was hopeless. I know that people had given up on me. I know that they thought I would never change. I know that I was broken and ready to be thrown on the trash heap. But you know, even though people wanted to "throw me away" because they didn't see any value in my life or anything worth trying to save, God didn't throw me away. Instead He saw my value and worth when no one else did. Then He provided the "glue" that it would take to put me back together again. That "glue" was the shed blood of His Dear Son Jesus. It has been said, you determine the value of something by the price that one is willing to pay for it. God paid the highest price possible, the life of His Son, because that was the value that He put on our lives.

I am of the firm belief that as long as there is breath in a person there is hope. And as long as there is hope we shouldn't give up on people. We shouldn't discard them and give up on them- God hasn't.

Have a great day. We tend to want to throw away things that are valuable to God.

For further reading:
Matthew 14:30
Luke 15:11-24
John 8:1-11
1 Corinthians 6:19,20
Romans 5:8

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Mending What's Broken- Part 2"

"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Isaiah 58:12

Yesterday we talked about God specializing in repairing that which is broken. He is the healer, He is the mender, He is the repairer, but He has also commissioned us to be His hands extended to repair what is broken.

We live in a world that is "broken". People all around us- on our jobs, in our families, in our schools, in the market place- have broken lives that need to be put back together again. You don't have to go very far before you see a broken life. You don't have to go very far to find someone who has a shattered life. You don't have to go very far to find someone who is hurting. May I ask you a question this morning? What are you doing about those that you come in contact with who are broken?

A while back my grand daughter was with me at my mother in law's home and she broke a little tea cup that was sitting on the table. My mother in law gave it to me to bring home and repair. That was over a month ago. Do you know where the broken tea cup is? Still broken. Sitting in my office, awaiting repair. As a matter of fact, I have looked at it numerous times. I have picked it up and thought about repairing it. I have even moved its pieces on several occasions to another spot because it was in my way at the moment. For some reason I haven't made the effort to repair it. For some reason when I think about doing it, it is inconvenient to do so.

Back to my question. What are you doing about those that you come in contact with who are broken? Are you doing the same thing I am doing with the broken tea cup? Are you just looking at them but not offering help in getting their lives put back together- like the priest and the Levite who saw the man who was left for dead on the Jericho Road? Are you "ignoring" them because you are unwilling to "get involved" because of what it might cost you, because it is inconvenient, because you just don't want to take the time, because you don't see it as important or because you have other priorities? What might your reason be? What if Jesus had used the same excuses and not gone to the cross? Where would our lives be? Still broken with no hope of repair.

We aren't the ones who bring the healing- only Jesus can do that- but we are the ones who are to reach down, pick them up and pour in the oil and the wine like the Good Samaritan did. If we aren't reaching out to the broken, then who is going to take them to Jesus so that He can bring healing and repair their broken lives?

Have a great day. Jesus' part is to heal them, our part is to bring them to Him so He can.

For further reading:
John 13:15
Luke 10:30-37

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Mending What's Broken"

"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

God specializes in repairing that which is broken. He knows just how to mend it- He knows just how to put it back together. And He desires to put that which is broken back together again.

This fact about God was revealed through the cross. Mankind's relationship with God was broken through Adam's disobedience. God sent His Son Jesus into the world to repair our broken relationship with Him. Through the cross He also fixed our broken lives. He "put us back together again". He made us whole and complete.

When God puts it back together, He does it so perfectly that there is no scar, no seam line and no crack left as evidence that it was ever broken to begin with. That's because He has a way of making it completely brand new- just as if it had never been broken.

What's broken in your life this morning? Is it your relationship with the Lord? Is it a relationship with someone else? Is it your heart that is broken over a situation? Is your life shattered? Whatever it is, the cross is a place of mending. It's a place of repair. It's a place where whatever is broken can be put back together again and made whole. Turn to the cross- turn to its mending, healing, restoring power this morning. Turn to the wonderful Savior who was willing to go to the cross so that whatever in your life is broken could be put back together again.

Have a great day. The cross mended our broken relationship with God.. and everything else that is broken.

For further reading:
Isaiah 59:2
2 Corinthians 5:17,19
Colossians 1:20
Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Add Praise"

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

When was the last time you took time during your prayer time to do something more than just ask God to supply some particular need? The scriptures do tell us to ask if we have a need, so we should. But do you ever take the time to just thank Him for all the prayers He has answered? Do you ever just spend some time telling Him how wonderful He is? Do you ever take the time to give Him praise, honor and glory? Even Jesus taught us that praise was a key element to our prayers when He taught His disciples the "Lord's Prayer".

I know there are times of "urgency" in our prayers when we need an answer. But there should also be times when we just let Him know how truly thankful we are that He allows us to come and make our requests known to Him and that He answers them.

What does your prayer life consist of? Just requests? Just giving Him your petitions? Or do you spend some time just loving on Him through your praises and thanksgiving?

Have a great day. Prayer has more than one part to it-- it's about asking and it's about praising the One we ask for answering us.

For further reading:
Matthew 6:9-13
Philippians 4:6
James 4:2
Psalm 113:1
Psalm 118:21

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"New Day"

"New Day"

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

Have you ever given any thought to the fact that God has been in the "day making business" for a long, long time? He has made every one of them since the first day-- And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1:3,5) Each day, day in and day out, for thousands and thousands of years, God has caused each brand new day everyday.

What does that tell you about the Lord? It tells me that He is faithful. Each new day speaks of His faithfulness. There has never been a time in history when He skipped making a day. He doesn't quit and He doesn't give up. He continues to provide us with a new day every day.

It also tells me of His great power. God has the ability to continually produce the resources that are needed to make a day. He is not limited to supply what is needed. His power is so great that the sun obeys His word and rises in the morning at the appointed time. He is so powerful that all of creation stands fast by His word.

Lastly, it tells me that He is a wonderful provider. If God is able to make a day, He is certainly able to supply everything that we need each day. As a matter of fact, it was in the six days of creation that we first see what a wonderful provider He is. When did He create man? On the sixth, last, day of creation. Why didn't He create us on the first? Or on the second, third, fourth or fifth? If He had, where would we have lived? We would have been floating around in space. Or what would we have eaten? How would we have seen without light? He created us on the last day after He had created everything for us that we would need. When He created us, everything was already here waiting for us- the provision was already made.

I have to wonder if the dawning of each new day isn't also a sign from the Lord to us on a more personal level. A sign, or perhaps a reminder of the faithfulness of God, of His mighty power and of His wonderful provisions.

Have a great day. With each new day, let it encourage you personally that God is your faithful, all-powerful, provider.

For further reading:
Genesis 1
Psalm 33:9
Psalm 19:1,2
Lamentations 3:23
Psalm 97:6

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Times Of Trouble"

"The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9

Did you notice the verse said, "times of trouble", not just "time of trouble"? It's because trouble comes to us many times during our life- it is not just a one time event. Wouldn't that be wonderful if we only experienced trouble once in our lifetime and never faced it again! But that's not the way it is. Trouble can come to us daily, and even many times a day. Trouble often comes unexpectedly, and at times it seems to be waiting for us around ever corner.

Times of trouble come to us all- none are exempt- but when it does, we are not at its mercy. We, who know the Lord as our Savior, know that He is also our refuge in those times when trouble comes. As we have said already, trouble doesn't happen to us just once in our lifetime, therefore, neither does the Lord come to our aid only once. He doesn't tell us to pick which trouble we want His help in because He is only going to help us once. No, He is a refuge to us each and every time we face trouble.

Are you going through one of those times of trouble this morning? There is a place of refuge and help for you. It's the Lord Himself. He will make His presence your place of refuge. Go to Him and find help, safety, comfort, strength, guidance, whatever you need to make it through these times.

I guess I should add this too. Trouble comes many times, and God will be a refuge each time so don't get the "mentality" that you should pick and choose which time to go to God. Some people do that. That won't go to Him in times of "certain" trouble because they think this trouble is too small to bother God about. Or they think that they have gone to Him too many times already for His help. That's wrong thinking! That's just what the enemy wants you to think so that you will not go to your place of refuge and help so that he can destroy you. You can't go to God too much! You can't seek His help too many times! There is no trouble too small or too big for Him! You are not bothering Him when you do! It doesn't matter how many times you go to Him because He wants you to come to Him.

So, again, if today you are in one of those times of trouble. Remember you have a refuge- Jesus!

Have a great day. Trouble comes to us many times... and God is our refuge each time.

For further reading:
Psalm 27:5
Psalm 37:39
Psalm 46:1
Psalm 57:1
Proverbs 14:26
Isaiah 33:2

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Misplaced Value"

"Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich." Proverbs 28:6

The scripture is making a comparison here- not between the rich and poor, but between the one who does good and the one who does evil. Unlike us, the Lord puts more value on what a person is on the inside rather than what he has in possessions. What we have is temporary, what we are is eternal. Riches and material possessions only last for a short time, you can't take them with you when you depart this earth and you have no guarantee that you will keep them while you are here.

Jesus told the story of two men- one was a rich man and the other was a poor man, a beggar named Lazarus. By our estimation the rich man was the one who was prosperous and well off, and Lazarus was the one who was poor. God's estimation was different. God considered Lazarus the richer of the two. How do we know? The story goes on to tell us that Lazarus went to heaven when he died and the rich man went to hell. Lazarus may not have had material riches while he was here, but he had eternal ones when he died- therefore, he was the richer one.

True wealth is not measured by the size of your bank account, the size of your house, what vehicle you drive, your annual income. True wealth is measured by Jesus Himself. If Jesus isn't in your life, then you are poor, even though you may have millions in the bank. Many people have misplaced value- they value the things of this world instead of putting value on the things that are eternal. When the scripture asks,"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26), it is really pointing us in the direction of what we should value more highly-- our eternal soul and making sure that we have eternal life when we leave this world. That's the real riches. Any one who wants to have true riches can have them, they come by putting your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and then following Him as your Lord.

Have a great day. You may have lots of possessions but that doesn't mean that you are rich- having eternal life is what makes you truly rich.

For further reading:
Luke 16:20-26
Matthew 6:21
Proverbs 8:18
Proverbs 11:4
Proverbs 13:7
Proverbs 23:5

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Weak Knees"

"My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness." Psalm 109:24

The Psalmist said that his knees were weak because of his fasting (abstaining from food). I want to talk about another fasting that brings weakness, not to our bodies, but to our spirits.

The Bible calls its words bread, milk and honey. When we aren't reading it, studying it and meditating upon it, we are doing what I call "spiritual fasting". God's word feeds us spiritually. When we neglect it and go without it, we aren't "eating". The result? "Weak knees".

What does that mean? People who have weak knees have a hard time moving around. People who have weak knees also have a hard time standing. People with weak knees are prone to falls. Likewise, having weak knees, spiritually speaking, makes it hard for us to move around- it makes it hard for us to "walk in the Spirit". It makes it hard for us to "stand" when the enemy comes against us and easy to fall.

"Weak knees" is also an idiom that expresses a strong emotion about something or someone- this emotion is often fear. If you are fasting God's word, you will have "weak knees", which means you will be operating in fear instead of faith, you'll be led by your emotions instead of by the Spirit, you'll be intimidated instead of having boldness, you will always feel defeated because you won't have a "spiritual leg" to stand on because your knees will "buckle" under you, and the result will be a fall.

There is a way to have "strong knees" instead of weak ones so that you can stand, move freely in the spirit, keep from falling and be full of faith. The remedy: EAT! You are going to have to "eat" God's word everyday.

Have a great day. Spiritual fasting causes spiritual weakness.

For further reading:
1 Peter 2:2
John 5:39
Psalm 119:11
John 6:63

Friday, January 8, 2010

"He Makes The Way"

"But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea." Exodus 14:16

Have you ever come to a place where you can't seem to go forward and are at a stand still? I reach that place many mornings when I sit down to write these devotionals. I pray and seek the Lord for a word to share with you and it doesn't come as easily at times as it does at other times. But it's in those times that I am reminded that if God calls us to do something He won't leave us "hanging".

God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. Moses obeyed the call of God and then found himself facing a Red Sea. All he could do was stand there- he couldn't go forward, there was no going back, he couldn't make the next step happen on his own, all he could do was place his entire dependency on the One who had called him to this task. Moses knew that if God had called him to do this, then He would make a way for him to be able to accomplish it.

Beloved, it is not up to us to "make it happen". There are some things that we can NEVER make happen. All Moses could do was trust and obey. He was not the Deliverer- he was the instrument that was used by THE Deliverer. The bottom line is that if God calls you to do it, He will be responsible to make a way for you to do what He has called you to do. Continue to seek Him, continue to listen to His instructions, continue to obey Him, continue to trust Him. Always remember that it is He who is accomplishing it through you, therefore, He will provide all that is needed to enable you to do it.

Have a great day. When God calls you to do something, He will give you everything you need to accomplish the task, so just trust Him.

For further reading:
Exodus 14
Philippians 4:19
Matthew 10:19

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"The Final Word"

"The Lord gave the word..." Psalm 68:11a

Who gave the word? Who gave the command, the promise or the words of counsel? Words come from many places, many people and many sources. There is no lack of "words"- no lack of advice or instruction. People are always ready to "tell you what to do" and "how to do it".

Heeding the word of others above what God says can bring problems and even be detrimental. The young prophet heeded the words of the older prophet above the instructions that God had already given him and lost his life as a result. Saul heeded the words of the people above God's word and lost his kingdom. Abraham listened to the words of Sarah his wife instead of waiting on the Lord to fulfill His word and wound up with an Ishmael.

Don't misunderstand, I am not saying that we should not listen to anyone. The Bible tells us that there is safety in a multitude of counselors. God has sent prophets to proclaim His will to us. Concerning the sending of Ishmael and Hagar out of his house, Abraham was told by God to listen to his wife Sarah this time. Samuel was told by God to listen to the people and give them a king. Moses heeded the advice of his father in law and appointed judges over the people to help with the task of settling problems that arose among the people. Thank God for those that He places in our lives to help instruct us, to teach us, to counsel us and to advise us. But when it comes down to it, when you get to the "bottom line", it's what God says to you that matters. It is His instructions and commands that we are to obey and place above what everyone else says.

To each of the churches in the Book of Revelation He told them to hear what the Spirit was saying. When John baptised Jesus, the heavens opened and the Lord spoke, not only to John, but to all of us-- "And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him." (Mark 9:7) "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." (Hebrews 1:1,2)

Have a great day. There is nothing wrong with listening to good counsel from people, as long as God has the final word!

For further reading:
1 Kings 13:11-25
1 Samuel 15
Proverbs 11:14; 24:6
Genesis 21:9-12

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Grace Is Enough"

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

For the last couple of days I have had a chorus playing over and over in my thoughts. The words that I keep hearing are- "Your grace is enough; Your grace is enough for me". I am so glad for God's grace; it is enough for whatever we may be going through.

This morning, I don't know what you are facing- tragedy, problems in a relationship, unruly children, a demanding boss, financial stress or any one of a million other situations- but I want to remind you that "God's Grace is Enough"! That means that grace is all you need to make it through. It has been said that if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. He brings you through it by His grace. Grace is the vessel that will carry you through the most difficult trial. It will reach into the lowest valley. It will shine as the noonday sun in the darkest area. It will conqueror the strongest adversary. It will bring down the tallest giant. It is a bridge of hope for the hopeless, the light at the end of the tunnel, a shelter in the time of storm. It brings a peace that passes understanding. It gives strength to run through a troop and leap over a wall. It defeats the power and stronghold the enemy thought he had over you. It causes you to rejoice when you see nothing to rejoice about and gives you the ability to give thanks in all things.

Are you trying to find an answer this morning or a way of escape? Are you trying to find a solution? Are you trying to find a "way out"? Sometimes your answer and what you need is grace. Like the Lord said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient".

Have a great day. His grace is enough-- it's all we need, regardless of the situation.

For further reading:
Zechariah 4:7
John 1:15-17
Romans 3:23,24; 16:24

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Hear The Truth"

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3,4

What is this "sound doctrine" that he is talking about? It's the "truth". Paul told Timothy that a time would come when people won't want to hear the truth. I think that time has come-- people don't want to hear the truth. They want to hear what they want to hear. People want to be told what they want to hear. They don't want to be told otherwise.

The thing about the "truth" is that it doesn't always tell you "good things",- it doesn't always tell you what you want to hear. Jesus often told people what they didn't want to hear. The rich young ruler didn't want to hear that he had to sell everything and follow Jesus. Peter didn't want to hear that he was speaking under the influence of the devil. The disciples didn't want to hear that they had "no faith". David didn't want to hear God's word through the prophet Nathan that he was the guilty party. The Israelites didn't want to hear that they would be in captivity for seventy years.

When we don't want to hear the truth- especially through God's word- we are choosing to live by lies and deception. We are choosing to live a life "off course". We are choosing darkness instead of light. We are choosing to live in a state of confusion and defeat. We are placing ourselves outside of safe boundaries.

The truth is not always easy to hear, especially when it points out our faults and mistakes, and tells us that we were wrong, and brings correction to us. The truth is often hard to swallow, but so are some medicines. But we "choke" them down because we know that they are good for us and will bring healing to our bodies. Hum... if we are willing to take a pill prescribed by a physician/man in order to get better, why do we have such a hard time wanting to take the "pill" of God's truth that will make us much more than just better?

Have a great day. Hearing the truth may not be pleasant, but it is so good for you.

For further reading:
John 8:32
2 Samuel 12
Matthew 16:23; 19:16-22
Mark 4:40
John 17:17; 12:46-48

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Jesus Departed"

"Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee." Matthew 4:12

You might have thought that Jesus would have gone to John's rescue when he was thrown into prison, after all, John was arrested for preaching His gospel. You might have thought that Jesus would have gone to John in the prison, seeing as how they were related. Or perhaps He would have gone to John because John baptized Him so they had spiritual ties. You might have thought that Jesus would have gone to John, if for no other reason, because He was a "preacher". But Jesus didn't go to John, instead He departed into another city.

You know, we often feel like Jesus doesn't care and that He has abandoned us in our time of need. We come up with reason after reason as to why He should come to our rescue but, seemingly, to no avail. Why does He feel further away from us, instead of closer, when we are in trouble? Do you ever feel like that? Do you feel that if He really cared about you He would do something about your situation? Do you feel as though He has abandoned you?

If that's you, take heart this morning, He has not abandoned you, He has not left you, He has not forsaken you, He is well aware of you. Remember when John sent his disciples to Jesus needing a word from Him, Jesus gave them a word to take back to John- He had not left him.

Jesus' departure was part of a bigger plan that God had- even for John. "And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mt. 4:13-17) Often what we perceive as God's lack of concern for us, is actually Him working a greater plan out in our lives. The Israelites felt the same way when they stood between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army, but God had not left them, He was "working" on a bigger miracle on their behalf.

So take heart, and remember, there is a bigger picture that God is working on that we don't often see, but we can trust that He has not "departed from us", He has not abandoned us and that He is working "all things" together for our good.

Have a great day. If it seems as though Jesus has departed, He has not--- He is working to bring about a greater plan in your life.

For further reading:
Romans 8:24
Luke 7:18-29