Friday, February 26, 2010

"Frustrating Grace - Part 2"

"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." Romans 6:15

Yesterday we said that good works and deeds don't save us and they don't keep us saved. We are saved by God's wonderful grace and it's His grace that keeps us afterwards also. When we try to work hard enough to "stay" right with God, then we are "frustrating" (taking lightly and making of none effect) the grace of God.

Now, having said that, on the other hand we don't want to frustrate the grace of God by taking our responsibility to "work out our salvation" lightly either. Just because we are kept by grace doesn't mean that we can neglect and take for granted our salvation. It doesn't mean that we can live "loose" "careless" lives and do whatever we want to do. It doesn't mean that we have nothing to do to help maintain our relationship with the Lord.

In any relationship there are responsibilities on each party. There are things we have to do... and good works are some of them. Like I said yesterday, the good works of Bible study, prayer, church attendance, etc., all help to strengthen our relationship with the Lord because they help us to get to know Him better. Our good works also testify to others of the goodness of God. And they are also an evidence to the faith that we profess to have. "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." (James 2:17,18)

The bottom line is this: grace, not good works, saved us and keeps us saved; but good works can't be neglected because they are the "fruit" that grace produces in our lives.

Have a great day. Grace gives us what we can never work hard enough on our own to receive. But after we have received the gift of grace our works are the evidence of that grace.

For further reading:
Philippians 2:12
Hebrews 2:3
Ephesians 2:8,9

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Frustrating Grace"

"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21

Are you frustrating the grace of God by reducing your Christian life to religious practices instead of loving relationship? We usually think about grace and works in regard to receiving salvation. There are those who try to obtain the salvation of God through doing good deeds and religious acts- thinking that what they do will be good enough to save them. The rich young ruler tried to receive eternal life through good works. Some today try to receive eternal life through membership in a denomination, baptism, church participation. It can't be done. We can never do enough good works to earn our salvation. This is why it is a free gift given by grace- God's unmerited favor bestowed on us.

What I am talking about this morning is not in regard to getting saved, but after we receive salvation through faith in Christ. In the verse above Paul was referring to not frustrating the grace of God after he was saved. He was writing this to all born again believers. So what does he mean and what is he saying to us?

I don't have enough time to explain the whole matter, but there is one area that I want to touch on. If your walk with the Lord is more about a list of "dos and don'ts", if it's more about "doing" than "being", if it is more about "duty" than "desire" than you are frustrating (making it nothing- treating it lightly) the grace of God. Jesus died to bring us back into right relationship with God. Yes, good works should be accompanying our lives, but it's a relationship that He is after. Yes, we should be doing good works, but not in order to "keep our salvation" or "stay right" with God or be "good enough". If grace saved you, then grace will keep you- not your works.

The "works" of Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, tithes and offerings, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, and so on are not done to make sure that I am "right" with Him or "acceptable". They are part of making my relationship stronger. They help me know Him better. And when what I learn about Him is practiced in my life, it helps others know Him better too.

I am getting too lengthy so let me sum this all up. Your works didn't save you to begin with and they don't keep you saved afterwards. They are an evidence and overflow of a relationship that you have with Him. So don't frustrate grace and enjoy the wonderful relationship that you are allowed to have with the Heavenly Father because of the grace of God that came through the cross of Jesus.

Have a great day. Don't reduce your Christian life to religious practices instead of a loving relationship.

For further reading:
Luke 18:18-24
Ephesians 2:6-10
Galatians 3:1-3
James 2:17-26

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Joy In The Battle"

"And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord." Psalm 27:6

What a contrast! Usually when we are facing an enemy, or in the heat of the battle, we tend to moan, groan, complain, get negative and be fearful. Here the Psalmist demonstrates quiet the opposite. Instead he is singing, praising and shouting for joy. Is it possible? Can you have joy when facing a battle? Can you sing praises in the face of your enemy/adversity? Can you still offer sacrifices to God when the battle doesn't let up?

The answer, of course, is "yes". This whole Psalm is about facing enemies and being in battles, and it begins with, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (verse 1) The very first two words give us the key- "the Lord".

The key to having a victorious attitude instead of a defeated one depends on what you focus on. If you are focused on the battle/enemy, it will also look bigger and stronger. It will always look like the "winner". But if you focus on the Lord, the battle will seem so small and winnable. The Israelite army was defeated before ever even engaging in the actual battle. Why? Because their focus was on Goliath- the enemy. They were discouraged and fearful because of his size. David, on the other hand, was already victorious before he went to the battlefield to face Goliath. Why? Because he focused on his God. He saw his God as bigger and more powerful than this enemy.

God is bigger. He is more powerful. He is stronger than any enemy that comes our way- no matter how big they may appear or how intimidating they may look. You know, whatever you focus on becomes bigger and stronger. By focusing on your enemy, you are actually making him bigger, thus giving him more power over you. But when you focus on God, you not only make Him bigger in your "eyes", but you realize the truth-- He is bigger.. always has been and always will be.

Have a great day. It is possible to shout for joy and sing praises to God during the battle... it just depends on where you are focused.

For further reading:
Psalm 27
Isaiah 66:1
Psalm 24:7-10
1 Samuel 17

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"In The Battles"

"Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident." Psalm 27:3

Ever feel like the enemy has set up camp at your house? Do you feel like every weapon he has is aimed right at you? Do you feel like all his forces have assembled together to attack you?

Sometimes the attacks of the enemy come in multiples. He doesn't just attack you in one area and work to take you down in it before he moves on to another area. It seems he is attacking you in every area of your life- in your relationships, finances, health, etc.- all at the same time.

The Psalmist was going through the same thing. His enemies were coming against him without letting up. He was going through battle after battle but he found the key to victory. He put his confidence in the Lord. His confidence was not in his own ability to handle the enemy. It was not in his own strength or know how. His confidence was not in a person. His confidence was not in his natural resources. His confidence was in the Lord.

He was confident that the Lord was with him. He was confident that the Lord was able to handle the situations. He was confident that Lord was able to keep His promises. He was confident that the Lord loved him and was on his side. He was confident that the Lord was with him and would not abandon him in his time of need.

Where and in whom does your confidence lie this morning? Can you say like the Psalmist, "My heart will not fear because of my confidence in the Lord." ? Our confidence comes in knowing that the Lord is with us even in the battles. We start getting worried and fearful during these times when we feel we are alone. You are not alone this morning, you are not by yourself. The Lord is with you, and He is with you in everyone- not just one or some.

Have a great day. Don't lose your confidence in the Lord during the battle or battles.

For further reading:
Psalm 27
Hebrews 13:5
Psalm 118:6
Psalm 124

Monday, February 22, 2010


"In your patience possess ye your souls." Luke 21:19

Late Saturday night we discovered a water leak in our house. We called our plumber last night to see when he could come and fix it. He told us that it was a very slim possibility that he could come today and that it would probably be Thursday. Well, this morning, just as I sat down to start the devotional my phone rang. Yes, it was my plumber-- they were on their way. (Thank You, Lord!) This means I had to put the devotional on hold for a little while this morning because the leak is in my office wall that adjoins a bathroom.

As I thought about having to put it on hold, even wondering if I should send it this late or just wait until tomorrow to send it, the Lord spoke something to my heart- actually, two things.

1) A temporary delay does not mean a permanent one. Often things in our lives are "put on hold", but just because they are doesn't mean they won't happen eventually. So don't be discouraged.

2) A temporary delay is a place of waiting. But the wait is not what matters. What matters is "how" you wait. Not everything in life, even the promises of God always come immediately. Sometimes there are delays, waiting periods, and how you wait is what's important.

Perhaps you are in one of those times now. How are you waiting? Are you anxious? Are you getting frustrated? Are you losing heart? Are you getting impatient? Is your impatience effecting your attitude- as in, are you beginning to be short, rude and unkind to others? Or are you waiting in peace? Are you trusting that God has a perfect timing for everything and He is working behind the scenes to cause all things to work together for your good? Are you resting in confidence that God is perfect and in control? Waiting is a fact of life. Delays are a fact of life. What we do in them is what counts.

Have a great day. Not everything in life comes instantly, so when it doesn't, what do you do?

For further reading:
Psalm 40:1
Philippians 4:6
Romans 8:28

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Love Your Enemy - Pt. 2"

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy." Matthew 5:43

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) What a contrast Jesus' teachings were from many other religions. There are religions out there that teach you to hate your enemy, take revenge on them, and some even teach that you should kill your enemies. But Jesus' teachings were right the opposite.

Our Lord never said that we wouldn't have enemies. He never said that there wouldn't be those who oppose us. He never said that everyone would love us and no one would hate us. Instead He taught us that just the opposite was true. "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." (Luke 21:17) But He taught us what our response should be to them. And He not only taught us in word, but He showed us through His own actions. "They hated me without a cause." (John 15:25b) "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." (1 Peter 2:23)

If this world is going to have a true picture of who this wonderful. loving God that we serve is, they are going to have to see it through us His children. The way you treat others, even your enemies, is a testimony to who you serve and whose you are. This is why we must walk in love, and show love, even to those who don't love us in return, to those who aren't deserving of love and to those who set themselves up as our enemies.

You and I weren't, and never will be, deserving of the love that God showed us through His Son Jesus. As I said yesterday, we were enemies of His and yet He still demonstrated love toward us. So if He showed love to us (His enemies), shouldn't we show it to others- regardless of who they are.

Have a great day. Love is the distinguishing factor that not only identifies us as Christians, but also reveals who God is to the world.

For further reading:
Matthew 5:43-48
Isaiah 53
Romans 5:6-10

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Love Your Enemies"

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matthew 5:44

Did you notice that Jesus didn't say to love your family- your spouse, children, parents, siblings, love those in your close circle of friends, love those who love you already, love those who treat you good? His command jumped over those that you would naturally love anyway to those that you don't love-- your enemy. Why? Because this is exactly what He did. We were all His enemies because of our sin, yet He loved us.

He didn't wait to love us until we became His friends or His followers. If He had, He would still be waiting. Instead He loved us while we were enemies. His love for us was not just a "word" or an "emotion" or "feeling" that He had. It was also a demonstration. He demonstrated His love for us, His enemies, by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins.

If we are truly His children, if we are truly His followers, then we are to love our enemies as well. And that love is more than words. It is demonstration for us as well. Is your enemy hungry? Feed him. Is he naked? Clothe him. Is he sick? Visit him or take him some soup. Is he hurting? Pray for him, send him a note letting him know that you are thinking about him. Do something nice for him- as you have opportunity. God did the same for us. Only His "nice" was much more than just "nice"-- He laid down His life for us and gave us the greatest gift possible- everlasting life.

Have a great day. Loving those who love you is one thing, but loving those who are your enemy is a "Godlike-thing".

For further reading:
Matthew 5:43-48
Romans 5:6-10
John 3:16,17
1 John 4:19-21
Ephesians 4:32
Proverbs 25:21

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"He's There"

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

Sometimes people are on the "mountain top". They are in a place where everything is going well. They have plenty, no problems, no lack, everything looks great, their life seems to be perfect. Then there are times when we are in the "valley". Problems come, there is lack, things don't look so great, you can't see as clearly and you don't always understand what is going on. And the thing about these places is that they can change at a moment's notice or without warning. One minute you are on the mountain top and the next you are in the valley, or vice versa.

Where you are is not what matters most. What matters is who is with you while you are there. I want to remind you that the Lord is with you- whether you are on a mountain top, in a valley, in a storm, in the wilderness, in an oasis, in a drought or a famine. It may feel like He has forgotten you. It may feel like He has abandoned you. It may feel like He is a million miles away. It may feel like He doesn't care. But He does care and He is with you. You can't lose sight of this. You are NOT alone! He didn't promise you that you would always "feel" His presence with you. But He did promise you that whether you felt it or not, He would never leave you. Take comfort and take heart this morning in His promise and remember that you are not alone.

Have a great day. Life takes us to the mountain top at times, and it also takes us to the valley. But regardless of where it takes us, we are not alone... the Lord is with us.

For further reading:
Psalm 23
Psalm 139
Exodus 3:1-3
Deuteronomy 8:2
Mark 4:37-40
Hebrews 13:5
Matthew 28:20

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"The Middle"

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

When the Lord gives us a command or instructions, as He did in he verse above- "Let us pass over to the other side"- He never promises us that it will be smooth sailing to get there. He never says that we won't encounter hardships or difficulties. He never tells us that there might not be a struggle or a storm to endure. He just gives us the command and attaches a promise to it- "we will make it."

From the time the instruction comes until we see the fulfillment of its promise, we may go through hard times, problems or even moments that threaten to "sink our ship". But don't give up. Stay in the boat. Keep pressing forward. Stay obedient to the command. Set your eyes on the prize- the promise.

David received the anointing to be king, but before he actually sat on the throne he was under constant pursuit by Saul and had to run for his life. From the moment that Joseph received the dream concerning his destiny and it actually came to pass, he went through a pit, slavery and a prison.

We don't mind the instruction of the Lord in regard to what He would have us to do, and we look forward to the fulfillment of it- the promise that is attached. It's just the "middle" part that we have trouble with- because the middle may involve a storm. But if you hold on to His promise in the storm the fulfillment will come to pass.

Have a great day. There is usually a trying time attached to the promise and the fulfillment of the promise, but stay faithful and full of faith during that time and you will make it to the other side.

For further reading:
Mark 4:35-41
Psalm 105:17-21
Hebrews 10:23
John 16:33

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Focus First"

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

It's snowing here this morning. Up until this year, we rarely ever see snow- sometimes it doesn't snow for years. So, I am like a little kid this morning- I went to almost every window in the house to look out and see the transformation of the landscape. I keep catching myself wanting to look at it over and over again. I am having to discipline myself to sit down and send out the devotional instead of watching the snow fall. This brings me to our word this morning.

I felt like the Lord wants to remind us to "stay focused". Don't allow distractions to turn you away from the "task" that is at hand. Those distractions may not be something bad or evil. They may not be something that is sinful. But don't focus on them for too long or they will pull you away from that which really matters.

Most people do that where their salvation is concerned. They are so focused on "life" that they miss the thing that is most important in their lives- making sure they are right with God. They spend all their time, days and years focusing on their careers, education, entertainment, pleasure and a long list of other things that they have neglected the thing that truly counts in the end.

Am I saying that these things are wrong? Is it wrong for me to sit here looking out my window watching the snow fall? Not necessarily. But what I am saying is that we need to take care of "first things first". We should not consume our lives with so many other things that we don't take care of the most important thing. Take care of your soul, take care of your relationship with the Lord, take care of eternal matters first. Make sure that this is your primary focus.

Have a great day. It is not a question of whether what you are focusing on is good or bad, the question is, "Are you focusing on the most important things first and more?".

For further reading:
Matthew 23:23; 13:22
Luke 9:51

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Love Test"

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." 1 Corinthians 13:4

In our Sunday School class we have been studying God's nature and characteristic of love. God is love. He doesn't just posses it. He doesn't just carry it around in His pocket. But it is who He is at the very core of His being-- love. When Jesus was on earth, He showed us what the Father was like. Jesus demonstrated love, the Father's love, everywhere He went and in everything He did- from the "smallest" miracle to the cross.

When you read 1 Corinthians 13, especially verses four through seven, you see the definition of what love is and what it isn't. When you read it, you are also looking into the face of Jesus. Jesus was patient. He was kind. He wasn't proud or boastful, envious or jealous. He didn't keep a record of wrongs that were done to Him. Through His fulfillment of the definition, He gave us an example and pattern to follow.

The word Christian simply means "Christ-like". We are to follow Jesus- not only in obedience to His commands- but through imitation. We are to do what He did and don't do what He didn't. We are also His children. Therefore, we are to be Christ-like in reflecting the nature and character of God as Christ- who is the Son of God- did. 1 Corinthians 13 is also an evaluation tool to determine whether we are walking in love, living according to love and reflecting God's love.

When you read 1 Corinthians 13 from now on, I hope you will look at it differently- not as just a definition, but as an example which you are to follow and as an evaluation to determine if you are. After all, the true sign of your Christianity is not in your profession of being one, but in your demonstration of love.

Have a great day. Are you following Jesus' example of love?

For further reading:
1 Corinthians 13
John 3:16; 13:35; 14:8,9
1 John 4:7,8

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Love Motive"

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." 1 Corinthians 1:3

You can make lots of sacrifices, you can give your life to religious service, you can give your life to helping other, you can even lay down your life for your belief, but if you don't do it out of your love for God, then it profits you nothing. You see, it's not what you do, but why you do what you do. It all boils down to motive. Motive is always at the heart of the matter, and the motive of true Christianity should always be love.

There are a lot of people who aren't Christians who do good works. Lots of people who aren't Christians are laying down their lives for their religious beliefs. But many of them do it because it makes them feel good or feel good about themselves. Some do it hoping for some sort of approval, recognition or reward in return. When Christians do good deeds or lay their lives down for their belief, it's because our motive goes deeper than just the joy that we feel or the reward that we know we will receive one day- it's on a different level.

At the heart of our motive is a desire to reveal God to others. Our greatest expression of love toward Him is to reflect His nature and character of love, compassion, goodness and grace to others in the things we do, in the sacrifices we make, in the service we give so that those who don't know Him will get a true picture of who He is. That is the motive that sets us apart- a love for God that causes us to live in such a way that will cause others to desire Him.

Have a great day. Motive is always at the heart of the matter. Is your motive behind what you do based out of your love for God?

For further reading:
1 Corinthians 13
Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Willing Spirit"

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

Many of us have a will to do what is right, to please the Lord, to be obedient and to not sin, but this flesh of ours gets in the way. Because of its weakness we tend to give into and do the things we don't want to do. We tend to roll back over in bed in the mornings instead of getting up to pray. We tend to sit in front of the television or computer for hours being entertained instead of spending time reading our Bibles. We tend to live undisciplined lives yielded to God because we are always giving into the lust of this weak flesh.

We do what we shouldn't and don't do what we should because our flesh is weak; Jesus is the one who said it in the verse above. But when He said it, He never intended for us to take that fact and make it an excuse to justify our lack of discipline, surrender and obedience. We focus too much on "the flesh is weak" when our focus should be on "the spirit is willing".

Even if we have just the slightest willingness, coupled with the Holy Spirit we can do all things. We need to switch our focus from the weakness of the flesh to the power of the Spirit who resides in our spirits. This is the same Spirit that raised up Christ from the dead. This is the same Spirit that moved upon the face of the deep at creation. This is the same Spirit that empowered our beloved Savior Jesus while He was one earth.

As long as we are focusing on our weakness instead of His strength, we will continue to fail. We will continue to be defeated. We will continue to live lives that aren't experiencing abiding peace, unspeakable joy and abundant life. But if we focus on the power of the Holy Spirit empowering our spirits then we will walk as more than conquerors. We will speak to mountains and they will move. The situations will not overcome us but we will overcome them. And Christ through us will be glorified.

Have a great day. Are you focusing on your own weak flesh, or the Holy Spirit's ability to empower and strengthen your willing spirit?

For further reading:
Romans 8:11
Genesis 1:2
Luke 4:1
Zechariah 4:6
Acts 1:8

Monday, February 8, 2010

"His Love"

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

Before you were born, the Lord knew you and loved you. Before you repented of your sins and became His child He loved you. He not only said that He loved you, but He showed you how much He loved you by sending His Son to die for your sins. He has always loved you, so why do you ever doubt?

According to the Book of Romans nothing separates us from His love. That is because His love is unconditional. He loves us in spite of ourselves- in spite of our rebellious attitude, in spite of our selfishness, or our determination to do things our own way, and in spite of the fact that we often think we know better than God does when it comes to running our lives.

Because He loves us so deeply and unconditionally does that mean that we have a license to sin and it will be all right? No, it doesn't. Sin puts a hindrance in our relationship with Him. It's what broke our relationship with Him in the first place. But because His love for us is deep and eternal, He provided a way to put our relationship back together again. So now we can have a wonderful assurance that because He does love us, that once we confess our sins any hindrance is completely removed out of the way.

And just in case you doubt His love for you this morning look at the cross. There is no greater demonstration of love. And there is no greater proof.

Have a great day. The Lord loved you, loves you and will always love you.

For further reading:
John 3:16
Romans 5:8; 8:35-39
1 John 1:9
Jeremiah 31:3

Friday, February 5, 2010

"Power In The Blood"

"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." Hebrews 10:4

I grew up on songs like, "There is Power in the Blood", "Nothing But the Blood", "The Blood Will Never Lose It's Power", "Are You Washed in the Blood?". Of course, these songs were all talking about the blood of Jesus that was shed at Calvary.

I want to talk about the blood for a moment. There is so much to say and teach on the subject but this is a devotional not a book so I just want to touch briefly on the power that is in the blood. The blood of Jesus is more powerful than anything else. It has the power to remove sin. It has the power to give eternal life. It has the power to bring reconciliation between us and God. It has the power to give salvation, redemption and healing. By its power a new covenant was established.

If the blood has the power to forgive our sins and give us eternal life, why are we still trying to find a way to save ourselves? What do I mean? There are those who still try to find forgiveness through doing good deeds. They are trying to work their way to heaven. They think that if they are "good enough", do enough religious deeds, or don't do certain "sins" that this will make them acceptable to God. When the spirit of death went throughout Egypt during the last plague, there was only one thing that could save the people- the blood. If they did not have the blood of the lamb applied to the doorposts of their houses, death would have come to them as well. That night there was only one thing that could have saved them- it's the same way today. It still takes the blood of the Lamb applied to our lives.

You can try to offer the Lord your own "sacrifices", but the blood of His Son Jesus is the only thing that God will acknowledge for the forgiveness of sin. The blood was the only thing that could have paid the price. Try as you may to pay for it yourself, but you will always come up short. The price was paid in full at the cross through Jesus' blood, so why don't you stop trying to work hard enough to come up with something else that will pay for it-- it won't.

Have a great day. There is power in the Blood!!

For further reading:
Hebrews 9:12-14, 22
Exodus 12
1 Corinthians 6:19,20
Isaiah 53:10,11

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"No Reason To Fear"

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

There are some fearful things in life, but Christians have no need to fear them. Let's talk for a moment about why we have no reason to fear.

First, fear does not come from God. It comes from our enemy, the devil. We don't have to fear what comes from him because he is already defeated. His weapons are "broken" that he uses against us. Our Lord defeated him, stripped him, dethroned him and made his weapons of none effect. So, why do we fear the devil? Is he greater than Jesus? Is he more powerful? Was he the victor? No, no and no!

Also, the Lord has given us and equipped us with everything we need to be victorious over fear. He has given us "power". His power, not our puny little power. But it's the same power that defeated the devil at the cross so that we can defeat him each time he comes with his attacks. He has given us His "love". Love casts out fear. Fear and love cannot cohabitate, just like fear and faith can't. He has given us a "sound mind". Fear starts first as an attack against your mind. This sound mind we have been given "nips it in the bud" before it has a chance to go any further or manifest in us.

So, given the fact that fear has been conquered by Jesus, we have no reason to fear the giants that stand before us. It matters not how big they are, God is bigger. Are you facing a "giant" this morning? A financial giant? A relationship giant? A giant that is threatening to make you its slave? Remember David and Goliath? This story teaches us about the power of God to bring down giants in our lives, no matter how big they are. What defeated the Israelite army was their fear- fear of Goliath. David didn't fear him because he knew that God was bigger. There is an old adage that says, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall". How true! God can bring even the biggest giant in your life down and He can do it with just one small stone.

Have a great day. There is no reason to fear the giant.

For further reading:
1 John 3:8
Isaiah 54:17
1 John 4:18
2 Corinthians 10:5
1 Samuel 17

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"First Step"

"And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again." Genesis 37:22

When Joseph's brothers cast him into a pit, I can't even imagine what was going through his mind. I am sure that fear, confusion, anxiety and a host of other emotions were running rampant in his thoughts. No doubt he was asking, "Why?". During his time in the pit I am positive that there was one thought that wasn't going through his mind-- "this is a good thing". Little did Joseph know at the time that this was the first step in the fulfillment of God's plan for his life.

Often the first steps in the fulfillment of our destiny, God's plan for our lives, doesn't look at all like we thought it would. At first glance it may even appear to look like anything but. It doesn't necessarily come wrapped up in flowery packaging. It doesn't always come under ideal conditions. It doesn't always come through some miraculous encounter with the Lord like Paul had on the Damascus Road or Moses had standing before the burning bush. Joseph's brother's hatred, jealousy and betrayal is what sent him on the first step.

Many times the first step that will take us to our God given destiny comes like it did for Joseph- in a pit. Remember, Esther's came through her captivity, as did Daniel's and many others recorded in the Bible.

Don't get discouraged, don't get anxious, don't get fearful or fretful when things aren't going as planned or they appear to be going in the opposite direction. It might be that this is your first step toward fulfilling your destiny.

Have a great day. Joseph's destiny was the palace, but the first step in getting there was the pit.

For further reading:
Jeremiah 29:11
Romans 8:28
Genesis 37
Genesis 50:19,20
Acts 9:4-6
Exodus 3

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Who Is In The Boat"

"And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Mark 4:41

The disciples were in a storm. The boat was filling with water, the winds were blowing, the waves were beating upon them, the situation looked like sure destruction or death. Jesus was in the boat with them during this storm. You know the story, they woke Him up to save them and He rebuked the storm and the sea became calm. The next conversation we hear from the disciples is not one of praise because they were safe or worship because Jesus had done such a miracle, but one of awe and fear about the true identity and nature of Jesus.

We all go through storms in our lives. They may not be literal like the one the disciples faced but they are very real, nevertheless, and threaten to destroy us. When we go through these storms, most of us have no doubt believing that Jesus is with us in the storm. But we too are often like the disciples, we don't know who is in the storm with us. Or at least we act like we don't know.

We often act just like the disciples- fearful, worried and anxious. We fret over the storm. We act like, though Jesus is in the storm with us, He is powerless to do anything about it. We act like the storm is going to drown us and there is nothing that can be done about it.

It's one thing to know He is in the boat with you, it's another thing to remember who He is that is in the boat. Incase you have forgotten, let me remind you this morning of just who He is. He is the one who speaks peace to the troubling situation. He is the one who rebukes the winds and the waves- the lies and the fears. He is the one who created the universe, who calls the stars by name, who spoke into nothing and created everything. He is the one to whom every knee shall bow. He is the one who has a name that is above every name. He is the one who destroyed the works of the enemy at the cross then paraded His defeat of the devil before all spiritual beings- angels and demons alike. He is the one who causes demons to flee, the rocks to cry out, the hills to skip like young rams, water to come out of a rock. He speaks to ravens and they fed a prophet. He turns water into wine, puts money in fishes mouths, sends manna from heaven. He is an ark of safety. His name is a strong tower. He is healer, deliverer and provider. He is the Prince of Peace, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God. Should I go on?

Storms of life come to all of us and when they do it's not enough to just remember that Jesus is in the boat with you, but you also have to remember who He is that is in the boat with you.

Have a great day. It is the Almighty God who is all powerful and able to do anything that is in the storm with you.

For further reading:
Psalm 147:4; 29:6; 103:3
Genesis 1:1-3
Romans 14:11
Philippians 2:9,10
1 John 3:8
James 4:7
Luke 19:40
Exodus 17:6; 16:15
Colossians 2:15
1 Kings 17:6
John 2:3-10
Matthew 17:27
Isaiah 9:6
Revelation 22:13
Proverbs 18:10

Monday, February 1, 2010

"It's About Us"

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

We always say that it's about God and not us. It's about Him receiving the glory. It's about Him be exalted. It's about doing His will not our own. It's about what He wants not what we want. And, yes, this is true-- it is about Him. But, as for as He is concerned, and from His perspective, it's about "us".

The whole reason Jesus came to earth was about us. He lived His life showing us what the Father was like. He demonstrated the character of God while He was here in order to show us what a loving Father God He is. The whole reason why Jesus went through the pain and shame of the cross was because of us. It wasn't for His own sins- He had none. It was all about us.

It was about the Father's love for us. It was about His desire that we be with Him one day in heaven. It was about us becoming His children. It was about Him being able to lavish His love on us. Everything He did was for us- so that we could be redeemed, so that we could have a relationship with Him, so that we could have forgiveness of sins, so that we can have everlasting life, so that we can know Him.

On His end what He did, He did for us. On our end what we do, we do for Him.

Have a great day. As for as we are concerned, it is all about Him and not about us. But as for as He's concerned, what He did was about us.

For further reading:
2 Corinthians 5:21
John 14:1-3
Hebrews 12:2
Galatians 3:13
John 17