Friday, April 23, 2010

"He Knows How You Feel"

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15

A friend shared something with me yesterday that she heard a pastor preach. It was so good I just had to share it with you. The pastor was getting a little weary and discouraged so he voiced his heart to the Lord in prayer. The Lord answered him and the conversation that he and Jesus had went something like this:
Pastor: Lord, I am getting weary and I just don't think I can make it
Jesus: I know just how you feel.

Pastor: I have given my all and the people just aren't listening.
Jesus: I know just how you feel.

Pastor: Even my children aren't listening and heeding. They are living after their own desires, I am concerned but it seems as if no matter what I say or do there is no change.
Jesus: I know just how you feel.

The conversation went on and each time the pastor voiced his feelings, Jesus' reply was always, "I know just how you feel". The truth of it is that Jesus really does know how you feel. He has been where you are: tired, hungry, weary in body, rejected, acquainted with sorrow, grief and pain, tested in every area just like you are.

I had another friend years ago who had five children, all just a year or so apart. One day when she was tired she said to Jesus, "You weren't a woman, or a mother, you don't know what it is like having so many children pulling on you all at once and demanding your attention all the time. You don't know what it is like not to have a moment to yourself. You don't know how I feel." His reply to her was, "Yes, I do know. I had crowds of people always around me, pressing upon me, wanting my attention and making their demands. They would not leave me alone." So I repeat: Jesus does know how you, and I, feel regardless of who we are or what we are going through in life. Like the saying goes, He has "been there and done that".

It doesn't matter what you may be going through this morning, Jesus is touched by the feelings of your infirmities because He truly does know what it feels like because He has been through it too.

Have a great day. When Jesus says He knows how you feel... He really knows how you feel.

For further reading:
Isaiah 53:3
Mark 3:10
Matthew 4:2,3
John 19:28

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Earth Day"

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." Romans 1:25

I discovered that today is "Earth Day". This means that people will be celebrating the planet earth today. But some will take it a step further than just acknowledging that we should take care of the earth, they will actually worship "Mother Earth" today.

In the beginning God gave mankind dominion over the earth so I agree that we should take care of the planet by being good stewards of it. But... we should not worship or give homage to it. Throughout the ages man has resorted to worshipping the creation more than the Creator. Today is no different- people are still doing the same thing.

If we (even Christians) aren't careful we can be guilty of doing the same. I know none of us are going to go out and create a stone or wooden idol or a golden calf and worship it. But there are other created things that we can worship. Remember the story of the rich young ruler? What kept him from receiving eternal life? He worshipped his money and riches. When he asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life, Jesus told him to obey the commandments. He had obeyed the ones that had to do with his dealings with man. But when Jesus told him to go sell all he had, give it to the poor and follow Him he could not. Why? His riches had his heart. Therefore, they were the object of his worship. Therefore, he broke the very first commandment which was- "You shall have no other gods before me".

While others are "worshipping" the earth today, this would be a good time to take spiritual inventory and check and see what has your heart. Does the Lord truly have it? Is it divided between Him and something else? Do your riches have your heart? Do other people have it? Are you worshipping religion instead of God? Are you worshipping any created thing more than you are worshipping the Creator?

Have a great day. What is your object of worship? The Creator or what He has created?

For further reading:
Genesis 1:26, 28
Genesis 2:15
Psalm 115:15,16
Luke 18:18-24
Exodus 20:3

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


"And God said..." Genesis 1:3a

What a difference just one word from the Lord makes. It can bring light into a dark situation, peace into chaos, joy into sorrow. It can bring healing where there is sickness. "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." (Matthew 8:8b) It brings life where there is death. "And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise." (Mark 5:41) Just one word from the Lord is so powerful that it can change the very situation you are in. It can give renewed strength and hope, it can give direction and guidance, it can give clarity when you can't figure out what is going on.

The answer to our problems is found in a word from the Lord. That is what we need more than anything else- to hear Him speak to us. Why does it seem that we can't get that word that is needed- that word that He speaks to us that changes everything? Mostly it's because we are seeking a word from Him through other people. We want some man to speak to us for God. Does He use others to speak to us and into our lives? Yes, He does. But He desires to speak to you Himself. He doesn't always do it through someone else.

Also, we aren't willing to sit still long enough to hear Him speak. We want an answer and we want it now- or sooner. Everything has to be "instant" for us. God does speak to us at times immediately, but more often than not there is a "waiting on Him" period where we have to take the time to be still and listen. I personally believe that we have lost the discipline of "waiting on the Lord". The older saints called it "tarrying". Just because it is not a modern term doesn't mean that it has "gone out of style". Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power. I believe He hasn't changed and still requires that we tarry at times in order to hear and receive from Him. Let me give you my simple definition for tarrying- sit still, be quiet and don't get up until you hear from God.

Have a great day. You need to hear a word from the Lord- that's where your answer lies, but it is very hard to hear Him when you won't be patient and sit still long enough to listen.

For further reading:
1 Timothy 2:5
Luke 24:49
Numbers 22:19
1 Samuel 3:8-10
Psalm 40:1

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"God's Searching Eyes"

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." 2 Chronicles 16:9a

God's all seeing eyes are continually looking over His creation. Some believe that He is looking for something bad in their lives, something to judge them for or something so that He can punish them about. They see God only as someone who is out to "get them". On the contrary, His all seeing eyes are searching for someone He can help.

God is not on the "look out" for ways He can punish you- He is looking for ways He can help you. He is looking for those who need His help, for those who need His strength, for those who need His peace and His comfort. When Adam disobeyed the Lord and brought sin upon all mankind, God's all seeing eyes saw it. He saw Adam's sin and failure, but He also saw his need. He saw the need of mankind, which was a Savior. There was the opportunity for God to show Himself strong and mighty to save on our behalf. He sent His Son Jesus who told us that He came to "seek and to save that which was lost". In other words, He came looking for those who were lost and too weak to save themselves.

He is still doing the same thing today- "seeking out those who need His strength". He is looking for those that He can lift up, those He can give renewed hope to, those who have been broken so that He can put them back together again, those who are discouraged so that He can encourage and revive them. Is that you this morning? His eyes see you and not only are they looking at you, they are looking at you with pity, compassion, mercy and grace, desiring to lift you up and strengthen you at the point of your every need.

Have a great day. His eyes are upon you looking for ways He can show Himself strong on your behalf.

For further reading:
2 Corinthians 12:9
Luke 19:10
Proverbs 15:3
1 Peter 3:12
Psalm 31:24

Monday, April 19, 2010

"What Are You Living For?"

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal." Matthew 6:19

I came across this quote by Joan of Arc and felt this was a good way to start the week-- with a reminder to stay focused on the things that really matter. "Everyone gives their life for what they believe. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing and yet they give their lives to that little...or nothing.
One life is all we have, we live it and it's gone. What do you live for?"

What are you giving your life for? What are you spending it on? What do you live for? That which is temporary or eternal? That which pleases self or pleases God? That which has eternal value or no real value at all? Are your sights set on material possessions or heavenly treasures? Do you work harder to get more and more possessions but are negligent in developing a closer relationship to the Lord? Where do your priorities lie? On heavenly or earthly things?

Like the quote says, people give their lives for what they believe. They make it the goal and focus of their lives. And they also spend themselves and their resources to secure that which they believe is most important. When you look at your life, does the evidence of your "spending" (spending yourself) weigh heavier toward those things that money cannot buy or those things that moth and rust destroy and thieves steal?

Am I saying that having possessions is wrong? Of course not, unless they have your heart, unless they are your goal, unless they are your focus and you are neglecting the things that are truly valuable. Many Christians are living their lives centered around accumulating more and more material possessions. Remember that these things are going to pass away and will have no eternal riches attached to them. So stay focused on laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

Have a great day. What you spend your life on is a clear indication of what you believe is most important.

For further reading:
Matthew 6:21,33
Proverbs 23:5
Luke 18:22
Philippians 3:8,13,14

Friday, April 16, 2010


"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9

Yesterday we planted a small garden. Even though it is small in size, it was still hard work. There are many steps to planting a garden- breaking up the ground, removing the grass, making the rows, planting, fertilizing, covering the seeds, watering. Each step is important and can't be neglected.

Our lives are like a garden, we are always "planting" something in them. There is one thing to note about planting- when you plant, you will reap. Do you ever feel as though you aren't reaping good things? There are three reasons for this that I want to discuss.

1) What are you planting? Perhaps you aren't planting something good. You reap what you sow. You can't plant lemons and expect to get apples. "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Galatians 6:8)

2) Are you getting tired of planting? After breaking up the ground in the garden and de-grassing it, we could have quit and not gone any further because we were tired. But just because the ground was prepared if we didn't plant seeds nothing will grow. This is what our scripture is referring to- don't get weary, give up or stop in the planting process. You have to continue until you have planted something.

3) Impatience. Sometimes we just don't wait long enough for our planting to produce. My garden is finished but I can't go out there this morning and expect to pick beans. There is a time element involved- some things that we plant in and through our lives don't produce overnight. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." (Hebrews 10:36)

There are no short cuts to sowing if you expect to reap. Each step is all part of it, and each step is important. So don't give up, don't get weary in the planting process you will reap in due season if you don't quit.

Have a great day. Keep planting and keep waiting.

For further reading:
Matthew 7:17,18
Hosea 10:12
Psalm 126:5
Proverbs 22:8
2 Corinthians 9:6
Galatians 6:7-9

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"It Won't Disappear"

"And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid." 1 Samuel 17:24

There is an adage that says, "Face your fear and it will disappear". You can take that two ways- face it in the sense of "look at it", or in the sense of "stand up to it". Most people tend to face it in the sense of just "looking at it". They know it's there, they recognize it, but that is all they do- just sit back and look at it- they never make a step to do anything about it.

Just recognizing that it is there, just acknowledging the fact that it exist does not bring deliverance and freedom from it. Just ask the Israelite army. They faced Goliath everyday, morning and evening, for forty days but he didn't disappear. These soldiers even talked about Goliath (their object of fear and intimidation). "And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up?" (1 Samuel 17:25a) But that was all they did- talk about their problem while looking at it.

Recognizing it and even talking about it isn't enough to make it "disappear". Goliath didn't "disappear" (he wasn't destroyed) until he was confronted. David ran out and confronted that object of fear and intimidation. When he did, Goliath was defeated. Until we do something about it it won't go away, it will stay there taunting you, intimidating you, accusing you, condemning you. It is only when you confront and stand up to it that it will be defeated.

Don't just stand on the sidelines looking at the object of fear, don't shrink back from it, don't let it send you into hiding, don't listen to and believe its threats, go out and confront it and when you do God will give you the victory over it. Actually, you already have victory over it through Jesus' victory at the cross. "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:15)
Have a great day. Just recognizing your fear will not make it disappear, you have to confront it and stand up against it. When you do, victory is assured.

For further reading:
John 16:33
Zechariah 4:6
2 Timothy 1:7
Luke 10:19

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Destroyed World"

"And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." Genesis 7:23

(Bear with me this morning as I take a little liberty. I know that the flood/storm that Noah went through was the judgment of God- but I want to make a point that will hopefully help someone today.) When the flood, or storm, came in Noah's life, it literally destroyed his world. It destroyed all he had worked for to accumulate- his home, his properties, his assets, etc . It destroyed everything that he had grown up with- familiar surroundings were gone. It took away relationships. It transitioned him from one place to another. As I said, it destroyed everything (with the exception of his wife and children).

There are storms that many have faced, or are facing now, that are literally destroying their whole world. Some are going through marriage storms, some are going through financial storms, some are going through storms that are attacking their bodies with disease, some are facing storms so devastating that it is changing their whole life to such a degree where nothing is familiar any more. Some are facing storms that are "blowing away" everything they have worked so hard to accumulate. Perhaps you are that person this morning. Perhaps you feel as if your world is gone- nothing left.

Let me give you a word of hope and consolation. Even though Noah was going through a storm/flood unlike anything ever experienced before, he did not go through it alone. God was there with him. God was there leading him and guiding him the whole time. God sustained him and kept him through it. God instructed him and continued to speak to him. So take heart, God has not left you in the storm. He didn't abandon Noah, He has not abandoned you in your time of need either- if He had you never would have made it this far. Noah wasn't destroyed because God was protecting him while the rain was falling and the flood waters rising. He will do no less for you. He will protect you as well. It doesn't always mean He will protect your possessions, your position, your accumulations, but He will protect you and be with you through the storm.

Have a great day. Some storms seem to destroy our whole world, but even in the most devastating storm you are not alone- the Lord is still with you.

For further reading:
Genesis 7
Genesis 8:1
Hebrews 13:5

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Repentance Requires Action"

"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee." Luke 15:18

The first message that Jesus preached was that of repentance. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17) Repentance is not passive, it requires that something be done- even the word itself is a verb that means to "change your mind, which involves turning with contrition from sin to God".

In the story of the prodigal son we see a picture of a repentant young man- we also see a prime example that action accompanies repentance. Repentance in this young man's heart did not start when he got home. It did not start when the father embraced him. It started in the pig pen when he said, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee." At that moment not only was there contrition of heart, but a turning away from sin. He got up out of the pig pen (symbolic of the life of sin) and started in the direction of home.

Repentance isn't just a confession of sin and then continue going in the same direction- it always requires that you go in the opposite direction from the sin you just confessed. "Go, and sin no more." (John 8:11) What is in the opposite direction of sin? God. To sum up what I have already said- repentance means that we turn our backs on sin and our faces toward God and start heading in that direction. That is exactly what the prodigal son did- he left the pig pen behind.

Where are you today? In confession or repentance over your sin? Confession only (acknowledging that it is there) does not get you out of the "pig pen." Repentance on the other hand causes you to arise, get up out of it and head toward the Father.

Have a great day. If it's true repentance it will be accompanied by action.

For further reading:
Luke 15:11-22; 8:36-39
Acts 14:15; 26:20
Ezekiel 18:30

Monday, April 12, 2010

"True Diagnosis"

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

I had the same doctor for most of my life. I noticed something about the way he would diagnose your problem. If the illness was something obvious he would go ahead and begin to treat it. If it was something that wasn't so obvious, he would do what I call the "process of elimination". When you would go to see him with your ailments, he might have an idea about what your problem was but instead of treating what he suspected he would send you for tests after tests eliminating anything else it might be. Nine out of ten times his first suspicion was right.

Many Christians are like that when it comes to dealing with issues, or besetting sin, in their lives. They seem to go "all around the world" before they get to the real problem. They go through a process of "elimination". They start dealing with everything but the real problem. For example, they may know they have an unforgiveness problem but instead of going ahead and dealing with it, they ignore it and work on other areas. In most cases it's because they don't want to have to deal with it, they don't want to have to face it, they don't want to have to make the choice to repent and let go of it.

The whole time my doctor was sending me to have all those tests, while days were turning into weeks waiting for the results, I was still hurting, I was still suffering with the problem. Until we are willing to deal with the real issue we will continue to suffer with the problem too. And this "problem" will begin to effect others areas in our lives. If left untreated it will begin to pull you down spiritually and weaken you. My doctor ignored the real problem while eliminating anything else it might have been but that didn't make the real problem go away, it was still there. Just because you are ignoring it, it won't make it go away either.

If you know what the problem is, if you know the nature of the besetting sin, if you know the area that you need to deal with, if you have been ignoring it, it is time to stop. It is time to deal with it- it is time to "treat" it by acknowledging it and then repenting of it.

Have a great day. Don't go all the way around the real issue, deal with it.

For further reading:
1 John 1:9
John 4:16-18
Luke 18:18-24

Friday, April 9, 2010

"The Load"

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." Psalm 68:19

As I looked up this word for load, I discovered that it had a two-fold meaning: to load (to lay a load on); to carry a load. What a wonderful description of what the Lord does for us. He loads us down each day with wonderful benefits- salvation, peace, rest, joy, spiritual gifts, good things, His presence, grace, mercy, wisdom, etc. But He also will carry our load.

How many of you know that some days the "load" gets heavy to bear? Especially if it is a burden that you have carried for a while. After a while it seems to zap your strength and you just don't know how you can manage it one day longer. Remember when Jesus was carrying His cross up Golgotha's hill? He stumbled and fell under its weight. As he did, Simon the Cyrenian was commanded to carry the cross for him for a while. Jesus was carrying the weight of God's will on the cross and it got heavy.

Perhaps the will of God for your life seems heavy, almost unbearable at times. Perhaps the trial you are going through has you "falling" under its weight. Perhaps it is a situation that you just can't seem to let go of and you carry it with you day after day. I have good news for you, there is someone who will carry your load if you will let Him. He has even given you an invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:18,19)

Stop struggling under the load this morning. Stop trying to carry it by yourself. Release your load/burden to the Lord and let Him carry it. In exchange He will then load you with peace and rest.

Have a great day. Are you struggling under a load? He wants to carry your load for you and in return load you with His wonderful benefits.

For further reading:
Luke 23:26
Matthew 6:11
Psalm 84:11
1 Peter 5:7

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"The Will Of God"

"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39

Not only do we see Jesus submitting to the will of the Father, but we see through His submission what the will of the Father is. From the moment that Jesus arose from this prayer until His resurrection everything that He endured, everything He encountered, everything He went through, everything that was accomplished was the will of the Father at work.

What was the Father's will? The will of God was two-fold. First, His will was that none should perish, that all should have eternal life, that we be saved, that we be healed, redeemed and reconciled back to the Father. Second, His will was that Jesus would have to drink a cup in order for that to happen- a cup of rejection, sorrow, pain, beating and crucifixion. When He submitted to the will of God, He submitted to both. The will of God was one of joy and suffering. "...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame..." (Hebrews 12:2)

The things that Jesus suffered were all part of the will of the Father. The things that were accomplished through what He went through was also the will of the Father. It was the will of the Father that Jesus was pierced and hung on a cross to die, because it was the will of God that we have everlasting life- the cross provided the way. It was the will of the Father that Jesus be beaten with stripes because it was the will of the Father that we be healed-- "by His stripes we are healed". (Isaiah 53:5)

The will of God- your salvation and healing carried a high price. Jesus paid that price at the cross. Are you enjoying what He paid for? Have you received the gift of eternal life? Have you received healing in your body? It was all accomplished and provided when Jesus submitted to the will of the Father to do what it took so that you could have it.

Have a great day. God's will is that you be saved and healed and Jesus submitted to His will of suffering so that you can enjoy both.

For further reading:
1 Peter 2:24
2 Peter 3:9
Isaiah 53
1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Taking For Granted"

"Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 7:13

Spring is such a beautiful time. Everything is so fresh and colorful. I remember thinking a few years ago that I wish it were spring time all year round. Upon that thought I felt like the Lord spoke to me and said, "If it was spring time all year long you would take the beauty of it for granted". How true. After a while we would grow tired of it and take it for granted because it would become commonplace.

Human nature is like that. We tend to take things and people for granted after a while. Especially after the "newness" wears off. We think that that thing or person is always going to be there, and we expect it. If we aren't careful we can take the Lord for granted too and we can begin to get lax and lazy in our relationship with Him. If we don't guard against it we can develop a mind set that thinks that we can go day after day without communicating with Him, allow other things to take precedence above Him and allow other things to choke out our time in fellowship with Him because He has promised to never leave us.

Just because He promises to be with me, doesn't mean that I can take Him for granted and then when I am in trouble cry out and expect Him to come running to my rescue. He also said, "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you". He may not come right away, at least not until you repent for taking Him for granted. The Israelites learned this the hard way when they had neglected the Lord and then presumed that all they had to do was take the ark (the represented presence of God) into the battle and they would be assured victory. Well, they didn't win, they lost and the ark was taken captive.

The point is: you cannot take God for granted and then think that He is just going to "drop everything" and "bail you out" when you get in trouble. He is a God to be revered and feared. He is a God that requires, desires and should have first place in your life... all the time. Not just in times of trouble, not just on Sundays, not just when you can "squeeze" Him in.

If that is you this morning, if you have been taking God for granted and think you can neglect your relationship/communication with Him and that He is going to come to your rescue the moment you call, think again, there is no guarantee that He will. But if you will call out in repentance over your neglect of Him and for taking Him for granted, you can rest assured that He will answer that- He always comes and answers the prayer of repentance.

Have a great day. If you are taking your relationship with God for granted... repent and give Him first place.

For further reading:
James 4:8
1 Samuel 4
Matthew 6:33

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Faithful And Trustworthy"

"Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things." 1 Timothy 3:11

In context this verse is talking about the character of a deacon's wife. But as I read the verse, there is no doubt that it applies to us all. I mostly want to focus on the last characteristic listed-- "faithful in all things". In some versions this is translated, "trustworthy" in everything. It is interesting when you look at this portion of the verse in a concordance, the word for "faithful" is also translated: trustworthy and believer. In short, believers in Christ should be faithful/trustworthy.

When the Bible talks about being faithful and trustworthy, it is in reference to both God and man. Where man is concerned there are certain characteristics of faithfulness that we should exhibit. We should be people who keep our word. We should be reliable. We should not be double minded- people should know where we stand. We should be people that can be trusted- trusted to keep a confidence, trusted to pray for the need, trusted and faithful with business transactions, personal relationships, etc.

Where God is concerned, this interprets into believing God's word and trust in His promises. It also means that we should be faithfully carrying out His instructions, obedient to the Holy Spirit, doing the task that He has called us to without wavering, without hesitation, without complaining. The Lord, as well as people, should find us trustworthy. He should be able to trust us to believe what He says and do what He says. If we are found faithful over even the few things assigned to us, He will trust us with bigger and more responsibilities.

We can be found faithful and trustworthy before God and man as we look to the Holy Spirit to help us follow the example that Jesus left for us. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house." (Hebrews 3:1,2)

Have a great day. Believers in Christ should be faithful and trustworthy before God and man.

For further reading:
Proverbs 28:20
Matthew 25:21
Luke 16:10-12
1 Corinthians 4:2
1 Timothy 1:12

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Who Centered?"

"And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5:15

Yesterday we were discussing one of the reasons we see so much turmoil in our world is because of selfishness. People want what they want, when they want it, regardless of how it effects anyone else. People lie, steal, cheat, abuse and mistreat others in order to have their own way. Children rebel because they want their way. Divorce happens, in most cases, because of selfishness- their spouse isn't giving them what they want, isn't meeting their expectations, isn't allowing them the freedom to do their own thing, they are tired of being married or they want to have someone else. Lawlessness is on the rise because of people's wants. We hear about murders on the news that have happened because the perpetrator wasn't getting their way- someone took their seat, someone wouldn't let them dominate them, etc. Government leaders do the same thing. They pass laws that they want. I think you're getting the picture.

I brought this up because sadly many Christians are guilty of the same thing. By nature, our fallen nature, we are selfish and self-centered at heart. Our flesh wants its way about everything. But when we come to Christ we become a new man, old things passed away. It is now Christ's nature that is alive in us- which is not selfish but selfless.

We are no longer to follow after our own selfish desires but we are to follow Jesus and His example. He don't live to ourselves- to what we want, to what we desire, to what makes us happy. We live now to follow Him, to make Him happy, to seek to do those things that please Him. We are to live a God-centered instead of a self-centered life.

How do we do that? By realizing that we don't belong to ourselves, therefore, we should be living to please the One we do belong to. Also, we have to remember that it is a daily battle with our flesh that we have to engage in in order to keep from being self-centered, wanting our own way. Paul said that he did battle with his flesh to keep it from ruling him. The Bible also tells us to crucify our flesh- our selfish desires- and put them to death before they have a chance to lead us into selfish acts.

The bottom line is that it is not about ME- what I want, what I desire, having my own way. It's about what Christ wants, what He desires, how I can serve Him, what I must do to give Him what He wants.

Have a great day. Are you living a self-centered life, or a Christ-centered life?

For further reading:
Galatians 2:20
1 Corinthians 9:27
2 Corinthians 5:17
Colossians 3:5,6
Romans 8:10-13

Friday, April 2, 2010

"As He Said"

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." Matthew 28:6

"As He Said". Have you ever thought about the fact that our whole Christian belief, our whole walk with the Lord, all our trust, confidence and hope in God is based on "Word" only? It is not something that we see with our natural eyes, but it was a word that was spoken and we put our faith in the validity and truthfulness of that word.

We received salvation because we believed the word that was preached to us. We receive strength in hard times and trials through a word. Our eternal life is based on the word of God. Faith is produced in us through words- God's words.

How can we put our trust and confidence in words only? Where is the proof? Where is something tangible that we can hold in our hands, like Thomas who put his fingers in the nail holes in Jesus' hands? It's because our faith is not just in "any" words, not just in any "man's" word. It is in God's word. Resurrection Day is a glorious time. It reminds us of God's love for us because He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins. It reminds us that our salvation has been paid in full and the price that it cost for our freedom from sin. It reminds us that we have been raised to new life through Christ. It reminds us of the great power that God has and has given to us over sin. But it also reminds us of the faithfulness of God's word.

Jesus rose from the dead just as He had said He would. This is why we can put our trust and hang our eternal security on "just words". It's because the words that were spoken, the words that made the promises, the words that give us hope are the words of the One who has always faithfully kept His word. When He says something, you can "bank on it" and put your whole trust and confidence in what He says because He is faithful as promised.

Have a great day. The Lord has proven His faithfulness to do what He says He will do time and time again. The empty tomb is a reminder that He does what He says He will do.

For further reading:
Numbers 23:19
Hebrews 11;11
1 Kings 8:56
1 Corinthians 1:21
John 20:29; 8:30
Romans 10:17

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Survival Mode"

"And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days." 1 Samuel 17:16

Everyday for forty days, morning and evening each day, Goliath the giant came out before the Israelite army and made his threats. Can you imagine facing this scene day in and day out? I can because it seems as though this is the same thing the devil is doing to the saints today. He is trying to weary us and wear us out with his continual taunts and threats. It seems as though his attacks have increased and intensified, but it stands to reason because the return of the Lord is drawing near and he knows he has but a short time.

Morning and evening without letting up, Goliath would make his accusations, his intimidations, his condemnations, his threatens and cause the army to be confused, fearful and discouraged. We Christians are suppose to be an army of believers but we are doing the same thing that the Israelite army did. We are listening to the words of the enemy and letting it cause us to stop advancing forward but instead hide in retreat.

The Bible says that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. That means that the army of heaven (Christians) is advancing, not standing still. For too long we have been in "survival mode" (just barely making it, just trying to maintain what we have and not lose anything else). We have to "change gears" and get into battle mode. Is there not a cause?

Though Goliath looked and sounded intimidating, he was brought down and destroyed by a young shepherd boy with a sling shot and a stone. The enemy may seem fierce, he may talk a big talk, he might look bigger and more powerful than you, but he's been brought down and his works have been destroyed by Jesus. That means that all he is is idle and meaningless threats. So why are we listening to him? Why are we being fearful and intimidated? Why are we in hiding? Why are we not advancing and going forth? Jesus defeated the enemy and then gave us power and authority over anything he would use to try to defeat us or stop us with from bringing God's kingdom to the earth.

Have a great day. Our enemy has been defeated, so get out of survival mode and start advancing to reach this world for Jesus.

For further reading:
1 Samuel 17:29, 40-51
Matthew 10:7; 6:10; 11:12
Revelation 12:12
2 Timothy 2:4
1 John 3:8
Colossians 2:14
Luke 10:19