Friday, May 28, 2010

"Following To The Cross"

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24

When Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, they each left something behind in order to do so. Peter left his fishing nets, James and John left their father, Matthew left his position as tax collector. They followed Him for three years. They followed the miracles. They followed His teachings. They followed with the crowds. They followed Him into the cities, by the seashore and through the desert. But when they got to the cross- to the place of crucifixion- they didn't follow Him. Instead they turned and fled. "And they all forsook him, and fled." (Mark 14:50)
Jesus whole life on earth was headed in one direction- to the cross. He was on a journey from the manger to Calvary. When He invited the disciples to follow Him, He knew He was going to the the cross and as long as they followed Him they would wind up there too.

Many nowadays are like the disciples- they follow Jesus' miracles. They follow His blessings. They follow Him for what He can do for them and give them. But like those original disciples, they too stop following at the cross.

Most Christians, like the disciples, don't realize that Jesus is leading them "to the cross" and the place of crucifixion- although He told us that when we chose to follow Him. "Take up your cross." There is only one thing that you can do with a cross once it is taken up if you are truly following Jesus- die on it!

This death on the "cross" doesn't necessarily mean literally- as in the death of a martyr, although it might. But the cross is a place of crucifixion of self. It is the place where flesh dies. Every one who is following in the steps of Jesus is heading in the same direction He was headed. Every follower of Jesus is being led to the place of the cross in his or her own individual life. The goal He has planned for us is the cross- not so that we can be the Savior of the world as He was. But so that our flesh can die and His life can be manifested through us. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Have a great day. Many follow Jesus' miracles and blessings, but they stop following at the cross. How far and to where will you follow Him?

For further reading:
Matthew 4:19-21; 9:9; 10:38
John 18:37
2 Corinthians 4:10,11

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"The Will Of God"

"And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison." Genesis 39:20

When we think about being in God's will, we usually think about being some place "good". We think that being in God's will means we are in a place of prosperity, acclaim, ministry, position, etc. When we look at the life of Joseph, most think that the place of God's will for him was the palace in Egypt. It was. The palace was the place where God was taking Joseph so that he could fulfill his destiny as the deliverer and protector of God's people. But the palace was not the only place of God's will in Joseph's life.

When Joseph was in Potiphar's house, he was in God's will. When he was in the prison, he was in God's will. I am sure that Joseph never thought that he was in the middle of God's will while he was sitting in prison. That isn't what our idea of God's will is. We define God's will, like we said, as always meaning something good. The prison and slavery to Potiphar was not "good".

God's will doesn't always mean warm, sunny days. It doesn't always mean we will have abundance. It doesn't always mean being in places that are like heaven on earth. It often means suffering, pain, affliction, periods of darkness, conflicts, valleys, deserts and uncomfortable places. When Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, He was right in the middle of God's will- it was the Spirit of God who led Him there. When He hung on the cross, He certainly was in the will of God. When David faced Goliath on the battlefield, he was in the will of God. When Joshua marched around Jericho, he was in the will of God. When Moses had to climb the mountain, that was also the will of God. When Paul sat in prison, he was in the will of God.

The will of God is not always the "palace places" like we think. You may being going through a difficult time right now. You may be struggling to get out of it. You may be "rebuking the darkness" but nothing is happening- it isn't changing. Sometimes the difficulties we face are an attack of the enemy. But not always. Sometimes the fire is God' will- so that we might be refined and purified. Sometimes the chastening rod is God's will- so that we might experience His loving correction. Sometimes the battle is God's will- so that we might become strong and courageous. Sometimes the solitude is God's will- so that we might learn His voice. Sometimes the affliction is God's will- so that we might learn to praise Him. Sometimes the trial is God's will- so that our faith will grow and we will learn to trust Him. Sometimes the valley is God's will- so that we might learn how to rest in Him.

Have a great day. The will of God is not always the "palace place" like we think it is, it might be just the opposite.

For further reading:
Psalm 119:71
Psalm 23
Hebrews 11:36-39; 12:5-7; 5:8
Matthew 4:1; 26:39

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Ask For Directions"

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:6

Have you ever been driving and realized that you were lost? Getting lost is something that isn't too difficult to do. It happens when we aren't familiar with the area. It happens when we don't pay attention to the directions, when we lose the map, when the GPS isn't working or we are involved in something else not paying attention and miss our turn. As I said getting lost isn't always difficult, but finding our way on the right path can be-- especially if we aren't willing to ask for directions.

Have you ever been riding with someone and discovered that you were lost but they would not stop and ask for directions? Men seem to be the brunt of a joke about not stopping to ask for directions. (Most husbands would rather stay lost then admit that they are lost and have to stop to ask someone for directions.)

I have a feeling that all of us have this same attitude when it comes to asking God for directions. We sometimes get "lost". We don't know which direction to go. We don't know the right decision to make. We seem to be at a loss about what to do next or how to handle certain situations that have risen up in our lives. Often we neglect going to God because we think we can handle it, we know what to do, we can find our way and know how to make the best decision. Some continue going in the wrong direction a whole life time because they think that eventually if they just keep on "driving" they will wind up where they are suppose to be. So often we wait to go to God for guidance and direction as a last resort after we have taken the wrong turn too many times. Or we finally go to Him for directions after we have become frustrated and confused and don't know "where we are".

When you get lost traveling, you can waste a lot of time going in the wrong direction if you don't stop and ask for directions. You can also wind up miles away from your intended destination. If we don't have good, clear directions from the Lord we can do the same- waste lots of time (instead of redeeming it) and we can find ourselves so far away from His intended purpose for us.

Have a great day. Whatever stops you or hinders you from asking God for directions, put it aside. Without His direction you will can get lost and stay lost.

For further reading:
Matthew 7:7,8
Isaiah 55:6
Ephesians 5:16,17
Jeremiah 10:23
Psalm 78:14

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Get Dressed"

"And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." Genesis 3:10

I am up a little earlier this morning because I have to leave the house earlier than usual. Therefore, I have to give myself extra time to get dressed. When I say I have to get "dressed", I am not just talking about dressing my physical man, I am also talking about dressing my spiritual man as well. I would not leave my house this morning, or any other morning, without putting on some clothes. I would not go out in public naked. Yet so many Christians are walking around naked each day not having taken the time to "get dressed" spiritually.

They stay in bed until the very last minute and give themselves just enough time to slip on their clothes, perhaps drink a cup of coffee and then it is out the door they go. Don't they realize they are "naked" because they have not taken the time to dress themselves spiritually. They have not taken the time to put on the full armor of God. They aren't dressed with the garment of praise because they didn't take the time to do so. They haven't clothed themselves with God's word. They haven't dressed themselves through prayer or by coming into God's presence.

Why is it that we think getting our bodies dressed is the only thing that matters before we go out into the world- to our jobs, to school, to take care of business, to perform daily activities? Why isn't it as important to us to get our spirit man dressed so that we are prepared for what may come our way? Why do we think that it is all right to stand "naked" before our adversary allowing him to see our weaknesses or vulnerable areas because they have not been "covered up"? No wonder we have no defense when the enemy comes against. He has no problem finding a target area to attack us in- we are naked, he can "see it all".

Does that describe you this morning? You jump up out of bed, put on your clothes, then it's out the door? Not only can the enemy see you are "naked", but everyone else can tell you are too. They can tell because you don't have joy to share with them, you don't have a word of encouragement at the right time, your light isn't as bright and you don't seem to have any "saltiness". Getting "dressed" not only covers us so the enemy can't find an easy target, but it also prepares us to do the work we need to do that day because it takes away that uncomfortable, uneasy feeling you have when you are setting there naked.

You wouldn't dream of going to work naked. Yet you will go to work "spiritually naked" because you didn't think taking the time to get dressed spiritually was important.

Have a great day. Have you gotten dressed today- spiritually as well as physically?

For further reading:
Isaiah 61:3
Ephesians 6:11-13
Matthew 5:13,14
Genesis 3:7-10

Monday, May 24, 2010


"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." Daniel 1:8

In this verse it says that Daniel purposed in his heart not to do something. What did Daniel purpose "not" to do? He purposed not to "defile himself". What did he consider to be an act that would defile him? Daniel's life was governed by the laws of God. God's laws included dietary laws- there were certain foods they were allowed to eat and others that they were commanded not to eat.

In the king's palace Daniel was presented with a meal that according to the law of God he wasn't allowed to eat. This was why Daniel did not want to defile himself. You may wonder why it was such a big issue to Daniel. It was just a plate of food. He wasn't asked to blaspheme the Lord. He wasn't asked to make a sacrifice to an idol. He wasn't asked to denounce the Lord God and worship a false god. He wasn't asked to do something which we consider "big"; it was a "small" thing. How could eating a little meat and drinking a cup of wine be considered "defiling himself"?

True, eating this certain food may not have been considered as big an offense like blaspheme, etc., but it was still in disobedience to the commands and laws of God. Daniel knew that all disobedience was sin and sin would defile you- even sins that seemed small and insignificant.

It may seem "silly" to us that Daniel made such a big deal out of a plate of food, but he knew that if he ate that plate of food he would be disobeying God. He knew that by eating, his disobedience would be sin. He knew sin will always defile you- it will always leave a "stain". The issue for Daniel was not the food, the issue was his obedience to God. Therefore, he took God's laws and commandments serious-- even the ones that might be considered "small" issues.

How do you see God's commandments? Do you categorize them-- big and small; significant and insignificant; important and not important? Do you pick and choose which ones you think won't matter if you break them and which ones will? All of God's laws are important and He expects you to obey all of them, regardless of how you might classify them. (There are no big sins and little sins- they will all "defile" you.)

Have a great day. Keeping God's commandments is a big deal and we need to take keeping ALL of them more seriously.

For further reading:
Daniel 1:8-17
Matthew 25:21
Deuteronomy 11:32; 28:58
Joshua 1:7,8

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Whose Words Of Approval?"

"There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat." Matthew 26:7

One day when Jesus was eating at the house of Simon the leper, a woman with an alabaster box came and poured the expensive ointment that was in the box upon His head. When she did, the whole house began to talk. The Pharisees began to point out this woman's reputation. The disciples began to criticize her act calling it a waste. But she continued anyway. She didn't let what they said about her, their opinions, their accusations stop her from pouring her "worship/love" out on Jesus.

When you demonstrate your worship to the Lord, when you make sacrifices for Him, when you are unreserved in your devotion to Him, when you are giving Him your all, when you have made Him Lord of your life, there will always be someone who will make it their business to "talk about you" and try to stop you from doing so. They will criticize you. They will condemn you. They will accuse you of being fanatical, too spiritual and thinking you are holier. They will tell you that you don't have to do all that- it's not necessary. And it won't be just the people who are sinners out in the world- it will be the church people too.

That day in the house were the Pharisees and the disciples, and as we said, they both had something critical to say about this woman's actions. I can understand the Pharisee's criticism but I can't the disciples. The Pharisees just talked about her reputation and criticized Jesus for allowing this woman to touch Him. The disciples, on the other hand, criticized her act of love and worship toward Jesus. They had been with Jesus for three years. They had seen His miracles. They knew He was the Son of God. They heard His teachings. They recognized His Lordship. But they thought she had wasted something valuable on Him. They, of all people, should have known that you can't get anymore valuable than Jesus. And what we do for Him is never a waste.

The point I am trying to get to and want to leave you with is this: people, in and out of the church, will always talk about your service, devotion and love of Jesus. But don't let what they say stop you. What they say is not what really matters. What matters is what Jesus says. If He accepts it, that is all that matters. If He is pleased by it, that's all that counts. It is His approval that we are after. Those in the room that day didn't approve of what was going on, but Jesus did. So as far as this woman was concerned that was all that mattered. As long as Jesus was pleased, she didn't care whether others were or not.

Have a great day. Someone will always criticize your worship and love of Jesus, but as long as He is pleased with it that is all that matters.

For further reading:
Matthew 26:6-12
Mark 14:1-9
Luke 7:36-50

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Ask For Directions"

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:6

In the verse above the Lord said to "acknowledge Him in 'all' your ways". When God says "all" you have to wonder why some Christians don't understand that He really does mean "ALL". He didn't say acknowledge Him in some of your ways. Or in only the things you can't figure out. He didn't say in the small decisions only, or vice versa, just in the big ones. He didn't say to acknowledge Him as a last resort.

Some people will tell you that you don't have to acknowledge Him in everything or pray about everything. They'll tell you that "God gives you common sense". They'll tell you that you shouldn't bother God with everything. They will also tell you that the thing you are asking is trivial. They will say that you are just being "too spiritual".

I don't think it is being "too spiritual", I consider it doing exactly what God said to do in His word. I also don't think that we have the ability to make decisions- any decision- on our own. When we don't acknowledge Him but lean to our own understanding, aren't we saying that we are smarter than God? Are we? Can we see how the decision we make will affect us down the road? Can we see what the outcome will be because of what we decided to do? We may have been given "common sense" but common sense can't discern spiritual things. It can't discern whether God or a spirit is behind the thing that is presented to us.

When I drive through a new town, I am going through unfamiliar territory. I need to know how to navigate through it to reach my destination. So I look for road signs and markers. I look for the signs that point me in the right direction. How foolish would it be for me to decide that I can drive to a certain destination in a place I have never been before without enquiring of a map, road signs or a person to give me directions. I wouldn't make it to the right place. The problem wouldn't be because I am not a smart person or an educated person. It wouldn't be because I don't know how to drive, that I don't have common sense or that I can't read the signs. The problem would be because it is impossible for me to do it without help. We have to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways for the same reason. It is impossible for us to know what to do without His help. If we could we wouldn't need God... and, boy, do we need Him.

Have a great day. We have to acknowledge the Lord in ALL our ways if we are going to make the right decision.

For further reading:
Proverbs 3:5,6; 14:12; 16:3
Jeremiah 10:23
1 John 4:1
1 Corinthians 2:14

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"Ye shall know them by their fruits." Matthew 7:16a

I was talking with a friend last night and they were sharing their concerns about a guy they work with. For a couple of weeks he did not have transportation to work so my friend was giving him a ride each day. The friend said that they had conversations about Jesus and talked about the Bible the whole time while traveling back and forth to work because this guy says he is a Christian. The area of concern is this- now that the guy has his own transportation again, he is spending his time with other guys at work who are not Christians (by their own profession). And my friend told me that this guy doesn't talk about the Bible any more, he doesn't mention Jesus, he joins in with whatever they are doing and acts just like them. There is no difference that is evident between him and these other guys.

There are a lot of people like this, and sadly many who call themselves Christians. They act one way at church and another way elsewhere. They get around other Christians and they talk a good talk, but when they get around the unsaved, their speech is just like theirs. They are one way in certain settings and another way in others. If they think it is to their profit they will act like whoever they are around. I call them "Chameleons".

A Chameleon is a lizard that has the ability to change its color in order to blend in with its surroundings. One time when you see it it might be brown, the next time it might be green- it depends on where you see it. Did you know that the dictionary attributes this word to people as well. It defines the person with this characteristic as: a changeable, fickle, or inconstant person. These people are talked about in the Bible also. James defines them as "double minded and unstable in all their ways". Jesus defines them as hypocrites.

How would you define your life? Are you who you say you are no matter where you are or who you are around? Do you change your "colors" when you are around people who don't share your beliefs? Do you act one way with certain groups and another way with others? Do you say one thing and do another? Do you say one thing but live another way? Are you consistent in your profession of the Lord all the time? Is your lifestyle consistent wherever you are or who you are with?

Have a great day. Are you like a Chameleon blending in with your surroundings and acting like whoever you are around?

For further reading:
James 1:8; 4:8
2 Corinthians 6:17
Mark 7:6
Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Look Out"

"The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory." Psalm 97:6

As I was praying about the word to share with you this morning, I heard the Lord say- "Look out". Look out the window, look out the door, look outside. What do you see? You see that God exist. The creation declares the existence of God. Nothing came into being without Him. It didn't make its own self. It wasn't some random accident. It was planned and thought of in the mind and heart of the Wonderful Creator.

"Look out". What do you see? You see the evidence that He is still here. God hasn't died. He hasn't abdicated His role as Sovereign of the universe. He hasn't left or vacated the premise. He hasn't turned it over to another to watch over creation.

"Look out". What do you see? You see His beauty revealed, His power manifested, His glory unveiled. Creation points to God and a revelation of who He is.

This morning, what do you see? Do you see dark clouds shrouding the horizon? Do you see storms raging? Do you see hopelessness and despair? Do you see overwhelming circumstances trying to consume you? If this is what you see then you need to "look out". Take a look outside. Take a really good look. Not at the things necessarily that are seen, but what aren't seen. God is real. He is still there. He is still in control. He is still all powerful. Don't lose sight this morning of who God is. Don't let the problems you are facing blind you from seeing God's love, care and presence with you. He is there... just "look out" and "look up".

Have a great day. Take a minute to look at creation and be reminded that the God who created the whole universe cares about you, and is more than able to take care of whatever it is that you are going through.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Thankful Or Not?"

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20

Are you a thankful person or a complaining person? Many seem to have a problem maintaining an attitude of thanksgiving when bad things come into their lives- that is understandable. Being a person of thanksgiving even when bad things are happening is something we often have to work at and allow God to grow us up in spiritually. But I am talking to the ones who aren't thankful even when they receive something good from God. God can send blessings their way but it doesn't seem to be good enough- they still grumble and complain.

The children of Israel lived in the wilderness for forty years. There were no grocery stores in the wilderness, they did not grow gardens, yet they did not go hungry even once. There was food provided for them each and every day. All they had to do was go out and gather it in the morning and cook it. You would have thought that they would have been thankful. God was providing their need and giving them a "good" thing. But what was their response to it? They murmured and complained. They wanted something else. The manna wasn't good enough. They wanted meat.

Again being a thankful person when things are going bad is one thing, but to be ungrateful when good things come your way is to be selfish and self-centered. It then is not about the thing that was supplied, but it becomes more about my wants instead of my needs. God promised to supply all your need. He didn't promise to supply your wants and whims. This is what causes a lack of gratitude- the need wasn't supplied in the way you wanted it.

Which person describes you this morning? The one who is grateful for any and all blessings the Lord sends your way? The person who is thankful for having his need met even though it didn't come "wrapped up" in the package you desired? Or the person who is ungrateful and can't be satisfied unless he gets exactly what he wants the way he wants it?

Have a great day. There are two kinds of people- thankful and unthankful- which one describes you?

For further reading:
Philippians 4:19
Numbers 11:1-6, 18-20,31
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, May 14, 2010

"One On One Encounter"

"And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment." Matthew 9:20

You all know the story of this woman with the issue of blood. She had the disease for twelve years. She went to doctor after doctor and could not be healed. She spent all her money seeking a cure and still found none. It wasn't until she had a personal, one on one, encounter with Jesus that she was healed and delivered from her disease.

There are some things that we need in our life that we just can't get from anywhere or anyone else except Jesus. We can't get it from the doctors, from relationships, our monies can't buy it, we can't find it in a recovery program, through self help seminars, through church membership, through counseling or through any other source of man. This woman put her hope in the medical field and they let her down. She put her confidence in her finances to provide a way, but they ran out. It wasn't until she got close to Jesus and had a personal encounter with Him that she received her healing, deliverance and her life back.

Whatever it is that you need this morning, stop looking to man or this world's resources to meet the need. There are some things that are impossible to receive anywhere else except through Jesus. Man can't give you peace; they can't deliver you; they can't heal you; they can't give you salvation or abundant life; they can't give you rest, joy or strength. Only Jesus can do this and He does it through a one on one, personal encounter with Him. So draw close and near to Him. Press into His presence and don't stop short until you have touched His "hem" and heard Him say, "Daughter/Son". That's the place where your need will be met.

Have a great day. Some things that we need can only be received through a one on one encounter with Jesus.

For further reading:
Matthew 9:20-22
Philippians 4:19
Mark 10:27
James 4:8

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"The Word Is There"

"Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." Matthew 26:34

We are always wanting "a word" from the Lord. We pray for a word, we seek out a word through others, we read the Bible hoping for a word. We want the Lord to talk to us and tell us what to do, give us direction and guidance, reassure us and comfort us. There is no lack of desire or want for a "personal" word. But when He does give us a word, what do we do with it? Do we ignore it? Do we disobey it? Do we turn a deaf ear to it? Or do we heed it?

Jesus gave Peter a word and Peter did two things with it. He protested it- "Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." (v.35) We may want a word from the Lord, but that doesn't mean that the word He gives us will always be the word we want to hear. When it isn't, do we protest against it as if the Lord "missed it"; as if He doesn't know what He's talking about; as if He doesn't understand the question. Or do we accept it and do whatever we need to do with it?

Secondly, Peter ignored the word. "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?" (vs.36,40) Had Peter not ignored, or forgotten about it, he would not have been sleeping, he would have been praying. Had he taken Jesus seriously, he would have spent the time praying that Jesus' words would not come true. He would have taken heed to His words and prayed for strength to stand, grace to not deny, power from on high to resist the temptation. He would have followed the example of Jesus and spent the time in prayer.

The Lord speaks to us more often than we realize, but what are we doing with what He is saying. Are we ignoring it? Are we believing what He says? Are we taking Him seriously? Are we acting upon His word? If not, why are we asking Him to say something else when we are not heeding what He does say?

Have a great day. When the Lord gives you a word, what are you doing with it?

For further reading:
Matthew 26: 31-41; 69-75; 11:15
James 1:22

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Faith And Sacrifice"

"And immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him." Matthew 4:22

Following Jesus is a walk of faith and sacrifice. Which means that you often have to leave that which gives you security and what you are most familiar and comfortable with and make Him your first love. When Jesus called His disciples- James and John- they left the boat. These men were fishermen by trade. The boat represented their livelihood. It represented their provision. Without the "boat" where would there next meal come from? Where would the finances come from to meet their physical needs? Not only did they leave their financial security but they left "their father". They left the relationship of a father who loved them, had cared for them all their lives and who had taught them about life in general, in order to follow a "stranger".

When we follow Jesus it doesn't mean that we are to leave our jobs, stop working, stop providing for our families, but sometimes it does mean that. It doesn't mean that we are to break off our relationships and have no more contact with your loved ones, although it might mean just that too. But what it does mean is that following Jesus is more important than anything else. Jesus said that if we love others more than Him then we are not worthy of Him. He also said that if we love the things of this life more than Him He does not have our heart.

We see a contrast between James and John's immediate response to Jesus' invitation to follow Him and the sacrifice that they made in order to do that, and those that Jesus spoke about who were given an invitation to a great supper but made excuses as to why they could not come. Out of the three excuse makers two wanted to take care of their possessions first (their security which comes through material things) and the other one was focused on a relationship with his new wife (that which is familiar and comfortable). In both cases they loved something else more than they loved Him.

Again, it's not always about the job or the relationship (let me make that clear before some get the wrong impression and quit their jobs or leave their spouse to "follow Jesus"). It's about understanding that following Jesus makes Him your place of security- it's a walk of faith. Following Jesus is also about getting out of our comfort zones and making Him the love of our life. It's about putting Him first in your life- after all, is it really considered following Him if He isn't.

Have a great day. Following Jesus means that we walk by faith and make sacrifices.

For further reading:
John 21:15-17
Matthew 6:20-22; 10:37,38
Luke 10:27; 14:17-20
1 Thessalonians 3:10

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

Recently I was talking with someone and they asked me to pray for them. They said that they were finding themselves short tempered, yelling at their daughter and being impatient with her. She wanted me to pray for her against this attack of the enemy. Then she confessed that she wasn't reading the Bible and wanted prayer for that also. When she told me that, it was easy to determine what was going on in her relationship with her daughter, and her life in general. What she was going through was not necessarily the enemy's attack but she was bringing this upon herself.

Not everything we go through has the devil's name on it. We often do and bring some things on ourselves (but that doesn't mean that he won't take advantage of the situation and move in on it). Let me explain what was going on with this person so that we can guard against it happening to us or if it is happening we know how to overcome it.

The problem and the solution was in the statement she made about not reading her Bible. If you aren't reading your Bible then chances are you aren't having time with the Lord in communion either. When we aren't communing with the Lord on a daily basis, there is an empty spot within us. An empty spot represents/means something is missing. That empty place longs for and desires to be filled. What fills it? Communion with the Lord- through prayer, Bible reading, praise, etc. When it is filled, we are satisfied. When it isn't filled, there is a "gnawing" inside of us that desires to have it but doesn't. That "gnawing" (emptiness) because something is missing and not getting what it wants or needs breeds frustration. Frustration always finds an outlet- it will come out in some form. And it often comes out in the form of temper, aggravation, bitterness, discontent and so on. "For of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." (Luke 6:45b) It's like a growling stomach in the natural. When my stomach is empty and I am hungry, it makes a growling noise that can be heard by others- and sometimes it does it rather loudly.

Often it is not an attack of the enemy, it is not a problem with some person, it is "us"- frustration is built up within us because of what is missing from our lives and because it is going to come out, we tend to take it out on others. I said earlier that this was the problem and the solution. People can pray for you, you can stand against the devil, but until you spend time communing with the Lord, that emptiness in your spirit is still going to be there. And as long as it's there, you are going to be "unsettled", "unsatisfied" and "frustrated" and you won't be able to contain it. That emptiness has to be filled. When it is, you will be satisfied and have peace and contentment. And then that is what is going to come out.

Have a great day. A lack of communion with the Lord leaves us dissatisfied. Being dissatisfied leads to emptiness. Emptiness breeds frustration. Frustration finds and outlet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Special Occasions"

"So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows." Psalm 61:8

Yesterday was Mother's Day. The restaurants were full because families took there mothers out to eat. The florists were busy delivering flowers to mothers. The sermons in churches were centered around the subject of motherhood. Gifts were given to show mom how much we love her and how special she is. Phone lines were busy with phone calls wishing mothers a good day. That was yesterday, but what about today? Now that the "holiday" is over mom won't get the same special treatment she got yesterday. She'll be neglected, taken for granted or in some cases forgotten. No phones calls, attention or gifts until the next special occasion. It's back to life as usual.

Why do we tend to do that with people- take them for granted until a special occasion arises? We do it with each other but I wonder if we don't do it with the Lord as well. After Sunday is He forgotten until it's time for church service again? Do we tend to neglect Him day in and day out until a situation arises that we need His help with? Do we only acknowledge Him on special occasions- Easter and Christmas? Do we neglect to tell Him how wonderful, special and worthy He is each and every day? Do we forget to give Him the praise and honor that He deserves not only when He "come through" for us by answering our prayer, but when we see no visible evidence of Him moving on our behalf as well?

Let's make it personal this morning. Do you treat the Lord like everyday is His "birthday"? Do you treat Him daily with love, respect and honor? Do you "call" Him up each morning and let Him know how thankful you are to Him for allowing you to see another day? Or do you take Him for granted until it is church time again? We might do it with others but we can't afford to treat the Lord like this. And if we are, we need to confess our neglect of Him, repent of it and start giving Him the glory and honor that He deserves each and every day.

Have a great day. We tend to honor people only on special occasions. Are we doing the same thing with the Lord- acknowledging Him only on Sundays?

For further reading:
Deuteronomy 8:18
Matthew 6:33
Psalm 59:16
1 Chronicles 9:26,27; 23:30
Ezekiel 46:13

Friday, May 7, 2010

"The Manual"

"Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not." Proverbs 8:33

Isn't it funny that we will follow the manufacturer's instructions when it comes to the care and operation of certain objects or appliances. For example, if you have a small electrical appliance and the instructions say- "Do Not Immerse"- you will be sure that when you are cleaning it you do not put it into water. If your flashlight calls for a particular size of battle you will purchase that size to use in it, not another size. It's that way with everything that we have which comes with instructions. We follow them and do what the manufacturer suggest. So my question is this, "Why is it, when it comes to the Bible, we don't do the same?"

The Bible is our "instruction manual" for life. It tells us what we should and should not do. It tells us how to receive eternal life. It tells us what the consequences will be if we refuse to follow its instructions. Yet, many people treat it with less regard than they do the owner's manual for an appliance. They ignore its teachings. They reject its warnings. They overlook its instructions. When you try to tell them what it says, they aren't interested and act as if you are making it up or that they can "violate" its warnings and still be safe. The instructions that came with my lawn mower warned me not to stick my hands or feet under it while it is running. Why? So that I don't lose a limb. Am I going to heed that warning? You better believe it. We obey these instructions because we want to stay safe and not risk injury. But we won't listen to God's warnings and continue living a lifestyle that leads to death.

God is the author of the Bible. He wrote it in order that you might know the truth about "life"-- how to have eternal life and abundant life, and how to "maintain" and "operate/live" it. When God's word says that the soul who sins will surely die, it means just that. It doesn't matter if society says a sinful practice is all right; it doesn't matter if our culture says it is not sin; it doesn't matter if it is politically correct; if the "manual/Bible" gives a warning concerning it, you heed what is in the manual regardless of what others may try to tell you.

As with anything, if you ignore the warnings and instructions and go against them you will reap the consequences. This is true also of God's warnings that are written in the Bible. Are you ignoring them? Or are you heeding them? If you ignore them, it can cause serious injury or death- spiritually speaking. If you heed them and follow them, you will enjoy eternal and abundant life.

Have a great day. If you'll heed what the manufacturer of an appliance says, why won't you heed what God says in His word?

For further reading:
Proverbs 2:1,2; 7:1,2; 4:13,14,20; 3:1
Ezekiel 18:20a
Psalm 50:16,17
1 Corinthians 6:9,10
Galatians 5:19-25

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Lay The Weight Aside"

"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

Not everything that weighs us down is something sinful, but it encumbers us nevertheless and hinders us from running the "race that is set before us.". "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us." It is so easy to get involved with so much busyness that our focus and attention is given to it instead of pursuing the things of God that tend to eternal life. We live in a world that is always vying for our attention, especially in our Western world-- there is no want for activity and there is no lack of entertainment that pulls us to itself.

Am I saying that activity and entertainment is wrong? Am I saying that we shouldn't be involved in anything? No, and, yes. Not everything that we get involved in is wrong. As the scripture told us- not everything that weighs us down is necessarily sin. But the yes of my answer is this- if it hinders you from not only running the race but staying in the race, then it is wrong. Is it worth losing the race over? Is it more important? Will you give it exchange for your soul? Is it more valuable than your relationship with your Savior Jesus?

If you have ever done any gardening- vegetable or flowers- you know that if you don't pull the weeds up but allow them to grow they will suck all the nutrients from the plants. I used to have a plant in my house that would occasionally make a very pretty bulb type of flower. I was told that the flower was not a flower at all, it was a sucker and I needed to remove it or it would stunt the growth of the plant. I was reluctant at first because it was so pretty, but for the benefit of the plant- if it was going to grow and thrive- I had to do it.

There comes a time when we all have to take inventory of our lives. We have to check and see what is necessary and what really isn't. We have to determine what is just "excess baggage" and what is essential. We have to decide whether it is aiding our spiritual growth or "sucking" the life out of it. Then we have to make the choice to either allow it to remain or "de-clutter" and remove it from our lives. What is weighing you down this morning? What is a hindrance to your walk with the Lord? What is slowing you down in the race? Is it really that important? Is it really worth it?

Have a great day. Just because it may not be "sin" doesn't mean that it still won't weigh you down and hinder you from running the race.

For further reading:
Matthew 16:26; 6:33
Luke 10:38-42; 21:34

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"He's Coming For His Sheep"

"And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." Matthew 25:32

Recently someone asked me about the beliefs of a particular denomination. They had heard that this denomination believes that they are the only ones who are going to heaven and if you are not part of their church you will not make it. I have noticed that there are several religious groups that believe this same way. They believe that they are the only ones who will be there or that Jesus is returning only for them. As our conversation progressed I told this person that when Jesus returns He isn't coming for a denomination. He isn't coming for the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Catholic, etc. He is coming for His sheep. (He is coming for His sheep regardless of what denomination that they are in.)

Jesus is the good Shepherd, and the Shepherd is coming for His sheep. He is coming for those who are following Him- like sheep follow their shepherd. (Please read on and understand what I am saying.) He isn't coming for the "religious". He isn't coming for "church goers". He isn't coming for the "church member". You can be all that- religious, church member, church worker, etc.- and still not be a follower of Jesus. The Pharisees were all that, but they didn't follow Jesus, they rejected Him and His teachings. Just because you sit in church doesn't mean that you are following Jesus any more than going to McDonald's makes you a Big Mac. Just "sitting" in church, just attending church services, just being part of a particular denomination is not what defines you as a follower of Christ. Repenting of your sins, being obedient to His commands, loving Him with all your heart, seeking to do His will and not your own, giving Him first place in your life, making Him the Lord of your life is what makes you are follower. It makes you one of His sheep.

Are you counting on your affiliation with a particular denomination to save you? Are you counting on your church attendance and adherence to that church to make you right with God? Are you putting your faith in your religion to get you to heaven? Or are you putting your faith in Jesus and living out your faith by following Him? Are you just going to church or following the Shepherd? Your denominational affiliation doesn't save you, faith in Christ does. And faith in Christ means you follow Him.

Have a great day. Are you a follower of the Good Shepherd or just a denomination?

For further reading:
John 10:11-15,27
Matthew 16:24
Ephesians 2:8,9
John 3:16

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

I was thinking about an old hymn this morning- "There is Room At The Cross". The chorus goes like this: "There's room at the cross for you. There's room at the cross for you. Tho millions have come. There's still room for one. Yes, there's room at the cross for you." As this song played over and over in my mind, I thought about making room for Jesus. This earth did not make room for Him at His first coming. There was no room for Him to be born in- He was born in a stable. There was no grave for Him to be buried in- He borrowed a tomb. Even now He still doesn't find room in the lives of multiplied millions of people. And sadly, even among His own children is room seldom made for Him in their daily activities.

But I have good news this morning. Even though we seem to find no, or little, room for Him, He has made room for us. He made room for us by coming to earth-- He took the time to reach down to dying humanity in order to give us the opportunity to receive eternal life. He made room at the cross for whoever would come to Him in repentance-- the space at the foot of the cross is not limited, there is always room for one more. He has also made room for us in His house-- He couldn't find a place here on earth, but He has made sure that we find a place in heaven. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

He is preparing a room/place in heaven. This place is for those who will give Him room in their lives here on earth in return. Is that you this morning? Are you giving Him room in your life? If so, how much room does He occupy? If you aren't, why not? Or do you give Him room when it is convenient or only when you need His help? When He comes desiring to spend time with you, does He often walk away having found no room- not even a "stable"? You are the desire of His heart so He has made room for you. If He is your desire, you will make room for Him.

Have a great day. He has made room for you, are you making room for Him?

For further reading:
Matthew 6:33
Psalm 31:8
John 14:1-3,23

Monday, May 3, 2010


"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." Matthew 19:21,22

When I went to the mailbox the other day, I discovered two of my newsletters had been returned to me. They were both from the same person. The reason that was printed on the envelope as to why they were returned was- "refused". They were refused by the recipient. In order to be on the mailing list you have to request to be added. So why would this person request to be added then later refuse them? (I have found out since, because I know this person personally, that this was a mistake and they do want to remain on the list.)

But this incident made me think about how we are with the Lord sometimes. We say we want Him in our lives. We make a decision for Him. We invite Him to be our Lord and Savior. We say we want Him to lead and direct our lives. We make the choice for Him, He doesn't force Himself on us, yet we often "refuse" Him. We "refuse" His leading when He is leading us in a way that we do not want to go. We "refuse" His instructions when there is a sacrifice on our parts that is involved. We "refuse" His words when He tells us something we don't want to hear. We "refuse" to obey when what He requires conflicts with what we want.

The rich young ruler was the one who came seeking Jesus out. He was the one who asked what he had to do to have eternal life. He was the one who wanted an answer, yet when he got it... he "refused" it. Do you have the same testimony as this young man? Is this where you are today? Have you received Jesus as Savior and Lord, yet you are "refusing" to listen to His commands and obey them? If this is the case, then you will wind up in the same state as this young man- sorrowful and away from Jesus. Jesus made Himself available to you. You received Him by asking Him into your life. So will you choose to follow Him or refuse to follow?

Have a great day. There is no way you can choose to follow Him then refuse to obey Him and think that you are still following Him.

For further reading:
Isaiah 1:19; 29:13
James 1:22
Matthew 16:24
John 12:26
Luke 9:57-62