Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Out Of The Pit"

"He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Psalm 40:2

My heart was burdened yesterday morning for a young woman that I have known since she was a child. She was brought up in church, she was taught the scriptures, she was given a godly example in her parents, she knows what it means to be a Christian and to follow Christ, yet she chose to go the opposite way. She chose to turn her back on Jesus and live life "her way".

When you make the choice to turn away from God, you bring a lot of grief upon yourself.. and she has. She has been in all kinds of trouble. She's now living in the same place where the prodigal son wound up. She is a beautiful young woman with so much to offer. I know she has a call upon her life but needs to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. Anyway, as I was praying for her, the Lord begin to show me that she is in a "pit". So I began to pray for her deliverance from the pit.

I felt impressed to share this with you this morning because you might have a loved one- perhaps a child, or spouse, family member or friend- who is in a "pit". It could be a pit of rebellion- against you or God. It might be a pit of addiction- drugs, alcohol, pornography, immorality, prostitution. It may be a pit bitterness, hate, unforgiveness. There are many "pits". But regardless of the pit, God is able to reach into it and pull them out!!! He is the rescuer from the pit. It doesn't matter if the pit is filled with water, mud or sewage, or if it is a dry pit. It doesn't matter if it is a pit of our own making or one that someone else or the enemy has dug for us. It doesn't matter how deep or shallow the pit may be. I love what Corrie Ten Boon said, "It doesn't matter how deep the pit is, God is deeper." Some people have dug a pretty "deep pit" for themselves but His hand is not too short that it cannot save- save them out of it.

If you know someone who is in a pit this morning, don't give up, don't stop praying for them, don't stop trusting God to bring them out-- He can. He has in the past- He brought Joseph out of a pit, He brought Jeremiah out of the pit, He brought Benaiah out of the pit and many others. If He did it in the past, He will still do it today- He is still the same.

Have a great day. It doesn't matter what kind of pit, who dug it, or how deep it is, God is still able to deliver from the pit.

For further reading:
Psalm 30:3
Isaiah 59:1
1 Chronicles 11:22
Jeremiah 38:6
Genesis 37:23-28

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Spirit Of Truth"

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:17

It used to be that a man's word was his bond. You used to could trust what you heard on the news as fact. You used to could put stock in what the leaders of our nation said. You use to could believe what people told you was the truth. I keep using the words "used to" because that's the way things "were". It doesn't seem like it is that way now. It is hard to believe what anyone says to you nowadays. It's sometimes hard to separate the real facts from popular opinion or human preference. We find this even happening in the church. We don't always hear the "pure gospel". Often, what we hear is a "watered down version"; man's own opinion or interpretation; misquoted and out of context scriptures; fad preaching full of "fluff"; or a mixture of humanistic philosophy and false reasoning. The words of Jesus and the precepts of the Bible have been completely twisted in order to appease the flesh and gain popularity. So who can you believe? How can you know what is the truth and what isn't? How do you know the difference?

Before Jesus was about to face the cross, He told His disciples that He was getting ready to leave and would not be with them any more. But He also said that He would not leave them here alone to try to make it on their own. He promised to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to them to take His place and walk along beside them. Jesus referred to the precious Holy Spirit as the "Spirit of Truth". One of His "jobs" would be to not only reveal truth to His disciples (us included), but to lead us into all truth.

Being the Spirit of Truth, He knows not only the truth but also the false- falsehoods, lies, deception and whatever is misleading. So while we can't always decipher and sort out what is true and what isn't, the Holy Spirit can. The Holy Spirit is our guide into truth-- the truth of the scriptures and principles of God's word and the interpretation of what it is saying to us. He is also the one who will reveal truth and error to us in all areas of life so that we know who and what to believe. He did this repeatedly throughout the scriptures- in the Old Testament and the New Testament. So if He did it then, He still does it now- He hasn't changed.

Not sure who or what to believe? Not sure what is right and what is wrong? Not sure what is the truth and what isn't? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of the matter to you. While you may not can trust everything that everyone says to you, you can without a doubt trust the Holy Spirit to tell you the truth- the whole truth and nothing but the truth- because He is the Spirit of Truth.

Have a great day. If you don't know what is the truth and what isn't, look to the Holy Spirit- the Spirit of Truth- He knows the difference.

Monday, June 28, 2010

"My Horses"

"All we like sheep have gone astray..." Isaiah 53:6a

The other day while my daughter and two year old granddaughter were here, a phone call came informing my daughter that their horses were out of the pasture and were roaming around. Naturally, my daughter had to leave immediately and go round them up and put them back in the pasture. She told my granddaughter that they needed to go, but my granddaughter didn't want to leave. Then my daughter told her that the horses were out and they had to go get them back in. (What happened next has left a lasting impression that I will never forget.) My granddaughter's whole attitude about leaving changed. As soon as she heard the words, "The horses are out and we have to go get them back in", she dropped everything she was doing and became so excited. She got to her mother as fast as she could, and in a way that only a two year old can, did some sort of "excitable" movements with her hands and feet, and began to say in a real concerned and high pitched voice, "My horses, my horses (calling them each by name)!!" She grabbed up her shoes and it was straight out the door she went to her vehicle.

I have not been able to get that scene off my mind. Through it the Lord impressed on me that if a two year old became so "excitable" about the fact that the horses were out of the pasture and she was willing, and without hesitation, to drop everything to get them back to a place of safety, why aren't we as concerned, or more so, about the souls that are not "safe". Why aren't we concerned and willing to do whatever we have to do to help them find their way to safety for their eternal soul's sake? Why doesn't it bother us that people around us- family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances- are out of the "ark of safety" and living their lives in places where they risk eternal damnation?

The Lord used my little granddaughter to show me something (out of the mouths of babes) as a reminder. I wouldn't want to see anything happen to those horses, but am I more concerned about them and their safety than I am about souls that Jesus died for. Why doesn't it do the same thing to me as it did to my granddaughter when I realize that someone, especially some one I love, is not saved and on their way to hell? Does the fact that souls are wondering around lost bother you? Those horses needed help to get back into their pasture. There are people all around us who need help to get to a place of safety too-- that place is in Jesus.

Have a great day. Do you get "excited/concerned" about souls that are lost?

For further reading:
Mark 16:15
Luke 19:10
Romans 6:23; 3:23; 5:12
Ezekiel 3:18-20
John 3:16,17

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Can't Hide"

"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." Jeremiah 23:24

The verse above lets us know that even if we deliberately tried to hide ourselves from God and remove ourselves completely from His view, it would be impossible. He is everywhere- including the place where you would be hiding.

Nothing is hid from Him. Nothing can be hid from Him. Not your problems, not your pain, not your tribulation-- nothing. Not your sin, not your weaknesses, not your evil doings. Not your good works and deeds, not your obedience to His commands. There is nothing and no one who can hide from Him- whatever you do, good or bad, He sees it all. That should be comforting to those who are going through hardships and difficulties- your situation is not hid from Him. But for those who are not living the way they should be, this should compel you to make some changes.

If you are among those who are wondering if God sees what you are going through. If you are wondering if He sees the problems you are facing- take heart, He does-- neither you nor the situation is hid from Him.

Have a great day. God sees everything and everyone- nothing can hide from His all seeing eyes.

For further reading:
Hebrews 4:13
Psalm 139
Proverbs 15:3

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Be Still"

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

As I was studying this verse a little closer, I discovered one of the literal meanings was- "leave off (your own attempts) and know". There are some things about God- His power, character and nature- that we cannot know unless we are "still". Another meaning for the word still was "relax, withdraw, let alone".

There are times we have to step back and move out of the way- be still- in order to "know that I am God". There are times when we have no choice but to be still because there is nothing that we can do about the situation and we know it. Like Moses at the Red Sea. He had no choice but to be still- there was nothing that he could do in his own strength and ability to make the sea move out of the way. But then in the times when there is something that we can do about the situation we have to be willing to step back and take ourselves out of the picture. David spent several years running from King Saul, who was out to destroy him. One day David was in a cave and Saul came into the cave unaware that David was there. While in the cave David crept around and without Saul's detection of him cut off the corner of his robe. David had the opportunity to avenge himself. He had the means and ability to kill his enemy. But he didn't. Instead he "stepped back" and left it to the Lord to take care of Saul.

There are many situations that we cannot handle ourselves. Then there are some that we can, as was the case when God said to Moses, "What is in your hand?" But then there come times when, even though we are able to do something about the situation, God says, "Be still, withdraw yourself and let me handle this one." It's in those times where God "shines" and we see His glory revealed in ways we may have never seen otherwise. It's in those times where He alone can get the credit. It's in those times where we discover a little more about who He is and our faith is increased in the process.

Have a great day. Sometimes the real answer that you need is, "Be still"... and when you do, you will... "know that I am God."

For further reading:
1 Samuel 24
Exodus 4:2; 14:13-16
Hebrews 10:30

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Strength In Weakness"

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Are you feeling weak? Do you feel faint? Do you feel as if you just aren't going to make it? Do you feel like you are too weak to stand when you need to be strong and stand? Do you feel like you are ready to cave in to the pressures that are surrounding you? Don't give up, don't give in, don't despair you can be strong and rise above the weakness.

The answer is found in the verse above- "wait upon the Lord". Your strength is found in the Lord, not in your own resources or abilities. Weakness is not a sign of defeat, it just reveals the fact that we are utterly dependent upon the Lord and not on self. In our own strength we will always be weak. But when we draw from His strength, we will be refreshed, renewed, get that "second wind", soar higher, run further and keep on going even when the going gets tough.

If you are experiencing weakness today- regardless of what area it is in- go to the Lord, press into His presence and stay there until you receive the strength that you need to rise up and keep on going. He gave us His promise in the verse above that if we will "wait upon Him" we SHALL... not perhaps, not maybe, not hopefully... renew our strength.

Have a great day. The presence of the Lord is energizing, so wait in His presence until your strength is renewed.

For further reading:
Hebrews 11:11
2 Corinthians 12:9
1 Corinthians 1:25
Ephesians 6:10

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"It Doesn't Fit"

"And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him." 1 Samuel 17:39

(I believe that there is a particular word for someone in this morning's devotional.) Like Saul tried to dress David with his own armor, many in the body of Christ are also being "dressed" by someone else. They are trying to change you into "their image". They are trying to make you like themselves or into what they think you should be. They are trying to lead you in the direction that they think you should go.

The word from the Lord this morning is "stop trying to fit in". Stop trying to fit in-- to someone else's ministry, anointing, calling or vision. Stop trying to fit in-- to what I have not called you to. Stop trying to fit in-- to roles that I have not ordained you to be in. Stop trying to fit in-- to places that I have not sent you to.

Too often we will allow someone else to place their own ideas and opinions on us and we will then try to conform to that. We will try to "make it work or fit" when there is no way it can. David could not wear Saul's armor because it was not designed for him. God has not designed someone else's "armor" to fit you. He has designed a plan and purpose that is "well suited" to you.

Allow God to direct your life. Allow Him to do with you what He desires. Find and fulfill His plan not what everyone else or even you think it should be. Don't worry that it doesn't look like you think it should. The norm when going out to battle was to be dressed in armor. David went out to the battlefield with only a sling shot and some stones. But he was victorious where the king and army had not been. Why? Because he let God do the "dressing".

Have a great day. Stop trying to fit in to what others are trying to put on it. Only what God places on you will fit.

For further reading:
1 Samuel 17

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Missing Altars"

"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." Revelation 8:3

Altars have always been important structures/places in all religions throughout history. They were used as places to offer sacrifices. I don't know how many religions still set up altars and actually offer real sacrifices upon them, but perhaps some still do. In Christianity altars aren't used for offering animal sacrifices but they are used as places where prayers are made offering our lives as living sacrifices to God.

This morning I want to ask a question, "Where are the altars?" Over the last several years there has been an alarming rate at the number of missing altars- missing in our churches, missing from our homes, missing from our personal lives. I can remember having time at the altars during every church service. It didn't matter if you had a "need" that you needed to pray about or not, you still went to the altar- the whole church would often make their way to the altars. At the altar lives were changed, prayers were answered, people were touched by the power of God, cleansing of heart, soul and mind took place, joy was restored, bodies were healed, burdens were undone.

Today altars in the church have been removed and replaced. Replaced with "walking the aisle". Replaced with "repeat a prayer pews". Replaced with prayer lines mostly wanting and waiting for someone to do your praying for you. I submit to you that this is one of the reasons why the church appears to be so weak, confused and compromising. You may disagree, but there has to be times of contrition and sacrifice; there have to be times of pouring out your heart and soul to God. And the altar is the place to do just that. Sure one could do their praying at home (and should pray there as well), but sadly, few homes have an altar- and why would they when it is evident in the church that altars aren't important. But there is something powerful about praying at the altar with other believers in God's house.

Revivals are birthed around the altar. Every great movement of God started around an altar. Our salvation was paid for at an altar- the cross. There are some things that can only occur at an altar. In the Book of Revelation we are told that there is even an altar in heaven. So there must be something special and significant about an altar that we have seemed to miss.

Altars are not just physical structures that sit in the front of the church. But the missing physical structure is just symbolic that the true altar of prayer and sacrifice is missing. Is it missing in your life? Do you have an altar- a place where you meet with God on a regular basis and present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice? If not, then you need to restore the missing altar.

Have a great day. If the altar is missing in your life, it needs to be restored.

For further reading:
Revelation 6:9
Romans 12:1

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Rejoicing Faith"

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

Did you notice that in this verse there is no provision made to do anything other than rejoice each day? There isn't a footnote tagged on it, there wasn't a "with the exception of" clause added to it, there wasn't allowance or room made to do otherwise. The verse doesn't tell us to rejoice as long as everything is going well; or as long as things are going the way we planned or hoped; as long as nothing bad happens today; as long as no problems arise. It just says, "I will rejoice and be glad".

Is the verse telling us that we won't experience bad things, difficulties, pain or grief? Does it mean that we won't get bad reports, or find ourselves in battles under the attack of the enemy? No, it doesn't. Because the scriptures teach us otherwise. They teach that bad things and tribulations come to the just and unjust and the righteous face afflictions. Why then didn't the verse make allowances to be sad, downcast and complaining during the bad times? Simply because-- the just shall live by faith.

We walk by faith not by sight. What we see, what we hear and what we feel isn't the "final authority". I may lose my job, for example, but am I going to stop rejoicing and get worried, sad, depressed and fearful? No. Why? Because that wasn't a bad thing that happened to me? No, but because the just live by faith. Faith in God who is my provider. Faith that He will meet and supply all my need. Faith that if God feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies daily, He will certainly take care of me because I am of much more value to Him than a sparrow. I live by faith, which means that I know that somehow, some way, the Lord will work all things together for my good. I live by faith which means I have the confident assurance that He will never leave me nor forsake me but will be with me always- He is not a "fair weather" friend who leaves me when the going gets tough.

There was no provision made in the verse above because there has already been a provision made that will keep your head up and joy in your heart when things aren't always "well". That provision is faith. Absolute trust, confidence and dependency on God. The situations that we face don't change God. He is still the same loving, caring Heavenly Father and provider that He has always been. Therefore, I can rejoice in that unchanging knowledge even in changing situations.

Have a great day. There is no provision made for us to be cast down when bad times come because we live by faith all the time.

For further reading:
Psalm 34:19
Matthew 5:45; 6:25-29
Habakkuk 2:4
Romans 1:17; 8:28
Galatians 3:11
Hebrews 10:38; 13:5
Philippians 4:19

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Baby Birds- Part 2"

"Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?" Mark 8:18

Yesterday I told you about an incident that happened the evening before last about a snake that was on my patio after some baby birds in a birdhouse. We killed the snake but we were too late to save the little birds- he had already got them. I used this as an analogy to make us aware that we must do what we can to watch for and rescue precious souls from the destruction of satan before it is too late. This morning I have another point that I want to bring out from the same incident.

If only we had been aware of the snake's presence a little sooner we could have saved those baby birds. I am sure you would ask, "How would you have known without spending all your time standing there watching?". We would have "heard" it. Birds make a big commotion when a snake is around. After we killed the snake the parent birds came to check on their babies. They made a lot of noise looking for them. There is no doubt that when they first saw the snake, before it did its horrible deed, they were not very quiet about it.

So why didn't we hear them? Just a few minutes before the discovery the weather had calmed down. We had a storm- thunder, lightening, heavy rain and strong winds. The noise made by the stormy weather drowned out the noise and "cries" made by the birds. We were unable to hear them over the storm that was going on.

How many cries escape our attention because we are caught up in our own "storms" and problems? How many people are crying out and reaching out to us to help them but we don't hear because we are busy trying to "protect" or take care of our own selves? How many souls are perishing while we sit in the "house" unwilling to "get wet"? Sometimes it's not just personal problems that keep us from hearing. Sometimes it's self-centered desires, comfort zones, love of pleasure, work on fulfilling our own plans, self interest- these keep us from hearing as well. It is the plan of the enemy to distract us with our own problems, our own storms, with our own desires, in order to make us deaf to the cries of the lost around us. But for their sakes we can't afford to be deaf. We must be listening above the storms and cares of this life if we are going to reach them before it's too late.

Have a great day. Is something drowning out the cries for help of the perishing in order that they may be rescued before it is too late?

For further reading:
John 15:13
Matthew 11:15; 13:9

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Baby Birds"

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

I was in my sunroom yesterday afternoon looking out the windows, which looks out over the patio, when not a foot away from me on the other side of the windows I saw a snake slithering up the adjacent wall behind the baker's rack. Shocked by what I saw, I immediately called my husband. He said it was a chicken snake and it was after some baby birds that had hatched in a birdhouse that was on the baker's rack. My husband got the shovel and killed the snake. But sadly, we were too late to save the baby birds- the snake had already devoured them.

As I woke up this morning, the Lord spoke plainly to me about what had happened yesterday. "That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan" (Rev. 12:9) "slithers" about with one purpose in mind- to steal, kill and destroy. He is seeking to devour the "baby birds" (precious souls) that are out there and he will if we don't reach them in time.

If only we had looked out the window sooner. If only we had been watching. We might could have saved the baby birds from that awful fate. Because souls are at stake we must be continually watching on their behalf. We must be standing in the gap for them by interceding for them in prayer asking God to deliver and save them. We can't sit idly by and let the enemy devour them. We have to be on the look out for satan's manifesting schemes because we are not ignorant of his devices- we know how he operates. We need to be using our God-given authority to snatch them out of the "fire" before it is too late by binding the plans of the enemy and loosening the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to draw them to repentance. We must be using the weapons that God has given us to destroy the enemy's plans. The snake was no match for the shovel- the shovel won. We have been given a weapon also that is more powerful than the enemy- it's the word of God. We must stand upon it in faith, using it to cut him, his schemes and devices asunder.

Those little birds were unaware of the danger. They were helpless and could not fight for themselves. It's the same with lost souls, therefore, it is up to us to watch, stand guard, fight, protect through our prayers, witness to and do all that God empowers us to do to rescue them from the enemy who is out to destroy them. And we must do it consistently in order to reach them before it is too late.

Have a great day. The enemy is out to devour precious souls, therefore, we must keep a watch for them and do all that we can to rescue them before it is too late.

For further reading:
1 Peter 5:8
Jude 1:21-23
Ephesians 6:11-17
2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 2:11
Luke 10:19
Matthew 16:19

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Water To Wine"

"Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim." John 2:7

When Jesus puts His hand on something, there is a change that takes place- water becomes wine as at the marriage in Cana. When Jesus is involved, nothing stays the same. The ordinary is changed into the extraordinary. What is weak becomes strong. What is natural becomes supernatural.

When He touches our lives, the same happens. There is a change that takes place in us- or should. We can no longer be the same. We have gone from death to life, from sinner to saint, from outcasts to accepted, from darkness to light.

If Jesus has touched your life there should be something different about you- water and wine are two completely different substances. The purpose of wine at the wedding was to give the guests something to drink- it wasn't intended to sit in a cellar somewhere. There is a purpose for the change and transformation that Jesus desires to do in our lives-- and that change is not always about us. It is about others. It's about others being able to "see" and "taste" something from our lives that will make them sit up on take notice. "When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now." (Verses 9,10) And when they take notice, it will be Jesus that they see.

We are like those empty clay pots- vessels that hold something and are intended to be filled. Without Jesus we are empty vessels, with Him we are vessels full of water, when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are vessels holding wine. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. For these are not drunken, as ye suppose." (Acts 2:1-4,13,15) These "vessels of water"- those in the Upper Room- were changed into vessels holding wine- the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is so that we, Jesus' disciples, can receive power to be His "witnesses" to others and help bring about the transformation process in us. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

What do others "taste" from your life? Are they tasting something that will make them take note of Jesus?

Have a great day. Are you an empty vessel? A vessel holding water? A vessel holding wine?

For further reading:
John 2:1-11
2 Corinthians 5:17
Acts 2

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Doing My Part"

"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4

The Psalmist said that there was one thing that he desired-- to dwell in the house of the Lord. For him this was not just a mere profession, some cliché or empty words, but a deep yearning. He sincerely wanted to dwell in God's presence. Therefore, he did his part to make that happen. David sought after the presence of God. He brought the Ark of the Covenant- the dwelling place of God- into his own courtyard. Then he appointed worshippers, priests and ministers around the Ark twenty-four hours a day.

It's one thing to have a desire for God and the things of God, it's another to do your part in order to have that desire fulfilled. Often we say we want it but never make a move in that direction. We sit back and wait for God to just "drop" it on us. There comes a time when we have to "pursue" what we desire- including the presence of God. The scriptures tell us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". Moses would have missed His destiny if he had not drawn near to the bush when he saw it burning- the place where God's presence was manifesting. Those in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost would have missed the glorious baptism in the Holy Spirit if they had not done their part- tarry until His presence came.

Do you desire to dwell in the presence of God? Do you desire intimate fellowship and a close relationship with Him? Then what are you doing to make it happen? It won't happen through slothfulness. It won't happen by sitting back just hoping and waiting for it to happen. It is God's desire for you to dwell in His presence. But you have to "make room", "draw near", "seek after" for it to happen.

Have a great day. Are you doing your part in order to dwell in His presence?

For further reading:
James 4:8
1 Chronicles 16
Luke 24:49
Acts 2:1-3

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Fishers Of Men"

"And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." Mark 1:17

Have you noticed that it seems like the biggest part of ministry nowadays is to other Christians? We hold crusades, conferences, revivals, special fellowship gatherings primarily to teach, instruct, minister to, help and edify each other. The sermons that are preached, the books that are written by Christian authors, email messages and other publications are all geared to those who are already Christians. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. We have to receive teaching so that we can grow in our relationship with the Lord and be effective witnesses for His glory. We need encouragement. We need to be edified. As a matter of fact, that is the primary focus of the Coffee Break devotionals and this ministry- to minister to and encourage the Body of Christ.

The point I want to get to is this- while we are so "busy" focusing on and pouring spiritually into each other, what about the lost? As soon as Jesus started His public ministry, He laid out His plan for His disciples to follow: the condition, the call and the commission. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:17-19)

The Condition- "Repent". Repentance is the avenue by which we become Christians.
The Call - "Follow Me". After we become a Christian it is no longer about fulfilling our own plans, agenda and desires, but it's about surrendering to His lordship over our lives.
The Commission- "I will make you fishers of men." This is the plan of God for all Christians.

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him, He told them that He was giving them a new vocation-- now they would be "fishers of men". The commission hasn't changed. We are to be "fishers of men". I have done some fishing and there are two things involved- the catching of the fish and the cleaning them. It seems to me that we are spending more time "cleaning" the fish that are already caught then we are spending "catching" some new ones. Again, that is not a bad thing, Jesus spent lots of time teaching and training His disciples and we should too. But His whole reason for coming was to "seek and to save that which was lost"-- in other words, "catch fish".

We have been commissioned to get in the "boat" (go ye into all the world) and go "fishing". Have we stopped "fishing"? If you aren't a "fisherman" (of men) then you need to start asking God to help you to become one. There is a sea full of "fish" waiting to be caught.

Have a great day. We are suppose to be "fishers of men"... how many "fish" have you caught lately?

For further reading:
Ephesians 4:11-13
Mark 1:16-18; 16:15
Luke 19:10

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Second Chance"

"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22,23

I have had a magnet on my refrigerator for years that says, "Thank You, Lord, for granting me this new day in my life, especially since I messed up yesterday so badly." Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel like you really made a "mess" of your life yesterday? Do you feel like you "blew it"? Do you wish yesterday had never happened? Do you wish you could wake up and discover that yesterday was only a dream- it wasn't real? Do you wish you could go back and relive yesterday and change some things?

Sure you do. We all have days that we wish had never happened. We all have days that if we could do them over we would do them differently and not make the same mistakes. The reality of it though is that we can't. There are no "time capsules" like there are in the movies that we can get in and travel back in time. Yesterday is yesterday and there is no changing it.

But having said all that, today is a new day and there is something that we can do to stop yesterday from consuming our today and directing our tomorrows. It's called- God's mercy. God's mercies are new every morning. What that means to me is that I have been given a second chance. I have been given another opportunity to "get it right" today. I have been given a new day to do it differently. Today is a clean slate- that's what's awaiting me each morning.

Maybe you did "mess up" yesterday. Maybe you did "blow it". Maybe things did not go according to plans. Maybe you did fail. Maybe you should have done things differently. But you have to let yesterday go- it's past, it's behind you, you can't change it. But today is a new day- a second chance- take it, take advantage of it, thank God for it, and get it right this time.

Have a great day. Yesterday is in the past, today you have been given a second chance.

For further reading:
Psalm 118:24; 103:11,12
Micah 7:19

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Encroaching On The Light"

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." Matthew 5:15

Yesterday I was trimming back one of the azaleas in my yard when I discovered a solar light hid up in it that I had forgotten was there. The azalea had grown over the light covering it completely from view. I had forgotten it was there because I had not seen its light shining for sometime. As I cut the bush back I thought about how that we tend to allow things to encroach upon our "lights" until they are either dim or don't shine at all.

I had placed a brick border around the azalea as a boundary line for the bush but had not done a very good job of keeping it trimmed back, therefore, it went past the boundary line and consumed the solar light. God's word sets the boundary lines in our lives. When we do not practice it, follow its principles, or obey it, the boundaries are not enforced. For example, when temptation comes and we don't look for the way of escape but rather yield to it, then sin begins to grow and will increase until it consumes our lights. When we don't resist the devil's attacks but succumb to them, then discouragement, depression, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. will continue to grow until the light in us is covered. When we place other things ahead of God, instead of "having no other gods before Him", then there is no source of power getting to us to keep the light shining.

I can't stop the bush from growing, unless I completely cut it down, but I can keep it under control. There are many things that come into our lives that we can't stop from happening, but we do have control over whether they cover our lights or not. What is encroaching upon your light this morning? What is causing it to be hid under a basket? Is it a besetting sin? Is it pain or hurt that has not been dealt with? Is it unforgiveness that has not been confessed and forsaken? Are you bitter or discouraged? Have you allowed your blessings to turn to pride and arrogance? What is it?

If your light is hidden from clear and plain view, then you need to do the same thing that I did to that azalea- get out the garden shears and start cutting. In your case, get out the word of God and act upon it to "cut back" the encroaching "darkness". Make it your boundary line again by following it and applying it to every situation in life. And do it on a daily basis to keep it from happening again. God's word will keep those things that try to cover and put out your light in check and back where they belong.

Have a great day. Is your light shining? How brightly? Or is something encroaching upon it to hide it from view?

For further reading:
Matthew 5:14-16; 6:22-24
1 Corinthians 10:13
James 4:7
Exodus 20:3
Hebrews 4:12

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Near The Brokenhearted"

"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:18

Who hasn't ever suffered a broken heart? We all have at one time or other in our lives. Our hearts have been broken because of the passing of a loved one. Our children have a tendency to break our hearts. A spouse can do it by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. When we look at the condition of those who are suffering, it can break our hearts. We can even make a bad choice that winds up causing us heartache in the end.

Because a broken heart is something that cannot be seen with the naked eye, many people suffer privately from broken hearts and no one knows it. Perhaps you are suffering from a broken heart this morning. If you are, you are not alone. Your suffering may be hid from others, but it is not hid from the Lord. He sees your broken heart. He sees the pain. He sees the turmoil. And when we say He sees it, He isn't seeing it from a distance. He sees it up-close. "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart." One version puts it this way, "If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there."

Why did He give us the verse above? To let us know that when we are suffering, when we are hurting, when we are "dying" on the inside, when we ache with pain that isn't detectable with the human eye, but is very real nevertheless, He is right there beside us. He is with you this morning. He is right there. Let Him comfort you. Let Him heal you. Let Him mend and bind up your broken heart. Give the pain to Him. Give the hurt to Him. And remember that you are not alone.

Have a great day. The Lord sees your broken heart and is right there beside you.

For further reading:
Isaiah 61:1
Psalm 147:3

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Double Portion"

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." Philippians 3:10

Over the last several years there has been much teaching about a "double portion" anointing. Every Christian wants it. Sermons revolve around it. Prayer lines are formed and hands are being laid on believers so that they can "receive it". Prophecies are made concerning it. Certain conditions, including making a donation to the ministry, are placed on it as the "sure way" to receive it. Whole ministries are founded upon the "double portion" theme. Special services are called in order to "impart" it to you.

My message this morning is not going to be about why many Christians are desiring the "double portion" and running to where the promise to receive it is located when they already have something greater than the "double portion". My message is not going to be about correcting this "misguided" desire. Why do I call it "misguided"? While the double portion of the Spirit to do greater miracles and works that was given to Elisha was a wonderful thing, for us to desire a "double portion" is to settle for less than what we have already been given. When Jesus left the earth, He promised to send the Holy Spirit. When we were baptized in the Holy Spirit, we received the same Spirit that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead. The Spirit came upon Elisha and anointed him with "double" what Elijah had. But now the Holy Spirit dwells within us to do even greater works than Jesus did, and certainly much greater than Elisha did even though he had a double portion. The Bible talks, concerning Christians, about being filled with all the fullness of God. To me "fullness" is much greater than "double". But I said that this was not going to be my message so I need to get to it.

My message is actually a question. Why is it that we seek a double portion of the anointing, a double portion to do miracles, a double portion of power, but yet I don't hear anyone praying or forming a prayer line for a "double portion" of desire for Jesus Himself-- just for His gifts and blessings? Why isn't it our desire to have a "double portion" of His love and love for Him? Why don't we want a "double portion" of the grace that we need to be fully surrendered to Him? Why aren't we praying that He will "double" our desire to yearn for Him; "double" our desire to know Him; "double" our desire to communion with Him; "double" our desire for His presence?

We already have more than a "double portion" anointing- we just have to yield to the operation of the Holy Spirit through us so that He can release it. But what we really need is a "double portion" of desire for Jesus.

Have a great day. What are you desiring a greater portion of?

For further reading:
Ephesians 3:17-20
Colossians 2:8-10
John 14:12; 16:7
Romans 8:11

Friday, June 4, 2010


"Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all." 1 Chronicles 29:11

"Thou art exalted as head above all." Most versions read, "Head over all". Being head over all means headship. The dictionary defines 'headship' as:
the position of head or chief; chief authority; leadership; supremacy.

Where does the Lord, according to the verse above, have the headship? Is it just in the Christian nations? Is it just in the church? Is it just in ministries? Is it just in the Christians? His headship is to be "over all". Is it recognized and accepted everywhere? The answer, of course, is no. It is understandable when it is not accepted in the nations' governments, or secular places of business, entertainment or educational facilities. But when His headship is not accepted in the church, there is something wrong.

Jesus is the Head of the Church... or should be. Are we pushing Him out of this position by our programs? Are we pushing Him out by embracing our own philosophies? Are we pushing Him out by leaning to our own understanding of how this "organization" should be run? Are we pushing Him out by compromising and watering down His word?

Let me take it a step further. Jesus is the Head of each individual believer.... or should be. I have to ask you the same thing. Are you pushing Him out of His rightful position as Head of your life by making your own plans, following your own agenda, directing your own steps, by not acknowledging Him in your decisions? Are you taking the place of "headship" in your own life by sitting in the "driver's seat" and making Him the passenger? In the order of things in your life, who is the servant- you or Him? Do you obey and follow His instructions and commands, or live as if He is the "errand boy" who is there to fulfill all your wants and desires? Are you proceeding with your plans or His plans? (The answer to these questions determine who is the Head of your life.)

The fact is, we are all going to have a "head" that takes the leadership role of our lives. That head is either going to be ourselves or the Lord. If we take the headship role of our own lives, we will die- plan and simple. If we try to take "co-headship" of our lives with the Lord. We wind up with a life of chaos and confusion and will still die. If He takes the headship role in our lives we will live and are truly identified as His children.

Have a great day. Having a "head" is not an option. Who has the "headship" of your life?

For further reading:
Ephesians 1:22; 5:23
Matthew 16:24

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Behind Bars"

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Isaiah 61:1

"Opening of the prison to them that are bound." There is more than one kind of prisoner. There are those who are literally, physically sitting behind bars. Then there are those who are sitting behind bars that cannot be seen with the naked eye. When we think about those prisoners, we usually think about people who are prisoners of sin- they have not yet received salvation. We also think about those who are bound by some sort of addiction. But there are others who are also prisoners and bound by things that aren't so obvious.

There are people, even Christians, who are sitting in prisons of fear- fear of rejection, fear of peoples' opinions, fear of failure, fear of success. Then there are others who are sitting in prisons of chaos and confusion. They have no direction. They don't know what to do. They have no peace and are living in turmoil. Turmoil brought on by others. Turmoil brought on by unwise decisions. Confusion because they try to live according to their own understanding and guidance. There are also people who are sitting in prisons of bitterness and unforgiveness. They can't let go of what someone did or said about them. They keep rehearsing and rehearsing the thing that was done or said and won't stop dwelling on it. You will also find those who are in prisons of hurt and pain. They were wounded by someone's words or actions and they are still grieving over it.

The difference between these prisoners and those who are sitting behind steel bars is the fact that those who aren't behind the literal bars often don't realize that they are in a prison because they can't "see" it. Are you one of those people? Are you limited in your ability to "move very far"? Are you wondering why you can't make any progress in your life? Do you wonder why you seem to reach only certain levels but can go no further? Perhaps it is because of those "prison bars" that you can't see? Being in prison always limits and confines you to a certain area. It restricts you and refrains you from going very far.

A prisoner who sits behind metal bars has to wait until he has served his time to be release- some will never be because they are serving a life sentence. But those who are sitting behind the bars that aren't seen have already been set free and can leave anytime they are ready. Jesus unlocked all the prison doors when He died on the cross and said, "It is finished". That means you are sitting behind an unlocked door. You are still sitting behind bars that have broken. Jesus already set you free. You have no reason to still be sitting in the prison. Today you can walk out of the prison. How? Confess anything you need to confess before the Lord and accept by faith His freedom.

Have a great day. Why are you still sitting behind a prison door that has already been opened? .

For further reading:
Luke 4:18-21
John 8:36
Galatians 5:1
Romans 8:21

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Foreign Language"

"When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language." Psalm 114:1

When the Israelites were living in Egypt they were living among people who did not speak the same language as they spoke. For the Christian this world is a "foreign land". It is not our home. We are just living here temporarily until we go home to be with our Heavenly Father. While we are here we are living among people who speak a "strange" language- a language that we do not speak, a language that should be "foreign" to us.

What is this foreign language? One of the definitions in the dictionary for "foreign" is: strange or unfamiliar. In other words, in context with what I am saying this morning, the language of the world should be unfamiliar to the Christian. It should not be a language that we speak.

I want to talk about our "language" this morning as Christians. It should not be the same as the world's language. What is the language of the world? What should the language of the Christian be? The language of the world is a language of profanity. Cursing for most comes naturally. They curse about everything. The language of the Christian should not include profanity. "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." (2 Timothy 2:16) "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." (James 3:10) Instead our language is a language that speaks blessings. "Bless them that curse you." (Luke 6:28a)

The language of the world is one of covetness. They are always wanting more and never satisfied. The Christian should not have covetness in his/her vocabulary. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

The world speaks a language of lies and flatteries. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." (Ephesians 4:15,25)

Fear, doubt and unbelief are also the languages of the world. The Christian's words should be words of faith. "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach." (Romans 10:8) "Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done." (Matthew 21:21)

There are many more languages that the world speaks that I don't have time to list. But the Christian language is different and should be different than the world. I am not talking about the terminology that we use, I am talking about the words we say. Our language is a language of praise, thanksgiving, faith, blessings, edification, truth and should be well seasoned with grace and love.

When Peter sat around the fire the night he betrayed Jesus, he was accused of being a disciple of Jesus because of his speech- his speech gave him away. Does your speech give you away this morning as a follower of Jesus? Is it foreign to the language of the world? Or does it identify you more with the world than it does with being a Christian? "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile." (1 Peter 3:10) "Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it." (Ephesians 4:29- Amplified Bible)

Have a great day. What language do you speak?

For further reading:
1 Timothy 6:6,20
Philippians 4:11
Ephesians 5:2-4
2 Corinthians 12:20
Colossians 4:5
Matthew 26:73

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Running Or Following?

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23

The Lord's desire is that we follow Him. His requirement for those who put their trust and faith in Him as Savior is that we follow Him. When He chose His disciples, His words to them were, "Follow Me". His desire, message, plan and requirement for us today has not changed. It is the same- "Follow Me".

I have a question for you, "How can you follow Him and run from Him at the same time?" You can't. It is impossible to follow someone and run from them also. To follow them means you are going in the same direction they are going, and moving toward them. Running from them means you are going in the opposite direction and away from them.

We think that only sinners run from God. We think that only those who are not saved and born again are the ones who are running from God. We tend to think that those who aren't His children by faith in Jesus Christ are the only ones who are running from Him. That isn't necessarily true. When we are "running" from the will of God, we are not following Him. When we are "running" from obedience to His commandments, we are not following Him. When we are "running" from His plan for our lives, we are not following Him. Jonah was God's prophet yet he stopped following God when he ran from God's plan for him to go and preach in Nineveh. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was faced with the decision to follow God or run from Him. "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)

As I said earlier, you can't follow someone and run from them at the same time. It is just not possible. So this morning, are you following the Lord or running from Him? Are you following Him in loving obedience, in surrender, in self denial? Are you following His will and purpose for your life? Or are you running from Him by following your own dreams and plans? Are you running by putting your own desires above Him? You can't do both.

Have a great day. Are you a follower who is following?

for further reading:
Matthew 8:22; 9:9; 19:21
John 1:43; 10:27; 21:19
Jonah 1:1-3
1 Samuel 15:11