Friday, July 30, 2010

"The Jewelry Case"

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." 1 Corinthians 3:6

Years ago I worked at a jewelry/gift store. All the jewelry was displayed in locked glass cases. People would come in to look at the jewelry but could only admire it through the glass. If they wanted a closer look a salesperson would have to come and unlock the cabinet, take out the piece they were looking at and then begin to give them information about it. If it was a ring we would tell them what type of gem it was, what metal it was made of, the cost, etc. We would give the customer all the information they needed about the jewelry so that they could then decide if they wanted to purchase it or not- we didn't make the decision for them.

Like those customers who were wanting more information about a piece of jewelry, there are those who are wanting to know more about the life of Christianity and who Jesus is. There are many people who are looking at salvation from a distance and through a glass- a dim one. They are waiting for someone to come and tell them about it. Are you that someone? Are you telling people about the gift of eternal life that came through Jesus Christ? Are you sharing the good news with them? "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" (Romans 10:14)

Often when we would show a customer the jewelry they still didn't buy it. But my job as an employee was not to make sure they purchased it, my job was to make sure they were given all the information they needed to help them make their decision. Sadly, not everyone you share the gospel with will accept it and be saved, but many will. It is not our job to make sure they accept, we are "employed" (commissioned) to plant and water (tell and re-tell) and God will give the increase.

There would be customers who would come in stand over the cases looking and you could tell they were wanting to take a closer look, but all the salespersons would be tied up with something else. Often before you could get free to wait on them, they gave up waiting and left. You never knew whether that person would have bought something or not, they looked interested but were not given the opportunity. Don't let people leave without giving them the opportunity to hear the good news. Don't be too busy with the cares of this life, with selfishness, with worldly distractions that you neglect to tell them. They may be more than just curious, they may be ready to receive Christ.

Have a great day. Are you giving people the information about the good news of Jesus that they need to make the decision to receive Christ?

For further reading:
Matthew 28:19
Acts 26:28

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"A Jar Of Figs"

"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish." 2 Corinthians 2:15

At times I will smell a bad odor in my house. When I do, I go on the search to find the source. Sometimes the source is easier to find than at other times. One time I kept smelling something in the kitchen that was not very pleasant and could not find what it was. I checked the trash. I looked under the stove top. I put cleaner down the drain. I even tried to look behind the refrigerator. Still I couldn't locate it. But I didn't give up. After a couple of days I finally discovered it. There was a jar of figs sitting on the top shelf in one of the cabinets that had come unsealed. I couldn't see that it had come unsealed because of where it was located. But eventually the contents of the jar began to seep out and drip down to the bottom shelves. Not only could I smell the source of the odor but now I could see it. Once I threw the jar away and cleaned up the mess the odor was gone.

Did you know that there is an "odor" that is emitted from our lives? It is either a pleasant one or a stench. We either "smell" good or we "smell" bad.

What are some of the things that make us "smell good"? These things not only make us "smell good" to God but to the people around us. Praise and worship to God out of a pure heart. Our obedience. Genuine love. Being living sacrifices. Faithfulness. Being trustworthy. These are just a few.

What are some of the things that make us "smell bad"? Again, these things make us "smell bad" to God and other people. Hypocrisy leaves a bad odor around us. Lack of trust in God. Lying. Insincerity- just flattery. Unfaithfulness- to keep our word, to our relationships, to do what is required of us by others. Disobedience. Harboring ill feelings, bitterness, hate and anger. All these are "bad odor causers" in our lives.

Some of the bad smells that come from our lives are easy to discover, some aren't. But if we don't deal with them when we spot them, like my jar of figs, eventually, not only will they be smelled but they will be seen and then everyone will know the source of our "stench".

Which smell comes from your life- good ones that are well pleasing to God and make others want to find the source of the lovely fragrance- or bad ones that are a stench in the nostrils of God and turns others away in disgust from God. You either "smell good" or you "smell bad" and all the "perfume" or "air freshener" in the world, no matter how sweet, costly or pleasant it may be, can't cover up a bad odor. It has to be removed- just like my jar of figs had to be thrown away.

Have a great day. If there is a "bad odor" coming from your life, you can't cover it up, you have to throw the source of it away.

For further reading:
Ecclesiastes 10:1
2 Corinthians 2:16

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Help In The Storms"

"And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Mark 4:38

Have you ever noticed that you can be "sailing" smoothly through life then all of a sudden a storm seems to come out of no where and threatens to destroy your life? When a storm hits our life and tries to turn our "boat" over, there are four things that we learn from this situation that the disciples found themselves in that we need to put into practice.

1) When you are in a storm, remember that you are not in it alone- Jesus is in the storm with you. "And he was in the hinder part of the ship."

2) Don't just remember that Jesus is with you, but remember WHO He is that is with you. "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, And the wind ceased." (v.39) We tend to forget that He is the All-powerful, Creator of the Universe and that with Him nothing is impossible. The disciples remembered that Jesus was with them- they woke Him up for help- but they forgot WHO Jesus was-- God in the flesh. "And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (v. 41) In remembering who He is, also remember that not only is He more powerful than the storms that rage against you, but He is the one who loves you! The disciples accused Him of not caring about them. "They awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (v. 38) Never let your situation convince you that He doesn't love you or care about you. If you ever doubt His love for you, just take a look back at the cross. He went to the cross because of His great love for you.

3) Don't hesitate to ask Him for help. "They were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish." (Luke 8:23,24) Never think that what you are going through is too big or too small for Him to handle. Never think that you are going to "bother" Him with your problems. Never think that He is too busy to come to your aid. He is always waiting and ready to help His children when they call. That is why He says for us to ask so that we might receive. And that is why we have not when we ask not.

4) Put your trust and faith in the Lord. "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" (v.40) It's one thing to acknowledge His presence and His power to protect and deliver in the storms, but it has to go one step further. You must put your faith in Him-- in the fact that He will do what He says He will do.

Storms of life come, but if we will put into practice these things we will not drown in them.

Have a great day. The All-powerful God who speaks peace to the storms is in the boat with you, so ask for His help because He loves and cares for you.

For further reading:
Romans 5:8
John 3:16
James 4:2
Matthew 7:7
Luke 8:22-25
Mark 4:35-40

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." 1 Samuel 15:23

I had a dream last night that a friend of mine had an out of town friend visiting her and she introduced her to me. The out of town friend and I hit it off well and enjoyed our visit...until. During the conversation she started talking about tattoos and other things (I don't remember what all else). Once I told her that I didn't care for them because the Bible says not to have them, she became "irate". Her whole disposition changed. My friend who introduced me to her told her that her attitude was one of rebellion. I asked her why she was getting mad at me, I wasn't the one that said it, God said it in the Bible. Then I awoke from that dream. (Before I go any further, this message is not about tattoos- that was just the subject the lady in my dream wanted to defend.)

Don't shoot the messenger just because he brings you a message, he didn't write it- God did. Just because there are things we want to do and enjoy doing, it doesn't mean that it is all right with God. And when God says, "You shall not", but you do it anyway without regard to what He says, then it is called "rebellion".

Rebellion is not just going on out there in the world, it is happening in the church. Many Christians give very little regard to what God says- like in my dream. They do what they want to do even if God says not to. They place their will above His will and their wants above what He wants. They sacrifice obedience to His commands for the "right" to do what they desire.

The sad part is that they think God is going to overlook it or wink at it. When I was growing up and my daddy said, "No", he meant it and if I disobeyed and did it anyway, I faced the consequences. Do we think God is any different? Do we think that just because He said it He doesn't mean it? He does mean it, and He means for you to obey Him. There is not enough time in this devotional to give all the scriptures and illustrations about how serious God considers obedience. But I will tell you this- when we deliberately disobey because whatever it is is something that we want to do, God calls it rebellion. And God's definition of rebellion is no small matter- He equates it to "witchcraft". And the Bible is plain that those who practice witchcraft have no part with Him- now or in eternity.

So ask yourself the next time you decide to choose what you want over what God wants--- "Is it worth it? Is it worth sacrificing my obedience to God? Is it worth more for me to do this than what I will lose by doing it? Is it worth the consequences?"

Have a great day. You may want to do it, but doesn't what God says matter more to you? If you are a Christian it should, and obeying Him should be your top priority.

For further reading:
Ezekiel 18:20
Mark 14:36
Colossians 3:1-7
Galatians 5:19-21

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Lovers Of Pleasure"

"...lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." 2 Timothy 3:4

This verse speaks of the condition of the hearts of men in the last days. I personally believe that we are living in the day and time described by these verses. That being the case, we should examine ourselves and take inventory of our lives to make sure that we haven't fallen and become among those described here.

One area in particular I want us to look at and address is that of "loving pleasures more than we love God". None of us believe that we are included among this group... but are we? One way to find out is by taking this little test.

1) Would you rather read a novel than read the Bible?
2) Would you rather go fishing on Sunday than go to God's house?
3) Do you spend more time watching television than you do reading the Bible?
4) Do you ignore the wooing of the Holy Spirit to pray because you are watching your favorite television program?
5) Do you drop everything that you are doing when your favorite television program comes on so that you can watch it? Do you drop everything when the Lord is speaking to you to spend some time with Him?
6) Would you rather spend time with your friends than time with God?
7) Do you spend more money on various forms of entertainment- videos, going to the movies, hobbies, etc,- than you give to promote the work of the Kingdom?
8) How much time to you devote to playing computer games? How much of your time is devoted to reading God's word and praying?
9) Do you spend more time on your hobbies than you do doing the work of the Lord?
10) Do you make time to do the things you want to do by rearranging your schedule to accommodate them but you won't do the same in order to spend some quiet time with the Lord?
11) Will you ask off from work to go on a hunting trip, but not to go to church?

If your answer puts pleasures- forms of entertainment- above spending time with the Lord, then you love pleasure more than you love Him? Has the desire to be entertained and have "fun" taken you away from your first love? Am I saying that we can never have any relaxation, sit down and enjoy a decent television program, enjoy some time working on a hobby, go watch a movie, play a video game? No, I am not saying that. What I am saying is that if forms of entertainment take the place of God in your life, if they are your priority, if you spend more time, money and effort on them, if you will make room for them but you will not do the same or more for God then, yes, something is wrong and you need to make some changes. You need to repent and begin to give God the proper place- which is first place- in your life again.

Have a great day. If forms of entertainment have priority in your life over God, then you love pleasure more than you love Him.

For further reading:
2 Timothy 3
Proverbs 4:23
Exodus 20:3
Revelation 2:4,5

Friday, July 23, 2010


"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

"Looking unto Jesus." Who do you look to for help when you are facing problems and difficulties? Who do you look to when you don't know what to do or which direction to turn? Who do you look to when life seems to be getting the best of you, when peace eludes you, when the answers are not easily found?

We tend to look to man- family, friends, government officials, doctors, legal professionals, etc. While God does use people to help us, they are not our Helper. They should never be the first ones that we run to for help. Their counsel should never be heeded above the counsel of God. Our faith and trust should not grounded in what man can do for us. It should always be in the Lord.

I want to leave you with one thing to think about this morning- to whom are you looking? Is Jesus at the top or bottom of your list of sources of help? Do you look to Him first or last? Do you seek out people or Him for help? Look at your life and take note of where the first place you look is in times of difficulties.

Have a great day. Who are you looking to for help?

For further reading:
Matthew 6:33
Psalm 34:4; 77:2
2 Chronicles 26:5

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Spiritual Peril"

"And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." Ezekiel 44:23

Are we living in a time when Christians don't know the difference between what is right and wrong, holy and profane, clean and unclean? I think we are. We have lost the ability to discern the true from the false. When I got up this morning, my husband was already up and had gone outside but the television was still on in the living room. There was a person on (I will not call him a preacher, although he calls himself one) who was "selling" debt cancelation. He supposedly had received an anointing to cancel people's debts. Sadly, he has quiet a following. But he is not the only one who is out there proclaiming a "false gospel" that does not have its roots in God's word.

If ever there was a time when we need to be discerning it is now. We can't believe everything that is spoken just because the message is what we want to hear. The Bible tells us that in the end time "there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24)

Paul warned Timothy "that in the last days perilous times shall come." (2 Timothy 3:1) If you read the rest of the chapter, the perilous times that he is referring to are not times that are "physically" perilous (although I believe they will come too), but a time of "spiritual" peril. I believe we are seeing the fulfillment of Paul's warning. Most Christians don't know the truth of God's word. Many can't rightly divide it. Most don't even know the basics of its teachings. A large majority depend on others to tell them what the Bible says and means because they seldom, if ever, read if for themselves. If you are depending on someone else to tell you what it says, how do you know they are telling you the truth? How do you know that they are rightly dividing it? If you don't ever read it, how do you know that what they are reading to you comes from the Bible and not the morning newspaper?

I thank God for those who He has used to bless my life by helping to teach me His word, but the day of depending on someone else to do it all for us has to come to an end. When you don't know God's word for yourself, you are putting yourself in "spiritual peril". You are opening the door for deception. You can be seduced by a lie. You can be led astray. This is why Paul went on to admonish Timothy to get into God's word and learn the scriptures and continue to live by them.

Have a great day. Make sure that who you are listening to is telling you the rightly divided word of God, and the only way to do that is by reading and studying it for yourself as well.

For further reading:
Mark 13:22
Nehemiah 8:7,8
2 Timothy 3; 2:15

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"At War"

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." 1 Peter 2:11

As Christians this world is not our home, we are only "passing through". One day we will leave this earth and go to our "real" home- the one that Jesus said He was going to prepare for us. But until that day comes, we are living in the world. And while we are in the world we face battles/wars. The biggest battles that we face are not fought with guns and bullets but with our own flesh.

Why are natural wars fought? Mostly for the purpose of gaining more territory. Wars are the method that one nation, group or people uses to capture the land that is possessed by another nation, group or people. Our own flesh wars against us for that same purpose- it wants to gain "territory" (your soul and body). It is not satisfied until it rules and reigns over our hearts and dictates our lives. The flesh wants to be in charge. It wants to have its way. It wants to give the orders. It doesn't want to be hindered or have anyone or anything stand in its way. It doesn't want to submit to any authority- especially that of the spirit. It wants to take us prisoner and make us its slave.

How do we keep the flesh from "possessing" any territory in our lives? "Abstain from fleshly lusts." The first step to doing that is by remembering that this life is not all there is- there is an eternity that awaits us and that's where our real home is, like we've said. Keep eternity in mind and view. Why? So that you can resist the lusts of the flesh like covetousness and greed, or anything else that desires for more and more that this life has to offer, because all that you gain here cannot compare to what you would be giving up if you allow the flesh to win and gain your soul as its possession.

Have a great day. Your flesh is trying to conquer you and gain possession of your life; you conquer it instead.

For further reading:
John 14:1-3
Matthew 4:1-10; 16:26
Hebrews 13:5
1 Timothy 6:6,7
1 John 2:15-17

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23

Is your experience and relationship with the Lord ancient history or current events? Are you living on yesterday's manna or receiving fresh "bread" from Him each day? Are you enjoying the blessings of the past or the blessings of the present? Are you hanging on to past revelations or receiving a fresh word from Him today? Are you being sustained by the "touch" of the Lord that you received years ago or is He "touching" your life afresh and anew each day? Are you trying to hold on to the peace that you received in a past situation to see you through a present one, or are you receiving fresh peace for the trials of today?

The only word that comes to mind this morning to describe what I am talking about is "fresh". The dictionary defines fresh as something newly made; recent; not old or stale. God is all about "freshness". He doesn't want us living on yesterday's experiences, blessings, revelations or faith. We see the evidence of this through creation. Life is not made up of one long, continual day. It is made up of "days"- many of them. Each one begins in the morning and ends in the evening making room for the next one. It is also made up of seasons. After spring comes summer, then fall and winter. Brand new (fresh) seasons occur periodically. We also saw the evidence of it in God's creation of the world as described in Genesis. God created the world in six days. Each one was distinguished from the other by the morning and evening. On each new day God created something different (something fresh and new)- He did not recreate the same thing over and over each day. One day He created the sun and moon, another day He created the earth, another day He created the animals, another day He created man, and so on.

The point this morning is that God wants you to have fresh experiences with Him daily. What we received in the past was not meant to be our only experience with the Lord. We should always be thankful for what He did for us in the past. We should allow those experiences to teach and train us. We should gain faith from them as well as wisdom, knowledge and understanding. But just like the Israelites in the wilderness, we can't live of yesterday's manna we must "collect" fresh manna for each new day. The Lord has fresh manna, fresh assignments, fresh commands, fresh experiences, fresh anointing, fresh peace, fresh revelation, fresh truths available for you and He wants to give them to you today.

Have a great day. Would you say that you have a "fresh" or "stale" relationship with the Lord?

For further reading:
Genesis 1
Exodus 16:14-21
Philippians 3:13

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Willing And Obedient"

"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." Isaiah 1:19

It is one thing to be "willing", it's another to be "willing AND obedient". Jesus even said that the spirit is "willing" but the flesh is weak. (Our weak flesh is not always obedient.) Being willing is not enough. Just being willing doesn't score "brownie points". It takes more than just a willingness, it takes the act of obedience coupled with the willingness to receive the blessing.

Jesus was willing to come to earth and pay the ransom for our sins, but it wasn't paid for and His reason for coming wasn't fulfilled until He humbled Himself and became obedient to the death on the cross. Had He only come to earth but not gone to the cross our salvation never would have been purchased. Mankind would still be lost without hope of eternal life.

When the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, they were willing to go into the promised land- they were actually excited about it and could hardly wait. But when they heard about the giants in the land, they would not be obedient to the Lord's instructions to go in and possess the land. As a result, a whole generation died in the wilderness having not received the promise. Instead they wandered around in the desert until they died.

Does this sound like you? We all struggle with the obedience factor from time to time. But if we are going to inherit the blessings, if we are going to fulfill our destiny, if we are going to step into our God ordained purposes, if the Lord is going to receive the glory that He is due through our lives, then we are going to have to couple our willingness with some obedience.

Have a great day. Willingness has to go hand in hand with obedience in order to receive the blessing.

For further reading:
Matthew 26:41
Hebrews 3:18,19
Deuteronomy 8:20
Philippians 2:7-9

Friday, July 16, 2010


"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6

Do you know someone who worries about everything or gets anxious about even the little things? Some people just don't seem to be happy unless they have something to worry about. Perhaps that describes you?

Being anxious opens the door to confusion and robs us of peace. Being anxious is a time and energy waster because all our worrying can't change anything. Worrying will affect your health and cause emotional problems. And most importantly, worrying about the situation shows a lack of trust and faith in God.

It is not God's plan for us to be worriers. It is not part of the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. There will always be situations that arise in our lives that will try to make us fret, be anxious and worry. We will all at some point in time face difficulties and things that are too big for us to handle. But it is not the facing them that is the issue, it's "HOW" we face them that is. Are we going to face them by worrying about them when there is nothing that we can do about them anyway? Or are we going to cast them upon the Lord? Are we going to give them to Him because He is well able to take care of them? Are we going to trust Him with them and believe that He will work the situation out for our good? Which will you choose to do?

Have a great day. Worrying never solved anything, but it does reveal whether your confidence lies in God or not.

For further reading:
Philippians 4:7
Matthew 6:25-30
Psalm 37:7
John 10:10
Romans 8:28
1 Peter 5:7

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Bogged Down"

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh." Romans 8:12

Have you ever been "bogged down"? The term means to "be stuck"; "cause to slow down"; "grind to a halt.". Years ago we lived on a creek so we spent a lot of time enjoying the sand bar and water. At times you could be walking along on the sand and all of a sudden you would step onto a soft place and bog down- we called these soft spots "quick sand". Once you got in one you would sink to your knees. Getting out was very difficult, especially if it was a large area. You would have to try to pull your leg out and try to make a step with your other leg, and usually it would bog down too. You would have to keep trying to make steps, one after the other, until you could finally get back on solid ground.

There are several things that can bog you down physically- mud, quick sand, snow. People can get "bogged down" in their thoughts and in their emotions. You can also get bogged down by pressures on your job- added work when you haven't finished the first assignment.

There is another area of being "bogged down" that I want to discuss this morning. It is something that will bog you down spiritually to keep you from advancing in victory, in knowing God's purpose for your life and in fulfilling your destiny. It's your own flesh. Your flesh is like a "boggy" place. It wants to suck you in and get you stuck so that you can't move or go anywhere in your walk and relationship with the Lord.

The more time you spend catering to your flesh, the more time you spend giving into its wants and desires, the more time you spend entertaining it, the more time you spend feeding its appetites, lusts and desires... the more "bogged down" you will become. It is like that quick sand that I described earlier. It will get a strong hold on you and won't let you go- you'll be stuck! And you will have to struggle and work hard to get yourself out. (And believe me, the flesh doesn't let go easily.) The only way that it will let go of its hold is through death. The flesh has to die.

Are you wondering why you feel like you aren't making any progress? Do you feel like you aren't going anywhere and wonder why you are at a stand still? Are you struggling but not advancing? Perhaps it is your flesh that is bogging you down? I described above what we would have to do to get free from the areas of quick sand. To get ourselves free from the flesh that has caused us to get stuck/bogged down is by denying it. The more we deny our flesh, the more freedom from it we have. The more freedom we have from it, the less power it has over us. The less power it has over us, the harder it is to get bogged down. The harder it becomes to get bogged down by the flesh, the easier it is to live in the spirit.

Have a great day. Is your flesh bogging you down? Then get unstuck by denying it, crucifying it and yielding to the Spirit.

For further reading:
Romans 8:13; 6:6,7
Galatians 2:20; 5:16,17,25

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Thy Will"

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10

"Thy will be done". How often we pray this simple pray. But praying it and saying it is one thing, while meaning and following it is another. It's easy to say, "Let Your will be done", but what happens when the will of God conflicts with our will. What happens when His will takes us in a direction that we would not choose? What happens when His will doesn't line up with our plans and agenda?

When we say, "Thy will be done", we usually mean as long as it takes us to the "palace" not the "pit"; an "oasis" not the "desert"; the "mountain top" not the "valley". But the will of God doesn't always take us into bright, sunny, pleasant places. Remember Jesus was lead into the wilderness by the Spirit. And what about the cross- it was the will of God.

The will of God will often take us into places that we would not choose for ourselves. The places where His will would take us are not always easy- often they are hard. So what do we do then? How easy is it to submit to His will then? Do we surrender to His will or do we totally ignore it and fulfill our own will?

The will of God may not be a pleasant place at the moment, but it is taking us somewhere. For Joseph the pit was the first stepping stone to the palace. For Jesus the wilderness was the place where He got victory over the temptations of the flesh and empowerment for the work He was sent to do. For Jesus the cross, though it looked like a place of death, actually was the place that provided an open door to eternal life.

We need not fear or draw back from the will of God when it takes us into unpleasant places. We just need to submissively follow His will and trust that through it He is working all things together for our good and that even the unpleasant places are stepping stones that take us from glory to glory.

Have a great day. God's will is not always in accordance with our will, but choose to follow His will because it is taking you to a greater plan than you have for yourself.

For further reading:
Matthew 4:1-11; 26:39
2 Corinthians 3:18
Romans 8:28

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Fearful Times"

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

For the last several months this verse has come up every time I turn around. We did a study on it at our church. My pastor has been preaching from it. I have heard it mentioned at prayer group. It has come up in conversation with others. Several of the preachers on television have mentioned it as well. It has come up through various emails I have received. When you keep hearing something repeated over and over again, you can be sure that the Lord is trying to say something to you.

We have been talking about what a "good" God our Heavenly Father is, so in His goodness toward us He keeps sending this verse to encourage and comfort us. We are living in fearful times. The economy looks bad. People are afraid of losing their jobs. They are afraid of losing their homes and everything they have worked hard to get. They are afraid because of the threat of war. Violence seems to be plaguing the nation- even once quiet, safe communities are experiencing violence. If you take a look around you the condition of the world is getting more fearful each day.

People have experienced fearful times throughout history. But those whose trust and faith were in God had nothing to fear. The Israelites had nothing to fear when the plagues were falling around them in Egypt. Noah had nothing to fear when the flood waters came. Lot and his family had nothing to fear when destruction fell upon the city. Daniel had nothing to fear when facing the lion's den. The three Hebrew boys had nothing to fear when faced with the fiery furnace. The Israelites had nothing to fear though sure destruction was all around them when they were hemmed in between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army. And you and I have nothing to fear "through the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. (Psalm 46:2,3) We having nothing to fear because the Lord is our refuge, our present help in times of trouble, because we have the promise that He will never leave us not forsake us, because He is our provider, because His grace is sufficient for whatever comes our way, and as we trust in Him He gives us a peace that will establish our hearts and minds. And when the "spirit of fear" tries to attack us, He has given us everything we need to defeat it- power, love and a sound mind.

We can't stop fearful situations from coming, but we can stop fear from taking us as its prisoner when they do come. We might be in fearful times, but fear doesn't have to be in us. Fear can be render powerless in our lives if we will keep our hearts and minds fixed and stayed upon the Lord and upon His wonderful promises to be with us.

Have a great day. Fearful times come, but we don't have to give into the fear. We can have victory over it through Jesus Christ because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

For further reading:
Psalm 91
Hebrews 13:5
Isaiah 26:3

Monday, July 12, 2010

"God Is Good - Part 2"

"And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God." Mark 10:18

In the last Coffee Break I talked about how people accuse God of not being good just because bad things happen. I tried to redirect our focus to the good things that He has bestowed on us- such a waking us up this morning, giving us a roof over our head, food on our table, etc. One of the subscribers to the devotional sent me an email asking me a question. The question was, "If someone doesn't have a roof over their head or food to eat, then does that mean that God is not good to them?" I decided to answer this person through the devotional this morning.

I certainly never intended to make it sound as if God's goodness is linked solely to the fact of a person receiving certain physical and material blessings. That is why I wanted to address the subject again this morning and clarify in case I gave the wrong impression. The fact of the matter is, God is good, period! He is good even if He never does anything good for us. If He allows bad things to happen, if He never supplies another need, if He never sends us another provision, even if He turned His back upon us, it would not change the fact that HE IS GOOD. Good is His nature, it is who He is- not just what He does.

Can I explain why bad things happen? Can I explain why some seem to be more blessed than others? Can I explain why not all of those who love the Lord don't have a roof over their head, enough food to eat or are suffering for Christ? To be honest, no, I can't. But I do know that it doesn't mean that God is not good and good to us. The greatest act of goodness that God has shown to us, as I said in the last devotional, was that of giving His Son Jesus to pay the ransom and take the punishment for our sins so that we might have the opportunity to receive eternal life.

Just because Joseph was thrown into a pit, didn't mean that God wasn't good or good to him. Just because Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, or the three Hebrews were thrown into the fiery furnace, didn't mean that God had ceased to be good. Just because Stephen was stoned to death for preaching the gospel didn't mean that God was not good. Even when God doesn't do in our lives what we consider as good, it doesn't mean that He is not still good. And even when He doesn't do what we classify as "good", we know that He is working ALL (even what we consider bad) things together for our good.

I thank the person for writing, I always appreciate the comments, because I certainly didn't want to give the impression that God is only good, or good to us, when we see some sort of material blessing He has sent to us. He is good regardless. And even if He never sends me one more morsel of food, or if I find myself homeless, He has already been so much better to me than I deserve.

Have a great day. God is good... period! And the greatest expression of His goodness came through the cross when He gave His own Son for us.

For further reading:
Luke 18:19
Psalm 52:1, 31:19
Isaiah 63:7

Friday, July 9, 2010

"God Is Good"

"Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart." Psalm 73:1

Many people accuse God of not being good by saying, "If He is good, then why does He allow bad things to happen? If He is good why are there wars and violence? If God is good where is He when evil seems to be prevailing?" They just want to focus on the bad and negative. Just because bad things happen doesn't mean that God is not good or that He has ceased to be good. This morning I want to draw your attention to some areas where we see the goodness of God.

Did you wake up this morning? It was the goodness of God that woke you up. Do you have a roof over your head, shoes on your feet, food to eat? Then you are a recipient of God's goodness. It was the goodness of God that did not wipe all of mankind out of existence when Adam disobeyed Him by eating the forbidden fruit.

The greatest expression of God's goodness was the cross. Mankind blew it when Adam sinned, yet God in His goodness and love toward us, sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we could have another chance to have eternal life and a relationship with Him.

If a person would just take the time to look at the good things that the Lord has done in their life, instead of focusing on the bad, they would find that God's goodness towards them far out weighs any accusation that He is anything but good. Today, take time to count the ways that God has been good to you. You will find that it's too many to count.

Have a great day. God is still good even when bad things happen.

For further reading:
Psalm 52:1
Romans 2:4
Lamentations 3:22
James 1:17

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Dilly Dally"

"Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" Isaiah 58:7

In the movie, "Gone With the Wind", there was a scene where Melanie was in labor and it looked like Scarlett was going to have to deliver the baby. Scarlet sent her maid Prissy to go get the doctor. After a long period of time Scarlett wondered why Prissy wasn't back yet and why the doctor hadn't come. Scarlett heard something and looked out the window. There was Prissy, casually strolling around outside singing to herself as if she didn't have a care in the world. When Scarlett asked her where the doctor was she informed her that the doctor wasn't coming.

I brought this scene from the movie up because the Lord spoke it to my heart during prayer this morning. He let me know that too many Christians are "dilly-dallying" around. To "dilly-dally" means to: postpone doing what one should be doing; to drag one's feet, to procrastinate; spend time idly, loaf. He explained the scene from the movie to me in spiritual terms. While Melanie was in labor, at the threshold of giving birth, in a crucial and important place in her life, Prissy was unconcerned, uninterested and ignoring the situation.

He let me know that this is where most of the church is- dilly-dallying. While we should be involved in the work of the kingdom we are dragging our feet and taking our own sweet time about doing anything. While we should be helping in the process of seeing new souls birthed into the kingdom, we are busy with other things. We are procrastinating doing the things that we should be doing to reach the lost, to minister to the hurting, to lift up the downcast, to make Christ known to others. We are acting as if the needs that are around us are not very important and instead we are going along nonchalantly about our own business. We spend our time idly on worthless things while all around us "labor" is taking place in the lives of our family, friends and co-workers. They are hurting, they are crying in pain, they are facing transition. People are torn between surrendering their lives to Christ or remaining lost in their sins. People are needing to know that they are not alone, they need someone to help show them the way, they need to know that someone cares and someone loves them.

One of the most famous lines in the whole "Gone With the Wind" movie came from Prissy during the scene I described for you above. "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies." We may not always know what to do to reach out, or how to do it, but we will never do it if we don't get in the position where whether we know what we are doing or not, we know that we have a commission and commandment to fulfill. And we need to stop "dilly-dallying" around and get busy fulfilling our call so that those who are in pain, those who are hurting and those who are crying out for help can find what they need through Jesus as we point them to Him.

Have a great day. Are you dilly-dallying? Or are you about the kingdom's business?

For further reading:
John 9:4
Proverbs 18:9
Romans 12:10,11
James 2:15,16

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"It Comes From Him"

"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." 1 Chronicles 29:14

I believe one of the reasons why David was a man after God's own heart was because David understood something that I think we have perhaps forgotten. David knew that all he had belonged to God. He knew that everything that he gave to God was because God had given it to him. David knew that his strength came from God. He knew that whatever victory he had received was not because of his own might or power but because God gave him the victory. David knew that whatever work was accomplished through him it was because God was enabling him to do it.

David never took the credit for anything. He knew that without the Lord he had nothing and could do nothing. We later saw this same attitude in our beloved Savior Jesus. He acknowledged that without God He could do nothing. He always pointed to the Father as His strength, provider and the One who did the works.

We may be gifted. We may have certain abilities. We may have received victories. We may have financial, material or spiritual blessings, but they all came from God. Who is it that gives us the power to get wealth? The Lord. Who is it that gives us hind's feet in high places? The Lord. Who is it that gives us wisdom, a word in season, strength when we are weak, supplies all our needs and gives us our daily bread? The Lord, the Lord, the Lord. Who calms the raging storms in our lives, quenches the fire in the trials, parts the sea so that we can reach the other side, shuts the mouth of the accuser? Again, the Lord.

We need not ever forget that everything we have and everything we have been blessed to have, has not come through the works of our own hands, through our skill, through our abilities, but it comes from God who so graciously gives us all that we need, when we need it.

Have a great day. All things come from God. We have nothing that He hasn't given to us.

For further reading:
John 3:27; 5:19,30; 15:5; 14:10
Psalm 100:3
Habakkuk 3:19

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"A Limp"

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12

For some reason when I read this verse, I get a visual image of Jacob leaning upon his staff. If you remember the story he had an encounter with the Lord and walked with a limp from that day forward. It was during that encounter that Jacob's name was changed from Jacob- meaning deceiver- to Israel- meaning prince.

What a dramatic "transformation". To have God call you a "prince" when you were known as a deceiver. That certainly would have been quiet an experience, one no doubt that could have easily "puffed" him up. He could have become proud and arrogant. That wasn't God's plan for Jacob, so at the same time his name was being changed he received a limp. Though he was now a "prince", he had to depend upon the support of a staff to help him walk-- how humbling.

I think also about the Apostle Paul. He saw things that wasn't lawful for men to see. He was taken into places by God and shown things that could have easily puffed him up with pride. But again, that wasn't God's plan for him either. So, thus the "thorn in the flesh". The buffeting he received kept Paul humble.

When God is doing something through your life, when He is giving you revelation and insight, when He is using you in the gifts of the Spirit, when He is doing signs and wonders through you, when He is taking you "from glory to glory", the last thing you need to do is allow yourself to get "puffed up". Guard against spiritual pride-- it will cause you to fall. That isn't God's plan for you either.

We may be being used by God to bring Him glory, but we all walk with a "limp" (the inability to walk without help), thus having to depend upon a "staff" to hold us up. None of us can ever think that we can do it on our own. None of us can ever think that we can walk this walk by ourselves. None of us can ever think that we don't need God's help- we do. The Lord is the "staff" that supports us through our daily journey. Without Him holding us up, we will surely fall.

Have a great day. We all have a "limp"- the need for help and support. The Lord is that "staff" that holds us up.

For further reading:
Genesis 32:20-30
2 Corinthians 12:6,7
Proverbs 16:18
Psalm 23:4

Monday, July 5, 2010


"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Matthew 7:16

So many Christians think it's all about the "power"- power to do miracles, heal the sick, cast out devils, etc. That is part of what we have been commissioned to do, and God has empowered us to do His works through the Holy Spirit. But it is also about our "fruit".

Christians should be identified by their love, by joy, by peace and so on. Jesus didn't say that we would be known as His disciples by the miracles that are performed through our lives. Or by the number of demons that we cast out in His name. Or by how many people are healed as a result of our hands being laid on them. But He did say that they would know that we belong to Him by our fruit. He also said that men would know that we are His disciples if we walk in love toward each other.

Let me ask you this morning-- are you casting out devils yet you are abusive to your spouse? Are you laying hands on the sick and they are recovering, but you are arrogant and full of pride? Are you teaching and preaching the word of God, yet you are mean spirited and treat others badly? Are you doing the work of the Lord but you cuss your children out and you act like a tyrant in your home? Then something is wrong! Don't let the fact that you are doing many wonderful works in Jesus name deceive you into thinking that "all is well". It's not according to the rest of Matthew 7. And the Bible tells us that even the devils can do "signs and wonders".

We are told to be imitators of Christ. That means more than just in the area of works-- the first imitation is in the nature. And His nature is that of love. "Fruit" and "works" should both be evident in the Christian's life. But the works are not the proof of your Christianity, the fruit is.

Have a great day. Even the devil can imitate Christ's works, but he can't imitate His nature- the "fruit".

For further reading:
Matthew 7:16-23; 24:24
John 13:35
2 Thessalonians 2:9
Galatians 5:22-23
Ephesians 5:1-5

Friday, July 2, 2010

"If He Walked In"

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3

I have something to ask you this morning. "If Jesus walked into the room where you were, would you do anything differently?" If He walked in would you change your speech and the language you were using? Would you change the channel on the television? Would you change your clothes? Would you try to hide something that you have in your hand? Or would you continue as you were?

I have a feeling that if Jesus did literally walk into the room where some, if not most, Christians were, they would start making some immediate changes- such as was described above. I want to leave you with a thought today, and the thought is another question. "Why?" Why would you do anything differently than you are doing now?

We should live as if Jesus were standing beside us all the time- because in reality, He is. He is with you wherever you are. He sees everything you do and hears everything you say. I think it is a little amusing, in a sad sort of way, when people that I am around will let a curse word "slip" and then say to me, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that". I understand that they are apologizing to me out of respect for who I am- and I appreciate that. But my reply is always, "You don't have to apologize to me, God heard you". He is the one that we need to be concerned about offending. If we will change what we do and what we say out of respect for an individual, shouldn't we be much more concerned about changing it before God.

A Christian's first priority is to please our loving Heavenly Father- in our actions, attitudes, speech, attire, conduct, etc. If we will strive to do that, we would never have to worry about or change anything we are doing if He really were to walk into the room.

Have a great day. Are you living your life as if Jesus is always standing there watching? The reality is--- He is watching!

For further reading:
Matthew 28:20
Hebrews 4:13
Psalm 139:1-12

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"The Donkey"

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." 1 Corinthians 1:26

Yesterday while my daughter was cutting my hair, my two year old granddaughter came in the room with some of her toys. She brought in a very beautiful horse figure- she loves horses. Then she brought in a little donkey toy she had- she was telling me how the donkey "goes"; (what sound it makes). Being a grandmother, who is a Christian, naturally I want to try to use any opportunity to instill God's word and teachings in her. So when she brought me the little donkey, I started telling her that the donkey was a very important animal in the Bible. It carried Mary to Bethlehem where she gave birth to Baby Jesus. It also was the only animal in the Bible that ever talked- it warned a wayward prophet not to get out of God's will. A donkey also carried Jesus into Jerusalem just days before He was crucified in what we call the Triumphant Entry.

While I was trying to "teach" her, the Holy Spirit was teaching me. We tend to look at the donkey as the "least" of the animals- they aren't very important. We consider them to be dumb. Certainly there is no comparison between the donkey and its distant "cousin" the mighty Stallion. The horse looks stronger, more beautiful, more impressive. Who would chose a donkey over a horse if they had to choose. Remember the famous words from the Shakespearean play spoken by Richard III, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse." It wasn't a donkey that was desired.

In our way of thinking the donkey may not be the most important animal, it may not be the mightiest or the most desirable, but it was the one that God chose many times, even over the horse. We tend to think the same way about people- we classify them. We consider/choose people according to their beauty, their talents, their education, their strength, their position, their status and by their wealth. We are "respecters" of persons. But God isn't. He actually will chose the weak and foolish over the strong and wise. He will use those who we throw away or cast to the side as some of His mightiest servants. He used a little shepherd boy- not the king- to destroy a giant. He used a servant to speak to the leader of an army to obey the words of the prophet. He used the king's cup bearer to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He used a murderer to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage. He used Gideon who was a coward to deliver Israel from the oppression of their enemies. And the list goes on.

God doesn't choose the same way we do. He doesn't place importance and value on people the same way we do either. On the contrary, He chooses what we think is not very important.

Have a great day. You may be feeling like the "donkey" who wishes it was a Stallion. Stop! Because when God is choosing, He will pick the donkey.

For further reading:
1 Corinthians 1:25-29
Romans 2:11
2 Kings 5:1-13