Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"God's Thoughts"

NOTE: I am leaving this morning to go out of town, so there won't be a Coffee Break sent out the rest of the week. May God bless you all with a truly wonderful week and may He be highly exalted in your life each and every day. Love and blessings!

"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 2:11

Everyone of us have thoughts. And the thing about our thoughts is that they are private. No one but ourselves know what we are thinking unless we choose to share them with someone else. The Bible tells us that God has thoughts also and no one knows what He is thinking either unless He chooses to share it.

Do you ever wonder what God thinks about? (Let me make something perfectly clear before we start- I am in no way saying that I understand the thoughts of God, know everything He is thinking, or can understand His thoughts. But there are some things that I know are on His mind because the Bible tells me what they are.)

So what does God think about? He thinks about YOU! He thinks about how much He loves you. That is what was on His mind when He sent His only begotten Son Jesus into the world to save us from our sins. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16,17) At the cross, you were on His mind. Thoughts of you and me having the opportunity of living with Him forever if He would endure the suffering of the cross, far out weighed the pain that was engulfing His body. "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." (Heb. 12:2)

He thinks about the plans that He has for you- plans to give you blessings, hope and a future. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11-KJV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)

There is no doubt that God is thinking about you, and He thinks about you all the time. What do you think about? Is He the subject of your thoughts? Do you think about Him? Do you think about His goodness that He bestows on your everyday? Do you think about His grace? Do you think about His will and purpose for your life? Do you think about what you can do to bless Him? Or are your thoughts more self-centered and self- absorbed? Do you think about everything and everyone else besides Him? Just what do you think about?

Have a great day. What does God think about? He thinks about you. What do you think about? Is it Him?

For further reading:
Isaiah 49:14-16; 55:7,8,9
Philippians 4:8
Psalm 10:4

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Guard Your Heart"

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." Hebrews 3:12

When the Lord gives us a warning in His word, it would definitely do us good to pay attention to what He is saying. His warnings are always for our benefit. Above is one of those warning. What is the warning? The warning is- in a nutshell- "guard your heart". Be careful not to allow it to become unbelieving.

He uses the example of Israel here to teach us what He means. In verse ten He tells us that they were always going astray from Him in their hearts. The heart is the "heart of the matter". The Bible tells us that God is after our hearts. It tells us that with our hearts we believe unto salvation. The greatest commandment is that we love the Lord with all our heart.

They didn't guard their hearts. They allowed unbelief to come in even after they had seen all the miracles that He had done for them. They tempted Him to do more after He had already given them everything they needed- their hearts were full of discontent. When He tried to take them into the promised land, they did not believe that He was able to do it. They believed what they saw instead of what He said. They also wanted God to fulfill their every desire and follow their plans- when, where and how they wanted things to go.

Are you following in their footsteps? Are you listening to the accusations of the enemy against God? Are you tempting Him? Are you listening to the negative reports when He has already given you His word on the matter? Are you dissatisfied with what God is doing? Are you trying to make Him conform to your plans and do things your way? Then beware and on guard, you are on your way to having a "straying heart" and a straying heart strays away from God. And when it strays away from God there are consequences. (Just ask those Israelites who did not enter into the promised land.) Or are you guarding your heart from unbelief?

How do we keep from departing/straying from the Lord? How do we keep from having an evil heart of unbelief? By guarding our heart. We do that by keeping it clean and pure before Him. That is done through faith. Believe what He says. Cleave to Him no matter what. Trust Him no matter what the situation looks like. Follow Him and allow Him to do the leading. Renew your mind with His word. Hide His word in your heart. Refuse to listen to the accusations of the enemy. Be content where you are at the moment but keep seeking Him. Let His word establish peace in your heart. Be led by the Spirit and not your own flesh or selfish desires. Remember, the just live by faith, not by sight... and not by our wants and desires.

Have a great day. Guard your heart from unbelief so that you don't depart from the Lord.

For further reading:
Proverbs 4:23
Psalm 51:10; 119:11
Romans 12:2
Hebrews 3:1-2; 13:5
2 Corinthians 5:7
Galatians 5:16
Philippians 4:11

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Good Jealousy"

"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy." 2 Corinthians 11:2a

Jealousy is not a good thing. The Bible tells us that it is a work of the flesh and commands us not to allow it in our lives. But I want to submit to you this morning that there is one kind of jealousy that is permitted and that we must have active in our lives. It is being jealous over our time with the Lord.

One of the definitions in the dictionary of jealous is- possessive and watchful in the maintenance or protection (of). When it comes to our time with the Lord, we have to be watchful of the things that would try to come and steal that time from us. We have to be on guard so as to not let any distractions or hindrances keep us from our place where we meet with Him. We must do whatever we have to in order to maintain that intimate time with Him- lay aside some outside activities, set the clock a little earlier, turn the phone off, etc. We must "jealousy" protect our quiet time, our "closet" time, our alone time with the Lord. It is the most important part of our life and we must guard it with all diligence. We can't afford to "sacrifice" it for anything else. Nothing else is as important. Communion, fellowship, relationship, intimacy with the Lord is why we were created.

How jealous are you over your time with the Lord? Do you make sure you don't let anything hinder you from having it? Do you give it up easily without reservation or a fight? Do you sacrifice other things in order to have that quiet time in His presence or is it what you sacrifice? Do you give in to the distractions and give up trying to have that time, or do you persevere until you have it? Examine your life and relationship with the Lord, are you watchfully protecting it, or giving it up?

Have a great day. It is all right to be jealous when it comes to having time alone with the Lord.

For further reading:
Mark 12:30; 1:35
Hebrews 12:1
Luke 10:38-42

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Better Than Before"

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

There is a home improvement show that I like to watch from time to time. The show is about a carpenter/contractor who goes in and "fixes" correctly people's homes after the original contractor did a terrible job.

This week one of the shows was about a kitchen floor that had to be replaced for an elderly lady because it was installed improperly. This carpenter and his team didn't just fix what was wrong with the floor, but they went on and redid the whole kitchen. When he was finished, the lady had a brand new kitchen- new appliances, new cabinets, countertops- the works. It wasn't only fixed correctly but it was much better than she had before.

As I thought about that episode, I couldn't help but think about how Jesus- the Master Carpenter- takes our "houses" (lives) that have been destroyed by sin and comes in and "repairs" them and puts them back together again.

Not only does He put us "back together again" by giving us life, but He makes us so much better than we were when He found us. He made us into brand new creations- old things passed away and all things are become new. He doesn't just give us life, but He gives us eternal life and abundant life.

Is your life broken by sin? Has it left your life in shambles? Jesus specializes in taking what is broken and not only does He put it back together again but He makes it brand new.

Have a great day. Jesus not only repairs our destroyed lives, but He leaves us so much better than He found us by giving us a new life.

For further reading:
John 10:10; 1:4
Isaiah 58:12
Ephesians 3:20

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"The Fish's Belly"

"So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey." Jonah 3:3

The first time God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, Jonah disobeyed and ran in the opposite direction. But later Jonah obeyed and did what God told him to do in the first place. Between the first time God told Jonah to go and the second time, Jonah found himself in the midst of a storm and in the belly of a big fish. Just think, if Jonah had obeyed the first time he could have saved himself a lot of grief, trouble and pain.

We tend to be like Jonah at times. The Lord will give us instructions and we "run" from it. While we are "running" we go through our own problems that are attached to the disobedience. If only we would learn to just obey the first time, we too could save ourselves from going through some of the things we go through because of disobedience. Disobedience will always take us to a "fish's belly"- a place of darkness, a place where there is no peace, no rest, confusion, distress, frustration, guilt, condemnation, and the list goes on.

Are you running from the command of the Lord this morning? Has He instructed you to go in a specific direction yet you are running in another? Are you ignoring Him altogether and going in your own direction, following your own plan? Are you putting off doing what He has told you to do? Perhaps that explains why you are going through some of what you are going through-- the "fish's belly"?

Have a great day. We could save ourselves a lot of pain and grief if we would just obey the Lord the first time.

For further reading:
1 Samuel 15:22
Romans 8:1
Hebrews 2:1-3

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Encounter Change"

"And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." Acts 9:6

Yesterday we talked about having a personal encounter with the Lord. This morning I want to talk a little more on that subject.

When we have a true encounter with the Lord Jesus, something takes place in us. Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute the church and stop the preaching of the gospel message. When he met Jesus while on his way to Damascus, it brought a change in Saul's life- a change in his purpose, his agenda and in his direction.

We see this true in the lives of all those in the Bible who had a personal encounter with the Lord. Their lives were forever changed. They were not the same people. Saul persecuted the church before. After the encounter he joined the church. Saul imprisoned those who were preaching the gospel of Jesus, afterward he himself preached it boldly everywhere he went. Saul had his life "mapped out". He was fulfilling his own plan, but once he met Jesus it was no longer about his plans in life but about Jesus' plan for him. "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Saul went in a totally different direction guided by the Lord and not self interest. "And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city."

There is no way that you can stay the same once you have truly "met" Jesus. He is the life changer. He takes us from darkness into light, from death into life, from burdened down to freedom, from confusion to peace and He makes us a new "creation"- that means we stop being the same people we once were. "But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." (v. 21,22)

If you have had an encounter with Jesus it will be evident- you won't possess the same ole religious only behavior, because you have experienced the life giving power of the One who changes and transforms. Having this encounter just gets you "on the new path" heading in a new direction- His direction and not your own. But daily you have to have fresh encounters with the Lord Jesus. This is why you cannot neglect the place of communion with Him- it has to be part of your daily life. Each time you encounter Him there is new life, new peace, new joy, new direction and new purpose that is imparted to you.

Have a great day. When we encounter Jesus, we are not the same. And each time we encounter Him we change a little more.

For further reading:
Acts 9
2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Encounter Relationship"

NOTE: I am doing and feeling much better. God is faithful and I praise Him for that. Thank you for the love, words of comfort, support and prayers you have prayed for me. I have been so blessed by each of your notes. I am so blessed to have such wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord in my life! Love and blessings, Lorraine

Coffee Break

"Encounter Relationship"

"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven." Acts 9:3

Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute any Christians that he found there. But something happened to him before he got there. He had a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus. "And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest ." (v. 5) As a result, Saul's purpose and agenda completely changed. He still went to Damascus but instead of arresting the Christians and persecuting the church, he preached the same message he was trying to destroy and became a Christian himself. "Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God." (vvs.19,20)

Why such a dramatic change in Saul? He was already a religious person. He knew the scriptures and he kept the law. It's one thing to be religious, it is another thing to have a relationship. Saul changed from being just religious to having a relationship with the Lord. This happened when he had a personal encounter with Jesus.

A personal encounter with Jesus is what brings about the change. You can't have a relationship with the Lord based on someone else's experience. Just because your pastor, your parents, your spouse, your friend or your coworker has had an experience with the Lord and is a Christian doesn't mean you are. Just because you were born into a Christian family or hang around Christian people doesn't mean that you have a relationship with the Lord. Just because you sit in church doesn't mean you have a relationship with the Lord- look at Saul. It doesn't happen by "association". It happens by encounter- you have to "meet" Him for yourself.

There were other men who were with Saul when he had his encounter, yet none of them had an encounter with Jesus- and none of them had a change take place in their lives. Have you had this personal, life changing encounter with Jesus? Are you living in relationship with Him or are you just having a religious existence?

Have a great day. A personal encounter with Jesus brings you into a life changing relationship with Him.

For further reading:
Acts 9
Philippians 3:4-8

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Counting My Blessings"

"Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." Psalm 40:5

God hasn't just done one or two wonderful works, He has done many more than we could count or are even aware of. The same is true in each one of our lives individually. He has done so many wonderful works, answered so prayers, given daily provisions, shown acts of mercy and kindness, that it is impossible to name them all. There is an old hymn that we used to sing when I was a little girl- "Count Your Blessings". It encouraged you to count your many blessing one by one and just see what God has done.

This morning I want to encourage you to take time today to "count your blessings". Too often we spend our time talking about what we don't have, how we feel that God has failed us or we concentrate primarily on our needs. We forget to be thankful for the many things we have been blessed with. So why not take time today to just sit down and thank God for all the wonderful works He has done in your life. Spend some time thinking about your blessings and counting them instead of spending time thinking solely about your needs. When you start counting your blessings, you will quickly discover the blessings become way too many to count.

Have a great day. Count your blessings instead of counting your needs.

For further reading:
Psalm 92:1; 68:19; 75:1; 97:12
Ephesians 1:3

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Readjust Your Focus"

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

Your real enemy is not the one that is seen but the unseen one. Your spouse, or ex-spouse, your children, your employer or anyone else who seems to be opposing you is not the real enemy. We do have a real enemy and he is the one who is out to steal, kill and destroy. Our enemy is the devil. He goes about seeking whom he may devour.

We often talk about staying "focused"- focused on the Lord, on His purpose for our lives, on the vision that He has given us, on the mark and prize that is set before us. But we forget we are to "focus" on our enemy. Let me explain what I mean.

One definition for the word focus is: maximum clarity or distinctness of an image rendered by an optical system. When a hunter is in the woods and he spots the animal he wants to shoot, he puts that animal in his sights and gets it focused in order to have a good clear aim so that when he pulls the trigger he will hit his prey. If he doesn't have the animal in his sights and a good clear (focused) image of it he will waste his bullets and the intended target will get away. If we are "aiming" at others and focused on them as if they were the intended target/enemy we will miss the real enemy and he will get away.

My husband is a hunter and ever so often he has to readjust the sights on his gun. This readjustment makes sure that when he sees his intended prey he will have a clear image of it so that he will not miss. We need to make some readjustments from time to time when it comes to dealing with those that we consider to be our enemies. Our "optical system" (sights) is God's word. When we adjust or readjust our attitude toward the person or situation, and line it up with God's word, then we will get a clear image of what is in our sights. It will show us if we have the real enemy or the perceived enemy in them. And we will be able to take a more accurate aim--- and hit the real target.

Have a great day. Are you "focused" on the real enemy?

For further reading:
2 Corinthians 2:11
John 10:10
1 Peter 5:8

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


"I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 89:1

Do you mind if I just testify this morning? Yesterday I had the privilege of keeping my little two year old granddaughter. She loves for "nana" to play with her and she loves to go outside. While we were playing outside, "nana" made a discovery-- I am not as young as I used to be! We were playing with a ball on a couple of ramps and I lost my balance and fell off-- boy did I fall! I landed on my back, to be more exact- on my "behind'. The pain was "excruciating" immediately. I could not get up. All I could do was lay there for a while. I started praying and asked my grandbaby to pray and ask Jesus to help me. Finally after a while of fighting through the pain which made me nauseous, and the urge to pass out, I was able to make it into the house and lay down for a while. Honestly, I felt like I either broke or fractured something- my coccyx or hip. But even at that I kept praying the scriptures over myself- "no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and He keeps all my bones so that nothing is broken".

Late yesterday evening I finally wound up in the ER. In the event that I had broken something I didn't want to make it worse, aggravate it, or cause it not to heal properly because of my "lack of knowledge" of the situation. After multiple x-rays, I am happy and thankful to report to you that there were no breaks or fractures! So this morning I am thanking the Lord for His faithfulness, His goodness and His promises.

Yesterday morning I was reading out of the Psalms, and when I finished I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude for God's promises- the fact that He is faithful as promised, not a man that He should lie and even though heaven and earth should pass away His word will not and there won't be even one of His great promises that fail. Before the day was over, I was "tested" in that very thing- His faithfulness to His promises. Often when you teach on a subject, have a revelation of God's word, or He speaks a particular thing to your heart, you get tried in it. That "trying" or 'testing" will either pull you down or build you up in your faith- how you respond to it determines which.

I am still in pain. It is hard to sit here this morning. I almost didn't send out the devotional because of the sitting, but then decided-- Jesus didn't let the pain He was suffering stop Him from going to the cross and fulfilling God's plan for His life. So this morning, I am not going to let this situation hinder me either. I just had to testify to His goodness! And He is good even when bad things happen. I hope my testimony has encouraged you this morning.

Have a great day. When bad things happen, it will test our faith and reveal the faithfulness of God even in trying situations.

For further reading:
Isaiah 54:17
Psalm 34:20
Hebrews 10:23
Numbers 23:19
1 Samuel 15:29
Matthew 24:35

Tuesday, October 12, 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

The scripture above is another one of my favorite ones (among many) because it is my testimony. Like the old hymn says, "I was sinking deep in sin far from the peaceful shore. Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, from the waters lifted me now save am I."

I was in a deep dark pit of sin, sinking deeper and deeper, dying more and more daily, unable to rescue and save myself. But then Jesus came along and threw down a blood stained rope and lifted me up out of the pit of sin that I was sinking in. Not only did He rescue me and pull me out, but He then set my feet upon a sure and solid foundation and gave me freedom so that I can walk on a path of light and life.

I am well aware of the pit that I once lived in before He rescued me and gave me life, hope and a future. It was a pit of death, but now I have been brought into life outside of the pit- salvation through Jesus Christ. He delivered me initially from the pit at salvation, but after salvation as I walk through life there are other "pits" that are out there that desire to make me their prisoner.

There is the pit of despair. The pit of fear and discouragement. There are the pits of grief, confusion, frustration, distractions and many more. When the doctor gives you a bad report, when you lose your job, when your spouse has been unfaithful, when your children become rebellious, there are pits of fear and anxiety awaiting you. They are so close that you can find yourself teetering on the edge. It is so easy to fall into the pit of we aren't aware of it. But the good news is that He still delivers from the pit.

Perhaps you are in a pit of despair this morning. Perhaps it is a pit of hopelessness. Whatever the pit may be, Jesus still delivers from the pit. This morning He is throwing you a life line out of the pit. He is reaching down to pull you out. But you have a choice. Are you going to stay in that pit or reach up and take hold of His strong right arm and be lifted out?

Have a great day. Life is full of pits, but Jesus still delivers us out of them.

For further reading:
Psalm 94:18; 30:3; 35:7; 69:15; 103:4
Job 33:29,30

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Waiting Patiently"

"I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry." Psalm 40:1

It is one thing to have to "wait"- none of us like to do that. We want everything when we want it- which is usually "now" or "sooner". But it is another thing to wait patiently. This morning I want to address the subject of "how" we wait for the Lord to answer our prayers and move in our lives.

Often we wait with anything but patience. Most people tend to wait with frustration- frustrated that it is taking so long for an answer. Some get aggravated because they even have to wait. Others are annoyed by the fact that they have to wait. Then you have those who actually get angry because God doesn't answer then at the moment they ask.

God doesn't answer every prayer immediately. In His wisdom the answer may come at a later date. But He does answer- "He inclined unto me". He does hear- "Heard my cry".

You may be in the waiting stage- waiting for an answer. That is not the real issue- waiting is a face of life, even when it comes to answered prayer. The real issue is "how" are you waiting? Take time today to examine your attitude if you are waiting on an answer from the Lord. How are you waiting- with frustration, aggravation, impatience, patience, faith, hope or peace?

Have a great day. Waiting is a fact of life, even when it comes to answered prayer. The real question is, "how are you waiting?".

For further reading:
Psalm 37:7; 130:5
Luke 21:19
Isaiah 30:18
Lamentations 3:25,26
Micah 7:7

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Love Revealed"

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

This is one of my favorite scriptures. It so beautifully expresses the nature and character of God- giving us a little better understanding of who He is.

In this scripture we see that God loves us. We discover that His love for us is not based on the fact that we are perfect- because we aren't- or that we don't make mistakes- because we do. We also discover that His love for us is not even based on the fact of us loving Him in return. He loves the sinner, the unlovable, the imperfect. He loves those who reject Him, are enemies against Him, who disobey Him, who blaspheme Him. He loves unconditionally, based on who He is and not on what we do.

We also discover that God isn't a "cheap talker". He doesn't say something without demonstrating it. He backs up what He says with action. "But God demonstrated His love toward us." If He says something, He will put action behind it. He didn't just say He loved us, He proved He loved us by doing something for us- providing a way to Him.

"While we were yet sinners". God doesn't wait until all the conditions are just right or perfect to fulfill His plans. He works according to the council of His own will. He didn't wait until we got our "act together" to come and save us from our sins- He reached out to us before we reached up to Him.

"Christ died for us." The great love of God was so perfectly demonstrated in Christ. There is no greater expression of love than to lay down your life for someone. God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the ransom price for our sins. He didn't send an angel or another human being. Instead He sent His best. He sent that which was most precious to Him- His Son.

Should you be feeling unloved today, take some time out and sit down and read this verse- over and over again- and listen to what it is not only saying but what it reveals. It reveals the incomprehensible love of our truly great and wonderful God who loved you so much. He loved you when you were undeserving, unlovely and at odds against Him. He loved you so much that He gave up His own Son in order to have a relationship with you. He didn't just say that He loved you, He devised a plan to show you that He loves you- and what a great plan it was and what a great love it demonstrated!

Have a great day. God showed us how great His love is for us by sending His Son Jesus to die for us.

For further reading:
John 3:16,17; 15:13
Ephesians 1:11
1 John 4:9,10

Thursday, October 7, 2010


"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Ephesians 4:26

Are you angry this morning- with someone, with a situation, with yourself? (I know I started out with a very pointed question this morning, but it is one that we need to address and get straight to the heart of the subject.)

The subject of anger is one of those things where the church seems to be divided- some teach that you should not get angry because it doesn't demonstrate Christian character; others teach that Jesus got angry so it is all right if we do.

Being angry is not a sin. The scripture above actually says to "be angry". There are times when we should be angry- over sin, when we see injustice, when we see others being abused and mistreated, when we see sacrilege in the house of God. It is a natural human emotion just like the emotion of happiness that we get when something good has happened to us. But having said that, the scripture also warns us in our anger to "sin not".

Anger that is left unchecked, that is not disciplined, that is not controlled will develop into something that is sinful. It will take root in our hearts and come out in "wrath". Jesus ruled His anger, His anger did not rule Him. Had it, when He turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple, He would not have stopped there, He would have called down the wrath of God to consume them all.

How do we keep from crossing the line from anger being a natural emotion to something that is sinful? "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath". There is our answer. When you are angry- for the right reason, not just because someone got on your last nerve or things didn't go according to your plans- then you need to make sure that you don't hold on to it and "stew" over it for days, weeks or years. At that point it is no longer anger but "wrath". So basically what the scripture is saying is, be angry but then get over it. Make sure you are over it before the sun goes down. So even while anger in some cases is not wrong, we are warned not to hold on to it but for a short time- until the sun goes down on that day.

Have a great day. Anger is not a sin, but holding on to it will lead to sin.

For further reading:
Proverbs 16:32; 15:18; 19:11; 14:17
Mark 11:15-17
Psalm 37:8
Ecclesiastes 7:9

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Adult or Child?"

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11

God doesn't always do what we want Him to do and when we want Him to do it. Just because He is all powerful we think that He should make everything in our lives better. We think He should always intervene so that nothing bad happens. We think He should answer every prayer we pray in the affirmative. Well, we live in a world that is under a curse and we also have been given the gift of choice, so things won't always go perfectly or the way we plan. When they don't go the way you would like, had planned or hoped they would go, are you going to be an "adult" about it, or act like a "child"? Let me explain myself.

Children don't know how to accept the word "no". They always want what they want. If they don't get it, they react with a couple of responses. They pout, get angry, some resort to temper tantrums, screaming and yelling. They are also famous for trying to wear you down through the endless, "but why?", question. A spiritual "child" responds to God when they don't get what they want, the same way.

To be an "adult", on the other hand, means you don't get angry with God. You don't blame Him, you don't threaten not to have anything else to do with Him, you don't turn your back on Him and walk away. (Like children who pick up their toys and go home.) Adults may ask the question "why?", but accept the answer and continue on with God, even if they still don't understand.

Children don't understand why they didn't get their way and will continue to press the issue until you either give them what they want or take measures to deal with their attitude. Adults trust that God has their best interest at heart and that He does, allows, or withholds every thing that concerns their lives based on His great love for them and His own wise council. Children live for the moment- instant gratification, fulfilled desires- and aren't content without attaining it right away. Adults know that God sees ahead and knows everything- the outcome, the consequences and the end result of certain things if allowed- and are content to put the matter in God's hand.

Look in the mirror and ask yourself today if you are a "child", spiritually speaking, or an "adult". Do you get angry with God or accept that He is all-wise and all-knowing and that whether you understand or not He will work all things together for your good? Are you not satisfied until He gives you an answer that tells you what you want to hear, or do you trust that His ways are perfect and leave it in His hands? So where are you at in your spiritual growth? Adult or child?

Have a great day. When things either do or don't go the way you planned or desire, do you act like a child or an adult?

For further reading:
Romans 8:28
1 Corinthians 3:1,2
Ephesians 4:14
2 Peter 3:17,18
1 Peter 2:2

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"What Did You Say?"

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29

I am going to read this verse from the Amplified Bible because it correctly defines the word "corrupt"-- "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."

In this verse we are told to watch our words- what to say and what not to say. I wonder why it was necessary to tell Christians not to use obscene or foul words, or profanity. You would think that we would never use that sort of speech because we are following the example of Christ, have His nature in us as well as the fact that we are being transformed into His likeness. But evidently it is necessary or the Holy Spirit would not have impressed on the writer to put this verse in there. Since it is in there, there must have been a need for it to be addressed. So we will address it this morning.

What type of words do you say? What "language" do you use? Do you use profanity? Do you have "by words" that you say in place of profanity? Do you say "worthless" things that really have nothing to do with anything? (Some people just like to hear themselves talk.) Do you speak evil of others? Are you always criticizing and judgmental? What about complaining- I know people who would have nothing to say if they didn't have something to complain about? Are you always talking doom and gloom, fear and doubt? Are you always "poor mouthing"? (That means feeling sorry for yourself and talking about how bad things are for you.) Or are your words full of praise and thanksgiving? Is your mouth filled with kindness and words of faith? Do you build people up or cut them down with your words? The old adage says, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me." Wrong! Words can be harmful. Are yours? Or are they beneficial?

Have a great day. Pay attention today to what kind of words are coming out of your mouth. Are you talking like Jesus would talk?

For further reading:
Psalm 19:14; 34:1; 89:1; 109:30
Proverbs 31:26
Romans 10:8
Colossians 4:6

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Eternal Riches"

"I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches." Psalm 119:14

Years ago a friend was sharing a dream that she had. In the dream she was in a room. In that room was a treasure chest full of gold and a table with a Bible on it. As she looked at both items the Lord spoke to her and told her to choose which one of the two she wanted. It was totally her choice- she could have the treasure chest full of gold or she could have the Bible.

If the Lord asked you to make that choice which would you choose? Would you choose the treasure chest full of gold or the Bible? That may have only been a dream and we may never actually have a chest full of gold within our grasp and have to choose between it or the Bible, but in reality each day we do have to choose between the things of this world and spiritual things. Each day we have to make choices to choose between those things that strengthen and build up our spirit man or our flesh.

At first glance the treasure chest may seem like the better choice of the two. But is it? Would you trade the eternal riches that are found in the words of the Bible for those that are temporary? Once the gold is spent it is gone. On the other hand, the Bible- God's word- will never run out. It will be there each time you need to make a "withdrawal" from its wisdom. Would you trade momentary pleasures for everlasting ones? Would you sacrifice real riches for those that moths and rust corrupt and thieves break in to steal? The riches of this world may see you through a temporary problem today but what about tomorrow?

Am I saying that it is wrong to have riches? No, but when it comes to choosing between the riches of this world and the spiritual riches, when it comes to choosing between that which is temporary and that which is eternal, there should be no contest. The choice should come easily. So today when you have a choice presented to you- read your Bible, have time in prayer, spend a moment in worship to the Father- will that be what you choice or will you choice something else that only brings temporary satisfaction and fulfillment? Choose wisely, your eternity depends on it.

Have a great day. What will you choose today? The temporary riches over the eternal ones, or vice versa?

For further reading:
Matthew 6:19
Proverbs 11:28; 13:7; 23:5;27:24
Mark 10:24
Luke 8:14
Romans 11:33
1 Timothy 6:17

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Receive Strength"

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:1

"Be strong". Are you feeling weak this morning? Weak in your faith? Weak in persevering? Weak in standing? The word strong this morning has a two-fold meaning. We aren't just commanded to be strong and not get weak or weary or give into weakness. But the word also means to "receive strength". The Lord is telling us through this word this morning-- don't get weak, receive strength.

If you are getting weak, don't continue to go that direction until you become so weak you just give up. Follow the admonishment that Paul gave to Timothy- receive strength.

Have you ever gone without food or water to the point where your whole body was weak and felt like you could hardly move or function? The remedy for that was what? Food or water. Once you received the sustenance you needed you were refresh and felt your strength coming back. From that point on you were able to continue to go on. Well, there is a remedy for the spiritual weakness that you are experiencing. It's called "grace".

In the times when we are feeling spiritually weak, we need to ask for the grace of God to be poured over our lives and take it in as the "nourishment" that we need. There is no reason for us to remain weak when there is an abundance of all that we need to be strengthened in order to carry on supplied to us- "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:13,19)

If you are weak, don't sit back and get weaker and weaker, do something about it. Pull up to the "table" and feast upon the presence, the word and the grace of God. Your strength will be renewed. Your joy will be restored- the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). You will feel spiritually refreshed and strong enough to "run through a troop and leap over a wall" (Psalm 18:29). You will regain the spiritual stamina that you need to "go the second mile". (Matthew 5:41)

Have a great day. Don't get weak, everything that you need to stay strong has been provided for you- now feast on it.

For further reading:
1 Samuel 14:20-28
2 Corinthians 12:9
Galatians 6:9