Friday, December 31, 2010

"He Is There"

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8

With the new year on the horizon, for many this will be a day of reflection. They will look back over the past year and recall the events that took place in their lives. Some of those memories will bring them joy, some will bring them pain. Some people will look back over the past year with regret and remorse because they did not accomplish the things they had planned to do. Some are glad the year is over and they now have the opportunity for a "fresh start". Others have high hopes for the coming new year. Then there are those who would love to keep holding on to this year. The past year, for most, has had its "ups" and "downs"- mainly because that is the way life is-- full of ups and downs, highs and lows, disappointments and joys, victories and defeats.

None of us know what the new year holds in store. It may be filled with nothing but blessings, or it may be filled with nothing but grief and heartache. Regardless of what lies ahead, there is one thing that we can rest assured of and it is what we said yesterday- Jesus will still be the same. The ups and downs, highs and lows of life don't affect Him. He will be as faithful to us in the coming year as He was in the previous one. He will still love us, be with us, guide us and meet our needs.

So as you look ahead, you have no reason to fear or be anxious about what might lie ahead. You aren't facing it alone. Keep your eyes fixed and your heart stayed upon the Lord. He is the Beginning and the End (the Alpha and Omega). That means that He will not only be there at the beginning and end, but He will also be right there in the middle (everyday), so we have nothing to be anxious about. Trust Him, keep close to Him. Walk with Him.

Have a great day. Do not be anxious about the coming new year, you won't be facing it alone.

For further reading:
Hebrews 13:8
Psalm 23:4
Matthew 28:20
Philippians 4:6,7

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"He's The Same"

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

The verse above is one we usually quote during Christmas and Christmas is now past. But I want to remind you that just because the "holiday" has pasted, it does not change or minimize the One whose birth we were celebrating. His name is still called Wonderful- He is wonderful beyond description.

He is still the great Counselor today, as He has always been. He is your Counselor today to guide and direct you in the way you should go.

He is still God-- the Mighty God, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think. There is nothing too difficult or impossible for Him. He is not that helpless baby that was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. He is the victorious, conquering King. He conquered death, hell and the grave. He conquered sin's dominion over us. And He reigns forever, there is no end to Him- He is from everlasting to everlasting.

And today He is still the Prince of Peace. He not only has peace but He is peace and all peace originates in Him. If you need peace He will give it to you. And it won't be a fleeting peace, but an establishing peace that will settle your heart and mind.

So don't stop singing your Christmas carols that exalt and magnify who He is. Don't reserve your reading of certain passages of scripture to only on certain occasions. Lift Him up and exalt Him everyday!

Have a great day. He still is who He has always been!

For further reading:
John 14:27
Ephesians 3:20
Hebrews 13:8
Malachi 3:6
Psalm 90:2

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"One Or Two Kings?"

"And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:33

This morning I woke up with the "Hallelujah Chorus" repeating over and over in my thoughts. Especially the words- "and He shall reign forever and ever." Jesus was, is and will always be the reigning King of kings and Lord of lords. And one day the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of the Lord. There is no doubt that at the end of the ages He will establish His throne among men and it will be settled forever exactly who He is. But until that day comes, what about now? Is there any question in your heart and mind that He is the King? Does He reign supreme in your heart and life? Does He occupy the throne of your life? His reign reaches throughout all heaven. His reign will reach throughout the whole earth. But does His reign reach throughout your life and include every area of your life?

Earthly kings reign over certain territories and countries. Their reign is limited by geography. Have you limited the Lord by allowing Him to rule only certain areas of your life and the others you have reserved for self to rule? I have never seen a country that was ruled by two kings- there is only one. There can only be one or else you will have conflict, chaos and confusion. Did I just describe your life- conflict, chaos and confusion? Perhaps there lies your answer- two kings!

If you try to be the ruler of your own life and at the same time try to make the Lord the ruler, it will never work. Having two kings will not work. Having two rulers will not work. Having two leaders will not work. Having two heads will not work. When a king conquered a country, the old king was dethroned and this new king set up his throne. At salvation you "surrendered" to the rule of this "new" King- Jesus. He is now enthroned and self must be dethroned. You can't have two kings ruling over your life.

Have a great day. How many kings are ruling over your life?

For further reading:
Revelation 11:15; 19:16
John 3:30
1 Timothy 6:15,16

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Stop Struggling"

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Are you burdened? Loaded down with cares? Struggling under the weight of some situation? Why? You have an invitation from the Creator of the Universe, the God of glory, the Lord of lords to come to Him and exchange your heavy burden for His light one.

We live in a world that is full of trials and difficulties, things don't always go the way we would like for them to. There are hardships that come into our lives. But we aren't left alone to struggle with them on our own. We aren't left to try to solve our own problems and find our own solutions. The Lord is our helper. He is our strength. He is our problem solver. He has and is our answer.

Today, stop struggling. Accept His invitation. Go to Him. Cast your care upon Him. Let Him give you peace. Let Him give you rest. I am speaking to someone specially right now-- it is time you stop carrying that burden; it is only weighing you down. All your struggling over it hasn't helped; all your plans to solve it haven't worked; all your tears haven't relieved it or changed it. It is time to give it to the Lord and let Him give you His rest.

Have a great day. Why are you struggling with that heavy burden? The Lord wants to give you rest from your struggle.

For further reading:
Matthew 11:28-30
1 Peter 5:7
John 14:27; 16:33

Monday, December 27, 2010


"Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." Mark 13:33

Sometimes we aren't watching where we should be because we are preoccupied watching other things. I remember watching some of the western movies on television when the enemy would surround the house and shoot at the ones inside the house. Those in the house would be stationed at every window- not just the ones in the front. They kept a watch on the back and both sides of the house to make sure the enemy did not gain access any where. Each person was appointed their post to watch. Had they been preoccupied with something else besides guarding the window they were stationed at, the enemy would have slipped through an unguarded window opening.

I believe the Lord is saying to us this morning that we are too preoccupied looking in the wrong directions and not focusing on the one that is really important. We have become busy watching so much that is unimportant that we are not watching for the things that are most important. The shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night when they received word from the angels of the Messiah's birth. They were watching where they should have been watching and received the invitation. If the watchman on the wall is watching what he should be watching, the enemy will be spotted before he can make it into the city. If the owner of the house is watching out for the safety of his household and not preoccupied watching other things the thief cannot come in. If the five foolish virgins had been watching the oil in their lamps they would not have missed the wedding fest. If Peter had been watching in prayer instead of sleeping, he would not have fallen into the temptation to deny Christ.

Are you watching in the right direction this morning? Are you watching the important things- eternal things? Are you preoccupied watching those things that only pull you further away from Christ? Are you watching for the enemy? Are you watching for the Lord's return? Are you watching your life to make sure it is pleasing to the Lord? Just where and what are you watching?

Have a great day. Are you watching for the things that are eternal, or preoccupied with watching the things that are only the cares of this life?

For further reading:
Ephesians 6:18
Luke 12:37; 2:8
Matthew 24:43; 25:1-3

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Is There Room?"

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

When Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem and could find "no room", it wasn't during the Christmas season- there was no Christmas yet. The people were living life as usual, they were going about their business, it was just another day to them. That means that in their everyday activities there was "no room" for Jesus.

Many people tend to "make room" for Jesus on certain holidays- like Christmas and Easter. They make room for Him on Sundays. They make room for Him when things are falling apart in their lives. From ministering at the drug and alcohol recovery center I have discovered that some make room for Him while they are in a recovery program or when they are in jail or prison only. But what about the rest of the year? What about the days when there isn't a holiday that acknowledges Jesus' birth, death or resurrection? What about Monday, or the rest of the week? What about when you get out of a rehabilitation program? What about when things are going well in your life? What about in your everyday affairs? Do you make room for Him then?

If you only make room for Jesus during center times of the year or only when you are in certain situations, then you too have made "no room" for Him. If you aren't making room for Him 24/7, 365 days a year, then He has "no room" in your life. The "room" that He desires in your life is one where He can "abide", not just visit on occasion, not just vacation at, not just make a stop at while "passing through". He desires to abide in your life all the time. He wants to have a place of permanent dwelling in you. Does He have that?

Have a great day. If the room you make for Jesus in your life is only on certain occasions or at certain times, then He has NO ROOM in your life.

For further reading:
John 14:23; 15:4
Luke 2

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Come To Him"

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8

The first people who received the invitation to come see the new baby that was born in a manger were shepherds. Think about it, the shepherds were invited to come and see the "Good Shepherd". The next group were the wise men- we refer to them as the kings. They followed the star and these kings laid eyes upon the King of kings.

This was no ordinary baby. He is infinitely more than we can comprehend. He is the Good Shepherd, the King of kings, Lord of lords, Healer, Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer, Provider, Creator, Ruler of the Universe, with a name that is above every name. He is God.

When He came, He did not just come for one group of people, but for all men. He came for the shepherds and the kings. He came for the rich and the poor. He came for the downcast, outcast and the well to do.

Whoever you are this morning, you can come to Him. He invites you to come to Him today. He will receive you just as the shepherds and kings were received when they came to where He was. Whatever you need, He is it. He is El Shaddai- the All Sufficient one.

Have a great day. The invitation is still given to come to where this indescribable God is no matter who you are.

For further reading:
Isaiah 9:6
Matthew 11:28
John 7:37

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Add A Conjunction"

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." Psalm 34:19

One of the things I like most about David was his faith. In the Psalms when he would express his need or his concern about a situation, he would not stop there, he would always come back with a "statement of faith"- as in the verse above. For example, he didn't say, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous (period)." and just stop there. He knew that wasn't the end of it. He knew that there was hope even in a bad situation. Therefore, he added the conjunction "but" and then made what I call a "statement of faith". "BUT the Lord delivers him out of them all."

So many times we look at a situation and are temped to put a "period" on it- "I lost my job (period)"; "My children are rebelling (period)"; "The doctor's report was bad (period)"; etc. Instead we need to remove the "period" and add a conjunction. "I lost my job, BUT the Lord is my Provider, my God shall supply all of my need"."; "My children are rebelling, BUT the Lord will keep that which I have committed to Him."; "The doctor's report was bad, BUT all things work together for my good and I will not fear for the Lord is with me, the Lord is my Healer".

Often we have hopeless situations that come into our lives, but we don't need to place a "period" on them, we need to add a conjunction and a "statement of faith" because there is hope with the Lord. We are not at the mercy of our bad reports. When Jesus was crucified, the disciples saw Him die on the cross and placed a "period" on what had just happened. They looked at the situation and lost hope, gave up and became fearful. They shouldn't have placed a "period" on it, they should have place a conjunction there instead because the cross was not the end of it, there was a resurrection day coming. "And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him." (Mark 16:6)

You may be in a "hopeless" place today. It may look like there is a "period" on the situation, BUT don't stop there, add your "statement of faith", trust the Lord, get His word on the situation, it isn't over until He says it is over, look to the One who gives hope and supplies all your need.

Have a great day. Don't put a "period" on the situation, step out in faith and add a "conjunction" and "statement of faith".

For further reading:
Psalm 18:18; 37:17; 118:13
Philippians 4:19

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Open The Doors"

"Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Psalm 24:7

When I define what a gate is and what a door is, I define them both the same way and also differently. The same in that they both are entrances. When they are opened they are the means in which to enter into some place. But when they are locked, access is denied. The difference comes in where they are positioned. A gate will get you into the yard and closer to the house, but a door will get you into the house and also into individual rooms within the house.

This morning is your life like a gate or a door? Is it closed or opened? And I am referring primarily to giving Jesus access. Do you only open the "gate" to your life to Him? In other words, do you allow Him to come "close" but not come in? Is your life like a "door"? Then the question arises- is it shut or opened so that He can come in and dwell on the "inside". Let's go a step further. Inside a house are many doors to other rooms. Does He have the liberty to move freely from room to room, or does He find "locked doors" and denied access into certain areas of your life?

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) Jesus doesn't want access only through the "gate". He doesn't want to come close but still be at a distance. He wants access into the "house". He wants to be "in" your life- not on the "outside". And He wants to come in and make your life His dwelling place- not a vacation home, not just a place of retreat, and not just as a visitor. Does He have that kind of access into your life? Is the door wide open or shut to Him? Or is He perhaps in the house, but not allowed liberty throughout the whole house? Open the "gate" and open the "door" and the King of glory shall come in.

Have a great day. Are all the "doors" of your life opened to Jesus?

For further reading:
Psalm 24

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Who's Teaching You?"

"Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies." Psalm 27:11

Who better to teach you His ways but the Lord Himself. We run from meeting to meeting seeking out those who will teach us the word of God and often neglect to let Him be our teacher. One of the reasons why we have been blessed with the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives is so that He can teach us, lead us in the truth, reveal Jesus to us and show us God's will. Yet, we seek out "people" to teach us and won't seek His instruction.

Don't misunderstand, the Lord has given us ministers in the body of Christ to help us and teach us. But even so, when we have listened to the teachings of men we still need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the truth of the word we have heard. Paul, the greatest apostle to preach the gospel, commended the men of Berea because they listened to his teaching but then went to God's word for themselves to confirm that what Paul taught them was the truth.

We are living in the time that the Bible calls the "last days". We have been warned that in those last days there would arise teachers who would teach false doctrine in order to deceive us. They will preach messages that the people want to hear. They will compromise and water down the gospel. They will preach after their own wisdom and intellect. They will preach messages that appeal to the flesh and neglect the spirit. Am I saying that you can't listen to anyone? No, but I am saying that we can't "believe" and "receive" everything we hear and not check it out for ourselves. There are a lot of true ministers preaching the uncompromised truth of God's word, but at the same time there are those who aren't. We need to know the difference. We are at a time when we don't need to receive everything we hear, every time we hear it, from every person we hear it from. We need to take what we hear (especially when in doubt) before the Lord and ask for the Holy Spirit to show us what is right and what is wrong, what is truth and what isn't.

Have a great day. Is man alone the one who is teaching you God's word or does the Lord teach you by His Spirit also?

For further reading:
John 16:13
1 Peter 2:1-3
Acts 17:10,11
Ephesians 4:11-13
2 Timothy 3

Friday, December 17, 2010

"What Are We Teaching?"

"Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord." Psalm 34:11

What are we "teaching" in Christendom? What are we teaching to our children concerning our faith? What are we teaching to those who sit in our churches, read our books or watch us on television? What are we teaching them about the "person" of God? About who Jesus is? About our relationship with Him? About our responsibility toward that relationship?

Are we teaching the whole truth, compromise or a watered down gospel? Are we teaching them that He is a "Santa Claus" who lives to fulfill our every desire? Are we teaching that it is about worshipping Him and not about the fulfillment of self-centered desires? Do we teach that we are here to do His bidding and will, not Him to do ours? Do we preach grace and mercy without accountability? Do we teach about the blessings only and neglect to talk about the consequences of disobedience? Are we teaching about holiness, purity or the fear of the Lord? Does our teaching revolve around material blessings or eternal life? Are we preaching a gospel of comfort and ease which allows people to neglect keeping their lamps full and wicks trimmed? Does what we teach provoke anyone to have the desire to be hot and on fire for the Lord instead of cold or lukewarm?

It looks like I have spent the whole time just asking questions this morning. But it is so important that we examine "what" we are teaching. The right teaching tends to life, the wrong tends to death. This is not a light thing. There is more to it than this temporary life here on earth. There is an eternity that awaits us all, and if the instructions on how to have life in eternity aren't clear then those receiving the "instructions" are going to become lost and not reach that destination. So, again, let us examine whether what we are teaching... eternity is at stake.

Have a great day. What are you teaching? Is it the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

For further reading:
Revelation 3:16
Matthew 25:6-8; 15:9
2 Timothy 4:2-4; 3:1-7
John 6:63
Titus 2:1

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Not For Me"

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32

There is one thing I have noticed when talking with people about healing, deliverance and even salvation. Most believe that God can heal them, many believe that He has the power to deliver them, and others know that it is not too hard for God. But, while they believe that God can do it, they don't believe that He will do it for them. It reminds me of the leper who came to Jesus, "And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." (Matthew 8:2)

The problem does not lie in God's ability, it often lies in our belief that He really wants to do it. Perhaps it is because we don't believe that we are good enough or worthy of the Lord's blessings. Perhaps we feel that what we are going through is God's will so we won't step forward to receive more from Him. There are as many different reasons as there are people.

What was Jesus' reply to the leper? "And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:3) The Lord is always willing to do good to us. He desires to give us good and perfect gifts. He won't withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly before Him.

Am I saying that every one who is not healed or delivered or is in need doesn't believe that He can and wants to? No, but I am saying that in many cases we just simply don't believe that He wants to do it for us. We have to get past the idea that God does it for others but it is not meant for Him to do it for me. God loves you and cares deeply for you. He desires to give you abundant life. He desires to show you His wonderful compassion and great power. Why wouldn't the goodness and mercy of God be for you? You are His child. And if He sent His Son and gave Him up for you, then why won't He bless you in your need as well?

Have a great day. Whatever the need is that is in our lives, we should stop thinking that God can do it... but not for me.

For further reading:
Psalm 84:11
John 10:10
James 1:17
Luke 12:32; 11:13

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Overcome Evil"

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21

Evil is always present and it is constantly trying to overcome you and destroy you. And when it comes to your life it will either conquer you or you will conquer it. But it is up to you as to who wins- you or evil.

The verse above gives us a choice: either overcome it or be overcome by it. When you read this verse in context it is dealing with those who are our "enemies"- those who come against us, those who sin against us, those who mistreat us, those who take advantage of us, those who abuse us. How do we overcome evil and not allow it to overcome us? The answer is found in the second half of the verse- "overcome evil with good". What does that mean? It means that if someone sins against you, forgive them and give no place to revenge, malice or bitterness. It means if your if your enemy is hungry give him something to eat, if he is thirsty give him something to drink. It means to treat others the same way you would want them to treat you, and in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. It means applying the teachings of God's word to the situation you are faced with. By doing so, you will heap "coals of fire" upon their heads. In other words, you will be allowing the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to have room to work in their lives and you will be freeing yourself up from allowing anger, guilt and hate to consume you.

If you are living on planet earth you will face "evil". Are you going to let it conquer and destroy you, or are you going to conquer it? There is only one way to overcome it- by doing good. And doing "good" translates into: doing what the word of God commands you to do when faced with the evil.

Have a great day. There is only one way to overcome evil and it is with good.

For further reading:
Romans 12
Proverbs 25:21,22
Matthew 5:44

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Seven Times"

"Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments." Psalm 119:164

When I read this verse, my fist thought was-- that's a lot of times a day to praise the Lord. Then my next thought was-- do I praise Him seven times a day? The more I thought about it and broke it down, praising Him seven times a day would mean (based on the number of hours I am up in a day) that I praise Him at least once every other hour. So, when you look at it that way, seven times a day is really not hard to do.

When you stop and praise the Lord each and every time He does something for you, you can well exceed seven times a day. As a matter of fact, instead of walking out the verse above ("I will praise Thee seven times a day") you start walking in this verse instead- "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1)

The truth of the matter, when it comes to praising the Lord, is that it is not about the number of times we praise Him. There is no "acceptable" or "non-acceptable" number, and there is no "required" number of times we should praise Him. The number of times we praise Him doesn't make us more or less spiritual. It is not about keeping count. It is just about "praising Him". We praise Him because He is worthy. We praise Him when things are good and when they are bad. We praise Him in the daylight and in the night time. It is about having a heart that is filled with praise and gratitude-- and ours should always be.

Have a great day. It is not about the number of times we praise Him- there is no keep score card. Our lives should be a "living praise" to Him.

For further reading:
Psalm 109:30; 135:1;103:1; 115:18

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Privilege of Relationship"

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6

"Seek the Lord"-- when? "While He may be found". "Call upon Him"-- when? "While He is near". Have you ever thought about just how truly amazing it is that God allows Himself to be "found" by us, or that He brings Himself "near" to us as well? When you really stop and think about it, it is in-comprehensible that He desires to have anything to do with us, or that He desires to have a relationship with us. The Psalmist had this to say about it. "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." (Psalm 8:3-5)

Seeking the Lord, drawing near to Him, having a relationship with Him is nothing to be taken lightly. Yet, so many Christians seem to be so casual in their relationship with Him. We take for granted that He is always going to be there so we don't commune with Him until we are in trouble and need His help.

It is only because of His great love, mercy and grace that we can even have any dealings with Him, much less a personal relationship. The point is, we don't deserve, and are so undeserving, to have any interaction with the Lord, yet it is a privilege that He has afforded us. So the question then is, what will we/you do with this privilege. Will you take it for granted? Will you neglect it? Or will you embrace it and take advantage of every opportunity to seek Him and draw near to Him?

Have a great day. A relationship with the Lord is a privilege that He affords us, not one that we deserve... so what are you doing with this privilege?

For further reading:
James 4:8
John 15:15; 1:12

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Who Are You, Lord?"

"And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Acts 9:4,5

Let's look this morning at the life of Saul (Paul). If ever there was a religious person he was one, and had the credentials to prove it. "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Philippians 3:5,6) Paul served his religion well even defending it to the point of persecuting those who did not follow it. But he didn't know "who" he was following. When he had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (while on his way to fulfill his religious duties), he had to ask Him, "Who are you?"

A person can be regular in their church attendance, serve in different areas of the church, do all those things we consider religious, follow a religious code, be involved in certain religious practices, fulfill their religious duties and still not know who Jesus is? Saul claimed to serve God but he didn't know the one he was serving. "Who are you, Lord? I am Jesus whom you are persecuting."

Are you one of those people this morning? You faithfully attend church; you are involved in all its activities; you support it with your giving, yet that is all it is to you- religious ritual, duty and obligation. Your religious service means nothing if you don't know the one you are serving. Saul didn't know Jesus, therefore, his religious service meant nothing and it was ill-directed. Do you know Jesus? Do you know who He is? Do you have a personal relationship with Him?

Have a great day. It is possible to serve a religious code of ethics- church attendance, giving, etc.- and still not know Jesus.

For further reading:
Acts 8:1-3
Matthew 7:21-23
Mark 7:5,6

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"The Good Part"

"But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:42

We use the term the "good part" to describe many things. When I would read to my daughter when she was little, she would want me to get to the "good part" of the story. When sharing exciting news with someone, we can hardly wait to tell them the "good part" of our news.

When I think about all that the Lord has done for me, I think about His wonderful grace and mercy. I think about the blessings that He sends my way. I think about His goodness and faithfulness towards me. But that is not what is the "really good part" of my salvation experience. The "good part" is that not only are my sins forgiven and I have eternal life, but I have a relationship with the Lord. That is the "good part" of Christianity.. or should I say, "the best part". Knowing that I am His child and that I can come to Him; knowing that I can walk and talk with Him; knowing that I have the privilege to worship Him; knowing His embrace; having fellowship with Him-- that is the "good part".

He could have just save us then left us to be on our own, but He didn't. He saved us and then brought us into His family and in right relationship with Himself. He didn't put us aside, He made us His children and friends. Again, to me that's the "good part" of this wonderful gift of salvation.

Are you experiencing the "good part"? Do you just live a "saved life" or are you enjoying a personal- one on one relationship with the Lord? Is your salvation just religious experience and ritual, or do you have intimate communion with the Lord each day? Salvation is so wonderful, it is given to us by the grace of God. But, again, the best part of our salvation is that we get to be close to Him.

Have a great day. There are many "parts" to our salvation, but the "best part" is that we get to have a relationship with the Lord.

For further reading:
John 1:12; 15:15
2 Corinthians 5:19

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"First Priority"

"And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils." Mark 3:14,15

Doing the work of the Lord may not always be a good thing. Let me explain. When it takes you away from the Lord Himself, it certainly is not the best thing. His first priority, will and plan for your life is to "be with Him". Even ahead of the works. The works that we do in service for the Lord- the ministry, the labors, fulfilling the call He has placed on our lives- is of great importance. Jesus did the work of the Father while He was here on earth and did not neglect it- and neither should we. But the work should always remain secondary and first place given to our relationship with God. When I read the verse above, this is the picture that I get. Jesus ordained the twelve (look at the order in which these verses were written), first- "that they should be with him", second, that they might go and do the works of the Kingdom. Besides how can you be effective at doing His work unless you are spending time with Him and seeking Him first. Again, Jesus always made sure that He had time alone with the Father first and then went and did the works.

When it came to serving the Lord or drawing near into His presence, we are told that drawing into His presence is the better of the two- it's the "good part". (Remember the story of Mary and Martha.) Even Paul, one of the greatest evangelist, said his goal was "to know Him", and he was constantly pressing toward that mark- knowing Him is the prize of the high calling.

I am not suggesting that we don't do the work of the Lord, works are a demonstration of our faith, they are part of our calling, they need to be demonstrated to the world, and they glorify God. I am just reminding you that He is more important than what you do for Him. Spending time with Him is more important than spending time working for Him. Getting to know Him is more important than serving Him. Jesus came to reconcile us back into right relationship with God. And that was because He loved us so much that He wanted us to be with Him and where He was.

Have a great day. Doing the works of the Lord is good, but spending time with Him is better, and the first priority.

For further reading:
Matthew 6:33
Philippians 3:10;14
2 Corinthians 5:19
John 14:3
Luke 10:38-42

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"I Don't Understand It"

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:12

I hear so many people say that the Bible is hard to understand. Perhaps there is a small amount of validity to that because the words of the Bible are spirit and life. Being spirit they are not discerned by the natural man. But I also think people use this as an excuse when it comes to reading and applying the Bible to their lives.

Its words aren't that hard to understand. They can't be because Jesus said that we have to become like children to enter into the kingdom of heaven- children understand the "plain and simple". Since God's word is part of it, it has to be "basic" enough for a child to understand it. For example, what is so hard to understand about the verse above. It seems pretty "cut and dry", "black and white". It tells us that if we have the Son we have life, if we don't have the Son we don't have life. What is hard to understand when it says, "Do not steal, do not commit adultery"? How hard is it to comprehend when it says,"If you say you love God and hate your brother you are a liar"? Or what about, "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath; ask and receive; treat others the way you would want them to treat you; if your enemy is hungry feed him"?

The problem doesn't always lie with the "understanding" of what God's word says, it problem lies with the "doing" of what it says. Understanding that it says not to take revenge is pretty clear, but the ability to practice it may be harder when you have been done wrong. That is where our dependency on God comes in. We need His strength and grace to help us apply the teachings that we do understand.

We don't need to make excuses for not obeying the word of God by saying that we don't understand it. It is understandable and what we don't understand, God will help us to understand if we ask.

Have a great day. God's word is not hard to understand, but doing it is often what's hard.

For further reading:
Romans 12:20
Matthew 18:3
1 Corinthians 2:14
John 6:63

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Just Stand"

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:13

Some times the only course of action you can take is to "just stand". When you have said all that can be said, when you have done all that you can do, when you have prayed all you know to pray, when you have fasted, when you have bound and loosened every thing that you are aware of, then you have reached the place where you have to "just stand".

At that point all you can do is just stand- stand on God's faithfulness, stand on His promises. When we know He has truly spoken to us, but we don't see any evidence or hope of the fulfillment of His word, we have to just stand. God is faithful. He is not a man that He should lie. He remains faithful even when we aren't. His word will not pass away. It will not return to Him empty. It will accomplish what He sends it to do.

Have you reached that place? There seems to be nothing else you can do? Then "just stand". Stand in faith on God's promises. Rest in Him. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

Have a great day. When you have done all you can do, then "just stand".

For further reading:
2 Timothy 2:13
Exodus 14:13
Hebrews 10:23

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Pray And Trust"

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6

Often the advice we give to others, or is given to us, when they are going through a situation is- just pray about it. That is not bad advice, we should pray. We need to acknowledge God as our source of help and bring Him into our situation- we can't solve our own problem, or do it on our own, we need Him. We need His counsel, His strength, His wisdom, His answer.

Recently, I was talking with someone who has been going through a very trying time and I keep telling that person to pray about it-- ask God to guide you and intervene on your behalf. After I got off the phone with that person, having repeated to them again this same advice, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Prayer and trust are not the same thing." Anyone can pray but it doesn't mean that there is trust (faith) behind their prayer. We need to pray, but just praying about it is not enough- we must trust Him to answer. It's one thing to "pray" to God for the answer, it is another thing to "trust" God for the answer. Prayer has to be coupled with faith.

We need to pray. We need to talk to God about our need. We need to ask Him to send the needed provision. But we also need to trust Him to do so. When you pray, are you also trusting Him to answer? Or are you praying in hopes that He will do something on your behalf in answer to your prayer?

Have a great day. When you are praying about God sending provision to meet your need, are you just praying or are you trusting Him to do it?

For further reading:
Hebrews 11:1; 4:2
Mark 11:24
John 16:24
Matthew 7:7

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"The Parade"

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:15

During this time of year there are a lot of parades. We just had a full day of Thanksgiving parades. Throughout the week many towns will be hosting their Christmas parades- my town will have theirs tonight. Almost everyone loves a parade. Some parades are more spectacular than others. Some are simple, some are elaborate. Some have many floats, some have lots of bands, some feature various other things. Most all of them have a theme.

I enjoy watching the parades. (I mostly enjoy watching my granddaughter watch them.) I have to be honest though, when it is cold, I avoid going out to watch them- then a nice home house is more appealing to me than the parade. There was a "parade" that was held a couple of thousand years ago that I wish I could have attended. There were no elaborate floats, no bands, no cars, no horses, no singing, yet there has never been one to top it. It was a parade of two- just two participants.

This parade was the one that the Father organized. It too had a theme. Its theme was Jesus' victory over satan. It was held in the courts of heaven, before all the spirit world- angels, principalities, demons, powers. Each time I read the verse above, that is the picture that comes to mind-- Jesus leading satan by a rope around his neck, parading His victory over him for all to see.

This morning, may I remind you that Jesus is the Victor, satan is the loser! Jesus defeated him and had a parade to prove it. So don't let the devil make you think that he has won and that he is more powerful. Jesus won! He is All-Powerful. He got the victory and He got it on the devil's own playing field. So you should be having a "parade" of your own now. A parade of praise and thanksgiving to Jesus. A parade to remind the devil that he is defeated and has no power over your life any longer because of Jesus' victory!

Have a great day. Jesus defeated the devil and then had a parade to prove it.

For further reading;
Psalm 98:1
1 John 3:8
Ephesians 1:22
Matthew 28:18
2 Corinthians 2:14

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Redeem The Time"

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16

Am I the only one who is finding it hard to believe that it is December already? We are gearing up for Christmas and it seems like we just celebrated Christmas! Where did the year go?! The days keeping moving along faster and faster. Time seems to be accelerated- it is the end of the week before you know it. Time certainly waits for no one.

In light of that fact, what should we be doing with our time? A man once told me that "time is the stuff that life is made up of". How true. And once it is gone it is gone, never to be regained again. We can't call back the years, the days or even the last minute. That being the case, we need to make a practice of redeeming the time that we have.

To redeem the time basically means to use our time wisely and buy up every moment that we have. As the saying goes, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last?" When we as Christians think about redeeming the time, we shouldn't be thinking only of the moment and what is done in this life. We should think in terms of eternity. This life will pass, but there is an eternity that awaits all of us. And what we do now has a bearing on eternity. Therefore, not only do we need to "buy it up" but also invest it wisely- in such a way were we will reap eternal benefits.

Are you redeeming the time or wasting it? Are you squandering it on things that are valueless? Do you let the hours pass through your fingers by using them on selfish, self-centered gain and entertainment? Are you taking advantage of the time by doing something that will bring eternal benefits? Are you using your time to honor and glorify God- the One who gives you time? Examine your life and see just how much time you spend on things that only waste it and things that are productive- especially eternally productive.

Have a great day. Redeem the time by buying up every opportunity to invest in eternity.

For further reading:
Colossians 4:5
Amos 9:13
Matthew 6:19,20
Romans 12:11
Proverbs 18:9