Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Living Up To The Name"

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold."  Proverbs 22:1

When you look at the names of people in the Bible, their names have specific meanings.  Some people lived up to their names like Jacob.  His name meant deceiver-- he was until the Lord changed it.  Some people did not live up to their names like Eli the priest.  His name meant Jehovah is high.  His life, lack of godly character and slothfulness concerning the things of God did not reflect the meaning of his name.

When we are born-again, we are given a name.  That name is "Christian".  The meaning of the name Christian is:  follower of Christ; Christ-like.  If you are a Christian, are you living up to the name/meaning?  Are you truly following Christ?  Is your life a reflection of who Christ is?  Do you act, talk, treat others and live like Christ?  Are you kind and merciful like He is?  Are you loving, gracious, forgiving, truthful, honest, pure, tender, gentle, moral, giving and so on like He is?  When you have the name Christian, do others see Christ in you?  Do they hear Him in your speech?  Do they see Him in your actions, attitudes and dealings with others?  

A sister in the Lord reminded me of this the other day-- if you say you are a Christian (Christ-like) and were put on trial to see if you truly are, would their be enough evidence to convict you?  In other words, are you living up to your name?  Are you living up to who you say you are, Christian?

Have a great day.  If you are a Christian, are you living up to the name?     

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"You Have To Be Born Again"

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  John 3:3

When Nicodemus came to Jesus, Jesus told him what he had to do to enter into the Kingdom of God (go to heaven).  Jesus didn't tell him he had to believe He was from God-- Nicodemus already believed that.  He didn't tell him to go serve in the church-- Nicodemus was already doing that.  He didn't tell him to become a church leader-- he already was.  Jesus didn't tell him to go study the scriptures and read his "Bible"-- he already knew them and did study.  Jesus didn't tell Nicodemus to do religious acts-- he was already doing religious acts. 

Instead Jesus told him to be "born again".  He told him he needed to "come back alive".  Nicodemus was spiritually dead-- in trespasses and sin.  He, like the rest of us, had sinned and come short of the glory of God.  He was dead spiritually through Adam's sin in the garden.  Sin and death came upon all mankind through Adam.  (In the day that you eat of the tree you shall surely die.)  Mankind spiritually died.  
 
How do we come back to life spiritually?  We must be born again.  That was the message to Nicodemus and it is still the message to us today.  The criteria hasn't changed.  We still have to be "born again" if we are going to enter into heaven.  Jesus doesn't say to us we have to do religious duties.  He doesn't tell us that if we want to enter into heaven we have to join the church, shake the preacher's hand, get baptized, repeat a sinner's prayer, serve in the church, give offerings, etc.  No, He tells us we have to be "born again".  We have to come back alive spiritually.  Only spiritually alive people enter into His Kingdom.  Nothing, and no one, "dead" enters there.

The ONLY way to do this is through faith in Jesus' work at the cross.  Jesus is the Way.  Jesus takes away our sins.  Jesus is Life.  Jesus makes us brand new and a new person.  Jesus turns our hearts that were dead in trespasses and sin into a brand new heart that is alive.

Have a great day.  The criteria for eternal life is the same today-- you must be born again. 

Scripture references:
John 3:1-21; 14:6
Genesis 2:16,17
Romans 3:23; 5:19
 
 

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Calling On Who?"

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."  Jeremiah 33:3

Call unto who?  Thank the Lord that He has placed people in our lives that we can call upon for help with matters that we face.  But do we call on these people first?  The invitation. and admonishment, is to call upon the Lord.

We are so busy calling on others for help that we forget the One who can truly help us.  We forget that He has invited us to call.  We forget that He has made Himself available to us.  We forget just how much He desires to help us and meet our needs. 

Who are you calling on in your time of need?  Others are the Lord?  Are you calling on Him or them first?  Have you forgotten that you can call on Him?  Do you automatically run to Him or others when you are in need?  Do you run to the phone or to the Throne? 

Perhaps the reason we don't see more answers to our problems and more needs met is because we are calling on the wrong one for help.  People are limited.  People are in need just like we are.  People can only do so much.  But the Lord is more than able to meet the need.  He is all powerful.  He can do anything but fail.  He has all the resources you need.  He is unlimited in His abilities.  Man is not.  So, who are you going to call upon on?

Have a great day.  Who are you calling on in time of need? 

Friday, June 23, 2017

"Get To Pray"

"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."  Luke 11:1

In having a conversation with people about prayer, one of the things you hear most is-- I don't get to pray.  What do you mean by- you don't get to pray?  They mean they don't get time to pray because they are too busy, have too many other demands on their life and time, they just aren't able to pray.  Newsflash:  it isn't about "getting to pray", it is about "making time to pray". Another newsflash:  the enemy of your soul will make sure you don't get to pray.  He will send every distraction and every excuse as to why you can't pray. 

When you say that you don't get to pray, it sounds like you are helpless to do anything about it.  It sounds like you have no control over the situations that hinder your prayer life and prayer time.  This isn't true.  You have to make the time.  You make time for everything else, why is prayer (your communion with God) any different?  If you want to go somewhere, you schedule everything else around it.  If you need to leave earlier than usual, you set your clock for an earlier time.  If you want to stay up and watch a movie you force yourself to stay awake.  If you want to go to an event out of town, you will make the hour or two drive.   

We do the things we really want to do and we don't let anything stand in the way.  You made time to read this.  You made time to go to your job.  You made time to go on a trip.  You made time to go to the grocery store.  You made time for a hobby.  Why can't we make time for prayer?  It is because it is not a priority in our lives!!  If it were, we would do it.  We would make sure we "get to pray".  We wouldn't let anything stop us.  We would reschedule whatever we had to do to include it.  We would get up earlier if need be.  We would do whatever it took to make sure we got the time.

Have a great day.  If you aren't "getting to pray" it may be because it isn't a priority in your life.       

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Life Line"

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."  Luke 19:10

This morning another song was on my heart when I woke up.  I haven't heard this song since I was a little girl.  ("Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!  Someone is drifting away; Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
Someone is sinking today.")  As I was singing it to myself an incident that involved my husband, which happened around thirty years ago, came to mind. 


My husband and a friend had taken our boat out to a public lake.  The boat motor was having some problems so they took it to the lake in order to put it in the water to see if they could fix the problem and get it to crank.  While working on the motor, they heard a commotion.  An old man had fallen out of his boat into the water.  It was obvious the man was in trouble.  My husband and his friend tried and tried to get the motor to start so that they could get out to the man-- but it wouldn't.  The saddest part was that there was another boat that went right past the man but would not help him.  They got within "reach" of him and turned around.  Sadly, the man drowned.  Later, my husband had to go with the game warden and help retrieve the body. 

The reason this song and this incident came to me, I believe, is because we are to be "throwing out a life line" to people who are drowning spiritually.  Like another old hymn says, we are to "rescue the perishing".  There were two responses that day on the lake to the man who was drowning.  1)  Two men who cared and would have helped save him, but were unable to do so because they lacked what they needed.  2)  People who could have saved him, were equipped to do so, but just either didn't care, didn't want to be bothered, or didn't want to make the effort. 

Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost.  He died on the cross to make salvation possible.  He commissioned us to reach the lost and take them the "life line" that would save their souls-- the gospel.  How many of us are "throwing out the life line"?  How many of us want to, we know people who are lost, but we for some reason we aren't able?  Maybe we aren't equipped?  Maybe we are letting fear stop us, or something else?  How many of us know those we come in contact with who are lost, but aren't willing to do anything to reach them?  Maybe we don't want to get out of our comfort zone?  Maybe we think someone else will do it?  Maybe we just don't care that they are drowning/dying?  Which one are you?

Have a great day.  Are you throwing out the life line?  

Throw out the life line across the dark wave;
There is a brother whom someone should save;
Somebody's brother! O who then will dare
To throw out the life line, his peril to share?
 
Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
Someone is drifting away;
Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
Someone is sinking today.
 
Throw out the life line with hand quick and strong:
Why do you tarry, why linger so long?
See! he is sinking; oh, hasten today
And out with the life boat! away, then away!
 
Throw out the life line to danger fraught men,
Sinking in anguish where you've never been;
Winds of temptation and billows of woe
Will soon hurl them out where the dark waters flow.
 
Soon will the season of rescue be o'er,
Soon will they drift to eternity's shore;
Haste, then, my brother, no time for delay,
But throw out the life line and save them today.
 
This is the life line, oh, tempest tossed men;
Baffled by waves of temptation and sin;
Wild winds of passion, your strength cannot brave,
But Jesus is mighty, and Jesus can save.
 
Jesus is able! To you who are driv'n,
Farther and farther from God and from Heav'n;
Helpless and hopeless, o'erwhelmed by the wave;
We throw out the life line, 'tis 'Jesus can save.'
 
This is the life line, oh, grasp it today!
See, you are recklessly drifting away;
Voices in warning, shout over the wave,
O grasp the strong life line, for Jesus can save.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Who Frees?"

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised."  Luke 4:18

Who set Israel free from Egyptian bondage?  God did.  Who set Joseph free from the prison?  God did.  Who set the three Hebrews free from the fiery furnace?  God did.  Who set Daniel free from the lion's den?  God did.  The Lord is the One who sets captives free. 

Joseph tried to free himself from prison by asking the butler to remember him to Pharaoh.  It didn't work.  Only God could deliver him.  You have tried and tried and tried in your own strength, wisdom, knowledge, education, talents and abilities to free yourself from some bondages that hold you captive, but to no avail.  Try as we may, there are just some things that are bigger than our ability to overcome on our own. 

The bottom line is you can't free yourself.  But there is hope.  That hope is Jesus.  You don't have to stay a "prisoner/captive" the rest of your life.  He can set you free.  He desires to set you free.  He has the power to set you free.  He will set you free.  Give up trying to do it yourself.  Let go of your childish pride that says, "I can do it", "I don't need help".  Yes, you do.  And He is there waiting for you to let Him deliver you.

Have a great day.  Only God can set the captive free.... and He will.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Standing Or Falling"

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."  Galatians 5:1

"Stand fast".  "Be not entangled again".  There is not enough standing and there is too much falling going on in the body of Christ.  We are falling for so much that is false.  We fall for every new wind of doctrine that comes through.  We fall for erroneous teaching because we are impressed by the "personality preacher" that it comes through.  We fall for old wives tales.  We fall for fables.  If it "tickles our ears" or "appeals to our flesh" we "fall" for it-- we believe it and accept it, and then live accordingly.   

As a result of "falling for" some of the things we are "falling for", we are "falling away".  We are falling away from the truth, from righteousness, from holiness, from godliness, from victory, from blessings, from God's will, from conviction.

Why is this happening?  It happens because we are ignorant when it comes to the Word of God.  We don't know what it says.  We believe what everyone else says and don't bother to check it out for ourselves.  We take the word of men without finding out what God really says on the subject. 

I have heard a lot of "strange/far out/ just plain crazy" beliefs and doctrines that men have "conjured up" as truth.  They are a long way from the truth, but many believe and think it is the truth. 

We have got to know the truth-- and the difference between what is and what isn't.  We have to know it, especially in light of the times we are living in.  There is so much that is being preached for truth that is not.  If we don't know the difference we will "fall" and not "stand". 

How do we stop falling and start standing?  Read your Bible-- often!  Memorize it.  Study it.  Meditate on it.  Check in it to see if what you heard is truth or just enticing words of men's wisdom.  It is only the Truth that will make us free-- Thy Word is truth.  And it is only the true Word of God that will keep us from falling. 

Have a great day.  Stand, don't fall. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Listening But No Knowledge"

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."  2 Timothy 3:7

The third chapter of 2 Timothy starts off telling us some of the attitudes and characteristics that people will have in the last days.  It says they will be high minded, covetous, without natural affection, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, unthankful, unholy, etc.  (Take some time to read them all.)  The verse this morning is added among them.  People would be "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth".  This verse isn't referring to people who don't have "book knowledge".  It is referring to "spiritual knowledge".

Many "Christians" sit in church week after week listening to the preaching of the Word of God.  They sit in front of the television and listen to every preacher that comes on.  They will purchase teaching tapes and download sermons by their favorite preachers, yet, they are "spiritually illiterate".  As much Word as they listen to you would think they would be "spiritual giants".  But they aren't.  There is not much or no evidence of a transformation that the Word brings in their lives.  They have no fruit of the Spirit in their lives. They don't apply the Word, live by the Word or obey they Word.  They have lots of Bible knowledge but no truth that it gives.  (It makes you wonder how this is possible.)

The Pharisees did the same thing.  They heard Jesus preach the Word and yet they didn't apply it, live by it or receive what He said.  They didn't allow it to change and govern their lives.  Not only did they hear the Word preached but it was The Word who was preaching it to them-- and they still didn't get the grasp the truth.  (John 1:1,14)

So how do people hear the Word and it not change their lives?  It is called a "spirit of religion".  A person can be religious with the Word and not have a relationship with the Word.  That's how the Pharisees were.  The Word is meant to be applied, lived by and obeyed.  It is meant for more than to just be read or listened to only. 

Where are you with the Word?  Are you listening to it or allowing it to change and govern your life?  Are you allowing it to mold your thinking, actions and attitude?  Are you listening to it but that is all you are doing?  Are you learning about it but not gaining the knowledge of the truth?

Have a great day.  Are you listening to the Word of God but not going anything further with it?

Friday, June 16, 2017

"Buffet Or Menu?"

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."  James 1:22

It is amazing to me how many Christians treat the Word of God like it is a "buffet".  I am one of those people who like going to a restaurant that has a buffet because I like having a choice of variety and can pick only the food items that I enjoy the most. 

Many Christians act like, and think, they can do the same thing with the Word of God.  They like a "pick and choose" option.  I have news for you this morning, you can't do that with the Word of God-- there is no "pick and choose" option.  You only get what's on the menu-- that is the only choice you have. 

You can't decide you like the parts about blessings but not the parts about obedience.  You may like the part where the Lord promises to provide all your needs, but not the part where He says to bring your tithes and offerings into the store house.  You may like the part where it says that He will make your enemies your footstool, but not the part that says to "turn the other cheek, go the second mile, forgive seven times seventy". 

Just because you don't like certain parts does not exempt you from obeying it.  You don't get to choose.  God chooses for you.  A good parent will choose vegetables over candy to give to their child for a meal because it is better for them.  The Lord makes the same choices for us because it is better for us.  For example, we don't like to forgive someone who hurts us, but forgiveness is not an option-- God chooses for us to forgive.  By obeying the Word to forgive, we actually free ourselves from anger, resentment, bitterness and open up the door to God's forgiveness toward us. 

Like I said earlier, the Word of God is not a buffet.  God has chosen the "menu".  But He has given us free choice.  If we don't want to obey and do what He has chosen for us.  Then we can choose not to.  But we will not benefit from it, will miss out on what He has for us, we will be in disobedience, we will reap the consequences and we will live a less than abundant life. 

Have a great day.  God's Word is not a buffet. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Who Is Your Lord?"

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."  Matthew 6:24

I turned on the television last night and caught the last 30 seconds of a sermon.  Although I didn't hear the whole message what I heard quickened in my spirit.  I don't know if this is what the whole message was about or not, but I feel impressed to share what I got from those last few seconds.

The minister was having the congregation repeat-- "Jesus is Lord".  Then he said something to the effect of-- don't let fear lord over you, etc.  What I want to ask is this:  Who is your Lord?  Whoever you give the "rule" of your life to; whoever you give the preeminence; whoever controls you is your lord.  We could also say, instead of whoever, whatever. 

You can't serve two masters.  You can't have two lords.  You can only have one or else your "house is divided".  Division leads to double-mindedness.  A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  Perhaps this is why your life feels like it is "out of sorts".  Perhaps this is why your life feels "wishy-washy".  Perhaps this is why you can't seem to get any peace or order in your life.  You are trying to serve two masters.  You are trying to serve two lords. 

Who is the lord of your life?  Is Jesus?  Or is fear?  Does fear set your course and direct your steps?  Or is worry your lord?  Does it cause you to make decisions that are detrimental?  Does it cause you to take the wrong path?  If so, it is the lord of your life.  What about depression?  Anxiety?  Guilt?  Condemnation?  Grief?  Pain?  A besetting sin?  An addiction?  Selfishness? Who, or what, is lording/ruling your life-- "calling the shots"; dictating your actions, controlling your thoughts?  Is it Jesus or something else?

Have a great day.  Who is the lord of your life?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"Always There"

"...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  Matthew 28:20b

This verse doesn't really need any commentary, explanation, elaboration or definition.  It is pretty plain.  It is self-explanatory.  The Lord is with you always-- even if you go to the end of the world, He is still there.

Sometimes the things we go through shroud His presence.  We can't see His presence because it is hid behind our situation.  The fire of the furnace blocks His presence from view because of the intense heat.  The depth of the pit we may be in hides His presence from view.  The size of the waves in our storms cover His presence from sight.  The height of the mountain that is looming over us appears much bigger than He is. 

Why does it seem like He is not with us in those times?  Why can't we see His presence?  Because we are focused on the heat of the fire, the depth of the pit, the waves of the storm, the height of the mountain-- therefore that is all we can see.  We can't see that His presence is with us. 

Let me make this plain this morning-- no matter where you are, no matter what you are facing, no matter what you are going through, the Lord is there.  He is with you.  He is with you always, everywhere, even when you can't see Him for looking at the size of your problems. 

Have a great day.  The Lord is with you always.   

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Bitter Or Better"

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

What do you do when you are living for the Lord, keeping His commandments, serving Him, and things still "go wrong"?  This was the case with Joseph-- not once but several times.  He was serving his father.  Doing all he commanded.  He was living for the Lord.  God was revealing things to him through dreams. He did all the right things, but what did it get him?  Slavery and prison.  (Not a good outcome, in my opinion.)

So again, what do you do when you are living for the Lord, keeping His commandments, serving Him, and things still "go wrong"?  You have a choice.  You can either let it make you "bitter" or "better".  I am sure there were times when Joseph got angry, frustrated, confused and felt helpless over his situation.  I am sure he questioned the Lord about his situation-- after all, he was still human.  I am sure he wondered if things would ever change.  But he did not let it make him bitter, revengeful or hateful.  He didn't get angry with God and stop serving Him.  Though he probably questioned, his faith, love and trust in God stayed intact. 

Don't let your circumstances make you bitter.  Look at the life of Joseph one more time.  All that happened to him-- though it looked bad-- was actually working together for his good.  It was setting him up for his destiny.  It was making him into the person God needed him to be for the plan He had.  This might be your case as well when things don't go according to plan or they go in the opposite direction than you thought they would.

Have a great day.  Don't let your situation make you bitter.  Let it make you better. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Love Covers"

"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins."  1 Peter 4:8

"Love covers a multitude of sins".  There is no place that we see this truer than in the love that the Heavenly Father has for us. 

When Jesus was on earth, He showed us what the Father was like.  ("When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father".- John 14:9)  He also told us what the Father was like.  One story He told, in particular, showed the great love of the Father and how His love truly does cover a multitude of sins.  It was the story of the prodigal son.

When the son returned to the father's house, the father ran out and embraced him and covered him not only with a robe but with love.  The father loved this son so much that he received him back home unconditionally.  His love covered a multitude of this wayward son's sins.

The father's love covered the son's rebellion, it covered his hate, it covered his shame, his guilt, his self-condemnation, his bitterness.  It covered his wastefulness.  It covered his adulteries and his "loose-living".  It covered his bad reputation, it covered the reproach that the son had brought on the family.  All the sins that the son had committed where covered-- and forgiven--by the father.  Again, what a beautiful picture this is of how the love of the Heavenly Father covers, forgives and cleanses our sins.

Whatever you have done, there is no sin too great, no number of sins that are too many, that the Heavenly Father can't or won't forgive.  He loves you more than you can imagine.  And His love will cover them all.

Have a great day.  God's love for you will cover the multitude of your sins.      

Friday, June 9, 2017

"Intimidated Not To Speak"

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."  Romans 8:1

Yesterday the point of the devotional was to make you aware that the enemy/devil will try to intimidate you through your circumstances to stop sharing God's Word, to stop stepping out in faith and to stop believing what God says.  The example I used was myself and how the devil would want to intimidate me to stop talking about the covenant of healing we have with the Lord because of pains in my own body. 

This morning I want to make you aware that it isn't just in the area of sickness that he tries to intimidate.  It is in every area.  He starts by speaking words of condemnation which lead to intimidation, which cause us to keep our mouths shut.

You may be wrestling with your marriage, you may have a rebellious child, you may be having a hard time making ends meet, you may be having a bondage issue, or you may be having one of any number of situations going on in your life.  If you are the devil will try to intimidate you so you will not encourage anyone in the Word, the power or the ability of the Lord to work and move in those areas--- after all, who are you to tell anyone else He is the answer when you are having the same troubles. 

Be aware of his intimidations and don't let him steal the Word from you.  Keep on telling others about God's power even if it isn't manifested in your life at the moment.  Keep lifting up Jesus, even when you are "going through" something.  Keep on, don't stop, don't be intimidated because like I also said yesterday-- God's Word is Truth. 

You may have sickness in your body-- but He is still the Healer.  You may have rebellious children-- but He is still the Keeper of your children.  You may have lost your source of income-- but He is still the Provider.  You may be vexed and in turmoil--- but He is still your Peace.  You may be struggling with a bondage--- but He is still the Deliverer.  Just because you are going through something, it doesn't change God so don't let intimidation stop you from telling it!

Have a great day.  Don't be intimidated to keep  your mouth shut!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"It Is Still Truth"

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."  John 17:17

A few weeks ago I shared with you how I had been encouraging people to believe for and receive their healing.  I had been reminding myself, and others, that we have a covenant with the Lord that includes healing.  Jesus took a beating on His back for our healing-- "by His stripes we are healed".  I also told you that since then I have had several attacks on my body- in about three different areas. 

What I shared with you about that was that when we "preach, teach, and stand upon a certain subject/promise" we will be tried in it.  When we are tried, the "fouls of the air" come and try to snatch that word (the seed) from us before it can take root in our lives.  Well, this morning, I want to say that even since then, my body has been under attack in a couple of other areas.  So, what do I do?  Do I throw up my hands and say healing isn't for me?  Do I quit teaching about healing and encouraging others to receive theirs?  Do I just give up?  No!

Regardless of what may be going on in my body, I may be experiencing symptoms, I may be suffering pain, I may be taking medicine, but none of that affects or makes void the truth that God's Word is still truth.  No matter what may be happening within my body, His Word is still Truth.  He said healing is my covenant-- then it is my covenant even if I don't see the manifestation at the moment.  He said I was healed by the stripes of Jesus-- I am healed.  Fact says-- I may be going through some pain and discomfort, but Truth says-- I am healed because God said I am.  Am I going to believe His Word or what the symptoms are saying?  Am I going to believe His Word or my body?

The point I really want to make this morning is this-- I don't need to stop "preaching" the healing power of Jesus just because my body may not be well.  That is exactly what the enemy wants us to do-- stop speaking the Word; stop speaking the Truth.  He is trying to intimidate me to keep my mouth shut.  How?  By speaking condemning words that say such as this-- how can you tell others that Jesus heals when you are sick?  How can you encourage others to believe when you still have sickness in your body? 

If the enemy is doing that to you, don't listen to him.  Don't be intimidated by him.  God's Word is truth-- always has been, always will be, it is eternal, and eternally settled in heaven.  What is going on in my body has no bearing on the Truth of God's Word-- it will always be the Truth.  What I am experiencing doesn't affect the fact that His Word is still Truth.  What I am experiencing doesn't make His Word null or void.  His Truth doesn't change just because I don't feel good.  It is still Truth!  So don't be intimidated, keep preaching the Truth.  

Have a great day.  God's Word is the Truth--- nothing else-- not even what I am going through.    

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"He Is Not A Genie"

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee..."  Jeremiah 33:3
 
I grew up watching cartoons.  These cartoons were fairy tales, fables, folklore and mythology.  Children now days are growing up on many of the same ones my generation did.  Among them were the stories of genies.  Genies in bottles or oil lamps.  We all remember that if you rubbed the lamp a genie would appear and grant you three wishes.  You had better chose your wishes wisely because three was all you got. 

Of course we all know genies aren't real.  They are folklore and fables.  But I can't help but wonder if our "knowledge" of them hasn't influenced the way we perceive God.  (Please note that I am not comparing the Lord God to a false, non-existent fable/genie.  I am trying to make sure that our outside influences don't affect the way we perceive the Lord.) 

Many see the Lord as a magic person who is there to grant their wishes (like a genie).  He is not.  He is not magical.  He is not mystical.  He is very real.  He is not a fable.  He is God.  There is no one else like Him, above Him, or besides Him.  He doesn't grant wishes.  He answers prayer.  He bestows blessings upon us.  He makes and keeps promises.  There is no comparison of Him with anyone, or anything else.

Sadly, many perceive God in the same way we viewed genies when we were growing up-  granting only three wishes.  They think God limits His goodness and only answers a few prayers.  I want to clarify this morning, that the Lord God does not limit how many prayers we can pray, how many requests we make or how often we petition Him.   Some think, when it comes to the Lord, that they can ask Him too many requests and "use up" all their prayers.  There is no limit.  Ask and ask and ask again.  He doesn't limit how many times we ask, or how much we ask. 

Some also think, that God limits His forgiveness-- three strikes and you are out!  He doesn't limit His grace.  His mercy is limitless.  He is the God of first, second and third, forth and fifth and a thousand chances.  We can go to Him asking for grace, mercy and forgiveness and another chance as often as we need to.  He will not turn us away but grant us the grace we need. 

Don't compare God to anything else.  Don't compare Him to the false cartoons you grew up watching.  He is God.  He is not a genie granting a limited amount of wishes.      

Have a great day.  God is God.  Not some fable that is limited in His goodness.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"Reset My Heart"

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10

Sunday morning while my pastor was praying, he made a request of the Lord to "reset our hearts".  That stood out to me as a prayer I should pray regularly.

I have many items around my house that when they aren't working properly I can press the "reset" button and they will once again work correctly.  Among those items are my electrical plugs.  They have to be reset sometimes in order for the power to flow through them.  My curling iron, or hair dryer, has to be reset when they aren't putting out the heat they should be.  In order for the power to flow and the heat to be present I have to "reset" them when they need it.

In order for the power of God to flow through us, in order for the warmth of God's love to flow through us, we might have to have our hearts "reset" sometimes.  Is your love for God and others growing cold?  Then your heart may need "resetting".  Is your hunger and thirst for righteousness diminishing?  Is your desire for spiritual things waning?  Do you feel indifferent about the things of God?  Have you lost your joy?  Has God's peace left you?  Then your heart may need to be "reset".  

With my appliances and so forth I just press a reset button.  In order to get my "spirit reset" I call out to the Lord.  I call out in repentance for letting the cares of this life, my own desires and will, what others think, and so on cause me to grow cold, indifferent and lukewarm.  Then I ask Him to reset/refill my heart and make it new again.   

Have a great day.  Does your heart need to be "reset"? 

Monday, June 5, 2017

"Reading The Bible"

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."  Psalm 119:105

If the largest book in the Bible-- which is Psalms-- and the longest chapter in the Bible-- which is Psalms 119-- the main theme is God's Word, then it speaks to me of the importance of the Word. 

We learn from the scriptures that the Word of God is our lamp, a light illuminating our path, it gives direction through life, comfort in sorrow, strength in weakness, it is life, it is health, it is marrow and fatness to our bones, it gives wisdom, it gives hope, it brings freedom and deliverance, it gives peace, it forewarns, it gives grace and mercy, it gives instruction, it is the source of faith, and this is just a few things that the Word is and does

All this being the case of the importance it is to our lives, why is it that many "Christians" never read it.  They don't open the pages of the Bible and read it.  They don't apply it to memory.  They don't meditate on it.  They can't quote it.  They aren't hiding it in their hearts.  They don't know what it says. 

A Christian who does not read the word is like someone trying to drive a car without a motor.  It is like a baseball player trying to play ball without a bat. It is like a chef trying to cook without a stove.  It is like trying to unlock a door without keys.  It is like trying to sing without a voice.  All of these is impossible.  It is impossible for us to make it through life without the Word of God.  It is impossible for us to know the Lord in a deep way without His Word.  
 
Without the Word we have nothing to live by.  Nothing to bring us hope.  Nothing to encourage our faith.  Nothing to sustain our spiritual life.  Nothing to stand on when troubles come.   Does this describe you?  Are you reading the Word?  Daily?  Is it part of your everyday life? 

Have a great day.  A Christian who does not read the Word is unheard of.   

Friday, June 2, 2017

"True Love Defined"

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."  John 13:34,35
If Jesus said that our love would identify us to the world and others that we are truly His disciples, then we need to know the definition of love.  (That is, not the world's definition, but the true Biblical definition.) 

Love as been defined as a warm fuzzy feeling.  It has been equated with sex.  It is used when we get emotional over a particular food or other thing that we strongly like.  But what does Jesus mean when He says the word "love"?

Love is the character and nature of Jesus.  "God is love".  When we receive Jesus as Savior He comes into our lives-- this means love comes into our lives.  We can't have Jesus apart from having love.  And we can't truly love without having Jesus.  The two-- Jesus and love-- are one. 

Love is an action verb.  That means that it is something that we do-- not just say.  Love does something.  God loved so much that He gave His only begotten Son into the world as a ransom for our sins.  Jesus loved us so much that He went to the cross and died for us.  A former pastor of mine used to say-- we are more like God when we are giving.  He wasn't talking about giving money.  He was talking about giving love.  God is a giver and He gives because of love.  

Just in case we still didn't get it right, the Holy Spirit gave us the definition of love-- the kind disciples should demonstrate-- through the Apostle Paul.  In His definition of love He tells us what it is and what it is not.

Love is longsuffering-- it endures a long time; it endures through thick and thin; it endures heartache and hardship without giving up.  Love is kind, affectionate; sweet, considerate of others.  It does not envy.  It doesn't want (covet) what someone else has.  It doesn't get angry when it sees someone else being blessed.  It doesn't resent or get mad when someone else is receiving something good.  It isn't jealous.  Love doesn't parade what it does and has.  It doesn't have to have the limelight, honor and recognition for what it does.  It doesn't get the "big head".  It isn't arrogant.  Love is not rude, but has good manners.  Love doesn't seek its own will or to get its own way.  It is always seeking good and the best for others.  It is not conceited.  It isn't self-centered.  It centers on what is the will of God and best for others instead of on itself.  Love is not easily provoked.  It doesn't think the worst of others and doesn't go around looking for the bad.  Love rejoices in truth.  It bears all things-- goes the second mile and puts up with a lot. It believes for the best.  It hopes, it is not a pessimist.  It endures all things-- it won't let anything steal it away, no matter what the difficulty.  Lastly, love never fails... it will continue on and withstand the test of time.  

So, do you posses love?  Does love posses you?  Are you acting in love or just talking about it?  Do others know you are a Christian because of your love?

Have a great day.  You are identified as a Christian by your love.   
 
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)



Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Rest While Carrying It"

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

This verse is not just a verse, it is an invitation.  It is one of the most comforting invitations in the scriptures.  It is an invitation from the Heavenly Father Himself.  He is inviting you to come to Him.  It isn't a command or suggestion or direction to go to your pastor, to go to your friend, to go to some minister, to go to another person, but to come to Him.  He invites you to come, not to go elsewhere looking for your help and rest.

In His invitation to come to Him, He invites you to bring with you your heavy burdens, your concerns, your pain, those things that are more than you can bear.  He didn't say for you to leave them somewhere else, but He wants you to bring them with you instead.  

In accepting His invitation you will find that there is a promise attached to it--- I will give you rest.  The promise wasn't that He would completely remove the burden-- although He might.  But it is a promise to give you rest while carrying your burden.  It is a promise that the burden will no longer be to heavy to bear.  It is a promise that the burden will not weight you down, it will not overcome you, it will not crush you under its load, it will not destroy you, it will not be more than you can bear, because His perfect rest will be there to carry the burdensome part of the load.

Are you under a heavy load?  Burdens are more than you can bear?  Accept His invitation.  Go to Him.  Let Him give you rest while you are carrying it.  That rest is His peace that passes understanding.

Have a great day.  The Lord Himself invites you into His presence with your heavy burdens so He can give you rest.   

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Drifting Or On Course?"

"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."  Jeremiah 29:11

Once again the words of an old hymn have been on my mind this morning:  "Without Him I could do nothing.  Without Him I'd surely fail.  Without Him I would be drifting.  Like a ship without a sail."

"Without Jesus I would be drifting like a ship without a sail."  This explains some people's lives.  They never seem to be going anywhere.  They are always spinning their wheels.  They lack direction.  They lack purpose.  They are just drifting through life.  Never doing anything, other than existing. 

The problem is they don't have Jesus to pilot their ship/lives.  Without Jesus we can't get on course.  We will always be just drifting through life.  We will be drifting wherever the wind of feelings, the wind of popular opinion, the wind of adversity, the wind of popularity, the wind of social acceptance, the wind pleasure, the wind of fads, and so on takes us.  The wind controls us.  It "blows" us aimlessly through life.  

Jesus answers the basic questions of life--- who am I? why am I here? what is life all about?  When Jesus takes control of our lives, He gives us direction.  We find our way.  Our lives have meaning.  They have purpose.  There is a plan for them.  Jesus  will speak to the wind that is blowing us here and there and everywhere to be still.  With Jesus in our lives we are no longer at the mercy of the wind to blow us where it will.  He is like the "motor" on the boat that gives it power to get on course and stay on course. 

Have a great day.  Are you drifting through life without direction and purpose?  Then you need Jesus.

"Without Him"
Without Him I could do nothing
Without Him I'd surely fail
Without Him I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail

Without Him I would be dying
Without Him I'd be enslaved
Without Him life would be worthless
But with Jesus thank God I'm saved

Oh Jesus, oh Jesus
Do you know Him today
Please don't turn Him away
Oh Jesus, my Jesus
Without Him how lost I would be
Without Him how lost I would be


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Knocking At The Doors"

"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

When Jesus says that He is standing at the door and knocking, He doesn't mean that He is standing at the front door of your physical home.  He is talking about standing at the door of your heart and knocking on the door of you life.  He is desiring to gain access.  If you notice, He is knocking.  He isn't barging in.  He isn't picking the lock.  He isn't kicking the door down.  He isn't coming on in without you opening the door and inviting Him in.  He is knocking and waiting for you to open it and allow Him to come in. 

Have you opened the door to your life/heart and invited Him in?  If you have, does He have free access to every "room" in your heart?  Or are there doors that are still closed to Him?  There are many "doors" in our hearts/lives and He is knocking on them waiting to gain access. 

It can be illustrated like this-- there are many rooms in our hearts and each room has a door, and on each door there is a label that tells what room it is.  There is a "room" in our hearts/lives that is labeled- "my plans".  There is one that is labeled-- "private pain".  There is one that is labeled-- "my agenda".  And so on.  He is knocking on each of those doors because He wants access and liberty to do some "house cleaning", "rearranging", "discarding", "renewal" and "renovation" in your life

What "room" is He standing at the door and knocking on?  It could be the room of fear, discouragement, illness, confusion, pride, self-will, ambition, etc.  Whichever  room it is, He is desiring to gain access into, let Him.  When He finishes, the room (that area of your life) will be perfect.

Have a great day.  Jesus is standing at the door, and doors, of your heart desiring access.  Will you open the door and let Him in?

Friday, May 26, 2017

"A Meal Of Words"

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."  Jeremiah 15:16

I awoke this morning to another hymn going through my thoughts-- "Beautiful words, wonderful words, Wonderful words of life; Beautiful words, wonderful words, Wonderful words of life." 

We all want to "hear a word".  We want someone to speak kind, encouraging, loving, edifying words to us.  But that doesn't always happen.  Some words are cruel, unkind, negative, condemning, attacking, hurtful, mean, hateful, and so on.

Did you know that words are like a meal?  The prophet said he found God's words and "ate" them.  He described them as a joy.  The writer of Psalms described God's word as sweet to the taste; even sweeter than honey.  ("How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103)

If God's word is like a "meal" to our spirit, then the other words we hear, and are spoken to us, are like meals as well.  Some of you have been eating, dining and even feasting on words that are anything but good and pleasant. 

When negative words, hurtful words, the words that we described earlier are spoken to us, they make us feel really bad.  Why?  For the same reason that eating spoiled food effects our stomachs.  These words hurt our hearts, emotions and spirit. 

I want to encourage you this morning to stop eating these words.  Stop letting someone's negative words, their condemning words, their cruel words get into your "system"-- your heart.  Stop letting them feed you.  Instead, constantly eat on the Lord's sweet, wonderful words of life.  When a meal of bad words is set before you, refuse it.  Don't "eat" it-- that means "don't receive them".  Instead, receive God's word of hope, peace, grace, love and life.

Have a great day.  Stop eating hurtful, negative words that others are serving you.  Eat God's sweet words of life. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Your Support Team"

"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."  2 Timothy 4:16

In our Christian walk we will often have to stand alone.  We won't always have another person to stand beside us.  I have seen too many people come to Christ then "fall by the way side" because they had no one to support them.  They had no one in their family-- their spouse, their parent, their children, their sibling-- that would help support them and walk with them in their Christianity.

It is good to have someone else to walk with you and encourage you in your faith.  The Bible says that two walking together are better than one because if one falls the other can help him get up.  Jesus even sent the disciples out two by two.  We do need each other, but we tend to put too much emphasis on having another person's help.  We put too much trust and confidence in the arm of flesh.  We are always trying to find someone that will support us.  And if we don't have someone else we don't think we can make it.

You may not have a flesh and blood support system to help you in your walk with the Lord, but that doesn't mean you can't still live the Christian life.  You are too busy looking to people to support you when you already have the greatest "support team" with you all the time--- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  They are with you.  They never leave you nor forsake you.  They are always there-- good times and bad times.  They can, and will, impart to you the grace, strength, help, wisdom, power, and anything else you need to walk and live a life of Christian victory.  Even if there in not one single person on earth who supports you, they are constantly supporting you.  And through them and by them you can make it. 

Have a great day.  Your help and support doesn't come from people.  It comes from the Lord.  He is your support.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Feelings Aren't Always True"

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father."10:29

Do you ever feel like God doesn't care about you?  Do you ever feel like He has forgotten you?  Do you ever wonder where He is in your life?  Do you ever feel like He has abandoned you?  Do you ever feel like He doesn't love you?

Our feelings are powerful.  But feelings can be fickle.  Feelings can lie to you.  Your own feelings can deceive you.  Our feelings may be real, but they are not always reality.  They are not always true or truth. 

If you are feeling like that person above-- that God doesn't care about you, or love you, or has forgotten you-- your feelings are lying to you.  They are misleading you.  He does care about you.  He says He does, and His Word always "trumps" your feelings. 

In the verse above we see just how much He does care.  It says that He notices even when one sparrow, who was only valued at a farthing, falls to the ground.  I looked it up and a farthing was a 1/4 of a penny.  That means it takes four farthings to make one penny.  That is not very valuable.  But, nevertheless, the Lord has His eye on that sparrow.  He has His eye on you because to Him you are more valuable than a sparrow.  That sparrow cost 1/4 of a cent.  You cost the precious, priceless blood of His Only Begotten Son Jesus. 

Don't let your feelings convince you of something that is not real.  God does love you and care about you.  Listen to what He is telling you, not what your feelings are saying.

Have a great day.  Your feelings will tell you one thing, but believe what God is telling you instead.   

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"The Burning Word"

"And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"  Luke 24:17,32

After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, two of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus.  They were talking among themselves about what had happened over the last few days.  Their hearts were sad, bewildered, confused, ill at ease, concerned, wondering, doubting, fearful and trying to sort it all out.  Then Jesus comes and joins them.  They didn't know it was Him at first. 

They shared with Him the events of the last few days.  Then He begin to expound the scriptures to them.  They invited Him home with them and there they ate bread together.  After Jesus revealed Himself to them, He vanished.  Both of these men acknowledged that their "hearts burned within them" as He spoke and opened up the scriptures to them.

My point this morning is this-- when we are feeling the same way these men felt, the scriptures have the power to lift us up, comfort us, give us peace, courage, strength and help us get refocused on truth.  

We spend so much time running here and there looking for our answers when it is found in God's Word.  Or we spend our time doing nothing but "wallowing" in our situation when there is an answer that awaits us in God's Word. 

After hearing the Word/scriptures these men were changed.  Their hearts were strengthened.  Hope began to burn within them.  Peace begin to burn within them.  Comfort begin to burn within them.  The Word began to burn out the fear, confusion and hopelessness that had come into their hearts.  The Word had changed them.  The Word had lifted them up and gave them answers that made sense of all they had witnessed and experienced.  The Word of God will do the same for you.

Have a great day.  The Word of God will give us all we need, and answer every question we have, and change us with renewed hope.     

For further reading:  Luke 24 

Monday, May 22, 2017

"Bullying Defined"

"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

Bullying has become a main topic over the last few years, although it has been around since the beginning of time.  I want to bring some insight and exposure this morning to what bullying truly is.

Bullying is an avenue through which to intimidate someone else.  The dictionary defines intimidate as:  frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants.  When you intimidate someone through bullying, or any other form, it is a form of manipulation.  The dictionary defines manipulate as:  control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously.

The root of bullying is evil.  It is manipulation.  Manipulation is a form of witchcraft.  It is deceptive.  It uses "emotional power" over another in order to gain power and control over them.  

Bullying is not the only form that intimidation and manipulation come in, there are others.  But if you are being bullied.  If you are being intimidated.  If you are being coerced into doing something against your will, then someone else is trying to control you.  They are trying to impose their own selfish will and desire on you.  Don't let them.  That is how the devil operates and he is using them-- we don't wrestle against flesh and blood-- to try to steal, kill and destroy you.

Bullying, intimidation, manipulation, witchcraft is a strong and powerful tool that the devil uses.  But it is not stronger than the saving power of Jesus Christ.  He destroyed the works of the devil at the cross.  You don't have to yield to that "bullying".  You don't have to become its "slave".  You don't have to fall "prey".  You, through the power of Christ, can overcome.  If you are a born-again child of God, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.  You have been given power and authority over all the powers of the enemy.  Fear is the "big guns" that the enemy uses in bullying (intimidation and manipulation).  You don't have to fear.  God has not given you a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

So stand fast in the freedom you have in Christ Jesus.  Don't give in to the bullying, intimidation and manipulation.  Hold fast to the Lord and His promises.  Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.  And remember that Jesus already defeated the enemy on your behalf.

Have a great day.  Bullying is evil.  It is manipulation, which is a form of witchcraft.  You have power over this evil through Jesus Christ and don't have to become its victim. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

"Speaking"

"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."  Mark 11:23

The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of "speaking".  In the beginning the Father spoke everything into existence.  "Let there be".  He calls those things that are not as through they are-- through speakingHe uses speaking as an instrument to save the lost.  "How will they hear without a preacher?".  When Jesus was on earth, He taught us, through His own example, how to apply kingdom principles on earth.  One of the things He taught us was how to "speak".  He taught us how to "speak" to circumstances, situations, problems, spiritual  principalities, powers of darkness, temptations and spirits that we encounter. 

Jesus spoke in authority to demons to come out of people.  He spoke to a fig tree to whither and die.  He spoke to a raging sea to be calm and still.  He spoke to the devil's temptations in the wilderness.  He spoke to sickness and disease commanding them to leave peoples' bodies.  If He, by example, taught us to do so, then we should be following His example.  We should be doing some speaking as well. 

When a mountain comes in your life, you can't be quiet.  When a fire rages around you, you can't be quiet.  When the storm is beating upon you, you can't be quiet.  You have to open your mouth and speak to it.  You can't be lazy and passive, you have to speak God's Word and authority over it.  If you don't, the mountain will not be removed.  If you don't, the fire will rage on.  If you don't, the storm will not stop.  You need to be speaking God's Word over your circumstances; over your sickness; over your wayward children; over temptations and besetting sin; over demons that are tormenting you; over fear that has come; over destruction that is knocking at your door; over broken relationships; over bondage and over everything else the enemy of your soul is throwing at you. 

When Jesus was getting ready to go to the cross, Peter was being influenced by the devil to try to stop Jesus.  Jesus had to speak to the devil's words-- "Get thee behind Me, satan".  You and I are to learn from what Jesus did so that we will know how to combat satan when he comes with his manipulations, schemes, devices, accusations, temptations and threats.  We have to speak to him/it.  The Word of God is a quick, sharp, two-edged sword.  It is our sword of the Spirit-- the Word of God-- that we overcome by.  "They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and the Word of their testimony."

Have a great day.  The Kingdom of God is a "speaking" kingdom.  We overcome through speaking.  

Scripture references: 
Romans 4:17; 10:14
Matthew 16:23
Hebrews 4:12
Ephesians 6:17
Revelation 12:11
Genesis 1:3