Friday, December 29, 2017

"Digging In The Trash"

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before."  Philippians 3:13
We are about to "close the book" on another year.  Soon 2017 will be just a memory.  As we stand on the threshold of a new year, we have to take inventory and decide what will we take with us on this journey into the new year.  What bags will we take?  What will we bring with us from the last year into the next one?  What will we keep and what will we discard?  What can be left behind? 
There is baggage that we don't need to carry with us into the new year.  There are some things that need to be "trashed"-- not recycled, not repurposed, not renovated.  Those things need to be placed in a bag and sent to the trash where they are completely removed from your life

Often, what we do is place them in a bag for the trash and then later find ourselves digging in the trash to try to retrieve them.  I have done that in the natural.  If I can't find something I will dig through the trash to see if I accidently threw it away.  I have also done it spiritually.  I have "thrown away" guilt from my mistakes, hurt from the unkind actions of others, condemnation for not doing the things I should have done or doing the things I should not have done, offenses that have come my way or self-pity, fears, grievances, etc., and later find myself digging through the trash to try to retrieve them.

Does this sound familiar?  Have you done the same?  Are you going to do it again this year?  Or will you place the things that are "trash" at the foot of the cross and ask the Lord to "incinerate" it-- remove it from you as far as the east is from the west; burn it to ashes; completely destroy it; consume it by His holy fire of purification?  The choice is yours.  The Lord didn't call us to be trash collectors or trash diggers.  He has something better and new for us, but we have to leave the trash behind.

Have a great day.  Are you a trash digger?  Leave it in the trash.        

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"A Troubled Heart"

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."  John 14:1
What causes our hearts to become troubled?  Is it trials and tribulations?  Is it bad news or a bad report?  Is it problems and cares that arise?  Do the difficulties we face in life cause it to become troubled?  All these are factors, but the main reason our hearts become troubled is because we stop "believing in God and also in Me". 
Our hearts become troubled when we stop believing that God is Who He is--- great, powerful, strong and able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.  Our hearts become troubled when we stop believing that He loves us and cares about what is happening to us.  Our hearts become troubled when we don't believe His Word and promises. Our hearts become troubled when we don't believe that He is faithful to do what He says He will do.  Our hearts become troubled when we stop believing that He is for us, He is on our side, He is with us and He will never leave us. 
Is your heart troubled today?  Perhaps you are facing a difficulty that is troubling.  Is this troubling thing troubling you because you have stop "believing in Him"?  Have you stopped believing that He is your helper, your hope, your provider, your deliverer, your healer, the lover of your soul, your friend who sticks closer than a brother, your God?
Check your heart to see what is the root cause of your troubled heart--- it often goes a lot deeper than just the troubling situation.
Have a great day.  The cause and answer to a troubled heart is found in your belief and faith in the Lord.    

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"Bow Your Knee"

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 3:14
There is a saying that goes something like this:  When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.  I wonder how much "kneeling" we are actually doing?  I know that not everyone has the physical ability to kneel.  And I know you can bow your knee in prayer and still have a heart that is distant while praying.  I also know that kneeling is not the only position of prayer.  But if it is possible, we should kneel.
Kneeling is a sign of humbleness and honor when you come before a king or ruler.  It is also done in recognition of the honor that the Lord God, the King of kings, is worthy of.  It also reminds us of Who we are coming before-- the One that is Greater, Higher and more powerful than we are.  Perhaps if we took more time to kneel in prayer and humble ourselves before the Lord, it would be easier to stand when life gets hard.
When we kneel before the Lord humbling ourselves and seeking Him, we gain strength in weakness, grace in temptation, peace in confusion, joy in exchange for sorrow.  When we kneel, we find hope in a hopeless situation.  When we kneel, we receive wisdom to know what to do.  When we kneel, we have an audience with the One who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we can ask or think.  When we kneel before the Lord, we find a very present help in time of trouble. 
When was the last time you bowed your knee in prayer to the Lord?  When was the last time you prayed about the situation?  When was the last time you humbled yourself before the Lord to seek His guidance and help?  If you can get on your knees you should.  If not, then bow the knee of your heart to Him in prayer.
Have a great day.  Let us bow our heads, hearts and knees in prayer to the Lord.      

Friday, December 22, 2017

"The King"

"Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."  Matthew 2:2
When Jesus was born, He was called a king.  When He died on the cross, an inscription was placed above His head declaring Him a king.  His followers thought He would set up His kingdom here on earth and save His people from Roman oppression.  At His crucifixion He told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world.  When Jesus came, He didn't come to set up a physical kingdom, He came to set up His kingdom in the hearts of men and women.  The throne He desired on earth was the one in our hearts.  He proclaimed that the kingdom was within us. 
Jesus did not set up a literal kingdom on earth.  His kingdom has been placed in the hearts of those who have humbled themselves to His Lordship over their lives through repentance.  But one day He will return to earth and when He does, this time He won't be a tiny, helpless baby born in a stable.  He will return as He truly is-- King of kings and Lord of lords.  Then He will set up His kingdom on earth.  At that time, the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.  (Revelation 11:15)  That time could be soon.  It could be today or it could still be a few years off in the future.  Regardless, the fact remains that He will return and set up His kingdom on earth.  Are you ready for His return?  Have you made your heart His throne?  Is He the King of your life?  He is King, whether you make Him yours or not.  He is returning whether you are ready or not.  Get ready.  Get prepared.  Accept Him today.  Make Him King.  Allow Him to occupy the throne of your heart.  What a wonderful time to do that-- at Christmas.  What a great way to recognize His birth.  What a great Christmas present to give yourself.

Have a great day.  Jesus is the King-- the soon coming One-- that desires to set up His kingdom in your heart.   

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Sacrifices Of Idols"

"But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."  Genesis 4:5
Many years ago I was in prayer and intercession for a particular church that was going through a time of spiritual attack.  As I was praying the Lord spoke plainly to me and said these words which I have never forgotten. "Ichabod, the glory of the Lord has departed. My people have shut me out of my house and offer unto Me the sacrifices of idols."  As I said, that was many years ago, but it could easily be said of many churches today. 
What does it mean?  The first part is pretty self explanatory.  So, how do we offer unto the Lord the sacrifices of idols?  And is it something that we are guilty of-- as a church or as an individual?
What are idols?  They are anything that we worship other than the living God.  It can be a person that is greatly admired, loved or revered.  Mostly idols are the things that we have made with our own hands.  They are things that we have set up of our own.  So, what are the sacrifices that we bring them?  Since they are of our own making, then the sacrifices that are brought to them are things of our own making as well.  In other words, they are things of the flesh. 
Will the Lord accept what is of the flesh?  Whatever we bring the Lord God that is of the flesh is the same as a sacrifice that is offered to idols and it is an unacceptable sacrifice to the Lord.  Cain brought a sacrifice to the Lord that was unacceptable.  He brought the works of his own hands that was taken from the cursed ground.
In Amos 5 the Lord condemned and would not accept the sacrifices that Israel was bringing to Him because it was flesh that they were presenting.  He said He even hated their feast days and the smell of their burnt offerings.  Not only were they offering sacrifices of flesh, but they were also sacrificing to the false gods along with the true God.  (Go back and read Amos 5)  You can't make sacrifice to both.  He will not share His glory with another.  This was the reason for the first part of what He spoke to me.  "Ichabod, My glory has departed". 
It is a serious and dangerous place for a church or individual to be when the glory of the Lord departs.  You are left then to your own devices.  You have to make something happen on your own.  Because when you do that, you have shut Him out.
So, what are the sacrifices that are acceptable to the Lord?  (I know I am being lengthy this morning, but please bear with me.  I have to share this.)  The sacrifices that are acceptable to the Lord are not made with hands.  They are not made through man's strength, ability, education or wisdom.  They are: 
1)  A broken spirit and contrite heart.  "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:17)  
2)  Spiritual sacrifices.  "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5)
3)  Yourself.  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)
The Lord doesn't want your "stuff", your material things, your "handmade" sacrifices, your works of the flesh.  He wants you.  He wants your heart-- your whole heart.  He wants your will.  He wants your love, respect, reverence, submission, obedience and surrender.  He doesn't want mere "lip service", He wants truth, sincerity, honesty, and your profession and confession to line up with what you do, your actions and your attitudes. 
What are you sacrificing to Him?  What do you bring Him daily?  Do you bring Him service, work, your plans, your programs, your own understanding, only that which you want Him to have?  If so, you are offering Him the sacrifices of idols.  And He will not accept it.  He wants a "living" sacrifice.  Not something that is dead.  Repent and begin to bring Him a sacrifice that is acceptable and that He desires.  Bring Him yourself.
Have a great day.  Are you bringing the Lord acceptable or unacceptable sacrifices? 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"Falling Away"

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."  2 Thessalonians 2:3
We believe that before the return of the Lord there will be a great end-time revival that will bring the long awaited harvest in.  The Bible refers to this as the "latter rain".  But the Bible also teaches that there will be a "falling away" at the end-time as well.  I can't help but wonder if we may not be in a "falling away" time.  
I see many falling away from sound doctrine-- even denominations are falling away from the Biblical truths they have held to since their beginnings.  I see folks who were once on "fire" for the Lord becoming lukewarm.  I see them having a disinterest in the things of God.  What was once a priority in their lives is being thrown by the wayside.  Some of these same people were actively involved in church, even holding positions of authority, but no longer even attend.  They seldom pray-- only in times of trouble or need.  They never read their Bibles-- much less live by it.  Their burning desire for the Lord has been replaced with a half-hearted desire for Him .  Their lifestyle is not a reflection of the Christ they claimed as Savior and Lord.  There is not much, to anything, in their lives that gives any indication that they are who they profess-- or professed-- to be.  
Could this be the "falling away" that is spoken of in the scriptures?  According to the signs of the time given to us in scriptures, we are living close to the return of the Lord.  This is not the time to cast away our confidence in the Lord.  This is not the time to quit in our relationship with Him.  This is not the time to turn from Him and return to the things that He delivered us out of.  This is not the time to get slack, grow weary or turn away.  His return is soon.  He is coming back for those who have remained faithful to the end.  He is coming back for a bride who has made herself ready-- one who is prepared.  He is coming back for a spotless bride.  He is coming back for those who are watching and waiting for His appearing.  He is coming back for those who love Him with all their hearts, soul, strength and mind.  He isn't coming for anything less.  He isn't coming for those who have forsaken Him and are living a life apart from Him. 
Are you in that group?  Is there a "falling away" taking place in your own life?  Have you felt yourself getting lukewarm?  Does your life reflect the Savior?  Do you resemble the world in action, speech, attitude and deeds?  If this is you, there is still hope.  Fall on your knees and repent!  Call out to the Lord.  He will hear you.  He will not turn a deaf ear to you.  He will not turn you away.  Do it while there is still time.  Do it before it is too late.  Stop falling away from Him and start running to Him instead.
Have a great day.  Is there a falling away taking place in your life?       

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

"The Will Will Take You"

"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."  Luke 1:38
We all know the Christmas story of how that the virgin Mary conceived the baby Jesus, the Son of God, by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.  We know that she and Joseph made a trip to Bethlehem and while they were there, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable.  I can't help but wonder if while she was in labor if she wondered why she was giving birth then and there.  If it had been me I would have questioned, "I said yes to Your will, Lord, why am I giving birth in this stable instead of in a hospital, or my own home, or with my family around me?  Why am I giving birth to the Son of God in a stable?  Surely, I was intended to give birth in much better surroundings?  This was the last place that it should have happened."  
When we say, yes, to the will of God, we have preconceived ideas of how it is going to play out in our lives.  We think it will come to pass on some grandeur setting.  We think it will happen in the best of situations.  We think yielding to the will of the Lord will bring us into a perfect place and ideal conditions.  Surely, not to the back side of the desert like Moses, or hiding in caves like David, or being thrown into a lion's den like Daniel, or into a furnace like the three Hebrews, or into a pit like Jeremiah, or into a prison like Paul, or Egypt like Joseph.  
The thing we must realize is that when we say yes to the will of God it will not always take us to flowery beds of comfort, wealth and riches, acceptance by peers or family or friends.  It will often take us into hardships, places of solitude, uncomfortable situations, places of misunderstanding, affliction, rejection, a battlefield, etc.  But the thing we should always remember is though it takes us to a "pit" in the end it will bring us into the "palace".  Though it takes us to a "stable", we will bring forth the glory of God there "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)
Have a great day.  Don't have the preconceived idea that just because you surrendered to the will of God, it won't take you to a stable or some other unlikely, undesired place. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

"The Throne Is Not Empty"

"He is not here..."  Matthew 28:6a
When Jesus was born, He was placed in a manger.  When He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins, He was placed on a cross.  When He died, He was placed in a tomb.  I have good news this morning. He is not in the manger-- it is empty.  He is not on the cross-- it is empty.  He is not in the tomb-- it is empty.  So, where is He?  He is sitting on a throne at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. 
On earth, He was a babe, a servant, a sacrificial lamb, a crucified Savior, but now in heaven, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  The Holy and Infinite God.  Lord of the universe and all creation.  He will never return to the manger.  He will never again return to the cross. He will never be in the tomb again.  But He will always occupy the throne.  He is the Eternal God who sits upon the Highest Throne of heaven. 
One day He will return to earth but not to the manger, cross or tomb, but to set up His Kingdom, and of that Kingdom there will be no end.  He also sets up His Kingdom in the hearts of men.  This is possible because He did once come to a manger, to a cross and to a tomb.  Because He gave His life for our sins and salvation, it is now possible for Him to set up His throne in our lives.  Has He?  Has He set up His throne in your life?  Have you invited Him too?  He is coming again to set up His throne and when He does every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.  Are you already bowing your knee, confessing Him as Lord and making your heart His throne? 
Have a great day.  The manger is empty, the cross is empty and the tomb is empty, but the throne is not empty.   

Friday, December 15, 2017

"You Have Power"

"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."  Romans 8:11
Sometimes we Christians live such defeated lives.  We let everything irritate us.  We get fearful at the least little thing.  We allow anxiety and worry to overcome us.  We believe the lies of the enemy.  We sit back and do nothing about the temptations and attacks of the devil.  Why is this?  Perhaps we have forgotten that we have been endued with power.  Perhaps we have forgotten, or maybe have never been taught, about the power that resides in us. 
At salvation we not only received eternal life, the character of Christ and righteousness, but we also received power.  Power to live a victorious life.  The power that we have received is the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  The power we receive when we receive Jesus is the power that is in His Name.  At His Name every knee shall bow.  We receive the power of the Blood.  There is power, wonder working power in the Blood of Jesus.  We receive the power of the Cross.  The Cross is the power of God unto salvation.  We have the power of the Word.  It is quick, sharp and more powerful than any two-edged sword.  When we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we receive power to be witnesses. 
We have God's power at our disposal.  We have His power residing in us.  So why are we so weak?  Why do we act so defeated?  Why do we let things bother us?  Why do we let the enemy condemn us and harass us?  Why are we so afraid?  Why are we so quiet?  Why are we embarrassed?  Why do we sit back and do nothing when the situation for action arises?  Why do we give in so easily to temptation?  Why do we "roll over and play dead"? 
We are called to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.  And the power of His might has been made available to us and is within us.  Use the power and authority that He has given you and stop letting the enemy win in your life.  Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.  You have been given power over all the powers of the enemy.  You have been given power, love and a sound mind.  Make a withdrawal of that power today.  Stir up that power that is within you today.  Lay hold of that power that has been so graciously given to you and go forth strong in the Lord and the power of His might. 
Have a great day.  You have been given power.... use it!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Nativity Memories"

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16
If you know me very well, you know I like nativity scenes.  I don't collect them but I have a lot of them.  Many of them stay in a display case during the year.  The rest come out at Christmas time and decorate the mantle and various places all over my house.  As I was putting them out this year, I couldn't help but reminisce about each one.  One nativity set was my grandmothers.  The figures were bought at the "dime store" many years ago.  There are a couple that were given to me by my sister.  One that was ceramic came from my mother-in-law.  I found several that came from various friends throughout the years.  Each one has a special memory attached to it.
But when I look at the nativity scenes, the thing that I am reminded of the most is the birth of my Savior.  As I look at them I remember how much He loves me.  I remember that He came to earth to die for my sins.  I remember that He paid my debt and made the sacrifice that I couldn't.  I remember how He took my place by taking my punishment.  When I look at them, my heart is filled with thankfulness-- for what He did for me.  It is filled with peace-- the peace of knowing that it is well with my soul.  It is filled with hope-- hope of an eternity spent with Him.  It is filled with joy-- the joy of knowing my sins are forgiven. 
When I look at those nativity scenes, I am looking at memories.  But the greatest memory is the one that I am aware of every day, not only at Christmas time when the nativity scenes come out of storage.  It is the price of love that was paid for me. 
Have a great day.  When you look at the nativity scene, it should remind you of the great love that God has for you.     

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Grace In Changed Plans"

"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
During the Christmas season we make lots of plans-- plans for gift giving, plans to get together with family and friends, plans of baking special treats, Christmas programs and so on.  Last year most of those plans did not materialize for me.  My husband was in the hospital at Christmas.  This year already many of my Christmas plans have not manifested.  I had to cancel a Christmas party with the volunteers at the shop and I had to cancel our get together with my husband's family.  Both were because of the snow, lack of electricity and icy roads.  I planned on baking cookies with my granddaughters but I hurt my back and couldn't.  
Yes, it was somewhat disappointing, but it wasn't the "end of the world".  Why?  Because all the things that we plan for and do during this season don't have much to do with the true meaning of Christmas.  When my Christmas plans got cancelled I had to stop for a moment and look at the real meaning of Christmas-- the birth of Jesus, my Savior and King.  When I did, it gave me the grace I needed to accept the change of plans. 
When our plans change, when they don't materialize, and not just at Christmas but every day throughout the year, we have to come back to "front and center" and look at Jesus and remember that He has plans for us.  As we do, grace will come.  When grace comes, it will give us peace and contentment with the change of plans.  It will give us grace to accept the change.  It will give us grace to move on.
Have your plans been changed?  Don't look at the plans that didn't happen.  Look to Jesus who will give you the grace you need to remember that it is well regardless.
Have a great day.  When our plans change, if we will look to Jesus we will find grace to be content with the change. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"He Provides All Things"

"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
If the Lord God gave His Son Jesus for us, why do we think He would not give us anything else that we need?  He already met our greatest need-- the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, reconciliation to Himself-- through His Son Jesus.  So, why would we think He wouldn't give us lesser things that we need?
Why do we think He won't give us healing for our bodies when we need it?  Why would we think that He would withhold any provision that we need?  Why would we think that He wouldn't give us strength in weakness, help in hardships, peace in the storm, grace for life's journey, hope when all hope looks lost, and so on? 
Is it because we don't think that He really loves us?  Is it because we don't think He really cares?  Is it because we don't trust His promises or believe His word?  He already proved His love by sending His Beloved Son--- the One who was most precious to Him, the One that He loved greatly, the One who has always been with Him-- to die for us.  He already proved He cares by not letting us stay lost but instead providing a way for us through Jesus.  He already proved He keeps His promises and is true to His word by fulfilling His word through Jesus.  Why can't we then believe and trust Him to give us all things that we need? 
Have a great day.  The Lord already proved He loved us by sending Jesus to die for us.  If He took care of our greatest need through Jesus, why do we think He wouldn't provide for our lesser needs as well?

Friday, December 8, 2017

"Lessons From The Snow"

"While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."  Hebrews 3:15
I am a little late this morning because last night it started snowing and this morning I awoke to a Winter Wonderland... and it is still snowing.  This isn't something we normally experience here in the South.  So I had "first things first" that I needed to do.  Thinking about this snow has brought two things to mind that have a spiritual application.
First, because we aren't use to this, at the last minute people were scurrying to get water pipes wrapped so they wouldn't freeze and burst.  They were making sure they had wood in for the fireplaces and pulling out any other heat source they had.  They had not prepared ahead of time.  What it made me think of was the number of people who are not prepared where their eternity is concerned.  We kept receiving warnings about the weather so at the last minute people heeded them.  Constantly warnings are going out about the need to get prepared for eternity and not put if off.  But people are waiting until the last minute hoping to get right.  The difference in this and eternal preparation is that you don't get another chance.  There is no last minute preparation.  Waiting to heed until the last minute maybe too late.
Secondly, before I could sit down to do the devotional I had to make sure I had "first things first" taking care of.  I had to make sure I had water stored in case of power loss.  I had to make sure the volunteers were contacted to let them know we would be closed at the shop today.  I had to make sure my phones are fully charged.  And so on.  We cannot neglect to take care of the important things first.  The most important thing being the state of your eternal soul.  You can't put that off until later.  Later may be too late.
To sum it up, what I learned from the snow is this:  heed the warnings concerning your soul now; don't wait to the last minute and think you will get it taken care of; put first things first and don't put them off, you may wait too long and it may be too late.
Have a great day. Take a lesson from the snow and get prepared. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"Private Or Public Salvation"

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."  John 12:32
Jesus came into the world to seek and save those who were lost.  He came to give His life as a ransom for our sins.  He came to provide the way for forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with the Father and eternal life.  He would accomplish this by becoming "flesh and blood".  He became a man, a man who was born as a baby in a manger. 
When He was born, He was born in secrecy.  He was born in private.  He was born in seclusion.  He was born in a stable without an audience and without a crowd.  Only His parents, a few shepherds and some wise men saw Him.  Though He had a mission, His time had not yet come to fulfill it, so His birth was kept "secret".
But when His time came to fulfill His mission, it was no private matter.  He was crucified on top of a hill, lifted up on a cross, high above for all to see.  It was not done in secret.  Though salvation is a private thing that takes place in the heart, it is also a public thing that others should witness.  When we come to Christ for salvation, we should do so publically.  We should let someone know.  Sadly, we are allowing people to come to Christ "under the radar".  We ask them to do it in secret.  In our churches we ask everyone to close their eyes and if you want to accept Christ raise your hand.  Then we all say a "sinners prayer" together and that is the end of it.  Why?  We don't want to embarrass anyone.  
If a person is embarrassed for anyone else to see them come to Jesus, then they aren't really coming to Jesus.  He said that if we are ashamed of Him before men, He would be ashamed of us before the Father.  Jesus didn't die in private.  He did it for all to see.  He wasn't ashamed to hang on that cross for you.  Why are you ashamed to receive Him before others? (Let me say this-- I know there are parts of the world where your life is in danger if you publically acknowledge Christ.  I am not talking about that.  I am talking about those who aren't in that danger.  Yet, even in those conditions, many still openly and boldly accept Jesus not fearing for their lives, but willing to die for Him.) 
What message are we communicating to people?  We are telling them it is alright to be a "private" Christian.  We are telling them it is alright to serve in secret.  We are teaching them that faith in Christ does not require boldness. We present salvation as something "embarrassing" instead of the glorious new birth that it is. Jesus said that if we confess Him before men, He would confess us before the Father. 
Have a great day.  Jesus came in a manger in secret, but He died on the cross publically for all to see.  Is your salvation private or public? 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

"Waiting For The Lord's Time"

"But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."  Galatians 4:4
"When the fullness of time was come, God sent."  God has a timing for everything.  We have a timing as well and more times than not our timing and God's timing conflicts.  We want everything now.  We don't want to wait.  We think the perfect time for anything and everything is now. 
Probably one of the hardest things for us to do is wait.  Especially when the matter appears to be urgent.  We can't wait.  We can't wait on God to move.  It has to be done now.  So we take matters into our own hands and "make it happen" when we want it to or when we think it should.  This is one of the main reasons why we get in trouble. 
Look at some Biblical examples of those who did not wait on God to bring the answer, meet the need, fulfill the promise or provide.  King Saul didn't wait for the prophet Samuel to return with the Lord's message.  As a result, he was rejected from being king by God.  Abraham and Sarah didn't wait for God to fulfill the promise of giving them a child.  They took matters into their own hands and produced an Ishmael.
Waiting may be hard.  Waiting may go against our nature.  Waiting may seem like a waste.  But it will always be in our best interest to wait on the Lord.  God's timing may seem late.  It may seem like it will never happen.  But His timing is perfect.  And when the fullness of God's time comes to your situation, you will be glad you waited.  Because His answer and the way He presents His answer will be perfect and marvelous.
Have a great day.  Wait for God's timing.   

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"The Only Foundation"

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."  Matthew 7:27
You can't just go out and pick a spot of land to build a house on and start laying boards or bricks.  You have to prepare the spot for a foundation.  You can't just build it on any type of soil-- especially sand.  It has to be built on something that is solid, something that will support it-- like rock.  Why?  If the foundation isn't solid, the house is not save.  It is in danger of falling. 
Our lives are the same way.  We have to build them on something.  But what we build them on is important as well.  We can't build them on just anything or they aren't "save"-- they will fall. 
Many people are trying to build their lives on fame, fortune, entertainment, education, religion, prestige, popularity, wealth, accomplishments and so on.  These are not good foundations.  Some of these may have a place in the house, but the house can't be built on them or it will fall.  There is only one foundation to build a house on that will support that house-- something solid like rock.  In the same way there is only one foundation to build our lives on that will support our lives-- Jesus.  He is the only true, firm, solid foundation.  Everything else will not support our lives.  Anything else will cause us to fall.  Anything else is dangerous.  Anything else will give way.  Anything else will erode.  Anything else will shift and move.  Anything else will cause chaos and will collapse.  Anything else will not give us comfort, support and peace of mind. 
What foundation are you building your life upon?  Is it solid?  Is it unstable?  Is it Jesus or something else?
Have a great day.  There is only one foundation upon which we can build our lives that will support it-- Jesus. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

"What Is In The Manger?"

"And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."  Luke 2:12
When the shepherds went to the manger, what they saw was a beautiful baby boy.  When the magi went to see the babe, they saw a baby boy who was to be the king of the Jews.  All they saw was a baby lying there.  But lying there was so much more than just a baby.  It was so much more than a king. 
Lying in the manger was the eternal God.  It was love that was lying there.  It was a cross and an empty tomb in the mangerIt was a crucified Savior who would take away our sins.  Lying in the manger was the hope of mankind.  It was the one who would pay the ransom for mankind.  It was the one who would take our punishment and deliver us from judgment.  It was the one who would free us from bondage.  Lying in the manger was the answer to all our problems.  It was a Lamb who would be sacrificed for our sins.  It was the Prince of Peace.  It was the one who would reconcile and mend our broken relationship with the Heavenly Father.  It was the Healer of our bodies.  It was the way, the truth and the life.  Lying there was the one who had all power and authority in heaven and earth.  It was the one who was there at the beginning and by whom all things were made and exist.  It was the one who will be there at the end. 
When you look at the manger, what do you see?  Do you only see a babe that is wrapped in swaddling clothes?  Do you only see a beautiful baby boy?  Do you only see a Christmas story?  If so, then look again.  There is so much more lying in the manger than a sweet little baby boy.
Have a great day.  Is a baby the only thing you see when you look at the manger?       

Friday, December 1, 2017

"Working And Tolerating"

"I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.  Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols."  Revelation 2:19,20
For the last several days we have been talking about using our God-given authority and the control we have over things/sins/attitudes in our own lives.  We said that we don't have to allow certain things to control us.  We said they only can if we relinquish control and give them that authority.  We said the way that happens is by not taking authority over then but permitting them to stay in our lives-- co-habatating with them.  We also said the root of why we allow them is lack of faith and trust in God.  We gave examples of what happens if we allow them to stay and if we take authority over them through the Bible story of David and Goliath.  We also learned that if we don't take authority over them, they will take authority over us and wind up destroying us.  Today I want to bring out one last point on the subject.  We are going to look at this from God's perspective.
The church of Thyatira had a lot going for it.  The Lord commended them for their works, charity, service, faith and patience.  They did much good.  But He had something against them.  They "suffered"-- which means:  to allow, permit, to allow one to do as he wishes, not to restrain, to let alone, tolerate-- something that God did not permit.  What He had against them was the very thing we have been talking about all week.  They permitted the wrong spirit to influence and lead them.  They listened to a leader who appealed to their flesh and manipulated them to compromise.  They allowed false doctrine.  They were swayed by lies and sin.  They compromised with sin and error.  They were involved in sexual immorality.  They were compromising Godly standard.  They were involved in idolatry-- they had begun to put other things before God.  They were being led by false reasoning.  They rejected the Lord's authority.
As a result, God would bring judgment upon their sin if they did not repent.  The judgment described in the scriptures is very serious-- it even involves death if not repented of.  We may tolerate sins, etc., but God will not tolerate it.  Why?  Because He loves us and is jealous over us with a pure love.  He will not tolerate it because He knows it will destroy us in the long run.  He does not tolerate it because He is the only one who deserves our worship-- because He is the only one who died for us so that we can live. 
You may be doing wonderful works, great works, commendable works for the Lord but if you are tolerating/allowing/co-existing with those things in your life that God hates, that God condemns, that God does not permit, that God calls sin, that are contrary to His Word, His standard of living and Christ-like character, then you need to repent.  It is not a light thing with Him.  It is serious.  Just look at Thyatira if you don't believe it is.
Have a great day.  Your good works and deeds won't be enough to save you if you are tolerating sin and ungodly attitudes in your life.     

Thursday, November 30, 2017

"God's Got Your Back"

"And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands."  1 Samuel 17:47
The last couple of days we have been talking about how we have control over sin and unrighteous attitudes in our lives.  We have  God-given power and authority over them It doesn't have to control us.  Yesterday we said that nothing can control or have power over us unless we relinquish control to it.  We discovered how that happens.  It happens by allowing or tolerating that thing in our lives. 
We used the example of the Israelites going to battle with the Philistines and how their champion Goliath would come out daily and taunt them--  "If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.  And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together."  The Israelites and their king did nothing.  They allowed him to continue this day after day.  Why?  They were intimidated by his size.  They were fearful of him.  They were afraid that if they did send a man to fight him and he lost, they would wind up being the Philistines servants.  Little did they realize that they were already their "servants".  They already had control over them.  They didn't have it physically like they were afraid would happen if they lost, but nevertheless, they were already their "prisoners".  They were already held captive.  (Whatever you don't take control over, has already controlled you.  You are already its prisoner.)   
So what are we to do?  How do we take control?  How do we use our God-given authority and power?  How do we stop relinquishing control?  How do we stop tolerating and allowing it?  Read on in the story in 1 Samuel 17.  David came to the battleground one day.  While there Goliath came out as he did daily.  David saw that everyone was tolerating him, but he knew who His God was and who he was in His God.  He knew this was an enemy.  He asked the question-- "who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"  In other words, who does he think he is?  Does he think he is stronger than our God?  Does he think he is more powerful?  Does he think he can defeat Him?  Does he think he is the greater than God?  (Perhaps we should ask these same questions to the things that try to control us.)
David didn't tolerate this enemy.  He went out to fight him.  But he didn't fight him in his own strength, power and might.  "I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand."  We know the outcome-- God defeated the giant through David with nothing more than a rock and sling shot.  See how easily the enemy can be defeated if we will stop fearing it and use our God-given authority over it!  David didn't tolerate it and freedom and deliverance came for all of Israel.  
One of the problems I see with why we don't use our God-given authority and take control is because of lack of faith and trust in God and His Word.  The Israelite army and King Saul didn't believe God would give them the victory.  They didn't believe Goliath could be defeated-- even by God.  They didn't believe God would "back them up".  They forgot that God would fight the battle for them-- they thought it was up to them to defeat him.  David, on the other hand, went out with faith and trust in God-- "the Lord will deliver you into my hand".  He knew God would "have his back" and "back him up"--- and He did!  He will have your back too if you will stop tolerating the enemy and go against him in the Name, power and authority of the Lord.

Have a great day.  Stop tolerating it and go against it in the Name of the Lord.  God has your back!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Stop Giving Away Control"

"When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid."  1 Samuel 17:11
Yesterday we talked about having God-given control, power and authority over sin or anything in our lives.  Whatever it may be-- the devil, other people, our own lusts, wicked desires, sinful habits, bad attitudes, fear, resentment, anger, etc.--  it can have no control over us unless we give it control.  They have no power over us unless we relinquish it to them. 
So, how do we relinquish the authority we have over our own lives?  How do we give up control to something or someone else?  By tolerating it.  By allowing it to stay.  By trying to exist with it.  By trying to co-habitate with it. 
The Bible has a good illustration of this.  When the Israelites were in battle with the Philistines, each day the giant Goliath would come out and taunt them.  What did the Israelites do?  They did nothing.  They tolerated the giant.  They sat back and allowed him to continue each day to defy the army of God and intimidate them.  They had given him control. 
King Saul was anointed by God.  The army was God's chosen people.  God was on their side.  He was with them.  He had fought many times before for them.  He had called them to victory already.  He gave them power over the Philistines and their giant champion.  Yet, they did not take control over the situation-- they put up with it. 
Are you God's child?  Are you born again?  Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?  Then you have been given power and authority by God over all the powers of the enemy.  You have an anointing on your life that will set captives free-- including yourself.  Your strength comes from the Lord who gives you His strength, and He has no weakness.  Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven.  Whatever you loosen on earth is loosened in heaven.  When you say to this mountain to be removed, it is removed.  You can do all things through Christ who infuses you with His strength and power.  But whatever sin, enemy or attitude is "taunting" you, it will not go away unless you take control/authority over it.  As long as you tolerate it, it will continue.  As long as you allow it to stay, it will.  You have to take control over it or it will take control over you.  It will make you its captive.  It will put you in bondage.  It will keep you from living victoriously.  It will destroy you in the end.
Have a great day.  You can't co-habitate with what you should be taking authority over.  You have to take authority over it and stop tolerating it or it will destroy you.          

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"I Ain't Doing It"

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:13
I am sure most of you have seen the videos on the internet by a lady who uses an app that changes her appearance and voice.  She addresses some "ridiculousness" that is out there.  At the end of the video she always says, "I ain't doing it".  As I was in prayer yesterday, all of a sudden I heard her voice say, "I ain't doing it".  (God can use weak and foolish things to confound the wise.)  I was praying about the things/sins that we tolerate in our lives when I had this "picture" of her saying that.

We need to get an, "I ain't doing it" attitude where sin is concerned.  To bitterness we need to say, "I ain't doing it".  To anger, evil thoughts, lusts, unforgiveness, bad attitude and negativity we need to say, "I ain't doing it".  To complaining, gossiping, murmuring and backbiting we need to say, "I ain't doing it".  To besetting sins we need to say, "I ain't doing it".

We have control over the sins, wrong attitudes and negativity that we allow in our lives.  We have heard the phrase, "The devil made me do it".  No, he didn't.  He may have given opportunity for you to do it; he may have made suggestions; but he didn't MAKE you do it.  You did it because "every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed". (James 1:14)

You have control over what you think, say and do.  You can control sin in your life.  It waits at the door and you can either open it or leave it closed.  If it comes in, it is because you opened the door and let it in.  We need to remember that we have control, we have been given authority, we have been given the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.  Nobody can make you sin.  You make the choice to either sin or not.  When you do, it is because you have given up your control-- you have given up your God-given authority.  If this is you, take back "control".  Go to Jesus and repent.  Yield and submit to the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Put on your spiritual armor and take up the Sword of the Spirit and begin to proclaim--- "In the Name of Jesus... I ain't doing it!"

Have a great day.  You need to take control back and determine that... "I ain't doing it".   

Monday, November 27, 2017

"The Key"

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  Matthew 6:33
The word key has many definitions.  One definition is: a thing that provides a means of gaining access to or understanding something.  The synonyms for this definition are:  answer, clue, solution, explanation.  There are keys (answers) to problems, situations, life's challenges, encounters, etc., all around us.  Such as:  the key to happiness is...; the key to a good marriage is...; the key of victory is...; and so on.
God gives us one key that is the answer to all of our problems, all of our relationships, all the blessings, to happiness, joy, wisdom, whatever we need He has one key that is the solution for it all.  The key is found in the verse above.
When we seek first the Lord, all that we need is provided.  If we need direction, seek Him first the direction we need will be there for us.  If we need wisdom, seek Him first, and wisdom will be added to us.  If we need strength, seek the Lord first and we will gain strength. 
We are trying to find all of our answers in external things, in people, in material things, in our own reasoning, in education, in philosophy, in temporary things.  But if we will lay that aside and seek the Lord first, above all these others, then we now have the key to unlock all of our answers.  God is faithful to His Word and when we apply this Word, the promise attached to it will be given us. 
Have a great day.  Do you need an answer?  That answer/key is to seek the Lord first and then your answer will come. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Where Is Thanksgiving?"

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  1 Thessalonians 5:18

I would like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

I noticed that many businesses and individual have already had their Christmas decorations up for several weeks.  It appears as though they just skipped Thanksgiving altogether.  Some have even stopped calling it Thanksgiving and now call it "Turkey Day".  Where is thanksgiving?

It is so easy for us to get caught up in the cares of life, in the problems that we face, in the flow of society, in our own personal trials and in daily responsibilities that we can easily allow thanksgiving to disappear from our lives.  I am not talking about the holiday, I am talking about a thankful heart and its expression in our words and actions.

I hope when you are asked the question, "Where is thanksgiving?", that you are able to say that you know exactly where it is.  It is in your heart and spoken from your mouth.  If you have lost a thankful heart in the midst of life, I hope that you will find it again and take every opportunity and in everything to give thanks to the Lord for all the many wonderful blessings He bestows upon you daily. 

Have a great day.  Have you lost your thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"The Bowl Of Stew"

"Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright."  Genesis 25:33,34

Esau sold Jacob his birthright for a bowl of stew.  His birthright was his inheritance of goods and position.  It was his blessing.  It was the blessing of his generations to follow.  It was his place of authority, but he sacrificed it all, he gave it all up for a bowl of stew.

The bowl of stew represented the temporary.  It represented fleshly pleasure.  It represented the works of man's hands.  It represented the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.  It represented self-preservation.  It represented self-centeredness. 

Esau sacrificed his God-given birthright out of fear-- he thought he would die without it.  He sacrificed it because he didn't think he could make it without it.  He sacrificed it because he misplaced his affections.  He sacrificed it because he trusted in it instead of God to sustain him.

We can learn a great lesson from Esau's mistake, if we will.  Many are sacrificing the eternal for the temporary.  Many are sacrificing a moment of pleasure for the blessings of God.  Many are sacrificing the riches of God for selfish lusts and desires.  None of us are exempt from the temptation to choose the bowl of stew over our spiritual inheritance.  Many ministers have fallen into this snare.  They have sacrificed the anointing for their own plans.  They have sacrificed their spiritual authority to please men.  They have chosen the "bowl of stew" over the presence of the Holy Spirit.  They have done it out of fear of losing their congregations.  Fear of not fulfilling their dreams.  Fear of failure.  Fear of not having the accolades of men.  Fear is a deadly weapon that the enemy uses against all of us.  But God hasn't given us a spirit of fear.  Fear doesn't have power over us unless we let it.  Fear has been defeated by Jesus.  There is no fear in love, perfect love in Christ casts out fear.  We must all be on guard and stand against fear. 

What is your bowl of "stew"?  Are you sacrificing the eternal for the temporary?  The blessings of God for the lusts of the flesh?  What are you sacrificing and exchanging today?  If we give into the temptation of the bowl of stew, then we will be sacrificing something that we will regret later. 

Have a great day.  Gaining the "bowl of stew" is not worth what you lose in the long run.