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.

Monday, November 20, 2017

"Provision Ahead"

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

When the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt, they did not leave empty handed.  They left with the spoils of Egypt.  When Jesus was born, the wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Him.  Among the many things that we know about the Lord, we know that He is a God who sees ahead and makes a provision accordingly.  He is Jehovah-Jireh.  He knew ahead of time that the Israelites would need provisions to sustain them in the wilderness and help them build their lives in the land He was taking them to.  He knew that Mary and Joseph would need finances to start a new life in Egypt when they had to flee their home to protect Jesus from Herod.  

He knows what you need as well.  The Lord knows what lies ahead of you.  He knows what you need to make it.  He knows what provisions that you have to have.  He knows what you are facing and He will make a provision for it.  He will provide it ahead of time-- at the right time-- so that you will have it when you need it.

Don't worry.  Don't stress over your need.  The Lord already sees it before you get to it and already has the provision there.

Have a great day.  God sees what is ahead and will make sure you have what you need for it. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

"God Is God Everywhere"

"And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God."  1 Kings 18:39

I woke up with the song below repeating over and over in my thoughts, so I want to share it with you. 
"We talk of faith way up on the mountain.  Talk comes so easy when life's at its best.
Now down in the valleys, of trials and temptations, that's where your faith, is really put to the test.  For the God on the mountain is the God in the valley.  When things go wrong, He'll make them right.  And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times.  The God of the day, is still God in the night". 

There are so many messages in these words, it is hard to know where to start in expounding on it.  So I am just going to focus on one thought-- God.  God is God whether you are on a mountain or in a valley.  On the mountain He was the manifestation of power that gave revelation to Moses-- the design of the tabernacle and the Ten Commandments.  In the valley He is the Good Shepherd who leads beside still waters.   

He is still God when things go wrong-- many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  He is still God when things are going right-- He is the One who gives His beloved rest.  God is the God of the good times-- He supplies all my needs.  He is God in the bad times-- when the storm threatens to sink you, He is the peace speaker.  He is the God of your day and your night-- weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  

Whatever you may be going through, or not going through, God is still God.  He is God in all situations, in all trials, in all difficulties, in all times of grief, pain or sorrow.  He is God in the furnace and God in the lion's den.  He is God in times of laughter, joy, rest and peace.  He is God all the time!

Have a great day.  God is still God no matter what, or where. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

"Your Works Speak"

"For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:10,16

In Chapter 1 Paul is exhorting Titus to do the work of teaching and preaching the truth and sound doctrine.  In Chapter 2 he tells him who to teach and how to train them to teach others in the Body of Christ.  He gives the reason why it is important for Titus to teach the truth of the Word and sound doctrine.  The reason is above. 

As I read these chapters I couldn't help but think that Paul was talking about today as well as back then.  If you look around-- whether in the church or out of the church-- there are many who profess to know God.  They will tell you they are a "believer".  They will tell you they are a "church goer".  They will tell you they are a "member" of a certain church.  And they may be, but their works, deeds, conversations and life-style don't back up their profession. 

We live in an age where you can believe whatever you want to believe, do whatever you want to do, live however you want to live and still go to heaven.  People believe they can have sex outside of marriage, live a homosexual lifestyle, abort babies, lie, cheat and steal and still go to heaven. 

It isn't your works that save you.  It isn't your works that make you right with God.  It isn't your works that keep you right with God.  It is a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, which comes through repentance, that makes you right and gets you to heaven.  It is about having a relationship with Him.  You may profess to know Him.  You may profess to have a relationship with Him.  But your works testify against you.  Through your works you are denying that you have a relationship with Him.  You have heard the expression-- "Actions speak louder than words"?  This is true.  Your actions, works, attitude and obedience to the Word of God speak for you.  If they don't line up with God's Word/standard, then they aren't speaking the same thing you are speaking/professing.  

Get in a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ.  Repent of your sins.  Turn from your way.  Follow Him.  And what you say and what you do will both "speak" the same thing.

Have a great day.  You may profess to know Him, but your works are professing something different.          

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Pure Motives"

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments."  Matthew 6:5; 23:5

Jesus warned that you can do the right thing yet with the wrong motive.  The Pharisees did the right thing-- they prayed, they gave alms, they did religious works.  But the true motive of their hearts was not to glorify God, but to glorify self.  They wanted to be seen by men.  They wanted the honor.  They wanted the applaud.  They wanted others to notice them.  They wanted others to follow them.  

We must be careful that we don't do the same thing.  We have to guard against doing the right thing with the wrong motive.  We have to check our motives because our hearts are deceitfully wicked.  We can think we are doing the right thing for the right reason and not be. 

Many ministers have fallen into this trap.  They are doing the works but their motives have turned inwardly.  They started out with good intentions and sincere motives but somewhere along the way their motives changed.  They aren't building God's kingdom, they are building their own.  They are building a reputation for themselves.  They are building their own following.  It is easy for this to happen to any of us because of the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life and the lusts of the eyes that we have to constantly war against.  I remember years ago when my daughter was little, I went to a parent's meeting.  She stayed with my mother-in-law while I went.  I stayed at the meeting longer than I should have.  My mother-in-law had to work the next day.  So when I went to pick my daughter up, my mother-in-law was in bed, my daughter was asleep on the couch and my father-in-law was sitting up waiting for me to come.  I felt really bad for imposing on them.  When I prayed, I said an extra prayer that the Lord would bless and strengthen my mother in-law for work the next day.  The Lord spoke to me strongly.  He said-- "You aren't praying sincerely for her, you are praying because you feel bad and guilty for keeping her up".  Right thing to do-- pray; but, wrong motive. 

Keep a check on your heart.  Ask Holy Spirit to show you your own heart.  Ask Him to show you your motives behind what you do, especially for Him and His Kingdom.  Ask Him daily to purify your motives.  Ask Him to cleanse your heart from all unrighteous motives and create a heart that truly and solely is intent on glorifying Him.

Have a great day.  You may be doing the right thing, but is your motive correct.     

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"The System"

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  Romans 12:2

This world is made up of systems:  educational, governmental, medical, religious, etc.  Having been brought up in them from a child, we are so geared to following them and can't fathom going outside of their boundaries.  For example, when a child turns school age, we send them off to school.  We can't fathom any other form of education-- such as homeschooling.  When we are ill, we go to the doctor and take a prescribed medicine.  The idea of praying for healing or using alternative treatments is something we don't think about doing.  Even where our religion is concerned, many would never dream of leaving their denomination and "crossing the lines".  It doesn't occur to us that the body of Christ is not made up of denominations but of members.  

The world has a system and God has a system.  The world has an economy and God has an economy.  The world has a set of rules, values and principles and so does God.  But there is a difference in the two.  As a matter of fact, not only are there differences, but they mostly conflict with each other.

What system are you living your Christian life by?  The world's or God's?  Are you living by His principles or the principles of the world?  It is easy to live by the world's for the reason I stated earlier-- we were raised in it; we were raised believing this was the only way things were done; it is what is most familiar to us; this is all we know.  But there is another Kingdom that we as followers are now living in in addition to this world, this is why we are told not to be conformed to this world.  We have been given the means/solution by which to be transformed and not conformed-- through renewing our minds with God's Word.  God's Word is the Kingdom standard.  It is the Kingdom principles.  It is our guidelines, rule of thumb, code of conduct and governing precepts.  As it has been said, "We are in the world, but not of the world".  Are you living by the world's system (way of thinking) or by the kingdom principles?     

Have a great day.  The world has systems that we have conformed our lives to.  God's kingdom has principles that we should be conforming our lives to. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Being You"

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."  Psalm 139:14

When a person receives an organ transplant, they have to take lots of medicines in order to keep their body from rejecting the new organ and accept it.  Why?  Because that is not their organ.  It wasn't made for them.  It was made for someone else.  It wasn't designed for them.  It was designed for someone else.  It wasn't part of their anatomy.  It was part of someone else's anatomy.  Their body is now being made to conform to something that is not theirs but someone else's.  Therefore, their body has to be manipulated with drugs and chemicals to accept this organ that is not theirs. 

Many people are trying to make their personality, and who they are, transform to someone else's personality.  They are trying to be someone else.  They are trying to be like someone else instead of who God created them to be.  Therefore, they are living frustrated, confused and unproductive lives.

The Lord God created you to be you.  He gave you your personality for a reason.  He didn't give you someone else's.  That is why there is such an inner conflict.  You are trying to be someone who you are not. 

There is nothing wrong with seeing qualities and admirable traits in others and desire to aspire to be more like that.  And even though the Lord created you like He did, He is still working on you to "smooth" the rough edges; to conform you to His image; to bring transformation where needed and to make you into a better you in Him.  But He made you you.  He didn't make you someone else.  So stop trying to be someone you aren't.  A lot of your frustration is coming from that, just like a body goes through conflict trying to accept someone else's organ.  Be who God created you to be.  He made you unique.  You are one of a kind.  You have been gifted with what you need to fulfill His plan for you.

Have a great day.  Don't try to be someone else.   

Friday, November 10, 2017

"It Is Already Relevant"

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:5)

The dictionary defines the word relevant as:  appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances.  The church is trying to make its services and programs relevant to today's society and culture.  It tries to make the "gospel" more appealing to the masses by "updating" it to be relevant to peoples' "wants and desires".  While they are "changing" it to "fit" and be "relevant" they are in fact taking away from the truth that it already is relevant.  

Look with me at the definition again.  "Appropriate to the current time, period or circumstances."  The church is trying to make the gospel fit with the current times and period in which we live.  But they have forgotten that it already fits the circumstances of life.  How much more relevant can it be than it already is?  It may not be relevant to peoples' wants and desires, but it is already relevant to their needs.    

It is relevant to the circumstances of life.  It brings hope to the hopeless.  It brings peace to the distressed.  It offers healing to the hurting, broken, grieving and physically impaired.  It gives acceptance to the rejected.  It is the answer for the crime and violence problem.  It is the answer to hate, prejudice, racism and division.  It has the answer to rebellion, addiction, bondage, anger, bitterness, frustration, fear and so on.  The gospel has, and is, the answer to all of life's, society's and the world's problems.  You can't get any more relevant than having the answer to all your needs.  

While there are those who are trying to bring a false relevance, and that is what it is, into the church.  They are taking away from what is already relevant for mankind-- the plain, uncompromised, un-watered down, un-added to or taken away, delivering, life transforming, power of the gospel as taught by Jesus Christ and is in the Bible.  

Have a great day.  The gospel is and has always been relevant to the needs of mankind.  Stop trying to make it relevant to the wants and desires of mankind.    

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Catering"

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."  Luke 9:23

The word cater has several meanings.  When a meal is catered, food or services are provided for the event.  It also means:  to provide or supply what amuses, is desired, or gives pleasure, comfort, etc.  It is nice to have an event catered.  It takes a lot of the work off of you.  But when you use the word in the sense of catering "to", it isn't always good.  The synonyms are humor, indulge, please.

Why did I go through this definition with you?  Because I see something that has been happening in the churches and continues to escalate, that though it may seem good in the long run it isn't.  When we cater to and indulge the desires of people, we are not always doing them a good thing.  Sometimes it is more harmful.  

For example, I have noticed that many churches are catering to the young people in order to bring them into the church.  The music is changed to cater to them.  The d├ęcor of the church is changed to cater to them.  The sermons are even changed to cater to them so that it will be appealing to them and not "run" them away.  I understand that they need to have something that is relevant to them.  And, yes, we want to bring them in.  I believe they are the church's future-- perhaps our present.  I believe God has a special call and anointing on this generation.  But they won't be won to Christ by our catering to them-- to their whims, desires, lusts, wants and wishes.  What we are doing in effect is teaching them that it is all about them.  We are teaching them that it all centers around them.  That is not what the Bible teches.  It teaches self-denial.  It teaches death to self and selfish, self-centered desires.  It teaches that we don't always get what we want or have it our way.  It teaches that it is about others, not us.  It teaches that we aren't first, we are to take the position of last and least.  
While we have good intentions, we may not have the right method of fulfilling them.  We don't cater to people-- Jesus didn't.  We love and embrace them.  We don't cater to win people.  We give them the truth which is what makes them free.  We don't cater to them and make them think that they are the center of the universe-- it is all about them.  We present Jesus, Who is their answer.  When we focus on that, instead of trying to make everything "seeker friendly", they will come and they will be won to Christ-- not just attend our churches.     

Have a great day.  Catering to people to get them to come to Christ is not the Biblical method.    

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"Follow The Plan"

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."  Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for each of our lives.  Although we don't always know what that plan is, we have to remember that He does.  We don't always know where His plan may take us, but He does.  I am sure that David never dreamed God's plan for his life would make him King of Israel.  I am certain that Joseph never thought God's plan would take him into slavery in Egypt and then to the palace.  I am sure that Mary never thought God's plan for her would be to give birth to the Messiah.  I am sure that Moses didn't know God's plan for him would start on the back side of the desert.  When Peter was fishing, I feel sure he didn't have any idea that God's plan would make him one of Jesus' chosen twelve disciples, nor did Matthew when he was collecting taxes.

As I said earlier, we don't always know what the plan of God is for our lives and we don't know where it will take us.  It may take us to a foreign land.  It may take us into a new vocation.  It may take us into parenthood.  It may take us away from our families and friends.  It will surely always take us out of our comfort zone.  But wherever it may take us, we need to be willing to go.  We need to trust God and go.  We need to remember that we don't go it alone.  We need to remember that He goes with us.  We need to keep in mind that going wherever His plan leads us may not always be easy, but in the end it will be worth it and we will be glad we did.  Ruth followed God's plan and left her native land, family, friends, the customs of her people, everything, but in the end she gained more and became the great-grandmother of King David.  

Have a great day.  We don't always know where God's plan may take us, but it will be worth it all in the long run.        

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"In-Depth Knowledge"

"And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you."  Exodus 3:14
 
I grew up believing that Jesus was my escape from hell.  If I believed on Him I would not die and go to hell.  That is true.  He is the Way that leads to eternal life.  There is no other way.  I also believed He was God.  He is-- was then and still is today.  I called Him Father when I prayed the Lord's Prayer.  My knowledge and understanding of Who He is was so limited. 
 
Today I know better.  I know that there are depths to Him that I have yet to discover.  I know that He is eternal and it will take an eternity for Him to reveal Himself to me.  I now realize that while He saved my soul from hell, He is so much more than my Savior only. 
 
He is my Healer.  When I am sick, I can go to Him.  He is my friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He is my Guide when I don't know what to do or which way to turn.  He is my strength when I get weak and weary.  He is the Lover of my soul.  He loves me more than I can fathom.  He is my Hope when I feel hopeless.  He is my Comforter when I feel sad, lonely, grief, hurt or pain.  He is my Helper.  I don't have to try to do anything or figure it out on my own.  He walks with me, in me and beside me.  He is the One who understands me and knows me better than I know myself.  He is my Confidant.  I can share the deepest secrets of my heart with Him and trust that He won't betray me or condemn me. 
 
He is so much more than just our Savior.  But if that was all He is that would be more than we deserve.  The disciples who were in the boat when the storm arose saw Him command the storm to cease.  They cried out, "What manner of man is this?"  In plain English-- "Who is this man!?"  They had been with Him, seen Him do miracles, walked with Him, heard Him teach, etc. and yet they did not know the depths of who He was.  What is your understanding of Him?  How do you see Him?  How limited is your knowledge of Him?  Is He "one-sided" only or do you press on to know Him in the depth of who He truly is?
 
Have a great day.  We make the Lord one-sided in our understanding of Him, but there is so much more to who He is than we have experienced.... but He wants us to know Him in depth. 


Monday, November 6, 2017

"Stop Feeding It"

"So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom..."  Proverbs 2:2a

I have watched shows like "My 600 LB Life" where people struggle with being obese.  As I watch the shows I can't help but think that if someone would stop feeding them they would not stay in this condition and would lose the weight.  The majority of these people can't even get out of bed so they can't get food for themselves.  Someone else keeps feeding them and enabling them with their problem.

Many people are struggling with various issues, not just weight.  They may be struggling with fear, anxiety, depression, insecurities, anger and so on.  The answer for them is the same as those I described above.  Stop letting someone else "feed" you. 

The people who are struggling with their weight are being fed physically.  They are putting food in their mouths and the result shows up in their bodies.  Our struggle with spiritual and emotional issues does not happen as a result of being fed physically.  It doesn't happen by putting food in our mouths.  It happens by letting words go into our ears.  The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God-- hearing the Word spoken in our physical ears and in our minds and spirits.  The same is true of whatever we ear.  The more we hear the more we transform to what we hear.  Negative words produce negative lives.  Hurtful words produce grief and depression.  Condemning words produce insecurities.      

If you are struggling with issues, I have to ask, "Who are you listening to?  Who are you letting feed you?  What are they saying?"  Are they telling you how worthless you are?  Are they telling you that you won't ever amount to anything?  Are they telling you you will never succeed?  Are they reminding you of all your past mistakes?  Are you listening?  Whether those words are coming through flesh and blood people or the devil, if you are listening and giving heed to them, you are "eating" them and you will be affected by them.  The more you feed your body, the bigger it becomes.  The more your mind and spirit are fed-- whether it is on something good or bad-- the bigger they become. What are you feeding yourself?  What are you allowing others to feed you?

Have a great day.  If you stop feeding it, it will stop getting bigger and begin to get smaller. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

"The Greater Is Inside"

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."  1 John 4:4

I had a pleasant surprise yesterday, and best news I heard all day.  A young lady that I have known most of her life came in the shop and before she left she told me, "I got saved for the first time".  I was thrilled, to say the least.  I have prayed for and witnessed to her so many times.  She was sharing with me about her salvation and the joy and peace that she now has and how she is enjoying reading and studying the Bible and being active in church.  She also told me that the devil was really going to fight her now.  I want to tell you the same thing I told her.

Yes, he will attack because you are no longer his.  Your life belongs to Jesus now and the devil hates you because Jesus loves you and you are following Him.  But, you do not have to fear him.  The Greater One lives inside of you-- Jesus.  Jesus defeated the devil at the cross.  Jesus took the keys from him.  Jesus paraded His victory over the devil before all principalities and powers.  Jesus is God, the devil is not.  Jesus has all power and authority, the devil does not.  Jesus is the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient God, the devil is not.  The devil is limited in knowledge, in power, in strength-- he is just limited period! 

You do not have to fear the devil.  You do not have to fear his attacks.  You do not have to fear his retaliations.  You do not have to fear his accusations.  You do not have to fear his threats.  And you do not have to believe his lies.  The verse above is not just some easy to memorize verse that sounds good.  It is truth.  The GREATER ONE is inside you, if you know Jesus as Savior and Lord. 

The first part of the verse says, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome." You have already won battles over him.  You have already been given victory.  You have already defeated him.  You have already overcome him.  Why? How?  Because Jesus did and has, and He is in you!

Have a great day.  You don't have to fear the devil's attacks.  The Greater One is inside of you and He is greater than the devil and anything he can throw at you.