Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"God's Requirements"

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  John 4:6

If you talk to very many people about their salvation, or read some of the posts on Facebook, you quickly realize that there are a whole lot of opinions and varying beliefs on the subject.  Some of the beliefs are so far out there it is hard to believe that anyone could actually believe like that.  Some of them are so far fetched, you wonder where they ever heard that.  Some of them are just totally wrong. 

I am not the authority as to what you have to believe, or what is the right belief, or what is acceptable.  The Word of God is the authority.  God tells us in His Word who will be and who will not be allowed into heaven.  It tells us what He requires and will accept.  If you go for a job interview you will discover that there are certain requirements that the employer is looking for and if you don't meet those requirements you will not get hired.  It is pretty much that way with anything in life.  You can't go to the store and purchase certain items without meeting some requirement.  You can't join a club without meeting the club's requirements.  So, why do we think we don't have to meet God's requirements for entering into heaven and still go to heaven? 

You may be sincere in your belief about Christianity and salvation, but you can be sincerely wrong.  And just because you were sincere in your belief doesn't mean that you will get a pass into heaven because you "tired".  You have to believe the right thing and then act upon it-- based on what God says.  If your belief doesn't line up with His requirements you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven when you die.  It is as simple as that. 

He doesn't want you to perish.  He wants you to enter in, therefore, He has laid out all that He requires for you to be able to enter into heaven in the Bible.  And He has provided the way to be able to do it through His Son Jesus Christ.  You can't just enter in because you want to, or because you think you deserve to, or you think your way will get you there, or you are sincere.  You will only enter in if you come God's way and meet His requirements. 

Have a great day.  You can't make your own requirements for entering into heaven.  You have to meet God's requirements. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

"No Holiness, No Entrance"

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

I have lived for the Lord for many years and I am grieved, alarmed and concerned at where I see the "church/Christianity" now days.  I wonder how we ever got so far off base from the true gospel and the Bible teachings. 

When did our beliefs become so twisted?  When did we start believing that we can live such ungodly, compromised and loose lives and still be a Christian?  When did it become alright to live immoral lifestyles, shack up and sleep around with someone you aren't married to, drink, smoke, cuss, lie, cheat and steal and still be a Christian on our way to heaven? Many believe you can live anyway you want to live and have God as an attachment to their lives and they are saved.  Many believe that because they love God, they pray to Him, they go to church and they believe He is real that it is well with their souls.

The church may have changed its teaching.  But God has not changed.  He still calls sin sin.  And He still says that sin shall not enter into His Kingdom.  And He still says the soul that sins shall surely die.  He still requires holiness in the lives of His disciples-- Christians.  Holiness is not adultery.  Holiness is not vulgar speech.  Holiness is not immorality.  Holiness is not evil actions.  Holiness is not getting drunk.  Holiness means to be pure and blameless morally and religiously. 

Don't be deceived into believing it is well with your soul based on some wrong belief.  The Bible says that there is a broad, wide road that leads to destruction/hell and many will be on that road.  It also says that when we stand before the Lord there will be many that He says to-- I never knew you, depart from me.  You need to get it straight now while you can.  And believe what God says about entering into His Kingdom and make sure you meet His criteria.   

Have a great day.  You may believe you can live anyway you want and still enter into heaven, but that is not what God says. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Attitude Toward The Word"

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts."  Jeremiah 15:16
The Bible says that the thing that separates the true Christian from the one who merely professes to be one is their fruit.  There is another distinction that separates the two as well.  It is their attitude toward the Word of God. 
Those who are true Christians eat the Word, take joy in the Word, rejoice over the Word and love the Word.  They pattern their lives after the principles found in the Word.  They let it direct their lives.  They follow its instructions.  They allow the Word to conform their way of thinking, their responses, their attitudes and their conduct.  They try to live their lives in such a way where it lines up with the Word of God.  They are living by the Word.  They are doers of it and not just hearers only.  They are not living their lives contrary to its teachings.  They are not rebellious against what it says.  They are allowing it to transform their lives. 
Those who have a mere profession of Christianity take the Word for granted.  They follow their own course in life.  They do their own "thing".  They make their own decisions and guide their own lives.  The Word doesn't have importance to them.  They may read it and hear sermons on it, but when it comes to applying it to their lives or living by it, they choose to live by their own rules and desires. 
You may be calling yourself a Christian, but if you don't have a love for the Word of God and are allowing it to be the standard by which you live, you are fooling yourself.  The verse above says that those who love the Word are called Christians. 
Have a great day.  True Christians love the Word of God and live their lives by it.    

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Problem Or Solution"

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."  Romans 5:12

I saw a picture of one of the signs that was being paraded during a recent protest.  Interpreted it blamed Jesus for all the "mess" and "problems" of the world.  This is the belief of most of the world's population.  They belief that Jesus is the reason there is no peace on earth, wars, famine, addictions, disease, murder, rape, adultery, theft, sex-trafficking, human slavery, corruption, hate, violence and every other evil condition on the earth. 

Let me clarify once and for all:  Jesus is not the reason for the problems of the world, we are.  Mankind is at fault and we are the ones to blame for the "mess" that the world is in

God created a beautiful and perfect place for man to live.  That evidently wasn't enough.  He wanted more-- he wanted to partake of the only thing that was forbidden.  So, he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Man then learned evil and opened the door to sin.  As a result of his own disobedience sin came into the world, death entered in and every other evil imagination of the heart.  That is why we live in a messed up world.

Yet, even after we did, God loved us and came to earth and gave His own life to purchase us out of this "mess".  Oh, no, He is not the reason-- He is the answer.  Jesus is the answer for the world's problems.  He is the answer for your problems.  He is the answer, and has the answer, for every sin issue, every dysfunction, every mental instability, every broken relationship, every bondage, everything and anything... you name it... He is the answer. 

I don't know where you stand.  You may be one who blames the Lord for the world's problems or your own problems.  But if so, you are blaming the wrong one. We have to blame ourselves.  Instead, acknowledge Jesus as the One who solves your problems and the problems of the world. 

Have a great day.  Jesus is the problem solver not the One to be blamed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Be A Blessing"

"Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord."  Psalm 118:26

We talk about blessings.  The word blessed is coming up more and more in peoples' vocabulary.  We want the blessings of the Lord.  We are blessed there is no doubt of that if we are born again children of God.  His blessings rest upon us.  But it isn't just about us being blessed.  It is also about us being a blessing to others. 

"Blessed be he that comes in the name of the Lord".  When you go out in the name of the Lord and share the gospel with others, you are a blessing to them.  Because you are bringing them good news.  You are bringing them hope.  You are bringing them words of life.  You are bringing them the message of peace. 

This world needs all the hope, comfort, peace, good news and help it can get.  When you tell others about Jesus, His love and forgiveness, you are bringing them just that.  Will you be a blessing to someone today by being a bearer of the good news of Jesus Christ?

Have a great day.  You are not only blessed, but are to be a blessing.  You will be when you tell others about the hope that is found in Jesus.   

Monday, January 23, 2017

"The Shepherd Is The Lord"

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."  Psalm 23:1

Last Friday I encouraged you to take some time to meditate on the 23rd Psalm.  I did myself over the weekend, and to be honest I didn't make it past the first verse.  I want to share my meditation with you.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want".  Keep in mind that the word for want is also lack in the Hebrew.  So, this is how I pondered the verse:  "Because" the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want or lack.

I won't lack because this shepherd is no ordinary shepherd.  He is not just a some man or another shepherd who leads a flock from one pasture to another or one water hole to another.  This shepherd is The Lord-- the Creator of Heaven and earth.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the One by whom all things were created.  He is the One who spoke into nothing and brought forth everything.  He is the Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End; the First and the Last; the One who was, is and is to come; the One who has been given a name that is above every name and at His name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.  He is the One who makes all things work together for my good.  He is the One who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all I ask or think.  He is the Lord God Himself!

Because this shepherd is none other than the Lord God Himself, I shall not want for any good thing because He supplies everything I need.  I shall not want when it comes to that which I desire because He fulfills my every desire.  I won't be in want because He satisfies my every longing with Himself.  And because He does I am content and at peace.

Because this shepherd is my Lord, I shall not lack.  I shall not lack any good thing because every good and perfect gift comes from Him.  I shall not lack spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or in any other way.  I shall not lack because there will always be enough and more than enough-- He will see to it that there is.  He daily loads me with benefits.  He blesses me with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places and gives me abundant life.  He is my Healer, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Peace, my Hiding Place, my Safe Refuge, my Strong tower and my Strength.  I shall not lack-- I shall not come behind in any thing that I need because my Shepherd is El-Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God.   

Now you see why I couldn't get past the first verse.  And there was more, but this is a daily devotion not a book.  Take time again today to mediate on who your Shepherd is-- He is the Lord.

Have a great day.  The Shepherd is the Lord. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

"Psalm 23"

Most every Christian can quote the 23rd Psalm.  We have heard sermon after sermon preached on it.  It has been quoted and preached at funerals.  There have been books written on it.  So you are no stranger to it.  But, this morning I felt impressed to share it with you and tell you to take time this day and week to meditate on its words.  So I have typed it for you here.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

As you meditate on it, put it into practice.  Don't let it just be words that you are thinking about.  Look to Jesus your Good Shepherd who leads and guides you.  Who restores you.  Who walks with you.  Who makes a way for you.  Who takes away your fear.  Who comforts you.  Who will never leave you.  And Who will cause His blesses to never depart from you.  What a GOOD, GOOD, LOVING SAVIOR/SHEPHERD He is!!

Have a great day.  The Lord is your Shepherd.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Rest By Invitation"

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

Are you tired?  Weary? Worn out?  Don't think you can make it any longer?  Are you burdened down with the cares of life?  Responsibilities?  Business affairs?  Dealing with unruly people?  Swamped with work?  Under a heavy load?  There is an answer. 

The answer isn't in positive thinking.  The answer isn't in some sort of self-help technic or program.  The answer isn't to run away from the thing that is burdening you.  The answer isn't in a pill bottle, or substance.  The answer isn't to go hide your head under the covers.  It isn't in a vacation.  You can do these things and they may help temporarily, but it won't be long before the burdens will be back.  If you run from them, eventually you will have to face them-- they will still be there.

So what is the answer?  What is your solution?  How do you get out from under the heavy burdens?  Your answer is found in an invitation.  The Lord God Himself has issued you an invitation to come to Him and give Him your burdens.

If we refuse to accept the invitation we will stay burdened under the heavy load.   If we accept it, we will find freedom and peace.  Responding to the invitation in the affirmative cost you nothing-- except the burdens you are bearing.  But in exchange you will receive His rest and peace. 

Isn't it funny that we will run here and there and try everything we can think of, spend lots of time and money, but yet we won't do the one thing that will give us total peace under the burdens-- "Come unto Me".  When you accept the invitation, the situation may not change but you will.  You will have rest and peace in it.

Have a great day.  Are you heavy burdened?  Accept the Lord's invitation to give you rest. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


"...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."  Matthew 28:20b
I walked outside last night on the patio and was looking up at the sky.  It was cloudy.  You couldn't see any stars.  While looking at the sky the Lord spoke something to my heart.  What He spoke was this:  even though you can't see the stars, they are still there.  Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they aren't there.  They are just covered up by the clouds.  Then He went on to say that just because you don't see Me doesn't mean that I am not there.

Sometimes there are "clouds" in our lives-- trials, troubles, heartaches, sickness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of our income, persecution, broken relationships, and so.  Like the clouds that block the stars from shinning through, sometimes the "clouds" we are seeing will try to block the presence of God so that we wonder if He really is there. 

The stars didn't vanish because of the clouds.  The stars are constant.  They will always be there.  When the clouds roll away, you will see they have not moved.  They are still where they have always been.  The Lord hasn't moved.  He is still there.  He is constant.  The "clouds" haven't removed Him. 

If you are going through a "cloudy" time, remember this-- the Lord is still there.  He is still where He has always been.  He is watching over you.  He is with you.  His presence has not left you.  Don't let the fact that you can't see Him make you believe He isn't there.  Don't let the "clouds" convince you that He isn't there.  He has always been there, and He will always be there.

Have a great day.  Clouds in your live doesn't mean the absence of God.  He is still there even if you don't see Him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Just A Priority"

"For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."  Acts 17:28

We talk about the Lord being our priority-- and He should be, but our relationship with Him goes much deeper than that.  The word priority means:  the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important; the right to take precedence or to proceed before others.  Priority means you give a special place to something or someone above something or someone else.  Priority means that whatever is of most importance should come before that which is lesser.  Well, the Lord should come before anything else in our life in the order of importance because He is more important than anything or anyone else.  But is He just our "top" priority?

He is not just our first priority above everything else.  He is much more.  He is our life!  "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)  He isn't just first and above everything else in our lives and then separate from them.  He is our life so He is to be involved in our entire life and everything that consist of.     

Let me explain what I mean.  He isn't just the first priority and then the list continues behind Him-- God first, our spouse, our children, our friends, our career, our health, our entertainment, etc.  As our "life" it means that God is in first place in our marriage.  He is in first place in all our relationships.  He is in first place in our business dealings.  He is first place in our entertainment and relaxation.  He is in first place in our interaction with others.  He is in first place in everything that is part of and makes up our lives.  It means He is actively involved in all our life, every area of our life.  He is not separate from them. 

Are you separating Him from the rest of your life?  Do you have a separate place for God and a separate place for everything else?  Is He just the first on the list?  Or is He integrated (combined with everything else) into all parts of your life? 

Have a great day.  The Lord can't be separated from the rest of your life even if He is the top priority.

Monday, January 16, 2017

"A Little Dab"

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."  Mark 12:30

When I was growing up, there was a hair gel on the market and their slogan was, "A little dab will do you".  I was thinking about that this morning concerning most people's relationship with the Lord.  For some all they want is a "little dab" of God in their life.  They are content to live on the "crumbs" or yesterday's "manna".  That is all they want.  They don't want more.  They are content with having a little of Him once a week in church, or in their devotional reading for the day, or when they are in need and want His help.  But this is not enough.  He wants us to have all of Him.

He wants us to have all that He is and all that He has to give us.  He doesn't want us to have a half-hearted relationship with Him.  He doesn't want just part of your heart.  He doesn't want just what you want to give Him.  He wants all your heart, soul, and mind.  When He died, He gave you all of Him, is it too much for Him to desire all of you in return.   

When Jesus was on earth, He offered mankind to "partake" of all of Him.  He still does today.  But if all you want is a little of Him that is all you will get.  But if you pick and chose how much and what of Him that you want you will miss out and have nothing in the end.  He is not a "buffet" that you can customize to your wants and desires. 

Today, surrender all of yourself and receive all of Him.  A little "dab" won't do it.  You have to have all of Him.  He is not divided.  And just a little Christianity won't do you.  He invites you to receive all of Him and all that He has to give you. 

Have a great day.  A little "dab" of the Lord isn't enough. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Led But Not Left

"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."  Matthew 4:1

The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, but He did not leave Jesus in the wilderness.  He did not leave Jesus alone in the wilderness.  He did not leave Jesus by Himself in the wilderness.  He stayed with Jesus.  He was there every second of every minute of every day--- all forty of them.  He was walking along beside Him giving Him strength, grace and every other thing He needed to make it through.

Wherever the Spirit of the Living God may lead you, remember this-- He may lead you, but He won't leave you.  He may lead you into some unpleasant places, out of your comfort zone, through the fire, through the wilderness, in the valley, in the middle of a storm, through darkness, but He won't abandon you.  He has promised to be with you... always!  Therefore, He will. 

So, don't fear to follow the Spirit of God.  He knows where He is leading you, and why.  He knows what that place holds.  He knows what you will go through.  He knows what you will experience.  He knows what you will encounter, but He has a plan for you.  He has a deliverance to give you, a fruit to produce in you, a grace to manifest through you, a light to cause to shine brightly through you, and a victory to see you walk in. 

Have a great day.  The Spirit will lead you, but He won't leave you when He leads you.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

"Don't Stop Short"

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  Galatian 6:9

Yesterday we talked about settling-- settling for only some of what the Lord desires for us.  This morning I want to encourage you, basically along the same lines, not to stop short of what the Lord has for you. 

What would have happened if Jacob had stopped short instead of wrestling with the angel until he received the blessing?  What would have happened to blind Bartimaeus had he stopped short of crying out to the Lord because the crowds told him to be quiet?  What would have happened to the woman with the issue of blood had she stopped short because the crowd was just too dense to push through?

Sometimes we are on the verge of our healing, our breakthrough, our deliverance, seeing our need met, etc. but we stop short of receiving it because we get discouraged, we look at the circumstances surrounding us, or we listen to our feelings, emotions or other people and give up and throw in the towel. 

We can't give up if we are too receive.  We have to persevere.  What do you need?  Don't give up.  Don't stop short.  Don't stop short in pressing toward the mark for the prize.  Don't stop short in running the race that is set before you.  Don't stop short in laying aside every weight of sin that would beset you.  Don't stop short of allowing God's love to be shed abroad in your heart.  Don't stop short of entering into your promised land.  Don't stop short of touching His hem.  Don't stop short of being endued with power from on high.  Don't stop short of fulfilling the plan of God for your life. 

Stopping short is the same as quitting and giving up.  The Lord God has not called us to quit!  He has not called us to give up!  What He has done is given us the strength, the grace, the presence of His Holy Spirit, every good and perfect gift, His Word, His faith and His power to keep on going.  There is no reason for us to stop short of His plan for us.

Have a great day.  Don't stop short when it comes to receiving from the Lord. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Why Settle?"

"...  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  John 10:10b

When it comes to receiving the gifts and blessings of the Lord, we tend to settle for less than He desires for us.  We usually settle for life when He desires to give us abundant life.  We settle for good or better instead of best.  We settle for just a little or barely enough.  Why do we do this?

There are many reasons.  When it comes to healing, we will often settle for just feeling better instead of healing because anything, even a little, is a relief.  We settle for the crumbs instead of the whole loaf.  (Healing is the children's bread.)  When we see someone else who is worse off then we are, we settle for less because comparatively we don't have anything to complain about.  So we get content with where we are.  In other areas we settle for less because we think that to want more shows a lack of gratitude.   

This issue of settling or going for all the promises, blessings and plan of God is something that we have to work out individually.  Are you settling when the Lord may actually want more for you?  Go to Him, seek Him and find out.  Find out what His desire is for you.  When you do, in order to receive it you may have to do something.  You may have to press your way through like the woman with the issue of blood.  You may have to do some sowing.  You may have to do some repenting.  You might have to get out of your comfort zone.  You may have to humble yourself.  You may have to lay some things aside.  You may have to stretch your faith.  The promises of God are yes and amen, but many are also conditional.  They are meant to be received and enjoyed so that the Lord may be glorified in our lives and we might be partakers of the abundant life.

Have a great day.  Are you settling for less than the abundant life the Lord desires for you?  If so, why?    

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Gift Giver"

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."  James 1:17

We just celebrated Christmas, the time we call the "gift giving season".  But giving gifts isn't over-- not for our Heavenly Father.  He gives us gifts daily. 

The greatest gift He has given us is eternal life through faith in His Son Jesus.  But there are so many more gifts He desires to bestow on you.  And His gifts are all good and they are perfect.

Here are a few of His gifts that He desires to bless you with:
Peace that passes understanding.
Joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.
Grace that is sufficient.
Strength that is made perfect in weakness.
Wisdom that comes from above. 
Freedom through truth.
Beauty for ashes.
Eyes of understanding and discernment.
Love for your enemies.
Help in time of trouble.
Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
His Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct you.
A word in due season.
Health and prosperity to the degree your soul prospers.
Faith to move mountains.
Abundant life.

Do you need any of these?  Sure you do.... I do... we all do.  They are provided for us and given to us wrapped up in His love and goodness.  Do we deserve them?  No, but that is what makes them a gift.  A gift is something given to someone not because they earn it but because the giver desires for them to have it.  Please believe today that the Lord has gifts for you and that He wants to give them to you.  But as with any gift, it must be received.  Receive them today.

Have a great day.  The Lord has gifts for you.  Whatever gift you need today, ask Him for it. He is not stingy with His gifts. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

"Stay Wet"

"And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand."  Acts 28:5

I heard a minister talking about how snakes look for dry places to hide.  Then he compared it to the spiritual.  The snake represents satan.  Then he said that satan will look for churches that are dry so he can come into them.  That would be churches that have no praise and worship, that aren't preaching the true Word of God or that are not praying.  When he said that, the Holy Spirit quickened to me that it was not limited to churches only.

It can also be our homes and our lives.  When there is no praise and worship, a lack of Bible reading and prayer in our homes, the enemy has an open door to come and attack our family.  He will try to bring discord, rebellion, dissention, lack of love and caring, and any other weapon he can to divide and destroy us.  

When there is little to no praise and worship, Bible reading and study, and prayer and intercession in our individual lives, there is an open door of access for him to come in to steal our joy, kill us spiritually and destroy our faith.  He  tries to rob us of our peace.  He is after our trust in the Lord to make sure we don't have any.  He brings temptations to cause us to live, walk and respond after our flesh.   

Now, let me make it clear, that we aren't exempt from his attacks and devises just because our lives are full of praise, worship, the Word and prayer.  He still comes against us.  He is going around seeking whom he may devour.  But it is much harder for him to destroy us when our lives, homes and churches are saturated with the Presence of God and the oil of His Holy Spirit. 

So, guard against becoming spiritually dry.  Keep your hearts saturated in God's love.  Keep your mind renewed with His Word.  Still in prayer.  Keep those living waters flowing so that the enemy of your soul can't find a dry spot in which to hide and inhabit.  In other words-- don't be guilty of providing him a dry and comfortable place to hide or inhabit. 

Have a great day.  The serpent, satan, is looking for dry places to inhabit, so stay spiritually saturated with the Living Water. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

"Focus On The Lord"

"Looking unto Jesus ...."  Hebrews 12:2a

None of us are exempt from trials, tribulations, testing, problems and afflictions.  But when facing them, where are you looking?  What are you focused on?  Are you focused on the problem or the promise?  Are you focused on the fire in the furnace or the One who quenches the fire?  Are you focused on the storm or the One who walks on water and speaks peace to the storm?  Are you focused on the roaring lions or the One who shuts their mouths?  Are you focused on the valley or the Shepherd of the valley?  Are you focused on the dry place or the One who is Living Water?  Are you focused on the mountain or the One who uses mountains as His footstool?

When problems come, and they do, you can't spend all your time and energy focusing on them.  They will only get bigger and bigger.  I am not saying that the problem isn't real, and I am not saying to ignore it or pretend that it doesn't exist, but the more attention you give to it-- the more of your heart, emotions and thoughts you give to it-- the more ominous, the more fearful, the more enormous, the more overwhelming, the more impossible it will seem.  It is like adding fuel to a fire-- it only makes it grow.  

The more the Israelite army looked at Goliath, the bigger he became in their eyes.  The more powerful they thought he was.  The more intimidated and fearful they became, the more hopeless it appeared, the more helpless they felt.  But he wasn't so big.  He was brought down with a sling shot and rock!  Why?  The army looked at the giant; David looked at the Lord-- the One who was bigger than the giant. 

Yes, the problem is there but don't stay focused on it.  Keep your focus in the right place.  Focus on the Lord-- who He is and what He has provided for you to make it through your storm, your trial, your problem and your giant. 

Have a great day.  Focus on the promise, not the problem.  Focus on the Lord, not the situation. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"The Trap Of Unimportance"

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."  Colossians 3:2
I knew Christmas was going to be different this year given the fact that some of our family was no longer with us, some weren't going to be able to come "home" for the holidays, I didn't do any of the traditional baking I usually do and I couldn't seem to find time to decorate the outside of my house.  But little did I know just how different it was going to be.  I found out the week of Christmas just how different it could be-- my husband had to have triple bypass surgery.  He had it two days before Christmas, therefore, we spent Christmas in the hospital. 

While at the hospital my daughter and I were talking about how times like this help you to refocus on what is really important and what isn't.  We tend to focus on things that really aren't important.  We get caught up in life's trapping and traditions.  We put emphasis on things that are temporary.  We stress, worry and get anxious about making sure we get all the "details" just right.  But we miss the whole point.  Take Christmas for example.  We are so concerned about the gift giving, the gift wrapping, the decorating, the baking, having everything we consider Christmas perfect, that we miss the whole reason why we are celebrating--- it is Jesus' birthday.  We didn't get to enjoy the decorations, the holiday foods, the gift exchanging, etc., but life went on and we made it through it.  Now it is all just a memory as it would have been had it been a "normal" Christmas for us.   

When we focus on all the exteriors and worldly reason for the season, we get caught in a trap.  A trap that leads us further away from the true meaning.  The enemy of our soul wants to steal, kill and destroy us.  He wants to get us caught up and focused on the things (cares of this life) that don't really matter that much so that he can trap us.  Once trapped we get consumed with the externals.  Once trapped we get fearful.  We lose our peace and our joy.  Once trapped we lose sight of what is and isn't truly important.  Once trapped we neglect the eternal.  Once trapped we forget about our God-given purpose because we are so pre-occupied with other things that aren't that important.

I know I have been lengthy.  But stay on guard.  Don't get caught in his trap.  Prioritize what is and what isn't important.  Don't lose sight of the eternal because of the temporary.  Don't set your affection on things below but on things above.  Some of the things we stress so much about aren't worth it.  Choose the things that are worth it and focus on them.

Have a great day.  Don't get caught in the trap of the cares of this life that aren't really important.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Jesus Sang In The Night"

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."  Isaiah 53:7

Yesterday we talked about singing songs in our "night time".  I asked if your song was one of self-pity, fear, etc.  Or was it one of praise and trust.  I went on to say that our song should be one of praise and faith in the Lord.  This morning I want to talk about this again.

Sometimes our "night time/season" is the worse time of our entire life.  It is the hardest thing we have ever gone through.  It doesn't/can't get any worse than what we are going through.  That being the case, how can we sing songs of praise, faith and victory?  The trial is just too hard.  It is too overwhelming.  It is impossible to sing songs of praise because the night is so dark.

It is not impossible.  We can sing a song of peace, praise, joy and victory in spite of the darkness of our night.  Consider Jesus.  He went through the darkest night ever known to mankind.  He was betrayed by one of His own disciples.  He was in agony to the point where He sweat drops of blood. He was taken like a common criminal.  Brought before an angry religious crowd.  Falsely accused.  Had a mock trial.  Beaten unmercifully.  Mocked.  Blasphemed.  Faced the death penalty.  Yet we never hear Him singing a song of self-pity, anger, resentment, fear, defeat, complaining, etc.  (He opened not His mouth.)  

It may seem impossible for us to sing a song of praise in the night, but if we look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; if we look to Jesus the One who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities; if we look to Jesus who was tempted in the same manner we are tempted; if we look to Jesus who has already walked in our shoes; we can find the strength and grace to sing a song of faith and trust and peace and praise in our night time.      

He didn't open His mouth and sing a "negative" song.  But He was singing a song of praise and peace inside.  We know this because He went through that long night because of the joy that was set before Him. (That joy was you and me, beloved.)  So, if you aren't at the place where you can sing praise in the night, just don't sing at all-- don't sing a negative song of defeat.  Look to Jesus instead, and look at Him for a while. 

Have a great day.  Singing a song of praise in the night is possible as you look to Jesus, the One who faced a darker night then any of us ever have.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Singing In The Night"

"But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night."  Job 35:10

We all face "night" times- times of darkness, confusion and uncertainty.  The "night" are times of great trials and testing.  Night time is a time of weeping. (Weeping endures for the night.)  Night is a time of grief and pain.  It is a time when you can't see any light or any good thing that can come from the situation you are in.  It is a time when hope is shrouded in darkness. 

When you are in a "night" time, what song do you sing?  We all sing a song in the night.  The song we sing may be one of gloom, despair and agony.  It may be one of self-pity.  It may be a song of complaining, criticism, murmuring, distrust, unbelief, questioning, fear, accusation and so on.  Or it may be a song of praise, hope, trust, peace and faith.  It may be a song proclaiming confidence in the faithfulness of God.  It may be a song of surrender to God's divine will and plan.  It may profess that it is well with your soul.  It may be a song of victory amidst trouble. 

Which song do you sing when night comes?  Which song should you sing when night comes?  Should your song be negative and written through the emotions of the flesh?  Or should it be one of praise and written out of faith in the fact that your loving Heavenly Father is with you working all things together for your good?  When it is night/dark, we are unable to walk by sight-- we can't see.  Therefore, we have to walk by faith-- faith that God sees and has it all under control.  So the song we sing should be one of faith and praise written by our trust in the faithfulness of God.

Have a great day.  What song do you sing in the night?        

Monday, January 2, 2017

"He Walks With You"

"....   great is thy faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:23b

As you all know I haven't sent out the devotional in almost two weeks.  One of the last ones I sent out dealt with eventful days.  We never know when a day begins how it will end.  Well, the reason I have not been sending out a devotional is because we had an eventful day that has lead to many eventful days.  

My husband had a stress test which revealed that he had some blockage in an artery.  So a heart catheterization was scheduled for him.  His cardiologist thought it was going to be an easy fix.  When they did the catheterization, they discovered that it was not an easy fix.  He had three blocked arteries which would require open heart surgery.  He was admitted immediately into the hospital to await surgery.  Two days later the doctors performed a triple bypass on him.  One artery was 100% blocked, another one was 98% blocked and the third one was 95% blocked.  The surgery went well and he is back at home recovering.  His recovery is a process but the same God who was with him and kept him from having a heart attack and who was with him during the surgery will be with him as he recovers.     

When we go through trying times, the Lord is with us through the entire situation.  He is there at the beginning and at the end.  He doesn't leave in the middle of what you are going through.  He doesn't leave you before it is finished.  He stays with you through it all.  He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, the Author and Finisher.  He walks with you through the valley, up the mountain, in the fire, on the storm, in the wilderness, wherever it is you are walking, He walks there with you and stays with you until it is over. 

Have a great day.  The Lord is faithful to walk with you no matter where you find yourself, and He will walk with you all the way to the end.