Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"No Pain, No Gain"

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everything in life came to us easily. Wouldn't it be great if it came on "soft beds", "flowery pillows" and on pleasant sun filled days. But that's not reality. More things come, and are gained, through suffering, pain and hardship than they do through ease. Our precious children are born through travail. Muscles are built through strenuous exercise. Endurance is gained through pressing past the aches and pains. Even playing a guitar is accompanied by calluses.

Without the oven the bowl of dough would never become bread to satisfy the hungry. Without being crushed the fragrance that is within the flower would never be enjoyed. Without the firing process the lump of clay would never be changed into a vessel that is substantial and fit for use. Without pressure a piece of coal won't become a diamond. Without night day doesn't look as bright. Without battles victory doesn't smell as sweet. Without weeping laughter doesn't sound as good. Without thirst and heat cool water doesn't feel as refreshing.

Even the wonderful salvation we enjoy didn't come easy. It cost something- it cost God everything and it came through the suffering of Jesus. So don't despise trouble, affliction, suffering. Those things that are of more value, that are much more precious, that are eternal, don't come cheaply or easily, they come with a price, but in the long run the price is worth it. Remember the old saying: no pain, no gain? How true. But in God's "scheme of things" not only is there gain through those things we suffer, but it's great gain.

Have a great day. Without the rain we wouldn't enjoy the sunshine. Easy does not produce that which is priceless and eternal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"Do You Blame God?"

"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." John 11:21
 
Blaming God is nothing new... it started back in the Garden of Eden. "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." (Genesis 3:12) When things go wrong, or don't go according to our plans, or something bad happens, God seems to get the blame for it. Adam blamed God, Martha blamed God, Mary blamed God, many people all around the world blame God. They blame Him because He allowed something to happen, or didn't allow something to happen, or He didn't stop something from happening.  They blame Him because He didn't work their problem out the way they wanted Him to or because He didn't make a way when they thought He should have, etc... the list is endless.
 
Blaming God is a two-fold mistake: 1) It's incorrect. When you blame God, you are misplacing the blame. God is never to blame for anything. 2) When you blame God, you are pointing a finger at your only true source of help. Job never would have made it through his time of suffering had he blamed God and turned his back on Him because God was the only One who could have gotten him through it. God was the only one who could bring him comfort, strength and healing. Mary and Martha blamed God/Jesus- the only One who could help them. He was the only one who could give life and hope into their situation.
 
Bad things happen and things don't always happen to our liking. There is usually a place to place blame when they do, but it's not on God. He is your source. He is your strength. He is your deliverer. He is your comfort. He is the fountain from which you can drink, find rest and receive comfort when bad things happen.
 
Have a great day. Don't blame God when things are bad.  Don't turn your back on Him.  Don't cut Him off.  When you do, you are cutting off your own source of help.

Monday, December 17, 2018

"Real Strength"

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

Years ago I watched a program on television with Joni Erikson Tada and a friend, Renee as the guest speakers.  As I watched these two ladies, I realized that I was watching two extremely "strong" women. No, they weren't physically strong. They were confined to wheel chairs. They couldn't walk, they couldn't run a race, they couldn't dress themselves, they couldn't even brush their own hair or change their shoes. But as I listened to their testimonies, as I heard their words, as I saw the peace that rested upon them, as I looked at the grace that surrounded them, I knew I was not looking at two ordinary women- not because they were paralyzed and couldn't use their hands or feet- but because they were women of incredible faith and confidence in the Lord.

Strength is not measured by how much weight you can bench press. It's not measured by how fast or far you can run. Real strength is not measured by what you can do physically... it's measured by what you do/are "inwardly". Is strength the lack of tears in a sorrowful situation? No, strength is the confidence that God will wipe the tears away and turn your sorrow into joy. Does strength mean you are always "on top"-- always on the mountain, never in the valley or pit? No, it means that wherever you are, you know you are not alone because the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. Does strength mean that you always understand what's happening to you so you can endure it? No, to that also. Real strength means that you don't try to lean to your own understanding, but trust that some how, some way God will work all things together for the good.

The strength I am talking about doesn't give up even when all odds are against you. It goes the second mile- even when the first one was painful. It keeps looking up even when everything else says to look down. It holds fast it's confidence in God even when you feel like He has "slain" you. Those who posses real strength know that it doesn't come from exterior circumstances or outside help, it comes from abiding in the presence of the Lord and letting Him "infuse" you with His strength-- for His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Have a great day. Truly strong people are not those who have bulging biceps, but those who keep their trust and faith in the Lord even in difficult situations.

Friday, December 14, 2018

"Christmas Picture"

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:11

As I have been reflecting on the Christmas season, I began to think about the real meaning of Christmas---- CHRIST BIRTHDAY! The more I thought about it, the more I found myself making some comparisons between celebrating Christ and celebrating Christmas. Let me explain.

We will stand in freezing weather to watch a Christmas parade, but we won't get out of our warm beds to go to our prayer closet in our warm houses to spend a few minutes with the Lord. We will fight the traffic jam afterward the parade just to get back home, but we won't get in our cars on Sunday morning and go to church. We take our children to the mall and stand in a line of screaming children for hours just to get a picture with Santa Claus, but we can't sit in church for more than thirty minutes without squirming and watching the clock. We will spend the money that we don't have, borrow the money or max out credit cards to buy Christmas presents that we don't need, but we won't give tithes and offerings. We will get up in the middle of the night to be the first in line at the store to buy that hard to find item, but we won't get up even a few minutes earlier than we have to in order to have time alone with the Lord. We go to great lengths to cover our houses with lights, but we hide the light of Christ within us.

All that I have talked about are the things that we associate with Christmas, but something is wrong with the picture. There is something wrong when we give more attention, time and money to the "trappings" of Christmas than we do to the One that Christmas is suppose to be about. There is something wrong when we celebrate His birth but we don't celebrate Him. I think we need to step back and individually make some comparisons of our own lives during this time to see where we are putting the emphasis... on Christ or on Christmas?

Have a great day. Are you celebrating Christ? Or events?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"He's A Big God"

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Isaiah 40:12
 
When we read this scripture it speaks of the awesomeness of God- exactly how big and how great He is.  The scripture above compares the size of God with the size of the universe. Did you know that if we traveled in a jet from the earth to the sun it would take 21 years to get there. Our next closet star is over four million light years away. And our galaxy is only one of millions that are out there, yet as big as the universe is, God can measure it with the span of His hand. There are billions of stars in the universe, but the Lord not only created them, but calls each one by name (and never forgets a name).

Personally, I can't fathom how big the universe is, but God measures it with His hand. I can't even fully comprehend the size of all the oceans in the world, but God counts every drop of water in them and holds them all combined in the palm of His hand. He knows how much the earth weighs. He sets the mountains and hills on a scale and weighs them like you would weigh a pound of meat. He knows how many grains of sand on the seashore. He knows how many blades of grass in my front yard. He knows how many apples on each tree, and He knows how many apples are in an apple seed waiting to be planted. He tells the ocean how far it call go on the shore. He knows the number of fish in the sea, birds in the air, cattle on the ground. There is no way to fully comprehend how big God truly is.

But at the same time, this big, awesome and amazing God knows me. He knows how many tears I cry when I am hurting. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows how many times my heart beats a minute. He knows my DNA without looking at it under a microscope. He knows how many blood cells are in my body. He knows my every thought even before I think them.

Don't limit the Lord, He is bigger and greater than we have the ability to understand- He can do anything! But don't limit Him either by thinking that He is so big that He doesn't care about you or have time for you. You are more important to Him than the stars of the sky, the sands of the sea or the vastness of the universe. These are all evidence of the greatness of God. But He humbled Himself and took on the likeness of sinful flesh then died on the cross to take away your sins-- that was His evidence of how great His love is for you.

Have a great day. He is bigger and greater than we will ever be able to understand but He loves us so much.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

"Where Are You Looking?

"Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me." Micah 7:7

Do you know why we get discouraged? Do you know why we get fearful? Do you know why we start murmuring and complaining? Do you know why we get discontent? It's because of where we are looking! When the Israelites looked at the giants that were in the land, they got fearful. When Peter looked at the winds and waves, he began to sink. When Lot's wife looked at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, she became a pillar of stone. When the Israelite army looked at the size of Goliath, their hearts sank in fear.


When we look at what we don't have instead of what we do have, we become ungrateful and begin to complain. The Israelites looked at the meat they didn't have and complained against God instead of looking at the manna that He was sending them each day. When we look at our problem instead of looking to the "hills from whence cometh our help", we become fearful and faithless. When we look at the situation instead of looking to God, doubt and discouragement will come in. When we look at the mountain, we lose faith and give up.

When you read some of the writings of David in the Psalms, you'll read words of complaint and petition. He'll say such things as- my enemies pursue me, they are stronger than I am, they are out to get me, my soul is cast down, I am in distress, my strength is gone, etc. But don't stop there he always goes on to say- but the Lord is my helper, I will put my trust and faith in the Lord, the Lord will show me the way to take, He shall destroy my enemies, He is on my side. This is what I like must about David- one minute he may be acknowledging his problem, but the next minute he is acknowledging the power and provision of His God. You can tell when he turns from the problem to faith in God- there seems to be a 'dividing line'. Do you know what the difference was? He stopped looking in one direction and started looking in another. He stopped looking at his problem and started looking at God (his problem solver, the One who was greater than his problem, the One who was able to handle his problem).

Where are you looking this morning- at the storm, at the giants, at the mountain, at the impossibility of the situation? Are you looking at the great I Am, the Healer, the Deliverer, the Redeemer, the Supplier? Where you look will determine if you are defeated or have victory. Where you look will either make you grateful or ungrateful, fearful or full of faith, discouraged or encouraged, depressed or at peace. It all boils down to what you are looking at- God or the problem.

Have a great day. What are you looking at?

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

"Ask And You Will Know"

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

Someone who I am close to has been calling me for weeks to help give them some advice for a situation they are in. They have a decision to make and the time is getting short- they have to make it within just a matter of days. I asked her yesterday what was she hearing from the Lord in prayer about this matter. She told me that she really hasn't prayed about it. This amazes me! She is a very godly woman and even teaches the Bible-- the same Bible that tells her not to lean to her own understanding but to acknowledge the Lord in all her ways; the same Bible that says that it's not in a man to direct his own steps; the same Bible that says that there is a way that seems right unto a man but the end is destruction; the same Bible that says, "Without Me, you can do nothing."

There is a two-fold message in this word this morning: 1) Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. It does you no good to just know what it says, be able to quote it or teach its principals to others. The benefit is in the application- in doing what it says, acting upon it, and following its instructions.  2)  You should never try to make decisions without the council of God. My friend keeps asking me what she should do-- I don't have any more of a clue than she does unless I seek the Lord for an answer. We (none of us) just don't know what's the best thing to do.  We just don't have the answers.  We cannot make wise decisions on our own.  We are so finite- confined to the knowledge of the moment- unable to see down the road, unable to see the outcome or see the avenues that are hidden from our view. So it's no wonder she doesn't know what to do--- "you have not, because you ask not".

Let me combine the two messages into one word briefly: Look to God's word and apply it to every situation and decision you are faced with- no matter how big or small it may be- because you don't have what it takes to make the right choices on your own.... but He does, and He will show you as you "seek Him first."

Have a great day. Are you trying to make decisions on your own? You can't do it!

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Handling Problems"

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
I have a picture hanging in my guest room that says, "Good morning, this is God. I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help... so have a good day." I thought it was a good reminder. When problems arise, not if they arise but when, because they do arise and more frequently than we wish, we tend to try to handle them ourselves. Even if we go to God with them it's not long before we find our hands on them trying to solve the problem, trying to manipulate the situation, or trying to make something happen ourselves. The end result of our "help" usually only makes matters worse. Abraham and Sarah tried to help God and got an Ishmael.

Are you trying to "help" God? Are you trying to tell Him how to solve the problem? Are you trying to take matters into your own hands? Are you trying to make something happen? Are you pushing God aside and trying to figure it out on your own? Or are you letting Him handle the problem- the whole problem- His way, according to His wisdom and plan, in His own time? Are you going to let go and take your hands off and trust Him to handle it? I would have a terrible problem if I had to figure out how to create a day. But He solved the "problem" of how to create it... because it was no problem for Him at all. "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27) Let the fact that today is here be a reminder to you that He is well able to handle anything on His own and does not need your help. But if He does need it... like my parents used to tell me... "if I need your help, I'll ask for it".

Have a great day. He doesn't need your help, if He does He'll ask for it, so take your hands off or you are going to wind up giving Him more than one problem to solve.

Friday, December 7, 2018

"One Tongue"

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

There is a song that says, "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing praises to the King". If we had a thousand tongues we still couldn't praise Him enough. Would we use all one thousand of them to praise and honor Him? Since we don't have a thousand, but we do have one, I have to ask the question... "What are you doing with the one tongue you have?"

How are you using it? Are you using it to edify, to encourage, to speak words of kindness and healing? Are you using it to bring hope? Are your words words of peace, faith, blessings? Do your words truly glorify God? Or do you use your tongue to backbite, discourage, intimidate? Do you speak words of unbelief, doubt, cursing? Do you tear down, condemn, murmur and complain? Do you use it for both- blessings and cursing, truth and lies, faith and fear, encouragement and discouragement?

Often, we just say what we want to say and give no thought to our words. I encourage, and challenge, you today to pay attention to your speech. Give yourself a test and take note of how you are using your tongue. Here is a prayer for our tongues which is posted on my Khawdash blog. Maybe we should be praying it everyday??

A Prayer for the Tongue: I pray forgiveness for my tongue. Help me, Lord, to never use it as a weapon against my brother. Remind me to wear my bridle so I can keep it under control. Teach me to bite it, so that I may feel the pain that it could cause others. Show me where to purchase a lock for my mouth, so that my tongue will not escape. Help me to think of it as a valuable object so that I will keep it to myself. I pray that my mind will be in gear before my tongue goes into motion. Take away the gift of gab. Thank You for my little tongue. Help me to never let it get big. Let it always be used for good and it tell the world of Your love. Amen.

Have a great day. We must use our tongues in a manner in which it glorifies God.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Hide My Guilt"

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." Genesis 3:8

One day when my granddaughter was only ten months old, I was keeping her.  That particular day she was sitting in her high chair and I was at the kitchen sink and she dropped her bottle for the fifth time. I looked at her and the look on her face when I asked her if she dropped her bottle again seemed to say,"What bottle? I don't know what you are talking about." Her expression, honestly, appeared to be that of someone who was trying to ignore the conversation to hide their guilt. Even if she was able to fully comprehend the situation and was actually trying to hide the fact that she dropped it, there was no way she could hide her guilt-- I saw everything. I saw what happened. I was well aware of the fact that she had dropped her bottle. There was no hiding it from Nana.

It reminded me of how we respond to God. When we "mess up", when we miss the mark, when we disobey, when we sin, we may try to hide our guilt or change the subject- but He knows. You can't hide it from Him. He sees everything. He sees what you've done, or haven't done- whatever the case may be. That was one of the first lessons He taught us in the Garden of Eden.

Adam tried to hide his guilt from God's presence. He tried to hide it behind a fig leaf. He tried to hide it behind excuses. He tried to hide it behind his wife. He even tried to change the subject by shifting the blame- but none of it worked. He couldn't hide his guilt from God's all seeing eye. He couldn't hide it, neither can we. We can come up with all kinds of "devices" to cover our guilt but it won't work. Therefore, we might as well come clean before Him and acknowledge what we have done. You know, we can never be successful in covering up our guilt, but God can. Once we confess it and repent of it, He can cover it by putting it under the blood and in the sea of forgetfulness. Wouldn't you much rather let Him deal with your guilt then you try to do something with it?

Have a great day. We try so hard to cover up our guilt and the only way it can be "covered" is by bringing it out in the open-- and letting God deal with covering it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"A Brick Wall"

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:6

Have you ever come up against a "brick wall"? You're going down the road of life then all of a sudden, almost out of no where, you run into an obstacle. Your path is completely blocked- you can't go forward, there is no way around it, it's just there. What do you do? Do you sit down and just stare at it? Do you turn around and go back? One of the two is usually the course that we take. Neither of them are the course of action we should take- one keeps you stuck in the present and the other pulls you back to the past. We are suppose to be advancing forward.

There is another course of action that we can take. It's called praise, speaking to the mountain, putting your trust in God. As you look to Him instead of at the brick wall- praising Him, seeking His guidance, stepping forward in faith and confidence in His ability to cause you to keep going forward no matter what arises- something is going to happen to that wall. You will see it either move aside to let you by, see it vanish away, find a door of passage through it, or you will discover loose bricks that can be removed one by one until the way is clear.

Don't sit there and stare at it. Don't be discouraged by it and turn back. Seek the Lord about it, listen to what He says, let Him show you what to do, then obey Him. The Israelites came to a "brick wall", it was called the Red Sea. Moses acknowledged the Lord and waited to hear from Him.  God showed him the course of action to take and it was moved out of their way. The same thing with the walls of Jericho. Joshua sought the Lord for the course of action and the walls came tumbling down.

Have a great day. Seek God concerning the course of action you need to take so that you can keep moving forward.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"The Place Of Peace"

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1

The key to having peace of mind and heart depends on where you put your faith- what you believe in. There is so much in this life that will cause our hearts to become "troubled". We live in a world that is being shaken from one corner to the other. Countries are being shaken, governments are being shaken, economies are being shaken, the literal earth is being shaken through natural disasters- you never know what news you'll wake up to each morning. The whole world seems to be riding on a roller coaster- up and down, down and up, and back down again. It will make your head spin as the events move at such a fast pace, changing right before your eyes. Therefore, we have to place our belief (our faith, our trust, our hope) in the right place if we want to have peace.

Peace won't come by placing your faith in temporal things- in the things that are here today and gone tomorrow. It won't come by placing your faith in that which is frail- it falls at the slightest pressure. You can't have peace if your faith is in that which is limited- limited in strength, power and knowledge. "Don't let your hearts be troubled." Why? How is that possible? Because your belief is in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ. When your faith is in the Lord, it is rooted in that which is eternal- He will never pass away. It's anchored in the One who is anything but frail- the Omnipotent (All Powerful God). It is built upon the One who is not limited by anything- time, space, the economy, etc. He is not limited in strength, in wisdom, in power, in resources, in knowledge. There is no lack or limitation in Him. He isn't here today and gone tomorrow. His power and ability doesn't diminish with time. Bad reports done make Him shutter or shake. He doesn't become panic stricken.  He doesn't faint from fear or collapse under pressure. He is not affected by the economy, by world events, by the stock market, by fuel prices, by unemployment, by evil rulers, by terrorists, by threats of war or by bad reports.

God always remains at peace, because He IS peace. He doesn't just posses peace but the very essence of His being and His whole nature is peace. Wouldn't you feel safer, more secure, more at ease by placing your faith in the One who is peace. Let me give you a crude little analogy. Let's suppose you want to go for a swim, so you go to the coast with its sandy white beaches and inviting blue waters. But instead of getting in the water, you lay down on the sand, start kicking your feet, make stroking motions with your arms and wiggle around in the sand- you call yourself swimming. But you aren't swimming, you are flouncing in the sand. If you want to swim, you have to get in the water. If you want peace, you have to "get into peace"- God is peace- get in God. Trying to find peace in any other place- in the temporal, the frail, the limited- is like "flouncing in the sand".

Have a great day. The key to peace is by placing your faith in the One who is peace.

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Third Group"

"For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8

My husband was telling me about a conversation that he had with a friend recently. They were talking about being persecuted for Christ- more specifically what would you do if it came down to denying Christ or being put to death. My husband was telling his friend that he needed to decide and determine that nothing is worth denying Christ for and losing your eternal soul. On the subject of giving your life for Christ, I told my husband that there are three kinds of "Christians"- those who live for Him but aren't willing to die for Him; those who are willing to die for Him but don't live for Him; those who live for Him and are willing to die for Him.

I don't know about you but I want to be in that third group. This is the group that is talked about in Revelations- "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:11) I believe that this is a subject we need to give some attention to- especially here in America. We think that we will never have to make that decision- persecution to that degree is a foreign idea to us, we live in a land of freedom. The idea should not be that foreign- our brothers and sisters all around the world are being called on daily to make the choice to either deny Christ or die- it is something we need to think about because who knows what tomorrow may bring.

Even if we don't face this kind of persecution and have to make this decision under "duress" the choice should be simple for us-- nothing is worth sacrificing our relationship with Christ or our eternal soul. Let me take it one step further- out of a "physical" context. When you give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, the third group is true Christianity. Everyday you should live for Him- not just in word only. And everyday you should lay down your life for Him- you should "die" daily to self will, to the desires of the flesh and to being the lord of your own life. This is why the Revelation group I mentioned earlier had no reservations in laying down their lives for Christ- they already "reckoned themselves dead to sin and alive to Christ". (Romans 6:11) They were already "dead". We are to be "dead" men already having denied ourselves and living unto Christ. Are you already "dead"? Is Christ the only one living in you because you have died to self-will? Are you still alive? Which group are you in?

Have a great day. Are you willing to live and die for Him? The decision is easy if you are already a "dead" man... dead men aren't worried about losing their lives because they are already dead.

Friday, November 30, 2018

"Safe Place"

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." Proverbs 18:10

You don't have to look very hard, be out of bed very long in the morning, or go very far to find discouraging situations. Just turn on the television or read the newspaper and you'll find plenty enough to make you fearful, worried, anxious and concerned. We live in a day and age when there is so much happening around us- an unstable economy, wars, unemployment, world wide crisis, attacks on religious freedoms and so on. I hate to tell you this, but it's only going to get worse. No, that is not a "negative confession". The Bible tells us that prior to the return of Christ evil men are going to get worse and worse, there will be wars and rumors of war, evil will abound, nations will rise against nations and perilous times will come.

If I stopped here it would leave you feeling hopeless, and I would only be telling you part of what the Bible says. The Bible gives us good news- hope- for these times. We are told that for those who put their trust, faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a safe place when the world is being turned upside down and everything is chaotic. The Lord is our safe place. He is our refuge and a shelter in the time of storm. When the plagues were destroying Egypt, God's people were in a place of safety. When the fire was burning around the three Hebrews, the Lord was in the fire with them. He gathers us as a mother hen gathers her chicks and hides us with His feathers under the shadow of His wings. When the flood came and covered the whole earth, there was an ark of protection for Noah and his family.

God always has a place prepared for His people. Just because we are in the storm doesn't mean that He isn't aware of us, isn't with us and isn't providing for and protecting us. When the disciples were in the storm, Jesus was in the boat with them. They were fearful because they saw the waves and felt them beating upon the boat. They didn't realize that they weren't in danger of sinking because Jesus was in the boat. You may be in a storm, the whole world may be in a storm, but as long as you are in the boat with Jesus it's a place of safety and the boat is not going to sink.

Have a great day. If Jesus isn't in the boat, you'll sink. But if Jesus is in the boat, there is no way you can sink.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Source Of Happiness"

"Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart." Psalm 119:2

Everyone is in search of happiness. We search for it in relationships, through knowledge, through material possessions, through entertainment, through pleasure, through activities, through self improvement and so on. In our search to find happiness we often look for it in the wrong places. Happiness found in the wrong places tends to be temporary. Once the "newness" wears off so does the happiness. Once the relationship loses it's "excitement" we stop being happy with that person. After the event that we looked forward to is over, we begin our search for something else to look forward to. Once we make an improvement with our physical appearance we find something else about us that makes us unhappy and then pursue trying to change it too. It is a never ending cycle.

I have good news for you this morning. There is a "happiness" that doesn't wear off or fade. The Bible equates this happiness with blessings. These blessings aren't based on external conditions and they aren't temporary. To find them you have to look in the right places- not to people, not to things. But there is a condition to receiving them and the condition is written in the verse above.

The true source of happiness is found in keeping God's word- obeying it, applying it to your life, letting it be your guide through all paths of life, hiding it in your heart, renewing your mind with it, letting it transform you and change your attitudes. The true source of happiness comes from seeking the Lord with your whole heart. A divided heart, half heartedness, seeking only on occasion and turning to Him only in times of trouble, will not experience lasting happiness and true blessings.

Are you looking for true happiness? Are you wanting those eternal blessings? Then make God and living by His word your first priority. Start doing what the scripture says and stop running to and fro wasting your time looking for the blessing of happiness in all the wrong places.

Have a great day. Finding true happiness is not difficult-- just keep God's word and seek Him with your whole heart and you will find it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"Last Place"

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Revelation 22:13

The Lord tells us that He is the first and the last, but just because He refers to Himself as the "last" doesn't mean we are to place Him "last" in our lives. Many put Him in "last" place in their lives. He is the "last" place they go when they need help. He is the "last" resort. He is the "last" One they seek counsel from. He is the "last" on their list of resources. This is by no means what He means when He says that He is the "last".

Placing Him only in last place in our lives is the source of many of our problems. If we would seek Him first, instead of last, we would not have as much confusion in our lives and many problems we face could have been avoided. If we put Him first, we would have a greater measure of peace because He would lead us in the way that we should go. If we place Him first we could save ourselves a lot of pain and heartache. Some of the "stupid" (yes, I said stupid) things that we do we wouldn't do because we would have received His wise counsel.

Abraham wound up with an Ishmael because he didn't seek God first- he listened to his wife instead. We too wind up with an "Ishmael" when we don't give God first place in our (all our) decisions. When we assume that this is God's plan instead of seeking Him to find out, when we lean to our own understanding instead acknowledging Him, when we think we can handle the situation instead of asking God about it, we wind up with something painful, something bigger than we can handle, something that brings conflict into our homes, distress to our hearts, weariness, grief, robs us of peace or even brings destruction in the long run.

What place are you giving Him in your life? Is He first or last? Is He last only- after you have already made your own decisions or only after you need Him to fix the mess you've made? We must not forget that God is "first" also and should be given first place and not last place only.

Have a great day. There is only one place that we should place God in our lives-- first.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"Will And Wheel"

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." Psalm 32:8

Several years ago a song came out, and became very popular.  It was entitled, "Jesus, Take the Wheel". If you aren't familiar with the song it's about a woman who was living away from the Lord and had been going through a very difficult time. The song takes place as she was driving down the road with her baby in the car and suddenly lost control. As the car started spinning out of control she threw up her hands, letting go of the steering wheel, and cried out for Jesus to "take the wheel". Here's the chorus: "Jesus take the wheel. Take it from my hands. Cause I can't do this on my own. I'm letting go. So give me one more chance. Save me from this road I'm on. Jesus take the wheel."

Let me ask you this morning, "Who's in the driver's seat of your life?" Are you driving your own life? Going down the roads you desire to go down? Are you holding on to the steering wheel with a "death grip" not willing to let go and let God have full control of your life? If you keep steering your life in the direction you want to go, you will wind up on a dead end road, a path that leads no where, or worse yet go into a tail spin and crash.

There is only one way for you to "drive" through this world without "crashing", it's by surrounding the "wheel" of your life over to Jesus- giving Him the driver's seat. But that can only happen as you first surrender your "will". Once you surrender your "will" to His Lordship, then it will be no problem to surrender the "wheel" of your life over to Him and let Him navigate you through this life.

Have a great day. You need to surrender your "will" to God so that He can take the "wheel" and drive you safely through the rest of your life.

Monday, November 26, 2018

"Not Forgotten"

"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."
Isaiah 49:15

The Lord wants me to remind you again this morning that He has not forgotten you. He knows exactly where you are and what you are going through. Darkness cannot hide you from His sight. Trials don't "scare" Him away. The storm is not so violent that He can't reach you. The mountain is not too tall for Him to climb. The pit is not too deep that He can't see the bottom.

I am reminded of Hagar this morning. The Lord saw her in her plight. He saw her in the middle of the desert with no water, no place to go, cast out of her home. I am also reminded of Joseph- thrown in a pit to die, sold by his brothers into slavery, cast into prison, but the Lord saw him too. What about Daniel in the lion's den, the three Hebrews in the furnace, and the list goes on. What they were facing did not hide them from God's view and did cause God to forget them. He was well aware of where they were and what they were going through. He is aware of you too- He knows where you are, what you are going through, He hears your cries, He sees your plight, and He cares.

Don't think that He does not care because He hasn't brought your trying situation to an "end". He gave Hagar water to make it through the desert. He gave Joseph favor to make it through his captivity. He gave Daniel grace in the lion's den. He gave the three Hebrews His presence in the furnace. And He will give you whatever you need to make it through whatever you are going through.

Have a great day. God has not forgotten you... and He will not.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"Thanksgiving"

"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30
Tomorrow we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day here in America. Hopefully, we won't be so caught up in the traditional meal, the family gatherings or our own unique customs, that we forget why we are celebrating. I realize that this is an American celebration commemorating a time in our history, but whether you live in America or another country if you are a born again child of God you have something- so much- to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is not just a day on a calendar, a holiday celebrated by a certain nation or a historical commemoration, it should be a lifestyle for those of us who have surrendered our lives to and placed our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is it for you? Is it your lifestyle? Is everyday a day of thanksgiving? Do you live with a praise of thanksgiving on your lips? Do you reserve your thanks for special occasions only such as when things are going well, once a year, during church service, when the Lord answers your prayers? Each day that we wake up is cause enough to give God thanks. Knowing that your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life is more than enough reason to thank Him daily. As a matter of fact, that fact alone is enough to keep a praise of thanksgiving on your lips morning, noon and night.

Have you lost your thanksgiving? Have you allowed the cares of life, it's problems, discouraging news, bad reports, personal trials, disturbing circumstances and unpleasant situations to rob you of a heart of thanksgiving? Has it been replaced with grumbling, self-pity, ingratitude? Then you need to get it back. You need to begin to bring a "sacrifice of praise" to the Lord. If you can't do it sincerely, then do it by faith... just start doing it. He is worthy and you have been too blessed not to!! "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Have a great day. Everyday is a day of thanksgiving... so thank the Lord today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"Facing It"

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philipines 4:11

Have you ever thought about all the things that we can face in a day? We never know what a day may hold- good or bad. Here are some of the things we might face: giants, mountains, fiery trials, temptations, illness, broken dreams, obstacles either large or small, grief, pain, suffering, persecution, failure, discouragement, disappointment, fear, doubt, unbelief, disillusion, weakness, hunger, thirst, strife, affliction, conflict, broken relationships, overwhelming odds, remorse and the list goes on. Oh, how depressing.  I have to stop because it sounds like every thing we face is "gloom, despair, and agony". Thank God that life isn't completely full of misery, all though it may seem like it at times. We also face times of great joy, happiness, victory, peace, rejoicing, strength, hope and encouragement.

The Apostle Paul probably faced more than the average person, but listen to what he says about what he faced. (I'd like to read it from the Amplified Bible.) "Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. (Phil.4:11-13)

Like us, he faced good and bad times, but he had learned something that got him through them all. It was the confidence in knowing that regardless of what he faced- good or bad, happy or sad, victory or defeat, feast or famine, weakness or strength- he wasn't facing it alone. "Lo, I am with you always." (Matthew 28:20) We have that same hope- that same promise. We never face anything alone-- "For Thou art with me." The Lord is with us, never leaving us, nor forsaking us.

Have a great day. I hope what you face today is all good, but whether it is or isn't you aren't facing it alone.

Monday, November 19, 2018

"God's Wisdom Is Greater"

"Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee." Jeremiah 10:7
 
There is no doubt that there are some pretty wise people in the world- in each nation. Daily we hear wisdom displayed from many walks of life- politicians, news reporters, educators, pastors, entertainers, and so on. We hear lots of learned people give their views, opinions and predictions. We hear from analysts, columnists, the financial savvy, professors and many many more each experts in their field concerning world affairs. Some have had great wisdom, some just thought they were wise but their comments proved otherwise. The wisest man to ever live, the wisest head of any nation, the wisest king to ever rule was King Solomon. His wisdom was so great that even the Queen of Sheba said that only the half has been known.
 
All the wisdom of all the people on earth- who have lived, who are living or who will live in the future- their wisdom combined cannot compare to the wisdom of the Most High God. King Solomon recognized this, therefore, he prayed for God's wisdom in order to rule God's people. We must always remember- whether it is in the affairs of a nation, or a culture of people, or a certain sect of society, or in running a business, or in our own individual personal lives-- we must lean upon the wisdom of God. We can't look to man's wisdom to guide us, to direct us, to give us an answer or to provide what we need. James tells us that man's wisdom is "sensual"- fleeting, changing, of no value, it's even foolish compared to the wisdom of God.
 
This morning, I don't know what you may be experiencing, but you need wisdom to make the right choices, to go in the right direction, to know what to do and what not to do, to follow God's will, and to get victory in the situation, but don't look to man's wisdom for your solution. "Forasmuch as among all the wise men in the world (paraphrase added)... there is none like unto God." God is your answer. His wisdom is endless, and it will always guide you in the right direction.
 
Have a great day. Trust in and lean upon God's wisdom... there is no one else who is as wise as He is. God's Wisdom is greater... it far surpasses the wisdom of man.
 
 

Friday, November 16, 2018

"Impossible, Not Impossible"

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

The fact is, there is so much that it is impossible for man to do- the list is endless. But with God nothing is impossible- the list of what He can do is endless. I can't create a world, but He did- just by the word of His mouth. I can't part a sea and make it stand up like a wall- but He can and did.

But when we read another passage it says: "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:20) Here is says that nothing shall be impossible unto you. It almost sounds like a contradiction-- "with men it's impossible"; "nothing shall be impossible to you".

Whatever it is you are dealing with, in your own strength it is impossible- you aren't strong enough, wise enough, big enough. But the key is- "if you have faith". Faith in what, faith placed where? In the God with whom all things are possible. If you put your faith, trust and confidence in God, if you connect with Him, if you invite Him into your life, then because of Him, nothing shall be impossible for you. Let's look at a mountain for a moment. A mountain is a powerful thing. It's stationary, solid, unshakable. In order to move it or effect it at all you have to put a force against it that is greater than it is. The same when dealing with our "spiritual mountains", you have to put a force that is greater than it is in order to remove it. I am not a greater force than a mountain, I have no power, it is impossible for me to remove it.... but when I connect with a force that is greater, then it's not impossible any more for me to remove it. It will remove easily, all I have to do is "speak" to it. That greater force is the All Powerful, Almighty God, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.

Are you trying to move a mountain on your own- in your strength, in your wisdom, in your ability? You won't do it- it's impossible. But if you put your faith and trust in God and connect with Him, it's very possible. You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you.

Have a great day. What was once impossible for us is now possible when we put our faith in God.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"The Sun Is Shining - Part 2"

"My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?" Psalm 42:3

Yesterday we talked about God still being in control and the evidence was that the sun still rose that morning and it's still shining. One of my precious email friends wrote me back and told me that the comparison wasn't working on her end because bad storms were coming where she lives. I thought about that this morning and the Lord wants me to encourage you further in this area.

True enough storm clouds do seem to block out the sun. We have gone for days during the winter where the sky was gray and gloomy- not even one small beam of light penetrated through. But, you know, just because all I could see were clouds, gray and overcast skies... the sun was still there. Just because I could not see it did not mean that it wasn't there.

The first covenant that God established was with the sun. (Genesis 8:22) Since God is not only a covenant maker, but a covenant keeper, the sun will rise everyday until He returns and we live with Him in that city where the Lamb is the light and there will be no need for sun or moon. But until that day comes, the sun will always be there- even if you don't see it, even if storm clouds hide it, even if night covers it, even if the conditions in the atmosphere hinders it's rays from breaking forth... it's still there. And that is still proof that God is still in control.

God made a covenant with the sun, but He also made a covenant with you his child. If God is faithful to keep His covenant with the elements, He will be faithful to keep His covenant with you... and much more so because you are more precious to Him. It may be "dark" where you are today. Storm clouds may be covering God's promises, you may not be able to see the light of His presence because of the darkness of your situation, but He is still there, He is still in control and He is still faithful.

Have a great day. The sun is always there even if you can't see it for the storm clouds... so is God.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"The Sun Is Shining"

"Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

We are all familiar with this passage of scripture, but did you read the one before it? A friend brought it to my attention because it had ministered to her during a situation that she was going through.

"And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law." (verse 9) "Mourn not, nor weep." One version says,"Don't cry, don't be sad."

I want to encourage you this morning- especially those who are facing insurmountable odds, enormous difficulties, disappointing situations, you're weeping over broken relationships, opportunities missed, you feel all is lost, you're wrestling with hopelessness, discouragement or depression. Let me tell you what these verses say- This is the Lord's day (He made it) so don't be sad, don't cry, don't be sorrowful because the Lord's joy is your strength. He will give you joy and that joy will be your strength- strength for the journey, strength to go on, strength to get up out of bed, strength to take up your bed and walk, strength to run through a troop and leap over a wall, strength to go through the fire, through the flood, through the darkest night, strength to take the bull by the horns, strength to climb the mountain, strength to swim the river, strength to hold your head up, strength to keep on keeping on.

You have His word, you have His promises, you have His Spirit, He is with you and He is still in control. When I have gone through these times, there is one thing that the Lord reminds me of that I want to share with you. He reminds me when I look outside that the sun is still shining. It still came up this morning. Do you know what that means? It means that God is still in control. Because I have the assurance that He is in control I have peace, and that peace wipes my tears away and removes my doubts and fears. It turns my sorrow into joy, my mourning into gladness.

Have a great day. Look outside this morning. Do you see the sun? Then stop crying because His joy is your strength.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Elder Brother- Part 2"

"But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf." Luke 15:30

Yesterday we talked about the elder brother in the story of the prodigal son. Like most of us, God has made everything that we need available to us for the asking but we go lacking because we don't ask for what we need. This morning I want to look at this elder brother again- the focus being more on his attitude. It's true that this brother was jealous of his younger brother, but he had a bigger attitude problem than that- he was angry at his father. He saw the father blessing his brother, forgiving him, throwing a celebration for him and it made him angry. He didn't think that the father should have done this after the way his younger brother had acted.

Many Christians get jealous when the Lord blesses a fellow "brother" that they don't think is "worthy", but what they don't realize is that their jealousy toward that person is really anger toward God. The jealousy that they are experiencing is a "surface" problem, the real root is that they are angry with God. This is what happened to Cain. Cain got angry because God accepted Abel's offering and did not accept his. Cain's anger was toward God but it manifested as jealousy toward Abel. We tend to believe the problem is the one we see- jealousy of someone, not the one that is hidden- anger toward God, so the way we deal with it is by coming against that person- Cain killed Abel, the elder brother would not go in and celebrate with the younger brother.

We find it easier to deal with and admit that we are jealous, angry, etc. with someone else, but we don't like to think and have a hard time dealing with the fact that we are angry, upset, or mad at God. But if we are going to live at peace with one another, if we are going to walk in victory, if we are going to bear the fruit of the Spirit, if we are going to live in fellowship with the Lord, if we are going to be bright shining lights in a dark world, we are going to have to go to the root of the problem and admit like David did that it is "against Thee/God". (Psalm 51:4a)

Have a great day. If your real problem is toward God, admit it, repent of it, ask Him to help you and go live in freedom from it and harmony with your brother.

Monday, November 12, 2018

"Elder Brother"

"And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends." Luke 15:29

Most of the preaching that I have heard concerning the elder brother in the story of the prodigal son deals with his jealousy and poor attitude about his brother's return. This morning I want us to look at him a little differently. (There is something else that we can learn from his attitude.) To the elder son's accusation above the father answered, "And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."(verse 31) The father's answer- in plain English- was: "You've always been with me and everything I have is your". This answer implies that the elder son had opportunity to ask the father for a party, to have friends over, to celebrate, for anything he wanted, but he never did.

There was so much available to the elder brother- whatever he had wanted was there for him- but he never asked the father for it. Many Christians are like this elder brother. God the Heavenly Father has made so much available to them, He has given them every good and perfect gift, He has promised to meet and supply every need, there is no good thing that He withholds from them, yet they have not because they ask not.

The elder brother could have had everything he wanted or needed, but he didn't ask. If he would have asked his father, he could have enjoyed the same blessings that were being bestowed on the returning son, but he never took advantage of all the resources that his father had. God has provided great resources for you today to meet every need, to give you the desire of your heart, to provide in your times of weakness, to give you when you lack, but you will go lacking if you don't ask the Father for it. "Ask, and it shall be given you." (Matthew 7:7a)

Have a great day. The elder son did not receive because he did not ask although everything the father had was available to him. If we aren't asking, we won't receive either. All that the Lord has is available to us, His sons and daughters.

Friday, November 9, 2018

"Choices"

"...choose you this day..." Joshua 24:15ff

Obedience or disobedience to God is a choice that we have to make daily. When you choose to obey, it might not "look" like it was the right choice to make. Daniel obeyed and did not eat of the king's meat. His obedience put him on the spot, it brought accusations and testing. When the three Hebrews obeyed God and did not bow to the king's idol, it brought persecution- the fiery furnace. When Abraham obeyed and left his father's house, he had to leave his family and comfort zone. When Joseph obeyed God and refused Potiphar's wife's enticement, he wound up in prison.

It would make you wonder if you should obey or not if it is only going to "get you into trouble". It may seem that way but look at the end result of obedience. There is always a blessing attached at the end of our obedience. Daniel gained favor with God and man and became the chief governor over the wise men of Babylon. The three Hebrews were saved in the furnace, they saw the Son of God in the fire with them, the king made a decree that all should worship their God. Abraham became the father of many nations. Joseph reigned as second highest in authority in Egypt. When you look at Jesus, His obedience brought Him pain, shame, suffering and death, but the end result brought salvation, eternal life, a restored relationship with mankind and completed His joy.

When we choose to obey God, it may not always "seem" like the right thing to do- from a natural standpoint- but there will always be a blessing attached to it. There certainly is a promise attached-- "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." Isaiah 1:19

Have a great day. Obedience is always the route to go.... even if there wasn't a blessing attached to it.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"John Didn't Miss It"

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." Revelation 1:1
 
When John was on the Isle of Patmos, he did not get angry with God and turn his back on Him because of all the things he suffered for His sake. Instead, he remained faithful and loyal to Jesus. If he had done what most do when they find themselves in difficult/overwhelming situations that they feel like God should have gotten them out of but didn't. (Which is give up, throw in the towel, get angry with God, turn their backs on God, get bitter and full of self-pity, etc.)- He would have missed out on so much. 
 
He would have missed seeing the "unfolding of the ages". He saw the end of the ages before it has happened. He saw the Lord returning with ten thousands upon ten thousands of His saints in glorious victory! He saw the devil defeated once and for all. He saw the new heaven and new earth. He saw the host of heaven, and the city New Jerusalem.
 
He would have missed fulfilling his destiny. Jesus had prophesied that John would "see His return". (John 21:22,23) And although the gift and call of God is without repentance, John could have walked away from it in his anger and forfeited God's calling. How sad to have missed his purpose after all he had gone through.
 
He would have missed the glorious revelation of Jesus that he received. He never would have seen Jesus in such an awesome way. If you'll remember, John was among the disciples that Jesus took to the Mount of Transfiguration. On that mountain he saw Jesus in His glory as few have ever seen. Yet it was on the Isle of Patmos that he saw Jesus in such a way that was more awesome that anything he had experienced before. This appearance of Jesus caused him to fall prostrate. John was also the disciple that had laid his head on Jesus' bosom and was known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. But this revelation was, in comparison, beyond anything he'd ever seen of Jesus.
 
When we turn our backs on the Lord, there is more to lose than there is to gain. We would miss so much that God has planned for us... not to mention a personal relationship with the Savior and eternal life. Is it really worth it?
 
Have a great day. When we turn our backs on God, we will definitely miss out and be the losers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

"Faithful Again"

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8

A friend called me and she was very upset. She had a need that had to be met right then and the door had closed on the only source that could help her. I told her that she was going to have to trust the Lord and not let this upset or discourage her. I then reminded her of the Lord's faithfulness to her in every situation that she has ever gone through. I also reminded her of the times she had been in similar situations and how the Lord had always-- even when it looked hopeless- come through for her. The long and short of the story-- within the hour the Lord had opened up another door and it was so much better than the one she thought she needed to help her.

This morning I don't know what you are facing. You may have a pressing need. Your source of help and support may have fallen through. The door that you thought was the one that you needed to have open may have closed. You may be discouraged over the situation. But let me remind you that God has come through for you in the past, in other times when you faced difficulties, in times that there seemed to be no hope. He has always made a way; He has always been faithful. Like I told my friend, He is the Lord who does not change. If He did it for you in the past, He will do it for you again now. Trust in His faithfulness.

Take a moment to remember what He has already done for you. Think about the times in the past when He came through for you. Let it encourage and renew your faith to believe Him to do it again.

Have a great day. Trust the Lord to come through for you today like He always has in the past.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"His Lovingkindness "

"How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings." Psalm 36:7

"How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!"  The dictionary defines lovingkindness as: tender kindness motivated by or expressing affection. Listen to some of the definitions for kindness: the quality of being warmhearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic; manifestation of kind feeling or disposition beneficence; forgiving. Lovingkindness is part of God's character- who He is.

God's great desire is that we know Him as Savior and Lord, but that we also know His character (His heart). He is loving and kind, forbearing and forgiving, generous and gracious, faithful and trustworthy.  He is our Heavenly Father who loves us so dearly, so deeply and He laid down His life for us to prove His great love.

The more familiar we become with His character the more we know we can trust Him. If I know that He loves me, that He desires to manifest His kindness to me, that He wants to forgive me, that He has strong affections toward me, then it is no problem for me to put myself under His protective "wing". I can trust that He will be a safe place for me and that there is no safer place. Because of who He is, I know I can trust Him.

Have a great day. Because of The Lord's lovingkindness toward me, I can put my trust under the shadow of His wings.

Monday, November 5, 2018

"Will Versus Will"

"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39

Most of our problems, confusion and frustration comes as a result of placing our will above God's will. When we do it our way, instead of God's way; when we do what we want to do, instead of what God wants us to do; when we follow our path instead of God's path; when we make our own decisions, instead of surrendering to His guidance; when we pursue our plans and agenda, instead of His purposes-- we are placing our will above His will. This opens the door to "turmoil" in our lives. It did for King Saul when he put his will above God's will- he lost the kingdom. It did for Aaron when he put the will of the people above God's will- Moses rebuked him sternly. It did for Jonah- he wound up in the belly of a fish. It did for Adam- sin came upon all mankind.

Following our own will is not difficult- it is easy- because we can offer so many reasons and excuses to justify it- it's too hot, it's too cold, I'm too tired, everyone else is doing it, I'm not qualified, I've never done it like that before, it cost too much, I don't have to do it like that it will work like this just as well, I'll do it when I can, I don't have the time, the conditions aren't favorable, and so on. But the consequences aren't always easy to endure or live with though. In the end we wind up the losers.

Daily we face the decision to do our will or God's will- it can be something as "simple" as getting up when He wakes you to spend an extra hour in prayer, or something "bigger" like answering the call He has on your life. Whatever it is, you have to make the choice to surrender to His will or do your own will.

Have a great day. There are consequences to following your own will-- a lot of turmoil in your lives for one. But the greatest consequence is jeopardizing your relationship with the Lord and the safety of your eternal soul.  So who is winning your will over this morning? You or God?

Friday, November 2, 2018

"The Yoke"

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

Do not be entangled again with "THE" yoke of bondage. What is "the" yoke that once had you entangled? For each of us it may be something different. That yoke may have been fear, bitterness, some sinful habit, a wrong mindset, etc. When the Son sets us free, we are free indeed so we need to walk in and continue to walk in that freedom. We do not have to be entangled again once we have been freed.

This morning remember that you have been given everything that you need to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free. He has given you everything that you need to be, and stay, victorious. He has given you weapons- armor. He has given you His word. He has given you His name. He has given you the Blood. Any one, are all combined, are more powerful than any force known to man and they have been made available to every born again child of God to make us, and keep us, over comers and more than conquerors.

Have a great day. Whatever "the" yoke was that you were once entangled in, once Christ has broken it, you never have to be entangled in it ever again.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"What Time Is It?

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

This is not the time to become or grow weary. It is not the time to give up, shut up, back up. It is not the time to turn back, look back, retreat back. It is time to seek the Lord more, pray more fervently, fast often, keep pressing forward, to persevere and not faint. It is time to walk more closely to Him than ever, to hold His word in high esteem, to be holy, to lay aside every weight of sin that would so easily beset you. It's time to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. It's time to abide in Him, hide His word in your heart, meditate on it and obey it. It's time to cast down your idols, your agenda, your selfish wants and desires, your self-centeredness and materialism. It's time to come out from among the world and separate yourself from the philosophies of the world, their mindset, their wisdom. This is the time to stand- on His word, on His promises, having on the full armor.

It's time to stop being conformed to the world and be transformed by God's word. It's time to stop being fleshly minded, worldly minded, religious minded and start being Kingdom minded. It's time to honor what God honors, rebuke what God rebukes, esteem what God esteems, love what God loves, hate what God hates. It's time to put His agenda, His values, His commands above your own or those of the world around us. It's time to decrease so that Jesus might increase.

The things that we see happening in our world are the things that Jesus said, "When you see them happening, look up because our redemption is drawing near". Because of the lateness of the hour and the nearness of His return it is time to make sure we get our "houses" (lives) in order. When He returns we don't want to be caught like the five foolish virgins. Therefore, it is time to wake up and make sure you have oil in your lamps.

Have a great day. It's time to do that which tends to eternal life and not to do that which doesn't.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"He Heals All"

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Yesterday as I was praying for a friend who needs a healing the Lord revealed something about Himself that you probably already knew, and I guess I did, but never quiet looked at it that way. My friend was diagnosed with a certain illness. As I was praying that the Lord would heal her of that illness, I was praying His word about Him being the Healer and with His stripes we are healed. I was reminding the Lord Jesus that He took stripes on His body for her healing. Then I realized that at the time when He bore those stripes they had never heard about some of the diseases that we have today. There were diseases back then- issues of blood, palsy, leprosy, etc.- but what about Lou Garrett's disease, IBS, AIDS, diabetes, etc.? These diseases were unknown at that time.

This is the wonderful, awesome thing about God. Even before these diseases were known to mankind, they were known to Him. He saw them afar off and provided healing for them as well. He took stripes on His back to heal us of diseases that weren't even discovered yet! Let me confirm that. One of the names of God is Jehovah- Jireh, which not only means God is Provider, but it also means that He is the God who sees ahead and makes provision for. Even before the foundation of the world God saw ahead mankind's need for a Savior so He sent His Son to pay the price so that we could be saved. (He saw ahead and made provision for.) Even on the cross Jesus' heart was filled with joy because He saw ahead in time and saw those of us who would now have a way of access into His presence through His shed blood. At the cross, His blood was shed not only for those who were living then or had already lived, but it was shed for future generations yet to be born- for you and me who were afar off.

Because God is not divided- you cannot separate who He is- He is Healer and He is Provider and He is the God who sees ahead. Therefore, in the past He saw those in the future who would need a Savior, but He also, in the past, saw those who would need a Healer to heal them of future diseases. And at the cross those stripes He bore took care of the diseases that had already existed, that existed then and that would exist in the future and He provided healing for them. So take heart... they are all covered... even the ones that are yet to be discovered! He is the Great Physician!

Have a great day. He took care of everything- every sin issue, every disease--- past, present and future!

Monday, October 29, 2018

"Big Signs"

"Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke." Psalm 144:5

Bow the heavens, come down, touch the mountains and make them smoke- sounds to me like the Psalmist was asking for a display of God's awesome power in his situation. Have you ever been there? Desiring God to "rend the mountains", "send forth lightening", "shake the foundations of the earth" on your behalf? There are some situations that we go through that are so big, so trying, so difficult, so overwhelming, so impossible that we feel it will take all the power God has to intervene in the situation-- it will take nothing less than some great miraculous sign.

God has great power (all powerful)- beyond what we can comprehend. He does move in great and mighty ways- pulling down mountains, parting seas, sending fire from heaven, opening the ground up. But He does not always work like that in our situations. He doesn't have to, there is as much power in even the "thoughts" of God as there are in His "hand".

Jesus asked the people if it was easier to say "take up thy bed and walk, or thy sins be forgiven thee?". There was no "rending of the mountains" for this man, yet he received two miracles in Jesus' one word- salvation and healing. It is just as easy for God to do the miraculous through one word. God can move powerfully in your situation and He doesn't always have to do it through some great sign- He can just "breath" on it and it can change. He can meet the need through something as miraculous as putting money in a fish's mouth or by simply laying it on the heart of someone to bless you. He can give you confirmation through the miraculous watering of a fleece or simply by speaking, "Go" to your spirit. He can move through fire, through an earthquake, through the wind... or through a still small voice. His ways are so far above our ways and He will move on your behalf in the "best" way. If He doesn't "bow down the heavens" but chooses to move in another way- even a "small and simple way"- it is still God's great power at work and it is nothing less of a miracle.

Have a great day. God will move on your behalf in the best way- it may come through a great big manifestation or through one single word.

Friday, October 26, 2018

"Embrace The Word"

"... thy word is truth." John 17:17b

I was awake very early this morning and the Lord began to speak to me something that He wanted me to share with you. It will not be a lengthy message this morning but one to the point.

He said that in light of the day we are living- with all the uncertainties, conflicts, confusion- we must be sure to embrace His word and hold it closely to our hearts. His word is the truth that will keep us. It will keep us from falling into error. It will keep us in peace. It will be an anchor for our souls. It will lead us on the right path.

It was as the Israelites listened to God's word (believed it and embraced it) concerning applying the blood to the doorposts of their houses that they were saved and the death angel passed them by. Listening to God's word- applying it, following it, embracing it, giving it first place- is just as critical to our well being- mostly our spiritual well being and the well being of our souls.

Have a great day. Embrace God's word and hold on to it tightly. It's the only sure and solid foundation in a time when everything else looks like shifting sand.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

"I Am"

"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

When the Lord revealed Himself to Moses out of the burning bush, He identified Himself as "I AM". He didn't say "He WAS" or "He WILL BE". He identified Himself in the present tense. God is the God of the NOW. He's not just God who was in your past and He isn't God who is way off in your future somewhere. He is the God of the here and now.

Now He is what you need. Now He is Savior, Lord, Redeemer, Deliverer. He is the God who heals now. He is the God who meets and supplies needs now. He is the God who makes a way now. He has said that is He a present God- a present help in time of trouble- so it's time we start taking Him out of our past and bring Him into our present. It's time we stop always looking forward to the day "when", and start looking to Him now.

Where have you put God? Is He stuck in your past- all you can do is reminisce about what He used to do, or what He did once upon a time? Have you placed Him somewhere in your future- one day He'll heal me, one day He'll meet the need, etc. Yes, I know that God has a plan, a season and a timing for some things to happen, but there are so many other things that God desires to do for us now and He would do if we would bring Him into our present situations.

Have a great day. He is a present God who desires to move on your behalf in the present.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Reason Or Excuse?"

"The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing." Proverbs 20:4

I had a very wise old minister tell me one time that there is a difference between a "reason" and an "excuse". We may or may not have a good reason as to why we did or didn't do something. But an excuse is not necessarily a good reason- usually it's something that we use to try to justify what we don't want to do. Excuses, more often than not, are "convenient".

We tend to have more excuses than reasons when it comes to neglecting spiritual matters. We can always come up with an excuse as to why we can't read our Bibles- (I'm too tired). Usually that's only an "excuse" because we aren't too tired to stay up half the night watching television or playing computer games. How about getting up to pray? (It's too cold; it's too early.) That's more of an excuse than a reason because it's not too cold or too early to get up and travel to a doctor's appointment, or go to the once a year flea market, or go to our morning exercise class. How about church attendance? (Sunday is my only day to sleep in; I don't like the songs they sing; nobody talks to me at that church.) You tell me- reason or excuse? What about other areas? What keeps you from doing what the Lord has called you to do? Is it a reason? Or is it an excuse? When it comes to doing the will and plan of God, we have no excuses or reasons not to. If it's a real "reason" standing in the way, He knows how to remove it, rearrange it, cause it to work for good to accomplish it. If it's an excuse, He knows the difference, and it won't work on Him either.

Excuses are a "dime a dozen", you can always find one. I tend to think that the sluggard in the verse above had a good reason not to plow- it was cold. (In my limited knowledge of farming you plant in spring and fall not in winter when it's cold.) What happened was he used so many excuses not to plow and plant that his excuses caused him to put it off for so long that when he finally decided to do it it was too late. If you keep making excuses you can find yourself missing the opportunity and then it will be too late. Too many people do this with their eternal souls. They give one excuse after another why they won't be saved- or, not "right now" but will do it later. Later may be too late.

Have a great day. Is your "reason" really an "excuse"?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

"What About Job's Wife?"

"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." Job 2:9

When you read the story of Job, did you ever wonder why God didn't allow Job's wife to be taken from him? After all, he lost all his livestock, his servants, his children and his health- he lost everything except his wife. Of all the things that the Lord could have left him with, why did He leave a wife that was anything less than edifying, why leave him with someone who was going to discourage him by encouraging him to curse God and die? Why didn't He at least leave him with someone who could help comfort him, someone who would minister to him, someone who would pray with him and help lift his burden?

The answer is not clear until you look at the end of the book. "He had also seven sons and three daughters." (Job 42:1) When God restored everything that Job lost, the restoration included children. Let me ask you a question: How was God going to give Job back children without someone to bare those children? God kept Job's wife because she was the instrument through which part of Job's restoration and his blessing was going to come.

It makes me think about Paul's thorn in the flesh. Paul prayed for it's removal but God didn't remove it. What seemed as a "bad" thing to Paul was actually an instrument used by God to bring something greater into Paul's life.

Sometimes those things that we think are a "curse" in our life, sometimes those things that we think the Lord should take away, sometimes those things in our lives that look like they are against us, are actually the very thing that God is going to use to bring a blessing into our lives through. Job's wife was part of the restoration process. The thorn in Paul's flesh was an instrument to cause the power of Christ to rest upon him. That thing in your life that you think is a hindrance or obstacle to God's plan for your life may actually be part of the process to bring about God's plan for your life.

Have a great day. What looks like a curse, may actually be the thing that brings the blessing.

Monday, October 22, 2018

"Position Process"

"... from glory to glory..." 2 Corinthians 3:18
While I was thinking about God telling Abraham to leave his home and travel to an unspecified place and how he had obeyed God, I thought about a greater test of obedience that laid before him in the future--- the sacrifice of his son. If Abraham had not passed this first test he would not be ready for this test involving his son.

God's plan for us is a plan that involves process. We want everything now, we don't want to wait, we want to jump right to the top, we want the big first. That is not the way God operates in our lives. He starts us off at the bottom and we start the process of moving to the top. He starts us with small then He gives us bigger. He gives us milk to drink before He gives us meat to eat. He starts us low and goes high. He starts us off slow and then goes faster. He starts us with baby steps before we start running. He starts us off with little before He moves us to more. He starts us with few before He gives us many. "...thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things..." (Matthew 25:21)

Moses' first encounter with God was on the desert floor, then he went up the mountain and met Him. Joseph started off as a slave in Potaphar's house, then he was promoted to the palace to rule Egypt. David faced a lion and a bear, then he was ready to face the giant. The three Hebrews faced the trial of leaving their homeland before they faced the furnace trial. Daniel set as a student in the king's palace as a prisoner before he sat as a ruler in that nation. Esther was a captive before she became a queen. Are you getting the picture?

We are all in a process. If you will remember that it will help you when you get frustrated that you aren't seeing bigger, more, better, much. Remember that God's process goes from down to up, small to large, little to much, less to more.

Have a great day. Don't get discouraged in the process. We all have to start somewhere and God's somewhere to start starts us low.

Friday, October 19, 2018

"Apply The Truth"

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

If the truth makes us free, then why are so many who hear the truth of God's word still not free? Freedom comes first as we RECEIVE the truth. It doesn't just come automatically. It doesn't come if you reject it. It's like soap. Soap has the power to cleanse. If you are dirty, you can take soap and water and wash away the dirt, grim, perspiration and impurities on your body, but if you don't "apply" it to your body you will remain dirty. It's not the soap's inability to clean you, it's your lack of use.  Secondly, freedom comes as we APPLY the truth to our lives.

The Pharisees are a prime example of this. They had the truth- they had the written word of God. But they also had the living word of God--Jesus. Jesus walked and talked with them but yet they still stayed in bondage- bondage to religious traditions, to pride and arrogance, to deception and self righteousness. Jesus, who is THE Truth, walked among them, testifying of God's word and power to set free and they still remained in bondage because they rejected what He said in exchange for their own teachings and and sinful desires.

God's word is powerful, it can and will set captives free, it will bring us into liberty, it will show us the way to eternal and abundant life, but only as we RECEIVE IT and APLY IT to our lives. If we don't, then we will remain in bondage and we won't walk in freedom.

Have a great day. Truth received AND applied sets us free- "Thy Word is Truth".

Thursday, October 18, 2018

"Stressed"

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22

I was talking with a dear sister in the Lord last night. She was sharing with me about how her body is going through lots of pain, it just seems as though her body is "breaking down"- she is having one physical problem after another. She also shared with me about the stress she is under at work. We have talked on several occasions and I have been amazed at what she is going through at work- the work load, the late hours, the criticism and hateful comments from fellow employees. I told her it was no wonder her body is manifesting all these physical problems-- a broken spirit dries the bones (produces death).

Stress will effect your body. We were not designed to carry the loads that we are being put under daily. God never intended us to have to shoulder the weight of the world. We should have peace, joy, tranquility surrounding us. Oh, I know that we have tribulations and problems in this life, but how much of it is "self inflicted"; how much can be avoided if we would make a few simple adjustments and cut out some unnecessary things that help put us under more stress?

I want to encourage you- as I did her- get out from under the stress. Let go of the "extra" things as much as you possibly can. But the main thing I want to say is--- Praise, Praise, Praise! Get some praise music, turn it on, sit down, listen to it, and sing along with it, get your focus solely on the Lord. Let the praise of God renew your mind and refresh your body. The praise lifts your heart and spirit and actually puts "moisture" (life) back into your bones. Praise produces a merry heart (a light heart), and a merry heart is like a medicine.

Have a great day. Give the stress you are under a good dose of praise.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"Just Consider The Lilies"

"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:" Matthew 6:28

As I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was ask the Lord what to write to you this morning. He spoke as clearly as a bell to me and said these words, "You have a heavenly Father who loves you and promises to be with you "even into the end of the world". He is there with you, watching over you whether you feel like He is or not, whether you see Him and even if you don't see any evidence that He is there." The second thing He said to me for you this morning He said in a song. Oh, my, I can't tell you how long it's been since I heard this song--- literally years. I want to sing it to you this morning, but it's not from me, it's from your heavenly Father to you.

Consider the lilies; they don't toil or spin,
But there's not a king with more splendor than them.
Consider the sparrows; they don't plant nor sow,
But they're fed by the Master who watches them grow.

We have a Heavenly Father above
With eyes full of mercy and a heart full of love.
He really cares when your head is bowed low;
Consider the lilies, then you will know.

May I introduce you to this Friend of mine
Who hangs out the stars, tells the sun when to shine.
And kisses the flowers each morning with dew,
Oh, but friend, He's not too busy to care about you!

We have a Heavenly Father above
With eyes full of mercy and a heart full of love.
He really cares when your head is bowed low;
Consider the lilies, then you will know.
Consider the lilies, then you will know.

If you ever doubt the Father's love, if you begin feeling as though He does not care, when you feel so alone, when you wonder if He is listening, if you doubt His ability to take care of you, if you begin to feel like He's not even there and He's left you, consider the lilies. Go look at the flowers, the trees, the grass that grows, even the weeds and remember that God watches over them and gives them everything they need to grow. He sees them at each stage of their life- beginning, middle and end. If God watches over the lilies, then He watches over you... you are of MUCH more value to Him than the lilies are.

Have a great day. Consider the lilies.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"It Is Not Impossible"

"Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters." Psalm 114:8

According to the laws of nature and the laws of physics it is impossible to turn a rock into water or flint into water. A rock has a solid form and water is a liquid. A rock is unbending, unyielding, firm, substantial. Water is free flowing, it's shapeless taking on the form of whatever it comes in contact with, very yielding, fluid. They are two completely opposites. It is also impossible for water to "stand up". It doesn't take an educated person to know this- even children know this is impossible. The only way it could ever happen was if the God who can do the impossible steps into the picture. And when He does- nothing becomes impossible.

The Lord wants to encourage you this morning by reminding you that it doesn't matter how impossible the situation you are going through looks, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He turned a rock into water once, He can do it again. He did it in the past to meet the need of His people, He can do it again to meet your need. He can do it--- there is nothing impossible for Him!

Have a great day. He can turn your rock into water.