Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"Fresh"

"And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted." Exodus 16:21

All the coffee drinkers I know don't drink leftover coffee, they always pour out the leftover coffee and make a "fresh" pot each day- and throughout the day. They say that there is something about fresh coffee that is more palatable. Isn't it that way with everything? Vegetables and fruit just taste better when you pick them fresh from the tree or vine. The fresher something is the better- it tastes better, it smells better, it is more enjoyable.

If such things as fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. are so much more enjoyable when they are fresh, wouldn't it stand to reason that spiritual things are as well. So why do we settle for what's been leftover when it comes to spiritual things? We want fresh produce and coffee but are content to eat the leftovers from last week's church sermon for the next week or month or longer.

Does that describe you this morning? Are you eating and drinking something that was left over from the last time you attended church or some conference? There was a reason why God sent "fresh" manna everyday to the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness. There was a reason why He told them to gather it each morning. There was a reason why He said not to leave any leftovers. There was a reason why the leftovers stunk and bore worms.


God desires that we have a fresh word from Him each day, a fresh touch of His presence, a fresh revelation from His Spirit, a fresh anointing to go out into the world and reach humanity for Him.

Which one are you? The one who partakes of the fresh "manna" each morning, or the one who tries to live on what's leftover?

Have a great day. Are you settling for reheated leftovers? Fresh is always better, especially when it relates to spiritual things.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"Warning Signs"

"They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all." Luke 17:27

When asked what would be signs of His return, Jesus told us certain signs to look for. We are seeing those signs fulfilled before our eyes. I believe with all my heart that the return of the Lord is on the horizon. It won't be long. In saying that, I am not saying that it will happen tomorrow- but it might- but it also might be a few more years. Even at that, time is passing so quickly, years seem no longer than months any more.

Even with all the warning signs, even with all the prophecies, even with all the alarms that are being sounded, even with all the events that are being fulfilled, I am alarmed at the number of people who are ignoring them. Multitudes just aren't listening. They aren't heeding the warnings. They are going on with life as usual. They are still "eating, and drinking", and living life like it's some big party that will never end.

Because they are not heeding, they are not making preparation for their souls. Instead they are mocking and making fun of those who are sending out the cry, "Prepare the way of the Lord". It has been my experience from just living on earth that you don't ignore warnings. We have a siren that goes off in our town that alerts us to a tornado- we don't ignore it, but instead we seek shelter. When the fire alarm goes off, we don't ignore it either, we exit the building. When driving down the street and I hear a siren, I don't go ahead and cross through the intersection, I wait for the police car or ambulance to cross first. The consequences for ignoring these warnings can be fatal.

If we heed these physical warning signs to protect our lives, why we are neglecting the warning signs to protect our souls? We certainly can't say that we haven't been warned. We are being warned. What are you doing with the warnings? Are you heeding them? Are you making preparation for your eternal soul because of them? Are you ignoring them and not making sure that it is well with your soul? As in the day of Noah when the flood came upon the earth, those who heeded the warning- Noah and his family- were saved. Those who didn't perished. Which group do you want to be in? Heeding brings the blessings of safety and eternal life. Ignoring brings the consequences of destruction and damnation.

Have a great day. There are many warnings signs and if you are wise you will heed them.

Monday, August 19, 2019

"Darkness Is Light"

"Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." Psalm 139:12

"The darkness and the light are both alike to thee." It doesn't matter how dark it may be outside, it doesn't prevent God from being able to see what is happening. He sees in darkness just like He sees in the light. He sees just as well in the dark as He does in the light- it's all the same to Him. How encouraging! If He can see in natural darkness as if He were looking at the light of day, then He can see the "dark" times we go through as if they were light.

The darkness of your trial doesn't hide you from God's view. The veil of darkness that you feel you are behind does not shroud you from His view. He sees in darkness. He sees you this morning. The confusion, the heartache, the pain, the weakness, the distress, the sorrow doesn't block you from His view. Though what you are going through may be dark, it is not too dark for His eyes to penetrate through.

You may be going through a "dark" period. You may feel as if the darkness is so dense that you are hid from even God's sight. Take comfort this morning, you aren't. He sees you. You are not hid from His sight by the things you are going through. Nothing is hid before Him, everything is open and naked in His sight-- even you. Elijah was hiding in a dark cave of despair, but God saw him. The darkness did not hide him. You dark "cave" does not hide you either.

Have a great day. God sees just as well in darkness as He does in light.

Friday, August 16, 2019

"Camouflaged"

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11

A while back my husband killed a copperhead snake in our yard. He showed it to me and told me to be very cautious around the yard and pay attention to my surroundings. These snakes are small, very well camouflaged and very poisonous. Last night I dreamed that I was in our garden. I was picking the squash and as I was pulling back the leaves to get to them, there he was- a copperhead snake. He was well hid. The way he was coiled caused him to look like several dead leaves laying beside the plant. If my husband had not showed me what they look like and told me to be cautious and careful, I never would have seen him. And of course it could have been fatal for me. In my dream I was glad that I had heeded my husband's warning.

We have an adversary who is out to destroy us. He doesn't always come right out in the open plainly visible. He lies in wait to attack us under a camouflaged covering. He came to Eve in the form of a serpent, but the Bible says that he also comes as an angel of light. In the appearance of an angel of light he often blends right into "religious" surroundings. It is often hard to distinguish him from the real. This is why we need to know what he "looks like". This is why we need to know his characteristics. This is why we need to know what type of tactics he uses in his pursuit to destroy us.

My husband showed me what this snake looked like, he told me what their habits are, he told me what type of areas that they like to stay in, he told me which places to be especially careful in because this snake could easily hide in them and not be spotted. The word of God does for us what my husband did for me. It reveals the devil's real character. It tells us how to detect him. It tells us what to look for and look out for. It exposes him so that he becomes more visible and unable to deceive us. Take heed to God's word concerning your adversary. Don't think that you can't be deceived. Don't think that you'll always be able to easily spot him. He is there and he lies in wait to give you a deadly "bite". But the word of God will keep you safe if you'll listen to it and pay attention to its warnings.

Have a great day. Our adversary is often very well camouflaged, but God's word shines the light of exposure on him so that he isn't hid any longer.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

"Insurance"

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9

In the movie, "Lilies of the Field", during the scene where all the people had joined together and were working diligently to build the chapel, a local business man who owned the building supply store asked another man a question. The man that he asked was not a believer in Christ. The business man asked him why the people were doing this, why were they giving their time, their resources, their energies to help build this chapel. He told him that it was because of their faith and they wanted to pass on their faith to their children and give them a place so they could grow in their faith. Then the business man asked the nonbeliever why he was doing it- why was he helping? This is the point of this morning's message. His reply was-- you know I don't believe. I don't believe that there is something else out there after this life, but just in case I am wrong, just in case there is something, I am doing this for insurance.

The nonbeliever was helping build the chapel- giving of his time and resources to do some "righteous" work so that when his life was over and he discovered that there was a heaven and a hell out there he would be safe because of the work that he did. Your good works are not an insurance policy. They don't secure you a place in heaven. They don't save you from hell. You can build churches, you can give monies to the church, you can go to church, you can teach Sunday school, and countless other "righteous" works but they are not your guarantee that you'll be saved. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5)


If our works insure us a place in heaven, or escape from hell, then the rich young ruler had nothing to worry about (Matthew 19:16–30). This man was a "worker"-- he kept the law, he supported the work of the temple. Yet he went to Jesus and asked Him what to do to be saved. If his works had been enough to insure his eternity he would not have left Jesus sorrowful. And Jesus would not have made the statement indicating that this young man did not have eternal life.

There is no eternal life insurance policy. You can't pay enough premiums through doing good works. But there is an "assurance". There is assurance of eternal life when we put our faith in God's gift of eternal life that was given to us through His Son Jesus. Jesus is the way that leads to eternal life and delivers us from eternal death. Works are not the way, they don't secure anything.

Have a great day. You can't buy eternal life insurance, but you can have assurance of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"The Finish Line"

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:2

I have been so amazed at how many of God's people are going through something. In some groups that I am involved in everyone is facing some sort of trial or difficulty. Almost everyone is going through some sort of sickness, tragedy, financial problems, marriage difficulties, and the list goes on.

This morning I want to take a moment to encourage you in your trying times. The Bible says that we are in a race. As you know, in any race there is a finish line. Every runner is aiming for the finish line so that he can obtain the prize. Brothers and sisters, our finish line is in view and it's getting closer and closer everyday. We have more of the race track behind us than is in front of us. The enemy is trying to weary us and cause us to quit and give up. He doesn't want us crossing the finish line. Each one of us who does is another one that he wasn't able to stop and destroy.

Keep running this morning. Don't let the length of the race stop you.  Don't let the obstacles that have been thrown onto the track stop you. You have come too far and you don't have much further to go. Keep your eyes looking straight ahead, keep running with patience, keep looking to the Lord for strength when you get weak, lean upon His all sufficient grace to sustain you. Pray until you get your "second wind" and keep on going. How sad to be only a few "feet" away from the finish line and quit.

Have a great day. The finish line is in view... keep your eyes upon it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Garbage Barge"

"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Hebrews 5:13,14

I want to share a strange dream that I had-- My three year old great nephew and I were outside standing under a tent and down the street came what appeared to be an eighteen wheeler truck. Knowing how he loves "big trucks" I pointed it out to him so he could see it. Knowing also how "rambunctious" he is I was concerned that he would want to run out to it. So I grabbed him and held him close while we watched it pass by. But instead of it passing by, it started turning into the street that was to the side of us. Also it wasn't a "big truck" it was more like a huge barge loaded down with trash and garbage. As it tried to make the turn I noticed that the wheels were coming closer and closer to us. With my nephew already in my arms I started carrying him in the opposite direction away from the 'truck' to a safer area so that he would not be ran over. I was more concerned about his safety than mine because I understood the situation- if you stay there you will get ran over- he didn't so it was up to me to protect him and get him to safety.

It may have seemed like an odd dream, but out there in the world are a lot of "big trucks" carrying lots of "trash and garbage" that are trying to "run over" our children. It's up to us to watch for them, to protect them, to show them the dangers that are trying to destroy them and help them get to a place of safety. The devil wants our children, he wants our youth, he wants our adults and senior citizens, he wants us so that he can destroy us.

We must be on guard. What may seem like something harmless in the beginning, what may look like something desirable - like big trucks are to my nephew- may in actuality be a garbage barge trying to run us over. Be discerning. Watch and pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of your understanding so that you will see and know what is truth and what isn't. Not only is the devil after our natural children, he is after those who have received Christ but are still babes and children spiritually speaking. So those of us who are more mature should help bear the infirmities of those who are still weak and help watch for their souls.

These garbage barges are everywhere, we just don't need to mistake them for something else, for something that is not harmful. We need to see them as they really are with the filth that lies within them and the danger that is attached to them. It's only when we see the danger that we can help get those who don't to safety.

Have a great day. Be discerning and help watch for those who aren't.

Monday, August 12, 2019

"Whose Servants?"

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Romans 6:16

Jesus said that no one could serve two masters- it was impossible because he would wind up loving one and hating the other. Trying to serve two masters is also illustrated in Revelation by the term lukewarm. It is impossible to be hot and cold at the same time. How do we know if we are trying to serve two masters? How do we know if we are trying to serve someone or something else other than the Lord? If we profess Christ, if we have truly had a born again experience, if we are endeavoring to serve the Lord, then are their times when we turn our attention to serving something else besides Him? How do we know?

The answer lies in the verse above. In this verse Paul was addressing the church, the believer, the Christians, those who profess Christ to help them to continue in their service to Christ. So, how do we know? "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?" In other words-- whatever you are yielding to becomes your master and you become its servant. If you aren't serving Christ at all, then you are a servant of sin and it is your master. If you are living for the Lord but in a moment of temptation you give in to sin, then at the moment you yield to the temptation, whatever it may be, you are serving it not Christ- you can't serve both.

Again, how do you know? In the moments that you yield to your flesh and give in to your desires putting them above the commands of God's word and His desires, you are serving something else besides Him. Serving Christ is not a one time thing. It is done day by day, moment by moment, and it is done by yielding to Him in everything- in every choice, in every decision, at each point of temptation. So the answer is found in the "yielding". Whatever you yield to is what you are serving.

Have a great day. Whatever you yield to is what you are serving, and you can't serve more than one master at a time. So who are you serving?

Friday, August 9, 2019

"Weapon Of Fear"

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Psalm 56:3

One of the biggest weapons the enemy uses against us is fear. He tries to make us afraid at every turn and in every area. Fear of failure; fear of what people think about us; fear of losing our job; fear of getting a disease; fear of other people; fear of not being accepted; and the list goes on. We see that weapon so clearly manifested in the day in which we are living. People are afraid concerning the economy. They are fearful with the spread of flu and diseases.

If you are a child of God, you have nothing to fear. I didn't say that fearful situations wouldn't arise. I didn't say that they weren't real and don't exist. I did say that no child of God should fear evil or evil tidings when they come. What do we have to fear? The Lord is with us. He is bigger and greater than the enemy. He is our provider. He is our Healer. He gives grace and strength. He meets and supplies our every need. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He is with us when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He is with us in the lion's den. He is with us in the furnace. He is with us in the good times and the bad times. He is with us in the dark, in the light, when facing a mountain, a river, a pit. In all that happened to Joseph, I never read once where he was afraid. When taken into captivity, Daniel and the three Hebrew children were fearless. Moses was not afraid when he stood before Pharaoh. David did not fear the giant.

Why were none of them afraid? They trusted in the Lord. They put their faith during "fearful" times in the Prince of Peace. We have nothing to be afraid of either as long as our faith is in Him and not in something or someone else. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength." (Isaiah 26:3,4)

Have a great day. You have nothing to fear if your trust is in the Lord.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

"A Penny"

"And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." Matthew 10:42

Don't wait for "big" ways in which to show God's love. Don't always be waiting for God to use you in some big, noteworthy way. Too often we won't make a move or do anything for the Lord because we are waiting for Him to use us to do something big or great. We miss opportunity after opportunity to do good and glorify Him because we decided that some act was too small or insignificant to bother with.

Jesus often used things that were small by man's estimation. He used a little boy's small lunch that consisted of a couple of small fish and a few small loaves of bread. He compared the kingdom of God to a pearl, a coin, a mustard seed- which He Himself said was the smallest of seeds. He took note of the widow's one little mite that she put in the offering above all the riches that the others were giving. He told of the story of the shepherd who went looking for one little lost sheep. Moses had just a small rod/stick in his hand- it was not a huge stick, it wasn't a branch or a log, it wasn't a whole tree- but God used it to part the Red Sea.

If my dad saw a penny laying on the floor, he would always bend down and pick it up. His philosophy was- pennies make dollars. A penny is a small amount and most people would walk over it reasoning to themselves, "It's only a penny. What can you get for a penny?", but put enough of them together and you can acquire several dollars. Little acts and deeds done for the Lord can produce great things and have a big effect on others. Just one little word spoken at the right time can bring restored hope and peace to someone who is hurting. A smile can make someone who is feeling down lifted up. A pat on the back brings great encouragement to those who are feeling like failures. A cup of cold water can bring refreshing to a thirsty man.

Are you like the person who steps over the penny? Do you think that it is too small to be concerned with? Are you waiting to do some bigger thing? Then you are missing the opportunity to do something great because little things add up to something big.

Have a great day. Don't step over the penny because Jesus often uses the small things.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

"My Life Story"

"When Christ, who is our life..." Colossians 3:4a

For weeks there has been a song that periodically keeps coming to my mind. I want to sing it for you this morning. Let me prepared you first. It is not a Christian song, it's a song from the past and there is only one line that keeps repeating itself. Let me also say that God can use anything that He chooses- even a worldly song- to get His message across. The song says, "If anyone should ever write my life story. For whatever reason there might be. Oh, you'll be there between each line of pain and glory. 'Cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me."

If your life story were to be written, what would it say? What would it reveal about you? What would be included in it? Would Jesus be in it? Would people know that He was "the best thing that ever happened to you"? Would they be able to say they saw Jesus in the good times of your life and in the bad times, in times of pain and times of glory, in times of trials as well as in times of blessings?

In this song the theme and focus was on a person that the writer considered to be the best thing that had ever happened to them. Let me ask you another question- if the story of your life was never written, would anyone still know that Jesus is the best thing, the greatest thing, the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to you just by the way you live your life and conduct yourself?

Just where is He in your life? Is He there at all? If He isn't, He can be- repent of your sins and invite Him into your life as Savior and Lord. If He is, is He the theme of your life? Is He the focus of your life? What would be said about you if the story of your life was written? What is being said about you now in regard to your relationship with Jesus?

Have a great day. Where is Jesus in your life story?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"False Labels - Part 2"

"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour." Judges 6:12

Yesterday we talked about the fact that just because something is labeled one thing doesn't necessarily mean it is what the label says it is. I used the example of my automatic dishwasher. The label says that it is the "Quiet Pack", but it is any thing but quiet while it is running. We compared that analogy to those people who profess to be Christians but their actions don't back up their claim- they only have a label of Christianity, but it's a false label.

This morning I want to talk again about "false labels" but I want us to look at the subject in a different area- the labels other people put on us. When I read the account of Gideon, I immediately label him a coward. When the Lord called him, he was threshing wheat in a wine vat so that the enemy would not see him. He was fearful of the enemy so he was doing his work in hiding. I am not alone in my estimation of Gideon because I have heard many sermons refer to him the same way.

People, even in our own families, are always labeling us. They label us by what we do and even by what we have done in the past. They did it in the Bible: Mary Magdalene, who was possessed of seven devils; Jephthah, the son of a harlot; Matthew, the tax collector; Jesus, the son of a carpenter, etc. Some of the labels given to us by other people may have been true in the past, but when we have come to Christ those labels change. We are no longer the people we once were.

People remember what you do, and some of them won't let you forget it. Just like with Gideon, we labeled him a coward based on past performance. The labels that people give you are not the ones that count. It's the label that God places on you that really matters. God labeled Gideon a might man of valor so that was Gideon's true label. This morning other people may be labeling you according to your past, but their label is false. Who you really are is who God says you are- the label He places on you. And His label is a true label, not a false one.

Have a great day. They may still label you by what you once were, but it's the label that God places on you that is the true label.

Monday, August 5, 2019

"False Labels"

"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Luke 6:46

A few years ago I had to replace the automatic dishwasher in my kitchen. I went to the store and found one that was called a "Quiet Pack". Supposedly it meant that it didn't make any, or much, noise while it was running. I had seen these "quiet" models advertised on television and thought that I would get one since I had to replace it anyway. Let me tell you something about that dishwasher-- it is anything but quiet!!! If I run it at all, I run it during the middle of the night because it is so loud that you can hear it all over the house when it's running.

Just because something has a label doesn't mean that it is what the label says it is. There are many people who wear the label "Christian" but their conduct is any thing but Christ like.  They say they are a Christian but they are mean tempered, full of pride, jealousy, hate, always seeking revenge, they make threats and bully others in order to get their way, they are hard-hearted, critical, complaining, seeking to destroy others, spiteful, uncaring, fearful, greedy, adulterers, liars, blasphemers, immoral, and so on.  They may profess to be a Christian, but the proof is in their actions. Just like my dishwasher- its label "professes" to be quiet but when it goes into action it is totally the opposite.

Do your actions portray something different than what you are professing? Are you labeled as a Christian but don't act like one? Do you say you are a Christian but you don't walk in love, you have no joy, are always tearing people down with your comments, or you aren't following Jesus wholeheartedly? Then all you have is a label and no proof to back it up.

A label doesn't make it so. There could be a dozen labels on my dishwasher that make claims of being a quiet running one, but when you turn it on and it makes a lot of noise, the label means nothing, it makes a false claim. You can wear a dozen or more labels that make claims to Christianity- church member, sing in the choir, give to missions, have been baptized, etc, etc- but if you don't back up what you profess with the actions that support the claim, then your profession is nothing more than a false label.

Have a great day. The proof of something is not in the label it has, but in the actions that back up the claim.

Friday, August 2, 2019

"Don't Receive What You Hear"

"And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them." 1 Samuel 17:23

There was a war going on between the Israelites and the Philistines. For forty days Goliath would stand before the Israelite army and threaten them. King Saul and the soldiers would shrink back in fear each time his threats came. None of them would go out and fight him- they were all too afraid. One day while David was there Goliath came out and made his threats again. David's response was different than that of the other Israelites. While they were all fearful at hearing his words, David was not. Instead, he wanted to go out and fight him.

Here we have two different reactions to Goliath's threats- David's and the Israelite army. David acted with courage and trust in the Lord. The Israelite army acted in fear and unbelief. They both heard the same words. They both heard the same threats. They both heard the taunts and accusations of the enemy, yet, their reaction was different. Why? What made the difference?

The difference was- David did not receive the giant's words, the soldiers did. They listened and believed them, therefore, they were afraid. Fear would not let them go out to fight him and so they hid in the bushes. David heard what he said also but he did not receive it. He did not take his words to heart. He did not believe them. Instead he believed God's words and placed them above the words of Goliath.

There are many voices out there. The enemy has one and he will use it to speak to you. He speaks words of fear, accusation, condemnation, doubt and confusion. But his words only effect us if we receive them by believing them. And if we believe them, they will cause us to react the same way the army did-- in defeat.

When the enemy "speaks" to you, you may hear what he says, David did, but don't accept what he is saying. Reject it. Turn your attention to what God says instead. Listen to God's word and your reaction will be like David's- "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel." (verses 45,46)-- one of victory!

Have a great day. You may hear what the enemy is saying, but don't receive it.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

"Jesus Helpless?"

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." John 19:30

As an on-looker in the crowd watching Jesus' crucifixion, you may have thought that Jesus was at the mercy of the angry crowd. You may have thought that He was helpless, a poor victim with no power over what was happening to Him. But you would have thought wrong. From Gethsemane, to Pilate's judgment hall, to the cross, Jesus was in complete control- the crowd wasn't, Pilate wasn't, the priests weren't.

Remember Jesus said that His hour was come. He also said that this was the cause/reason why He came into the world. He told Pilate that he could have no power over Him if it weren't given to him from heaven. He also said that He could call legions of angels to take Him down from the cross. In the garden when Peter pulled out his sword, Jesus told him to put it up instead of fighting to keep them from taking Him. No, Jesus wasn't powerless over what was happening to Him- He was in control of the situation the whole time. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (John 10:17,18)

He was in control even to His last breath- He gave up the ghost. He bowed His head and died when His reason for coming was finished. His reason for going to the cross was to carry out a plan that He and His Father had devised before the foundation of the world- the plan to redeem mankind, to give us eternal life, to give us access to the Father, to reconcile us back to the Father, to provide a way that we could be saved from our sins and come into right relationship with Him. When the plan was accomplished, when the way had been made, when every element of the plan was provided, He cried out for all to hear- "It is finished", then gave up the ghost/His life and died.

So never think that Jesus was helpless to save Himself like those onlookers who made the same accusations- He saved others, He couldn't save Himself. He could have saved Himself. He could have stopped it before it proceeded that far. But because He, not the crowd, was in control, He went through with it until it was finished. When He said, "It is finished", the Father's plan was finished, the way to the Father was finished, it was completed and there was nothing left to do.

This morning, Jesus finished His task. He has provided everything you need to have eternal life and abundant life. He did it all for your sake and on your behalf. He finished His part. Have you done yours in order to benefit from what He did? Have you received Him as Savior and Lord?

Have a great day. Jesus was never out of control of the situation at the cross, and He remained in control until it was finished.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

"They Are Waiting"

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Romans 10:14

I want to share a portion of a dream I had a while back with you.-- Another person and I had just purchased a house to use in the ministry. I found out that when we went to purchase it that there had been a lot of drug activity taking place there. During the course of the dream this other person and I went back to the house. As we went into a particular bedroom that I knew belonged to a certain young woman, I wondered where she was, she should have been there. This young woman had been involved in many things and suddenly a fear for her life came over me. I began searching for her throughout the room. The room was in total disarray and clutter was everywhere. The person with me also began looking. We looked under the bundle of cover on the bed, under the bed, in the corners of the room, closet, etc. Then I finally found her between the bed and the wall. She was lying on the floor wrapped up in a blanket. As I uncovered her, she began to cry and said these words to me, "I was hoping you would come. I have been laying here since yesterday waiting for you to come. I was waiting for you to come and hoping you would." As she said those words to me she was crying tears of desperation and hope.

As I prayed about the dream, the Lord brought this portion of the dream back to me and began to speak to me about it. I want to share with you what He said to me because it's a word for you too. He told me that people are out there in a world of confusion. The are living in disorder and chaos. They are wrapped up in sin... and they are waiting for us to come! They aren't just waiting, they are hoping that someone will come. They are waiting for someone to come and share the message of hope, deliverance and healing with them. They are waiting for someone to come and bring them the words of life. They are, deep down inside, hoping that someone will come and bring them the answers they are desperately needing. They are hoping someone will come and show them love, acceptance, mercy and the way to peace that they are longing for.

The "someone" that they are hoping will come and waiting for to come is us... the church, the body of Christ, the believer, those who are already saved, true Christians. We are the ones who are commissioned to go seek them out. We are the ones who have been sent out into the world to compel the lost to come in. For too long we have been the ones doing the waiting, waiting on them to come in. We have it all wrong, we are the ones who have been commanded to "go".

The words of the young lady in my dream made my eyes swell up with tears. I can remember the desperation, the longing, the desire, the hope that was in her voice- it was so real. Her tears were also tears of joy because she was not disappointed, her hope became reality-- I did come. The reality of the dream is that the dream is reality. They are out there and they are waiting for us to come, and hoping that we will.

Have a great day. Who is hoping that you will come and find them?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

"Polite Or Rude"

"I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way." Psalm 101:2a

A friend and I were talking the other day about our relationship with the Lord and our desire to be closer to Him, etc. She made the statement concerning fellowship with Him that was very eye opening. She commented that we try to be polite people and practice good manners... except when it comes to the Lord.

She further explained what she meant with the following example. When we are talking with someone and another person comes up or wants our attention we don't let them just interrupt our conversation. We treat the person we are talking to with respect and give them our attention. We usually continue our conversation and let the person interrupting wait their turn. I wonder why we do the opposite with the Lord? We will be in a conversation with Him and other people, or other things, approach us wanting our attention and most of us give it to them. We cut our prayer short. We get up in the middle of our prayer to start talking to the interrupter. We turn our back on the Lord and answer the other person.

I had never thought about it that way until my friend pointed it out. We don't use "good manners" toward the Lord. In fact we are often "rude" to Him. The rudeness shows itself when we allow the interruptions, when we fall asleep in the middle of our conversation with Him, by hanging up on Him before the conversation is over, by dominating the conversation never giving Him time to get a word in and by not giving Him our undivided attention.

Am I describing you this morning? I am sure it describes all of us at some time or other. It's something we need to consider. It's something we need to ask ourselves-- am I being rude to the Lord concerning our conversations? If we are, then we need to make some changes. If there is ever anyone who deserves our "polite manners" it's the Lord. We may not always be polite to one another. We may at times even be rude to others. But that should never be the case in our dealings with the Lord. He is the last one we should ever practice rude behavior toward.

Have a great day. In light of what we have talked about, are you being "polite" or "rude" to the Lord?

Monday, July 29, 2019

"The Unlikely"

"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: " Hebrews 11:32

Have you ever paid attention to who is listed in the "Hall of Faith"? Gedeon was a coward. Samson was unwise and liked the women. Jephthae made rash vows. David was an adulterer and murderer. Barak was fearful. The people listed there are not people that we would consider worthy of recognition. They are the kind of people that we would cast off as "losers". While we might not have added their names to the list, God did.

Aren't you glad that God takes the weak, the foolish, the fearful, those that we deem as failures and turns them into wise, mighty, powerful, faithful, victorious, winners! There aren't any of us, or them, that deserve to have our names in a list of those who have great faith no matter how great we may appear or how highly we are thought of by others. The faith that we have to do exploits like these did - "Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." (verses 33,34) - comes for God. It is His faith that is imparted to us that makes us more than conquerors and able to accomplish any great task. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

You may be feeling pretty weak this morning. You might be feeling like a failure. You might feel like a loser. You might feel unworthy. But be encouraged because that makes you a candidate for God to be able to do something great in you and through you as you surrender to Him.

Have a great day. We may feel like failures in our own estimation, other people may look at us as failures, but even if we are, God can take us and make something great out of us that will be a testimony to His greatness.

Friday, July 26, 2019

"Pampering The Weak"

"...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41b

In the natural when something is weak, we tend to give it a little extra attention. When my body is feeling weak, I give it rest and don't push it any further so that it can regain strength. When my muscles are weak, I work a little harder to try to make them stronger. Anything that is weak is given more support to help make it strong. The scriptures even tell us to support the weak and bear their infirmities. So when we meet someone who is struggling through weakness, we should come to their aid and help them. Husbands are told to give honor to their wives acknowledging that she is weaker in strength than he is.

Our flesh is weak, but in dealing with it, the opposite is true. We don't come to its aid. We don't build it up. We don't support it and try to make it stronger. Instead we are to take that "weak" flesh and work at making it weaker- weaker to the point where it finally dies. We are to deprive it of those things that give it strength. We are to neglect it. We are to pay it no attention. We aren't to give in to its desires and cravings, wants and wishes.

Our time and attention should be spent in making the spirit stronger, in developing it, in giving it the extra attention that it needs to become so strong that it's the ruling factor in our lives- ruled and led by the Holy Spirit. But for most this "weak flesh" has become the stronger one because we spend too much time pampering it instead of denying it, while our spirit gets weaker and weaker through neglect.

Which one is getting the extra attention in your life? Is your weak flesh getting stronger because you spend more time giving in to it, which in turn makes it stronger, and less time denying it? Or are you working on building your spirit up so that it can become the stronger one?

Have a great day. Which ever one- flesh or spirit- you give more attention, care and time to will become the stronger one in your life.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

"Present Yourself"

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1

In the Old Testament God required that the priests bring Him a sacrifice and place it on the altar. They could not just bring any sacrifice. They could not go out and get the one that they wanted to bring to God. They had to bring the one that He had required, otherwise He would not accept it.

While the command to bring a bull, a goat, a lamb, etc. has changed, the requirements for the sacrifice have not. God still has a sacrifice that He will accept and one that He won't.

The Bible says that we are now the sacrifices- "living sacrifices". The question is, "Are we presenting ourselves to Him in a manner which is acceptable or unacceptable?" There are a lot of people within the church who are bringing the Lord the kind of sacrifice that they want to bring Him. They present themselves to Him through religious behavior. They present themselves to Him through lips that are full of pride, lies or profanity. They present themselves through their "talk" about Him, instead of personal knowledge of Him. Some present themselves through a sinful lifestyle. Even though they are "presented" to God, these are still unacceptable sacrifices.

There is one sacrifice that He requires and that's a "holy" sacrifice. Does your life represent one of "holiness"? Are you being a holy sacrifice? Do you worship the Lord in spirit and in truth? Do you give Him the glory, honor, reverence and respect that He deserves? Are you patterning your life after Jesus' example? Are you following His commandments and desiring to line your life up with them? Are you allowing the word of God to transform you? Are you having communion and fellowship with the Lord on a daily basis? Do you give Him first place in your life, relinquishing control to Him? Are you seeking to do His will and not your own?

One of two things happen when we present ourselves as those living sacrifices to God- He will either accept it or reject it. I don't know about you, but I want Him to accept mine. Therefore, I must make sure that I am living in a manner that pleases Him.... when I do, it will be.

Have a great day. What type of living sacrifice are you? A holy, acceptable one?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

"Faith And Works"

"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:26

There are times when we are to "be still and know that I am God". It's in those times that there is nothing we can do but wait on the Lord- wait on Him to move, wait on Him to intervene, wait on Him for the answer. But more often than not, are the times when we should be putting some works to our faith. As was the case with the woman with the issue of blood.

This woman had faith. She had the faith to believe that Jesus would heal her. She knew in her heart that He was, not only the healer, but her healer. She had no doubt. But her faith alone did not bring healing to her body. It was her faith accompanied by her actions. Faith acts. She could have taken her faith and set down waiting for Jesus to do something- waiting for a miracle to happen. If so, she would not have been healed.

She believed, no doubt about it, but she had to act upon her faith and get up and press through the crowd and reach out and touch the hem of Jesus' garment- no sitting there waiting for some supernatural thing to happen just out of the blue. Can God move in our lives like that? Yes, He can. Will He move in our lives like that? At times He will. Does He need us in order to make it happen? No, He can do it without our help. But faith without works is dead, so there will be times we have to put some works- some feet, some movement, some stepping out- along with our faith. Peter had to step out of the boat, the lepers had to go show themselves to the priest, the man had to go wash in the pool, Abraham had to go to the mountain with his son. The Bible is full of examples of faith with works.

If you are standing in faith this morning for an answer, the first thing you need to find out is- is this a time to be still and wait on the Lord, or is this a time to put some works behind your faith. Like I already said, it will more often be the latter.

Have a great day. Faith requires some action some of the time.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

"Pick And Choose"

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

When my granddaughter was little and would come to spend the night with us, I would pull out my children's illustrated Bible story book to read to her.  Of course we didn't get very far with the reading- she was more interested in the pictures. She loved ponies and puppies so all she wanted to do was turn the pages- back and forth- looking for puppies and ponies. I wonder how many of us are guilty of doing the same thing with God's word. You know- skipping the parts we don't like and turning to the ones we do like.

Do you skip over the commands in order to look for the blessings? Do you only want to hear the parts that tell you what God's responsibility toward you is but quickly turn past the passages that point out your responsibility toward Him? Do you overlook the verses that talk about sacrifice, self denial, repentance, taking up your cross? Are you more interested in reading about God's love but neglect to read about His justice? Do you like the promises but look past the conditions that you have to meet in order to receive the promises?

You can't divide the Word of God- you can't dissect it into pieces and take only the pieces you like. You can't receive some of it and reject the rest. You can't have the blessings and promises without the conditions. You can't have the glory without the suffering. You can't have the victory without the battles. You can't have it your way, picking out only what you want.

God gave us the "whole" word, we have to have all of it- what we like and what we don't like, what is good and what seems bad, the conditions and the promises, the do's and the don'ts, the blessings and the chastening, the sacrifice and the rewards. The whole Word of God works together for our benefit- every chapter, every verse, every word, every part.

Have a great day. It's like someone once said, "The Word of God is not a buffet; you can't pick and choose what you want".

Monday, July 22, 2019

"Suffering Savior"

"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

Of course this verse is talking about Jesus- He was wounded, bruised, chastened; other versions say He was pierced, punished, crushed. Whatever version you read this verse out of, it paints no "pretty picture". There was pain and suffering involved in what He went through at the cross. And what He went through was not for Himself. He wasn't punished for His own sins- He had none. He wasn't wounded for His own healing- He wasn't sick. He wasn't chastened for His own peace of mind- He is peace. It was all about us- we were the sinful ones. It was all for us- we were the guilty ones in need.

When you look at the picture of the cross, when you look at the blood shed, at the beating, at the reproach, at the shame, at the pain and agony, can you still live a "casual" life? Can you still be "on again; off again" in your relationship with Him? Can you take your salvation for granted- going days without having intimate time with Him reducing it to only a Sunday service? Can you continue to neglect the salvation that cost Him so much on your behalf?

He loved you so much that He was willing to be the suffering sacrifice for your sins so that He could have a relationship with you. Are you taking that relationship that cost Him everything for granted?

Have a great day. Examine your relationship with Him today. Can't you take time in His presence to drink from the cup and fountain of blessings that came to you because He drank the bitter cup of suffering?

Friday, July 19, 2019

"The Pain- Part 2"

"And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." 2 Samuel 12:13

Yesterday we talked about how pain makes us aware that there is something not right in our body that needs attention, and if we ignore it it won't go away. We used this as an analogy to sin. Conviction alerts us to the fact that there is sin in our lives and we should not ignore it but give it our attention. I left you with this closing thought, "Ignoring pain won't make it go away. Ignoring sin won't make it go away either."


Someone replied with this statement, "You can even mask both temporarily, but that doesn't make them go away." That is so true. I finally wound up at the doctor with my hand. After giving me a diagnosis, he decided to treat it with an injection. May I tell you that the next day my hand was almost 100% better- the pain was gone, I had back full range of motion, I could barely tell I had an injury. But then two days later, the pain started coming back, the movement was limited and today it hurts.

The point? The injection "masked" the pain. The problem was still there even though it did not "feel" like it was. Masking it only "temporarily" deals with it. It's the same way with sin. You can "mask" it too. You can try to justify it, try to reason it away, try to make excuses for it, but it is still there. You may not "feel" it for a while. You may feel that you have peace in that area. You may feel that because it is "out of sight" that it has been taken care of, but it is still there. Don't think so? Ask King David.

David tried to "mask" it by sending Uriah to the front lines, by marrying Bathsheba, by raising their little child. He tried to hide it under the "crown"- he thought his "position" would take care of it. But it didn't, it was still there. How do we know it was still there? God sent the prophet Nathan to tell him so.

Two questions this morning: Are you ignoring your sin? Are you trying to "mask" it? Either way, it's still there, it hasn't gone away. It may "feel" like it has. It may "feel" better. But that "feeling" is false, it's just a mask. It hasn't healed it, it hasn't washed it away, it hasn't taken care of it. Only repentance- as was in the case of David- will take care of it. Repentance brings true healing. Stop ignoring your sin, stop trying to hide it under a "mask" because eventually it's "pain" will come back and you will have to deal with it sooner or later. Why not sooner?

Have a great day. A mask only covers up what's really there. Take the mask off and deal with the sin, then it will go away.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

"The Pain"

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

A couple of weeks ago I hurt my hand. For the most part it has been all right, but certain movements would cause some severe pain. Even though the pain has subsided, and I am on the mends, if I strain it, or do a lot of repetitive movement or lift something heavy it will send me a "painful" reminder of the injury. The pain maybe mild or it might be a sharp shooting pain, but I know it when it happens.

My point to telling you this? Sin in the life of a believer should be like this. Even the slightest movement in its direction should cause a "pain"- a quickening and conviction in our spirits. We should "feel" it. We should be sensitive it to and well aware of its presence. I believe there is something wrong when we can continue to commit the act of sin and we don't feel any remorse, conviction and aren't repentant toward it. It can only mean that we have allowed our hearts to be hardened or our conscience sheered.

Pain is not necessarily a bad thing. It alerts us to the fact that something is not right. It is also a warning that there is a problem in the body that may need attention. We have been given a conscience and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to "alert" us when there is a problem spiritually. We don't need to ignore its warning signals. When my hand is sending me a signal of pain, I try to rest it, wrap it to give it more support or do something that will help it.

Let me ask you, are you ignoring the warning signals that the Spirit is using to get your attention concerning a matter of sin in your life? Are you heeding His warnings? If I continue to ignore the signals my hand is sending I will only make it worse instead of better. Don't think you can ignore the warnings that are alerting you to sin and think that it's going to get better- it won't. These warnings have to be heeded and the sin issue has to be dealt with. It won't just "go away", it won't just "get better" on its own. You must confess it, repent of it, and turn from it. That is the only thing that will bring "healing" to the sin issue.

Have a great day. Ignoring pain won't make it go away. Ignoring the conviction of sin won't make it go away either.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Wandering Eyes"

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

In order to win the race a runner has to keep his eyes on the finish line. In order to hit the bull's eye the marksman has to keep his eyes on the target. In order to stay out of the ditch while driving you have to keep your eyes on the road. In order to cut a straight board a carpenter has to keep his eyes on the mark he has measured. In order to catch a fish you have to keep your eyes on the line and cork. It's the same in our walk with the Lord, in order to attain the prize we have to keep our eyes on the prize- our prize is the Lord Himself.

I caution you this morning to keep your eyes on Him. It is so easy to be distracted and look in another direction. There are so many things that vie for our attention. There are so many things that scream at us, "Look over here!". This life is full of cares that distract from that which is truly important. The temporary things demand our attention trying to cause us to stop looking at the eternal things.

We tend to go in the direction that we are looking- naturally and spiritually. So take note of where you are looking. Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus? Or are they wandering in other directions? Are they wandering off of the prize that is set before you? If so, turn your attention back upon the Lord, refocus your view and reposition your eyes. You can't reach it if you aren't looking at it.

Have a great day. Keep your eyes upon the Lord, don't let them wander.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"The Plan Is Relationship"

"For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NLT)

Our plans may change but God's plans never change. His original plan in creating mankind was to have a relationship with us. And mankind had it for a while until Adam sinned against God through his disobedience. Adam's disobedience brought sin into the world, and sin brought man's separation from God. Even though man's sin separated us from God, broke our relationship with Him and made us His enemies, His plans for a relationship with us did not change.

In order to bring us back into His plan He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross, to take the punishment for our sins and bring us back in right relationship with God. God didn't abandon His plan to have a relationship with us and Jesus went to the cross to make it possible. So all that's left now is us. What will we do with what He has planned for us? More personally, what will you do? Have you accepted His plan to have a relationship with you? Are you living in a relationship with Him? Do you call Him "Father"? Do you know Him in a personal way? Or are you still an enemy to Him? Are you rejecting Him, rebelling against Him, still living in sin?

How amazing that the Creator of the universe, the Holy God, the Almighty, Eternal, only True and Living God would want to have a relationship with us mere mortals, us frail creatures made from dust... I can barely comprehend it, but He does. Do you have that relationship with Him this morning? If not, you can. Jesus provided a way. Turn to Jesus and receive Him as Savior and Lord and you will come into a relationship with Him- a loving, wonderful relationship. If you have a relationship with Him already, don't neglect it or take it for granted, it cost Jesus everything for you to have it.

Have a great day. God's plan is to have a relationship with you, do you have one?

Monday, July 15, 2019

"Seek A Word"

"The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." Psalm 119:130

When we are in a situation, we tend to want "a word from God". We pray accordingly, we ask others to pray, we seek out someone who will give us a word from God. There are times and there are matters that we need to hear from God personally in an "audible" way (so to speak). I am not making light of this need to hear and know, I am not belittling prayer, I am not criticizing or condemning anyone this morning- I seek out a word from God in these ways at times too. There are some answers that are only revealed to us by the Spirit as we seek Him in prayer.

But more of the answers that we need are found in God's word. If we would just go to it. Again, some answers aren't "spelled" out in His word and we need personal direction from Him. But so many are and we need to go to it. For example, I don't have to "get a word" about whether I should witness the plan of salvation to someone, the word commissions me to do so. I don't have to pray about whether I should forgive a certain individual, I am told to forgive others as my Father in heaven has also forgiven me. There are just some things that are spelled out in black and white in God's word and we don't need to seek to get "a word"- we have "the word".

God's word has our answers. Seek out the scriptures. Seek out its words of wisdom and guidance. And in the areas of personal direction that it is not clear and specific about, seek the Lord in prayer and ask others to pray with you.

Have a great day. Go to the word of God first for your answers- they are in there. But if not, pray about it and seek the Lord and He will direct your path.

Friday, July 12, 2019

"Willing"

"Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." John 6:67,68

There is only one true source of life. There is only one true source of healing, strength, peace, deliverance, guidance. It's Jesus. He not only has the answer, but He is the answer to everything that we need. When Peter and the disciples answered Jesus' question, they were acknowledging that Jesus was the only true source that could meet their need. They were also saying that for that reason they were willing to do whatever it took to be close to Him- they were willing to follow Him- because they knew He was their answer.

Often we don't receive what we need from Him because we aren't willing to do what it takes. We aren't willing to "wait" upon Him until He answers. We aren't willing to "press in" a little further until we have touched the hem of His garment. We aren't willing to "cry a little louder". We aren't willing to "tarry" until His presence comes and fills our need.

If we would be more willing to do our part we would see more answers to more prayers. We would have a greater degree of peace. We would not be tossed to and fro, we would not be so easily shaken, we would have more victory in our lives. He is more than willing to touch us, to meet our needs, to extend His grace, give victory, to make Himself know. But we have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach Him.

Have a great day. We want the answers but are we willing to do our part to get them.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

"Go Get A Drink"

"And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." Revelation 22:1

What do you do when you are thirsty? You go get a drink of water. How refreshing water is- it's a thirst quencher. What do you do when you are feeling spiritually thirsty? You do the same thing. You go get a drink of water.

Are you feeling spiritually thirsty and dry? Then you need to go get a drink of living water. Where do you get it? At the throne of God. This morning come boldly before His throne of grace, you have been given access, and drink from those waters that are flowing from Him. Don't just get a small cup full either. Drink until you're full. Drink until your thirst is quenched. Drink until you can't hold another drop. It's a river that is flowing, not a stream, not a trickle, not a drip. There is plenty.

If you have been trying to satisfy your thirst through various sources- relationships, your career, finances, fame, even religious/church sources- it will still leave you dry and thirsty. There is only one true source that will quench and satisfy your thirst-- the river of life that proceeds from the throne of God. Take time to go get a drink today- it's freely flowing and is available to all who will come.

Have a great day. There is a river of life that proceeds from God which has the power to quench even the deepest thirst.... drink from it today.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"Hear The Truth"

"Open rebuke is better than secret love." Proverbs 27:5

When I used to go to the recovery center and have church service, they would have something they called "feelings check". This particular week you could tell some of the clients were not "feeling" very happy.  They shared with me that they were unhappy with one of the counselors. Evidently, the day before she was honest with them about their problem and told them some things they didn't want to hear. I cautioned them to beware of people who always told them what they wanted to hear.

Someone who really cares about you will tell you the truth. They won't "sugar coat" everything just to make you feel better. If there is a problem they will let you know. This is what the Lord did where we were concerned. Jesus didn't come to earth and tell us how wonderful we were, on the contrary, He told us how sinful we were and in need of a Savior. He pointed out that we are sinners, that we were going astray, and that we were separated from the Father.

He never hesitated to tell the religious crowd that they were hypocrites, that they were blind leading the blind, or that they were in danger of the judgment. He spoke the truth to them- not the "praise" they wanted to hear.

His words were not to condemn us, they were not to destroy us, rather they were the words of truth spoken out of love. He loved us so much that He would come and tell us the truth, even though we don't always want to hear it.

Be open to hear the truth. It may not come wrapped up in a flowery package. It may not be sugar coated. It may not tickle your ears. It may seem hard, harsh and not easy to swallow. But remember, it's the truth that will make us free. Anything else will deceive us, does not really care about us and does not have our best interest at heart.

Have a great day. The truth is sometimes hard to swallow because it's not always what you want to hear, but it's what you need to hear.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

"Where's Your Bible?"

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." 2 Corinthians 3:3

I carry a Bible around with me everywhere I go. I have them in my home and I keep one in my vehicle all the time. For a long time I even carried a pocket size one in my purse. I always want to have the scriptures "at hand" and near. But there is another place we should carry our Bibles that is more important than carrying them around physically. We should carry them in our hearts. We should have it hidden in our hearts so that if we can't get to a Bible, we still have God's word with us.

Not only should we carry His word around inside of us, but we should be "living Bibles" read by all men. Others should be able to "read" the Bible through us- through our lives, through our conduct, through our character, through our responses, our attitudes and so on. Question- are they reading His word through your life? Are you living according to its commands? Are you conducting your affairs in a manner that is instructed through its teachings? Are your dealings and treatment of others lining up with its precepts?

Some people like to "carry" their Bibles around for show. To them it's some sort of religious "status symbol"- they think it makes them look "spiritual". The truly spiritual person is the one who is being transformed by its words and looking more and more like its Author every day. Which group describes you?

Have a great day. Do you just carry your Bible around physically or do you carry it around in your heart?

Monday, July 8, 2019

"Error Messages"

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

Have you ever been working on a project on the computer then all of a sudden, for seemingly no reason and without warning, an "error" message pops up? I have to be honest, I really don't like them. They either put my work on hold, or they hinder me or they make the project take twice as long. Sometimes they make me have to change my plan or they cause me to have to stop what I am doing altogether.

As I was thinking about these "error messages", it occurred to me that God's word is in a sense and in some ways an "error message". I can be going about the business of life and all of a sudden God's word "pops up" to me.  His word is letting me know that I am going in the wrong direction, that I need to change my course, I need to turn, I need to do something else, etc. While I don't like the "error messages" my computer sends me, I am so thankful for the "error messages" that God's word sends me.

Often, my plans need to be interrupted. The direction I am pursuing may need to change. We need the messages that God's word is giving us to keep us on the right track, to send us in the right direction, to keep us from sin, to turn us from the snare that the enemy has laid to destroy us, to keep us from falling, etc.

When God sends you an "error message" through His word, heed it- it's a warning to you. Don't keep trying to go forward. Don't continue to pursue what you are doing. Pay attention to it and be a doer of it.

Have a great day. Thank God today for His word that lets you know when there is something wrong.

Friday, July 5, 2019

"Don't Get Caught"

"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:27

All my life I was taught that the Lord Jesus will return and when He does return don't let Him find you somewhere where you shouldn't be. So therefore, there were certain places that we did not go for fear that He would return and that's where He would find us. You don't hear much teaching like that any more. It wasn't a bad teaching because if did promote the "fear of God" in our lives. There seems to be a lack of the "fear of the Lord" any more- it certainly isn't in the world, and it's not very evident in the church either.

I was thinking about this subject- where I don't want to be when He returns and what I don't want Him to catch me doing. As I thought about it, I felt like the Lord took it a step further. I was taught this in terms of my physical location- don't be caught in a bar room, in a casino, etc. But what about your "spiritual" condition? What about the things that go on inside of your heart? When He returns, I don't want Him to catch me in bitterness. I don't want Him to find me in a place of unforgiveness, a place of anger, a place of contention. I don't want Him to catch me having immoral thoughts, cheating, in lies, causing disunity or discord, in a state of complaining and murmuring, and so on.

When He returns, I want Him to find me in a place- physically and spiritually- that will glorify Him. I want Him to catch me walking in love, forgiving those who trespass against me, bearing the Fruit of the Spirit, being kind, gentle, tenderhearted, being a peacemaker. I want Him to find me with a pure heart and a clear conscience before Him.

If He were to return today, where will He find you? Where will your physical location be? But also where will you be on the inside, in the "hidden man"?

Have a great day. Be careful where you go, be careful what you do, be careful to deal with issues in your life that displease the Lord because you don't want Him to catch you in them when He returns.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

"Needs And More Needs"

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27

Before I went to bed last night I was praying for various needs. I almost didn't know where to start. Each day I receive more and more prayer requests and become more aware of needs in individual lives. The needs are so numerous and great. Everyone has some sort of need. Some are going through grief because of the passing of a loved one. Some are having a problem in their relationships. Some are sick. Some have financial needs. Others need guidance in a decision they have to make. Then there are those who need to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. And the prayer list goes on and on. In short, we are a needy people and the needs just seem to keep multiplying. It would be easy to pray for hours upon hours and still have not adequately prayed for them all.

My next thought in prayer was that of thankfulness and encouragement as I remembered that it doesn't matter how great the needs or how many needs, God is big enough to handle them all! He does not get overwhelmed by all the needs. He doesn't take a step back and say, "There are just too many!" He doesn't get anxious as they come flooding in before His throne of grace. He doesn't wonder what to do about the amount or size of the needs. They don't become more than He can handle.

Keep carrying your needs before Him. Keep lifting them all up to Him. Don't let the size of the need or the amount of needs stop you. There is nothing and no amount too big, too hard or too difficult for Him to handle.

Have a great day. Take your needs to the Lord, He is not overwhelmed by them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

"Bear"

"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Romans 15:1

The word "bear" has many different definitions and applications. I want to look at two this morning in regard to our dealings with others- especially those in the body of Christ.

1) Bear- to bear with; be patient or forbearing with. We are all at different levels, or stages, in our walk with the Lord. Some of us have been walking with the Lord longer than others. Some are new babes in Christ. Not all of us are strong in the faith, some are weak. Some of us walk in victory in certain areas, but seem to fall in others. Therefore, we need to learn to be patient with one another; remembering where they are along the way; and remembering where we are too, and where we have come from. "Bear with the infirmities of the weak."

2) Bear- to hold up; to support. Regardless of where we may be in our walk with the Lord, there are times when we all get weary. Moses was a mighty man of God, but when the battle continued to rage his arms got tired. Someone needed to help "bear" his burden and give him support. Like Moses, we all need help no matter where we are in our walk with the Lord. We are to bear the infirmities of the weak. We are to reach out and help our brothers and sisters. We are to encourage them to keep running the race that is set before them. We need to lift up their hands when they hang down. "Bear, hold up and support, the weak."

"And not to please ourselves". Each one of us are running a race and we have an individual responsibility to keep running toward the prize. You can't run this race for me and I can't run it for you. But this race isn't just about "me", it's about "us". If I am strong then I need to help you in your weakness, and vice versa. In other words, it is not just about me reaching the finish line, but it's about helping others to reach it too.

Have a great day. Be patient with and support one another so that we all might reach the goal.

Monday, July 1, 2019

"Fourth Man"

"He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Daniel 3:25

I woke up again this morning with another song on my heart. I know I must share it because I believe it is a word of comfort and strength to someone this morning who is going through the "fire". One line of the song keeps playing over and over in my mind. It says, "There's a fourth man standing in the fire. There's a fourth man standing in the fire. You're not alone. You're not alone".

The three Hebrews weren't just thrown into a fire, they were thrown into one that was seven times hotter than usual. It's one thing to be in a fire, it's another when the intensity of the fire has been doubled or tripled. This may be you this morning. It seems like your trials are coming in multiples- like Job, one after another. He couldn't get through one before another hit him, then another, and then another.

If this is you, I have good news that you need to hang on to during this time... "There's a fourth man standing in your fire. You're not alone". We don't often "see" the Lord walking with us in our trying times, but He's there. When the king looked into the furnace, he plainly saw Him and there was no question as to who the fourth man that he saw was- "and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God".

They were brought out of the furnace, you will be too. There will come a point that this/these trials will be over, but until then don't forget that you are not alone in them. Jesus has not left you- He never will. He has not forsaken you- He never does. He is with you always- even in the fire. He is beside you, walking with you through it. You are not alone.

Have a great day. You are not alone in your fire, and it's not a person that is with you... it's the very Son of God, Jesus Himself.

Friday, June 28, 2019

"The Fence"

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:11
Several years ago my husband and I planted a small garden. Since we live in an area where we have deer and rabbits in abundance, one of the things we did was put up a fence around it. Because of the fence, the rabbits and deer did not eat any of our vegetables.

The fence wasn't there to keep the vegetables in, it was to keep the animals that would destroy it out.  The fence was a protective barrier around the garden. Daily the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy our lives so we have to have "protective barriers" around them also. Our protective barrier- our "fence"- is God's word. It is a protection to us as we stay within its safe boundaries.

When the enemy comes to tempt us to sin, God's word will protect us and keep us from yielding as we look to it and act upon it. God's word is a shield against his attacks to destroy us. God's word is a safe place for us- the temptations can't steal from us, the fiery darts can't destroy us, the weapons he uses against us can't kill us. As long as we stay within the safe perimeters of His word we will be protected and safe.

Don't take down your fence and leave yourself unguarded. Don't remove your fence and leave yourself open for the enemy to come in. Stay in God's word, hide it in your heart, stand upon its promises, renew your mind with it.  By doing so you will keep your fence up and your life protected.

Have a great day. There is safety behind the "fence" of God's word.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

"Astray"

"How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?" Matthew 18:12

The other day we talked about how God cares about us each individually- not just the masses. He loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to come and rescue us because we were all like sheep who have gone astray. (Isaiah 53:6) But in the verse above we see a picture of Jesus who not only came to seek and to save "those" who were lost, but that "one" who had gone astray.

Have you gone astray? Have you left the "flock" that you were once a part of- Jesus' sheep fold? Are you wondering around in the world away from God? Did you once know Him but turned your back on Him and went your own way? Have you forgotten Him? Are you living your life to please yourself instead of to please Him? Are you running from God?

If that is you, He- like the shepherd in the verse- is seeking you out this morning. He is the Good Shepherd who has laid down His life for the sheep, even the stray ones, even the ones who have run away from Him. Let Him find you this morning. Don't keep running. Give up, surrender, don't live your life in rebellion and away from Him any longer. He laid down His life for you, He went looking for you, He will rescue you, He will put you on His shoulders and carry you back home.

Have a great day. Stop going astray, the Good Shepherd is looking for you... let Him find you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"Your World"

"For with God nothing shall be impossible." Luke 1:37

I woke up with a song on my heart and mind and feel I need to share it. The chorus says, "Nothing is impossible for You. Nothing is impossible for You. Nothing is impossible for You. You hold my world in Your hands."

There is nothing that is impossible for God, there is nothing too difficult, there is nothing too hard, there is nothing too big, and there is nothing that He can't handle. But it's the last line of the chorus I want to focus on. "You hold my world in Your hands." We each live in our own "little world". We may be part of the whole human race, but individually we have things that effect us individually. "My world" is all about what's happening to "me".

In "my world" not everything is always wonderful. Sometimes it's full of hurt and heartache. Sometimes there are broken relationships. Sometimes things don't always go as I plan. Sometimes sickness comes into my world. Sometimes there are trials that are unbearable.  Sometimes I have personal inner struggles, questions and concerns.  Sometimes my world is rocked by bad news or a whole list of other things too numerous to name.

The point I am getting to is that whatever is going on in "your world" this morning, it's not too big or impossible for God to handle. Your pain is not impossible for God to heal. Your sickness is not too difficult for Him to heal. Broken relationships are not impossible for Him to mend. Your situation is not too hard for Him to change. Your problem is not bigger than His ability to do something about it. But the key to Him moving in "your world" to do those things that are impossible for you is... letting Him "hold your world in His hands".

One quick question, "Who's holding your world in their hands?" Are you holding it, trying to solve your own problems? Are you letting someone else hold it, looking to them to solve it? Or are you letting God hold it and work it out?

Have a great day. Let God hold your world in His hands because there is nothing that is in your life that is impossible for Him to take care of.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

"Get Concerned"

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."  Hebrews 9:27

I truly get concerned about how unconcerned people are about the state of their eternal souls.  Just because you think that you are going to live forever and death only comes to the elderly, doesn't mean you are correct in your thinking.  Death is an appointment that everyone has and will face one day-- young, old and in between. 
 
Just because you think that you have all the time in the world to get things right between you and God, doesn't mean you do.  We aren't promised tomorrow. 

Just because you don't believe in hell, doesn't mean it isn't real.  Even the devils believe and tremble because they know it's the truth.

Just because you think that hell isn't bad and that there is a party going on there or that your definition of hell is the bad things that happen to you here on earth doesn't mean that is how it is.  It is a place of eternal torment- unlike anything we can imagine in our worse nightmares. 

Just because you don't believe in God, doesn't mean He isn't real.  He is and you will stand before Him as your judge one day.

Just because you think that you can live anyway you want and still make it into heaven, doesn't mean you can.  You must be born-again to enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

Just because you think you are going to heaven because you are a good person, doesn't mean you are.  Our righteousness is nothing more than filthy rags.

Just because you believe that Jesus is real and do nothing with His sacrifice for you on the cross, doesn't mean you are going to heaven.  Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved. 

Just because you think you can have Jesus and the things of the world doesn't mean it works that way.  You can't serve two masters.  You can't be lukewarm. 

People have a lot of strange ideas about life, death and eternity.  Most are false.  The truth is we are not going to live forever.  We will all die.  We were born sinners and if we die sinners we will spend an eternity in the eternal torment of hell and the lake of fire.  Don't let what you believe or think keep you from making sure it is well with your soul before it is too late.  Your beliefs, your good times, your fun and games, your misconceptions of eternity, your good works and deeds, your religious opinions, your excuses will all pass away, and eternity will claim your soul.  Will it be eternal life with God in heaven or eternal death in hell?  What will you exchange for your soul?  What is worth losing your eternal soul over?  A good time?  Popularity?  Friends?  Self-centered desires? Fortune?  Pleasures of sin?  A career? Power?  Is it worth it?  Is it worth losing the life that God has to offer you?  Is it worth the torment of eternal damnation?  It is time to get concerned because one day it will be too late.

Have a great day.  You need to get concerned about the eternal state of your soul before it is too late.     

Monday, June 24, 2019

"His Favorite Number"

"How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?" Matthew 18:12
 
In the Bible numbers are significant.  They each symbolize something.  For example, five means grace.  Six is the number of humanity.  Seven represents perfection.  Eight is new beginnings.  Out of all the numbers there are, I believe God has a favorite number and I believe that number is the number 1 (one).

When we read about the life of Jesus we see evidence of this. He was always reaching out to individuals.  As the verse above says, He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one lost sheep.  He stopped a funeral procession to raise one widow's son from the dead. He stopped and acknowledged the healing of one woman who had touched the hem of His garment in faith. He stopped to hear the cries of one blind beggar pleading for his sight. When Jarius came to Him on behave of his sick daughter, not several children, Jesus went with him and raised her up. The Centurion had a sick servant, not a house full of sick servants, yet Jesus was ready to go to his house and heal this one man. One day Jesus told His disciples that He had to go through Samaria- He had an appointment to meet one woman at a well.  There is not one sparrow that falls to the ground that He doesn't see.

My favorite account in the life of Jesus is the one where He healed the demonic at Gadara. Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, a terrible storm came up while they were crossing the sea. It was so bad that the disciples thought they were going to surely drown. Jesus rebuked the storm and they landed safely on the other side. When they got to the shore, a demon possessed man came running out to meet them. Jesus cast the demon out and brought deliverance to this man. The people were upset and wanted Jesus to leave. He did. Jesus went through all of that to reach one man with a need.

I don't know what you may be going through this morning, but God does and He cares about you. Each person is dear to Him. Each "one" is important to Him.  He would have left heaven and given His life on the cross had it been only one person who needed salvation.  He loves YOU. YOU are that ONE.  He is concerned about YOUR individual need this morning. While He was on earth He proved to us that each one's need is important to Him and He will go to great lengths to help YOU.  After all, His favorite number is ONE.  One hurting person, one person in need, one person with a problem, one person who needs His grace, forgiveness, love, mercy, strength and peace.

Have a great day. Yes, He does care about YOU.  You are the ONE. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Prayer And Praise"

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

What a contrast- a merry heart and a broken spirit, the complete opposites. To have a merry heart is more beneficial because there is life and healing in it, while a broken spirit brings death, discouragement and even sickness. How do we keep a merry heart? How do we overcome a broken spirit? James 5:13 gives us an answer. "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms."

When experiencing a broken spirit or afflictions, don't just ignore the problem that causes them. Don't just try to sweep it under the rug. PRAY. Philippians tells us to pray in every situation. Go to God, talk to Him about it, turn your care over to Him, seek Him for direction, pour out your heart to Him, let Him know how you feel.

When we have a merry heart, we shouldn't ignore it either. Don't withhold it, don't keep it bottled up inside, release your joy, this is one time not to keep your mouth shut. James says to sing psalms when we are merry. He didn't just say to sing, he said to sing psalms- the praise chapters of the Bible. Release your praise and sing unto the Lord. Make His word your meditation, make it your song throughout the day, make it the thoughts you dwell on.

We experience times of both in life- joy and affliction. But there is something that we need to do when we are. Broken in spirit? Go to God in prayer. Merry in heart? Sing His praises.

Have a great day. Prayer and praise-- two great principles to live our lives by.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

"Door To Door"

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15

About forty years ago I was an Avon representative. Back then you went door to door selling the product. I can remember each day heading out on my route to knock on doors of people who were perfect strangers, greeting them, telling them who I was and what I had to sell. I haven't thought about that in a long time until yesterday. As I was reminiscing I began to put it in a spiritual context and it made me wonder--- why is it easy for us to talk to people we have never laid eyes on before and try to sell them something in order to make money, yet have a hard time telling strangers, acquaintances, friends and family about Jesus. Why is it so hard to share the gospel- the only truly good news- with them when we will share everything else. We have something to offer this world that is better than a product that will make them look a little younger, make them smell better, help improve their life, make them feel better, etc. What we have to offer will give them eternal life, escape from eternal torment, abundant life now and put them in right relationship with a Holy God.

These ladies that became my customers looked forward to my coming and were always glad to see me. They could hardly wait to see what I had to offer, see what was on sale, order something they were out of or just visit. May I tell you that there are a whole lot of people out there that are waiting for someone to share the good news of the gospel with them. They are looking for someone who will show them what they need and point them in the right direction. They are hurting needing help. They are in pain needing comfort. They are in confusion needing the truth. Sure you have those who don't want to hear and those who will reject, but there are many who do want to know. I can remember being excited about even one order. When sharing the gospel, we should rejoice when even one person will listen and turn to Christ.

Not everyone bought something each time I went. They may go for a few months without making a purchase, but I didn't quit going. I kept going each month and finally those who did not buy before did that month. Those you witness to may not receive Christ the first time you go, or the second time you witness to them, but if we persevere God will give the increase.

Have a great day. Go and share the gospel.. we go and share everything else with them... even if they are strangers.