Thursday, November 21, 2019

"Full"

"I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1

"At all times, and continually"... doesn't leave much room for anything else does it? If our mouth is filled with blessing the Lord at all times, and our mouth is continually filled with His praise, then it leaves out any opportunity for anything else to come from our mouths. It leaves no room for murmuring, complaining, bitter words, lies, anger, unkind speech, gossip, fear, unbelief, etc.

When something is full, it is full. That means it can't hold anything else. If a glass is full of water all the way up to the brim, it isn't able to hold even one more drop. This is the way, not only our mouths should be, but our lives also.... full of the Lord. Full of His praises. Full of faith. Full of joy. Full of peace.. and so on. When they are, we won't have room for anything else. And that is the way it is suppose to be.

When the devil came to tempt Jesus, he found no room in Him- no place to tempt Him- because Jesus was full of the Spirit. Being full of the Lord stops the enemy before he even has a chance because there is no room or place for him to get in-- the "house" is already full. The men that tried to destroy Daniel could not find any area to accuse him in because he was full of God- His praise, His commandments, His will.

This morning, test your level of "fullness". Are you full of the Lord? Are you full of His praise? Are you partially full? Are you full of something other than the Lord? Are you at a "half and half" full place- half God, half something else?

Have a great day. When you are full of God, His Spirit and praise for Him, there is no room left for anything else.

For further reading:
Daniel 6:4
John 14:30
Matthew 12:43-45
Ephesians 5:18
Luke 4:1
Acts 11:22-24

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

"Unlimited Access"

"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" Ephesians 2:18

In today's competitive market, most providers of phones, cell phones and internet service offer "unlimited access". Having this privilege is wonderful especially when the alternative means you are limited in using them and have to pay additional fees. Some take advantage and talk on their cell phones almost endlessly. People like me are on the internet for hours each day. But then you have those who have the ability to use these forms of communication any time they wanted to, but don't. They don't make use of the resources that are available to them. For example, I know people who only use ten or twenty minutes of their cell phone minutes in a whole month.

Did you know that we have been given "unlimited access" to come before the presence of God? It's all right if you decide to limit your use of your internet or phone access, but what are you doing with the unlimited access you have into God's presence? Are you taking advantage of it? Is it something that you just do on occasion- perhaps only when you have a need or are in an uncomfortable situation or face something that you don't think you can handle? Are your "minutes" with Him hardly noticeable? Do you frequent His presence often or rarely?

Jesus died on the cross to give us access to the Father. It is a wonderful privilege that should never be taken lightly or for granted. We can come before Him at any time- day or night. There is always an open line to reach Him. We never face "down times" when we are ready to talk with Him. He is always there and always available. He doesn't sleep, He is always awake. And He is always accessible.

Have a great day. Are you taking advantage of the "unlimited access" you have into God's presence?

For further reading:
Ephesians 3:12
John 10:9
Hebrews 4:16
Psalm 121:4
James 4:8

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

"Benefit And Condition"

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

We are always wanting the blessings and benefits of the Lord but when they are made available to us we often overlook them because they don't come in the way we want them to. They usually come with conditions. Like in our verse above.

What wonderful benefits- renewed strength, mounting up, running and not being weary, walking and not fainting. I don't know about you, but these sound like wonderful blessings to me. Daily I need my strength to be renewed. I need to be able to mount up and sore above the circumstances of life in general. How wonderful to be able to run and not get weary, and to walk and not faint. Who wouldn't want these blessings. Yet they do come at a price. The price? Waiting on the Lord.

There is an old saying, "We want our cake and eat it too". Usually, we want the cake, we want to eat it, we want the whole thing, we want to enjoy it, but we don't want to have to wait for it to bake, we don't want to take the time to mix the ingredients together, we don't want to do what is necessary in order to have the cake. This is how we are with the blessings of the Lord. In this case, not willing to wait upon the Lord.

If you want the blessings you must do/meet the conditions. There are no short cuts. Renewed strength comes from waiting on the Lord. The ability to run and walk and not grow faint or weary comes from waiting on the Lord. If you aren't receiving the benefits you desire, and they have been promised to you in God's word, then you may need to look at yourself and see if you are doing your part- the conditions.

Have a great day. Wonderful blessings have been promised to us, but so have the conditions to receiving those blessings.

For further reading:
1 Peter 2:3-8
Isaiah 1:19
Galatians 6:7-9
Ecclesiastes 12:13

Monday, November 18, 2019

"He's The Keeper"

"The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand." Psalm 121:5

The Lord is many things to us- our Savior, our Redeemer, our Deliverer, our Healer, etc.- and He is also our Keeper. He is the One who watches over us, who protects us, who guards us and who preserves us--- our Keeper. He keeps watch over us as a shepherd watches over his sheep, as a gardener his garden, as a watchman over a city and as a man watches over his home.

He is the keeper who keeps us from falling. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." (Jude 1:24)

He is the keeper of what I commit to Him- my life, my family, anything and everything. "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (2 Timothy 1:12)

He is the keeper of my physical well being. "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken." (Psalm 34:20)

He is the keeper of Israel. "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121:4)

He is the covenant keeper. "And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments." (Nehemiah 1:5)

He is a promise keeper. "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." (2 Corinthians 1:20)

He is my Keeper who never takes His eyes off of me- He never stops watching over or stops keeping me. "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber." (Psalm 121:3)

Have a great day. The Lord is your Keeper- keeping you in all your ways and in every area of life that affects you.

Friday, November 15, 2019

"The Right Garment"

"And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless." Matthew 22:12

When I get dressed to go somewhere, I pick out what I want to wear. "I" pick it out. I choose what I want to wear to wherever it is I am going. If I want to wear a dress, tennis shoes, long sleeves or pants then that's what I wear.

One day there is going to be a wedding unlike any one ever before and the guests will not have the option of picking and choosing what they want to wear to attend. As a matter of fact, they won't be allowed in if they don't have on the garment that has been chosen by the King who is giving it. There will be only one garment that is acceptable. You will have to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ- no other garment will do. You won't be able to show up in your garments of good works and deeds, or your garments of religion, or the garments of intellect, or the garments of self-righteousness.

Our righteousness (any thing we do to try to be good enough) is described as "filthy rags". Who would wear "rags" to a wedding? Yet many on that day are going to try to get into the wedding feast wearing such.

When I plan on going somewhere, I don't wait until I get there to then decide what to wear, I choose it ahead of time and I show up at the event with it already on. The King (the Lord God) has already chosen for us the proper attire and it has already been provided ahead of time. (It was provided through Calvary.) Do you already have that garment for when the time comes? You can't go out then and get it- like the foolish virgins who thought they could go get more oil after the wedding had already started. It must be received ahead of time.

We have received an invitation to this wedding, we just don't know what time it is scheduled, so make sure you already have this garment that was provided for you so that you will be properly attired when the time comes.

Have a great day. You can't wear the garment of your own choosing to the wedding feast of the King of kings, you can only wear what He chooses.

For further reading:
Philippians 3:9
Revelation 19:8
Matthew 25:1-12
Isaiah 64:6
Matthew 22:8-12

Thursday, November 14, 2019

"Enter When You Desire"

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." Psalm 100:4

While this verse is specific in the fact that it tells us "how" to enter into the gates and courts of the Lord (His presence), it isn't specific as to "when" to do this. The reason is because the choice is up to us. Jesus broke down the middle wall of separation that kept us out of the presence of God. The veil was rent in two. Nothing stands in the way any longer. We have been granted access to freely come through the door (Jesus) which is never closed to us.

This means that we can enter into His presence whenever we desire. We can come to Him whether it's morning, noon, night, Sunday or any other day of the week. We have been given access to come to Him as often as we like- once an hour, twice a day, once a week, once a month, a dozen times a day, etc. We have also been given access to come into His presence during good times, bad times, trying times, peaceful times, abundant times or lean times- it makes no difference.

How often and when do you enter into His presence? Are you taking advantage of the privilege that has been granted to you by the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ? It cost Him everything to be able to open up the way of access for you and keep it open. So don't take it for granted. Rejoice that you can come and come as often as you desire!!

Have a great day. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and praise, any time you'd like!!

For further reading:
Ephesians 2:14, 18
Hebrews 4:16
Matthew 27:50,51
Psalm 95:2
Psalm 100

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"Study For The Test"

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

I woke up with this scripture on my heart this morning, and a thought accompanied it. The thought was this-- too many Christians depend on someone else to do their studying of the scriptures for them. They depend on the television preachers, their pastor, some sermon series, etc. We should be thankful for these and there is nothing wrong with learning from them. But God never intended that they take the place of personal study and responsibility.

Would you let someone else do your studying for you when it comes to taking a test? What they know does not do you much good if you don't know it. The Bible says that God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Is there a lack of knowledge, or a lack of studying to gain the knowledge?

There is a danger in taking everyone else's word for it especially when it deals with life and death issues, as do the scriptures. We will all take one big final test one day- the one where we stand before God and give a personal account of our lives. If you haven't studied to find out for yourself what answers are acceptable and which aren't, you might fail.

Have a great day. When we stand before the Lord one day, we will take a test- an "open book" test. Will we know the answers?

For further reading:
Hosea 4:6
John 5:39
Psalm 119:11
Revelation 20:12

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

"Afterwards"

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8

Abraham was "called" to go out not knowing where he was going. Yes, God will "call" us, "lead" us, "direct" us to do something and we will not always understand the why or what. He will not always show us the whole picture or explain the reason behind it. He will not always give us all the details either. He didn't to Abraham.

It was "afterwards"- after his obedience, after he made a step of faith, after he left his father's house, after he trusted the voice of God- that he received the place he was called out to as an inheritance. It was not before. Our problem is that we always want the "afterwards" before we will do the "before". We want to receive the end result first. We want to receive the blessing before we meet the condition. It doesn't work that way. We have to do what the Lord tells us to do then "afterwards" we will receive.

The bottom line is this: God will direct us but not always tell us why or what His plan is. We just have to step out in faith and obey like Abraham did. And after we do, then we will receive.

Have a great day. Just obey the voice of the Lord whether you understand why He told you to do it or not. If you obey then afterwards you will receive.

For further reading:
Proverbs 3:4,5
Matthew 7:7
Matthew 6:33
Isaiah 1:19

Monday, November 11, 2019

"Unchanging God"

"...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5b

There is a song entitled, "God of the Mountain". The words of the chorus are as follows: "For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He’ll make them right. And the God of the good times, is still God of the bad times. And the God of the day is still God of the night."

I want to encourage you this morning that your situation doesn't change God. It doesn't matter what you are going through, He is still God. It doesn't matter if it is a big problem, an impossible situation or a tremendous burden, God is still all powerful, all wise, all knowing. He is still the same whether you are on a mountain top or in a valley.

He didn't change in power, strength or ability when the three Hebrews faced the fiery furnace, when David faced the lion, the bear or the giant. He was the same powerful God for the Israelites at the Red Sea as He was when they were in Egypt.

He was with Joseph when he was in the pit, in Potiphar's house and in the palace. It's amazing to me that we tend to think that God was only with Joseph when he was in the palace. We think, or act like, God is only there when things are going well, when the blessings are flowing, when the money is coming in, when there are no conflicts and our health is good. This isn't true, He is with us wherever it is. Don't let your situation shroud the knowledge that God is there with you- on the mountain and in the valley.

Have a great day. God is with you no matter where you are and He is just as powerful in every situation and every place.

For further reading:
Genesis 28:15
Isaiah 41:10
Deut. 26:8
Isaiah 43:2
Malachi 3:6
Hebrews 13:8

Friday, November 8, 2019

"The Enemy Knows"

"And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you." Joshua 2:9

Rahab had never met these Israeli spies yet she knew some things about them. She knew that the Lord had given them the land, she knew that the whole city was in terror because of them, and she knew that all the inhabitants of the land- the whole country- were faint because of them. I want to ask you this morning, what does the enemy know about you?

We talked yesterday about how times of trials, testing and problems help define us and reveal to us what is on the inside in our hearts. They also let your enemy know what's in you. When a trial comes your way, how do you react? With faith or fear? When tempted in a certain area, do you give in or stand strong in resistance? What comes out of your mouth when you are going through a hardship? Worry, doubt, unbelief, praise? These times reveal your strengths and weaknesses, and in doing so lets the enemy know where you are and aren't vulnerable to his attacks to destroy you.

When temptations came to Jesus in the wilderness, He stood unwavering against them. Therefore, the enemy could find nothing in Him to attack Him with. Remember Daniel when his enemies plotted against him, they could not find any area to accuse him in. Look at Peter, his reaction in the garden- pulling out the sword to kill those coming after them- let the enemy know that he was afraid to die. So where was he attacked? He denied Christ three times so as to not suffer death with Him that night.

The way you handle the situations you face lets you know, others know and the enemy know what's inside of you. So what does your enemy know/learn about you from your reactions, from your attitude, from your words and from your daily activities?  Does he know that you know you are victorious over him? Or does he know that you can be easily defeated?

Have a great day. What does your enemy know about you? Does it need to change?

For further reading:
Daniel 6:4
Matthew 26:35
Mark 14:31
1 Peter 5:8,9

Thursday, November 7, 2019

"Defining Moments"

"Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him." Genesis 45:15

In all our lives there are moments that "define" us- they define who we are and our character. This was one of those moments for Joseph when his brothers stood before him, the same brothers who had hated him, who wanted to kill him, plotted against him, had no mercy on him, sold him into slavery. At that moment he didn't just stand before them as their "little brother", he stood before them as the second most powerful person in all of Egypt; he stood before them as the "ruler of the world"; he stood before them having the authority to either imprison them, make them slaves or kill them.

At that moment Joseph could have taken revenge, he could have made them suffer, he could have persecuted them, he could have done to them what they had done to him. The moment defined who Joseph was. It revealed what type of heart he had. It revealed his character.

We have those moments too. Sometimes they come to us the way they did Joseph through what I call "big opportunities". Sometimes they come on a day to day basis through the "mundane" duties of life. For school children they may come by being tempted to cheat on a test. For an employee they may come when confronted by your boss about an issue and you're tempted to lie to make yourself look good. They come in many ways, through many avenues, through many forms and through many people. Regardless of how they come, the point is they come and when they do they will define you- you will see and others will see just who you really are.

When we talk about how "all things work together for the good", we don't usually think about it in the area we have talked about this morning. But when you are faced with a situation, when you are going through a trial, when things are happening in your life, if you can't "see" some tangible thing that looks good coming from it, remember this- if it reveals who you are and your character, what's inside of you, what's in your heart, then it has worked a "good work" because it revealed something to you about yourself. Did it reveal Christ's nature in you or did it reveal flesh? If it revealed something other than "Christ", then rejoice because that was a good thing, because now you know what's in your heart and you can work with the Holy Spirit to bring a change in you- a change that will ultimately cause Christ to be formed in you.

Have a great day. The things we go through define us, they let us know who we are and what's inside of us. How are your trials defining you?

For further reading:
Jeremiah 17:9
Mark 7:21,22
Psalm 139:23,24
Romans 8:28
Isaiah 6:5
Genesis 45:4-15

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

"Stay By The Fire"

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."  Revelation 3:16

In the winter time if the power goes off my house gets really cold.  My house is all electric with the exception of a wood burning insert.  That insert is our only source of heat.  In order not to freeze we have to keep a fire going in it all the time.  Standing beside the fire keeps us nice and warm but once you move away from it or go to another part of the house you begin to feel the cold. 

Spiritually speaking we can become cold.  We will become indifferent, compromising, unloving, rude, critical, have no joy, fearful and faithless when we get "cold".  The cure for that is to stay close to the fire.  You have to stay close to the source of heat.  That source is not some natural fire-- like wood or gas.  It is the Presence of God.  In the Bible He is symbolized by fire.  He was in the fire with the three Hebrews.  He was the voice in the burning bush.  He sent a chariot of fire to catch up Elijah. The Lord was a pillar of fire in the wilderness for the Israelites. He answered by fire at Mt. Carmel. The sacrifices were burnt with fire. He will baptize His people with the Holy Ghost and fire.  Fire is used figuratively of God's glory, His power, His protection and His holiness. He is also called a consuming fire. 

When I get cold naturally, I start looking for a source of heat that I can get close to and warm up.  Once I find it, it isn't long before the heat removes the coldness.  When I get cold spiritually, I have to get to the source of spiritual heat so I can get warm, hot and "on fire" again.  This source is not one that is hard to find.  Like I said earlier, it is the Presence of God.  He will make Himself available and easy to access.  All we have to do is draw near to Him.... and stay near Him.  

Do you feel yourself getting cold?  Then check and see if you have moved away from the fire.  Has your prayer time become less and less?  Are you reading the Bible?  Meditating on the Word?  Spending time in worship?  Giving God praise?  Then you have moved away from the fire and are feeling the effects of the cold.  Get back to the fire!!!

Have a great day.  When you start getting cold spiritually, it's because you have moved away from the fire.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

"Rejoicing Today"

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Why is it that we spend most of our days worrying about the cares and affairs of this life? Why do we spend them anxious about things we have no control over? Why do we spend them complaining about what we don't have? Why do we spend many of them sad, depressed, upset, frustrated, aggravated and agitated?

Why don't we spend them rejoicing instead? Why don't we spend them rejoicing in the fact that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life and that our sins are forgiven and we have a home that is being prepared for us in heaven? Why don't we spend our days rejoicing over the faithfulness of God to meet our need, to never leave us nor forsake us, to go before us, to guide and direct us, to give us wisdom, strength, joy and peace? Why aren't we rejoicing each day because of the grace that has been given to us? Why aren't we rejoicing that we are victorious through Jesus Christ and no weapon formed against us shall prosper? Why aren't we rejoicing because we are more than conquerors through Him, we have been given power over all the powers of the enemy and that the greater One lives in us?

Why is it that we can find so much to murmur and complain about yet nothing to rejoice about, especially when we have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness; especially when we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; especially when we have been given great and exceeding precious promises from a God who cannot lie but who keeps those promises? How can we do anything besides rejoice when we remember how much God loves us?

Think about it today, what are your days filled with? Are they filled with rejoicing or murmuring? Thanksgiving or complaining? Do you talk about your problems constantly or about the faithfulness of God is who your problem solver, way maker, provider and constant companion?

Have a great day. Why don't we spend our days rejoicing? Especially when we have so much to rejoice about.

For further reading:
Philippians 4:4
Isaiah 61:10
Habakkuk 3:17-19
1 Thessalonians 5:16

Monday, November 4, 2019

"Obey His Way"

"And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." 2
Kings 5:10

Naaman almost missed his miracle because he didn't want to do what the prophet told him to do. Many of us are like Naaman. We want a "word" from the Lord concerning our situation but often that "word" will require something on our part. This is where we will "miss it" if we aren't careful. We want the word, we want the miracle, we want the need met, we want God to do something, but when He tells us what we are to do, we don't want to obey it because it involves doing something that we don't want to do. We want Him to do His part, but we don't want to do our part. Or we want to do something else besides what He tells us to do.

Is this where you are this morning? Are you struggling with doing something the Lord has told you to do? Do you want the miracle/answer to come in another form or through another way? God's ways aren't our ways. If we could do it our way we wouldn't need God. And if we aren't willing to do what He tells us to do in order to receive the answer, why do we even bother to go to Him?

The key to receiving is obedience and obedience often involves sacrifice. But we have to do the "sacrifice" when that is the condition that the Lord has placed on the receiving, if we want to receive-- we learned this from Naaman's experience also. He could have washed in another river, he could have washed only one or two times in the Jordan, he could have washed five or six times, but he still would not have received his healing, because it still would have been disobedience because he would have been trying to do it his own way instead of God's way.

Have a great day. Our answer often comes through God requiring us to do something, and the "something" may not always be what we want to do. But do it, if you want to receive.

For further reading:
2 Kings 5:1-5
1 Samuel 15:22
Isaiah 55:9
Proverbs 4:4

Friday, November 1, 2019

"It Will Change You"

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

Yesterday I passed by a church and the sign on the marquee said, "You won't change His message, but His message will change you." So many people try to "change" God's word and make it say what they want it to say. They try to twist it to where it will condone what they do. They try to make it fit their situation. They try to make it line up with what they desire. Try as you may, God's word is unchanging. You may try to make it mean one thing, but God will always judge you through His word by what He means and says.

The reason some try to do this is because they think that if they can "change" it, then it won't change them- because basically they don't want to change and line up with it. You can't read the word or hear the word- the true, uncompromised, un-waterd down, kept in context word- and it not bring about change in your life. The word will convict, it will reprove, it will instruct, it will correct, it will guide and it will provoke you to righteousness. When you read or hear the word you will either have to conform to it or rebel against it.

As you conform your live to the teachings, statues and commands of God's word a change will come, a transformation will take place in you. Your actions, your attitude, your speech, your way of thinking will all begin to change. You won't be the same person you once were- which is the goal. The word is intended to bring such a transformation in you as you allow it to do its work in you through heeding and applying it to your life that you will no longer look like you, but like its Author- Jesus.

In conclusion I want to ask a question- are you trying to change God's word to make it say, fit and line up with what you want, or are you allowing it to do a change in you; a transforming change?

Have a great day. God's word is eternal and forever established, it will not change, but if you will let it, it will change you for the better.

For further reading:
Psalm 119:89, 93
2 Timothy 3:16,17
James 1:23-25
Matthew 7:24
2 Peter 1:1-8

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Eternal Soul

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

People, please wake up and give attention to your eternal soul. We give attention to everything else but it. We give attention to what we are going to eat, drink, wear, our education, career, relationships, entertainment, hobbies, and so on.  And there is nothing wrong with tending to the things that pertain to life. But the most important thing we need to give attention to, we are neglecting.

We act like we are going to live here on earth forever. We aren't. We all have an appointment with death, but it is an appointment unlike our other appointments-- we don't know when the appointment time is.  It could come anytime.  It comes when we are least expecting it.  It can come when we are busy taking care of business.  It can come while we are making plans for the next day.  It can come while we are asleep.  It comes to the infant, the toddler, teenagers, adults, the elderly.  It comes to the rich and the poor; the unknown and affluent; male and female; black and white.  It comes to every nationality. It comes to everyone at some point in time.  Non are exempt!

Since it is inevitable and we don't know when it might occur, why are we neglecting to make preparation for it?! Contrary to what mankind believes, there is a heaven and a hell, and one of these will be your final destination. When you die, you will go to one or the other. They are real.  They do exist. When you die, you don't just cease to exist.  You don't just go to sleep and never wake up again.  You don't come back in another form and try to do better.

Also, contrary to popular belief, not everyone is going to heaven. Jesus said the way was straight and narrow that leads there and few would be on that road. The beliefs of mankind say that we are all going to heaven, or some sort of eternal state/place of bliss.  Not true!

Popular belief also says that all you have to do is be good and you will go to heaven.  It says that there are many ways that lead to eternal life and it doesn't matter which one you choose, we are all winding up in the same place in the end.  It tells us that we are all children of God so we will all be with Him throughout eternity. It tells us that all we have to do is be a church-goer, pay tithes, work in the church, get baptized in water, join a church, do some sort of religious acts like dressing a certain way, singing certain church songs, abstain from going to this place or that place, read through the Bible once a year, fast twice a week, make a trek to some holy place, bow before some shrine, show kindness, take care of others, be born in a Christian nation, don't cheat, lie or steal, and so the list goes on of religious acts that do not secure eternal life for us. 

I know this is lengthy this morning, but I am making an appeal to you-- don't neglect your eternal soul! That is the most important thing you will ever do.  This life is short, but eternity never ends.  And if you don't make it to heaven, you will go to hell.  Again, contrary to popular belief, there is not a party going on in hell.  It is a place of torment unlike anything the latest horror movie can portray.  The torment is indescribable... and it never stops.  Once you are there, you never get out. You can't bank on a lie that hell isn't real and that you won't go there. 

You can't ignore your eternity. It will come upon you before you know it and you don't want to be unprepared to meet it.  As I said, you either will spend eternity in heaven or in hell.  The truth is we are all on our way to hell... ever since Adam sinned in the garden. No one can make it to heaven.. period!  But because there is a God of love and mercy, Who doesn't want anyone going to hell, He gave us a way of escape.  He sent His Only Begotten Son Jesus into the world to make a way for us to receive eternal life and go to heaven. Faith and surrender to Jesus is the ONLY way that leads to eternal life.  No amount of work or good deeds will get you there.  The road is paved with blood.. the blood of Jesus and you must put your trust in what He did at the cross in order to get on that road. 

Nicodemus was a religious leader, teacher of the law and religious authority figure during the time of Jesus and Jesus told him he had to be born-again.  All his good deeds and religious understanding and service in the temple would not save him. Being born-again is not just a mere belief in Jesus.  It isn't just turning over a new leaf.  It isn't just simply changing your mind.  It is acceptance... accepting that Jesus is the way of eternal life.  It is an act of faith. It is repenting of your sins and asking for the life of God to be imparted to you.  When you are born-again, you are made into a new person.  You have been born into the family of God.  God is then your Father and you should resemble your Heavenly Parent.  You should act, respond, talk and live like He is your Father. If you are no different, if there is no "family resemblance" in your life, if there is nothing about you that is like Jesus, then it is very doubtful that you have been born-again.  You have to be born-again not just become religious.

Again, I am making an appeal to you not to put off the eternal security of your soul.  I am calling out to the prodigals today as well... it is time to come home.  It is time to get up out of the "pig-pen" of self-living and come back to the Father's house. (He will welcome you with open arms.) Please, please don't neglect your eternal soul.  Again, contrary to popular belief, there are no second chances after you leave this earth through death. You will not be able to redo it.  It will be final.  Don't put it off until tomorrow. We aren't promised tomorrow. You may not have tomorrow.  Do it while you can.
 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Which Words?"

"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1
 
I doubt that most of us could say that we apply this verse to our lives regularly, much less continually... "His praise shall continually be in my mouth." If we would be honest it probably is more like this: "His praise should continually be in my mouth, but it isn't."
 
If His praise isn't what is in your mouth, then what is?  Is murmuring and complaining in your mouth?  Is fear, doubt and unbelief what occupies your mouth?  Do words of negativity take up residence in your mouth? Are your words words of encouragement, edification, hope, life, victory?  Or are they words of discouragement, criticism, gossip, destruction, hopelessness, death, and defeat?

The Bible has a lot to say about our words.  It says that death and life are in the power of the tongue (words).  It tells us that a soft answer (words) will turn away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. It tells us that our words will either justify us or condemn us. It also tells us that we should be swift to hear and slow to speak. It even warns us that we cannot speak blessings and cursing out of the same mouth.

When it comes to the words we speak, the verse we should live by and practice is, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14) How do we know if they are acceptable?  One sure way is by going back to the opening verse... put His praise continually in your mouth.  Then your words will be pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. 

Have a great day.  What words are in your mouth?  What words should be in your mouth?   

Proverbs 15:1; 18:21
James 3:10; 1:19
Matthew 12:37

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

"That's Just Me"

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Have you ever heard anyone say, "That's just the way I am."? Perhaps you have said it yourself. When God designed us, He placed certain abilities, talents and personality in each of us to make us uniquely individual according to the plan and purpose He has for each of our lives. We are what we are but by the grace of God- it was He who made us and not we ourselves.

But if the "way you are" is contrary to the way He is, if you are behaving contrary to the scriptures concerning your conduct, then you can't just excuse your actions by saying that's just the way you are or who you are. When we come to Christ, there is a change that takes place in us- we become a new creature. From there we have to daily continue in a transformation process. This process includes renewing our minds, changing our attitudes, modifying our behavior, being transformed into the image of Christ.

Being "who you are" is part of God's design for you. But "who you are" needs to be transformed. The "rough edges" in your personality need to be smoothed. Certain behavior needs to change and line up with His requirements. For example, I have heard some say, "I am a worrier, that's just the way I am." This example is what I am talking about that needs to change. He did not make you a worrier. Jesus is not a worrier. Worrying is a sin because it shows lack of trust in God. Change in us needs to take place when "who we are" does not look like or act like "who He is".

Have a great day. Is "just the way you are" like the "way He is"?

For further reading:
Psalm 100:3
Ephesians 4:13
Romans 12:1-3
Psalm 138:8

Monday, October 28, 2019

"Lip Love"

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

When Jesus answered the question about which commandment was the greatest, He did not include loving God with all your mouth- it was your heart, soul, mind and strength. So many people want to love Him with their mouth only. They talk about loving Jesus, they profess they love Him with their words, but that's the only "evidence" that you see in their lives- their words.

Lip service was not in the definition of true love toward God. Any one can "say" they love God, but words are often cheap, empty and hollow. God's desire is that we love Him with our heart, not our words. Our words are backed up by action. If our words of love for God are words only, you'll know it by the actions because the actions will be contrary to what the definition of true love is. If our words of love for God are true words of love that come from our heart, they will be followed up by deeds and actions that honor and glorify God. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about that fits both- true love from the heart and mere words of love. Jesus said that if we love Him we will keep His commands. If you say you love God and are keeping His commandments, then it is love from the heart because your actions have backed up your profession. If you say you love God but don't keep His commandments then it is "love from the lips" only- which is not love at all.

If you are merely talking about loving God or loving Jesus but aren't backing it up with your actions and don't mean it from your heart, then you have already broken the first and greatest commandment. So right up front and at the beginning you have proved that all you have is a love from the lips and not from the heart. And love from the lips is not true love for God at all.

Have a great day. He didn't say to love Him with your lips but with your heart. Just because you "say it" doesn't mean that you really love Him. But if you mean it, you will say it and your actions will prove it.

For further reading:
Isaiah 29:13
Deuteronomy 6:5
Matthew 22:37
Luke 10:27
Matthew 15:7-9
John 14:23,24; 15:10
1 John 2:3-5

Friday, October 25, 2019

"Why Not?- Part 2"

"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20b

Yesterday we talked about the fact that many Christians live with the belief that they are exempt from having bad things happen to them. We discovered from the scriptures that this just isn't so. As a matter of fact, we also learned through God's word that sometimes He leads us into, allows or even orchestrates some of these "bad" things. This was the case with Joseph when he wound up in the pit, Potaphar's house and the prison. This was the case with Jesus in the wilderness, it was the Spirit that led Him there. This was the case with Job, God pointed Job out to satan.

This morning I am not going to attempt to answer the questions about why God does what He does. What I do want to do is give you this note of encouragement if you are going through one of those "bad" times. If you are in a pit situation, Potaphar's house, a prison, a time of catastrophe, fiery trials, terrible testing, you are not alone. Like the saying goes, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it". And as He brings you through it, you will not be alone in it, He will be there with you. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. He was with Joseph the entire time. He was with Jesus. He was with Job. He was with the Israelites in the wilderness, while they were in Egypt and each time they were in captivity. He was with David when he faced the lion, the bear and the giant. He was with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. He was with Daniel in the lion's den.

I don't always understand the ways of God- never will, they are past finding out. I can't answer all the questions as to why He allows some things to happen or why He doesn't stop others. But this I do know, that when things come our way, He is right there with us. He never takes His eyes off of us. He is watching the entire time. He doesn't take a break and leave us. So take heart this morning, you're not alone. He is with you and will stay with you from the beginning to the end and beyond.

Have a great day. Things happen in all our lives, but God promises to be with us every step of the way. He does not leave nor abandon us.

For further reading:
Genesis 45:6-8
Hebrews 13:5
Matthew 4:1
Psalm 34:15
Proverbs 15:3

Thursday, October 24, 2019

"Why Not?"

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." Psalm 34:19

Yesterday we talked about the fact that when something happens in our lives we tend to start asking "why?". The real question though should be "how?". We may never know the "why" but we should always desire the "how"- how can God get glory out of this situation? One of my email friends wrote back and said that she asks, "Why not?" Her reply prompts me to write on this subject this morning.

I think she made a very good point- "Why not, me?" Why do I think that bad things won't happen to me? Why do I think that just because I am a Christian I am exempt? So many Christians believe and are taught that nothing bad- no trials, no pain, no grief, no heartache, no problems- is ever suppose to happen to them. The scriptures don't back up that way of thinking. Jesus Himself told us that we would have tribulation while we live in this world. The Bible tells us that it "rains" on the just and the unjust.

Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean that you are "exempt". There are consequences to our actions and choices. If we make the right choice we will not suffer the consequences that are attached to them. So in that way, we become "exempt" from facing many additional problems. But there are times when God will allow or even bring to you certain situations that will try you, but each one is planned to work together for your good. Just ask Job- he was a righteous man, yet he suffered. Joseph had a call upon his life, yet he went through a pit, slavery and a prison. Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for a time of testing.

We are also told in the scriptures not to think that it is strange when some trial comes upon us- it serves a purpose. Therefore, if your question has been, "Why me, how could this happen to me I am a Christian?", you need to change your way of thinking and "step up to the plate" in faith and remind yourself- "why not me?". When you do, it will better equip you to then ask the question "how" and put you in a better position to be able to glorify God, bless others, and let it accomplish its perfect work in you.

Have a great day. The Lord never said that we would be exempt from problems, but when they come they serve a purpose in our lives that will work together for our good and His glory.

For further reading:
James 1:12
Psalms 105:17-19
John 16:33
Matthew 5:45
Job 23:10
James 1:2-4

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"Not Why, But How"

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

When things happen to us, we tend to start asking the question- WHY?? And that is natural for us since we always want to know the cause or reason behind the situation. I would like to clarify something this morning, the question is not "why" but "how". There are some things that happen that we will never know why they happened. So for the Christian we need to focus on the "how"- how can God get glory from this, how can I use this as a testimony to give Him praise, how can I witness to others about God through this, how can I learn and grow spiritually through this.

When bad things happen to us, and they do and will, the Bible tells us that, we need to change our way of thinking as "kingdom people" and stop thinking and dwelling on the "why" and start dwelling on "how".  In doing so the enemy is defeated in this area because it cuts him off leaving him with nothing to use against you. In doing so others will be encouraged and blessed and perhaps their faith will be renewed. In doing so our Father is honored because it is a reflection on who He is and He will be glorified.

Have a great day. Stop always asking "why" because you may never get the answer. Instead, start asking "how".- how can I glorify God through this? Once you do, it will lift you above the situation and you will see God's grace and glory.

For further reading:
Matthew 5:45
John 9:2,3
2 Timothy 1:12
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
John 11: 20- 40

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

"Not A Captive"

"We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion." Psalm 137:2,3

I went through a period of time years ago when I felt like I had lost my joy, my song, my victory and my fight. The verse above was my "theme song"- I had hung my harp upon a willow tree. Each time I thought I could take it off and pick it back up, I was "hit" again with the same discouragement that kept me in defeat.

One day a friend shared something that the Lord had shown her from the verses above. She said that the enemy would taunt Israel while they were in captivity to sing them the songs of their homeland knowing they would not because of their physical condition/location. Then she related what was happening to them on a spiritual level. The enemy tries to make us feel like captives then he taunts and mocks us to sing a "song"- to rejoice, to testify, to sing praises- but we allow the situation to make us feel like captives so we don't. She went on to say that we are not captives; we have been set free. Jesus set us free. He destroyed the works of the enemy that he uses against us. We are not in bondage, the chains have been broken, the prison door opened, we have no reason to hang our harps, our heads or our hands down. We are free.

Once she said that my eyes were opened, I received the truth of God's word and regained my "fight", my song, my joy and my victory! And anytime the enemy has come to attack and try to make me lay my harp down and take away my joy, he can't do it. My situation may not be the best. Conditions around me may look like captivity. It may look like defeat and not victory. It may not look like I am winning, but I am a winner. I am more than a conqueror. I am victorious and not a captive because Jesus already got the victory on my behalf. He broke the bonds of prison for me. I am not defeated, the devil is!

Don't listen to the lies of the enemy. He tries to make you think that you are a captive, that you are defeated, that you have lost, that you will never win, that you have no reason to sing, but it's all lies. Jesus defeated him and his works and he can no longer take us captive. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. Jesus didn't give us a partial freedom, He didn't give us temporary freedom, He didn't open the prison door just a little, He didn't destroy only a portion of the enemy's power-- He did it all and when He did it... it was finished!!! So pick up your harp and start singing and rejoicing, you are not a captive!!!

Have a great day. You have no reason to hang your harp on a willow tree or lay it down, you are not a prisoner... Jesus freed you!

For Further Reading:
John 8:36
Romans 8:37-39
Colossians 2:15,16
Psalm 98:1
1 John 3:8

Monday, October 21, 2019

"Spending More Time On Who?"

"And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord, and the king's house." 1 Kings 9:10

King David wasn't allowed to build the temple of the Lord, but his son Solomon built it. Solomon also built himself a house. It took him seven years to build the house of the Lord and thirteen years to built his own house. If you look at this on a "spiritual" level, what's wrong with this picture? It took him over twice as long to build something for himself than it did to build something for the Lord.

Are we the same way? There is no doubt that we may be spending on the Lord, working for the Lord, giving to the Lord, but are we doing more or less for the Lord than we are doing for ourselves? Is my life being "spent" on me- my plans, my dreams, my agenda, my wants and desires- or on the Lord's will and plan?

Sure there are responsibilities that we have to take care of and we should not neglect them. But is the emphasis in our lives placed more on self or on God? Is it about what pleases Him or pleases self? There is a kingdom principle given to us in the scriptures- "Seek ye first, the kingdom of God, then all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) I believe that this verse has a two-fold meaning- one, it's a condition to blessings, and two, it's a command.

Are you following this principle? Are you seeking Him first or self first? Are you seeking His will or your own? Are you putting His plans above your own plans? Are you spending your life on those things that please you or Him? Again, it's not a bad thing to tend to the affairs of this life, but your affairs should never take priority over His affairs.

Have a great day. Are you spending more time on your "house" than on His "house"?

For further reading:
2 Chronicles 26:5
Jereniah 29:11
John 5:30; 6:38
Mark 14:36

Friday, October 18, 2019

"The Weekend"

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

A thought came to me a few minutes ago- today is Friday, so the weekend is here, most people love to "take the weekend off". They take if off from work. They take it off from the usual routine. They take it off and like to get away and enjoy some sort of relaxation or entertainment. The weekend for most is unlike the rest of their week.

The thought that came to me was this- some people also think you can take the weekend off from being a Christian. They look at the weekend as "their time". They have worked hard all week and deserve to just "kick back" and do what they want to do. This kind of thinking where your spiritual life is concerned is deadly.

Christianity is about who we are, not what we do. What we do is a reflection of who we are. I am a wife, can I just "take off" from being a wife today? I am a mother, can I "take off" there? I am a female, is that something that I can "take off" from being for a day or two? Neither is my relationship with the Lord something that I can "take off" from either.

My walk with the Lord has to be incorporated in all I do and every where I go. If I can't take it into the places I plan to go, then I should not go. If I do something that tries to detach me from it, I shouldn't do that. My relationship with the Lord is more important than "rest and relaxation". It's more important than fulfilling my desires. And regardless of which day of the week it is, my thoughts first and foremost need to consider whether what I do and where I go is something that will put my spiritual life in jeopardy... and if it does, then I need to rethink my plans.

Have a great day. You can't take a day or weekend off from being a Christian.

For further reading:
Psalm 31:23
Mark 12:30
Proverbs 8:34
Acts 2:46; 5:42
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Timothy 2:22

Thursday, October 17, 2019

"Offline"

"And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him." Judges 16:20

Have you ever had trouble connecting to the Internet?  I have.  There have been times when I tried and tried and tried to connect to the Internet and my server but never could.

There are many people who are trying to do something for God without being "connected" to Him. If the connection is broken you can't do it; try as you will, but it just won't work. You can't witness effectively, you can't have the boldness that you need, you can't shine brightly, you aren't salty, your testimony doesn't have much influence.

During the times when I could not connect my computer there was usually a specific reason.  But for us, the disconnection comes through many avenues. It comes through disobedience. When we are living in disobedience it will hinder the connection, and without the connection we are powerless, as was the case with Samson. He had the call of God, but he didn't have the power because he disobeyed. Also, being negligent to do the things we need to do to stay connected will cause a problem. Such things as reading the Bible, having communion with the Lord in prayer, going to His house, spending time in worship. These all are factors.

Often my solution to get back "on line" was as simple as rebooting my computer.  Are you "offline" this morning- spiritually speaking- trying to "do" without being connected to "The Source"? Then it is time for you to "reboot"! Get back to where you left off. Go back to the place where you stopped being obedient, where you stopped giving attention to the things that kept you connected, repent and start doing it now. Once Samson's hair grew back- symbolic of restoration- he then accomplished the work of the Lord, and did an even greater work then he had before-- "So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life." (Judges 16:30)

Have a great day. If you are "offline" and trying to accomplish something in your own strength, you can't do it. It's time to "reboot" and get reconnected to the Lord.

For further reading:
Zechariah 4:6
John 14:12
Isaiah 1:19
Judges 16

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"Secret Service"

"...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20b

I woke up from the oddest dream this morning. I dreamed that my mother in law, my husband, myself and it seems like there was someone else there also, were all together and we were on a trip- but most of where we were was local. The odd part of the dream was that there was also two secret service people assigned to be with us. They were there to watch over us, keep us safe and make sure we had everything that we needed. We didn't make a move that they weren't there. We didn't feel like we were their "prisoners", instead they were very attentive to us. They were very nice and polite and it was nice having them with us. But throughout the dream I kept wondering how we rated having them with us. What did we do that made us so special as to have them stick so close to us?

I have pondered the dream wondering if there was a spiritual significance to it- because many of my dreams are messages to me from the Lord. I felt I wanted to share it because whether this is the meaning or not, it did remind me that for the children of God we are never alone.

There is always the unseen presence of the Lord watching over us, walking with us, meeting our needs, guiding and directing our steps. While I couldn't figure out in the dream why we were so important as to have this special treatment, I can figure out why the Lord is with us and never leaves us. He told us in His word why. It's because of His love. He loves us with an everlasting love. It's because we are special, elect and precious to Him. It's because we love His Son and have made Him the Savior and Lord of our lives. It's because we are God's delight and joy. It's because He has placed a great value on us and then paid the highest price possible to have us for His own dearly, beloved children.

I may never be so important or special as to have people assigned to me to watch over my care, but there is one thing that I know for sure, I have the Lord watching over me and He cares for me more than any one else could ever possibly care for me. And He is always there even when no one else is and even when I don't see Him. The same applies to you also if you are His child.

Have a great day. The Lord is watching over you all the time and has promised to be with you-- not because you are so great, but because He loves you so much.

For further reading:
Hebrews 13:5
Joshua 1:5
Psalm 91:15
Isaiah 43:2

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"What Flows?"

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." John 7:38

What is flowing out of you? What flows from your life? Does a river of life? Does peace, joy, love, kindness? Or does bitterness, anger, criticism, pride, haughtiness, unforgiveness?

A flowing river touches the banks and its waters cause life to come to the vegetation that is beside it. Whatever is flowing from our lives touches other people's lives. It either touches their lives in a good and positive way and they are edified, or it touches their lives a bad and negative way and tears them down. If it's a river of life that is flowing from us it causes others to be blessed and helps produce life in them. If it's a river that is polluted with bad attitudes, selfishness and malice then it brings discouragement and can be destructive.

Each day we must examine the "water" that is flowing from our lives and make sure that it is the clean pure water of the Holy Spirit. If it isn't, we must go to God and ask for a cleansing to take place within us until that which produces life is flowing freely from us.

Have a great day. There is something that "flows" from all our lives, the question is, "What is it?".

For further reading:
Psalm 51:10
Matthew 12:34
James 3:9-11
Galatians 5:19-24

Monday, October 14, 2019

"Double Armor"

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:11

We need to daily put on the full armor that the Lord has provided for us. It has a two-fold purpose that brings victory every time. First, it helps us to "stand". It gives us the ability to "dig in our heels" and not move so that we don't give up the ground that we have already taken from the enemy. Also, it gives us the ability to go forward and be victorious in taking "new ground".

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to begin to take the promised land for their inheritance, the Lord gave them what they needed to take each city. They would capture one city, then move on to the next one to capture it. They were involved in a two-fold conquering process. Capturing the cities and holding on to what they had already captured so that the enemy could not reclaim it.

This is the same thing that we are doing in a spiritual sense. We too are going forward conquering through the weapons that God has placed in our hands and also holding on to what we have already conquered. So, remember today that these weapons will help you to advance forward to win more battles and conquer more enemies, and they will help you to guard, protect and hold on to what you have already gained.

Have a great day. You have been given powerful weapons that will help you advance and conquer new areas, and enable you to hold on to what you already have victoriously received.

For further reading:
Ephesians 6:11-19
2 Corinthians 10:4
Galatians 5:1
Romans 8:37

Friday, October 11, 2019

"The Clock"

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippines 2:12

I recently bought a new alarm clock- it is one of the ones you have to wind up so that it will run. It has been years since I had one like it so I forgot that you have to wind it up everyday or it will stop keeping time. Our Christian life is like that clock- it has to be "wound up" everyday.

I have to wind that clock up everyday, if I don't it winds down. I can't wind it once a week or every three or four days and expect it to keep time- it won't, it will stop. Many Christians are trying to live this way. They think that going to church once a week is enough. That think they can read their Bibles occasionally and still live a victorious life. They don't have daily communion and fellowship with the Lord.

If you are going to maintain a healthy Christian life, you are going to have to stay "wound up". You have to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. You can't neglect it. You can't work on it only when you think about it. You can't skip a day and you can't go days without feeding your spirit man. If you ignore it, it will starve. If you neglect it, it won't grow. If you take it for granted, you will be weak.

If this small mechanical clock needs to be rewound everyday in order to work properly, why do we think we can neglect those things that keep us functioning spiritually and we will be all right? The truth is that we can't live like that. If that clock is affected by neglect to the point where it quits running, what makes us think that we won't be affected as well if we neglect to do certain things daily. We will be affected, only for us the consequences will be a lot worse.

Have a great day. How often are you "winding" up yourself spiritually... daily, once a week, once a month, once a year?

For further reading:
Psalm 61:8
Psalm 86:3
Proverbs 8:34
Ezekiel 46:13
Acts 2:46
Acts 17:11

Thursday, October 10, 2019

"Stars"

"The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalm 136:9

One particular night while looking up at the sky, I was amazed at how beautiful the stars were. They were everywhere- the sky was full- and they were brilliant. The sky looked like a blanket of small, medium and large diamonds scattered among numerous constellations each making a shape that spread out for all to see.

My next thoughts were captivated by the awesomeness of God who covered the night sky with such beauty. How precious and wonderful He is to us by placing stars in the sky. Each star serving a two-fold purpose (perhaps more that I am not aware of). One, as I have already said, is that of beauty. How wonderful to look up in the sky and see them twinkling high above us. How awful to have just a vast blanket of blackness over us with no light at all. The second, He placed them there to show us the way in darkness. How would ships navigate the seas at night with no stars acting like compasses to guide them?

Just as God placed stars in the night sky to help guide ships at sea so that they don't get lost and stay on course, He has also placed other signs to help us navigate safely through life. His word is like a light that helps us find our way and keeps our feet upon a straight and narrow path. There are beautiful pictures that are painted for us in it depicting a loving God who cares deeply for His creation. It reveals a love that is greater than the size of the universe. It shows us how truly great He is and how limitless His knowledge and power are. Don't neglect His word, it is full of wonders yet to be discovered and contains the keys to eternal life.

Have a great day. Going day after day without reading God's word is like standing under a night sky and not seeing the stars.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

"The Lion's Mouth"

"David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee." 1 Samuel 17:37

The Old Testament is full of "types and shadows" which are examples that point to and reveal Christ to us. The story above is one. David told King Saul about the time when he was watching the flock of sheep and a lion came and attacked a lamb. "And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him." (vvs. 34,35) David went after the lion and rescued the lamb out of its mouth.

David represents Jesus, we are the lambs and the devil is the lion who is seeking to devour us. David delivered the lamb from the mouth of the lion, so has Jesus delivered us out of the "mouth" of satan. Satan goes about seeking to steal, kill and destroy us. Sin also had a grip on us, it was ready to gnash down on us until we died. But Jesus came to our rescue. He fought against sin and won. We no longer have to be devoured by sin, by the devil, by demonic forces.... Jesus delivered us. Jesus saved us.

Do you feel like a lamb in the lion's mouth this morning? Take hope and be encouraged, Jesus-like David- went after the enemy in order to deliver you... and He succeeded! He destroyed the power of sin, He destroyed the power of the devil, He destroyed the power of death that had you in its clutches. David defeated the lion and the bear that was trying to destroy his flock. Jesus has defeated everything that tries to destroy His flock and He set us free from it.

Have a great day. Jesus came to your rescue and delivered you out of the mouth of the devil and sin.

For further reading:
1 Samuel 17
Colossians 2:15
1 Cor. 15:55
Psalm 35:17
Matthew 28:18

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"Who Supplies?"

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

This verse says, "MY God shall supply all your (my) need".  It is God who supplies our need and needs.  It isn't my intellect, my education, my wisdom, my ability, my talent or my knowledge that supplies my need.  It isn't my doctor, nor my prescriptions, my insurance or my therapist.  It isn't my bank account, my investments, my wise business transactions or my accountant that supplies my need.  It isn't my boss, my coworker, my friend, my neighbor, my parent, my spouse, my sibling, nor any of my other personal and professional relationships.  It isn't the government, the welfare system or public programs.

My need is not supplied by anything of mine.  It isn't supplied by anything I posses or anyone that I know.  These things are all, and only, resources.  Everything I possess that helps with my need is only a resource or a tool.  They are not the source.  The source that meets my need, that solves my problems, that sends provisions, that makes a way, that heals my body, that gives me food to eat and water to drink, that imparts wisdom, that extends grace, that shows mercy, that provides peace, that supplies the material things and finances I need to survive and prosper comes from a source.  That source is MY GOD! It is MY GOD who supplies all my need.  It is God who gives us all things that pertain to life.  He is the source that supplies all my/your need.  He is the source that sends the resources.

Have a great day.  Are you trusting your resources or The Source to meet your need?

Monday, October 7, 2019

"Keep His Ways"

"For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. " Psalm 18:21

Is this your testimony? Can you say that you have kept the commandments of the Lord? Do you keep them? Are they the governing factor of your life? Are they where you look in times of trouble? Do you keep them when things are going good? Do you keep them when things are not going so well? Do you allow the situation to cause you to overlook them? Do you act and react according to the word of God?

God's commands are our "code of conduct". They are to be kept at all times- not just when it's convenient for us. They aren't like a "buffet" either that we can "pick and choose" which ones we want to apply to our lives and practice and which ones we don't.

Keeping His ways, doing His commandments, obeying His word shows our love for the Lord. It is our expression of faith. It keeps us at peace. It empowers us in times of trials. We must purpose each day that we are going to set His laws before us and conduct our lives according to them. Then, like He told Joshua, we will make our way prosperous.

Have a great day. There are always benefits for keeping the commands of the Lord, for not departing from them and for applying them to our lives.

For further reading:
Psalm 119:165
Joshua 1:7
Proverbs 3:1
Proverbs 4:4
Proverbs 7:2
John 14:15
John 15:10

Friday, October 4, 2019

"Second Process"

"And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." Malachi 3:3

We all have heard messages preached about the refining process of silver and how it symbolically represents the transformation process that the Lord desires to do in our lives. I have always thought that once the refining process is over then that was the "end". I thought the whole process of removing the "dross" from my life was the goal. On the contrary, the refining process just gets us ready for the "real" process.

After silver is has gone through the process of being refined to where the impurities are removed, it isn't left in the pot to just sit there. It is then ready to be made into something- a piece of jewelry, a bullet, a goblet, etc. It's then that it starts the process of being transformed from a liquid to something solid and useable.

The same applies to our lives. The refining- all the trials that turn up the "heat" in our lives- just gets out the things in us that aren't Christ-like in order to get us ready to be made into the vessel that He has planned for us to be. After you go through one process, don't think that it is over. The refining process just gets you ready for the process of being made into a vessel that can be used for God's glory.

Have a great day. The first process is not the end, it gets us ready to begin the next one.

For further reading:
Zechariah 13:9
Philippians 1:6
Matthew 9:16,17
2 Timothy 2:20,21

Thursday, October 3, 2019

"Chasing Lovers"

"And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now." Hosea 2:7

I had a very odd dream last night, it was a scene from the movie, "Gone With The Wind". In the dream Scarlett was apologizing to Rhett for all the wasted years she had spent chasing after a man that would never love her in return. In the dream she was truly repentant because she had finally realized the truth that he was not, never had been nor ever would be interested in her. The scales finally fell off of her heart and eyes and she knew she had wasted her life following only a dream and in the process rejected someone who truly did love her with all their heart.

As I replayed the dream in my thoughts this morning, I saw a spiritual application. Scores of people are out there living their lives following dreams that will never materialize. They are pursuing "lovers" that will never love them in return. They are chasing after a "lover" that they think will satisfy them, make them happy or will make their life perfect. Some of their lovers are wealth, fame, popularity, prestige, and other people. But while they are chasing after these "lovers", they are rejecting the one who truly does love them- Jesus.

Jesus is standing there waiting for you to stop chasing after dreams and ambitions that will never "love" you in return. They will never make you happy, they are not able to fulfill your greatest longing and desire. They may satisfy for the moment but the pleasure will wear off soon enough. He is waiting for you to stop chasing something that will never happen.

Are these "lovers" that we are chasing after really worth it? Are they worth sacrificing the true love? Can they and will they "love" you like Jesus does? If you keep chasing them eventually you will wake up and realize that you have wasted your life chasing after something that could never be while rejecting the best thing that could have ever happened to you.

Have a great day. Are you chasing after other "lovers"- other than Christ? If so, you are sacrificing true love for a false hope.

For further reading:
Deut. 6:5
Mark 12:30
Exodus 20:3
1 John 4:10, 19

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

"What Are You Doing?"

"Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:7

A lady came to me for prayer the other day. Her request was to get closer to the Lord. As I started to pray the Holy Spirit impressed me to ask her a question. I asked her if she was reading her Bible and praying, and was she doing it everyday. Her answer was no that she wasn't and she began to weep.

Human nature wants everything to come to us easily without any effort on our parts. Even when it comes to spiritual things we want them imparted into our lives by some supernatural one time event. We want a spiritual "quick fix", we want the short cuts, we want God to just "zap" us and instantly, miraculously we'll have it.

It doesn't happen that way. There are things that we must do ourselves. For example, if you want to get closer to the Lord you have to spend time in His presence. If you want to be blessed financially you have to give. If you want to prosper then obey the commandments. If you are in need, seek first the kingdom of God. If you are in want, then fear the Lord and give Him the reverence and rightful place in your life that He deserves. When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast the devil out of the man's son, His reply was that they had unbelief, then He told them that it happens by prayer and fasting. He had already empowered them to cast out devils but He didn't just place His hand on them and "boom" there they had it. He told them to go do something themselves- fast and pray.

God's word is full of conditions. He tells us in verse after verse that "if we will", "then He will". You can stand in every prayer line, you can be anointed with so much oil that it drips off your head, you can have hands laid on you seven days a week. But if you aren't doing your part, then some things just aren't going to happen. Just because someone lays hands on you and "imparts" some "gift" doesn't mean that is the beginning and the end of it. You have to stir up the gift that is within you, you have to yield yourself to God, you have to seek Him, you have to grow in grace and knowledge. You have to do it, and you have to keep on doing it.

Have a great day. Stop trying to get a spiritual "quick fix" and start doing what you need to be doing.

For further reading:
Matthew 6:33
James 4:2
Deut. 11:13,14, 22,23
Matthew 21:21
Matthew 16:19
Matthew 5:3-9

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

"The Shaking"

"And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." Hebrews 12:27

Recently, the Lord began to speak to me about a "shaking". I believe that shakings are happening everywhere- on a world wide, national and personal level, within the church and without.

When He spoke this to me, He also showed me something to help me better understand this. Have you ever seen those novelty games that is a little plastic enclosure with a picture of a clown's face on the bottom, three holes cut out in the face and three little balls. (I don't know what it's called.) The goal is to get all three balls in all three holes. The only way to do that is by shaking it. If you shake it just right and long enough you will succeed.

If you are wondering why your life feels so "turbulent", if you are wondering why you can't get past one thing before you feel something else taking place, if you feel like you are always reeling from side to side, perhaps you are in a shaking.

When a shaking takes place it does a "two-fold" work. One, it shakes something "out" of place and two, it shakes something "into" place. When God allows or brings a shaking into our lives it also will accomplish a two-fold purpose. Often it is to shake out complacency, pride, fleshly desires, religious attitudes, and so on. At the same time He is also trying to shake something into place- perhaps it's the Fruit of the Spirit, maybe you are in the wrong position and He is shaking you into your God-called position, perhaps it is a shaking into Christ's likeness that He is trying to accomplish, or it could be a host of other reasons.

All the Bible characters had a shaking in their lives. Abraham was shaken out of his father's house and shaken into a covenant with God. Joseph was shaken out from among his family and shaken into the palace in Egypt. Paul was shaken out of his self-righteous religious practice and shaken into a relationship with the same God he had been persecuting. Esther was shaken out of her home land and shaken into a position to save her people. And the list goes on.

If you feel like you are in a "shaking", if you feel like your life is like that game I described, don't lose heart, it's not a bad thing. The end result is a good thing. It may feel bad while it is shaking "out" something, but what a good thing it is when it shakes "in" the perfect will and purpose of God. And the shaking "in" can't happen without the shaking "out".

Have a great day. God is doing a shaking to get some things "out" in order to get some things "in"- in their right place, in position, in order- and that's a good thing.

For further reading:
Hebrews 12:26
Deuteronomy 6:23
Galatians 4:19
2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, September 30, 2019

"Leftovers"

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

Have you ever been in a church service, or some other meeting, where the presence of the Lord came down in a powerful way?  You felt so refreshed and left knowing that you had an encounter with the Lord.  You were so blessed that you were still basking in it later that night at home. But the next morning when you got up, hoping to continue to feel the "overflow" of what the Lord had done for you the night before-- it wasn't there.

That has happened to me, but instead of waking up the next morning and feeling what I had felt the night before- the refreshing, cleansing, joy, peace, love- in the same measure.  I didn't. I wondered why not. I wondered what had happened. I wondered if I did something to lose it. I asked the Lord about it. He immediately brought the verse above to my mind.

When God touches us, when He pours out a special blessing, when He ministers to us in a powerful way, He doesn't intend for us to keep going in that one touch only. He doesn't want us to just sit back and bask in what happened yesterday, last night, in last year's revival, at a conference, etc. He wants us to allow His Spirit to touch us in these same ways each and every day.

In my case, it was the Lord who lifted the next morning what I had felt the night before for that very reason. The manna was not intended to be left over. It was intended to be gathered fresh each day. That is why God did not allow it to stay on the ground all day or until the night. It melted when the sun came out so that the people would have to gather it again the next day. God would not allow them to have "leftovers".

Are you trying to live on the "leftovers"? Don't try to live on yesterday's experience. Don't try to keep holding on to what the Lord did for you last week and not get a fresh touch from Him this week. Don't try to walk in the anointing of the past, ask for a fresh anointing for today. Don't settle for the "leftovers", get something fresh for today.

Have a great day. Leftovers may be good when it's food, but God doesn't intend for you to live on spiritual leftovers. He wants to give you something fresh everyday.

For further reading:
Exodus 16
Matthew 6:11

Friday, September 27, 2019

"The Punishment- Part 2"

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Yesterday we talked about God's answer to a question that I had concerning the suffering that Jesus went through at the cross. The question was this- since sin required a punishment and Jesus was the only one who could pay it, and God was the one who decided what the punishment would be, why did He set the punishment so high? Why didn't He make it easier and lighter on Jesus? Why did He pour out the full cup of suffering on Him?

The answer He gave me was that because of the vile nature of sin from His perspective, the punishment had to be equal- a little slap on the wrist could not satisfy the righteousness of God. The punishment for our sins had to be equal to the crime.

He also showed me something else about why the punishment was so horrific. The cross was also God's expression of love to mankind. He was sending us a message. The message was- I don't just love you, but I LOVE you! The Father placed the whole weight of sin and punishment on Jesus to the same degree that He loves us.

He demonstrated His love toward us and let us know at the same time that His love for us was no little matter! He was saying, "See how much I love you, I'll take a beating for you. See how much I love you, I'll let them mock me, ridicule me, slap me around, nail me to a cross, and I will die for you."

So when we look at the horrendous suffering that Jesus went through we see that sin is no little matter to God, and neither is His love a little matter.

Have a great day. He wanted you to know that His love for you is so great, so He demonstrated how great by suffering so much.

For further reading:John 3:16,17
Romans 8:38,39
1 John 3:16
1 John 4:9,10

Thursday, September 26, 2019

"The Punishment"

"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." Isaiah 53:10

Years ago when I watched the movie "The Passion" and saw a visual presentation of what the crucifixion of Jesus was really like, it compelled me to ask the Father a question. The question was this- "Why was what Jesus went through so horrible? If you were the One who set the punishment for sin, if you were the One who decided what He should go through, why didn't you make it a little lighter on Him? Why was He beaten until He was unrecognizable? Why did He have to be nailed to the cross?" He answered me with this- "Because that is just how horrible sin is." What He was saying to me was that in order for the punishment of our sins to be acceptable, the punishment must fit the crime.

The punishment that Jesus faced was equal to the crime of sin. Therefore, Jesus had to drink the whole cup of wrath and punishment for our sins. And He had to drink all the way to the bottom, every last dreg. All the punishment had to be fulfilled.

When we look at the cross, when we see the horror of it, when we see what Jesus endured, we must always remember that sin to God is no little matter. Therefore, when we sin, we must immediately confess it and repent of it. We cannot take sin in our lives lightly, not even what we consider to be a small sin. God doesn't see it that way.

Had He not laid our sins on Jesus, had He not put our iniquities on Him, had He not taken our punishment, then we would be punished for our own sins and hell would be the punishment that we would receive for them- remember, the punishment had to fit the crime.

Don't take sin in your life for granted. Jesus took your punishment so that you could go free. But if you refuse the forgiveness/pardon that came through Jesus' punishment for you then you will wind up paying for your own sins one day. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)

Have a great day. The punishment that Jesus went through at the cross was equal to the crime of sin that we had committed, so don't take sin lightly.

For further reading:
Isaiah 53
Romans 6:23

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

"Overcome Evil"

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21

With evil present in the world everywhere around us we have to be on guard and not let it overcome us. How do we know when it has? When it causes us to lose our joy, it has overcome us. When the evil that we see around us causes us to want to throw up our hands in defeat and give up. When it causes us to want to quit running the race that is set before us. When we stop yielding the fruit of the Spirit, we have let it overcome us. When we have fear but no faith because of the evil acts and words of others, then it is overcoming us. When it takes your eyes off of God and His kingdom, it has overcome you. When we let it discourage us, steal our peace or depress us, then it has overcome us.

The verse above is a command. It tells us not to be overcome by evil. In other words we are not to let evil defeat us. Is that possible? Can we have any power over evil when it comes against us? It would not be a command if it were not possible. The same verse that gives us the command also gives us the solution- "Overcome evil with good". We overcome it by doing what is good.

How do we overcome evil with good? By doing those things that are good. Such as keeping your mind renewed in God's word. By keeping your heart and mind fixed upon the Lord. You do it by remembering that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood so go after the real enemy-spiritual wickedness- with the weapons you have been given. If the evil is coming through a person that you have dealings with, show some act of kindness to them (Romans 12:20). Pray- pray for yourself, for the person, for the situation. When you speak to that person, speak the truth in love, not in argument, not in frustration, but with fearlessness. Guard your heart by not listening to evil reports through the television, radio or conversations. When evil comes through a temptation and tries to get you to yield, pull out your sword of the Spirit, call a fellow Christian for prayer support, pray in the Holy Spirit.

As I have said, evil is ever present. Evil will be in the world as long as the devil and sin are in the world. But evil doesn't have to overcome you, it doesn't have to affect you to the point where it destroys you- overcomes you. And when you are personally faced with evil it will not overcome you if you will follow God's word and implement His strategies and solutions for overcoming it. Evil and good are the opposite. So do good when evil comes instead of giving into it and you will overcome it.

Have a great day. You do not have to be overcome by evil because Jesus has already made you more than a conqueror over the evil one.

For further reading:
1 Corinthians 10:13
1 John 4:4
1 Peter 5:8-10
James 4:7
Matthew 5:44
1 Thessalonians 5:15