Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Hand And Face"

"This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah." Psalm 24:6

When it comes to seeking God, you can either seek His face or seek His hand. To seek His hand means to seek His provisions, to seek His blessings, to seek His answers, to seek Him for that which He can give you. To seek His face means to seek to know Him- what He looks like, what He desires, what pleases and displeases Him, to know His heart. So, seeking His hands has to do with that which He can give, and seeking His face has to do with who He is.

Most people seek God's hands more than they seek His face. They think it's all about what God can do for them, what He can give them and about His meeting their need. "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek." (Psalm 27:8) It's His face that He tells us to seek- not His hand. I am of the very strong belief that if we would spend more time seeking His face, we would not have to spend as much time seeking His hands. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) To seek the kingdom means to seek Him- the King of the kingdom. Seek Him, not His provisions. As we seek Him, He promises that our need will be met, the provisions will come our way and His hand will move on our behalf.

Does this mean that we should never ask God to provide for a need we have? Of course not, but if that's the only time you are seeking Him, then something is wrong. You have it all backwards. It's His face we want to seek. It's His face that He wants us to seek. He wants us to know Him, not just what He provides. So which are you seeking this morning? His provisions or Him?

Have a great day. Seek His face then you will find His hand.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"Today I Know"

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

Well, it's another new day. Who but God knows what it holds in store. I certainly don't. I don't know what will happen.  Will today be a happy day or a sad one?  Will my needs be overwhelming? What new challenges will I face?  Will today be filled with sunshine or rain, blue skies or clouds, good news or bad news?  Will I even live to see the end of it?

I may not know a lot about this day, but ask me what I do know about it... I know that today God will be faithful to me. He will not leave me nor forsake me. He will show me mercy and forgiveness when I fail. He will pick me up if I fall. He will uphold me with His strong right arm. He will be my present help in time of trouble. His name will be a strong tower to me. He will supply all my need. He will load me with benefits. He will give me strength in my weakness and peace in confusion. He will not stop loving me. He has given me everything I need to be victorious. His word will be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. He will answer my prayers. He will keep what I commit to Him. He will make a way even when it looks like there isn't any. He will be a shield of protection for me. He will not withhold any good thing from me. He will lead me and guide me as I acknowledge Him and don't lean to my own understanding. He will make a way of escape when I am tempted. He will hear me when I call to Him.

That's just a little of what I do know about today. I know that no matter what I face, what the day may bring or what may happen, my God will be with me and will give me everything I need to get through it.  There is one more thing I know-- I know I can trust Him to take care of me and this new day.

Have a great day. I don't know about this day, but I do know about my God and His promises to me for today.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Wearing Grave Clothes"

"And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." John 11:44

Lazarus was dead- no doubt about it, he had been dead for four days. When Jesus went to his tomb, He called Lazarus back to life. Lazarus came out of the tomb wrapped in grave clothes.

Let me point out a few things here. 1) This man who was dead came alive. Jesus put life back in him. He was no longer dead. 2) Lazarus came out of the tomb on his own, no one had to go in there and get him. He came out under his own power and strength. 3) He was still in grave clothes.

We were like Lazarus- dead in trespasses and sins but Jesus "called us forth"- at the time of our salvation He put "life" in us. Now, praise God, we are no longer dead men. But did you know we can still be like Lazarus in points two and three?  We are alive but walking around bound up by grave clothes. I don't know if Lazarus hopped, walked, or scooted out of the tomb, but because of the grave clothes he was limited in his mobility. He could move around to some degree but he did not have full or free range of motion.

So many of God's children who have received life- eternal life are "walking around" serving God, giving Him praise, living for Him but are hindered because they still have on some grave clothes- therefore, they are limited.  They are only able to go so far, only able to accomplish a certain amount and unable to do it all.

These grave clothes may be past hurts, bitterness, insecurities stemming from past treatments by others, illness that keeps hanging on, fears, torments in your mind, or any number of things. If you are "alive" but still have the grave clothes on- it's time to take them off. Jesus told the people to loose him. I am doing that this morning through this word. Allow God's healing power, His delivering power and His peace to flow into you that will cause those things to come off. Remember this- if Jesus can put life into someone who was dead, the "grave clothes issues" are not too big for Him to handle.

Have a great day. Do you still have on grave clothes? They will always hinder you from having the freedom you need to live an abundant life.

Monday, May 20, 2019

"How Do You Smell?"

"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish." 2 Corinthians 2:15

There are odors all around us. Some smell nice and others stink. People have odors. When a man has done physical labor all day in the heat, he has a sweaty odor about him. Babies smell sweet. Some people have the aroma of food on them if they have been cooking. We are often identified by these odors. I always knew when my aunt walked into the room, even if I didn't see her, because I could smell her perfume.

While there are physical odors that we acquire, there are also spiritual odors. Christians are suppose to have a "smell" about them. God not only hears our prayers, is touched by our infirmities and looks at our lives but He smells us too. When He smells your life, what scent does He detect? What should it be? The fragrance that comes from our lives should be that of Christ. When God smells us, He should be able to smell the same thing He smells in Christ- a sweet smelling savor, the fragrance of an acceptable sacrifice. The Bible says that we are living sacrifices. When a sacrifice is on the altar, there is an odor that rises up from it. As living sacrifices there is an odor that goes up from our lives to God. Is that odor a sweet smelling savor or a stench in His nostrils?

Not only should God be able to smell Christ in our lives, but everyone else should be able to also. Do they? What do they smell? Your life either has a sweet aroma about it or it stinks. Have you heard the phrase- "I can smell myself"? When I do a lot of physical work outdoors, I can detect an odor on me that is not very pleasant. When I put on perfume, I can smell myself- I smell nice. We should be able to detect what type of odor we are emitting-- even spiritually.

Take time daily to see what you smell like- what you smell like to God and to others. Do you smell nice or do you stink? Is the fragrance that God smells one that smells like His dear Son? Is it a smell of sweetness because it smells like love, joy, peace, gentleness, faith, etc? Or does it smell like flesh- a smell of bitterness, anger, fear, hate, revenge, unforgiveness and so on? Do others smell Jesus on you? Are they able to detect the difference or does your life smell the same as the world?

Have a great day. What do you smell like?

Friday, May 17, 2019

"More Than Enough God"

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

Many mornings I awake with a song playing in my heart and mind. Sometimes I know that the message in that song is what I am suppose to share with you.  The song for this morning is, "More Than Enough". Here are the words.

Jehovah Jireh, My Provider. You are more than enough for me.
Jehovah Raepha, You're my healer.  By your stripes I've been set free.
Jehovah Shammah, You are with me to Supply All My Needs.
You are more than enough. More than enough. You are more than enough for me.


In this song some of the names of God are mentioned- God who provides, God who heals, God who is with us. But He is still so much more. You can't put Him in a box and limit Him to one area only. He is the God who supplies all your needs in every area of life- spirit, soul, body, relationships, emotions, finances, etc.

This morning, this limitless God is not just enough, or almost enough, or hopefully enough. He is enough! And He is abundantly enough and has plenty to spare. Remember how Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish? Everyone was fed, everyone had plenty and there were twelve baskets of leftovers after each one had eaten their fill. That's because He is the God of more than enough- the God who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all you can ask or think.

Have a great day. He is more than enough with plenty to spare.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

"Praise Him"

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

I don't know what you may be going through today. Everything may be wonderful in your world or it may not be. You may be facing tremendous difficulties, mountain size problems, a deep pit, or dark times. If this describes your life the word this morning is directed at you. It is this: Do not withhold your praise from the Lord. Don't let your circumstances stop you from bringing your sacrifice of praise to the Lord.

Praise is powerful. It will bring you out of the pit, it will bring God into the midst of your situation. It will bring victory. It's no wonder that the Lord sent the praisers out first when Israel was facing a battle. There's a lesson that we can learn from that. And not only learn but apply that same strategy that the Lord gave to them.

This morning pick up your praise. Open your mouth. Lift up your hands and your voice and bring to God a sacrifice of praise. He is worthy of it. Don't let the things you are going through steal from Him what He deserves. If you will make the step, even by faith, to give Him what He deserves, He will do something in your midst in return.

Have a great day. DO NOT withhold your praise... He is worthy!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Tell It"

"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

The Bible tells us that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. But when Jesus made those statements He never intended for us to do nothing more than just "shine" and be a "silent witness" for Him. So much of the preaching we hear encourages us to- just live it before them, just let your light shine, just let them see Jesus through the things you do. That is not the whole gospel. If that's what we believe "witnessing" for Christ means, then we are not rightly dividing the Word. As one writer puts it, "The only time words are not necessary is when action speaks more loudly and throwing caution to the wind allows faith to become public by action." (Diane Hale)

There has been too much "shining" and not enough "preaching"- perhaps that's why we haven't won our world for Christ. Never are we to neglect to "preach" the word. There is more teaching in the Bible on the subject of opening our mouths and telling them than there is just living it before them. We are told that God uses the "foolishness of preaching" to save the lost. The Great Commission given to us by Jesus Himself tells us to go into all the world and "preach" the gospel. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to give us boldness to witness. How? Verbally. Remember, after the Spirit was poured out in the Upper Room how Peter got up and "preached' salvation.

Jesus sent the disciples out to preach to those who were lost. All the apostles went about preaching Christ and Him crucified. The martyrs in Revelation overcame by the "word" of their testimony. Even the dictionary defines the word witness to mean testify- to declare. No doubt Jesus did tell us to let our lights shine and do good works, but that's not all He told us to do. He went everywhere preaching the Kingdom of heaven and taught His disciples- even present day ones- to do the same. If a verbal witness of the gospel wasn't important, then why has the world always tried to silence Christians?

Have a great day. If you aren't telling it, you aren't testifying. Stop "just" shining and start opening your mouth and telling them about this wonderful Savior.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Hearers And Doers"

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3:7

There is no way that any of us can say that "we didn't know" what the Bible says. We can't say this- in this nation anyway- because we have twenty-four hour preaching on television and radio, churches on every corner, book stores with every translation of the Bible that's been printed, conferences, seminars, and revival meetings happening daily. We have the internet with its recorded sermons on audio and video, devotionals, eBooks- you name it, the gospel is at our fingertips.

So why aren't we living the Word out in our lives? Why do we see less demonstration of the power of God? Why are we not more conformed and being transformed in our conduct to the image of Christ? Why aren't we more fruitful? It's one thing to gain knowledge and it's another thing to apply that knowledge. We hear lots of preaching but do we take it to heart? Do we realize that what we are hearing was meant for application? James told us to be "doers of the word and not hearers only". Jesus said that the truly wise man is the one who does the word when he hears it.

Listening and doing are two different things. Learning and applying are two different things. God intended for us to do both. When we do, it will make a difference in who we are, what we do, how we conduct ourselves, in our attitudes, in the way we view things, in the way we treat people, and in every area of our lives. This morning which group are you in-- the group who only hears the word, or the group who hears it and does it?

Have a great day. Keep listening to the word, but do what it says as well.

Monday, May 13, 2019

"He's Still Working"

"And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided." Exodus 14:21

There is a song that says, "God is working, He's still working. God is working even now. Though we often don't know just how. God is working, He's still working. God is working even now." God is working on our behalf even in the times when we do not see it. Even when it feels like He isn't. Even when we don't see any evidence that He is. Yet, He is still working.

When the Israelites were coming out of Egypt, the first obstacle they encountered was the Red Sea- pretty big obstacle, don't you think. Their first thoughts were those of fear, doubt and discouragement. What were they to do? Why did God do this to them? Where was He? Moses' reply to their fears was,"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." (verse 13) That's our word today too. Don't fear because of your situation. God is still working in the situation. Just because what He is doing may be hid from your sight, doesn't mean He has forgotten about you or the situation. He often works "behind the scene". God sent a strong east wind all "night" to blow back the sea. He worked behind the veil of night's darkness, out of their view, where they could not see what He was doing. But He was still working. He is still working in your situation even though you may not see it, even though you may not understand it, even though it may look otherwise. Just because you can't see it or figure out how and what He is doing doesn't mean that He isn't working.

Have a great day. "Though we often don't know just how. God is working, He's still working. God is working even now."

Friday, May 10, 2019

"Malnutrition"

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." 2 Timothy 4:3

The word malnutrition is defined as: "lack of proper nutrition; inadequate or unbalanced nutrition." When we think of malnutrition, a vision of those precious little children overseas that are nothing but skin and bones and bloated bellies pops into our minds. But did you know you can be over weight and still be malnourished? The size of your body or the amount of fat it has on it is not necessary an indication that you are receiving the proper nutrients to keep from being malnourished. You've heard the term "wasted calories". Wasted calories are what you get from eating foods that have no nutritional value-- they're called "junk food".

To maintain a healthy body you must give it a well balanced diet of the proper nutrients. It's true of the spirit man as well. There are many Christians who are malnourished because they are lacking proper spiritual nutrition. These are the ones who don't read their Bibles, pray or spend time in praise and worship. They are not receiving spiritual nutrition, therefore, they are not spiritually healthy.

There is another group who are malnourished because they are not getting the proper balance of spiritual nutrients. They look spiritually fat- but remember fat does not always mean well nourished- even spiritually. They are the ones who go from one seminar to another, one conference to another, one meeting to another always looking for something that will make them feel good for the moment. They are "conference junkies". They don't take what they received back with them and apply it to their lives. They don't have any personal devotion time. They don't pray or read the Bible for themselves. Once the meeting is over, they begin to look for another one so they can "fill up". Let me stop for a moment and say this so that you won't misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with going to meetings and conferences, etc., but when that's all your life consist of, then you are not receiving the proper combination of nutrients you need to be spiritually healthy.

My body has to have Vitamin C in order to be healthy, but at the same time I can't live on Vitamin C only, I have to have other vitamins and minerals along with it. To be spiritually healthy you have to have a well balanced spiritual diet that consist of all the spiritual elements.

Have a great day. Are you spiritually healthy or malnourished?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

"Nature And Conduct"

"Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it." Psalm 34:14

We are commanded to "depart from evil". So what is "evil", what does it mean? We are also commanded to "do good". So what is "good", what does it mean? When we think about good and evil, we often define them as it relates to conduct- the way someone acts, what is produced. But they are more correctly defined as nature- the nature of something. Conduct is the behavior that is produced as a result of that nature.

For example, Jesus said that a good tree cannot produce evil fruit, and vice versa. Why is that? Because of the nature of the tree. It produces after its nature. Apple trees produce apples, orange trees produce oranges, poison ivy produces toxic oils.

Before Christ became our Savior and Lord we were an "evil" tree. We produced evil fruit. Why? Because of our sinful nature. We had the same nature of our father the devil- even his name defines his nature: d-evil. (John 8:44) We had an evil nature and behaved in a wicked manner producing evil deeds.

Once we come to Christ we should then begin to produce good fruit because we have become a good tree. When we are born again, our nature changes, we get a new nature-- it's the nature of our Heavenly Father who is all good and all righteous. (John 3:7; 2 Cor. 5:17)

A tree is known by the fruit it produces. Likewise we are known by what we produce. Our conduct is the fruit that reveals what type of tree we are. If you have the nature of Christ in you you should do good because He is good. If you have the nature of the devil/sin in you you will do evil because he is evil. What you do, reveals which you are: a good tree or an evil tree. If you have the nature of Christ, then you should "depart from evil and do good".

Have a great day. If the nature of a person is evil, that person will conduct themselves in an evil manner. If the nature of a person is good because they have Christ's nature in them, that person will conduct themselves in a manner that is good.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

"He Called"

"And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again." 1 Samuel 3:6

This morning the Lord woke me up quiet a bit earlier than usual. I laid there and prayed, and prayed in the Spirit, and offered up praise and did some meditating, but I felt like something was "missing"- I had not touched His "hem", felt the joy of His presence or felt as if I had accomplished anything in prayer. Then it "dawned" on me-- He called me. He woke me up. That meant that there was something He wanted to say, not that He was necessarily waking me up so that I could talk to Him, but that He wanted to talk to me.

When a friend calls me on the phone, it's because they have something they want to say to me or ask me. They initiated the call so they could tell me something, not just because they wanted to hear the sound of my voice. We tend to think that when God wakes us up it is so that we can pray, and that it is all about us doing all the talking and making our requests. Yes, that is part of it, but sometimes it's because He wants to start the conversation. As was the case with Samuel. God woke Samuel up so that HE could say something to Samuel, not vice versa.  After God spoke, Samuel responded. 

I learned a lesson this morning. From now on, when the Lord wakes me up, instead of immediately going into prayer and praise, the first thing I will do is ask Him what He wants; why He called; is there something He wants to say before I pray.  Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. Otherwise, I might miss something that He is wanting to say to me-- after all, He called me.

Have a great day. He called me, He woke me up for a reason, is it because He has something He wants to say to me?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

"Baggage"

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30

It's not my intention to criticize the church this morning, but make an honest observation. As a whole we have gotten away from what Christ intended for us to be. We have become a religious organization that looks more like a social club than a living organism that reflects Christ and demonstrates His power to the world. For the most part is it hard to tell the difference between us and the world.

I want to share one reason that I believe has caused this. When people come into the church- either through salvation or through joining the organization- they bring a lot of "baggage" with them. (We all have baggage- ideologies, experiences, culture, upbringing, etc.) Often, when people bring in their "worldly, old life baggage" they are allowed to keep it. If they are allowed to keep any baggage that is contrary to Jesus' teachings and will, they will continue in its influence, and not only will they continue in it, pretty soon it will begin to influence others and become engrafted into the church.

This is what happened in our church history. The Emperor Constantine became a Christian and ordered everyone else to become one or face death; so everyone for fear of death joined the church, but they brought in all their "baggage" from false religions and so on with them. (This is why we have a mixture of Christ's teachings and other things today.)

We do people an injustice when we don't help them get rid of the baggage. It's one thing to bring the baggage in with you, it's another thing to keep it. Jesus is in the business of taking that old baggage away and replacing it with His peace, righteousness, purity and holiness. We should be in that same business- the business of seeing them free from carrying around any weight that would beset them- and not in the business of letting them hang on to that which will only pull them and others down. "

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Have a great day. We must help people get rid of the baggage that they bring with them instead of assimilating it into the church.

Monday, May 6, 2019

"Our God Is Mighty"

"The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof." Psalm 50:1

This morning I woke up with a song going over and over in my spirit.  Here are the words:  "Savior He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save. Forever author of salvation. He rose and conquered the grave. Jesus conquered the grave." Got any mountains in your life? Got any situations that seem impossible? Got any giant-size problems? Well, if Jesus can conquer the grave, don't you think He can move a mountain! He is a mighty God. He is still able to remove mountains, quench fires, shut lions' mouths, part a sea, bring down a giant, put money in a fish's mouth, multiply the loaves, call dead things back to life. With Him nothing is impossible!

Our Jesus is not a "wimpy" God. He is not a powerless God, or limited in power. He is not a weak God. He is not feeble. He is not elderly. He is not a little "Casper milk toast". He is the conquering King, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Mighty Warrior, All-sufficient God, True and Faithful One, Redeemer, Deliverer, Healer, Provider, the One who was and is and is to come, the One to whom every knee will bow and confess that He is Lord, the Bright and Morning Star, the One who was wounded for our transgressions, the Lion of the tribe of Judah who has prevailed!!!!!! (Hallelujah!)

Don't forget who He is this morning! Don't let your mountain make you believe that it has more power than your God. Don't let its size intimidate you, don't let it make you afraid, don't allow your heart to fail because of it. The Bible says that the earth is His footstool- the mountains are on the earth. I used to have a footstool and anytime I got ready to move it to another spot all I had to do was give it a little push and it was in the new location. God can do the same with His "footstool"- move that mountain out of the way.

Have a great day. Our God is mighty to save-- He conquered the grave, He can certainly conquer a mountain.

Friday, May 3, 2019

"Above The Problems"

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1,2

When the Psalmist was in trouble and needed help, where did he say that his help came from? It came from the Lord. Where did he find the Lord in the times he needed help? He found Him by looking up- up to the hills. Think about it. He didn't say that he had to look for the Lord on the other side of the universe. And he didn't say he had to look down into a valley, a craven or a pit.

He looked "up" to find the Lord his helper. Looking to the hills to find the Lord is significant. It means that God is in a place that is higher than our problems, not in a place that is lower. How could a God who is to be found beneath my problems be able to solve my problems? How could He solve them or be of any help to me if they are above Him- if they are higher than He is, if they are over His head?

Your problem, your situation, what you are going through is not above your God this morning. He is above them. They are under His feet, not above His head. So stop looking down, look up, up to the Lord who is on the "Hills", who is highly exalted above your problems.

Have a great day. Your God is above your problems, looking down on them- they are not higher than He is.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

"Battling Thoughts"

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." Ephesians 4:23

It's been said that the mind is the battleground- and it is. Every temptation starts in the mind. Every bondage first started as a thought. Let me give you some examples of how it all starts in the mind with our thoughts: "Just one more piece of cake won't hurt you." "If they really loved you they would not have acted like that". "If you take this drink you'll be popular with your friends". "Nobody cares about you, you might as well end your life". "Everyone else is losing their job, you will too".

Have you ever had these thoughts? Even worse? The enemy uses "thoughts" as a weapon against us. That is why it is important that we discern where the thoughts are coming from and do something about them. What we do with the thoughts that come to mind determines how far those thoughts take us.

God gives us all we need to be victorious and unyielding to the thoughts that the enemy uses to tempt us with in order to steal, kill and destroy us. We have been given weapons that are not carnal/physical but are mighty enough to pull down even strongholds.

The three things that God has provided as our weapons of defense and victory are: the helmet of salvation- to protect our mind; the Word of God- to renew our mind; and the power of His Holy Spirit- to cast down those thoughts when they come.

You don't automatically defeat those thoughts just because you have been given the weapons to do so with. Just because a soldier has a gun doesn't mean he has defeated his enemy- he has to use his gun in order to do that. A soldier can't just ignore his enemy and think that he has victory over him, neither can we. Just ignoring the thoughts don't defeat them. We have to use what God has made available to us as well and combat them.

Have a great day. There may be a battle raging in our thoughts but we have been given the weapons we need to be victorious and win the battle.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

"Garments"

"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Ephesians 4:24

Every morning I pull off my clothes that I slept in and put on my clothes that I plan to wear that day. I do this each and every day. I have to do this spiritually each day also. There are some things I need to put off and some things I need to put on. Each day I have to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, I have to put on the armor that I have been given to fight the battles that come my way. I have to put on the garment of praise. I have to be clothed in God's grace and mercy, His strength and peace. I have to put on the mind of Christ so that I can think like He thinks. I have to put eye salve on my eyes so that I can see clearly as I walk through this world.

In the morning I pull off the clothes I slept in before I put on the clothes that I am going to wear around the house or out in public because I can't wear both. This morning you can't wear unforgiveness and forgiveness. You can't wear heaviness and praise. You can't wear gladness and mourning. You can't wear joy and grief. You can't wear hate and love; peace and confusion; weakness and strength all at the same time. You can't wear righteousness and unrighteousness; filthiness and holiness. You have to pull off one of them. Which garments will you chose to wear? Garments of the flesh or of the spirit?

Have a great day. As you get dressed for the day, don't forgot to put on and pull off those spiritual garments as well.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"The Wilderness"

"Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest." Jeremiah 31:2

Nobody likes to be in the "wilderness". We would much rather be in the "promise land"- a land that flows with milk and honey. I want to talk about the wilderness this morning, and look at it in a different light. We all go through wilderness times and when we do we need to see them as beneficial.

1) You can't get to the promise land without going through the wilderness. Between Egypt and the promise land there was a wilderness that the Israelites had to cross. Remind yourself that this is the route that leads to the promise land and I will come out of it eventually, it's not a permanent place.

2) The Spirit will intentionally lead us into the wilderness- He led Jesus into the wilderness. "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Matthew 4:1) Remember that you can trust the leading of the Holy Spirit because He has your best interest at heart and is not out to destroy you.

3) The wilderness may look like a barren place, but there are provisions in the wilderness. God provided daily for forty years everything the Israelites needed. God still sends His provisions in the wilderness. Just as He provided their food, their water, kept the clothes on their back and shoes on their feet from wearing out, He will do the same for you.

4) God's presence is in the wilderness. The whole forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness the Lord was with them. He dwelt among them in the center of the camp. He is with you in your wilderness- you are not alone. You have a greater promise then they had. You have the promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

5) There is grace in the wilderness. Just because you are in a wilderness doesn't mean that God's grace is not there. His grace is His empowerment and strength to go through the wilderness. It's His favor surrounding you. His grace is sufficient, even for the wilderness times we go through. It will be enough to sustain you.

6) The wilderness will make you stronger and more powerful against the enemy and equip you to do the service of the Lord. "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about." (Luke 4:14) Jesus came out of the wilderness empowered to represent the Kingdom of God and do the work that He was sent to do.

I hope that after you read this you will look at the wilderness a different way and not see it as a place of defeat or a place to be avoided. The wilderness is a needful place- it too accomplishes a purpose in our lives.

Have a great day. Don't fear or dread the wilderness.

Monday, April 29, 2019

"Do Not Fear"

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

I have been hearing a lot lately about diseases that are on the increase, economic crisis, people losing their jobs, etc. It certainly doesn't look very bright or hopeful. These are fearful times. And for that reason, I feel impressed to say to you, "Do not be afraid". If you are a child of God you have no reason to fear what is happening or what may lie ahead. The Lord is your protector, your healer, your deliverer, your salvation. We have been given promises that if we walk uprightly before Him He will rebuke the devourer, none of these plagues will come near our dwelling, He will be with and not leave us, He will give His angels charge over us and He'll meet and supply all our need.

If there is another financial depression, we do not have to fear because God will meet our need. If there is a famine, we do not have to fear because He will give us our daily bread. If there are diseases throughout the land, we do not have to fear because He is the Lord who heals all our diseases. If enemy forces war against us, we do not have to fear what man can do unto us because the Lord is our protection, His name is a strong tower that we can run into and find safety. If natural disasters get worse, we do not have to fear because the Lord has a safe place prepared for us.

I don't want to sound like gloom and despair. The fact is none of us know what tomorrow may hold and according to the scriptures in the last days perilous times will come. What I do want to do is give you a message of hope and peace this morning. Regardless of what may come our way, our hearts can stay in perfect peace, we don't have to be afraid. We just need to keep our hearts, minds and eyes upon the Lord... He is our peace.

Have a great day. Do not be afraid! You have nothing to fear because the Lord is with you.

Friday, April 26, 2019

"Immediately They Left"

"And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him." Matthew 4:22

This is such a simple verse but it says so much.  When Jesus called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to follow Him, this was their response. 

"They immediately".  They didn't drag their feet, take their time, lollygag around or think about it for a while.  They immediately obeyed Jesus and went with Him.

"They left the ship".  They left their "comfort zone".  They left what was familiar to them. They left what they were good at and knew how to do.  They left what they were accustomed to.  They left their plans for themselves and the plans that someone else had made for them.

"They left their father".  They left that which they loved- one that was dear to their heart.  They also left that which had had authority over them up to that point.

When the Lord called you to receive and follow Him as your Savior, or when He called/calls you to follow a specific plan He has ordained for your life, what was (or is) your response?  Do you take your own sweet time about it?  Do you drag your feet?  Do you procrastinate doing it?  Do you wait until you get good and ready to do it?  Or is your obedience and response immediate?   

What is your response when He calls you out of your comfort zone and the place of familiarity? How willing are you to leave your plans and follow His plans?  Are you in such a bondage to someone else that they have more power over your life than you are willing to allow Him to have?

When we come to Christ, there will be sacrifices, we may have to leave what we hold dear.  We may have to give up what we hold near to our heart.  We have to relinquish any other authority over our lives and surrender to His authority.  This is especially true when we receive Him as Savior.  Before then satan was the father of our lives (John 8:44).  Now we have a new Father.  Satan no longer has authority over us that we should obey him and his plans for us.  In order to follow Jesus, we have to give up our own authority over our lives and place it in His hands?  Are you willing to do that?  Are you willing to do it immediately when He calls?

When Jesus called the disciples to follow Him, there was no struggle, no waiting, no fear, only surrender.  This should be our same response.  Is it? 

Have a great day.  Are you willing to live a life of immediately doing what the Lord calls you to do?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"Sweet Hour Of Prayer"

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Matthew 7:7

I am pulled between two words to give you this morning so I believe I am to give you both. They are both on the subject of prayer. Yesterday we talked about how life will knock us to our knees sometimes and when it does we are in a perfect position to pray. So why don't we pray, even when we are "knocked down"? Prayer is not always an easy thing. I remember my mother in law years ago making the comment about the song "Sweet Hour of Prayer". She commented that the time spent with Jesus is sweet, there is nothing like being in His presence, but it's not always a "sweet hour" sometimes it's work, sometimes it's difficult.

We often have struggles praying because it is "work". It's work in the sense of disciplining your flesh and bringing it under subjection to pray- it does not like to pray. It's work because it sometimes involves "travail". When the needs are great, the prayers become more effectual and more intense and we have to "push" a little harder to make our request known. When I think of prayer being hard work, I am reminded of Jesus in the garden. His prayers were so agonizing that He sweat drops of blood. It's work to stay in prayer until the answer comes, we tend to try to hurry it up. Prayer takes perseverance. The woman with the issue of blood had a prayer- to touch His hem- the pressing through the crowd was literally her prayer. She did not stop pressing and received the answer.

The second thing I want to say is, prayer puts us in a 'low" place- on our knees or on our face before the Lord. When we are low, there is only one direction to look-- up-- up to God. The good news is that when we look up, we don't have to look very far because God will come down low to meet us where we are. He may sit high, but He looks low. He will draw near to us when we draw near to Him. He isn't a God that is afar off. He is a very present help in time of trouble. He is right there with us. He will come to where you are.

Don't put off prayer. Don't let the "work" that it is sometimes cause you to hold back and neglect it. It may be work, it may be travail, it may involve knocking, persistence and perseverance, but it is worth it. God will come to you in prayer, where you are, even in a low place.

Have a great day. Prayer is work, but the rewards are sweet- it brings God close and He answers.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Positioned To Pray"

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6

Last night I came upon a quote that I thought was so good. I want to share it with you this morning. "When life knocks you to your knees, you are in a perfect position to pray." (Isn't that good.) Life often tends to "knock us down", but what do we do when it does?

When you feel as if the situation has knocked you down, what do you do? Do you whine about it? Do you complain about it? Do you lay there and wallow in it? Do you start feeling sorry for yourself? Do you worry, get anxious and fearful?  Do you look for someone to blame? Do you blame God? Do you try to find help in getting up through the arm of flesh? Do you try to find your own solution to the problem?  Do you take matters into your own hands?  What do you do?

Does it ever occur to you that since you are already "down" to just stay there and pray? Pray until the victory comes. Pray until you touch the hem of His garment. Pray until peace is restored. Pray until you have been strengthened to get up. Pray until you have heard from the Lord. Too often prayer is the last resort during these times. May I say that it should be the first course of action. Jesus told us that some solutions only come through prayer. The Bible tells us that we have not because we ask not. We are also told to pray without ceasing- that means all the time and in every situation.

The Father tells us that when we pray He will answer, yet prayer is so neglected. Actually, He promises us that He will hear and answer our prayers. So why do you try everything else then "try" prayer because nothing else has worked? Prayer is your key. If you have been "knocked to your knees" stay there and cry out to God, and stay there until the answer comes.

Have a great day. "When life knocks you to your knees, you are in a perfect position to pray."

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

"Pay Your Vow"

"Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Psalm 50:14,15

This morning you'll notice that I used two scriptures as our reference. I was reading the other morning in Psalm 50 and my attention was drawn to these two verses. I have them both underlined in my Bible and have read them numerous times, but I saw them in a different light this time.

If you'll notice, just because the first verse ended the sentence didn't. That means it was one thought. So, in that one sentence the Lord says to us that when we offer God thanksgiving and we pay our vows to Him, when we call upon Him in the day of trouble He will deliver us. The end result will be that we shall glorify Him for His deliverance and answer.

The verses are telling us that if we want God's delivering power in our situation, we need to give Him thanksgiving and pay the vows we make to Him. Are you paying your vows? Have you promised Him something yet you haven't fulfilled that promise? Have you made a "deal" or "bargain" with Him about a particular situation and He answered but you have not kept your end of the bargain?

The vow may have been made in haste in the heat of an urgent moment, it may have been made without any careful thought given, it may have been such a "small" vow- one which seems insignificant now. It doesn't matter when or how it was made, it needs to be kept. Making a vow to God is a serious matter. Ecclesiastes 5:4,5- "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay."

God remembers the vows we make to Him and expects us to keep them, just like we remember the vows/promises that He makes to us and we expect Him to keep them. Are you keeping your vows? Is there a vow that you have neglected to pay? Then pay it if you are still able to do so.  If you aren't, then repent.

Have a great day. Give God thanksgiving, pay your vows you make to Him, and when you call on Him in times of trouble, He'll deliver you.

Monday, April 22, 2019

"Outlook"

"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." Philippians 1:12

This verse in the Amplified Bible reads as follows: "Now I want you to know and continue to rest assured, brethren, that what [has happened] to me [this imprisonment] has actually only served to advance and give a renewed impetus to the [spreading of the] good news (the Gospel)." What a wonderful outlook on the situation. Paul knew that he was called by the Lord to spread the gospel, he knew that he was called to reach the lost, he knew he had been given a commission to fulfill and he knew that his steps were ordered by the Lord. Therefore, he knew that whatever he went through, even imprisonment, that it served a purpose. He knew that all things work together for the good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. He knew he wasn't in prison by accident. He knew he was there by the divine will of God. He knew that if God had ordered his steps into the prison, then God was going to get glory from it somehow and it was to be an instrument to help further the gospel.

I wonder if we were Paul living in prison would we be able to say the same thing? I wonder if we would see it as an opportunity to spread the gospel? I wonder if we would see any "good" in it? I wonder if we would have the same outlook? I wonder if we "do"? I haven't been imprisoned, but I face many trying situations. I find myself going through stormy times, perplexing times, times of illness, times of attack by the enemy, times of weariness and times when the enemy tries to hold me captive to a bondage of the flesh. If I know that I am called to represent the kingdom of God and help spread the good news about Jesus, then I need to realize that whatever comes my way is an opportunity to help further the gospel.

How so? The way I handle the situation either lifts Jesus up or pulls Him down. It either testifies of who He is or it testifies against Him. It either shines the light on His power, love and glory or it hides it. When I go through these times, I can either moan and groan, murmur and complain, feel sorry for myself, ask endless "whys" or I can exhibit the peace of God, the joy of the Lord, praise Him in spite of the situation, point to Him as my source of strength, help and grace. When I do the latter, I am helping to further the gospel because I am lifting Jesus up and He said that if He was lifted up He would draw all men to Himself.

Have a great day. What are you "spreading" in your situation?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Cleaning Out"

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

I am looking at my office this morning thinking, "What a mess!" Last night I had to go through boxes of business papers and receipts looking for some important documents from a particular year. I discovered that much of the paper work that was taking up space was unnecessary and needs to be discarded. So the first opportunity I get I will take time to sort, re-file and discard this endless stack of papers.

When I do some cleaning out in my house, I discard things that are no longer needed, things that have become just clutter, things that aren't valuable, things that are unproductive and take up space needed for something else, and things I never use. "Cleaning out" isn't just confined to my physical house, I have to do it spiritually as well.

There are so many unnecessary, unuseful things, space wasting things that we hold on to in our lives that need to be discarded. Bitterness, for one, takes up space that is needed for love. Jealousy needs to be cleaned out and discarded. Grudges that have set in your heart for years and years stop you from being productive. It's time to stop holding on to past failures- there is nothing productive about them, they just waste space. Are you getting the picture?

Many of us need to do some cleaning out. We are holding on to things that should have been discarded a long time ago. We are holding on to things that are unnecessary. We are holding on to things that are wasters- wasters of our time, our peace, God's plan, our talents and gifts. We are long overdue a cleaning out. That's the difference between cleaning out my physical house and my spiritual one. I clean out the physical when the mood hits me. The spiritual should be done on a regular basis-- daily. If it were, we would not have so much spiritual clutter weighing us down and hindering us from making the best use of the "space".

Have a great day. How long has it been since you have done a "spiritual cleaning out", and what are you holding on to that should be discarded?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

"Writing Off God"

"The foolishness of man subverts his way [ruins his affairs]; then his heart is resentful and frets against the Lord." Proverbs 19:3- Amplified Bible

The other day the Lord spoke a word to my heart to give to His people. I am to share it with you this morning. He said, "Didn't I tell you all things were possible to him that believes? So why are you writing the situation off? Why are you writing Me off? I am the One who hung the sun and moon in place and calls the stars by name."

I have not been able to get away from the words He spoke, "Why are you writing Me off?" When we "write someone off" it means that we don't care to have anything to do with them any longer. Usually it's because we don't trust them any longer, we don't see them as necessary, they have failed us or let us down, they aren't what we need or want. When we say this to God, we are saying that we can't trust Him, He hasn't come through for us, He hasn't provided what we need, therefore, we will look somewhere else or to some other source. We are saying that He had His chance but He let us down so we don't need His help- we don't need Him any more.

Have you "written God off" because He didn't come through for you in the way you desired or when you thought He should? Do you feel like He let you down? Have you turned from looking to Him to someone or something else? Do you realize that you are "writing off" your only true source of help? You are "writing off" the One who is the creator, the One who is all knowing, all wise, all powerful, with Whom nothing is impossible. You should "think again" before you turn from Him feeling like He can't help you. He is the only one who can!

Have a great day. Have you written God off in your situation because you feel like He has let you down?

Monday, April 15, 2019

"Still"

"For I am the Lord, I change not.." Malachi 3:6a

I saw a sign yesterday that said, "Life is good". The reality of it is that life isn't "always" good. Sometimes life can hand you some pretty "bad" things-- grief, pain, heartache. Things in life don't always go good. All our days are not always filled with sunshine. But when life isn't treating you so good, there is something that you need to remember-- "God is still good, all the time".

Life is full of good times, and God is good in the good times. Life is full of bad times, but God is still good in the bad times. Life has times of sunshine, God is good in the sunshine. Life has dark, stormy times, but God is still good in the stormy times. Sometimes it's raining, sometimes it's painful, sometimes there are valleys, deserts and night, but God is still good. Just because life went from good to bad doesn't mean that God changed. He is still the same.

There is a word I want you to remember and add to your vocabulary as you face life, that word is "still". This wonderful God who is good, is not only good when things are going good, when there is plenty of money for bills, when you have a job, when your body is not sick, when your relationships are fine, when you have food on your table, etc., but He is "STILL" good when you're sitting in the dark, when all have forsaken you, when there is no money, when there is no food, when there is no job, when there is nothing- when it all looks bad. Your situation has not changed Him.  Like the song says, "The God of the good times, is still God in the bad times. The God of the day, is still God in the night."

Have a great day. God is STILL good all the time.

Friday, April 12, 2019

"Out Of Order"

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Mt. 6:33)

Do you ever feel like your life is "out of order"? You aren't functioning properly; something is amiss? You just can't seem to get things going or headed in the right direction? The harder you try the further behind you get? You just can't "get it together"? You find yourself majoring on the minors and vice versa?

The opposite of "out of order" is "in order". There is a very simple explanation as to how our lives get "out of order", and there is a simple solution to getting them "in order". The reason our lives are "out of order" is because of the order of our priorities. The first place you have to look is at the "front of the line" in your life. What is in first place? What are you putting first? What is your first priority? If Jesus is not "first" in your life, there's your reason and your answer. If He is second, third, fifth, way down the line or last, then you can never expect to get your life "in order"- it will remain "out of order".

When I have to go somewhere, there is an "order" that I follow in getting ready- I take a shower, put on my clothes, get in my vehicle and drive to wherever it is I am going. I don't get in my vehicle first, then put on my clothes, then take a shower. That is all backwards. It's out of order and would cause me to have to start all over again. I have never seen a train with the engine in the middle- it's always in front. If the "power source" of that train in not in front (first place) that train is not going anywhere. Neither will your life if Jesus is not in front leading and empowering you.

If your life is "out of order", you need to do some "rearranging". You need to change the order of what is priority, what is most important, what should be first, then it will get in order. And until you rearrange it to where Jesus is first, it will always be out of order.

Have a great day. If your life is out of order, look at the front of the line and see what is in first place. If that's out of order, everything else will be.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

"A Falling Away"

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Last night I felt the Lord said to me that there was going to be a "falling away" in the church. Many believe a great revival is coming (possibly), but there will be a falling away. Even now we are seeing it. I have noticed many Christians have turned their back on the Lord and walked away from Him. I have noticed that some who were once "on fire" have become cool, lukewarm and indifferent. I have also noticed that so many seem unexcited and weary concerning the things of God. Many just sit "unmoved", "uninterested" and "preoccupied" during our church services.

I remember when you could hardly wait to go to church, knowing that God was going to meet you there. There was a hunger and thirst for the presence of God. Now we only "talk" about that hunger-- it's not pursued. Prayer and Bible reading were daily disciplines, now they are neglected for weeks at a time.

Am I describing you? Has there been a "falling away" from God in your life? Are you neglecting your relationship with Him? Have you lost the excitement for Him that you once had? Does going to His house "bore" you? Is reading the Bible a "chore"? Are you too busy for God? Do you still have the joy of your salvation? Are you more interested in and more concerned with other things than the things of God? Have you lost the excitement and anticipation of meeting with the Lord and having Him speak to your heart? Have you lost your first love? How would you describe your relationship with the Lord-- hot, warm, cold, exciting, unenthused?

If that describes you, you need to lay down all unnecessary distractions that are in your life, find a prayer closet, go in, shut the door behind you and stay there until you "touch the hem of His garment" and have a personal encounter with the living God and allow Him to cause the flames of revival to begin to blaze and burn within you.

Have a great day. Don't be numbered among those who are falling away.. fall back to Him.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Reminded"

"We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

A few days ago we talked about paying God the honor and glory that He is due. I have wondered why do we have to be "reminded" to honor Him, to love Him, to trust Him, to serve and obey Him. Why do I have to be reminded to praise God? Why do I have to be reminded to love Him with all my heart? Why do I have to be reminded to give Him first place in my life? You would think that after all He has done for us there would never be a question about giving Him what is due- it would be the result and automatic response of a heart of gratitude.

I don't have to be reminded to love my husband. I don't have to be reminded to do nice things for him. I don't have to be reminded to give him a word of praise when he does something kind for me. So why must I be constantly reminded to "honor" my Lord and Savior?

I will leave you with this thought to ponder and in doing so examine your relationship with the Lord and see if you are always having to be reminded to look to Him, to give Him what He is due, to love, trust and obey Him. If what you do where the Lord is concerned doesn't, for the most part, come automatically out of response to His great love for you, perhaps you need to go back and get reacquainted with Him.

Have a great day. We should not have to be reminded to love Him and put Him first.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

"Eternal Opportunities"

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16

The Amplified Bible says, "Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil." Are you making the most of your time? I am not necessarily talking about using your time wisely to get a lot of earthly responsibilities taken care of- although you should manage your time wisely, not be lazy or slothful and accomplish what is required of you. I am talking about using your time wisely where the kingdom of God is concerned. Are you using your time wisely on those things which have eternal value? This world will not last forever. The time of Christ's return is drawing near. The end of this age as we know it will one day soon come to an end. The days are evil and getting more evil with each passing day. Therefore, it is not the time to be wasting time.

"Buy up each opportunity." Are you buying up each opportunity to let your light shine before men so that they will glorify God? Are you buying up each opportunity by sharing the good news that Jesus saves with those who are lost? Are you using your "talents" to bring a "profit" to the kingdom? Are you buying up each opportunity as a way to lay up treasures in heaven. Are you buying up each opportunity by allowing God's hand of love to reach out through you to those who are suffering, to the weak, to the rejected, to the confused, to the discouraged? Are you buying up each opportunity by being obedient to the wooing of the Holy Spirit to go where He leads you? Are you buying up each opportunity to point people to Christ and lift Him up by speaking a word of comfort to the hurting, by feeding the hungry, by clothing the naked, by visiting the sick and imprisoned, by giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty?

Each day is a day filled with opportunity after opportunity for us to give honor to God and bring souls that are lost into His kingdom. As I said earlier, this world will not last forever, but the things that are done for Christ's kingdom will. It's those opportunities that we need to take advantage of and buy up because they are investments in eternity.

Have a great day. Are you using your time to buy up those opportunities that have eternal value?

Monday, April 8, 2019

"Pay What You Owe"

"Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." Romans 13:7

As I opened the Bible resource where I get each morning's scripture from, I noticed the verse of the day. I thought it was "interesting/funny" that it was this verse above that talks about paying taxes given the fact that it is tax time here in the United States. In this verse we are told to pay what we owe. If you owe taxes, pay them. If you owe a bill, pay it. If you owe someone money, pay them. We should never try to get out of paying our debts- it's called integrity, and God's people should be people of integrity.

It also says that if someone is due honor or respect, give it to them. So what about the Lord? Doesn't that include Him? Doesn't He deserve honor? Are we giving Him the respect and honor that He deserves? We owe Him so much. We owe Him a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. But just because we can never repay it doesn't mean that we should forget the debt and take Him for granted. We should be giving Him the highest honor possible. We should be holding Him in high regard. We should honor Him above anyone and anything else.

How do we give Him honor? By giving Him what He is due- our love, devotion, worship and obedience. And we give Him our love, devotion, worship and obedience by keeping His commandments; by acknowledging Him in all that we do; by giving Him first place in our lives; by surrendering total control of our lives to Him; by being imitators of Him before the world; by being people who are following Him- His plan and His agenda- not our own.

As you are paying "what" you owe, make sure you are paying "all" that you owe, and all "who" you owe... including the Lord.

Have a great day. We should always pay what we owe, and first on our list should be the Lord.

Friday, April 5, 2019

"Two Voices"

"Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." Psalm 37:24

When babies first start learning to walk, they do a lot of falling down.  When my grandbaby was first learning to walk, she wasn't walking very well, she was spending a lot of time falling down. Each time she would fall, I would clap and laugh and act like it was a great accomplishment. As a result, she would get right on up with a great big smile on her face and take off walking again- she didn't lay there and cry, or wait for you to pick her up and she didn't give up.

Do every feel like that baby learning to walk? Do you ever feel like you spend more time falling down than you do walking? Do you ever feel like for every step you take forward you take two steps back? Do you feel like you make one step then trip and fall on the second step? Honestly, I have felt like that. I still feel like that some times. Some days it's just so hard to get my "land legs". Some days my footing isn't very secure. Some times I feel like I am always falling flat on my face.

When I do wind up "on the ground- flat on my face", I hear two voices speaking to me. One is the voice of enemy who spews out his lies, accusations and condemnations at me. He tells me that I will never "get it right". He tells me I am a failure. He tells me I need to just give up. He encourages me to stay down and not try again. He tells me to lay there and feel sorry for myself and wallow in my pain, hurt and inability. He tries to heap guilt on me.

Then there is the other voice. It is the voice of my Father who tells me that it will be all right. Who tells me to get up and try again. Who tells me "you can do it". Who does for me what I did for my grandbaby. He cheers me on. He tells me I will succeed. He reaches for me, helps me up, stands me back on my feet, dusts me off and sends me on my way. He tells me He still loves me.

I know the same two voices come to you also when you fall. The question is which one are you going to listen to? Are you going to listen to the enemy and lay there and give up? Or are you going to listen to the voice of your loving heavenly Father cheering you on?

Have a great day. The voice you listen to will determine whether you stay down in defeat or get up and walk in victory.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

"Can You Praise Him?"

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

Most mornings the scene outside my window is one of sunshine. This morning there is nothing to see out there but fog. Last night the scene was flashes of lightening, heavy rain and swaying trees. The scene outside my window seems to constantly be changing. The one I like best is the one that is full of sunshine.

Life can be compared to the view of a window. Some days we see sunshine, some days we see rain, some days there is fog, some days there are lightening flashes. I am sure if we had our pick we would much prefer the days that are filled with sunshine- no storms, no dreariness, no threatening wind. But life doesn't happen like that. The question then comes to mind, "Can you still praise Him regardless of what comes?"

Can you still praise Him in the storms like you do in the sunshine? Can you still praise Him in the fog? Can you still praise Him when it's raining? Can you still praise Him when all is "not" so well? Can you still praise Him when the fog of life is obscuring your view of Him; when His hand and provisions are hid from sight; when His "face" is hard to see; when His presence is not easily felt? Can you praise Him in times of battle when the victory seems to be no where in sight? Can you still praise Him when the boat is filling with water; when the furnace is seven times hotter; when the giant is making his threats; when the sea is hindering? Can you still praise Him?

Have a great day. Can you still praise Him? Or maybe I should said, "Will you?"

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"The Glory He Is Due"

"Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." Psalm 29:2

As I was praising the Lord the other day- giving Him the glory that was due His holy name- it dawned on me... how can I give Him the glory that He is due? How can I give Him the glory that He rightfully deserves? How can I whose frame is dust, who is a vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow, who am slow of speech, who is finite, who is a created being, whose existence is like the grass of the field, who is a mere mortal... give Him the glory that is due His holy name? How can I give Him glory to the degree in which He is worthy?

When I give Him glory and honor and praise and worship, I fall so short of what He is truly due. He is the King of glory, He is the Creator of the universe, He is the Eternal One, the All Powerful, All Knowing, Almighty God. He is worthy of, and He is due, so much more glory than I can give. He is worthy of so much more than I can articulate. He is worthy of greater accolades than I can bestow on Him. The glory He is due is not in my vocabulary or within my ability to give. My tongue can't give Him the praise He actually deserves- even if I had a thousand tongues I would come up short.

So what can I give Him? What praise can I offer? Will He accept my praise and worship even though it falls short and does not come close to giving Him what He is due? I am reminded of the widow in the Bible with the two mites. She was in the temple bringing an offering to the Lord. She didn't have much, she only had two mites. It was far less than what the Lord deserved. It was so very little. It fell short of what the Lord deserved. But Jesus took note of it. He acknowledged that it was an offering that was acceptable by the Lord. Why? Because she gave all she had. She gave all that was in her ability to give. She didn't hold back anything she had from the Lord. She gave sacrificially and unselfishly. She gave what she had even though it was little and did not come close to what He deserves yet Jesus acknowledged it.

Our praise falls so short of what He is due, but if we will not withhold it, if we will give Him all we have, if we will give it to Him unselfishly from our hearts, He will acknowledge it and He will receive it.

Have a great day. He deserves more glory than we have the ability to give Him, but we must give Him all that we have, even if it's a little.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"The Bird's Song - Part 2"

"And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Luke 19:40

Yesterday when we talked about the birds, I said that I was sure that their chirping was not chirps of fear, doubt, complaining, etc. I believe they are singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord who so graciously meets their every need everyday. As I thought about the birds praising the Lord, it made me think about the scripture above when Jesus said that if the people didn't praise Him, the rocks would cry out in praise.

I don't know about you, but like the song says, "Ain't no rock gonna praise in my place". And I am not going to let a bird, a rock, a flower, a cat- anything that has breath, or doesn't have breath- out praise me either. I am the one who was made in His image. I am the one that He died for on the cross. I am the one whose sins have been washed away. I am the one who has been forgiven. I am the one who has received the gift of salvation and eternal life and has a home prepared for me in His house. So I ought to be the one giving Him more praise. I ought to be the one praising Him more loudly. I ought to be the one out-praising every other thing on earth. To the birds, the grass of the field, the rocks, etc., He is their Creator but He is my Heavenly Father- so I should out praise them.

When I think about who He is and what He's done for me, I have to praise Him. When I am lost, He is my Savior. When I am sick, He is my healer. When I am in bondage, He is my deliverer. When I am weak, He is my strength. When I am confused, He is my peace. When I am in need, He is my provider. When I am hungry, He is my bread. When I am thirsty, He is my water. When I'm in prison, He's the key that opens the door. When I am weary, He's my refreshing. When I'm sad, He's my joy. When I am overwhelmed, He's the lifter of my head. When I'm in darkness, He's my light. When I'm afraid, He's my comforter. Can a rock say that? Can a bird? Can a tree? Can any other creation? Can they do a better job of praising Him? Am I going to let them do a better job? Not as long as I have breath!

Have a great day. I am not going to let anything out praise me!... are you?

Monday, April 1, 2019

"The Bird's Song"

"Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 150:6

As day was breaking this morning I heard a little bird outside my window chirping loudly. I wondered what he was "saying". Of course, I can't interpret "bird language" but I have a feeling that he wasn't complaining about how it has turned off cold. I don't think he was bemoaning the state of the economy. I don't think he was fearfully wondering where his next meal was coming from. I don't think he was singing a song of gloom, despair, worry or fear.

I believe he was singing a song of praise- praise to God for giving him a new day, for watching over him and taking care of him. May I remind you this morning that the birds don't have jobs, they don't have grocery stores, they don't live in heated and cooled houses, they live in nests, they catch bugs and dig for worm, yet they have everything that they need. How? Because there is a God above who feeds them and attends to all their needs.

This God is our heavenly Father. So may I remind you also that if He cares so much for the birds that He feeds them every day, doesn't He care for you more? Aren't you more valuable to Him then they are? So why are you singing the song of worry? Why is your conversation one of fear? Why are you complaining? Why aren't you speaking in faith? Why aren't your words filled with praise? "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" (Matthew 6:25,26) "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6,7)

Have a great day. If God doesn't forsake the birds' needs, if He takes care of them, if He provides for them, won't He do the same for you... and much more.

Friday, March 29, 2019

"How Much Are You Worth?"

"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:20

Do you know what determines the value of something? It's the price that one is willing to pay for it. If there is something that I really want badly, and deem as valuable, I will pay the asking price- it doesn't matter how much it cost. I might have to make some sacrifices in order to purchase it, but I will make them because I consider that thing worth it. Why am I willing to do without something else in order to have this thing? Why am I willing to spend everything I have for it? Because it's something of great value to me. On the other hand if it isn't something that I consider valuable, I won't care if I have it or not. Therefore, I am not willing to pay whatever the asking price is for it.

Did you know that you are valuable? Do you know just how valuable you are? Do you know that you are priceless? Do you realize you are the most valuable thing in the universe? God is the one who determined the value of your life and He is the one who determined that you are priceless. He loves you and set His affection on you. He loved you so much He had to have you for His own, but in order to "have you" He had to "buy you" out of the slavery of sin. The price was high- very high- but He was willing to pay it because He valued you that highly, and wanted you that badly.

When I get a chance to listen to the news I hear monetary numbers like "billions" and "trillions" (I am not sure I can count that high), that's a lot of money. But those figures don't even begin to come close to the price that was paid for you. You were purchased with the blood of Jesus. Purchased with blood-- not silver, not gold, not precious jewels. That blood was not the blood of animals, angels or some other person. The blood that purchased you was that of the only begotten Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Son of God Himself paid the price for you with His own blood. Why? Because He loved you so much and placed a high value on you and was willing to pay whatever the price and make whatever sacrifice He had to in order to have you. (1 Peter 1:18,19)

Have a great day. The God of heaven was willing to pay the highest price that could be paid in order to have you... you are that valuable to Him.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

"Sorry"

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." 2 Corinthians 7:10

I have to admit that I missed it this morning. I rolled back over in bed and fell back asleep. What's so bad about that? The Lord woke me up a little earlier to spend some extra time with Him before my day got started. I knew it was Him and I didn't get on up. I really regret that I didn't because it's getting late in the morning, I have several things already wanting my time, I have some responsibilities that must be attended to but I still need to have that extra time with the Lord. Other than confession being good for the soul, I told you all this because when I told the Lord I was sorry, He spoke back and said, "It's not about being sorry, it's about being repentant".

Being sorry and repentance are not the same thing. Sorry is more of an "emotional" thing and repentance is a complete change of mind. Sorry often involves regrets- regrets over something that you lost, something that you forfeited, something that you missed out on. Sorry also more often responds to the consequences. It's like the little child who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar after his mother told him he could not have the cookie. He is sorry because he got caught. He is sorry because he doesn't want to face the punishment and is hoping to avoid it. But when mother turns her back he's in the cookie jar again- he wasn't repentant.

Repentance involves a change of mind. When the Lord spoke that to me this morning, He meant that He did not want me to just be sorry because of what I missed, but He wants me to have a totally different outlook on it. He wants me to change my way of thinking and get up just because He said to get up. Repentance motivates me to do the right thing for the right reason.  Earthly sorrow looks at the situation from my own perspective-- it does not lead to repentance.  Godly sorrow looks at the situation the way God looks at it-- it will lead to repentance.  

Have a great day. It's not about being sorry, it's about repentance.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"Here I Am To Worship"

"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." John 4:23

I was listening to this wonderful worship song last night and begin to think that I would love to be in a really great worship service. You know the kind I am talking about. The kind where the presence of God is so overwhelming, the place feels electrified by His presence, you are "raptured" in the sense of His love for you, time stands still, nothing else matters, your heart is pouring out its deepest love and affection on Him. I truly love those times. (Can you only image what heaven will be like?)

As I thought about this, my thought was more of a prayer, then the Lord spoke this to my heart-- you don't have to wait until you are in the company of some large crowd to worship and experience that place where our hearts touch each others. ( I know this to be true for I have experienced those times when it was just me and the Lord.)

Corporate worship is great.  We are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together with one another. There is something that happens when two or more are gathered in His name. When the body of Christ comes together, we should worship in one accord offering up a sacrifice of praise that invokes His presence. But our worship time should not be restricted to only the times when we are gathered together with others.

Worship is as much a private thing as it is a public thing. Worship is as much an individual thing as it is a corporate thing. Worship should never be confined within the assembly of the church only. Worship is a place within the heart. Worship is not about the number of people present, it's not about the place, it's not about a gathering with others-- it's about touching the heart of God and that can be done whether you are alone or with others.

Have a great day. If you are not spending time worshipping Him when there is no one there but you and Him, you are missing out on the intimate fellowship that He desires to give you.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"Second Chance- Part 2"

"She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:11

Yesterday I told you that I had run into a man that I used to go to school with years ago. He was telling me that he had received a liver transplant five years earlier because his life of drugs and alcohol had destroyed his. I told him to take care of it because it cost someone else their life for him to have it- in essence, for him to have a second chance at life. This morning let me say this, unless he changes his way of living he will wind up doing the same thing to this new liver- destroying it.

Then we also discussed yesterday that we have been given a second chance at life because someone died for us so that we might live- Jesus. I asked the question, "What are you doing with this second chance?". This morning I want to talk about the second chance again that we have been given. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn us (John 3:17), but to give us life. Once we have received that new life we are commanded to "go and sin no more". Jesus expects us to live and walk in a new life of transformation and leave the old way of life behind.

Just because He has washed your sins away does not mean that you can keep living in sin. His message has always been and will always be- turn from your sins, walk in newness of life, go and sin no more. The man I was talking about has received a new liver but if he doesn't make a complete turn from a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol he will destroy this new liver and face the consequences again of his actions. A new liver does not give him more opportunity to keep drinking, it gave him a second chance at life. Jesus doesn't just give us a "guilt free" conscience to continue in a sinful lifestyle. He gives us a second chance to live and to live an abundant life. Like the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus did not condemn her, He forgave her, but then He told her not to keep doing (living in) the sin she was doing. He still says the same thing to us today.

Have a great day. Once you have received forgiveness and the new life Jesus gives--- go and sin no more.

Monday, March 25, 2019

"Second Chance"

"In him was life..." John 1:4a

Several years ago when I used to minister at the drug and alcohol recovery center, I saw a man that I had gone to school with but had not seen for many years. We briefly caught up on each others lives. He told me that he had received a liver transplant about five years earlier after having destroyed his through alcohol and drugs. I told him to take care of the new one because in order for him to have gotten it someone had to die.

As I said those words I was reminded of another time when someone had to die in order for others to live. Jesus had to die in order for us to live, in order for us to have eternal life, in order for us to be able to have a relationship with the Heavenly Father and He had to die in order for our sins to be forgiven and washed away.

My statement to this man was also asking him what he was doing with the "second chance" he now had. Was he going to waste it? Was he going to continue to ruin his life? Was he going to take advantage of the new life he has received? Was he going to show his gratitude by being productive and accomplish something worth while? I have to ask you the same questions this morning. Since you have received a "second chance" and a new lease on life through Jesus, what are you doing with it? Are you going to take it for granted? Are you going to enjoy the life He has given to you? Are you going to squander it on doing your own will? Are you going to show your gratitude by surrendering to God's plan for your life? Are you going to use this marvelous gift to fulfill the plan and purpose that God has for your life? What are you going to do with it? What are you doing with it?

Have a great day. Through Christ's death we have been given the opportunity to have life. Have you received that life? If so, what are you doing with it?

Friday, March 22, 2019

"He Sees In Darkness"

"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

As I was praying about what the Lord desires to say to us this morning through the devotional, Psalm 139 came to mind. Then He said to tell you that it doesn't matter where you are, He still sees you.

You may be on the mountain top this morning without a care in the world. Things may be going great in your life. You may have plenty to eat, a place to lay your head and call home, you may have all your family around you, you may have all your bills paid and money in your pocket. As a result, you have the confidence and assurance that God is watching over you because of these blessings that are in your life.

But on the other hand, you may be in a valley this morning, you may be sitting in a place of darkness. There may be sickness in your body, pain filling every joint. You may be wondering where your next meal is coming from. You may be on your way to work knowing that this will be your last week there. You may be sitting at the bed side of a loved one who is taking their last breaths. As a result, of this dark valley you might be wondering, "Where is God?". His answer to you is: I am here! I see you when you stand up, sit down and lay down. I see you when the darkness looms, when the shadows come, when the trials rest like thick black clouds around you. You are not hid from My sight. The darkness cannot hide you. I see you!

Be comforted this morning by the fact that God sees you no matter where you are and what you are going through. Take a few moments and read all of Psalms 139. There is no place (no matter how dark the trial or how deep the pit) where you are hid from His sight.

Have a great day. Even when it is so dark that you can't see anything but the darkness.... He still sees you.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

"All Powerful God"

"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." Ephesians 1:21

A few days ago we talked about how that God is in control and more powerful than the most powerful people on earth. God has all power; He has absolute power, while man- regardless of the position he may hold- only has delegated power and authority that has been given to him by God.

This morning I want to remind you that not only does God have all power in earth but also in heaven. He has all power in the heavenly/spiritual realms as well. He doesn't only have power over the "seen" world, He has power over the "unseen" world. His power is greater than that of the devil or any demon. His power is greater than the powers of sickness and disease. He is more powerful than depression, anxiety, worry and fear. He is greater than the harassing spirits that try to torment you with guilt and condemnation. He is more powerful than the enemy's lies, accusations and confusion that he throws your way. He created all things by the power of His word, by the breath of His nostrils and by the thought in His mind. He is greater than anything! He alone has been highly exalted with a name that is above every other name. He alone sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high. He alone has all things under His feet. He alone is the Head. He alone has the title of King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the one that causes demons to tremble, mountains to skip like young lambs, the sun to hide its face because of His brilliant radiance, the ocean to roll back at His presence, even the winds and the waves of the sea obey Him.

He has power over anything and everything that is coming against you today. The devil is not more powerful- his schemes, devices and pits of destruction are not more powerful. Jesus defeated him at the cross. (Colossians 2:15) He totally disrobed him and stripped him of any power that he has over you. Jesus set the captives free and opened the prison doors to those who were bound. The grave could not hold Him. He rose victorious over death and the grave and that victory was gained not for Himself, but for us!!! His strong right arm got us the victory!!! So walk in that victory today because the All- Powerful God lives you in. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

Have a great day. Never forget WHO He is... the ALL POWERFUL GOD of heaven and of earth.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

"He's There"

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

Today is the first day of spring and it is a beautiful sunny morning. I was thinking about the weather earlier. I have noticed that the weather changes from location to location. Over the past several weeks some of my email friends would make comments about how the weather was where they lived. It's pretty amazing. On the days it would be warm and sunny here, it would be rainy in one area of the country and snowing in another. I think this is a good illustration of how life is. We don't all experience "sunny" times at the same time. Some of us may be having "sunshine" (things are going well, no major problems, we are at peace), while at the same time some others may be experiencing a "winter" time (problems, grief, trials, sorrow, etc.)

But you know, sitting above the earth is the sun. It's always there. It's there whether we see it shining or not. The clouds may be blocking it, the snow may be hiding it, but it's still there. I want to encourage you this morning that whether your life is full of "sunshine" or "rain" or "snow" this morning. There is a wonderful God who is watching over you whether you see or feel His presence or not. He isn't there only when we see Him "shining"- when He is answering all our prayers in the affirmative, when we have all our needs met. He is there even when the "clouds" block Him from view. He's there when problems come, when pain afflicts, when sorrow weighs you down. His presence is still there.

Today you may feel as if He is not there. He is. Just because He is blocked from your view doesn't mean that He isn't there. I know, even through the weeks of cloudy and rainy days, that the sun (literal sun) will shine again. I also know that just because the circumstances of life seem to block the Lord from my view that I will "see" Him again. There will come a day when His presence will shine brightly in view. But until I see His shining presence, I will hold on to the fact/faith that He is still there watching over me.

Have a great day. He may be blocked at the moment from view because of the circumstances you are going through, but rest assured that He is still there!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Choosing Other Things"

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Have you wondered why it is that when planning something like a Bible study or prayer meeting- a "church activity"- you have to schedule it around the schedules of "other" things? For example, sports activities and extra curricular activities all seem to take precedence. It used to be that we scheduled everything else around "church activities", now it's just the opposite. If we have something else planned, the things of God have to try to find a place to be "worked" into the schedule.

I remember when life centered around "church". If whatever you wanted to do, if wherever you wanted go, if something else was happening at the same time, it wasn't a choice--- it was a given, you went to church. As Christians that was- and may I add still should be- the priority. It wasn't a "choice" between the two, you always put the church first. Why? Because that was God's business, and God's business always comes before everything else. Now days, sadly, it has gone in the opposite direction- people automatically choose the other above the things of God.

What about you? When it comes to choosing between the two, what is your choice? Do you choose to go to the football game instead of the house of God? Do you enroll your children in some activity knowing that it conflicts with church service? Is a fishing trip more important than Bible study? (I know that there are "vacation" times when we take a few days to "get away", and some people can't make it because of health issues, that's not necessarily what I am talking about.) I am talking about those things that you do on a regular basis that take precedence over going to "church activities".  Is it a hard choice for you? Or is it a given-- you are going to put God and the things of God first?


I am not just talking about "church". I am talking about the things of God period.  Are they priority?  Or do other things take precedence over them?  He should always be our first priority.

Have a great day. There should be no "contest" and no "choice" between the things that pertain to Godly activities and worldly activities.