Wednesday, January 16, 2019

"Waiting For Access"

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

Is the Lord standing at the door of your heart knocking? Waiting to gain access into your life, into your situation, into some particular area? He loves you and wants to have a part in your life- your entire life.. in the struggles, in the problems, in the good times and in the bad times.

What is keeping you from opening the door? What keeps you from allowing Him access? Is it fear? Is it pride? Is it stubbornness? Are you content with having things as they are? Do you think you are smarter or stronger than He is? Do you think that you are able to handle it on your own and you don't need His help? For each of us there are different reasons. But there is never a good reason for any of us. So what is your reason?

Have a great day. Is He knocking? Are you opening? If not, why?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"Praise Him In The Middle

"From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Yesterday we talked about how God is with us- at the beginning, the end and in the middle- of our lives, our situations, our circumstances. This morning I want to remind you that because He is there- beginning, end and middle- we should praise Him throughout the entire day. We praise Him when we wake up in the morning (at the beginning of the day) for rest, peace and sleep through the night, for protection and safety, for waking us to the dawn of a new day. We praise Him at night (at the end of the day) for bringing us through another day, for providing all our needs, for seeing us safely through it.

But what about during the day? Should we not be giving Him praise throughout the day? At each turn we make, with every step we take, with each mile we travel, in every decision that is set before us, for those who are part of our lives, each time we clock in on our jobs, each time we sit down to a meal, or walk around in our homes, each time we engage in a relationship with someone, should we not offer up a word of praise, a word of thanksgiving, a word of gratitude?

There are times throughout my day when I see His hand moving, when I am overwhelmed by His presence and when I feel His touch and I have to stop and praise Him. But even when I don't feel His presence or see Him working on my behalf, I still stop what I am doing and take a minute to offer up a sacrifice of praise, I still go throughout the day with a praise for who He is, what He's done and what He's doing in my heart. He is worthy of praise every minute of every hour of every day. His praise should be continually in our mouths and heart- beginning, end and middle of every day.

Have a great day. From the rising of the sun until it sets at night and all throughout the day the name of the Lord is to be praised.

Monday, January 14, 2019

"He's In The Middle"

"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:" Isaiah 55:10

The Lord gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater. As I think about this I see a process- from seed to bread. First there is a seed that is planted, next the seed develops into a plant, the plant grows and matures then it's harvested, the harvested wheat is processed and pressed into flour, the flour is kneaded into dough, the dough is baked and becomes bread to eat.

The seed is the beginning of the process and the bread is the end of it. The message I want to encourage you with this morning is that the Lord who was at the beginning- giving seed to the sower- and who was at the end- giving bread to the eater- was in the middle of the process as well. He is the beginning and the end. He is the first and the last. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the Author and Finisher. But He is the middle and the in-between also. He doesn't just start it then leave you until it's finished. He doesn't just show up at the end.

The Lord was at the beginning of Israel's deliverance from Egypt. He was at the end when they reached the promised land. But He was in the middle as well. He was with them the whole time they were in the wilderness (the in-between). He was there each time they went around the mountain. He was there the whole forty years. He never left them nor forsook them. Let that give you comfort and joy this morning. He is with you "during" whatever you are going through. Whatever process you are in, whatever trial you are facing, whatever the circumstance, He was there when it started, He will be there at the end, but He is also right in the middle of it with you.

Have a great day. He is the beginning and the end and the middle too!

Friday, January 11, 2019

"Help Myself?"

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." Isaiah 40:29

I was involved in a conversation today with someone who is a real intellectual. They can't think outside of the natural course of life. Their understanding leaves no room for God and His intervention in the course of human events- especially on a personal level. We were talking about a situation and I was sharing my testimony of how miraculously God moved on my behalf. They completely ignored God's intervention and made the comment: "The Lord helps those who help themselves". At that point I ended the conversation because sometimes you are wasting your time to give any further explanation, you can't say anything else until the Spirit begins to open their eyes, and in some cases you are casting your pearls before swine.

What I would have loved to said to him was- that is NOT scriptural. It may sound like a "noble" statement, but it's humanistic reasoning! The truth is: "God helps those who CAN'T help themselves"! Oh, I know that God does expect us to do some things and that we are workers together with God; also I am not talking about an excuse for laziness. And true enough He won't do some things for me when I can do them for myself. But... there is a terrible problem with that sort of thinking. It's a blanket statement that negates man's need for God.

First, it tends to make you feel that God will not help you unless you are helping yourself. Let's face it, there is much that we cannot do, so does that mean we are to expect no help from God? Second, it puts words in God's mouth- it makes Him say something that He never has nor ever will. Thirdly, if I could help myself I wouldn't have a need for God.

When I fall, I can't help myself up. When I sin, I can't forgive myself. When I am downcast, I can't lift up my own head. When I am in the valley of decision, I don't know which path to take. When I am in need, I can't always meet that need- no matter how hard I try, how long I work, etc. When I have a mountain in front of me, I can't move it. When I am weak, I cannot strengthen and empower my own self. And God knows that! That's why He gives me the invitation to come to Him, to call upon Him, to look to Him, to trust in Him, to lean upon Him, to seek Him and to be confident in Him.

Have a great day. He helps me because I can't help myself.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"It Flees"

"The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back." Psalm 114:3

In context this scripture is referring to the time when the Lord delivered His people from Egypt and were taking them to the land that He had promised to give to the descendants of Abraham. During this transition from one location to another we have the accounts of two miraculous, supernatural events that dealt with bodies of water- the partings of the Red Sea and the Jordan River.

God had made a promise to Abraham centuries earlier and the fulfillment of that promise was in the process, but there were a couple of things in the natural realm that stood in the way- these two bodies of water. I want to encourage you this morning that when God is in the process of fulfilling His promise, when the physical manifestation is being revealed, there is nothing that can stand in His way to stop it. There is not a sea too wide, a river too deep, a mountain too high, a storm too violent to hinder God. All He has to do is speak to it, wave His hand over it, breath on it and it no longer stands in the way.

This morning maybe you have come to the "sea" and you don't see a way to cross it. Don't worry about it. God can cross it! God can remove it out of the way, God can cause it to flee and become dry ground, God can give you a boat and the grace to paddle across it or He can give you the strength to jump in the water and swim. The point is, it may be an impossible obstacle to you, but it is not an obstacle or impossible to God.

Have a great day. Nothing can stand in the way of God's plan going forward-- nothing in the natural or spiritual realms.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

"It's Little"

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." Song of Solomon 2:15

What is keeping you out of the presence of God? What hinders you from pressing in? What holds you back from going up the mountain to meet with Him? What causes you to only go so far then turn back? What keeps you from fulfilling God's plan for your life? What stops you in your tracks each time you begin to advance forward?

Often we get frustrated because we can't figure it out- we don't know what the problem is that is standing in our way. That's because we are usually looking for some "big" thing to account for the problem. Most of the time it is not a "big" thing, but something "little".  It's the little things that cause as much, if not more, of a problem for us than the big ones. I remember a time when I was having trouble with my automobile. It would be running fine then the next time I got in it I could not get it cranked. The problem turned out to be something small- the battery cable just needed tightening. But that "little" problem shut down the whole automobile and my ability to go any where.

If you are having a problem going deeper in your relationship with God, in pressing into that secret place, in hearing His voice, in total surrender and submission to Him but you don't know why, and you know there is nothing "big" that is causing it- go a little deeper and look for something "little". Ask the Lord to show you what it is.

Have a great day. Little things often cause a bigger problem than big things.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"Led Up"

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

Ever been in a "wilderness"? So many Christians think that the "wilderness" is something the devil does to them. That is not the case. He tempts you "in" the wilderness. "And when the tempter came to him." (Mt. 4:3a) But the wilderness is often God's doing. Who led the Israelites out of Egypt into the wilderness? According to this morning's verse, Jesus was led "by the Spirit" into the wilderness. The wilderness is God's plan on occasion for our lives.

For years I didn't know that. Once I learned that, it helped me look at these times in my life in a different way. If God led me there it was ultimately for my good and intended to accomplish His purpose in my life. I began to view the wilderness as "not such a bad place" any longer. This past week I was reading this verse and saw something I never paid attention to before- it was such a revelation. It says that the Spirit led Jesus "up" into the wilderness.

"Jesus was led 'up' into the wilderness". We have got to completely change our view of the wilderness. The wilderness is "up". Jesus had to go "up" to get to the wilderness. The wilderness takes you higher. It's not a "low" area that brings you down. It accomplishes a higher plan of God for your life. It takes you to a new level- a higher level. After Jesus came out of the wilderness He came out with power. After the wilderness is when His ministry started. After the wilderness He went about doing good. After the wilderness He chose His disciples. After the wilderness He began to preach the kingdom of heaven, He began to heal the sick, walk the shores of Galilee, taught the sermon on the mount, etc.

We have to change our perspective of the wilderness. No, it's not a pleasant place- it's exactly what its name implies-- wilderness. But the wilderness is "up", it's on a higher level and it takes us to a higher level spiritually. So when the Spirit leads you into the wilderness, don't go in with dread, don't go in with fear and trembling, don't go in murmuring and complaining, kicking and screaming. Just follow the Spirit and go in with joy, knowing that its purpose is to take you to a higher plain, and let it.

Have a great day. Always remember that the wilderness is intended to take you "up".

Monday, January 7, 2019

"They Come And Go"

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:14

During our first year of marriage we lived in a rental house in a small community about fifteen miles from any town. We decided to purchase a mobile home instead of continuing to pay rent and put it on my dad's property. In order to reach the spot where we set up the mobile home we had to build a rather long gravel driveway.  That first year was awful. It rained almost everyday. When it wasn't raining, it was overcast and dreary. I can't remember seeing the sun at all for weeks and weeks. I was cooped up in my little home for days without end. Leaving was a challenge that was almost impossible to win- I don't think I have to tell you what rain does (and lots of it) to a freshly poured gravel driveway.

That first year is one I will never forget. Rainy, dreary, overcast, cloudy, challenges in leaving my home.  If I did try to go out I would bog down in the gravel and be stuck. As I am remembering this time in my life, I am remembering that it is only a "memory". It's past now. Even though I thought I would never see the sun again, I did. It did shine again. My situation did not remain that way forever. In the years to come there were more days that were filled with sun than with gloom and clouds. And those days are now years behind me.

I told you that little story to let you know that your days may be cloudy and dreary, you may think that the sun will never shine again, you may feel like you are a prisoner to you situation, you may feel that making any sort of a move places challenges on you that you don't seem to be able to overcome. (I am not just talking about your physical condition- you know what I mean.) But I want to tell you it won't always be like this. You will see the sun again, it won't last forever. I am sure Job thought that he would never see the light of day again, but he did. Take heart. The rain comes and it goes. The sun comes and it goes. Clouds come and go. That's the key- they come and they go.

Have a great day. Current situations don't last forever- even if they feel like they do. They come and go.

Friday, January 4, 2019

"Productive Year"

"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:12,13

We have just begun a new year. Many people have been making resolutions. Some plan to start a diet, get in shape, make more money, read their Bible more often- they have their list of things they either will or won't do this year.  I told you that I don't make resolutions, but I do reflect on the past year and look back to determine just how much of my year was fruitful. Did I waste the year or was it productive?

When I say productive, I define it by what was accomplished for Christ and His kingdom, not by personal gain. It's like the old saying- "One life will soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last". What did I do for Christ this past year? Was what I did considered wood, hay, stubble? Or was it gold, silver, precious stones? If my "works" were put in the fire today, which ones would stand the test? Which ones would be burnt up?

He has blessed us with one life, and one life only. What we do here is important. What we do for Christ is more important. I don't want to come to the end of a year- or the end of my life- and discover that I did not make a difference for His glory. I don't want to waste the time I have been given. I want to gather eternal treasures. I want to have something to lay at His feet one day. I want to touch lives that need to be pointed to Him. I want to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" now as well as when I stand before Him on that day.

They say that you aren't to look back. You don't look back with guilt and condemnation over the things you did or didn't do, or the mistakes you made. But you look back to learn from it. If there was more "flammable" material (works/deeds) in your past year than there was "non-perishable" ones learn from it. Then ask God to help you be more productive for His glory in the year ahead.

Have a great day. Was last year full of wood, hay or stubble? Then work on making this year productive- full of gold, silver and precious stones.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

"This I Know"

"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:13

Today I was thinking about what I don't know in regard to this new year we have just entered. For instant, I don't know what tomorrow may hold. I don't know whether the Lord will return this year or not. I don't know just how bad things might get before He does return. I don't know what we may face in the days, weeks or months ahead. I don't know if this year will be better or worse that the last. I don't know if I will even make it through this next year- perhaps He'll call me home. I just don't know.

But there is something I do know. I know I don't have to worry about what tomorrow may hold because I know who holds tomorrow and who holds me in the palm of His hand. I know that the Lord is faithful. I know that His mercies are new every morning. I know that He crowns the year with His goodness. I know He will meet and supply all my need. I know that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I know that He will be with me always even unto the end of the world. I know that as I acknowledge Him in all my ways He will direct my path. I know that a thousand shall fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand but it will not come near me. I know that there is no good thing that He will withhold from me as I walk uprightly before Him. I know He heals all my diseases and forgives all my iniquities. I know that nothing can separate me from His love.

There are many things in this life that are uncertain, but there is one thing that we can be certain of-- God will never change. There are many things we don't know about the future, but this we know-- the Lord has already seen the end of the year from its beginning. There are things that we won't know until we get there, but we know this-- God already knows. We don't know what will happen from one day to the next, but this one thing we know-- God is in control. We need to stop being concerned about what we "don't know" and encourage ourselves in what we do know. And what we do know is that we can trust the Lord with our lives.

Have a great day. There is a lot about tomorrow that we don't know... but always remember that as long as God knows it, we don't have to be concerned about what we don't know.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

"God Can!"

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

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year!  A lot of people make New Year's resolutions.  I am not one of them.  I decided a long time ago that I can't make them because I usually don't keep them.  I also decided to let the Lord have my life and make any changes in it that He desires to make instead.  But, while I don't make a resolution, I do have a Motto for the upcoming year.  It is:  God Can! 

Daily I intend to encourage myself, and remind myself, that whatever comes my way this year, whatever I may need, whatever I may face, I will stand on the promise that...God Can!   

God Can give me peace.  God Can give me joy.  God can turn my mourning into gladness.  God Can turn my sorrow into joy.  God Can bind up my broken heart.  God Can wash away my sins.  God Can forgive me all of sins.  God Can deliver me from besetting sins.  God Can save my lost loved ones.  God Can empower me to be victorious in every area of life.  God Can set my feet upon a firm foundation.  God Can give me favor with people.  God Can give me the wisdom I need in every situation.  God Can go before me and make every crooked place strait.  God Can daily load me with benefits.  God Can take my mistakes and make miracles out of them.  God Can take my past and wash its guilt, shame and condemnation away.  God Can redeem my life from destruction and crown me with loving-kindness and tender mercies.  God Can take the bad and turn it into good.  God Can give me the grace that I need to face anything.  God Can help me make it through all obstacles.  God Can supply all my needs-- spirit, soul and body.  God Can lift me out of the pit of despair, hopelessness, discouragement, fear, depression, insecurity, bitterness and anger. God Can give me strength in times of weakness.  God Can heal all sickness and disease that would attack my body.  God Can bring healing and restoration to every broken relationship and every broken area in my life.  God Can deliver the captives and break the chains that hold us bound.  God Can make me fruitful in every good work.  God Can make the works of my hands prosper.  When my foot slips, God Can catch me and put me back on track.  And God Can do a million plus other things in my life-- whatever it is that I need Him to do-- He Can! 

The word "can" speaks of ability.  So, when I say God Can, I am declaring and making a profession by faith of His ability to do in my life anything that I need.  I hope that you will adopt the same motto this year as well.  God Can!!  It is not impossible for Him-- nothing is impossible for Him.  He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we can ask or think.  The question is not whether He can or not... but rather, will you let Him do it in your life.

Have a great day.  God Can!!!