Thursday, January 31, 2019

"Look This Way"

"At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 17:7

Have you ever wondered why two cars driving on a straight road with no obstruction and clear visibility would collide with one another? We are told that it's because they were each looking at the oncoming car and veered in the direction they were looking. When driving, or walking, you will go in the direction you are looking. If you look to the left you will start going to the left. If you look to the right you will start going to the right. If you are looking straight ahead you will go straight. This is a natural principle that holds true spiritually as well. That is why it is so important to be careful where you are "looking".

The Bible says that Lot looked at the plains of Sodom and went in that direction. After he kept looking at the city of Sodom he wound up going into the city. David looked in the direction of Bathsheba and wound up committing adultery. Lot's wife looked back at the judgment of Sodom and was judged. The disciples kept looking at Jesus and went in the direction He was going. Jesus looked in the direction of the will of the Father and went in that direction- to the cross.

We must keep looking to the hills where our help comes from. We must keep our eyes on the prize that is set before us. We must keep looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith. We must keep looking with expectation for that glorious appearing of our Savior. We must look to the One who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. We must look at the One who is our hope, our redemption, our healer, our deliverer, our Savior and our soon coming King.

We must keep our eyes off the world, the desires of the flesh, the devices of the enemy and the ways of men. We must keep them upon the Lord, His word, His promises and His will. We must be careful of where we are looking because that's the direction we will start heading.

Have a great day. If you look at the world you will go the way/direction of the world. If you keep your eyes on Jesus you will go the way/will of the Lord.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Come Up"

"There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount." Exodus 19:13

Look with me for a moment at some Biblical accounts where the Lord wanted a personal experience with His people, wanted to impart some spiritual blessing or wanted to give them a revelation about Himself.

God wanted to have a personal encounter with the Israelites so He told them to come up to the mountain. Jesus wanted to give His disciples a revelation of who He was so He took Peter, James and John up the Mount of Transfiguration. The Lord wanted to give His people a revelation of and infill them with His Holy Spirit so He told them to go to the Upper Room. The Lord wanted to give John a revelation of Jesus at the end of time, and His return, so He called John to come up to the heavenly realm.

Have you noticed a common factor? In each case the people were called to come "up". Staying on the "low" plain, on street level, at the base of the mountain is not where a higher, deeper revelation and experience of who God is is found. We have to "come up". We have to make a deliberate effort to come up to where He is. Yes, He is a wonderful merciful God who will reach down low to meet us at the point of our need. But the deeper things in God are found when we come up to Him- when we go to a higher place.

In each account, God came down. He came down to the top of Mt. Sinai.  He came down to the upper room.  Jesus came down from heaven to earth.  He met us "half-way" but He calls us to come the other half of the way to Him. He came down and then was lifted "up" on the cross to provide eternal life for us. I have to come up to the cross to receive Him as Savior and Lord. The point is, God has already given us the invitation to come to Him. He came down to meet us, now it's our place to "come up" in order to "connect" with Him. It doesn't just "automatically" happen, we have to go up to meet with Him.

Have a great day. He has come down to meet with you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.  He came down to impart a revelation to you and to reveal His glorious self to you, but you have to come up the rest of the way.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"The Cross"

"And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." Ephesians 2:16

Recently one of my prayer partners was sharing an update with me about a meeting that she had with some folks who were needing healing in their bodies. We had prayed for these people and this was the first time I had seen her since we prayed. She told me that one lady was completely delivered from a deep depression that she had been under for three years. She also told me that she had prayed for a lady who was a paraplegic. Later she found out that the lady who is the paraplegic was beginning to have sensations of pain in her legs that she had not had in a long time.

I was so excited about what God is doing. But the main reason I wanted to share these testimonies is because of one thing that my friend said to me. She said, "I just told them about the cross." We tend to forget that the cross is the message. We also tend to forget that there is power in the cross. It was at the cross where Jesus said that it was finished- the whole work of redemption, the atonement, the defeat of the enemy was accomplished at the cross.

Without the cross we have no gospel, we have no hope, we have no victory. Paul said that he gloried in the cross. He also said that he preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified- that's the cross. The cross is the power of God unto salvation. The cross is where Jesus' body was broken for our healing and His blood was shed for our redemption.

It seems like the cross is not very popular in our "new day" churches, but it is the only message that can save our soul. The message of the cross may seem outdated and old but it alone has the power to set men free. We need to get back to singing about the cross and preaching about the cross. There is no message greater. It's at the cross where we find life!

Have a great day. There is power in the cross!

Monday, January 28, 2019

"Seeing Is Not Always Believing"

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." 2 Kings 6:16,17

When Elisha and his servant woke up this particular morning, they discovered that the Syrian army was surrounding the city- horses, chariots, warriors. This brought fear to the heart of Elisha's servant. Elisha remained calm and at peace and simply prayed that the Lord would open the eyes of his servant to see past the physical realm- past what he saw with the natural eye- and give him eyes to see in the spiritual realm. The Lord did and the servant saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire- the angelic host.

I would say that most of us are like Elisha's servant instead of Elisha. When trouble comes, when a crisis threatens, when problems arise, when the enemy is coming against us, we only "see" what we see with our physical eyes. We tend to see only the problem. We tend to see it from only one perspective- our prospective. We tend to see it in the natural realm only. Elisha remained calm and at peace because he saw past what he was seeing with his natural eyes. He saw what was invisible, yet was more real and more powerful than what he was looking upon with his two eyes.

When the enemy surrounds us, when we are under attack, when the problems seem endless, when the situation is getting worse, we need to pray that our "eyes" would be open- our spiritual eyes. If you look at things with only the physical eye it will discourage you, depress you, steal your peace, rob your joy, make you fearful and cause you to give up. What we see is not always "reality" as was the case with Elisha and his servant. The reality was that a greater army than the army of Syria was there, and it was there to protect them. The reality is that though they thought they were out numbered and alone, there was more for them than there was against them.

How do we see past what we see with the natural eye? We look at the situation through the eyes of faith- faith in God's word, in His promises, and in light of who He is.

Have a great day. Don't just look at your situation through your natural senses, look at it through the eyes of faith- faith and trust in your mighty God and His promises.

Friday, January 25, 2019

"Bail Me Out"

"And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side." Judges 8:34

The nature of people is to want everything to go the way they want it to go.  We don't like when problems come our way.  When we do, we want them solved immediately.  We start looking for a way out of them.  Many people turn to the Lord God for help and "deliverance" from their problem.  I am not talking about those of us who look to Him daily and constantly because He is our Savior and Lord, because we know that He is and has our answer and we can turn to Him for help.  I am mostly talking about those who haven't given their lives to Him and have made Him Lord over their lives.

I see this a lot throughout society.  I see what I am talking about on social media daily.  There are people who post some of the most ungodly, evil posts, filled with horrible language, blasphemes, and immorality-- I don't even look at their pages because I know that is what I will see.  But you will notice that when these same people get in trouble or have a problem, they get "religious" all of a sudden.  Their posts are then filled with prayer request, scriptures and asking God to help them. 

They start asking Him to intervene, to come to their rescue, make a way, give them a solution, fight their battle, solve their problem--- "bail them out!" In His loving grace and mercy He does. But sadly, once He does, they go their "merry" way, just glad the problem is resolved or the crisis is over.  They soon forget the promises and vows that they made to Him if He would just help them.  They forget His goodness, His mercy and the miracles that He performed to bring about the answer.  Their gratitude is momentary. He is soon forgotten... until the next time they need help.

Tell me, what's wrong with this picture. Yes, we should cry out to Him for help- He is our helper and He is the only one who can help us. But we shouldn't forget Him, neglect Him or go back to our same way of living once He has helped us. We don't "use Him" to get what we want or need then "discard" Him once He's "bailed us out". We need Him desperately in the good times and bad times, in the times of need and lack as well as in the times of plenty. He is not just our "problem solver", He is God- our object of worship. He isn't just provider- He is the one we love and adore. He should be our desire at all times not just in times of need.

Have a great day. We don't run to Him when we need help then forget Him once the crisis is over.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

"Even At Night"

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

As I was leaving from a visit I had with someone one evening, I said, "Good night" as I was leaving. He responded with, "What's good about it?" Of course, this man was joking. But my reply was, "It may be night, but it's still part of this day that the Lord has made." God made the day- all 24 hours of it, all 1440 minutes of it, all 86,400 seconds of it, from 12:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

We tend to break a day down into segments- AM and PM; morning, noon and night; breakfast, lunch and dinner; nine to five; afternoon, evening, dawn to dusk, and so on. It doesn't matter how we break a day down, God still sees every segment, every minute, every event that makes it up. He sees it from start to finish.

It doesn't matter what time of the day- evening, or daylight, or night time- God is still watching over the day. It doesn't matter if you're in school and it's test time, it doesn't matter if you're at work and it's time for a meeting, it doesn't matter if it's afternoon and time to cook dinner, it doesn't matter if a trial arises, bad news comes, foundations crumbled, the ground falls out from beneath you, God is still watching over the day- all day.

God doesn't just have His eye on the "day" He has His eye on you today and all throughout the day. So take heart as you begin a new day that God is watching over you every minute through whatever may come, whether it's in the daylight hours or at night time.

Have a great day. God watches over you ALL day, and night, long.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Filled With What"

"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." Matthew 12:35

Yesterday we talked about how that when you are "filled" up with the Lord- His love, His joy, His peace, His praise- it just "comes out". There is no struggle in sharing Him with others because you are overflowing with Him. This morning I want to talk about being filled up again, but on the flip side.

Whatever you are "filled" up with will come out. Just as praise comes out of you when you are filled with gratitude, and contentment comes from your life when you are filled with peace, the same is true when you are filled with bitterness, envy, jealousy, hate, unforgiveness, etc. Have you ever been around someone who is just "mean and nasty"? It's because that's what they are on the inside- they are filled up with "mean and nasty". If good is in you, it will come out. If bad is in you, it will come out. James said that sweet water and bitter water cannot come from the same fountain. If bitter water is in the fountain that's what will come out, and vice versa.

One sure way to determine just what is in you is by your attitude, by the way you respond, by the way you treat others. When you are filled with greed, you will steal, cheat and lie to get more and more. When you are filled with unforgiveness, you will be cynical, bitter, condemning. When a person is filled with pride, they will be arrogant, obnoxious, conceited.

This morning what is coming out of you? The love of God? Compassion? Praise? Or is anger, criticism, a hateful attitude? What fills you up on the inside? Because that is what will be seen, and heard, on the outside.

Have a great day. What comes out of you is an indication of what is inside of you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

"Full Or Empty?"

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." Luke 6:45

In Sunday School we have been studying about sharing our faith with others. We discussed the when's, the how's, the what's, the right way, the wrong way, how not to miss the opportunity, how not to be offensive, etc. Too often we struggle in sharing the gospel with others- for various reasons. The question is "Why?", why are we struggling?

The answer is because we are "empty"! Whatever you are "full" of will come out. For example, when my daughter was born I told every body all about her- whether they wanted to hear it or not- the same way when I became a grandmother. My heart was so full of the joy of having these precious little blessings in my life I could not contain it or keep it to myself. Are you getting the picture? I remember when I first got saved, all I could do was talk about Jesus- how wonderful, how precious, how great He was, how He saved me from my sins and gave me hope, peace and joy.

Let me say it again, "Whatever we are full of will come out". If my heart is full of the love of God, it will come out. If my heart is full of praise, gratitude and adoration to the Savior, it will come out. I don't even have to try. I don't have to struggle to find something to say about Him, it's automatic- when I open my mouth, it will come out. When something is "full" it's hard to contain what's inside- what it's full of. A balloon that is full of air will pop if it gets too full. If a river is too full it will overflow it's banks. If a glass gets too full it will spill over the sides. If we are so full of our wonderful Lord's presence it will flow out of us as well. If you are struggling finding something to say to others about Jesus, if you aren't "spilling" out automatically wherever you go-- then it's because you are empty!

Have a great day. If you are empty you need to get full.

Monday, January 21, 2019

"Reading The Bible Only"

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22

Recently, my dad was telling me about a person he knows. He said that this man will lie to you- he has caught him in several. He said that he is on the lazy side and can't be trusted. You might think that he was gossiping about this man, but everything he said was true, and the reason he brought it up is because he is really concerned about this man's character. Why? Because he also told me something else about the man: 1) he says he is a Christian, a "missionary"- he goes on mission trips all the time; 2) when he's not on mission trips but is at home- all he does is sit at home reading his Bible. My dad knows this personally because he goes to see him regularly.

My dad should be concerned. It concerns me that a person who devotes themselves to reading the Bible all the time- does not watch television, does not play games, does not spend time on the computer, does not socialize or entertain, just reads the Bible instead- has such a poor reputation and lacks godly character.

It does you no good to read the Bible if you are not going to apply its teachings to your life and put into practice what you read. It's just another source of "good reading" if you are not going to let its words transform you. It's not the one who reads the word only that is justified, but those who are doers as well as hearers. God intends for us to do more than just read the Bible. He intends for us to "live" the Bible. It is the governing standard by which we are to live. We are to hide it in our hearts, obey its commands, follow its instructions, conform to its doctrines, and so on. Jesus even said that those who are wise are those who build their lives upon the word.

Are you like this man-- ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth? Always reading but never doing? Hearing but not applying? Studying but not learning? Or are you letting the word transform you and remold and reshape your character so that you look like, act like and talk like Jesus would?

Have a great day. Reading the Bible and doing what the Bible says are two different things. You aren't suppose to just read it and not do it. But on the other hand, you can't do it if you don't read it!

Friday, January 18, 2019

"Got It And Missed It"

"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:16

Jesus asked His disciples to tell Him what people were saying about Him- who did they say He was? Then He asked His disciples the same question- who do you say that I am? Peter's answer is above- "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus praised Peter for his answer, told him how blessed he was, told him the Spirit had revealed it to him and at that point called his name Peter. What a revelation Peter had and what recognition Jesus gave him.

Yet only six verses later we see just the opposite. Jesus began telling the disciples of His upcoming death and Peter rebuked Him. Jesus at that point, called him a "devil"- "Get thee behind me satan." How amazing to have a great spiritual revelation at one moment and totally not recognize another great revelation the next. Have you ever had the Lord show you something one minute, then miss what He's saying the next? Have you been on the mountain one moment but in the valley the next? Have you had a glorious encounter with the Lord then a few minutes later wonder if He is even there? It happens to all of us from time to time. Look at the characters in the Bible. Elijah had a glorious/miraculous victory at Mt. Carmel, then the next picture is one of him hiding in a cave.

Don't let your "down" moments dictate your life- your spirituality, your relationship with the Lord, fulfilling your purpose. Don't let them cause you to give up in frustration- thinking that you can't ever get it "right". Don't let the "flesh" times keep you out of the "spirit" times. Don't let one moment of "defeat" keep you from the next moment of "victory". If you'll read on in Matthew just six days later Peter was on the Mount of Transfiguration seeing the glory of God. He went from receiving one revelation- to missing another revelation- to seeing and experiencing the glory of the Lord.

Have a great day. Don't let the "down" times affect the "up" times; the "flesh" times affect the "spirit" times; the "defeat" times affect the "victory" times; the "missed it" times affect the "got it" times.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

"Guard Your Heart"

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23

We are living in a time when so much is vying for our hearts. There are so many things that want our hearts- relationships, entertainment, money, careers, etc.  They are all after our hearts.  They want our devotion, our worship, our allegiance, our attention, our time, but mostly that place that should be reserved for God alone.

Because the return of the Lord is soon it is of the utmost importance that we guard our hearts from being stolen away from Him. We can't afford to let anything pull us away from the Lord. Our whole hearts must belong to Him- not a portion, not a percent, but all. The first and greatest commandment, according to Jesus, was to love the Lord our God with all our heart.

Do you feel the pull of other things attaching themselves to your heart? Is your heart being divided? Who has your heart? Does the Lord? If so, is He sharing it with something else or does He have it all? It's not a time to let anything captivate or capture your heart other than Him.

Have a great day. Guard your heart so that it may be preserved for only Him.

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!!!