Thursday, February 28, 2019

A word for the church

Below is a word that the Lord gave me concerning the things we see happening around us.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”  Matthew 11:12

If you don’t think there is a battle going on, just look around you.  We might not be fighting a flesh and blood battle, with guns and bullets, but we are in a battle never the less.  The battle is for the souls of people—all people, including the youngest.  Our children are being destroyed by man-made and man approved laws.  They are not safe in the womb-- at any stage of development.  Parents are murdering their own children—daily you hear about it in the news (almost in epideictic proportion). Children are under so much pressure through bullying, and don’t know how to handle the pressure, that they are committing suicide.  Now it seems that some demonically inspired person/persons are trying to have them destroy themselves through fear and manipulation over the Internet.     

The main problem is not the attack against our children, or anyone else, the main problem is that we—Christians—are not doing anything about it.  We are at ease in Zion.  We forget that the Kingdom of heaven suffers violent and the violent take it by force!  Why aren’t we hitting our knees and crying out to a Holy God to intervene?  Why are we not “touched” to the point where we will no longer sit back on our couches of comfort watching our favorite TV programs and eating our snacks, and instead find a place of prayer and intercede on behalf of our children, and others?  Why is it that all we do is talk about the problem or post warnings on Face book, yet we won’t go any further?  We won’t take time to pray!  We won’t inconvenience ourselves to call out to the Lord for protection for our precious little ones!  No wonder we see so much evil unleashed on society.  We aren’t asking the Holy Spirit to raise up a standard against it.  We aren’t standing in the gap through prayer.  We aren’t closing the door through our intercessions.  The Bible says that if the man of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Our “house” has been broken into by the thief who has come to steal, kill and destroy because we have not been “watching” when Jesus told us plainly to watch and pray!  We are at the same point where, like Samson, who was sleeping with his head in Delilah’s lap and did not know the Philistines were upon him until it was too late.  Well, the enemy is upon us, but if we will humble ourselves, pray and seek the Lord’s face, and turn from our wicked ways (the wicked way of compromise, self-centered comfort and prayerlessness) perhaps He will be gracious and merciful and bring healing to our land. 

It is time for us to wake up and get up and put the oil of prayer back in our lamps.  It is time for us to stop sitting idly by and start doing something.  It is time for us to stop talking to each other about the problem and start talking to God about it.  It is time for us to cast off the grave clothes of hopelessness, fear, intimidation, compromise, despair and laziness, and take up the Sword of the Spirit and go to battle in our prayer closets.

Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have.  So why haven’t we been using it?   I am sounding the battle cry this morning-- get up, get dressed, stop being lazy, get on your knees and face before God and ask Him to forgive us for not doing what we should have been doing all along and ask Him to move on our behalf.  The battle belongs to the Lord.  He will fight for us.  But we have to call upon Him and ask Him to take control of the battle!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"Free Yet Prisoners"

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Isaiah 61:1

Many people around the world are being held behind bars in prisons this morning. Some are there because they are guilty of a crime.  Some are serving time for crimes they didn't commit.  Some are there for preaching the gospel or taking a moral stand.  But did you know that there are more people who are on the outside of prison bars that are prisoners than there are behind bars?

There are more ways to be in a prison than behind literal bars. Many people are walking around as "free prisoners". They are being held in a prison of sin. Some are in prisons of addiction- addiction to drugs, alcohol, porn, cigarettes, food, pleasure, lusts and immorality. There are people who daily sit in prisons of fear. Some of those prisoners have not left their homes in years.  Some are afraid to speak up for fear they will be ridiculed.  There are those who are afraid to get out of their comfort zones for fear of failure so they never make a step to achieve anything. Some people are held in emotional prisons- they battle guilt, shame, condemnation, low self worth, bitterness, confusion, rejection, always seeking someone's approval or affirmation, etc. Some are imprisoned in their bodies because of an illness. Some are being held prisoner by other people's self-centered will-- they are abused, manipulated, belittled, or aren't allowed to think for them selves. There are those who are living in the past and are being held a prisoner there-- past hurts, past failures, past rejections, past betrayal by someone they loved and trusted. These are just a few of the prisons that people are in this morning- there are many more.

Perhaps you are in a prison this morning, such as was named above. If you are, I have good news! There is complete and total liberation from the prison chains that bind you. Jesus Christ came to set the captive free and open the prison door to them who are bound. It doesn't matter what prison it is-- He can open them all. He has the key that fits and unlocks each one- He is the key.

Have a great day. The Key (Jesus) is standing before you waiting to unlock your prison door.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"Share With All Of Them"

"From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Ephesians 4:16

Again yesterday we talked about sharing the knowledge of God's word with others. Many of you wrote me and shared with me about what the Lord has done in your life, what He has showed you in His word, and some of the experiences that you have had with Him. Actually, this happens to me all the time. I get lots of emails from you precious people sharing these very things-- I love it! I get so excited to see how God is moving in your lives and hearing about some of the things that He has revealed to you. I am truly encouraged by it.

Let me just say to you that share with me, "Thank you". Too often we "hold back" from sharing with "certain" people because of their "position". We "think" that there is nothing that we can say to them because they are so much "smarter" than we are, or because we think they know so much more of the word than we do or they have "arrived". Let me just expose the enemy's lie this morning. I don't care who they are- pastor, teacher, apostle, etc., none of us have arrived or know it all. We are all continuing learning and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We all need encouragement- from the pulpit to the pew.

I know people who can quote most of the Bible to you, they can preach down the stars and have been serving the Lord longer than I have been born, but they too need encouraging in the word. So don't be intimidated, don't listen to the enemy, don't look at others as "too high" to share with, don't look at yourself as "lower"- we are all the body of Christ, each one joined to the other, each one supplies to the other, each one needs the other and none of us can say that we don't need the other--- without each other we are lacking.

Have a great day. We all need to be encouraged--- no matter who we are.

Monday, February 25, 2019

"Share What You Know"

"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:2
One day last week we talked about how important knowledge is. I used the example of a virus threat that popped up on my friend's computer. Well, it popped up on mine the other evening. It came so fast and unexpected- it took me totally by surprise. Once I saw it I could see why she was confused and thought it was a virus protection program. Had I not already had prior knowledge about it, had I not already known how it appears, had I not already known the name of the program it operates under, I might have made the mistake of downloading it.

Sometimes our knowledge can come through other people's experiences. Often God will use others to teach us so that we will avoid pitfalls that are awaiting us. That's one reason why He gives us teachers, pastors, etc. When God blesses us with the knowledge of His word, we can't keep it to ourselves. Once we have been through some trial, some devastating event or a time of grief or heartache, we should comfort others with the same consolation that we received. "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." (2 Cor. 1:4) In other words-- tell me how you made it through it.

If you have been blessed with the knowledge of how God has delivered you, how the enemy tried to get a foot hold in your life, how you overcame through faith in God's word, what you learned by applying the scriptures to your situation, and so on, don't just keep it to yourself, share it with someone. You may be the very one to either keep a brother or sister from falling into a pit or you may be the one that has the rope to pull them out. We are all working together to help one another obtain the prize and reach the goal, and what we each know can help do that.

Have a great day. Do you have some knowledge that will help someone along the way and navigate through this life?

Friday, February 22, 2019

"He Waits"

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Revelation 4:11

We have a promise from the Lord that He will answer our prayers. Sometimes His answer is yes, no, wait. Sometimes His answer is not always what we want to hear. Sometimes He doesn't answer when we want Him to answer. There are times when He takes His time to answer. I believe there are several reasons why He takes His time, one of them is because He wants to "enjoy our presence" a little longer.

When we go to God needing an answer, as soon as we get it we are up from prayer and gone on our way. We are such creatures of habit, and we are all so much alike in many areas. This being one of them. All we want is an answer and we can hardly wait to get it and certainly don't want to hang around any longer than we have to after we get the answer. So in order to keep us in His company He delays giving the answer. Waiting holds us there a little longer. Isn't it sad? 

God longs to be with us, to spend time with us and He loves being in our company. He has given us prayer as a form of communication so that we will come and talk to Him and we treat it so hurriedly. God knows what you need before you ask- or even before you know you need it- so He could just give us everything without us ever having to ask. But part of the reason for asking has to do with wanting us to come to Him.

He loves you this morning, He longs for you, He longs to spend time with you. Does He have to "hold back" the answer for a little while longer so that you will stay in His presence a little longer? Or will you just sit still in His presence enjoying time with Him?

Have a great day. He may be holding back the answer because He wants to spend some time with you because He knows that as soon as He speaks the answer to you, you will say, "Amen"-- (good-bye).

Thursday, February 21, 2019

"Trust Jesus"

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

This morning the devotional is a little different, I am going to "sing" to you. For the past several days a hymn has been on my heart- woke up with it stirring in my heart this morning. I believe that the Lord wants me to share it with you. Be encouraged by it's words... your message is in it.

"Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus"

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take him at his word; just to rest upon his promise, and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him! How I've proved him o'er and o'er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus, just to trust his cleansing blood; and in simple faith to plunge me neath the healing, cleansing flood! (Refrain)

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus, just from sin and self to cease; just from Jesus simply taking life and rest, and joy and peace. (Refrain)

I'm so glad I learned to trust thee, precious Jesus, Savior, friend; and I know that thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end. (Refrain)

Have a great day. You can trust Jesus... He is trustworthy. Once you learn to fully trust Him with everything in every area of your life, you'll find abundant life and rest and joy and peace.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

"Seen And Unseen"

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

If ever there was a time when we need to be keeping our "eyes" focused on the eternal it's now. There is so much happening in the world around us- literally, the "whole" world. Things don't "look" very promising. Things don't "look" very encouraging. Things don't "look" very hopeful. Actually, things "look" pretty bad. But we must remember that this world and the things that are seen are temporal- they are temporary.  Life is temporary- it's here today and gone tomorrow. Life is like a vapor that's here one minute and gone the next.  It's like the grass of the field- it's here then it withers away.

It's the things that are "not" seen that are not only eternal- will last forever- but are the real thing. The promises of God, His word, heaven- they are real and they are eternal. These are the places we must keep "looking" at and "looking" to. What we see here is not all there is or all it is to it. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (2 Cor. 2:9)

"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:16) There is more that awaits you, child of God. There is a better "country". There is a place that is not affected by these temporal things and events. There is a place where God sits on the throne. There is a place of eternal rest, peace and joy. There is a place around a banqueting table with the King of kings that is prepared for you. Though we don't see them now, except through the eyes of faith, they are very real.  They are eternal and they await you. Don't lose sight of the eternal things because you are looking so intently at the things which are seen.

Have a great day. Stare at the unseen and only glance at the things that are seen.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

"Daily Faith"

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6

Our word for today is... faith is not a "one time" thing.

Just because your faith was tested once doesn't mean it won't be tested again. Just because you had to exercise faith yesterday doesn't mean you won't have to exercise it today. Just because you walked in faith in the past doesn't mean you don't have to walk in faith in the present. Faith is not just an action we perform, it's the way we live our lives. "Now the just shall live by faith." (Heb 10:38)

Faith is to be present all day, and everyday, of my life. It is not just something that occurs once a week, twice a month, when trials come, when I am tempted, or when I need help from the Lord. We live by faith. Faith has to be present when I wake up go throughout the day.  It has to be present when I lay my head down at night to go to sleep. It has to be there when I set out to do God's will and be obedient to His commands. It has to be there in my dealings with others. It has to be there during the day to day situations that come my way.

You have been given a new day this morning. That means you will be presented with new opportunities to exercise your faith... just like you were yesterday, and just like you will be when you wake up tomorrow.

Have a great day. The exercise of your faith is not just a one time thing... it's your lifestyle.

Monday, February 18, 2019

"Knowledge Is Power"

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." Hosea 4:6a

A friend called me the other evening very upset. She was using her computer and a screen opened up that said she had several viruses. It kept giving her multiple warnings about the viruses. She and I went through several steps to determine what course of action to take. After examining the situation a little closer we discovered the truth. She did not have any viruses- not even one- the screen that opened up was a fake virus protection program that actually wanted to install a virus on her computer.

After the matter was resolved, she and I talked for a few minutes. Her whole attitude and the sound of her voice was totally different than it was when she first called-- it went from fear and concern to peace and relief. I pointed this out to her noting the difference. I told her that it's amazing what little information can do. When she thought her computer was infected, she was worried and fearful of losing everything she had saved on it. When she discovered that there was no problem, she became calm and had peace.

This is such a good example of what a little knowledge (the knowledge of the truth) can do. There is a spiritual parallel here too. When God's word comes into the situation, it brings knowledge and it brings light. It causes us to see clearly and gain understanding. His word is the truth, the truth frees us from confusion, fear, anxiety and worry. When you know the truth, the enemy is no longer a threat to you. Before this lady knew the truth about what the screen represented it was "controlling" the situation. Once she knew the truth that this was a fake warning and a potential for some real problem, she took "control" of the situation and did not allow it to gain access. It's the same principle in the spiritual realm. Knowledge is power... especially the knowledge of the truth... which is God's word.

Have a great day. There is knowledge that enlightens and empowers in God's word.

Friday, February 15, 2019


"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock." Matthew 7:24
When my first granddaughter was only a year old, I could say to her, "Praise the Lord", and immediately she would put her hands up and with joy start praising the Lord.  She may not have understood what she is doing, but she responded to my words to "praise the Lord". This morning I want to talk about responding to the Lord.

My granddaughter responded to the words to "praise the Lord" in the proper way- with excitement, joy and gladness. There is a way that we should respond to the Lord- obediently, with faith, with joy, without murmuring or complaining. But I am not going to address "how" to respond, I am going to address responding period. So many of God's own children don't respond to Him at all. When He speaks to them, either through His written word, through His ministers, or by His Spirit, they just ignore Him or take what He says and "sweeps it under the rug".

I am not going to be lengthy this morning, I am just going to ask you, "Do you respond to the Lord when He speaks?". Do you respond by being a doer of what you hear? Do you respond by applying and heeding what is spoken? If you aren't responding to God but "ignoring" what He says, then you will find yourself in a lot of trouble, pain, heartache and confusion. The wise man hears and does and his life is established on a firm foundation. The foolish man doesn't respond to the words of the Lord and his life is always shifting under him.

Have a great day. The question is not necessarily, "How do you respond to God?", but rather, "Do you respond to God at all or do you ignore Him?".

Thursday, February 14, 2019

"Joyful Praise"

"Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 150:6
When we praise the Lord, we should do it with joy!! There should be an excitement in our praise because of who He is and what He has done. I have been around many people during "praise and worship" time and they barely open their mouths, they will not lift their hands, they do not clap, and they had a sad and sullen expression on their face. Please don't misunderstand, I am not criticizing or judging... I am wondering why there is no expression of joy. There is a chorus which words are: "When I think about His goodness and what He's done for me. When I think of His goodness and how He's set me free, I want to 'clap, jump, shout'." 

When I start thinking about all that the Lord has done for me, I can't contain myself sometimes. I was in the prison of sin, I was living in darkness, I was dead in trespasses and sin, I had the condemnation of death on me, I was heading to judgment guilty, I was lost, wretched and dirty and Jesus reached into the pit and rescued me.  He set my feet upon a rock, took off my grave clothes, put a robe of righteousness on me, translated me from death to life, darkness to light, took my place in the judgment hall and wrote my name in the Book of Life. Just thinking about it now makes me want to stop and lift my hands in praise and adoration at His merciful goodness toward me. 

What type of praise are you giving to the Lord?  Is it from a sincere heart of gratitude?  Is it joyful?  Is there excitement and thanksgiving in it?  Or is it a "chore", an imposition or a bother to you?  If so, then you should keep it to yourself-- He doesn't want it.  He loves a cheerful giver-- even when it comes to giving Him your praise. 

Have a great day. Is there joy in your praise to God?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

"All Present"

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." Isaiah 43:2

Where did you wake up at this morning? Did you awake in your own home with your family around you? Did you wake up in a hospital room- either as the patient or sitting by the bedside of someone dear? Did you wake up in turmoil over a relationship that is in trouble? Did you wake up with the threat of foreclosure looming overhead? Did you wake up in a foreign country, away from your home land, family and friends? Did you awake to an emergency? Did an upsetting phone call wake you up? Did you awake to find yourself unemployed? Did you awake to tragedy, pain, heartache, suffering? Did you wake up to an impossible situation? Did you wake up on the mountain, in the valley, in the wilderness, in a storm, facing a Red Sea, in a lion's den?

There are literally thousands of places/conditions we could have woke up to this morning, but no matter where we did we have a promise that our precious Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. Wherever we woke up- at home or abroad, in health or in sickness, in joy or in grief, in riches or in poverty, in sorrow or in peace- this Omnipresent God is there with us.

His eyes look throughout the whole earth- He sees everything. His presence is everywhere. Although God's presence can cover every inch of the universe all at the same time, and does, His Omnipresent nature also means that He is not only everywhere all at one time, but that ALL of Him is present wherever He is. Broken down one step further: it means that ALL of God is right there with you! Every part of Him (everything He has and is)- His love, His power, His mercy, His strength, His grace, His peace, etc.- is ALL present with you. You have His full and undivided attention. You have His whole presence with you. And you have it with you wherever you woke up this morning and whatever you woke up to.

Have a great day. God's Omnipresence means that He is present everywhere all at one time and wherever He is all of Him is present.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"Snapping Turtles"

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." John 17:17

I want to share something that happened when my granddaughter was very little and I was keeping her.  She was sitting in her highchair eating and I gave her a cookie.  She not only grabbed the cookie but she grabbed my finger with it. She bit down on my finger and the harder I tried to pull it out of her mouth, the tighter her grip got.  She would not let go.  She only had 6 teeth but I thought for sure I was going to lose a finger. I called her a little "snapping turtle". I was told growing up to beware of snapping turtles. My parents told me that if one bit you it would not let go until it thundered. I have found out since that this is not the "whole story". They do have a "death grip" and will not let go until they are good and ready.

The more I pondered the snapping turtle's characteristics, the more I thought that we should have the same tenacity when it comes to the truth of God's word. We live in an age when the truth of God's word is being distorted; it is being condemned and ridiculed; it is being replaced by something that appeals more to the flesh and tells us what we want to hear.  It is being replaced by situational ethics and by something that sounds "friendlier".  It is being treated as irrelevant, old-fashioned, out of touch and it's being "watered down".

Truth is truth and God's truth never changes no matter what man tries to do to it.  You can discredit it, you can disregard it, you can forget it, you can belittle it, you can add to it or take away from it, you can twist it and distort it, but it will ALWAYS be the truth. God's truth isn't just black ink on white paper, it's a person-- the Lord Jesus. He is the Truth, the Way and Life and He does not change.

Again, because of the age we are living in, we need to know God's truth and hold on to it tighter than ever. Like the snapping turtle we need to grab hold of God's word and the more the enemy tries to "take" it from us through discrediting it, watering it down, etc., we need to "tighten our grip" on it and not let it go!!

Have a great day. Hold tightly to truth.

Monday, February 11, 2019

"He'll Do The Rest"

"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

I am getting to the computer a few minutes later than usual this morning because I have been waiting on the Lord to receive a word from Him to write in the devotional. I still don't have a word. But I have come to the computer, opened up the new message screen and have typed in the Coffee Break title as an act of faith. I know that He will speak a word to me because He called me to do this-- I didn't call myself. Neither did He call me to "try to come up with something to say" on my own. All He called me to do is be willing, obedient, trust Him and He would do the rest.

Sometimes we just have to step out in faith when we know that we have already heard from God on a matter and head in that direction- like I know that I am suppose to be sending out this devotional. Abraham knew that he was suppose to leave his family, although he didn't know where he was suppose to go. So he packed up his belongings and started walking. As he walked, God gave him direction.

There is also the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus. They came to Jesus for healing and He told them to go show themselves to the priest. There was no sign that they were healed, their leprosy was still visible. What were they to show the priest? All they knew was that Jesus had said go- even when there was no visible sign to back up their healing, but as they went- as they stepped out in faith at what He had told them to do- their healing came.

Well, it seems that the Lord has just given us an "illustrated" sermon. Because as I stepped out in faith on what I knew He had already told me to do, He has done the rest. He gave us a word this morning after all. The word is that as we do what He has already told us to do, even when we don't see it, hear it or feel it, He will do His part because He is faithful.

Have a great day. Just go ahead and do your part, He will do the rest.

Friday, February 8, 2019

"Managed or Solved?"

"For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit." Mark 5:8

Yesterday we talked about the story of the demoniac of Gadara; this morning I'd like to look at this story again. We discussed that the people tried to tame him with chains and fetters but were unable to do so because the root of his problem was spiritual not physical, and physical means won't solve spiritual problems.

In this story there were two groups of people who tried to "solve" the problem- the people and Jesus. Let's compare the way they each handled it. The people tried to tame him, they tried to bind him up, they tried of confine him. When we try to take care of our own problems, especially through physical means, all we are doing is attempting to make them manageable, easier to handle, under control- in essence, we are just "putting a band aide" on it but haven't solved it. It's still there.

When Jesus was faced with the problem, He didn't just fix it enough where it could be lived with or where it was a little calmer and easier to deal with... no, He completely solved it. He cast the devils- the root cause- out of the man. The man was not just under control, he was set free- every demon was gone, not one remained, he was a free person!!!

Yesterday we said you have to use the right weapons in the right battle- physical weapons in physical battles, spiritual weapons in spiritual battles. Using physical means on spiritual problems doesn't solve the problem they just help you cope with it for the moment. Using the right weapons will bring about the desired results. Jesus knew the right one to use. This is why we not only have to get to the root cause but we have to come to Jesus with the problem. Once He takes hold of it, it's solved.... completely!

Have a great day. Do you want the problem manageable or solved?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

"The Right Weapon"

"Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him." Mark 5:4

Our verse this morning comes from the story of the maniac of Gadara. His condition is described here- he lived among the tombs, he cut himself with stones, he was naked, and so on. It also tells us that the people had tried to bind him with chains but were unable to- he would always break the chains and fetters. Why couldn't the chains hold him? Why did their efforts fail? It was because the man had a "spiritual" problem- he was demon possessed- and the people were trying to handle this problem through "natural" means. The point I want to bring out through this story is that you cannot handle spiritual problems by natural means.

We tend to try to solve our problems through natural ways because when we have a problem we only see the "physical" manifestation of the problem- like this maniac. The people saw his actions, they saw his lifestyle, they saw his self-destructive behavior, so they dealt with what they "saw". Not every problem we have can be solved by natural means. Many of our problems have their "root" in the spiritual realm.  If it's a spiritual problem it has to be dealt with through spiritual means. That's why Jesus said that some things come not but by prayer and fasting. That is why we have been given spiritual armor- because we fight spiritual battles. We have weapons of warfare that are not carnal- fleshly, natural- but are mighty to even pull down strongholds.

Why is it when problems come that we often fight a losing battle? Why aren't we always victorious? One reason is that we are using the wrong weapons to solve it. When you have a problem, the first thing you need to do is trace it back to the root. Find out if the root is a natural one (for example, the root may be the result of a bad choice you made and now you are facing the consequence), or if the root is a spiritual one (for example, the root maybe a spirit of fear, an attack of the enemy or a pride issue, etc.). Once you determine the root of the problem, then you have to solve it with the right kind of "weapon"- if it's spiritual use spiritual weapons; if it's natural use natural weapons. Natural weapons will not work in a spiritual battle, no more than the chains worked to bind this demon possessed man.

Have a great day. Use the right weapon for the battle.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Brownie Points"

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10

At the end of the day do you ever look back over the day and take "inventory" of your "progress" and "failures"? Do you judge yourself spiritually by the number of "hits" and "misses" you had? For example we usually judge ourselves this way: I spent too much time watching television- but I went to prayer meeting; I over ate- but I read my Bible for two hours; I lost my temper- but I helped buy groceries for a hungry family. We judge our spiritual progress by the "works" that we do. For some reason we think that if we get enough "brownie points" (good deeds) it will out weigh the areas we didn't get right or failed in. We tend to think that the good deeds will make up for the bad deeds and the times we yielded to the Spirit will make up for the times we yielded to the flesh.

That is not true! It doesn't work that way. Remember the rich young ruler, his life was comprised of 60% "good" and 40% "bad". He kept six of the commandments and broke the other four. Our verse this morning tells us that if we keep all the law (over 600 of them) and yet break one, we are guilty of all. It's not about doing enough "good" to take care of the "bad" we do, it's not about doing enough "right" to cancel out the "wrong", it's not about "hitting the mark" enough times that it covers up the times we "miss it". It's about transformation- being changed and letting the Lord change us. It's not about just the things we do, it's about becoming more and more like Jesus- I am decreasing and He is increasing. It's about living a life that is pleasing to Him- that's what we "judge" ourselves by- not the number of "good" to out weigh the "bad".

What takes care of the "bad" is repentance- asking for forgiveness and letting the grace of God change you to be more like Jesus and please Him in all you do. If you are judging your spiritual progress by "brownie points" you will get a false picture of where you are. You judge yourself by Jesus and His word. He is the measuring stick by which everything is judged.

Have a great day. We judge our spiritual progress by whether we are being changed so that our lives are pleasing to Him, not by the number of "brownie points" we collect.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

"Never Wasted"

"But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?" Matthew 26:8

A couple of days before Jesus' crucifixion He and His disciples were at the home of Simon the leper and a woman came in with an alabaster box and broke it open and poured its contents on Jesus. As I reread this story the other day, the words in the verse above seemed to leap off the page at me- "To what purpose was this waste?" My whole heart responded to the question- "It was not wasted! Nothing that is given to Jesus is ever wasted!"

We can be wasteful, and often are, but never when it comes to Jesus. Everything we give to Him is "invested" in the best place possible. It is not a waste to give Him our time, to use our talents for Him, to give Him our offerings, to give Him the best we have, to give Him our hearts and our lives. These disciples lost sight of WHO this woman was pouring the best she had on. She was pouring it upon the LORD.

Jesus said that she was anointing Him for His burial. She didn't know that. She didn't do it because she was hoping that by giving Him what she had He would give her back more in return- she had no ulterior motive. She didn't do it because she wanted to impress those in the room- to be seen of men. She didn't do it out of pride- to prove something to those who were watching. She did it because she recognized who He was and that He deserved the best she had.... and all she had.

We need to be more like this woman and less like the disciples. We need to remember Who it is that we are giving to and that it is never wasted when it's given to Him.

Have a great day. Whatever we give to the Lord is never wasted. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

"Giving All"

"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet." Acts 5:1,2

Let's look at this scripture portion in a spiritual context this morning. This husband and wife sold a possession and brought what they received from it to the apostles. They told the apostles that that was "all" of the money they received when it wasn't, they kept back a portion for themselves.

The spiritual application? We do the same thing with God. We come to Him and say that we are giving Him our "all". We even sing the song, "I Surrender All". We tell Him in prayer that we love Him with all our heart. We tell Him that we are all His. Yet, the truth is we aren't- it's evident in our words, actions, thoughts and deeds. We give Him what we want Him to have and reserve for ourselves the parts of our lives that we want to still hold on to- just like Ananias and his wife.

God, through the apostles, didn't accept their "half hearted" giving and He won't accept it from us either. Giving God part of yourself is not good enough. Giving God half is not good enough. Giving God 99.9% isn't good enough. The rich young ruler gave God 60%- he kept six out of the ten commandments- so he actually gave more than half, but it was still not good enough. When God says to love Him with "all", that's 100%. When He says not to have other gods before Him, that means you are to have no gods- which means He is the only God you have, which means He is your 100% God.

We may have been taught that we can have God "and" whatever else. But that's not what Jesus taught. He doesn't want part of you, half of you or to share you with everything else.  He doesn't want to be just an attachment to your life, just a rescue package when you are in trouble, just fire insurance from hell, just your bailout plan in time of crisis or just a Sunday morning church service. He wants to be Numero Uno (Number One), First and Last and Center of your life. He wants to sit on the throne of your life. He wants ALL of you. That is not unreasonable, after all, He gave ALL of Himself for us. He didn't stop short at the cross, He did not withhold anything from us, He gave His all unto the death. He gave every drop of His blood, every inch of His flesh, every ounce of His love in sacrifice for you... He gave 100%. Why shouldn't He expect 100% in return!

Have a great day. Part isn't good enough. If you are holding back anything from God you are holding back too much.

Friday, February 1, 2019

"God Chooses"

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." 1 Corinthians 1:27

When God chooses a person to do His work, He knows who to choose. He chose David to be king, but not because he looked like a king. He chose Esther to save her people, but not because she was a woman of great influence. He chose Gideon to be a judge in Israel and bring His people out from under the oppression to the Midianites, not because Gideon was a great warrior.

When God chooses a person He doesn't do it based on the same standards that we use. None of these people were "suited" for the job according to our standards, but they were according to God's. God doesn't always choose according to ability, skill, education, popularity, etc. Actually, just the opposite is usually true. His choice is usually the one who is the most unlikely. He chooses the weak and foolish. He chooses unlearned fishermen. He chooses the good and the evil.

The bottom line is this- God has a plan and He chooses the person that He deems as the one to fulfill that plan. He knows what He is doing- He doesn't make a mistake. If God has chosen you, He hasn't made a mistake. He knew what He was doing- He has a plan for you to fulfill. But, on the other hand, don't ever think that He "had" to choose you. Don't think that just because He chose you that you have "arrived". God can just as easily remove you from that place as He set you in that place. Never think more highly of yourself than you ought, remember, God used a donkey to talk to a wayward prophet.

Have a great day. God picks and chooses who He wants to fulfill the plan that He has.