Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Point the Finger of Praise at God!




Each of you has been blessed with one of God's many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.  If you have the gift of speaking, preach God's message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies. Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever. Amen.

1 Peter 4: 10 - 11

We use the term “gifted” to refer to someone who has “natural” ability as a musician, an artist, or even an athlete.  And, of course, God can and often does enable you, or gift you to be able to do things for which you had no natural talent.  When that happens it is easy to see that it is the power of God working and not just the natural ability of a man!

But remember this:  The natural abilities that you have, all came directly from God.  He designed your body and mind and incorporated in you every strength or weakness from the day you were first conceived in His mind!  There is nothing you can do that you can claim credit for being able to do.  Every breath you take is a gift from God!

Our job is to point the finger of praise at God for everything good in our lives.  If you hear the applause of other men, stop and point your finger toward God and let Him be praised.  He deserves the credit for everything good, because God is Good!


“Lord Jesus, I am blessed and gifted because of You.  There is nothing natural about even my human abilities!  They all come from You.  May You, Jesus be praised now and forever.  Amen.” 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Ministry of Becoming Less Important!


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The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  He is the one I told you about when I said, “Someone else will come, who is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born.”  I didn't know who he was. But I came to baptize you with water, so that everyone in Israel would see him.

John 1:29-31

John the Baptist baptized the people who came to him so that "everyone in Israel would see" Jesus! His purpose in living was to draw attention to Jesus.  At one point John said that Jesus must become more important and John must become less important!

Even though John decreased in his popularity and was ultimately beheaded, Jesus said that no one born on this earth was greater than John the Baptist.

Is the ministry of John the Baptist possible in your life today?  I think it is, and I believe we almost always overlook the ministry of becoming less important!

When someone sees the life you are living as a result of your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is your job to transfer their interest in you to Jesus Himself!  It would be like a man who introduced a young lady to his good friend, and then tried to stay deeply involved in the relationship that was developing.   The man will always be important to the couple, but cannot be and should not be involved! 

When you introduce someone to Jesus Christ, be John the Baptist and get out of the way for that glorious and eternal relationship to develop!  When a man pursues Jesus Christ no  other man is needed.
 
If you are substituting a relationship with any human being for an intimate bond with Jesus, then today is the time to turn and run to Jesus and forsake all others!  Jesus wants you to be His and His alone!

"Lord Jesus, help me to be like John the Baptist and become less important while You become more and more important in my own life and in the lives of everyone I know!  May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Carried by Jesus!

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I praise you, Lord,
for answering my prayers.
You are my strong shield,
and I trust you completely.
You have helped me,
and I will celebrate
and thank you in song.
You give strength
to your people, Lord,
and you save and protect
your chosen ones.
Come save us and bless us.
Be our shepherd and always
carry us in your arms.
Psalms 28:6-9

What is the difference in walking with the Lord or being carried in His arms? Walking with Jesus is certainly a good thing and if you walk at all you should walk with the Lord! But being held tightly in His arms as He moves through the day is an awesomely intimate experience. When you are carried along by Jesus you never know which way His next step will take you.

Jesus will take you places that you would never go alone! Jesus will carry you where sinners need Him most. You will find that the enemies of God are all around you and yet Jesus shows you how He gently convicts and leads them to Him.

Jesus is the Great Physician, so when you are with Him many of those around you will be desperately ill and in need of healing.
"Lord I want to go with You even though You always go where the lost are found. Carry me in Your arms and let me rest in the storm and be at peace when all around is turmoil. Thank you Jesus. Amen."














Wednesday, February 15, 2017

All I Want To Be Like Jesus!





But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless.  Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ.  All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life.

Philippians 3: 7 - 11

About 50 years ago, as young and enthusiastic disciples of Jesus we would sing these words:

TO BE LIKE JESUS
TO BE LIKE JESUS
ALL I ASK, TO BE LIKE HIM
ALL THROUGH LIFE’S JOURNEY
FROM EARTH TO GLORY
ALL I ASK, TO BE LIKE HIM

Our hearts were sincere as we thought about the bold proclamation of Jesus and the miracles.  Yes, the miracles were amazing and being like Jesus meant that we would see them too!  We pondered being used by God to accomplish great things here on this earth as we would see many, many people turn their hearts to Jesus.  For some, that happened, but for most the grand vision of spiritual greatness never came to pass!  Life was about “ordinary” things, like jobs and children and family.  The Holy Spirit wanted us to show the world around us what it was like to be like Jesus in the carpenter shop, and we have spent years doing just that.

There is one more thing for each of us in being like Jesus.  Suffering and dying like Jesus did is how He wants us to conclude our journey here on earth.  If it were just dying, that might not be so hard, but Jesus suffered and we must do that as well.


“Jesus, after all these years I still want to be like You.  I know now that the greatest thing I can do today is to live each moment exactly the way You would have.  Truthfully, Lord all I need is to be like You!  May You, Jesus be praised now and forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Buy God's Gold!




Buy your gold from me. It has been refined in a fire, and it will make you rich. Buy white clothes from me. Wear them and you can cover up your shameful nakedness. Buy medicine for your eyes, so that you will be able to see.  I correct and punish everyone I love. So make up your minds to turn away from your sins.  Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together.

Revelation 3: 18 - 20
  
You don’t have to listen to American television very long until you will hear a commercial encouraging you to buy gold.  They don’t claim that buying gold will make you rich, but they say it is the best thing to have when “hard times” come!

Only three chapters into the book of Revelation you will read God’s commercial about buying gold!  He wants you to buy your gold from Him.  God says that His gold will make you rich!  And, of course God’s Gold is what you should have when times get hard.  These verses in Revelation 3 also encourage us to buy white clothes and medicine for our eyes from God.  

So after you have been corrected and even punished by God and you decided to turn away from your sins, you will hear a knock at your door!  That would be Jesus, who not only knocks on your door, but also calls out to you.  Then, when you open the door, Jesus will come in and eat with you! 

When Jesus dines with you, it will be the most Glorious meal this side of the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Like He did with the loaves and fish as well as the water He turned to wine, Jesus will transform everything you serve Him into a grand gourmet experience! 

My job is to buy God’s Gold and turn away from my sins.  Then I must listen for the knock and open the door!  


“Lord Jesus, help me today to be ready for Your knock on my door!  Transform me into exactly the person You created me to be!  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Monday, February 13, 2017

Work on the Wedding Dress!




Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd that sounded like a roaring flood and loud thunder all mixed together. They were saying,

“Praise the Lord! Our Lord God All-Powerful now rules as king. So we will be glad and happy and give him praise. The wedding day of the Lamb is here, and his bride is ready. She will be given a wedding dress made of pure and shining linen. This linen stands for the good things God's people have done.”

Revelation 19:6-8

It is a very special thing when a wedding dress is made by hand!  At least, in the United States today most people buy their clothes, already made, from a store that has many different sizes of the same dress.  Usually, these clothes are not very expensive and fit “pretty well” but not perfectly.

But a tailored wedding dress that is specially made for the bride is exactly the right size and enhances her beauty in every way!

The wedding dress of the Bride of the Lamb of God is being made by hand, every day by those who follow Jesus. Good deeds done by God’s people are the cloth of that dress! So when you do something good for someone else you are helping to weave the cloth of the Wedding dress of the Bride of Christ!  That is no small thing!

The deed itself may be small, but the cloth you are weaving is eternally glorious!  

Sometimes we are disappointed if others are not grateful for the good things we have done.  But the appreciation of men for the good things you do is irrelevant.  As a follower of Jesus what you are doing when you do something good is this: you are helping to prepare the Wedding dress of the Bride of Christ!  The next time you hold the door for someone who has their hands filled and can’t do it for themselves think about the eternal impact of every good deed!  It will make a difference in how you live your day!


“Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me help with the Wedding dress for Your Bride.  Give me opportunity to weave more cloth today!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen.”   

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Without God and Without Love




Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.  Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.  Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.  Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.

Colossians 3: 14 - 17

When one person truly loves another human being, he or she is  touching the essence of God Himself.  If someone rejects God, then he must also reject love, because God is love!  Many years ago I visited a country that officially rejected God.  It was dark and dreary and there were no indications that love was part of what was happening among the people!  When you are without God, you are without love!  

Someone once said that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate love story.  Love is the reason that Jesus came to this earth, and love is the reason that He died on the cross.  The most profound message of Scripture is this:  Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!

Every time two people find themselves in a real loving relationship, they are getting close to the reality of God.  Don’t forget that a loving sexual relationship which was designed for a man and a woman in marriage is not the only love between people.  Brother or sister, parent and child and dear friends can also experience love that comes from God!  

When the love of God is missing in your world, it will be dark and sad.  But when you let the love of Christ fill your heart and mind, you will see the Light all around you.


“Thank You Jesus for the Love that we may touch on this earth because of who You are!   Praise Your Holy Name forever. Amen.”