Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Keep Your Eyes on Heaven!

Because Abraham had faith, he lived as a stranger in the promised land. He lived there in a tent, and so did Isaac and Jacob, who were later given the same promise.  Abraham did this, because he was waiting for the eternal city God had planned and built. Even when Sarah was too old to have children, she had faith that God would do what he had promised, and she had a son.  Her husband Abraham was almost dead, but he became the ancestor of many people. In fact, there are as many of them as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the seashore.

Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth.  When people talk this way, it is clear they are looking for a place to call their own.  If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time.  But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. This is why God wasn't ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.

Hebrews 11:9-16

When a sports team continues to win victory after victory, there will come a day when they will play the championship game and the ultimate prize is at hand!  

As a follower of Jesus Christ, you will discover that He will give you the strength to win battle after battle and overcome the temptation to turn away from Him.  He will show you the way that you should go and will help you walk that way!

The testimony of many people is all about where they came from in their journey toward Heaven.  But these folks in Hebrews 11 are talking about where they are going!  Keep your mind on Heaven and your eyes on the goal of your faith.  Keep your ears open for a Word from the Holy Spirit and your heart continually turned in loving submission to Jesus!  Then you will be always ready for the Day of the Lord and the Coming of Jesus!

“Lord Jesus, help me today to think more about the future than the past.  Give me a new vision of the wonderful things that are to come because of who You are!  My Lord and my Savior.  Amen.”

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Breath and Life!

When our Lord Jesus returns, we will be gathered up to meet him. So I ask you, my friends, not to be easily upset or disturbed by people who claim the Lord has already come. They may say they heard this directly from the Holy Spirit, or from someone else, or even that they read it in one of our letters. But don't be fooled! People will rebel against God. Then before the Lord returns, the wicked one who is doomed to be destroyed will appear.  He will brag and oppose everything holy or sacred. He will even sit in God's temple and claim to be God.  Don't you remember I told you this while I was still with you?

You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come.  His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won't appear until this someone is out of the way.  Then he will appear, but the Lord Jesus will kill him simply by breathing on him. He will be completely destroyed by the Lord's glorious return.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-8

For Adam, the breath of God was the beginning of life, the point of creation!  But for the wicked one described in these verses it is the end!  

There is great power in God’s breath!  And, in fact it is with the breath of God that He formed the Words, let there be light!  

Mankind which was created in the image of God also has power in the breath that comes from them.  Your breath brings life to plants as you breathe out the carbon dioxide that plants need to live!

For the one who rebelled against God and became known as the “Wicked One,” the breath of God is lethal!  So God’s breath brings life or it brings death!  

“Lord Jesus, may I be one of those who live because of Your breath!  Help me to always seek You so that Your breath will bring nothing but blessing to my life.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen.”

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Uncomfortable Spirit!

The Lord said:
The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah. It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement. Here is the new agreement that I, the Lord, will make with the people of Israel:

“I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34

When the Holy Spirit is living in your heart, the laws of God are written on that heart and on your mind.  Then, knowing the right thing to do when you have two options is usually obvious.  One option is clearly consistent with the Holy Spirit living in your heart and the other one is not.  

I think most people know what a “restless spirit” is when it comes to your own life.  When you are not comfortable in your situation you become disturbed and desire a change.  But when the Holy Spirit is the restless Spirit in your heart, you become keenly aware that something about your actions or direction in life is wrong!  The Holy Spirit desires that you change your actions or direction.  

Following Jesus does not consist of your being obedient to a set of rules that you find in a Book.  If you are a disciple of Christ you chart your course according to the laws of God that He has written on your heart and mind.  And, by the way they are also in the Book!

“Lord Jesus, help me today to make the Holy Spirit comfortable in my heart.  May my heart and mind be available for You to write Your will in my life.  May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

God Plows the Field

Isaiah was fearless enough to tell that the Lord had said, “I was found by people who were not looking for me.  I appeared to the ones who were not asking about me.”

And Isaiah said about the people of Israel, “All day long the Lord has reached out to people who are stubborn and refuse to obey.”

Romans 10:20-21

What is the difference between a man who is seeking God, and a man who is being sought by Him?  The Bible clearly says that when you seek God, you will find Him.  But when God seeks you, He waits for you to respond to His promptings and callings.  Some say that all God does today is to have someone present us with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then He waits for our decision.  I believe it is not that simple.  

There are many stories today of people who considered themselves enemies of Christ and then they dreamed about a man, that they later realized was Jesus!  In their pursuit of understanding the dream many of these people have become followers of Jesus, but there is no way to know how many men and women to whom Jesus appeared refused to seek Him.  

Pray that all men on earth will have the opportunity to come to faith in Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Lord and Savior!  And don’t forget that God has already been plowing the field even before you plant the seed!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me be part of what You are doing in the world today!  I pray that all men may be convicted of their need for You today so that they may seek You and find You!    May You Jesus, be praised forever.  Amen.”

Monday, August 15, 2016

Concealed Carry Idols

Jacob had set up camp in the hill country of Gilead, when Laban and his relatives came and set up camp in another part of the hill country. Laban went to Jacob and said: Look what you've done! You've tricked me and run off with my daughters like a kidnapper.  Why did you sneak away without telling me? I would have given you a going-away party with singing and with music on tambourines and harps.  You didn't even give me a chance to kiss my own grandchildren and daughters goodbye. That was really foolish.  I could easily hurt you, but the God your father worshiped has warned me not to make any threats or promises. I can understand why you were eager to return to your father, but why did you have to steal my idols?

Jacob answered, “I left secretly because I was afraid you would take your daughters from me by force.  If you find that any one of us has taken your idols, I'll have that person killed. Let your relatives be witnesses. Show me what belongs to you, and you can take it back.” Jacob did not realize that Rachel had stolen the household idols.

Laban searched the tents of Jacob, Leah, and the two servant women, but did not find the idols. Then he went to Rachel's tent.  She had already hidden them in the cushion she used as a saddle and was sitting on it. Laban searched everywhere and did not find them.

Genesis 31:25-34

Why would Rachel want to conceal and carry away the idols that were in her father’s home?  The Bible does not say, but it seems obvious that she wanted them for security.  Although she was the favored wife she had a very difficult time conceiving children.  She ultimately had only Joseph and Benjamin, but was barren for a long time before that. Taking her father’s idols seemed to say that Rachel was not at this point a woman of great faith in God.

Are you, like Rachel in the middle of seeing great things that God is doing around you, and yet you are holding on to powerless idols that may have been part of your life as your grew up?  There are things in everyone’s life that must be abandoned as you grow and follow Jesus.  Check your heart and mind and see if you are keeping anything concealed in your heart that Jesus wants you to destroy!  

“Lord Jesus, search my heart and show me if I am trying to conceal anything from You.  I do want to be completely Yours.  And, may You be praised forever.  Amen.” 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Let Jesus be Your Head!

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I saw an angel come down from heaven, carrying the key to the deep pit and a big chain.  He chained the dragon for 1,000 years. It is that old snake, who is also known as the devil and Satan.  Then the angel threw the dragon into the pit. He locked and sealed it, so 1,000 years would go by before the dragon could fool the nations again. But after that, it would have to be set free for a little while.

I saw thrones, and sitting on those thrones were the ones who had been given the right to judge. I also saw the souls of the people who had their heads cut off because they had told about Jesus and preached God's message. 

They were the same ones who had not worshiped the beast or the idol, and they had refused to let its mark be put on their foreheads or hands. They will come to life and rule with Christ for 1,000 years.

These people are the first to be raised to life, and they are especially blessed and holy. The second death has no power over them. They will be priests for God and Christ and will rule with them for 1,000 years. No other dead people were raised to life until 1,000 years later.

Revelation 20:1-6

You have seen the pictures of followers of Jesus having their heads cut off because of their unshakeable faith!  If someone you know has suffered that fate, then these words in Revelation 20 are especially comforting.  There is a special blessing for those who suffer in that way.  Losing your life for Jesus will be rewarded!

But the truth is that all followers of Jesus are called to lose their lives for Him.  You may not  have the “opportunity” to become a martyr and have your head cut off, but you can and must let Jesus be the one who rules your life and your every decision.

Know for sure when you give up your life for Jesus, there is a special blessing for you from your Heavenly Father!

“Lord Jesus, give me the courage to be willing to become a martyr for you!  And help me to be willing to let You be my Head even while I am alive on this earth.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

Convert Not Kill!

“When the dragon realized it had been thrown down to the earth, it tried to make trouble for the woman who had given birth to a son.  But the woman was given two wings like those of a huge eagle, so she could fly into the desert. There she would escape from the snake and be taken care of for a time, two times, and half a time.”

“The snake then spewed out water like a river to sweep the woman away.  But the earth helped her and swallowed the water that had come from the dragon's mouth. This made the dragon terribly angry with the woman. So it started a war against the rest of her children. They are the people who obey God and are faithful to what Jesus did and taught.” 

Revelation 12:13-17

You will often hear someone say today that it is difficult to win a war if you are not willing to name the enemy!  If you don’t recognize the enemy, you may find yourself embracing the one who wants to destroy you.

When you are at war, don’t be confused about who the enemy is.   In the War against Christians those who follow Jesus must recognize the enemy if they are to wield the Sword of the Spirit in making their counter attacks!  Your enemy as a Christian is not any other human being.  Your enemy is Satan himself!  He is the one who is orchestrating the War!

The Enemy of Christ inspires many men to join with him in fighting followers of Jesus, but the Blood of Jesus and His Holy Spirit are waiting even for those enemies of Christ who would turn to Him for their own Salvation!  

The amazing truth about the War between Satan and followers of Jesus is that our goal is to Convert Not Kill those who are fighting for Satan!  Then the only blood that is shed in the battle will be the Blood of Jesus and the only death will be the death of the “old life” of a New Believer!  

“Lord Jesus, help me today to fight to win those who oppose You so that they too can know the joy of Heaven!  May Your Name be praised forever.  Amen.”