Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Just Imagine if John Lennon . . .

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Many people from strong nations will come to Jerusalem to worship me and to ask me to treat them with kindness.  When this happens, ten people from nations with different languages will grab a Jew by his clothes and say, "Let us go with you. We've heard that God is on your side." I, the LORD All-Powerful, have spoken!

Zechariah 8: 22-23

Almost 50 years ago John Lennon challenged the world to “Imagine” there is no Heaven and no Hell.   The world grabbed hold of the idea and has spent the last half century pretending that “peace on earth” can come from the goodness of human beings!  Such a fantasy has produced nothing but bitter fruit and destruction among men!

God wants us to “imagine” that everything He has said is true!  Like a little child who believes every word that comes from his or her father, when we believe God we will please Him in everything we do.

What will it be like when there are no more atheists because everyone has come face to face with Jesus Christ and has fallen down before Him?  Imagine there are no skeptics, no doubters, and no debate about whether or not God really exists.  How do you doubt the existence of God when you have been brought before His judgment seat and have been sentenced to Eternal Death or been given Eternal Life?

Imagine that the age of wondering whether or not God exists is over.  And imagine that the Eternal purposes of God are clear to everyone!  As John Lennon said about his imaginations, you are not the only one!  

“Lord Jesus, I do want to imagine what it will be like to stand before You and hear You say ‘Well Done.’ May Your Name praised now and forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Because Of Who He Is!

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About twelve months later, I was walking on the flat roof of my royal palace and admiring the beautiful city of Babylon, when these things started happening to me. I was saying to myself, "Just look at this wonderful capital city that I have built by my own power and for my own glory!"
  But before I could finish speaking, a voice from heaven interrupted: King Nebuchadnezzar, this kingdom is no longer yours.  You will be forced to live with the wild animals, away from people. For seven years you will eat grass, as though you were an ox, until you learn that God Most High is in control of all earthly kingdoms and that he is the one who chooses their rulers.

This was no sooner said than done--I was forced to live like a wild animal; I ate grass and was unprotected from the dew. As time went by, my hair grew longer than eagle feathers, and my fingernails looked like the claws of a bird.  Finally, I prayed to God in heaven, and my mind was healed. Then I said: "I praise and honor God Most High. He lives forever, and his kingdom will never end.  To him the nations are far less than nothing; God controls the stars in the sky and everyone on this earth. When God does something, we cannot change it or even ask why."

At that time my mind was healed, and once again I became the ruler of my glorious kingdom. My advisors and officials returned to me, and I had greater power than ever before. That's why I say: "Praise and honor the King who rules from heaven! Everything he does is honest and fair, and he can shatter the power of those who are proud."

Daniel 4: 28-37

God is in control of even the mind of man.  When God chose to, he caused Nebuchadnezzar to be unable to think and live like a man.  So for 7 years the king lived in the fields with wild animals and ate grass!  

Then, when the king had come to know that God is in control of all earthly kingdoms and that He chooses their leaders, King Nebuchadnezzar regained his sanity and was restored to the throne.

Here is a sobering truth: Even your ability to think and reason and understand is a gift from God that He could withdraw at any moment.  I met a man once who had been an accomplished surgeon until a mugging left him bed ridden and unable to communicate about even the ordinary things in life.  

So, remember that your ability to think, reason and understand comes from God!  It is not because of how great you are that you are "smarter" than other men.  It is because of who He is that you have whatever capabilities you have!  No matter how important you may be in this life, you must humble yourself before Almighty God and recognize that everything you have is a gift from your Heavenly Father!

"Lord Jesus, me help today not to be stubborn about learning that You are in control of everything.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Monday, April 16, 2018

Bullseye of Satan's Target

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Listen to my concerns, God, and protect me from my terrible enemies.  Keep me safe from secret plots of corrupt and evil gangs.  Their words cut like swords, and their cruel remarks sting like sharp arrows.  They fearlessly ambush and shoot innocent people.  They are determined to do evil, and they tell themselves, "Let's set traps! No one can see us."  They make evil plans and say, "We'll commit a perfect crime. No one knows our thoughts."  But God will shoot his arrows and quickly wound them.  They will be destroyed by their own words, and everyone who sees them will tremble with fear.  They will be afraid and say, "Look at what God has done and keep it all in mind."  May the LORD bless his people with peace and happiness and let them celebrate.

Psalm 64: 1 - 10

The attacks of Satan on followers of Jesus Christ often consist of simply words and cruel remarks!   The Enemy of all that is good and right wants you to be discredited so that you cannot spread the amazing message of Jesus Christ!  The Devil wants you to be seen by all around as a person not to be believed.   

If Satan destroys your health or even takes your life, he simply turns you into a martyr for Jesus and it defeats the purpose of the Enemy.  But if he can destroy your reputation and your credibility, then everything you have done for Jesus or have said about the Lord comes into question.

When you are in the bullseye of Satan's target pray that "God will shoot his arrows and quickly wound" those who are coming against you. Watch as they are being "destroyed by their own words."

"Lord Jesus, thank You that I am not alone in the battle against Satan.  And with You Lord Jesus, there is no question who will win that battle.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Explanation for Everything!

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God's power is unlimited. He needs no teachers to guide or correct him.  Others have praised God for what he has done, so join with them.  From down here on earth, everyone has looked up and seen how great God is-- God is more than we imagine; no one can count the years he has lived.  God gathers moisture into the clouds and supplies us with rain.  Who can understand how God scatters the clouds and speaks from his home in the thunderstorm?  And when God sends lightning, it can be seen at the bottom of the sea.  By producing such rainstorms, God rules the world and provides us with food.  Each flash of lightning is one of his arrows striking its target, and the thunder tells of his anger against sin.

Job 36: 22 - 33

As I write these words, the United States is experiencing the largest April snow storm in memory.  Those who call themselves "scientists" have a great dilemma if they are not believers in Almighty God.  

The focus of everything a scientist does is to study the works of God and their impact on humanity!  So, not believing in God forces them to "dream up" some kind of reason for the existence of all their is.  And without an "Almighty Intelligence" in control of all that is happening, there is no certainty that what has happened will ever happen again.  Laws of Nature demand that Someone is enforcing them.  Any laws without an enforcer are fundamentally irrelevant.

Here is the hard part for anyone to grasp: These verses say that lightning strikes it's target and thunder is the Voice of God expressing His anger against sin!

Don't follow the example of those "scientists" who say they don't believe in God and search for random explanations to things that happen in Nature!  God Himself is the Explanation for Everything!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to see Your power in the things that You created and recognized You in every strike of lightning and Your voice in every clap of thunder.  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."   

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Not Here Not Now

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Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia.  After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them.  So they went on through Mysia until they came to Troas.  During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us!"  After Paul had seen the vision, we began looking for a way to go to Macedonia. We were sure that God had called us to preach the good news there.

Acts 16: 6-10

As the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul in his ministry of spreading the Gospel all over the world, He not only showed Paul where to preach, but also where not to preach.   

Of course, it is the will of God that the Gospel be spread to the entire world, but the Spirit told Paul, "Not Here Not Now" when Paul wanted to preach in Asia.

So even the Apostle Paul could not just go about preaching anywhere he wanted to preach.  After being told that he should not go to Asia he had a vision during the night of a man calling him to go to Macedonia and Paul concluded that God wanted him to go there.

So there is a two part process in deciding what you will do for Jesus.  First, ask "is it the will of God" that a thing be done.  Secondly, you must ask God if is His will that you do it!  If God's will does not include the thing you want to do, then of course you must abandon the idea.  But you must also ask God if a thing, which is clearly part of His will, is something that He wants you to do! 

"Lord Jesus, show me today what You want me to do as well as what You want me not to do!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Feed Your Brother!

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Simon Peter got back into the boat and dragged the net to shore. In it were one hundred fifty-three large fish, but still the net did not rip.  Jesus said, "Come and eat!" But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord.  Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish.  This was the third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from death.  When Jesus and his disciples had finished eating, he asked, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than the others do?" Simon Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know I do!" "Then feed my lambs," Jesus said.  Jesus asked a second time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you!" "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus told him.  Jesus asked a third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. So he told Jesus, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you." Jesus replied, "Feed my sheep.

John 21: 11 - 17

Jesus fed the disciples with fish and bread.  The night before His crucifixion Jesus gave the disciples bread and wine and established the memorial feast that we call "Communion."  But this time the meal is only remembered when a Bible teacher decides to talk about it or we run across these verses in our regular Bible reading.

But the lesson of these verses should impact your walk with Jesus every day!  Jesus feeds you and He expects you to feed others!  That is the essence of what Jesus told His disciples in this early morning encounter.  

My mother was known for wanting to "feed" everyone who entered our house. When I was in high school my friends all knew that coming over to my house meant they would get something to eat!

When you meet a brother or a sister in the Lord today you should ask yourself this question: Is there anything I have that I can give him or her that would strengthen their walk with Jesus?  That would indeed be taking care of and feeding the sheep of Jesus!

"Lord Jesus, open my eyes today to the needs of my brothers and sisters and show me what I have that will strengthen them in their walk with You.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jesus Give Me What I Need!

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The time of prayer was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple.  A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in.  The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money.  But they looked straight at him and said, "Look up at us!"  The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something.  But Peter said, "I don't have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking."  Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up. At once the man's feet and ankles became strong, and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God.

Peter saw that a crowd had gathered, and he said: Friends, why are you surprised at what has happened? Why are you staring at us? Do you think we have some power of our own? Do you think we were able to make this man walk because we are so religious?  The God that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our other ancestors worshiped has brought honor to his Servant Jesus. He is the one you betrayed. You turned against him when he was being tried by Pilate, even though Pilate wanted to set him free.  You rejected Jesus, who was holy and good. You asked for a murderer to be set free, and you killed the one who leads people to life. But God raised him from death, and all of us can tell you what he has done.  You see this man, and you know him. He put his faith in the name of Jesus and was made strong. Faith in Jesus made this man completely well while everyone was watching.

Acts 3: 1 - 8 & 12-16

The man who was born lame asked Peter and John for money, but instead he got the thing that money could not buy, he was healed!  If Peter and John had given the man money, I suppose it would have been a good thing, but in a few hours, or even days the money would be gone and the man would be begging again.  

When you encounter Jesus in your day, what do you ask from Him?  Do you ask Jesus for things that would make your life more comfortable and less of a struggle?  Do you ask Jesus to deal with the little aggravations of life and the issues that cause you pain?  Or do you ask for the healing of your feet so that you can walk, jump and run with Jesus and praise Him every moment of the life you have on this earth?  Of course, I am not talking about your physical feet because you can run with Jesus without their help.  

Put your faith in Jesus and ask Him to make you strong and completely well so that everyone around can see the Power of God in your life!

"Thank You Jesus for giving me what I truly need instead of only what I ask for!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."