Thursday, December 18, 2014

Peace WITH or IN this World?

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Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

God saves me and honors me.  He is that mighty rock where I find safety.

Psalm 62:5-7

If a country is not "at peace", then of course you would say that the country is "at war".

Deep inside your heart, is there peace or war?  Is your mind, heart and soul enjoying the calm of knowing that your life is in the Hand of God, or are you filled with turmoil and uncertainty?  I suppose if "War is Hell" then "Peace is Heaven!" 

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then your peace is peace "in" this world, not peace "with" the world!  There is a huge difference.

When you are at peace with the world, then you are always ready to compromise the truth of God for a lie of Satan. 

When you are at peace in this world, your calm heart does not depend on anything which happens here on earth.  Your peace comes not from things on earth, but things in Heaven.  

When you are at peace in this world you can proclaim that "All is Well" even when the storms of life are raging all around.  Let your peace come from Jesus and not from the circumstances of your life here on earth.

"Lord Jesus, give me the peace that can only come from knowing You.  Give me the calm assurance that all is well because of You, Jesus and nothing else! May Your Holy Name be praised forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Humor of Heaven!

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Moses used to set up a tent far from camp. He called it the “meeting tent,” and whoever needed some message from the Lord would go there.  Each time Moses went out to this tent, everyone would stand at the entrance to their own tents and watch him enter.  Then they would bow down because a thick cloud would come down in front of the tent, and the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, just like a friend. Afterwards, Moses would return to camp, but his young assistant Joshua would stay at the tent.

Exodus 33:7-11

What do friends talk about?  Moses talked to God like he would talk to a friend.  Communication between friends is characterized by the whole spectrum of topics. 

You can certainly speak with a friend about important matters, but you can also, and I often do speak to a friend about the mundane things of this world.  When I speak with a friend a little humor often comes in to the conversation.  And sometimes a friend will chastise me and I take no offense. 

Are there things in your life that you don't discuss with God?  Do you speak with God as the Mighty Ruler of Heaven and Earth, but not as you would a dear friend?  Remember God created even the smallest plant or insect.  He designed every living thing on earth and even the things that are not living. If you were an artist would you not be interested if someone commented on one of your "creations"?

Now here is something that I struggle with.  God created man with the ability to laugh.  I believe God has a sense of humor.  In fact, I think He is the Author of humor!  Monkeys are not the only animals that make me laugh!  Who can resist the infectious laugh of a baby?  If God is your friend He will not only cry with you, but God will laugh! 

Even as it is better if someone cries with you when you are sad, it is also better not to laugh alone! 

"Jesus, thank You Lord for sharing my sorrow, pain and suffering.  But Lord I want to be Your friend and share everything that being Your friend means, so I also want to laugh with You.  Show me something today that You think is "funny."  Touch my heart with the Humor of Heaven!  And may You be praised forever!  Amen."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Shake the Box in Heaven!

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Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.  God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.

You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do.   On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while.   Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.

1 Peter 1:3-7

"Did you bring me a prize?" Those were the words I would hear from my children when they were little and I returned home after being gone for a few days. Of course, they were most of all glad to see their father, but they were also excited about small gifts I would bring.

Did you know that God has something stored up for you in heaven? Unlike things that are stored on this earth, it will never decay or be ruined or disappear. Just like a Christmas package under the tree, the things that God has for us in Heaven are wrapped and cannot be seen until that Glorious Day!

It is exciting to anticipate the "unknown blessing" in the box under the tree with your name on it! But it is even more exciting to think about the unknown blessing stored for you in heaven! Let yourself ponder the promises of Heaven, even if they are still wrapped in the veil of Eternity!

The problems and sufferings on this earth are still yours to experience, but nothing here below can stop you from thinking about the Glories of Heaven! "Shake the box" in Heaven and imagine what it will be like!

"Lord Jesus, I do wish You were already here, but until You come help me to think about what You have prepared for me there! Give me the heart of a child waiting to open a special gift! And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Heartbreak of God!

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I am Hosea son of Beeri. When Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah, and when Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel, the Lord spoke this message to me.  The Lord said, “Hosea, Israel has betrayed me like an unfaithful wife. Marry such a woman and have children by her.”  So I married Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and we had a son.

Hosea 1:1-3

The story of the prophet Hosea is certainly a tragic one. And yet Hosea was walking into the heartbreak of marrying a woman who would not be faithful to him because God told him to do it! I thought God only wants a "wonderful life" for all of His children? Why would the path that He lays out for you include suffering and heartbreak?

God said that Hosea's trouble with his unfaithful wife was like God's experience with unfaithful Israel! God not only wanted Hosea to preach His message as a prophet, but He also wanted Hosea's life to show them the relationship between God and unfaithful Israel. In the process Hosea came to understand the Heartbreak of God!

When you sin, others are hurt by it. Even if you don't physically harm someone else by sinning, sin always damages relationships! That's what happened in the Garden of Eden. But when you sin, the one who hurts the most is God Himself! Every pain you feel because of a wayward child is one way you come to know the Heart of God! All our suffering teaches us about God Himself.

The other side of that same coin is this: Every time you experience the sweetness of love, you are touching the essence of God! All the wonderfulness of "being in love" lets your heart know a little of what God is like!

The roller coaster of life on this earth teaches us about the Heart of God. Knowing what God thinks about a matter is certainly important, but knowing how God feels about it is an even deeper level of relationship. Set your mind today so that your life and everything you do will bring God joy and not pain!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and suffering for me. Help me today to bring You no more pain by the way I live! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Killer in the Kingdom!

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Saul kept on threatening to kill the Lord's followers. He even went to the high priest and asked for letters to the leaders of the synagogues in Damascus. He did this because he wanted to arrest and take to Jerusalem any man or woman who had accepted the Lord's Way.  When Saul had almost reached Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you so cruel to me?”  “Who are you?” Saul asked.“I am Jesus,” the Lord answered. “I am the one you are so cruel to.  Now get up and go into the city, where you will be told what to do.”

Acts 9:1-6

Saul was seeking to please God and do the things that were right in the eyes of the Lord. But Saul tried to please the Lord by killing those who "were" pleasing God. His heart was right, but his actions were all wrong!

Saul reminds me today of those who want to kill Christians in order to please God. You know who they are and you know that like Saul they are very serious about what they believe, even though they are wrong!

The answer for Saul was to see a vision and hear the voice of the Lord on the road to Damascus. Then Saul came to know that opposing Jesus did not please God. The problem was that anyone who would come to Saul to tell him about Jesus would be the target of Saul's rage. So God met Saul on the road and turned Saul's life around!

Then the one who was the most feared by followers of Jesus because he wanted to kill them became the Apostle Paul and carried the message of Christ to everyone he met!

Could it be that those who today want to kill followers of Jesus also will have a vision of Jesus on the road they are traveling? If so, it may certainly be that those we fear the most may become God's instruments for the next world wide revival!

So when you meet or even hear of someone who wants to kill you because you follow Jesus, remember that God can change their heart into another Apostle Paul! Remember that when you pray for your enemies!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for meeting Saul on the road to Damascus. I pray Jesus that You will meet more of Your enemies even today, so that they too can join with all Your children in praising Your Holy Name! Amen."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You are God's Night Light!

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Jesus told us God is light and doesn't have any darkness in him. Now we are telling you. If we say we share in life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth.  But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away.  If we say we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn't in our hearts.  But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.

1 John 1:5-9

If God is light, then it makes perfect sense that children would be afraid of the dark. I think most of my grandchildren prefer to have a "night light" plugged in somewhere in the room when they stay at our house. A night light is a tiny, low wattage bulb that provides just enough light to see the shapes and forms of objects in the room. When a child wakes at night and there is a night light burning in the room, he knows that the "monster" which he fears is not there also.

Let your life be a "night light" in the darkness of this world. Your life will bring comfort to others as your light shines in the world.

There is however a big difference in a night light and your life. Your light in the darkness clearly reveals that the "monster" that you fear is indeed there. And he wants to destroy you! Pretending that Satan is not there will not make him go away. Telling yourself that you don't need to worry will not lessen the threat! But living in the light, with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your heart will protect you from the Evil One.

When I see a night light I see something that children, perhaps don't see. When I see a night light, I know that the power is still connected to the house and is available for everything else!

Compared to God Himself your "night light" is this world is not very bright. But when all around you is darkness, even your little light shows the world that God is still connected to your life and is available for everyone else!

"Lord Jesus, let Your light shine through me to all the world around me, and may those who see my life know that You are alive and calling them to turn their hearts to You as well. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Can You be an Angry Christian?

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After this, I looked at the sky and saw something else that was strange and important. Seven angels were bringing the last seven terrible troubles. When these are ended, God will no longer be angry.

Revelation 15:1

The Love of God is amazing and overwhelming. There is no love like God's love! But the anger of God is to be feared!

Years ago I was a radio talk show host. I would display outrage and anger about injustices and even evil things going on in our world. There were some who told me that if I was really a Christian then I would not be angry. They believed that Christians should sit peacefully and passively by while evil rages around them and never be outraged or angry.

The problem with that is that we are also told to be like Jesus. Jesus overturned the tables in the temple and even used a whip to drive out the money changers! If that were today, He would have been charged with a crime! The Bible tells me to be angry and sin not. It does not tell me not to be angry.

If you want to be like Jesus, you will not sin, but you will also, if you are like Jesus be angry! The goal of an "angry Christian" is to avoid sin, not to avoid breaking a law or rule of men. If you must break a law to be like Jesus, then break it, but you will never have to sin in order to be like the Lord!

"Lord Jesus, I do want to be like You. Show me when to be angry and when not to be angry. But Lord, when I am angry help me not to sin! And may You be praised forever. Amen."