Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Choosing to Say Yes!

If we say that 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 that 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.   If we say that we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and his message isn't in our hearts.

1 John 1: 6 - 11

Telling other people that you are a follower of Jesus Christ does not make you one!  Even telling people about Jesus and the eternal fact that they can be saved through His sacrifice on the Cross does not make you a Christian!  

Jesus is Lord of your life, not because you say “Jesus is Lord,” but rather because you make your life choices based on His Will and His Word rather than your own!  

The “Free Will” that Jesus has given you is simply this:  You can choose to say “no” to God!  But you can also choose to say “YES!”  And when you say YES to God you will be living in the light and are truly a follower of Jesus Christ.

It is not that we should occasionally say YES to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in our lives.  That must be how we live minute by minute!  If you have not heard a Word from God during the past few minutes, then you are not listening!  

“Lord Jesus, help me today, instead of simply telling others about You, let me show them how You walked among men and trusted the Father in everything!  May there be no darkness on the path that I walk this day.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Prescription for Happiness!

God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won't follow sinners or join in sneering at God.   Instead, the Law of the LORD makes them happy, and they think about it day and night.   They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves. Those people succeed in everything they do.   That isn't true of those who are evil, because they are like straw blown by the wind.   Sinners won't have an excuse on the day of judgment, and they won't have a place with the people of God.   The LORD protects everyone who follows him, but the wicked follow a road that leads to ruin.

Psalms 1: 1 - 6

This first Psalm begins with a prescription which tells you how to be happy.  The blessings of God fall on those who refuse “evil advice,” don’t follow sinners or join in speaking in opposition to God!  And happiness comes to those who think about what God has said, during the day and during the night!

You are going to think about something.  The range of things you can think about goes from the lowest things of the gutter all the way to the Glories of Heaven!  It is a choice you can make and it is a choice that will determine how your day, your life, and yes, your Eternity will go!  

The harm in exposing yourself to music, movies and other “entertainment” that ignores or even outright denies God is that during that time you will not be thinking about the things of God and what He has said!  And of course, you will get “evil advice” and see men “sneering at God.”  

Here is some good advice.  Read the Word of God today until something God has said sticks in your mind enough, to stay there all day and through the night as you ponder and consider the Word of God!  Letting your mind be actively thinking about God’s Word will guard your mind and heart against the messages that Satan wants to deliver to you each and every day!  

“Lord Jesus, help me to think about Your Word all day and dream about it all night as I walk in the way You have prepared for me to go.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Saturday, July 15, 2017

God's Long Term Project!

I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!  Every time I think of you, I thank my God.  And whenever I mention you in my prayers, it makes me happy.  This is because you have taken part with me in spreading the good news from the first day you heard about it.  God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1: 2 - 6

I like short term projects.  I can start and finish something, even the same day.  Then, I can move on to something else.  And God certainly has many “short term projects” for His children.  A cup of cold water given to a thirsty person can be done quickly, but as the scriptures say it can have an eternal impact.  

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will lead you to speak a word of encouragement to someone who needs it, and you never know why.  There are many such opportunities in the life of a follower of Jesus.  

I know though that life itself is a “long term experience.”   From the day that God created Adam until the day the “Second Adam” returns to claim His Bride, God has been working His will on Planet Earth.  God has a plan and He will perfectly execute that plan. Your life is part of that plan!

Human existence is like a giant jig saw puzzle and you are one piece of that picture. 

So yes, there are many short term projects as a follower of Jesus, but they are all part of the very long term project of preparing a Bride for Jesus Christ.

“Lord Jesus, help me to see today that everything You lead me to do is part of the plan You have for making Your Bride ready for Your return!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever!  Amen.”

Friday, July 14, 2017

Always on My Mind!

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Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God's throne!  So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won't get discouraged and give up.

Hebrews 12: 1 - 3

In your walk with the Lord, how do you get rid of the sin that just won’t let go?  That sin slows you down in the race that God has called you to run in this world.

These verses answer that question.  Getting rid of anything that slows you down in your Christian walk is simply a matter of keeping your eyes and mind on Jesus.  

When you keep looking at Jesus, you won’t be distracted by the “fruit” which is hanging on the tree of temptation.   Jesus is the “perfect man” and you will be captivated by the sight of Him working in the world all around you!  

And when your mind is continually pondering the Majesty of Christ the things of this world will “grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  Those words come from a worship song called “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”

When you look for Jesus in everything around you and think about Him all the time, you will find that the pull of this world is greatly diminished and your walk with the Lord will dominate your life!

“Lord Jesus, let me see You today in what is happening around me.  And Jesus help me to keep you always on my mind!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen.”

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Story of Your Faith?

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Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God. Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God's command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.  Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him. 

Enoch had faith and did not die. He pleased God, and God took him up to heaven. That's why his body was never found.   But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him.   Because Noah had faith, he was warned about something that had not yet happened. He obeyed and built a boat that saved him and his family. In this way the people of the world were judged, and Noah was given the blessings that come to everyone who pleases God.  Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen.  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 that 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 beach.

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 that 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. That's why God wasn't ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.   Abraham had been promised that Isaac, his only son, would continue his family. But when Abraham was tested, he had faith and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, because he was sure that God could raise people to life. This was just like getting Isaac back from death.  Isaac had faith, and he promised blessings to Jacob and Esau.  Later, when Jacob was about to die, he leaned on his walking stick and worshiped. Then because of his faith he blessed each of Joseph's sons.  And right before Joseph died, he had faith that God would lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. So he told them to take his bones with them.

Because Moses' parents had faith, they kept him hidden until he was three months old. They saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king's orders.  Then after Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called Pharaoh's grandson.  He chose to be mistreated with God's people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while.  Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward.  Because of his faith, Moses left Egypt. Moses had seen the invisible God and wasn't afraid of the king's anger.  His faith also made him celebrate Passover. He sprinkled the blood of animals on the doorposts, so that the first-born sons of the people of Israel would not be killed by the destroying angel. 

Because of their faith, the people walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But when the Egyptians tried to do it, they were drowned.  God's people had faith, and when they had walked around the city of Jericho for seven days, its walls fell down.  Rahab had been a prostitute, but she had faith and welcomed the spies. So she wasn't killed with the people who disobeyed.  What else can I say? There isn't enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets.  Their faith helped them conquer kingdoms, and because they did right, God made promises to them. They closed the jaws of lions and put out raging fires and escaped from the swords of their enemies. Although they were weak, they were given the strength and power to chase foreign armies away.

Some women received their loved ones back from death. Many of these people were tortured, but they refused to be released. They were sure that they would get a better reward when the dead are raised to life.  Others were made fun of and beaten with whips, and some were chained in jail.  Still others were stoned to death or sawed in two or killed with swords. Some had nothing but sheep skins or goat skins to wear. They were poor, mistreated, and tortured.  The world did not deserve these good people, who had to wander in deserts and on mountains and had to live in caves and holes in the ground.

All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us.

Hebrews 11: 1 - 41

These verses tell the stories of men and women of faith. What is the story of your faith and how would God put your story into Words? 

"Praise the Holy Name of Jesus, now and forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Whole Truth in 31 Words!

First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them.  Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God.  This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior.  God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is,  There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us.

1 Timothy 2: 1 - 5

Sometimes in a court of law you will hear someone promise to tell “the truth, the WHOLE TRUTH, and nothing but the truth.”  These verses from 1 Timothy clearly say that God wants everyone to be saved and to know the WHOLE TRUTH.  Then the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to put the WHOLE TRUTH in one verse.  And here it is: 1 Timothy 2:5!

There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us.

There it is: The WHOLE TRUTH in 31 words!  Every other scripture in the Bible provides testimony to the oneness of God, the mission of Jesus to bring lost mankind to God and the sacrifice He made to rescue us from Hell!

Every other true thing affirms the reality of those 31 words and every false assertion attempts to deny them! 

If you are looking for a good verse to memorize, try 1 Timothy 2:5.  

“Lord Jesus, may the WHOLE TRUTH fill my heart and guide my life today and every day until You come!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

Impossible Promises!

God promised Abraham a lot of descendants. And when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God and became the ancestor of many nations.   Abraham's faith never became weak, not even when he was nearly a hundred years old. He knew that he was almost dead and that his wife Sarah could not have children.   But Abraham never doubted or questioned God's promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God.   Abraham was certain that God could do what he had promised.  So God accepted him,  just as we read in the Scriptures. But these words were not written only for Abraham.  They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life.  God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.

Romans 4: 18 - 26

A few verses earlier in Romans 4 Abraham is called the “Father of the Faithful.”   Abraham is described as someone who believed God even when what God had said was humanly impossible!

God expects His children today to have a faith that is just like the faith of Abraham.  Faith is not only believing in Jesus and in God, it is believing the promises that are IMPOSSIBLE!  So if you want to examine your own faith, ask yourself this question: What do I believe God will do that cannot be done without His Power being applied to the situation?  Those are the things that God sees as Faith!  Just believing that God exists is not enough.  The Bible says that only a "fool" would say "there is no God."  

“Lord Jesus, help me today to believe all Your promises even when they are humanly impossible!  Praise Your Holy Name Forever!  Amen.”