Sunday, February 26, 2017

God Made Men!

I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!  My dear friends, we always have good reason to thank God for you, because your faith in God and your love for each other keep growing all the time.  That's why we brag about you to all of God's churches. We tell them how patient you are and how you keep on having faith, even though you are going through a lot of trouble and suffering.  All of this shows that God judges fairly and that he is making you fit to share in his kingdom for which you are suffering.

2 Thessalonians 1: 2 - 5

We don’t change ourselves in an attempt to please God.  We give our hearts to Jesus and He changes us according to His desires!  We are “right with God” not because of anything we do, or even could do.  The Cross of Christ is the reason, and the only reason we are justified in the presence of our Creator.  

We sometimes hear that someone is a “self made man,” meaning that through his own effort he became a better person!  But for followers of Jesus, there are no “self made” men.  Christians are “God made men.”  The Holy Spirit, living in you, transforms you into the man or woman that He wants you to be!  

Like a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel, your job is to simply let Him mold you into the person He wants you to be!  It may be, and usually is painful, but the pot is always beautiful.

“Lord Jesus, I know that the greatest thing I can do on this earth is to let You shape and change me according to Your will.  Do that, Lord today!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen.”

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I'm in the Lord's Army!

Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong.  Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks.  We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.  So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.  Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor.  Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet.  Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit.  Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people.

Ephesians 6: 10 - 18

When I was a child we would sing a song that declared “I’m in the Lord’s Army!”  These verses from Ephesians 6 tell us plainly that following Jesus is like being a soldier in the battle against evil.  

As a soldier in God’s Army, it is God Himself who makes you strong.  God gives you the armor to protect yourself from the attacks of Satan. And don’t forget that your enemy is not other human beings, no matter how committed to following the Devil they may be.  You are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.

Truth, God’s justice and your desire to tell the Good News are all part of your equipment in the battle.  Also, God’s saving power protects you and His message is like a sword!

And finally, these verses tell us to pray as we engage in the battle!  With all this you can know for certain that you will not be defeated!

“Lord Jesus, give me courage and make me ready to fight for You today!  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.” 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Peace and Rest Forever!

In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn't obey God.

Ephesians 2: 1 - 2

There is always much talk about FREEDOM!  Men want to control their own lives and have no one as their master.  But the truth is, that is an impossible hope.  You will either be controlled by God and led by His Spirit, or you will be under the power of the devil and you will obey him!

As a mortal human being you really have no other options!  Perhaps the greatest lie of Satan is that, if you reject God you will be free to live your own life as you see fit. It does not happen.  If you turn your heart away from God and reject Jesus Christ you will be ruled by the devil!

The only freedom you have as a human being is this: You are free to choose to follow Jesus or reject Him and be controlled by the Enemy of all righteousness!  

Don’t forget that the greatest freedom that any man can ever have is to be an obedient servant of God!  That freedom will give you Peace and Rest Forever!

“Lord Jesus, I choose You again today.  Let me listen only to Your voice and be obedient to Your every desire.  May You be praised forever.  Amen.” 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Faith is Beyond Belief!

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.

Hebrews 11: 30 - 35

There have been many wonderful and marvelous  things that would never have happened except for the faith of men and women of God!  This chapter in the Bible is filled with examples, but is still, only a partial list of the impact of faith on the world around a follower of Jesus Christ!

If your name were to appear in Hebrews 11 what would it say happened because of your faith?  It may not be an earth shaking event, but for you it was very important.  In response to your faith God will reveal Himself and let you know that He is real!  Every answered prayer is a time when God reaches down and touches your heart with the calm assurance that He is not just a figment of your imagination.

So the challenge for me, today is to let my faith shape the way I see and approach everything in my life.  Faith and belief are not the same.  Faith is the very important step beyond belief into the realm of integrating what I believe and what I do!  Then you can finish the sentence, “Because of my faith in Jesus I will . . . . . . . . . “

“Lord Jesus may my faith in You today bring others to the point of praising You, now and forever.  Amen.” 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Christian Bucket List!

Christ did not have to offer himself many times. He wasn't like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal.  If he had offered himself every year, he would have suffered many times since the creation of the world. But instead, near the end of time he offered himself once and for all, so that he could be a sacrifice that does away with sin.  We die only once, and then we are judged.  So Christ died only once to take away the sins of many people. But when he comes again, it will not be to take away sin. He will come to save everyone who is waiting for him.

Hebrews 9: 25 - 28

Are you waiting for the return of Jesus?  Do you get out of bed each morning thinking, “this may be the day?”  

Instead, I think that most Christians have a “bucket list” of things that they want to do before the Lord returns!  When you are young you want to experience growing up and getting married.  Once you are married you want to have children before the Lord returns.  If your children are gone, you think about enjoying your “retirement” before the return of Jesus. 

How foolish to long for anything more than desiring the Day when you will see Jesus, face to face!  There are signs of His return, and it clearly seems we are seeing some of those signs now, but the return of Jesus will come suddenly and without warning!  Be ready for the return of Jesus today, and if He does not come today then be ready tomorrow!  Be ready for Jesus today and tomorrow and everyday until He either comes, or you go to be with Him!  

“Lord Jesus, help me to want nothing more than to see You face to face.  May that Day come soon!  Praise You now and forever.  Amen.”

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."