Sunday, January 25, 2015

Three Parts of Babylon!

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“Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”

And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon.

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, “It is finished!” Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck—the worst since people were placed on the earth.  The great city of Babylon split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon’s sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath.

Revelation 16:15-19

What a curious thing, these verses say that when the greatest earthquake ever hits, the cities of many nations fall into heaps of rubble, but the city of Babylon will be split into three sections. Why would not Babylon become a pile of bricks like the other cities? Of course, the Bible does not say. Notice it doesn't say that Babylon is spared destruction. It simply notes that Babylon is divided into three sections. That could mean that the fault line or lines that cause the earthquake will run directly underneath Babylon.

So wherever Babylon is in the world will be the target for God's "fierce wrath."

Speculation about who Babylon will be at the time of the End is certainly interesting, but ultimately irrelevant. The judgment of God may focus on Babylon, but it will extend to everyone who opposes Him and refuses to turn their hearts to and accept Jesus Christ, the Lord!

The point is this: God is the Judge and all unrighteousness will be judged in the End! No one will "get away with" opposing God! God is Love and Light for those who follow Jesus, but God is also the author of Righteous Judgment against those who stand against Him!

"Lord Jesus, it is only because of You that I don't have to fear what is coming on the earth! But Lord, I know that those who do not know You have much to fear! Help me today to sound the alarm for those who don't know You! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Small Answered Prayers!

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I praise you, Lord,
for answering my prayers.
You are my strong shield,
and I trust you completely.
You have helped me,
and I will celebrate
and thank you in song.

You give strength
to your people, Lord,
and you save and protect
your chosen ones.

Come save us and bless us.
Be our shepherd and always
carry us in your arms.

Psalm 28:6-9

If you answer the telephone when I call, then I can say for certain that you are alive! If you don't answer when I call, it may be because you are not alive! If you do answer when I call my doubts about whether or not you exist are all wiped away.


If you pray to God and there is no answer, how do you know that you are not praying to the wind? But if your prayers are answered you can be certain that your religion has turned into a relationship.


I once met a man who was very religious, but then became a follower of Jesus. Before he came to know Jesus he prayed five times a day. I asked him to tell me about the difference in his praying before and after he became a Christian. He said: "Before I became a follower of Jesus I prayed five times a day, but my prayers were never answered. But after I became a Christian my prayers were always answered!"


Every answered prayer strengthens your faith in Jesus. It's like a small child on the playground running back to his mother every few minutes just to make sure she is still there!


It's OK to pray one of those "I just want to hear Your voice" prayers. "Small talk" between friends does serve an important purpose, and "small answered prayers" remind us daily that God is still there and has not forgotten us or changed!


Don't wait for a "big need" to come along in your life before you pray. Ask God about small things, then watch and listen carefully for His answer.


"Lord Jesus, there is nothing in my heart or mind that does not concern You. Today I will open my ears to listen for Your answers to my prayers, even about small things! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Friday, January 23, 2015

You Are a Slave of Your Savior!

 

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The famine became so severe that Joseph finally bought every piece of land in Egypt for the king  and made everyone the king’s slaves,   except the priests. The king gave the priests a regular food allowance, so they did not have to sell their land.  Then Joseph said to the people, “You and your land now belong to the king. I’m giving you seed to plant,   but one-fifth of your crops must go to the king. You can keep the rest as seed or as food for your families.”

 “Sir, you have saved our lives!” they answered. “We are glad to be slaves of the king.”

Genesis 47:20-25

God's purpose in sending Joseph to Egypt was to save the lives of Jacob and his family. The plan worked perfectly and 400 years later a family had become a nation and Israel began the journey to the Promised Land.

But the people of Egypt themselves became slaves to Pharaoh because they traded all their possessions, land and even liberty and freedom for food to keep them alive. The food Pharaoh sold them had come from those to whom he sold it. But they saw him as their savior and gladly became his slaves.

The sobering truth of this story is this: You will become the slave of the one who saves you and provides your needs! If your heart and mind are focused on this world and the things that it provides, then you will become it's slave. But if you look to Jesus for all that you need and give Him the credit for everything you have, you will be His slave and He will be your Loving Master!

Every human being is in dire need! You need many things to live in this world. If you look to Pharaoh (that would be the government) to provide what you need, then you will become a slave of Pharaoh! But if your heart is focused on Jesus Christ and you see Jesus as the source of everything you need, then you will be His slave, but being the slave of Jesus means that you will be free forever!

"Lord Jesus, I know that the only real freedom I have in this world, is the freedom to choose my master! I can choose the world system to provide my needs or I can choose You to be my Savior and provider! So Jesus, I once again declare that You are all I need and You are my Master and Lord. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

All I Have is All Jesus Needs!

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When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd. He felt sorry for them and healed everyone who was sick.

That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This place is like a desert, and it is already late. Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the villages and buy some food.”

Jesus replied, “They don’t have to leave. Why don’t you give them something to eat?”

But they said, “We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish.”   Jesus asked his disciples to bring the food to him,   and he told the crowd to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples, and they gave it to the people.

Matthew 14:14-19

It was "tradition" in my childhood home that before each meal we would "give thanks" for the food.  But sometimes that, usually short prayer was referred to as "saying the blessing."  I never even stopped to think about the fact that there was a difference in those two things.

Giving thanks is appropriate and necessary as we daily consume the things that God has provided on this earth to sustain our lives.  "Saying the Blessing" is what Jesus did over the five loaves and two fish before using them to satisfy the hunger of 5,000 people! 

So here is a thought to ponder.  Instead of trying to accumulate a lot of things or even money so that you can "do God's will," perhaps you need to consider asking God to bless the little you have.  If Jesus can feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish, imagine what he could do with what you have!  Remember God is not limited to a 5000 to 1 ratio of blessings, but even at that rate the ten dollars you give to Jesus would be worth $50,000!  If you had a hundred dollars Jesus could bless it to be worth a half a million!  And if you were really "well to do" and could present Jesus with a thousand dollars it would be worth Five Million dollars in real value!

So when you see a need around you, do this: Ask yourself how much you have available to fulfill that need and take it to Jesus!  Then prepare yourself to see a miracle!

"Lord Jesus, I bring You what I have so that You can multiply it in ministering to the needs of others.  Lord, all I have is all You need to bless the world around me!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What’s In Your Box?

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Sound a warning!
Israel, you broke our agreement
and ignored my teaching.
Now an eagle is swooping down
to attack my land.

Israel, you say, “We claim you,
the Lord, as our God.”

But your enemies
will chase you
for rejecting
our good agreement.

You chose kings and leaders
without consulting me;
you made silver and gold idols
that led to your downfall.

Hosea 8:1-4

There is at least one nation on this earth that prints "In God We Trust" on their money. But the sad fact is this: That nation has for more than a generation now tried to run away from trusting God by the way they live and the laws their leaders make.

Actions do speak louder than words when I comes to trusting God as a nation, but it is also true of your life as well. Do you wear the name "Christian" and let everyone know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ? Like money, you may have "In God I Trust" stamped on your forehead, but in your heart your trust is in something else?

Have you ever opened a box and found that the box was "mislabeled?" The thing on the inside of the box was not what the label said it was.
I'm afraid that is also true of some Christians. The label on the outside of their "box" says "Follower of Jesus Christ," but on the inside they are followers of the world and all it's alluring charms.

God is not impressed with a mislabeled heart. Just because you claim to be a follower of Jesus, does not make you one. Following Jesus is seen clearly in the decisions you make every day. Of course, it is a good thing to have the proper label on your heart, but the label does not change what is in your box!

"Lord Jesus, I want my heart to belong completely to You. Help me not to try to deceive those around me by putting the wrong label on my heart! I want to be totally and completely committed to You! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You Write the Story!

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Then he (Jesus)  taught them many things by using stories. He said:

A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field.  While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds.  Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn't very deep.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have deep roots.  Some other seeds fell where thorn bushes grew up and choked the plants.  But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced 100 or 60 or 30 times as much as was scattered.  If you have ears, pay attention!

Matthew 13:3-9

Jesus told lots of stories! People like to hear a good story and they remember stories. The parables of Jesus did not identify by name the characters in the stories, but the Bible never says that these were not true stories.

I know it is beyond our ability even to image but the Lord knows all the stories of every person who has ever lived, so why would he need to present a story that was fictional? Of course, the Bible doesn't say whether or not the stories were from the lives of real people, but they could have been.

But here is a sobering thought. If Jesus wanted to tell a story from your life what could it be and how would it end? Would your story be one of the stories that begins with tragedy and ends in triumph? Or would your story be a sad tale of so much promise that ended in defeat?

Remember, every day is a chapter in the story that Jesus is telling the Father about you. You write the story and Jesus tells your story to God! Let your story be about a man or woman who in spite of suffering, pain, sorrow and temptations of all kinds, held on tightly to the Heart of Jesus. That's the kind of story that Jesus loves to tell the Father. But if your story is one of giving in to temptation, let today be the day in your story when you turned you heart back to Jesus and began to walk in His blessings!

"Lord Jesus, I pray that my life today will be a story that You are blessed to tell the Father! And may my story today encourage others to follow hard after You as well! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Future is Bright!

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You, Lord, are all I want!  You are my choice, and you keep me safe.  You make my life pleasant, and my future is bright.  I praise you, Lord, for being my guide.  Even in the darkest night, your teachings fill my mind.   I will always look to you, as you stand beside me and protect me from fear.

Psalm 16:5-8

The temptation to fear is everywhere in today's world. The list of things to fear seems to get longer every day. Terrorism, fatal diseases, tragic accidents, crumbling economies, oppressive governments and religious persecution are everywhere today.

If your life being a pleasant one is dependent on none of those things upsetting your peace and earthly security, then you will be terribly disappointed.

There is only one way to stand calmly and serenely in this world of turmoil and trouble. And that path to a pleasant life and a bright future is to give up your citizenship in this world and become a citizen of Heaven. When Jesus is all you want in this life or the next, and His teaching fills your mind, your future will always be bright!

When Jesus stands beside you and you look to Him for everything, He will protect you from fear! Remember that with Jesus in your heart you will never, stand, walk, sit, or ever even be alone!

"Thank you Jesus, for protecting me from fear! There are so many things in this world that make me want to fear, but because You are with me, my future is bright and there is nothing I need to fear! May Your Holy Name be praised forever. Amen."