Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Judas Opportunity!

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Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples. He went to the chief priests and asked, “How much will you give me if I help you arrest Jesus?” They paid Judas 30 silver coins, and from then on he started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus.

Matthew 26:14-16

I believe that every follower of Jesus is presented with a "Judas Opportunity" at least once and maybe many times. 

If you foolishly let your heart take you to the leaders of this world and ask them "HOW MUCH WILL YOU GIVE ME IF I HELP YOU ARREST JESUS?" The answer will be an impressive temptation.  You see, arresting Jesus today is trying to stop Him and keep His power from moving through the world and touching the hearts of the lost.  When you "arrest" the spread of the Gospel you are indeed betraying the Lord!

Judas was trying to stop Jesus from fulfilling God's plan for His life on this earth.  Judas was not willing to submit his own heart to the Will of God and so he sold his loyalty to Jesus for a mere 30 pieces of silver! 

What has the world offered you to turn your heart away from the Lord Jesus?   The list of possible things is long and can include, peace, security, wealth and fame.  Success in your field of work is also a popular offer.  Truthfully, anything that keeps you from being a 24/7 follower of Jesus can be your "30 Pieces of Silver." 

Judas did not stop Jesus from going to the Cross, in fact he became, even in his betrayal, part of the plan of God.  God's will, will be done in this world.  You can be certain of that!  You cannot stop God.  But you can refuse to follow Jesus and you will regret that decision forever!

It may help you to realize that every temptation you have to not walk with Jesus, even for a little while, may be your "30 pieces of silver."  When an opportunity crosses your path ask yourself this question and answer honestly.  Can I walk with Jesus on this path?  If I go this way will I find myself squarely in the will of God?  If the answer anything except, "Yes, absolutely! This is the path that Jesus wants me to walk" then turn and run away from it. 

"Lord Jesus, I know that the world has "30 pieces of silver" for me if I will only turn away from You.  Dear Jesus, open my eyes to see every temptation to betray You and give me the strength to say no!  I want to live this day and the rest of my life walking only on the path that You have prepared for me.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The First Blood Moon!

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I will work wonders

in the sky above

and on the earth below.

There will be blood and fire

and clouds of smoke.

The sun will turn dark,

and the moon

will be as red as blood

before that great

and terrible day

when I appear.

Joel 2:30-31

Today is the day of the first of four "Blood Moons."  These are times when the earth completely blocks the light from the sun and the moon turns blood red.  If there were no clouds in the sky I could be watching it right now at just past 3 A.M.  Instead I am watching it on a live internet feed from Griffith Observatory in California.

There are many who believe these Blood Moons are part of  the "final fulfillment" of the prophecies in Joel.  Is that possible?  Well of course it is, but even though there is much happening in the world today that tells us the coming of Jesus may be very soon, we do not know the "Day or the Hour" of His return.  I suppose in Days of Noah you could be pretty certain that a flood was coming when you saw the Ark and the preparations of Noah and his family, but no one knew when the rain would start and when the Ark would lift off of the ground for it's journey into the "New World."

In today's world Jesus Himself is the Ark.  When He comes Jesus will lift you off of the ground and take you with Him to the Eternal New World in Heaven!  If you are in the Ark nothing can harm you when the flood comes! If you are not in the Ark nothing can save you. 

There is only one thing that is essential for your life today.  That one thing is this: Stay in Christ.  Never set even one foot outside of Him.  Cling tightly to Jesus and trust Him as the storm rages.  When turmoil in the world reaches a fever pitch you will know one thing for certain.  This will either be the time that Jesus will come or you will go.  But either way you will be with Jesus forever! 

"Lord Jesus, I see signs of Your coming that may indeed be the ones that the Bible tells us about.  But Jesus I know that either You will come soon or I will go soon to be with You.  Life on this earth is so short for every man, but life with You in Heaven will never, ever end!  May all Glory and Honor and Praise be given to You, Lord Jesus. Amen."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Called Up By Jesus!

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We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding his Spirit gives.  Then you will live a life that honors the Lord, and you will always please him by doing good deeds. You will come to know God even better.  His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.

I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light.

Colossians 1:9-12

I think I was 12 years old when I first tried out for the "Knot Hole" summer baseball team in my neighborhood.  I was not very athletic, but my best friend wanted to play baseball and I figured it would be a good thing for me as well. When I was 12 everyone who wanted to play did not "make the team."  I was one of those who had to stay home while my friend played baseball.  After more than 50 years I can still feel a twinge of the rejection of not being able to play that summer. 

Jesus is not like the "Knot Hole" baseball coach who told me I could not be on the team.  Everyone who comes to Jesus and wants to be with Him is welcomed with open arms!  You see Jesus does not exclude you from His team because of your ability, talent, or past experience.  The only thing that can keep you off of His team is your sin, but Jesus personally took care of that problem when He went to the Cross!

Jesus let's you be involved in what He is doing in the world today!  That is really quite amazing.  To continue with the baseball analogy, when you meet Jesus, He calls you up from the minor leagues to play with Him in the World Series!  He gives you a place on His team and then He imparts His own strength and wisdom to you so you can succeed.

Never forget that everything good that you are able to do is because of Jesus.  He has called you to belong to Him and Jesus gives you the strength to "play the game of life" and win! 

"Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me work with You as Your power moves on the hearts of men and women in this world.  And may You be praised forever! Amen.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Yoked With Jesus!

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If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.  Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

Is life itself a heavy load? Have you learned from experience that life brings you many circumstances that are very difficult and some that are completely overwhelming? Are you "burned out" and desperately in need of rest?

The answer to all you needs is Jesus Christ! He will bear your burdens and give you the rest you need, and that rest will be the sweetest repose possible! But don't forget the line in these verses that says: "Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me." As a follower of Jesus Christ we are "Yoked" to Him. Like two oxen that pull together we not only see the Lord work around us, but He lets us feel the pull of the load!

When two cattle are yoked together, one usually is more experienced and because of the yoke can teach the other one lessons that are needed to be a valuable "beast of burden."

When you are yoked to Jesus Christ you not only see how He works, but you learn how to work like Jesus does and ultimately you become like Jesus. So when the world around you observes your life they don't see you "acting like" Jesus, but rather they see you have "learned from Him" and consequently "you are like" Jesus. It is all part of being transformed into His image!

Don't forget that the troubles, burdens, loads and even suffering in this life are all part of how you learn while being yoked to Jesus. They are all too heavy to pull without the Lord in your life, but with Him no burden can stop you or even slow you down!

"Lord Jesus, I want to feel the yoke that You have put on my shoulders. May I learn from You all that You want to teach me as I carry the loads of life which are on Your shoulders as well as mine. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Miracle Based Faith!

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When Jesus heard this, he said, “There is one thing you still need to do. Go and sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower.”  When the man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.

Jesus saw how sad the man was. So he said, “It's terribly hard for rich people to get into God's kingdom!  In fact, it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God's kingdom.”

When the crowd heard this, they asked, “How can anyone ever be saved?”

Jesus replied, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”

Luke 18:22-27

God is the God of the impossible!  When God does something that cannot be done everyone knows that someone greater than a man accomplished that deed! 

Scientific advances make it more difficult to identify a "real miracle."  We are working hard to do things that once, only God could do.  Like Adam and Eve we still want to be like God, but not in a good way.

Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and by His touch the deaf could hear.  At some level doctors are doing all those things today.  And I suppose it could be said that doctors are able to "raise the dead" by means of advanced resuscitation techniques. 

If your faith is based on seeing miracles here on earth, you will continually struggle with whether or not you are seeing a miracle or the latest advancement in science and medicine.  But when your faith is firmly planted in your relationship with Jesus Christ and the undeniable reality of that fellowship with Him, then nothing here on earth can mimic that sweet communion!  Will you see miracles?  Oh yes, everyday is a miracle when you walk with Jesus!  The world will indeed try to copy the miracles, but it will most certainly work at killing your relationship with Jesus!

"Lord Jesus, I don't need to see miracles, but I need to hear Your voice and feel Your touch as I walk today through this 'world of woe.'   Thank You Jesus that You can do what cannot be done!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Friday, April 11, 2014

See the Light!

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The king of Syria was furious when he found out what was happening. He called in his officers and asked, “Which one of you has been telling the king of Israel our plans?”

“None of us, Your Majesty,” one of them answered. “It's an Israelite named Elisha. He's a prophet, so he can tell his king everything—even what you say in your own room.”

“Find out where he is!” the king ordered. “I'll send soldiers to bring him here.”

They learned that Elisha was in the town of Dothan and reported it to the king. He ordered his best troops to go there with horses and chariots. They marched out during the night and surrounded the town.

When Elisha's servant got up the next morning, he saw that Syrian troops had the town surrounded. “Sir, what are we going to do?” he asked.

“Don't be afraid,” Elisha answered. “There are more troops on our side than on theirs.”   Then he prayed, “Lord, please help him to see.” And the Lord let the servant see that the hill was covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:11-17

I have a photo map that shows the whole earth from space.  The pictures were taken at night and then put together to make one view of the earth.  You can see where there is darkness on earth and you can see the light!  Oh yes, there is light all over the earth. 

A few years ago I asked God to show me what He is doing in the world and within weeks I was on my way to Africa!  I had never been to Africa before, but at the invitation of an old friend I spent three weeks on the "Dark Continent" seeing the light that is shining there because of Jesus Christ!

When you ask God to show you what He is doing in the world prepare yourself for an amazing experience.  You will see God in places that you never even imagined He would be working.  Like the servant of Elisha you will see the hill "covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots!" 

Somehow many have come to believe that God's work in the world is only done with the help of human hands.  That is not true.  Certainly God uses His children to proclaim His message to the rest of the world but He also uses dreams, visions, calamities, suffering, trials and all sorts of disruptions of the status quo to bring people to the point of being ready to receive Jesus!  The bottom line is that God is at work in the world and sometimes we see clearly what He is doing.  When we do it may be that He is calling us to join in with what He is doing or He may simply be increasing our courage as He did with the servant of Elisha.

Ask God to show you what He is doing in the world around you and watch the dark map light up as you see how very much is going on according to His purpose!

"Jesus, I so often forget how Your Spirit is moving in this dark world.  Let me see again the light that is shining all around me today as You are convicting the hearts of men.  And may Honor and Glory be Yours forever and ever.  Amen."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Understand the Times!

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The numbers of the armed troops who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingdom over to him,according to the Lord’s word, were as follows:

From the Judahites: 6,800 armed troops bearing shields and spears.

From the Simeonites: 7,100 brave warriors ready for war.

From the Levites: 4,600 in addition to Jehoiada, leader of the house of Aaron, with 3,700 men; and Zadok, a young brave warrior, with 22 commanders from his own ancestral house.

From the Benjaminites, the relatives of Saul:3,000 (up to that time the majority of the Benjaminites maintained their allegiance to the house of Saul).

From the Ephraimites: 20,800 brave warriors who were famous men in their ancestral houses.

From half the tribe of Manasseh: 18,000 designated by name to come and make David king.

From the Issacharites, who understood the timesand knew what Israel should do: 200 chiefs with all their relatives under their command.

1 Chronicles 12:23-32

What a remarkable statement about these 200 men from Issachar.  They understood  the times and knew what Israel should do!  If I had been alive and was one of those who came to make David King, then I would liked to have been among those who "understood the times and knew what Israel should do."

There is a great temptation for me to ignore what is going on in the world.  There is so much trouble, pain and sorrow, not to mention all the wickedness!  I just want to pretend that "all is well" and everything on earth will just go smoothly on, at least for the rest of my life!  But today there is talk of "global calamity" and plenty of reason to believe that trouble of unimaginable proportions may come to the earth and may come quickly.  World wide economies teeter on the brink of collapse and drums of war are beginning to beat with an alarming rhythm. 

Back during the days of King David the men from  Issachar knew what Israel should do, and so should the people of God today understand the times and  know what Christians should do! 

Do not close your eyes to what is happening in this evil world.  The truth is that God is working in hearts and minds around the world.  God is calling men to Himself in amazing ways.  Even some of the most hardened hearts are being confronted with Jesus Christ like
Saul was on the road to Damascus.  Yes the darkness is great, but the LIGHT of Jesus is shining in that darkness. 

"Lord Jesus, help me to understand the times and see the light that You are shining in the darkness of this world!  And Jesus help me to know what to do today to be a part of Your work in this world.  Take my hand and rest it on Your plow as You break up the hearts of men.  We will praise Your Name, Jesus forever! Amen."