Friday, October 31, 2014

Eyes and Ears

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Ezekiel, son of man, you are living among rebellious people. They have eyes, but refuse to see; they have ears, but refuse to listen.

Ezekiel 12:2

If God had created light, but had not created eyes what difference would the light have made?  When God spoke, if the Words had fallen on the deaf ears of the cosmos, no one would have heard what He said!  But God did not create light without eyes and sounds without ears. 

In the English language it is common to acknowledge that you understand something by saying "I SEE" or even "I HEAR YOU."

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the essence of your walk with Him is a daily "seeing what God has done and is doing," and "hearing what God has said and is saying."  The eyes and ears of your heart are constantly focused on the Lord.  Like a well trained and faithful buggy horse you are waiting for just the slightest tug on the reins of your heart to make a course correction in your life.  And you listen for every Word that comes from the mouth of your Master to prompt your next step! 

Remember, you can shut out the world around you by closing your eyes and covering your ears with your hands, and you can "shut out" the Lord as well.  When you close the eyes of your heart and cover your spiritual ears you might as well be blind and deaf!

Repent of your rebellion against God and let your eyes see Him and your ears hear His Word today!

"Lord Jesus, may the Light that comes from You and the Sounds that come from Your mouth guide my path today and forever.  Amen."

Monday, October 27, 2014

What ON EARTH Does that Mean?

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If the dead are not going to be raised to life, what will people do who are being baptized for them? Why are they being baptized for those dead people?

1 Corinthians 15:29

When you read the Bible, there will be times when what you have just read makes no sense at all. This verse about baptism for the dead is probably one of them. I have skipped over that verse for years and when I do mention it to someone I usually just say that I'm not sure what it means. (By the way there are some good discussions of 1 Corinthians 15:29 on the internet. Just Google it.)

Not just with this verse, but when we read any verse in the Bible we must ask the question "What on earth does that mean?" The Word of God originated in Heaven, but we are the ones who must obey it here on earth. The best and perhaps only way to truly understand the Bible is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then when you want to know what the Bible is talking about you can simple ask the Author of the Words what they mean!

We have wrongly thought that if you know the Words of Scripture you will know the Lord. Actually that is exactly backwards. When you know the Lord you will understand the Bible, not the other way around. Knowing Jesus is not a matter of knowledge, but rather a yielded heart.

Certainly, it is good to know the Bible and as a follower of Jesus Christ you will seek to know every Word that has come from His mouth. But yielding your heart to Him can happen before you even know how to read the Bible. It can also happen the very first time you hear about Jesus.

By the way, I did learn a little about "Baptism for the dead." It may be that Paul was pointing out that a pagan religion near Corinth even baptized people on behalf of the dead in order to insure a better after life. That would certainly make more sense to the Corinthians who were familiar with that practice than it would to me some 2000 years later. But, this is still one of those verses that we will fully understand from the perspective of Heaven!

First, give your heart to Jesus and then immerse yourself in His Word! That will make all the difference in how you understand the Bible.

"Lord Jesus, help me today to be more yielded to You and Your Will than I have ever been before. Enlighten my heart and mind with every Word of Scripture. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

God’s Will and My Will!

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God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers.

Hebrews 5:7

This verse reveals an amazing truth!  Jesus prayed with loud crying and tears for God to save Him from death.  And it says that God listened to His prayers, but God did not save Jesus from the Cross! 

When you pray desperately for something and you do not get what you ask for, could it be that your life is reflecting the life of Jesus Himself?  Jesus knew the terrible suffering He was about to experience and as a human being He was very upset!  And even though God "listened to" Jesus' prayers His Father did not rescue Him from the Cross.

The reason this happened was because Jesus also prayed that God's Will be done and not His own. 

Do you want God's Will for your life, or do you want your own will?  There is always a difference.  God's Will always puts your ultimate good and that of others in first place.  My will usually puts my personal peace and prosperity ahead of everything else.  Jesus struggled with the tension between God's Will and His human will right up until the night before He died.  It is the very earthly war between flesh and Spirit.  Since the time of Adam and Eve this fleshly body has been at odds with God. 

Choose God's Will for your life and know that God listens to your prayers even when His Will and answer is not what your humanness wants!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing God's Will over Your own on the night before You went to the Cross.  Help me Jesus today to do the same thing!  And may You be praised forever!  Amen."

Friday, October 24, 2014

“Wherever I Am”

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I have honored my followers in the same way you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one.  I am one with them, and you are one with me, so they may become completely one. Then this world's people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.

Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created.  Good Father, the people of this world don't know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me.  I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them.

John 17:22-26

Real love is certainly present when you are more concerned about the desires of the object of your love than you are about your own. What you want takes second place to the longings of your loved one. That is the "secret" of a long and lasting marriage.

These verses in John 17 reveal the desires of the heart of Jesus! Jesus wants you to be with Him wherever He is! So when you truly begin to love Jesus you will seek to be with Him because that is what He wants, not because you want to avoid Hell and enjoy the pleasantries of Heaven. And when you are with Jesus, you will see His glory!

At that point your "relationship" with the Son of God begins to dominate everything in your life. He is what you think about and talk about more than anything else. For you,Jesus is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. If there is a moment when you don't feel His presence, you drop whatever you are doing and seek Him again. Your day becomes nothing more than being with Jesus or seeking to be with Him!

And because Jesus loves you, He seeks to fulfill the desires of your heart. The power of you and Jesus loving each other and seeking to be with each other is beyond anyone's imagination!

"Lord Jesus, I want to be with You today, and I want You to be with me! And may I praise Your Holy Name forever and ever! Amen."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Your Wants and His Will!

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I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things I am doing. You will do even greater things, now that I am going back to the Father.   Ask me, and I will do whatever you ask. This way the Son will bring honor to the Father.   I will do whatever you ask me to do.

John 14:12-14

If you are a follower of Jesus and don't feel at least a little bewildered by these words you must not have heard what He said! He said, "I will do whatever you ask me to do." And He also said that if we have faith we will do the same things He did. But what about the miracles? Does this mean that every Christian will "heal the sick and raise the dead?"

Here is the simple answer to that profound question. The work that Jesus did was to walk daily in the will of God! Whatever God wanted for today is what Jesus did. If that meant walking on water or raising Lazarus from the dead, that is what Jesus did. If walking in the will of God meant working with His earthly father as a carpenter then that is what Jesus did.

But what about the part where Jesus said I will do whatever you ask me to do? What "on earth" does that mean? It means that if you are walking in the will of God like Jesus did, and there is something that you need in that walk, just ask Jesus and He will do it! It doesn't matter what it is. It may be healing the sick, raising the dead or walking on water. But it also could mean that you simply need a time to "get away" and be alone with God like Jesus often did.

So if you are being led by the Holy Spirit and walking in the light of His Word as you respond each moment to His will for your life, you can ask for "anything you want" and He will do it! At that point your wants and His will, will be one and the same! That is the powerful, victorious life you were promised!

"Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I will only want the things that are Your will for my life! And I thank You in advance for Your great and mighty power which I will see all around me today! Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What is Jesus Like?

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If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like.

John 14:21

What is Jesus like? How would you describe Him? And how do you know what Jesus is like? Are you just repeating something someone else told you or do you from personal experience?

Of course, the Bible tells us the story of Jesus and every follower of Jesus will want to know and meditate on every Word of Scripture. But how has Jesus shown you what He is like?

Remember that prayer is a conversation, not a presentation. When you "spend time" with Jesus you not only pour out your heart to Him, but Jesus shows you what He is like! It is an intimacy that cannot and perhaps should not be described and "shared" with others.

The pathway to knowing Jesus is not to understand what it means to know Him, but rather to simply love Him and obey His Word! Then you will experience the love of the Father and Jesus Himself will show you what He is like! Every moment of your day will be one of discovering how Jesus wants you to respond, act, speak and even think. With the Holy Spirit in your heart, Jesus is your constant companion.

"Lord Jesus, I want today to love You more and be more obedient to every Word that comes from You. Show me more of what You, Jesus are like. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not My Will, But Yours!

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God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers. Jesus is God's own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God.  Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:7-9

I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for Jesus to live in a human body. When Jesus took on the form of a human being He allowed Himself to be limited. Jesus was thirsty and hungry like every other human. Jesus needed to get away from the crowd and spend time with God. When His friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept! There is nothing that you experience or suffer that Jesus does not understand completely.

These verses even say that Jesus "learned" what it really means to obey God. Does that mean that before Jesus learned what it means to obey, that He was disobedient? Of course not! Jesus did not disobey God, but suffering somehow focused His grasp of obedience as a human being.

There are many books written about suffering and what it means for you as a follower of Jesus, but if you are like Jesus, suffering helps you "learn what it really means to obey God!"

If there is pain in your life right now, or if it comes unexpectedly today, recognize that suffering and being obedient to the will of God are closely linked. If you decide once again today that you want to obey God, you can know for sure that suffering will be a part of your life of obedience.

"Lord Jesus, help me today to see the sufferings in my life, the same way that You saw Yours. And give me Lord, the courage to say, even as You did "NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE! May You be praised forever. Amen."