Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drunk on the Holy Spirit!

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You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honest and truthful, as you try to please the Lord. Don't take part in doing those worthless things that are done in the dark. Instead, show how wrong they are. It is disgusting even to talk about what is done in the dark. But the light will show what these things are really like. Light shows up everything, just as the Scriptures say,

“Wake up from your sleep
and rise from death.
Then Christ will shine on you.”

Act like people with good sense and not like fools.  These are evil times, so make every minute count. Don't be stupid. Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do. Don't destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life.  When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart. Always use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to thank God the Father for everything.

Ephesians 5:8-20

Being filled with the Holy Spirit can be compared to being drunk! Such a comparison is referenced by use of the term "spirits" when you speak of alcoholic beverages! Don't misunderstand, being drunk is not a good thing, but being filled with the Spirit is, in fact it is a very good thing!

When you are filled with wine you lose the ability to know precisely what you are doing. When you are filled with the Spirit the same thing is true. When you are filled with the Spirit you become a small gear in God's Eternal time piece. Your work is tremendously important in the eternal scheme of things, but from your perspective you cannot know really what you are doing!

When you are filled with wine those who are sober and near you can see that you are not responding appropriately to your human, physical circumstances. When you are drunk you may not move out of the way when the speeding train comes barreling down the tracks! When you are filled with the Spirit you respond to the Spirit and His leading and not the world around you. You may step off of the tracks if that is what the Spirit says, or you may stand there and let the train send you to glory!

When you are filled with wine you can relax and enjoy the moment. I suppose they named it the "Happy Hour" because drinking alcohol makes you "happy" even when things are bad. When you are filled with the Spirit of God you can sing and be happy like Paul and Silas did in a dungeon in the middle of the night. Remember on the day of Pentecost the crowd thought the followers of Jesus were drunk!

Drinking alcohol brings momentary and temporary relief from your troubles. But being filled with the Spirit permanently changes everything. When Jesus comes into your life, everything changes forever!

"Lord Jesus, help me to drink deeply of Your Spirit and not of the world's counterfeit. And may Your Name be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Have You Finished the Work?

Jesus knew that he had now finished his work. And in order to make the Scriptures come true, he said, “I am thirsty!”   A jar of cheap wine was there. Someone then soaked a sponge with the wine and held it up to Jesus' mouth on the stem of a hyssop plant.   After Jesus drank the wine, he said, “Everything is done!” He bowed his head and died.

John 19:28-30

What would your life be like if you finished all the work that God had prepared for you to do?  Not only was Jesus sinless in His life on this earth, but there was not one thing that God wanted Jesus to do that He overlooked or ignored!

For me to be like Jesus, I must not only avoid sin in my life, but I must also listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and set myself about "doing my Father's business!"  Every prompting of the Spirit in my life carries with it the weight of Heaven, even if it seems small and insignificant here on earth.

When you look back on your life you can see how seemingly unimportant decisions and steps resulted in a change in direction for your life that had a major impact!  When those decisions and steps are prompted by the Holy Spirit the change is good.  When they are from your own lusts and pride the direction is bad!

That is why it is crucial that you put every thought, word and deed to the test of "is this what God wants me to do?"  When you come to the end of each day you can then say that you have finished the work that God had for you to do on that day of your life!

"Lord Jesus, help me to be like You in doing everything You want me to do.  No matter how small it seems, I want to finish the work that You have for me today!  And may You be praised forever!  Amen."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tested by Praise!


Gold and silver are tested

in a red-hot furnace,

but we are tested by praise.

Proverbs 27:21

A wise man once told me to carefully consider criticism and to ignore praise.  He said that your downfall commences  when you begin to believe all the good things other people say about you.  He also helped me to learn that those who tell you your faults give you stepping stones to later success.

No one sees you as you really are except You and God, and often even you are deceived about your own life!  What other people think of you is never an accurate assessment of who you are. 

There is only one way to know yourself, and that is by seeing the reflection of your own life in the Word of God.  The Bible will speak to every issue.  If there is any appropriate praise for your life, let it come from God and let His rebuke be the motivation for change. 

You see it really makes no difference what other people think of you.  Spending time trying to win the approval of men is surely a waist of time, but living your life with the approval of God as your goal is exceedingly wise!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to pass the test of praise and look only to You and Your Word to evaluate my own life!   Thank You Jesus!  Amen."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stones and Arrows!

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In fact, anyone who belongs to Christ Jesus and wants to live right will have trouble from others.  But evil people who pretend to be what they are not will become worse than ever, as they fool others and are fooled themselves.

Keep on being faithful to what you were taught and to what you believed. After all, you know who taught you these things.  Since childhood, you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to make you wise enough to have faith in Christ Jesus and be saved.

2 Timothy 3:12-15

The fact that you will be persecuted as a follower of Jesus Christ is certain.  Along with your walk with Jesus comes the stones and arrows of the world trying to do you in.  They are enemies of Christ and following Him makes you their enemy as well. 

So how should you respond to those who want to make trouble for you or even want to cut off your head?  Opposition from the world is a sure sign that you are not with them in their rebellion against God!  If the world loves you and likes the message you preach, you have much to worry about!  Why would those who are enemies of God be friends with a man or woman who is filled with the Holy Spirit and walking daily in response to God's leading?  The offensive message of the Gospel only becomes sweet and precious when a man's heart is convicted and he turns from his sin to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is then that he feels the love of Jesus and the grace of God!

Don't be angry at the world for opposing you as a follower of Jesus.  Instead rejoice and be glad that even the world around you confirms the destination of your life! 

"Lord Jesus, give me the strength and courage today to stand strong for You even while the world causes me trouble.  And may You be praised now and forever.  Amen."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

You Are The Temple!

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The Lord All-Powerful had said to them and to the people:

You say this isn't the right time to build a temple for me. But is it right for you to live in expensive houses, while my temple is a pile of ruins? Just look at what's happening. You harvest less than you plant, you never have enough to eat or drink, your clothes don't keep you warm, and your wages are stored in bags full of holes.

Think about what I have said!  But first, go to the hills and get wood for my temple, so I can take pride in it and be worshiped there.  You expected much, but received only a little. And when you brought it home, I made that little disappear. Why have I done this? It's because you hurry off to build your own houses, while my temple is still in ruins. That's also why the dew doesn't fall and your harvest fails. And so, at my command everything will become barren—your farmland and pastures, your vineyards and olive trees, your animals and you yourselves. All your hard work will be for nothing.

Haggai 1:2-11

I suppose if I were wanting to encourage someone to build an expensive church building I would refer to these verses in the Book of Haggai. But these words are about rebuilding the Temple not a church building.

Today the "Temple" is the body in which you live if you are a follower of Jesus. The Bible clearly says that my body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The earliest "church building" may have been some 200 years after Jesus died.

Church buildings are simply places that Christians gather to worship the Lord, but they are not a temple. As the Temple of the Holy Spirit you have the opportunity to honor and worship God all day, every day. In fact, the Holy Spirit dwells in you! So even as the Lord was Glorified by the Temple in Jerusalem, He is given Glory today by the life that you live because the Holy Spirit is in you!

There is no verse in the New Testament that encourages Christians to build Church buildings. But every verse is focused on how you live as the Temple of the Holy Spirit!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to be a life where the Holy Spirit is comfortable. May every word, thought and action I take be consistent with Your will for this day. And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Isaiah 24!

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The Lord is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor.  The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the Lord has promised.

The earth wilts away; its mighty leaders melt to nothing.

The earth is polluted because its people disobeyed the laws of God, breaking their agreement that was to last forever.

The earth is under a curse; its people are dying out because of their sins.

Grapevines have dried up: wine is almost gone— mournful sounds are heard instead of joyful shouts.

No one plays tambourines or stringed instruments; all noisy celebrating has come to an end.

They no longer sing as they drink their wine, and it tastes sour.

Towns are crushed and in chaos; houses are locked tight.

Happy times have disappeared from the earth, and people shout in the streets, “We're out of wine!”

Cities are destroyed; their gates are torn down.

Nations will be stripped bare, like olive trees or vineyards after the harvest season.

Praise the God of Justice

People in the west shout; they joyfully praise the majesty of the Lord.

And so, everyone in the east and those on the islands should praise the Lord, the God of Israel.

From all over the world songs of praise are heard for the God of justice.

But I feel awful, terribly miserable. Can anyone be trusted? So many are treacherous! There's No Escape

Terror, traps, and pits are waiting for everyone.

If you are terrified and run, you will fall into a pit; if you crawl out of the pit, you will get caught in a trap. The sky has split apart like a window thrown open. The foundations of the earth have been shaken; the earth is shattered, ripped to pieces.

It staggers and shakes like a drunkard or a hut in a windstorm. It is burdened down with sin; the earth will fall, never again to get up.

On that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens and the kings of the earth.

He will put them in a pit and keep them prisoner. Then later on, he will punish them.

Both the moon and sun will be embarrassed and ashamed. The Lord All-Powerful will rule on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where he will show its rulers his wonderful glory.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Both Words and Heart!


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I now saw another beast. This one came out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. It worked for the beast whose fatal wound had been healed. And it used all its authority to force the earth and its people to worship that beast. It worked mighty miracles, and while people watched, it even made fire come down from the sky.

This second beast fooled people on earth by working miracles for the first one. Then it talked them into making an idol in the form of the beast that did not die after being wounded by a sword. It was allowed to put breath into the idol, so it could speak. Everyone who refused to worship the idol of the beast was put to death.

Revelation 13:11-15

Convert or die! That is the choice given to many people when they encounter one major religion in the world today. A man's religion is a matter of the heart and not just a matter of the mouth! How foolish for anyone to think that speaking words that are obviously a lie will change your heart. I can go around all day repeating a lie, but that will not change the lie into the truth.

In these verses in the book of Revelation we see that men and women were killed for refusing to worship, not for refusing to speak the words. A hundred people may be all gathered together in a church building and singing songs of worship, but only one person may be truly worshiping God! Worship comes first from the heart and then the words come out of the mouth. Words that don't come from the heart cannot be worship!

If however, the fear of death causes you to abandon your faith in God and you worship the beast, you have a serious problem.

One major issue today with the Church is that we have filled our pews with people who are willing to speak the words of conversion, but their hearts are far from God.

"Lord Jesus, give me the courage never to deny You, no matter what the threat. Guard my heart with Your great love! And may You be praised and worshiped forever! Amen."