Friday, April 30, 2010

War Not a Game!

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:11-13

The ebb and flow of Spiritual Warfare is a truth worth noting for every believer. There are days when you feel the strength of God flowing through every fiber of your body. Life seems to be one victorious moment after another! You become convinced that you have ascended right to the top of True Spirituality and nothing will ever get in your way of overcoming the odds! Many times these days are very soon after you turn your heart to Jesus and begin your walk of faith.

Then comes the “day of evil” spoken of in Ephesians 6. It is the day when you confidently step out of the boat and you begin to sink. What has changed? Did you do something wrong? Has God abandoned you? How could it be that suddenly you morphed from being an over comer to being overwhelmed? For a while you refuse to admit that it is happening. You have been told that if you ignore it maybe it will go away, but it does not.

This is when your heart is tested and you can clearly see the results of the test. When you are on the offense in battle and there is no incoming fire, then war can be exhilarating. But when the shots are returned and the incoming missiles are landing around you and you see the carnage of war, exhilaration can quickly turn to terror and fear.

Spiritual Warfare is real. In fact, Spiritual Warfare is the cosmic reality out of which came all wars. The struggle between righteousness and evil will come to an end, and righteousness will win, but the battle is no less real.

Every temptation with which you are confronted today is a part of that war. When you stand firm and wield the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, the war is one encounter closer to its end. In your struggle against sin you are not alone, but know that it is war not a game.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Heart of Job!

My kinsmen have gone away;
       my friends have forgotten me.

My guests and my maidservants count me a stranger;
       they look upon me as an alien.

I summon my servant, but he does not answer,
       though I beg him with my own mouth.

My breath is offensive to my wife;
       I am loathsome to my own brothers.

Even the little boys scorn me;
       when I appear, they ridicule me.

All my intimate friends detest me;
       those I love have turned against me.

Job 19:14-19

The suffering of Job still sets the standard for stories about righteous men from whom God’s blessings are removed. Those blessings were removed not to punish Job or even to discipline him. Job was basically abandoned by God to prove to Satan that Job’s love for God was pure and without ulterior motive.

Was Job sinless? Of course not! All have sinned and that included Job.

A very rich man once told me about the difficulty of being wealthy and having true friends. He said that his money made the compliments of his “friends” less than always trustworthy. Hearts become suspect when money, fame or power is involved. How long does it take for a wealthy young bachelor to find a wife who would have married him even if he had been a pauper?

As a part of the “Bride of Christ” God knows your heart. He knows if you love Jesus purely or if your love is tainted with the pursuit of something else, anything else. Sometimes God will strip away everything else so you can see your own heart! It is what happens to every believer who lives a long life. Slowly, and yet relentlessly most of the blessings of youth fall away as you become old and you are left with Jesus alone!

By His own promise, Jesus will never forsake us! We may lose everything else, but nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

God’s Book!

If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15

God’s library is unimaginable. How many books does He have and what are His favorites? In the first place, how could God enjoy reading a book? Books contain knowledge which is transmitted to someone other than the author. What does anyone know that God has not already fully and completely grasped? Who could write a book that God would read? About what could you write it?

The one book that we know is in the library of God is the “Book of Life.” In this book are the names of those who will spend eternity in heaven with Jesus. We know that for certain, but I wonder if the “Book of Life” also may contain the stories of those who have walked in faith over the millenniums. God found Job’s story worthy of note. God obviously knew the story of Job and presented Job to Satan as an example of the kind of person who had His approval.

There is nothing more interesting than a well written biography of a man or woman of God. As I view the life of another servant of Christ, I am encouraged to be faithful to God no matter what the circumstance. The stories of other God fearing men and women strengthen us in our own walk with Him. I can better judge my own journey of faith as I see the lives of others.

Because of the sacrifice of Jesus the end of every believer’s story is the same. It ends in Glory! But the potholes in the path and the daily struggles are all unique.

As you live and go about the affairs of life today be aware that your story is being recorded. How you live this day is of extreme interest to God Himself. The choices you make will determine how this chapter of your story is told. Choose that this day will be one of faith and not fear!

What does God read? He reads the story of your life!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anger of God!

Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
       praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,
       but his favor lasts a lifetime;
       weeping may remain for a night,
       but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5

Every few years a word is coined and becomes popular for a time until it fades into non use. The word “TUDE” was so short lived that it probably never made it into a dictionary, but its meaning was simple. If you had a bad attitude you were said to have a “TUDE.” If you had a good attitude you would not be guilty of having a “TUDE.” Frankly, I’m glad the word went away. It just doesn’t sound very dignified.

When a man has a Godly attitude what does that mean in practical terms? It can mean a host of different things. A Godly attitude can be kind, gentle and loving. A Godly attitude can be harsh and hard and angry. God does not have one demeanor to fit every situation. He is not oblivious to the dynamics of the world and its people. His attitude is always appropriate for the situation.

When a loving father is angry with his child it is a fearful thing if you are the child. But you can rest assured that a loving father will do no permanent damage to the object of his love. His anger will only serve to discipline and ultimately encourage the one he loves.

But when a loving father is angry with someone who threatens his loved one, the fury can be awesome. His anger then will do harm and it will bring no good to the object of his anger.

Who you are in Christ makes all the difference when it comes to the anger of God. If you are a child of God, then His anger will last only for a moment. But, if you are not born again into the family of God, His anger is the ultimate terror! Hell is where men will experience the complete opposite of the glorious presence of God forever. Those in Hell will be cut off from everything that might be called good!

Repent quickly, turn to God and cast yourself on His mercy and believe in Jesus. There is no time for delay and debate. Obey His every Word.

Today may be the DAY of the return of Jesus Christ. The trumpet will sound and ready or not He will come!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Strategy is God’s!

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

There is a societal tension that always builds when many people work for one man or one company. When one employee working for a small company decides that his working conditions and pay are not suitable he simply seeks other employment. Competition for good workers produces good salaries and wages and working conditions that are at least tolerable.

But it is different when many employees working for the same company all decide that things should change and they press that point collectively. Instead of competition driving the situation, coercion becomes the means to the end. It is one of the steps away from a free market economy.

But what happens when you become dissatisfied with God? And don’t tell me that you are always perfectly happy with the way God runs your life! Even Jesus was not pleased about the cross. Check out the prayer He prayed the night before that ordeal. When you decide that God is not doing things the way you like, you always have the Judas option. You can walk away from Him and join the forces of Hell. That of course is frightening even to mention, but God gave you the freedom to choose and that is the only other choice. You will either serve God or Satan. There is no middle ground.

Another option is to “stay with the company” and sow dissent among other believers. The most common way of doing this is to ascribe to Satan things that God Himself is doing. The discipline of God is not satanic attack!

Knowing and trusting the character of God is for me the best way of remaining faithful when God’s dealings with me seem wrong. The question is not “Why would God do this?” but rather “Did God do this?” If the action or command comes from God then “Trust and Obey” can be my only valid response.

God is the general and I am the private! He knows the plan and I carry out my piece of that plan for today! I must spend my time practicing my aim and leave the war plans and strategy to God!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Come Quickly!

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

1 Peter 1:13-16

Little things can certainly mean a lot. When my children were small and I would come home from a business trip I always heard, “Did you bring me a prize?” It must have started when I picked up something for each of the children while away and so they looked forward to the next trip for the “prize.”

When Jesus returns He will bring a prize for those who are God’s children! According to 1 Peter that prize is Grace. One dictionary defines Grace as “the infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill shown to humankind by God.” Of course Jesus shows us these things today, and we are grateful. But when He returns we will be immersed in, surrounded and even consumed by His love, mercy, favor and goodwill.

Even as the young couple engaged to be married hopes for that day to arrive, we look forward to the return of Jesus. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I am the object of the Love of God! How can that be? I am a frail and sinful human being. I do not deserve His love. But the Love of God comes not because I am strong or sinless. It certainly does not come because I deserve it. There is no justification for the Love of God, but because of the Love of God there is justification through the Blood Jesus!

Hold on to the Hope of His return! That means think about it and imagine what it will be like when you meet Jesus face to face. The veil will be removed and you will see Him as He is. Let not your heart be troubled! He is coming soon! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Return to the Garden!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

James 1:17-18

When the Bible says there is more blessing in giving than in receiving it is revealing a deep and eternal truth. God is a giver! The gift of God is the essence of everything we know as human beings. Truthfully, every spark of life that exists was conceived by God Himself! The design of life itself was formed in the mind of God and fashioned by His hand.

The fundamental nature of God is to be the Creator and to be the Creator who gives! It is who God is. The outpouring of His love is felt by every creature great or small. If God were to stop giving, then we would stop living. Human existence is totally supported by the perpetual outflow of God’s gift of life!

So when you begin the lesson of sharing with a little child he embarks on a great epic journey of becoming like God. God is the Great Giver. When we learn to give we become like God. Adam and Eve fell because they wanted to be like God. Instead they became like Satan. God is a giver, Satan is a taker. Our first parents took the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and walked away from the gift of God!

The more you give the more like Jesus you become. Jesus is not remembered as a great philanthropist who gave great sums of money. Jesus gave Himself first.

Someone has wisely said that if you put some of your money in the collection box, it is good. But if you put yourself in the collection box, then all of your money goes with you!

On the Cross, Jesus gave Himself as the greatest gift to mankind! That gift made it possible for the fall of man to be reversed in your life so that you can return to the Garden with Jesus!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Believers in Hell!

It is written:  "As surely as I live, says the Lord,
   every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God."

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Romans 14:11-12

There is great pride in being an Atheist. Consider the perspective of the man who does not believe in Almighty God. He rails against the Creator of the Universe and declares that God is either dead or never existed in the first place and yet he continues to live and breathe and go about his business like everyone else! I’m certain that every, would be Atheist sticks his toe in the water of unbelief to see if he will be struck by lightning for standing against God.

But God’s great mercy and love permits a man even to become His enemy without immediate retribution. The arrogant unbelief grows as the atheist becomes convinced that God is indeed dead, asleep, or never existed at all. It is all a part of free will. Humans have been given the freedom to choose or reject God. It is unique. The animals that populate the earth do not struggle with faith. The principalities, powers and powers of the air, including Satan himself are not Atheists.

Atheism is a temporary state of man which will end on your knees before the Creator of Heaven and earth! There will be no Atheists in Hell. They will all come to faith on that day when they stand before God to give account of themselves.

The question for you, that will make an eternal difference is this: “When will you come to faith in Jesus Christ?” If you do it now, you will live forever with Him in Heaven. If you wait until you become a believer by the force of reality, as you stand before God, you will spend eternity in the fires of Hell.

Becoming a believer on the Day of Judgment will be too late! You have this moment to accept Him. You will become a believer, and you will bow before Him. For Heaven’s sake do it now!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

By His Spirit!

'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.

Zechariah 4:6b

The will to win goes a long way in any contest.

When a football team decides they cannot win, the game is usually over. Of course, physical strength and skill are important, but when the attitude is one of defeat, victory rarely follows!

The opposite is certainly true as well. There have been many amazing comeback victories by sports teams who refused to give up in the face of almost certain defeat!

The difference is inside the heart of the man. A man or woman who refuses to give up rises to a very different level of success.

Inside the heart of every Christian is the Holy Spirit! As a follower of Jesus Christ, He has placed God Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit in your heart. The Holy Spirit does not give up. The Holy Spirit does not tell you to be discouraged and quit! The Holy Spirit not only knows the outcome of every situation in which you find yourself, but He can manipulate the situations for your benefit.

Let’s pretend that God decided to take over a football team and that His goal was to win the Super Bowl. He was not only the coach but was in the heart of every player. Let’s say “perfect season!”

God has decided to take over your life and His goal is to get you safely to Heaven. He is not only your coach, but has put His Spirit in your heart! Your victory is not determined by your might or by your power. It is totally decided by the fact that the Holy Spirit is living in you!

A man or woman filled with God’s Spirit will overcome and will be declared a winner on the Day that Jesus returns!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Remember Nineveh!

Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth."

Revelation 17:15-18

God will accomplish His purpose, no matter what that purpose is. The road to the end may be and will be a bumpy ride, but the destination for those who follow God and those who do not is fixed and unchangeable.

These words in Revelation 17 are intriguing to say the least. Here is a situation where a leader is given the authority to rule over a people and then he brings them to ruin. The leader hates the people over which he is the ruler and he implements his program of governing until they are destroyed.

All of this, according to scripture is to accomplish God’s purpose!

Why would God purpose to bring a nation to its knees or even worse? Why would God remove sound judgment from the leaders of a country so that it falls on its face before the rest of the world?

The answer to that is simple. If God is God Almighty, and the country had established itself in the fear of God, and then turned away from Him, it would be more surprising if God did not precipitate the decline and fall of that once great nation.

So how does that nation stop the slide into oblivion? What can be done to halt the fall? There is no hope in lower taxes, or less socialistic policies. There is no hope in rallies and parties. The only hope is in turning to God Almighty, calling on His name, and repenting of their wickedness! Until and unless that nation does that, nothing else will make any difference.

Remember Nineveh. God changed His mind because they changed theirs!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What Am I Bid?

 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

Revelation 22:17

Salvation is a free gift. If you were to try to purchase it rather than receive it as a gift, you would find that no man could ever be wealthy enough to buy salvation. The world itself does not contain enough gold to pay the price for one sinner’s redemption.

When a work of art goes on the auction block the value is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. The important aspects to consider when giving value to a painting are the artist and the price that is paid. The picture itself is truly irrelevant. There are many paintings that are more beautiful than the very valuable ones.

Your life is a work of art painted by God Himself. He reached down and formed you from the dust of the ground. He skillfully brushed across your canvas with the colors that gave you form and meaning. And then, because no one else could afford this work of art, Jesus gave His life to pay the price for your life.

When the participants in the “Antiques Road Show” discover the value of an old painting that sat in their attic for years the response is predictable. That which was ignored and not carefully cared for suddenly becomes a treasure to be guarded.

When you encounter Jesus Christ and discover the price He paid so that you could be His, it is truly amazing. Jesus outbid the devil himself for your life. He paid a price that no one else could ever pay. There is nothing in all of creation that is worth more than your life! This is the terrible tragedy of abortion. God is in His studio painting lives and before they are even born we rip up His work and cast it out.

The next time you feel down, depressed and worthless consider Jesus and the art auction where He purchased you. The price that Jesus paid for you was higher than any price that has ever been paid. You are worth more to Jesus than His own life!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Good Fight!

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

Revelation 13:5-7

You may lose a battle, but still win the war! That is a fundamental principle of warfare. Losing a battle does not mean that you will be defeated in the conflict. When you go to war there will be casualties. There is a nasty reality of warfare that causes many veterans to never talk about it after they return from service.

In the narrative of Revelation 13 we are told that there will be a time when “the beast” will make war against the saints and conquer them! That doesn’t sound like a bunch of victorious Christians. It’s not just the ones who are weak and faithless that will be conquered. It simply says the beast will conquer the saints! That is pretty discouraging or is it?

The time line for this power is 42 months. That is only three and a half years.

Have you ever or do you right now feel defeated as a Christian? Do you look around and it appears that righteousness is losing on all fronts?

Remember this: Jesus is the Victor and He will win the war with all who oppose Him. There is no chance that walking with Jesus and following Him will end in defeat!

Will there be times of discouragement and setbacks in your walk with Him? Of course! This is a war not a walk in the park. No one can know for certain where they are on the timeline of human history until the trumpet sounds and puts it all into perspective. Praise Him when the battle is being won by righteousness, and praise Him when you are being conquered by the beast! In this war the Enemy can kill you but he can’t harm you. Heaven waits for everyone who has been born again and washed in the Blood of the Lamb!

Fight the good fight!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Filled With Fury!

”Therefore rejoice, you heavens
      and you who dwell in them!
   But woe to the earth and the sea,
      because the devil has gone down to you!
   He is filled with fury,
      because he knows that his time is short."

Revelation 12:12

When the devil is filled with fury, you can be sure that things are going to be very bad for most people. Even the worst human being alive has something that can be said about him that is good. But there is nothing good that can be said about the devil. He is pure evil, even as the last four letters of his name spell.

Revelation 12:12 clearly says that the devil will be filled with fury when he realizes that time is almost up. He will see clearly that the end is at hand and he will lash out in rage. When a vicious animal is cornered, trapped and about to be taken out, his fury is evident to all. It can be very scary. The snarling teeth of Satan would be enough to make anyone straighten up and pay attention!

But Christians must know and know for certain what is happening and what will be the end of the story. When the devil is filled with fury, know that his time is short! When you see the world being engulfed in terrible trouble know for certain that Jesus will return and put an end to the insanity! As the storm rages remember that Jesus can walk on water and with Him you can too. And even if you are tossed in the sea, the Lord can send a great fish to swallow you and keep you from drowning.

The stories of miraculous intervention in the lives of believers will abound. The power of the Word will be seen and felt and heard! The “Grand Finale” is going to be very exciting and frightening for those who don’t know Jesus, but if you do know Him then hold on for the END IS NEAR!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Keep the Snake Out!

Look at your troops—
       they are all women!
       The gates of your land
       are wide open to your enemies;
       fire has consumed their bars.

Nahum 3:13

When a country opens the gates of its land to its enemies it doesn’t take a professor of the history of international relations to predict the outcome. When the purpose of a military is to bring comfort and peace around the world the end of a conflict is easy to predict.

More to the point, when a man opens the gates of his life to the enemies that desire to destroy him, the devastation is totally predictable. And when spiritual warfare becomes a “police action” to keep the forces of evil at bay for a time, the end of that story is not pretty.

As a follower of Jesus you must be diligent and relentless in your border patrol activities. Inspect the perimeter of your life daily and look for any weaknesses where Satan might slip in to your life. Repair the fence. Shut the gate. Lock the doors! Pretend that Satan is a poisonous snake trying to find a way to get in to your house. How diligent would you be about keeping that snake out?

Then when you are called upon to wage spiritual warfare, take no prisoners! The mercy of God is not called for when it comes to the principalities, powers, and powers of the air! There is no requirement in God’s Word that we be kind to Satan! Defeat him. Cripple his efforts in your life. Draw near to God so that Satan will flee from you! Let the fear that he tries to distribute to you come back on him in Holy Terror!

Finally, never lay down your weapon! The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God must be at the ready at all times. When the head of the snake appears, cut it off!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Count on Jesus!

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

When all six of our children were still at home sometimes it was easier to count them to make sure no one had wandered off. When God created the world in which we live He included numbers. That may sound silly, but He could have created us without any awareness of numbers or the need to count anything. There are other things in the cosmos about which we are oblivious.

But God created us to count. In fact, that phrase “to count” has a double meaning. We count people and things, but in recognizing a person’s significance we say “he really counts for something.”

The United States Census is spending huge amounts of money to make people aware that they need to be counted in each census. In sports we carefully count how many players are on the field at any given moment. If there are too many it is a violation. When we take on any endeavor, if we are wise we count the cost.

So why does it specifically say that Paul prayed three times for the Lord to take away his “thorn in the flesh?”

The Bible says in Exodus 34:23: “Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel.”

Paul came before the Lord three times about his problem and the Lord gave him the answer. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Would Paul have prayed more than three times if the answer had not come? Certainly, he would have, but the number of times He prayed when the answer came is significant.

It is a play on words, but maybe not. As a follower of Jesus Christ, when times get tough you can COUNT ON JESUS to be there for you. He said He would and trusting Jesus really adds up!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Praise Him from Hell!

The earth is defiled by its people;
       they have disobeyed the laws,
       violated the statutes
       and broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
       its people must bear their guilt.
       Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up,
       and very few are left.

Isaiah 24:5-6

The condition of the earth after the curse consumes it will be very bleak. Most of the people on earth, according to Isaiah 24:6 will be burned up with “very few” left. If you are one of those who are left in the burned out rubble of planet earth, your day to day life will be miserable at best.

Some commentators think that this chapter is a description of the “Great Tribulation” that is prophesied to come. It will be a time when the constraints of righteousness will be given over to the plundering of evil and every man will be a nation of one! Your worst nightmare will be a daily reality as almost everyone left on earth sinks to the lowest level of human depravity possible.

The good news in this chapter is heard in verse sixteen which says in part:

From the ends of the earth we hear singing:
       "Glory to the Righteous One."

So, in the middle of this Hell on earth praises will still be sung to God! That must be your goal. Be prepared to be a voice of Praise from the depths of Hell! If you survive the destruction and find yourself still alive after the judgments have fallen on earth then set your heart to Praise the Name of the Lord and sing praises to Him!

Will it be hard to Praise the Lord in the middle of the Great Tribulation? I suppose it will be. Those who are left will be tempted like Job to curse God and die. But there is a way you can prepare to be a part of that elite choir. Today, when trouble comes, Praise God! When problems attack you on every side, Praise God! When all seems lost, Praise God! When hopelessness abounds on every side, Praise God! When suffering and pain fill your mind and body, Praise God!

Then if you are still alive when Isaiah 24 is fulfilled on this earth you will have practiced and be ready to be one of the voices heard singing Praise to God from the pits of Hell!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Give Us the Glory!

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

John 17:22-24

Of all the puzzling statements in the Bible these verses must rank fairly high on the list. Jesus tells God that He has given us “the glory that you gave me.” We give God Glory and we give Glory to Jesus, but what could this mean that Jesus gives us the Glory that God gave Him?

What Glory did God give to Jesus? Jesus was given Glory because He was a man and He was God. He was God incarnate. Jesus was flesh and blood and Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit of God and He Himself was God. It was a never before seen mix of man and God. He was both the Son of Man and the Son of God.

It makes me nervous to even attempt a description of the nature of Jesus, because I know my understanding is incomplete at best. But God gives us Glory when He forms us into the image of Jesus. As you become like Jesus, you reflect the Glory of God and you reveal the Glory that He has given you.

The struggle that will go on in you will mirror the struggle Jesus had with Satan. You will be tempted in the worst ways, but each time there will be provided a way of escape. Even though the power of God will be seen working through you, persecution and suffering will stalk your every moment. As you approach your “It is finished” valley you will ask God if there is another way even as Jesus did.

It is not an easy road to walk with Jesus, but it is even harder to walk in His steps. In an almost incomprehensible way Jesus came as a proto-type for your life. What He was is what I am to be. What He did is what I am to do. The road He walked is the path for my life. Then and only then does the Glory make any sense.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perfect Ending!

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

1 Peter 4:7

After reading hundreds of pages of a novel, the last page or even last paragraph can make or break the story. Either it ends in a way that satisfies everything you hoped would happen, or it ends in frustration, leaving you almost wishing you had never picked up the book in the first place.

So here is a “novel” idea! (Play on words intended.) I will write a story and leave the ending as a blank page. Then, when you get to the end of the story you can write that part to make it work out just like you think it should. To be even cuter I would call it an “Endless Story.” It is not a terrible idea, but I don’t think I had better quit my day job to pursue it.

Life itself is a little like my “Endless Story” idea with a twist. God has given you a notebook filled with paper. Each day starts as a blank page and you write the events of your life from the time you wake until you retire for the night. As of this morning I have written 23,298 pages in my life story. There have been exciting days and mundane. I don’t yet know how many pages my story will take, but I do know how it will end. You see, I don’t write the end of my story. Many years ago I gave God the production and editorial rights to my life, and so God writes the ending of my story. Because of Jesus the story of my life will end gloriously!

Do you know how your story will end? Are you still working hard to make everything work out in the end? Here is the simple solution. Give your heart, mind and strength to Jesus Christ and live each day listening for His direction in your life. Then when you come to write the final page of your story Jesus will give it the PERFECT ENDING! It will be Heavenly!

Friday, April 9, 2010

This Little Light!

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-10

Even those who vehemently rebel against Almighty God are totally dependent on Him for their next breath and their next heartbeat! The power and influence of God totally pervades the existence of Satan himself. Those who stand against God are standing at all because God chooses to allow them. And even more baffling, God is the source of the life that gives them the strength to rail at Him.

Like a moth caught in the cupped hands of a gentle giant men flap their wings and struggle with every ounce of energy to break free from the confinement, but only the will of the giant determines the fate of the moth.

The very second God decides that evil should no longer exist, it will not. Like the moth, one clap of God’s hands would eliminate it forever from the cosmic landscape. So, what great purpose of God is fulfilled by the existence of evil? Strangely enough evil brings Glory to God. The brightest light we might produce sitting on the surface of the sun, and theoretically not consumed by its heat, would not be noticeable at all. The brightness of the sun would outshine and hide its glory! But one little candle in blackest darkness, can be seen by everyone. Darkness and evil provide the contrast needed for light and righteousness to be quite clearly seen.

Without the darkness who could see the light? Does that mean that you should love the darkness? Oh no, not at all!

Evil is the backdrop and contrast to reveal the Righteousness of God and to make our walk with Jesus apparent to all! Evil is serving God’s purpose and will end at just the right time. Never compromise and give in to temptation to be a part of the darkness, but never fear what it can do to you either. No evil can harm God’s child unless he or she chooses to give in to its temptation.

Remember the deeper the darkness around you the brighter your light will shine!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keep Singing!

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

The season of high school class reunions comes every year. It is emotional, sobering, and extremely thought provoking. “How could they all have gotten so old?” “It seems like only yesterday.” With class reunions it is almost certain that nobody looks better at their 40th class reunion than they did on the day of graduation. Time definitely takes its toll.

When Jesus returns to this earth there will be a grand reunion of unimaginable proportions. Everyone who died “in Him” will come back with Jesus. And all those who love Him now will be gathered together with them in the air. This reunion will never end and I can assure you that everyone will look better than they have ever looked in their life! Everyone will be transformed and given a new body!

As turmoil engulfs the world around you and maybe even your life what can you do? There is a song we used to sing when our children were young. It is lively and lifts your soul.

The words are:

My Lord will come again,

My Lord will come again,

He’ll come again,

I know, I know, I know, I know,

So sing my soul

And laugh and dance and skip and run

And shout for joy He’ll come!

Keep Singing!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hold Tight to Jesus!

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

Galatians 3:3

If you are sober it is pretty easy to walk a straight line without veering off to the left or right. But if you put that line on a twelve inch wide beam several hundred feet in the air, walking that line without falling off is very difficult. Here is the difference. If you were to fall while walking at ground level you might bruise yourself or at worst break a bone. But if you veer off and fall while hundreds of feet in the air the impact will most certainly be fatal.

Walking in the Spirit is pretty exciting. The view is glorious and the air is clean and crisp and invigorating. When you walk with Jesus you soar above all the petty realities of this life. It is like Peter walking on the water with Jesus. Those first few steps must have been amazing. Because of Jesus, Peter was doing something that nobody had done or could ever do! Then the most debilitating four letter word of all grabbed Peter. The word is fear! After beginning to walk with Jesus and ascend above the troubles of this life every believer is tempted with fear and is encouraged by Satan to grasp again for the “safety net” of this world.

The truth however is this: Nothing the world can offer will save you from the troubles of life. This corrupt world system may make many promises, but it has no power to fulfill any of them apart from the Grace of God. When God says to the powers of this world, “It’s time for you to go” they will go and go quickly!

If you must fear, then fear God instead of the bad things that could happen in life. If you are safe in the arms of Jesus, then you can walk on the mountain tops or through the pits of Hell and never have reason to fear. When I was a small child I remember clinging to my father when things got scary. Now that I am an old man, I am still clinging to my Father! Here is the best advice. Hold tight to Jesus and enjoy the view!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who Are You!

This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

Hebrews 7:1-3

Who was Melchizedek? He is perhaps the most mysterious character in the Old Testament. Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of the spoils of war. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.” Surely the identity of Melchizedek will be on the “questions to be answered in heaven” list.

Who are you in the story of God’s working through this generation of men? The truth is simply this: Great men and women of God rarely, if ever know how history will remember or not remember them. We will meet men and women in heaven who are highly honored by God but are not remembered by men. And I suppose the opposite will be true. There will be some who are honored by men as “great saints” but are not so deemed by God.

It is not for you to know your place in history. All of your contemporaries may hold you up as great or they may put you down as worthless in God’s working on this earth. But the opinions of men, even righteous men may not mirror the judgments of God Almighty.

So instead of trying to “make a name for yourself” in God’s kingdom, work to make a “Name for Jesus.” Your eternal value is determined only by what Jesus thinks about you and your life. What others think, or even what history records is irrelevant.

Believe it or not, praise is potentially more destructive to a servant of Christ than criticism. A very wise man once told me not to listen to praise and to consider the criticism to see if it is true and then make changes accordingly. Working for the praise of men or listening to the praise of men can divert you from the calling of God in your life.

Remember, only God knows the purpose He had in mind when He created you in your mother’s womb. Fulfill His calling for today and let history say what it will or nothing at all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Power of His Presence!

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:36-45

When Jesus shows up in your life you can be just like His disciples. They were startled and amazed, but didn’t really believe that it was Him. We have lots of alternative explanations to the presence of the living Jesus. “What a co-incidence! How lucky is that? That was a bit of good fortune.”

When Jesus walked with His followers before the crucifixion we do not hear of one of them performing a miracle. It was Jesus power infused into a life situation that was deemed a miracle. When Jesus went back to Heaven His followers were not left powerless.

Prayer in the powerful name of Jesus today comes to the throne of Heaven with petitions bearing the authority of His name. Never take such prayer lightly. If you have been given the right to pray in Jesus Name then nothing is impossible in answer to your prayers.

But if Jesus is not alive, His name means nothing as you approach God in prayer. He is alive and the name of Jesus is still powerful beyond imagination. All the nuclear stockpiles on earth cannot compare to the power of one simple prayer in Jesus’ Name!

Before you bow in prayer realize that you are about to unleash the Creator of the Universe on the issue at hand! May He be praised forever!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wake Up!

Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.

Revelation 16:16-19

The President of the United States mocked those who said the passing of his health care bill would bring Armageddon. On this the President was correct. Armageddon will be a much “bigger deal” than health care reform.

There is coming a time and it may indeed be very soon when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Imagine the whole world, all together suffering an earthquake like the Haiti shaker! There will be no news reports because everyone will be so busy with their own destruction. All you will know is that it is horrible where you live and help is not coming from anywhere else!

If you survive the awful events of the coming days your faith will be tested to the maximum. Pray that those who believe that Christians will be taken to heaven before it gets really bad are correct in their understanding of the coming events.

Pray that you will have the God given strength to endure whatever suffering comes your way. Most you must pray all the time. Talk to God about everything. Don’t let a moment pass without considering His point of view on your own thoughts.

Ask God to give you the courage to speak up the words that He has ordained for you to speak to the world around you. Waste no time in telling the world around you that Jesus will soon be here and it is time to turn to Him and repent of their sins!

We are standing at a bus stop waiting for the bus and we can hear it coming. Wake those who have fallen asleep and tell them to be ready for the return of Jesus. It is the only important thing to do until He comes!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Next Miracle!

"Before she goes into labor,
       she gives birth;
       before the pains come upon her,
       she delivers a son.”

Isaiah 66:7

When my children were very small my oldest son had difficulty with the concept that I as their father was not bound by the laws I had written for the family. Actually, I never wrote them down. But sometimes it was necessary for me to “break the law” and that bothered him. Now Morgan is a father of five children himself and I’m sure he understands!

It is hard for me to understand how God can create laws, even the laws of nature and then not be bound by them Himself. One of the earmarks of an action of God is that it is not boxed in by law. God can and does cross over the “that can’t be done” line frequently and we call it a miracle. In fact, the basic definition of a miracle in the minds of most is that God is acting outside of law. Dead people don’t resurrect, sick people don’t instantly get up well at a spoken word, and waters don’t part so you can walk to the other side on dry ground.

When God passes by you almost never notice unless He brings a miracle with Him.

So here is today’s challenge. Recognize the presence of Almighty God without a miraculous sign. When a dead person rises up everyone can recognize God’s power, but as His child you can sense His presence as you stand in line at a grocery store. He is no less with you there than He is when you are with Him walking on the water. When you see Jesus with you always, then your life can be lived in readiness to be a part of God’s next miracle!

The Old Testament Law was given by our Father in Heaven and then Jesus came and nailed that Law to a tree. Jesus was Himself God’s Miracle. Let Jesus be God’s Next Miracle in your life!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lord Speak To Me!

This is what the LORD Almighty says:
       "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
       they fill you with false hopes.
       They speak visions from their own minds,
       not from the mouth of the LORD.

They keep saying to those who despise me,
       'The LORD says: You will have peace.'
       And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
       they say, 'No harm will come to you.'

But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD
       to see or to hear his word?
       Who has listened and heard his word?

Jeremiah 23:16-18

“We don’t have wars here in America. They are all fought overseas in other countries.” My mother’s words were an attempt to calm a little boy during the Korean War. When I saw news clips on our black and white TV I was worried about war coming here. But she said it would not and I believed her!

My mother was not a prophet, but she was filling my heart with false hopes. After World War II had engulfed the world, but not touched our shores at all except for Pearl Harbor which at the time Hawaii was not a state, we began to believe that we were immune from the ravages of war. War was a spectator sport except for the boys who had to go and fight. 9-11 almost pulled us out of that perspective, but we have lulled ourselves back to sleep while we continue to believe that we will not be involved in the tragedy of war in America.

But is anyone hearing or even listening to God? Are our leaders paying attention to the Word of the Lord about any matter? Many today would even deride someone who believes that we can hear from God. They speak visions from their own minds and say “no harm will come to you.” They fill us with false hopes as we go on our way towards the Gates of Hell.

It is not for someone else to raise the alarm about our certain fate as a people in all out rebellion against our Creator! A nation becomes corrupt because individuals succumb to the lure of evil, and a nation become righteous because individuals repent of their evil and turn to God!

As the ship of state goes down our leaders are telling us we need to spend more money in order to keep us from sinking. The band is playing while we wait for a miracle that will not come from our gods of gold and silver. We have thrown our Captain off the ship and are listening to the lies from our own hearts.

Our only hope is for us to stand in the council of the LORD so we can see and hear his Word? Lord speak to me!