Friday, September 30, 2011

God’s To Do List

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Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty.  All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Revelation 21:5-7 

When a mother asks her child "Are you finished cleaning your room?" the answer of "Oh yes I've finished" is usually followed up with an inspection tour. Learning to always tell the truth and complete an assignment is part of the growing up process.

When Jesus said "It is finished" with His last breath before He died, He declared that everything on His "To Do" list had been checked off. When Jesus arrived back in Heaven there was no Word left unspoken, no healing left undone, and no kindness overlooked during His years here on earth. Each day Jesus put His hand to things on His list as He walked perfectly in the will of God.

Jesus will also declare almost the same thing as this earth comes to a close. He will proclaim "Everything is finished!"

God has a "To Do List" for you and for me. My job for today is to do those things on the list God has prepared for me. When I reach the end of this day I must be able to say like Jesus, "It is finished."

Then when I reach the end of my time here on earth I will also be able to say "Everything is finished." And I will be able to proclaim that, because with the Holy Spirit and Jesus living in me the Will of God for my life will be completely accomplished!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not Too Sick to Heal!

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Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.

Jeremiah 17:14

No one ever came to Jesus and heard these words. "I'm sorry, but you are too far gone for Jesus to heal." Doctors see patients all the time who have no hope of recovery. But there has never been a man, woman or child who came to Jesus, trusted Him for the answer and heard that there is nothing He can do for you.

Just remind yourself of who Jesus is. Jesus is the Creator of everything that exists. Jesus could call you from the grave like He did Lazarus. Jesus can heal your mind like He did the man who was troubled by many demons. Jesus can make wine if you need it for a wedding celebration and Jesus can multiply bread and fish to feed five thousand people. Jesus can take the worst sinner, like He did the Apostle Paul and make him into the great missionary and evangelist.

Like the woman who had been ill for many years, you can come to Jesus and "touch the hem of His garment." Then you will glorify God by simply telling others what the power of Jesus has done for you.

It is like a line of dominos, we fall one at a time until that day when everyone will bow down before God Almighty! When you receive healing from Jesus and fall down before Him, your life will touch others who will also fall in the chain of Eternity! Oh, and by the way the Great Physician is in and will see you now!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seek God’s Face!

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if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

This verse has been circulated throughout our land and even put to music as the way to bring healing and restoration to the United States. There is no doubt in my mind that this verse is the answer. The problem is we have not humbled ourselves, really begun to pray, sought the face of God or turned from our wicked ways.

We don't even know what our wicked ways are! Some think we are evil because there are rich people among us. Some think we are wicked because we have "In God We Trust" on our money. Very few, even of our elected leaders believe that we should not be practicing the things that God says are evil.

God creates new lives and we snuff them out before they are born.

Do you want to see the face of God? Remember that even Moses was not allowed to see the face of God. Moses saw God's backside so he would not die.

The only way you can see the face of God is to come before Him as a dead man. Unless you are dead to the things of this world you cannot see God's face. But when you see Him everything else will fade from view and His Glory will shine from your face forever. Oh, and by the way, our land will be healed as well!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Take Off the Mask!

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The Lord’s kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. Deep in my heart I say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on him!” The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys him.

Lamentations 3:22-25

Do you have faith in and love God, or do you know how to convincingly say that you have faith in and love God? There is a huge difference between those two things.

If we are honest, we all know that there is sometimes a big difference in what we want people to think about us and what we really are. Behind the perpetual comedian may be a truly sad face and a painful heart. The boastful man may be hiding a serious lack of self confidence.

It is often easy to see behind the masks of others. It is easy to label them "hypocrites" when you catch a glimpse of their lives without the mask.

The joy of my salvation today is not that I will one day go to Heaven. Today's joy is that Jesus sees behind my mask and loves me anyway. Does my sin make Him sad? Of course it does.

When you pray, before you bow your head, reach your hands to your face and grab the mask you are wearing. Take it off and stand before Jesus exposed completely to Him. Then say deep in your heart, "Lord You are all I need; I can depend on You."

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Win the War!

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There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the LORD.

The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but victory rests with the LORD.

Proverbs 21:30-31

Wars are not won by weapons alone.  Wars are won by wisdom and weapons.  When two armies go up against each other, the outcome cannot be predicted by the number of troops and their armament.  The strategy and wisdom of the generals plays the decisive role in the outcome of any battle.  Gideon defeated a huge army with 300 men and the wisdom of God.  The Egyptians were defeated by unarmed refugees fleeing their country.  And of course, don’t forget David the shepherd boy going up against Goliath with only five stones and a sling.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you can be assured there will be a battle today.  That battle may be a small skirmish, or it may be really large.  Being armed and equipped for battle is a good thing, but going to battle with the Wisdom of God is the best thing. 

When you see the enemy approaching fall on your knees and ask for God’s Wisdom before you fire the first shot.  If you win today’s battle it will be because the Wisdom of God went up against the wisdom of Satan and of this world. 

Remember, David killed Goliath with the first stone!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just in Time for Supper!

At that time, people will say, “The Lord has saved us! Let’s celebrate.
We waited and hoped—
now our God is here.”

Isaiah 25:9

When I was a child my father came home from work at almost the same time everyday. It was a major event in my life. Before I could read a clock my mother would alert me to the imminent arrival of my protector, provider, and the source of everything good in my life. She would say something like "Your daddy will be home soon, why don't you go to the window and watch for him?" I was very blessed because he always came home at just the right time and as far as I was concerned he was as reliable and strong as God Himself! My father always came home, just in time for supper!

When an earthly father is loving and reliable he gives his children a blessing more valuable than gold. My father gave me a human example of what my Heavenly Father is like. For that gift I will always be grateful
I am now a father myself. In fact, my sons are fathers as well, but like I did as a little child, I stand at the window and watch. It just may be time for Jesus to return to this world. I can be certain that Jesus will return. He will not be late and Jesus wants me to be looking for Him when He returns.

Frankly, I can sense my own hunger growing as I wait for Him. But you can be sure, like my earthly father Jesus will return just in time for supper

Friday, September 23, 2011

Snake on a Pole!

The Lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Numbers 21:8-9

Some variation of a snake on a pole has become the symbol of modern medicine. The history of it's development is quite interesting and not without controversy, but nevertheless Moses and the experience in the wilderness still touches our world today!

It reminds me of a sign I saw many years ago in the office of the doctor who delivered two of my children. It quite boldly and correctly said, "God does the healing, but I accept the money."

In a real sense the snake on the pole is still saying the same thing. All healing comes from the power and mercy of God Almighty!

There is another snake in the Bible. It is the one that deceived Adam and Eve and then was condemned to slither through the grass on his belly. That snake is still trying to deceive you if he can.

So when you are sick and are seeking to be healed, be sure to look toward the "Snake on a pole" and not a "snake in the grass."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No Money in Heaven!

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Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

I Timothy 6:9-10

I have known a few "very rich" people in my life. As one of them aptly put it, "Money is not a blessing from God, it is rather an awesome responsibility."

Very rich people have few, if any true friends. Frankly, the only way they can find out if their friends are sincere is to lose all their money and see who is left.

If you love money, you are tempted to sacrifice everything you know to be moral and right to acquire more of it. Isn't it interesting that a billionaire usually is not satisfied with that amount of money and wants more?

Consider this: If you are a child of God and you needed ten billion dollars could God give it to you today? The answer is "Of course He could!" So why would you spend your life seeking money? When you seek money you are proclaiming that you don't believe that God is your provider.

When you seek God instead of money, whatever and however God sees that your needs should be met will be done according to His will and power!

Let all your desire be toward knowing Jesus and none of your desire be toward getting rich. The truth is: You can't take even one dollar to Heaven!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If Everyone Was Blind

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“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

1 Peter 2:9

Pigmies are only short when they are around people who are taller. Ignorant people only know they lack knowledge when they interact with those who are better informed.

I have always wondered what it would be like to be blind. Frankly, I would admit that being blind would be a fearful prospect.

But what if everyone was blind and those who could see were as rare as the blind are today? If everyone was blind, no one would really know what it meant to "see" something. You would know how to feel, taste and smell, but seeing would be a sense, foreign to your understanding.

If everyone was blind how would you respond to someone who claimed to see? I would probably think he was crazy and at least a misguided dreamer. The man who can see the light in a world that is blind would likely be persecuted if not crucified!

As you now have already guessed I'm talking about Jesus. The world is blind and Jesus came as one who created the light, to show us the light and give us our sight.

When a man who was born blind begins to see the light all of the other blind people are offended and may strike out in anger.You only know you have been blind when you begin to see the light!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Take Aim With The Word

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“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:12-13

When you expose yourself to the Word of God the slightest imperfection in your life becomes clear. You can see how you are not living up to the standard of Jesus Christ Himself.

The word of Satan is also active and it impacts lives all around you. His words are accusing, destructive and truly discouraging. One of the enemy's goals for this day is to get you to speak some of his words. He wants you to spread his "bad news" message.

God's Words build us up even as they convict us of sin, but they also draw us closer to Him and leave a path of healing in their wake. When you speak God's Words the thoughts and attitudes of your own heart will be easy to know and those who hear will find that Word working in their own hearts and minds.

Try this challenge. Find a Bible verse and memorize it. You can also use one that you already know. Then ask God to provide you an opportunity to appropriately speak that Word to someone today. You might call it spiritual target practice with your Sword and you will be amazed at how God works with His Word!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brothers and Sisters

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Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God’s children to be saved and to share in his glory.  Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.

Hebrews 2:10-11 CEV

Why does Satan want to destroy the family? A functional family is a perfect picture of the relationship God has with His children and Jesus has with His brothers and sisters. Of course the relationship between a husband and wife is directly compared to the bond between Christ and the Church.

I am a "Steensland." Steensland is not a very common name, so I feel an instant bond with someone else who has that name. I don't suppose folks named Smith or Jones share so much of that experience since there are so many of them, but family feelings do arise when I meet a "Steensland."

Whenever I meet someone who is a brother or sister in the family of God I feel the same. I become aware of a bond of fellowship before I know anything else about that person. You see we are relatives. We carry the same DNA. The same Holy Spirit lives in both of us, even though we have never met before.

Frankly, it is exciting to find people named "Steensland," but it is much more thrilling to find brothers and sisters named "Christian."

Evangelism is the exciting process of watching a man or woman being transformed into a brother or sister right before your eyes. It is the power of God at work, but we often have the glorious privilege of being there when it happens.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crown of Righteousness!

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I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 

Once you put the icing on the cake it is finished! My personal favorite is white cake with chocolate icing. There is something about the combination of white cake and chocolate icing that makes my taste buds shout "Oh yes!"

When the crown is put on the king his ascension to the throne is complete. Once the king is crowned there is no more question about his status and authority.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you will be awarded a Crown of Righteousness. I believe that crown is not just symbolic.

The Bible says that my righteousness here on earth is like filthy rags, but those rags will not go with me to heaven. I will be changed, made like Jesus and presented with a "Crown of Righteousness."

Don't forget those who will receive the crown are the ones who are longing for the return of Jesus. Once we taste the Glory of Heaven we will all shout "Oh Yes!"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jesus and Judas Both Suffered

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The Rechabites have obeyed the command of their ancestor Jonadab, but you have not obeyed me, your God. I am the Lord All-Powerful, and I warned you about the terrible things that would happen to you if you did not listen to me. You have ignored me, so now disaster will strike you. I, the Lord , have spoken.

Jeremiah 35:16-17

The Lord told Jeremiah to offer the Rechabites wine to drink and they refused because of a command of their ancestor Jonadab. God then told the Rechabites that their clan would never die out. The Bedouins today may be the descendants of the Rechabites. It is just another example of how God's promises all come true.

The warnings of God to His children are not of the "I am going to get you for that" kind. The terrible things that happen because we do not listen to and obey God are not retribution. Vengeance is God's and He will repay, but His vengeance is not for His children. If you are a stubborn child and refuse to obey God you will suffer terrible things because you choose to walk a path filled with many dangers and pitfalls.

If you are an obedient child of God you will avoid much suffering in this life. You will still suffer, but you will suffer as a good soldier in battle rather than a foolish child tasting every poison to see if it is really bad!

Jesus and Judas both suffered. My goal must be to suffer like Jesus did. I can be an obedient child, a disobedient child, or an enemy of God. That is a choice I make every day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Greatest in Heaven!

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At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4

There are so many things that the world has exactly backwards. Probably the most common, switching of reality concerns the designation of a man or woman as a "great" person. We equate greatness with power and money and otherwise eternally insignificant characteristics. God sees the person who takes the lowly position of a child as the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

If Luella Craig had not already passed over to the other side I would never say publicly what I am about to say about her. Luella was like a little child and was a servant for the 65 years that I knew her. Luella was my mother's cousin and never married. She cared for her own mother until she died and then cared for my mother for ten years before she died. Luella was a secretary, a book keeper, worked in department stores and poured her life into the lives of her friends and trusted God to supply her needs. She will not be long remembered here on earth, but I am anxious to see her status in Heaven. I think I will be amazed.

Now here is the question: Are you trying to be great according to the world's standards or according to God's criteria? When all is said and done will you be recognized as great here on earth or recognized as great in Heaven? It is very difficult to do both.

If you truly want to be great in Heaven, then seek the lowly position of a child and strive to serve everyone around you with the love of Christ. Jesus will reward you with the knowledge of Him and the peace that passes understanding.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Accent of Heaven!

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“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Philippians 3:20-21

For almost thirty years I have lived in the State of Ohio. Before that I lived mostly in Tennessee. When you live in the Southern part of the United States you often speak with a rather strong southern accent. Of course, the opposite is true. Only a couple of days ago someone correctly guessed that I am not from Ohio. They said, "I thought you sounded like you are from the South." I promptly thanked them for the compliment.

When someone hears you speak can they tell, from the way you speak that your citizenship is in Heaven? The accent of Heaven is not how you say the words, but rather what you say.

The best way to judge your heavenly accent is to ask yourself the question "What would Jesus say?" This is where I get really convicted, because as I replay some of the words I have spoken just in the past few days I can't imagine Jesus saying those things. Were they evil and wicked things? No, but they were not things I believe Jesus would have said.

I can't go back and change the words I have spoken, but I can control what I say today.

"Lord, transform everything about me to be like You! Control my thoughts, actions and words so that everyone I encounter will know for certain that this world is not my home!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who is the Enemy?

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We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

Ephesians 6:12-13

It is always tragic when "friendly fire" takes the life of a soldier. There are stories of friendly fire incidents that are covered up because of the shame of the accidents. When you are on the battle field it is very important that you not shoot your own soldiers or the civilians that are not involved in the war. Civilians are rather the prize both sides want to claim.

When it comes to the spiritual war that is raging in the world and beyond, human beings, no matter how wicked are not the enemy.

The souls of men and women are the spoils of the war, they are the prize. When you work to destroy sinners you have it all wrong. Sinners and wicked people are not the enemy.

You see, men and women are held hostage by Satan and his forces and our job, through the power of the Holy Spirit is to free them from their captivity through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

A basic rule of war is this: Don't pull the trigger until you know who the enemy is and that you have your gun pointed clearly at a soldier on the other side and not a hostage.

It is sad to say that many churches are masters of friendly fire. They have taken out hostages instead of the enemy. Don't use the Sword of the Spirit to destroy your fellow soldiers.

An army that fights itself will never win the war!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roses from Jesus!

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I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

One of my children, who shall remain anonymous had great difficulty confusing the words "butter" and "peanut butter." It was, of course a silly misunderstanding but provided us a lot of fond memories when he was just a toddler.

Sometimes "toddler" Christians confuse the words "Love" and "desire." Saying, "I love chocolate ice cream" has nothing to do with love and everything to do with desire.

Here is where it is easy to get confused. A man and a woman may desire each other with great affection, but have no love at all. And real love can exist and often does without desire.

The real test of love is when the fulfillment of desire is diminished in a relationship. Love can continue to grow stronger and stronger over many years of marriage, even though physical strength weakens.

My love for Jesus is like a raindrop. His love for me is like a flood. My love for Jesus can be thoroughly mixed with a desire for His blessings. Jesus love for me is totally about giving Himself for me and to me.

Ask God today to show you something about the love of Jesus that you have never seen before. And then wait and watch for His bouquet of roses!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Free Water!

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He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Revelation 21:6-7

You may find it strange, but I am old enough to remember when you could not buy a bottle of water. No one in the United States sold water in a single serving bottle. In fact, the idea of buying a drink of water was really unthinkable. A drink of water was always free! Then some marketer came up with the idea of claiming his water was unique because it came from a special spring. Now you pay as much for a bottle of water as any other bottled drink.

God distributes water from the spring of the water of life. God's water is so valuable that everything you have is not enough to exchange for one sip of God's water. God's water is not for sale. It is free!

But God does not give His water to everybody. God only gives His water to those who are thirsty for Him. You can search your entire life for God's water and you will never find it. But the moment you search for God through His Son Jesus Christ, the Water of Life will flood your soul!

The bottom line is this: When you seek the blessings of God, you will never find them, but when you seek Jesus you will find them all.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

God Can Do That!

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“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

When my son Mark was about ten years old he asked me for a hover craft. You know, one of those vehicles with a large fan that makes it float just above the ground so it can move in any direction with ease. I still feel bad about having to explain to my son that we couldn't afford a hover craft and building one was beyond my ability. More than twenty years later Mark is a certified airplane mechanic. I did laugh when his son asked him to build something that was beyond his ability.

But that is not the way it is with God. You can't think of something that God can't do. It is impossible. Your brain cannot conceive of a project that is too big for God. Do a little brainstorming with a close friend and dream up "things to do." You must, according to these verses write "God can do that" next to every one of them. In fact, He can do immeasurably more than any of your ideas!

But the startling words in this Bible passage are "according to His power that is at work in us." God can do things through His children that are more than they can ask or imagine. In other words, when you walk with the Lord, His power in you can do through you more than you could even imagine.

It is a little like "mild mannered reporter" Clark Kent discovering his Superman powers. You look like, act like and seem like a normal person, but because of the Power of God working in you, things are very different. When you let the Holy Spirit direct your steps the immeasurable Power of God follows in your wake!

Here is a faith building exercise. Ask your Father for something that you know for certain is beyond your ability to accomplish. Then watch God work through you in response to your prayer. You will be truly amazed!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

God’s Thoughts are Higher!

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Turn to the Lord!
He can still be found.
Call out to God! He is near.

Give up your crooked ways
and your evil thoughts.
Return to the Lord our God.
He will be merciful
and forgive your sins.

The Lord says:
“My thoughts and my ways
are not like yours.

Just as the heavens
are higher than the earth,
my thoughts and my ways
are higher than yours.

Isaiah 55:6-9

Have you ever known someone who is really, and I mean really smart. You know the kind of person who seems to know a lot about everything in the world. Sometimes that person has a doctorate degree in some field, but sometimes they have little formal education. It seems to be simply how God made their brain with the ability to absorb and process lots of information very efficiently. I am not one of those people. I like really smart people, but truthfully they also frequently seem to be out of touch with the rest of us.

How smart is God? You may think that is a silly question, but it is important for you to recognize that God's intelligence quotient is beyond being measurable.

Here is the problem. Some people spend their lives trying to challenge and question the ways of God. Their defiance of God is like a man who doesn't like gravity, jumping off of a building to see if it is really true. And so their lives are filled with suffering and pain that comes from running in to the brick wall of God's truth.

Debating with the ways of God is like a six year old challenging a college professor. Who wins that debate?

Instead of pitting yourself against God and His ways, why not listen to God and learn. God will debate with you if you insist, or God will enlighten you. The choice is yours and Jesus is the way!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Shadow of Heaven!

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Since all priests must offer gifts and sacrifices, Christ also needed to have something to offer. If he were here on earth, he would not be a priest at all, because here the Law appoints other priests to offer sacrifices. But the tent where they serve is just a copy and a shadow of the real one in heaven. Before Moses made the tent, he was told, “Be sure to make it exactly like the pattern you were shown on the mountain!”
Hebrews 8:3-5

What else on this earth is a copy of something in Heaven? Frankly, I think the answer is almost everything on earth represents something in Heaven. When God created the earth in it's state of perfection it must have been a lot like Heaven. No sin, no death, no sickness and no sorrow. All those things came after the fall of man.

God told Moses to make the tabernacle tent exactly like the one in Heaven and He also tells every man and woman who decides to get married to make their marriage exactly like the one in Heaven.

Marriage is a shadow or copy of the marriage between Christ and His Bride! That's what it's all about! If you change the rules about marriage then you draw the wrong picture here on earth. Divorce and unfaithfulness are unknown qualities for Christ and His Bride. A wife ruling over her husband is not like the marriage we see in Heaven. Every attempt to pervert marriage here on earth blurs our ability to see, on earth what is happening and will happen in Heaven.

Marriage is only one way we mirror Heaven itself. There are many more. Look for them and strive to make everything you do and every relationship on earth like it would be if you were in Heaven. The practice will soon be very valuable. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Let the Holy Spirit Interpret!

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Here is my warning for everyone who hears the prophecies in this book:  If you add anything to them, God will make you suffer all the terrible troubles written in this book.  If you take anything away from these prophecies, God will not let you have part in the life-giving tree and in the holy city described in this book.
The one who has spoken these things says, “I am coming soon!”  So, Lord Jesus, please come soon!
Revelation 22:18-20

The consequences of adding to or taking away from the Words that God has spoken are very severe. God expects me to "tell it like it is" and not to embellish or diminish the Bible. Now to be completely clear, that warning is only found in the Book of Revelation, but most people assume as do I that it applies to the rest of the Bible as well.

Here is what I believe is the danger and the temptation. Scholars and theologians use the wisdom of this world to try to understand the Word of God! It is foolish. That would be like using kindergarten drawings in order to understand the great painters and artists down through history. There is no comparison.

The opposite is indeed true. You can use the great artists to help you understand the kindergarten art, but not the other way around.

You can also use the Word of God to help you understand the wisdom of this world and how imperfect and even foolish it is. But the Bible is it's own commentary and the Holy Spirit gives the only reliable and trustworthy interpretation.

The consequences of tampering with or simply ignoring the Word of God are not pretty. When it comes to the Word of God, hear what God says, do what God says and leave the interpretation to the Holy Spirit!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Heart Like God’s!

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You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.
Matthew 5:43-45

During the 1970's there was a worship chorus that became popular in what was called the "Jesus Movement." The words were: "To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, all I ask, to be like Him. All through life's journey from earth to glory, all I ask, to be like Him."

The tune was simple but the message of that prayer was profound. When you ask to be like Jesus, you are asking for a life of rejection. You are asking for a path of needing to see the power of God at every turn. You are asking for disappointment and yes, you are asking for the Cross. Finally, when ask to be like Jesus, you are asking for enemies to love and abusers to pray for!

The path to being like Christ is humble and lowly, not high and mighty.

When you ask to be like Jesus you will have lots of enemies to love and abusers to pray for! So today, instead of complaining about them get on with loving your enemies and praying for those who abuse you.

Your enemies may or may not change in response to your love, but your heart will grow into the shape of God Himself!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Life Goes On!

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Now Christ Jesus has come
to show us the kindness
of God.
Christ our Savior defeated death
and brought us
the good news.
It shines like a light
and offers life
that never ends.

2 Timothy 1:10

God created Adam and Eve with the potential to live forever with Him. It was the sin choice that brought death into the picture. Before they sinned and only God knows how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before sin slithered into and abbreviated their lives, death was an unknown possibility.

If Adam and Eve had never sinned, Cain could not have killed Abel. If death is removed from the list of possibilities everything would be vastly different. There is no imagination great enough to postulate what life was like before sin entered the picture.

So here is the simple understanding of Jesus' death on the Cross. Because of sin every man dies. On the Cross, Jesus received the penalty for Adam and Eve's sin as well as for yours and mine. When Jesus died the flood gates of Hell that were first opened in Eden swept over Jesus Himself. When Jesus arose from the grave He defeated Death and put it back in the bottle for eternity!

We like to think of someone who has terminal cancer and does not die as a "survivor." But curing cancer does not stop death. It will come, and it will come to everyone until Jesus returns.

But when I am united with Christ and become one with Him, death looses it's sting. Death becomes a paper tiger and cannot harm me because of Jesus. As a follower of Jesus Christ you must not forget that no matter what happens LIFE GOES ON!

Friday, September 2, 2011

In God I Trust!

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Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

The battle over "In God We Trust" on American money is not insignificant in the grand scheme of things. The phrase has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. The question is simply this: Do we trust in our money or in God? So it was decided that we would remind ourselves that we must trust in God by printing it on our money.

Since this declaration of trusting God is on virtually all of our money does that mean that our money is only used for righteous transactions? Of course not! Every drug deal or liaison with a prostitute is paid for with money that declares that we trust in God. "In God We Trust" is a reminder not a statement of reality.

It is important to have "In God We Trust" stamped on our money, but it is more important to have it stamped on our hearts as a reminder that everything we have comes to us because of His grace and mercy.

When I was a kid I remember getting a rubber stamp kit. It had an ink pad and changeable letters. I think I stamped everything I had with something.

Here is a good idea. Make yourself a stamp that says "In God I Trust," and stamp everything you own with it.

It's just a reminder to trust in God instead of your things!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fishing for Men!

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"Look, he is coming with the clouds,"
and "every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him";
and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him."
So shall it be! Amen.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Revelation 1:7-8

When Jesus returns there will be joy for all who call Him Lord, but what about the others? For them there will be a sudden realization of the depth of their sin. No longer will the reality of God be hidden from their view.

There will be no atheists when Jesus returns. Everyone will instantly believe and the crying will begin. The opportunity to turn and follow Jesus will be gone forever and the bleak future without the light of God is all they will know. It will be the mother of all disappointments. Every heart will panic and throb with the cry of "How could I have been so foolish?"

It will be together the most joyous and the saddest moment in all of Eternity!

It is important that believers look forward to the joy of that moment, but don't forget the others. When you interact with people today ask yourself this question: Will this man or woman, created by God rejoice or weep when Jesus returns? For those who do not follow Jesus one moment of this day may be the watershed for eternity. Pray for everyone you encounter and ask God to give you the words to call them to Him!

You will discover great joy and excitement as you spend at least part of this day Fishing for Men!