Wednesday, November 30, 2011

As Loving As God!

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“I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5

How can anyone ever be as loving as God and as patient as Christ?

It is the ultimate impossible dream! God is love so for me to be as loving as God my whole being must be transformed into love itself. God doesn't love men "because" of anything that anyone has done or could ever do. If I am as loving as God then I send my "rain" on the just and the unjust even as God does. If I am as loving as God then I am the one who looks for ways to express love even to the unloving and unlovely. When I am as loving as God the wake of my passing is either a sweet fragrance or a repulsive odor to those who are lost.

Job is the man who is best known for his patience, but the patience of Christ is far beyond that of Job. Jesus waited until it was the right time to create the earth. We do not know how long that might have been. Jesus waited to come to the earth as a baby to bring salvation to those who would accept Him. And now Jesus waits for just the right moment to return and bring to a conclusion the story of humanity.

So as you set your hand at being as loving as God today remember to be as patient as Christ in waiting to see the results that the power of God working through you can and will do! Amen!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Last Breakfast!

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Jesus’ favorite disciple told Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon heard that it was the Lord, he put on the clothes that he had taken off while he was working. Then he jumped into the water.

The boat was only about a hundred yards from shore. So the other disciples stayed in the boat and dragged in the net full of fish.

When the disciples got out of the boat, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. Jesus told his disciples, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”

Simon Peter got back into the boat and dragged the net to shore. In it were one hundred fifty-three large fish, but still the net did not rip.

Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish.

John 21:7-13

Books are filled and many sermons preached about Jesus sharing the bread and wine with his disciples the night before He was crucified. I have never heard a sermon or even seen a book about Jesus giving the bread and fish to His disciples that morning by the lake after His resurrection.

Jesus had told the disciples that He was going to make them into "fishers of men." So that morning they had fished all night and caught nothing. Sometimes we cast the net for Jesus and catch nothing. It is not an uncommon experience.

Jesus was on the shore and already had some fish. How did Jesus get these fish? I have no idea. But some men and women come to Jesus without anyone casting a net for them.

When the disciples saw Jesus, He told them where to cast the net. When they did they had more fish than they could drag into the boat. When Jesus directs His followers with a word about where and when to cast the net the harvest is also a large one.

These verses do not explain the "bread and the fish" when Jesus gave it to them for their breakfast. You know they must have remembered the five thousand who were fed bread and fish from a boy's lunch bucket.

Here is the secret! If you want to see great things, then listen for and learn to hear the voice of Jesus. When Jesus tells you where to cast the net soon you will be sharing the catch with Him!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ready to Quit?

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

This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 

Have you ever been ready to quit? Maybe it was your job. You are tired of the hassle and the games you have to play to do well. Maybe it is life itself. It just seems too hard to handle. You are overwhelmed by the pressures and problems and don't know where to turn.

Well, you know His name. It is Jesus and He is standing ready to help those who about to give up. Jesus is not a figment of someone's imagination and He not the "religious" icon that most people think He is. Jesus wants to move in to your heart and literally live there with you. Jesus wants to be your constant companion and friend. He will show you things no one else could ever show you and Jesus will give you peace in your life.

When Jesus is in your heart you are like a man with a pocket full of one hundred dollar bills. When you are just "religious" it is nothing but Monopoly money.

People who pretend to have Jesus in their hearts are sadly disappointed when they bring out the Monopoly money and try to buy something with it.

"OK, Lord I'm finished. Everything and everyone else has failed me. I don't know where to turn, but I want to know if You are real. Jesus if You are real, let me know it. Let me see You and touch the truth of what You are all about!"

If you are ready to quit this life, Jesus is ready to help you start a New Life with Him!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lost Love!

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“What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God’s right side, speaking to him for us. Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?”

Romans 8:31-35

When love is lost and a heart is broken there is pain and a scar unlike any other in this life. You see it is with love that mere human beings touch the essence of God Himself. God is love and when we love each other we take a sip of Heaven and Eternity.

Even those who don't know God know that love is the greatest thing on earth. God created all men and women in His image and in that image we love. We don't have to be taught to love. No young man must be instructed to pursue a young woman to be his wife. It is what we do because of the way God made us!

Remember that the story of Jesus Christ is a love story and you are the object of His love. A man and a woman who are in love are simply dipping their toes in the edge of an ocean which is the love of Christ. And Jesus invites you to jump in and be "over your head" in love with Him. You quickly lose touch with the "reality" of human wisdom and are immersed in the "uncommon sense" of God. It will appear that you have lost your mind and indeed that will be the truth. The mind of Christ will dominate your every thought and action.

When a man and a woman grow apart and love begins to fade, they can restore and renew that love. It is not an easy thing to do, but it can be done.

When your love for Jesus begins to grow weak because of all the things that distract you from your Lord, you can also restore and renew that love. Jesus is waiting right now to hear you say, "I am so sorry that I wandered away from you. Please take me back and let me live in Your love and Your love only. Help me Lord to give myself to and for You even as you gave Yourself for and to me." Amen!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Prayer of Agur!

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“There are two things, Lord, I want you to do for me
before I die:

Make me absolutely honest and don’t let me be too poor
or too rich.  Give me just what I need.

If I have too much to eat, I might forget about you;
if I don’t have enough,  I might steal  and disgrace your name.”

Proverbs 30:7-9

These words are attributed to a man named Agur son of Jakeh. This prayer of Agur is easy to ignore.

When you hear the words "How can I help you?" from a clerk in a store your response is to quickly get to the point of what you looking for. When God says "How can I help you?" how do you respond?

If God were to show up at your door today and offer to give you whatever you want, what would you say? Would you ask God for new "stuff" or a big bank account? Would you ask Him for health so you can enjoy the new "stuff?"

These words in Proverbs 30 are very wise indeed. The writer asked for two things from God before he dies. "God make me absolutely honest and don't let me be too poor or too rich."

Of all the accolades proclaimed about President Lincoln there is one that tops them all in my opinion. It was simply the nickname "Honest Abe!" The temptation to not always tell the truth is overwhelming to most of us. When you have a headache and are coming down with a cold how do you respond to the question "How are you doing today?" "I'm fine" is not an honest answer. When a vending machine gives you an extra quarter in change what do you do with it? We define a liar as someone who goes at least one step beyond our level of dishonesty.

Before you speak a word today ask yourself this question: Is what I am about to say absolutely honest? Let the words that come out of your mouth today be completely truthful.

The Prayer of Jabez may be more appealing, but don't forget the Bible also includes the Prayer of Agur!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lazy Fool!

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I once walked by the field and the vineyard
of a lazy fool.

Thorns and weeds were everywhere,
and the stone wall
had fallen down.

When I saw this, it taught me a lesson:

Sleep a little. Doze a little. Fold your hands
and twiddle your thumbs.

Suddenly poverty hits you and everything is gone!

Proverbs 24:30-34

God wants us to "remember the poor," and it is central to our faith in Him to take care of widows and orphans in their distress. There will always be those whose poverty is no fault of their own.

But what about the poverty of the "lazy fool" who lets the thorns and weeds grow up in his field and vineyard? He is the man who refuses to lift a finger to help himself. The Bible simply says if a man will not work then we should not give him food to eat.

Now let's just slip right past settling in to making judgments about other people to decide whether or not they are lazy and should not be fed. What about me? How do I become spiritually poor (not poor in spirit) because of my own laziness?

I believe God feeds a man spiritually based on the man's willingness to work for Jesus! A man or woman who is spiritually rich and well fed is the one who has been and is being obedient to the leading voice of the Holy Spirit. As a follower of Jesus Christ if you set about to do what He is calling you to do there will be enough of whatever you need to do it! The spiritual pauper is the one who has tuned out the voice of the Holy Spirit and ignores His leadings and warnings!

If you want to become rich in the things of God then listen for His leading today and then obey it! Those who work for God are well fed and never go hungry!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The War is Over!

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No matter how much you know or what plans you make,
you can’t defeat the Lord.

Even if your army has horses ready for battle,
the Lord will always win.

Proverbs 21:30-31

When two of the best professional football teams go head to head for the Superbowl championship there are lots of "odds makers" and people "betting the farm" on one team or the other. For at least two weeks before the game football commentators are flooding the airwaves with the prospects of each team. It becomes an almost non-stop analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each opponent. Then comes the "big day" and in only a few short hours the game is played and it is all over until next year!

The contest between Good and Evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, right and wrong, God and Satan is not like a Superbowl at all. When the Superbowl begins both teams have a least some chance of winning the game. In the game between Good and Evil the winner has already been decided! Evil will not win and it has no chance of winning. Evil was defeated when Jesus went to the Cross and died so that we could live! Going against the righteousness of God is like trying to stop a flood with a dry bath towel. How foolish would that be?

Before the days of instant communication, there were battles that were fought after the war was officially over. The war between Satan and God is over and God won! There are lots of battles still going on, some in your life and mine, but take heart Jesus has won the war! The Words of Jesus "It is finished" were not just something He said on the Cross. Jesus declared the victory and it was done!

In light of all this you can be encouraged even when you see the rise of Evil in the world and the battle between right and wrong becoming so very intense. One day soon the followers of Jesus will gather around the throne of God for the Victory Celebration.

Make sure that you are there!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Source of Greatness!

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You, Lord, are my God! I will praise you
for doing the wonderful things
you had planned and promised
since ancient times.

You have destroyed the fortress of our enemies,
leaving their city in ruins.
Nothing in that foreign city
will ever be rebuilt.

Now strong and cruel nations will fear and honor you.

You have been a place of safety for the poor and needy
in times of trouble.
Brutal enemies pounded us
like a heavy rain
or the heat of the sun at noon,
but you were our shelter.
Those wild foreigners struck like scorching desert heat.
But you were like a cloud,
protecting us from the sun.
You kept our enemies from singing
songs of victory.

Isaiah 25:1-5

When a nation honors God by crafting its laws according to God's Word, there are blessings for everyone. The greatness that was America came not from it's military and economic power or even it's freedom. Trusting in and honoring God was the key that unlocked everything else.

Were we perfect in that trust? Of course not, but those of us who are now old and were once young remember what it was like. It was not like it is now. Atheism was a strange bird that rarely ever flew over this land. Moral perversion hid itself from the light of day and wasn't proclaimed as "newsworthy." Unless we turn and trust God again the decline and fall of the Empire that was America will soon be complete.

I cannot restore a nation to one that trusts in God again, but I can choose to trust God myself. Just as a blizzard is the result of billions and billions of individual snowflakes, the nation will only be restored to God when enough individuals make that choice. When a man trusts in and depends on God nothing can steal his peace. It is like a rich man whose wealth is locked away in a vault. Someone may steal his coat but that will not harm him at all. Satan may steal all that you have on this earth, but your riches remain secure in Heaven.

"Lord, show me how I am not trusting You today and give me the wisdom and strength to trust You at that point of doubt! Lord, I believe, please help my unbelief."

"Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin. The Blood of Jesus whispers peace within."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All You Can Eat!

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The poor have a hard life, but being content is as good
as an endless feast.

It’s better to obey the Lord and have only a little,
than to be very rich
and terribly confused.

A simple meal with love is better than a feast
where there is hatred.

Proverbs 15:15-17

I think it started with a church "pot luck" dinner, an "all you can eat" salad bar, or it may have been a community "fish fry" where you could come back for more until you were full. Now there are lots of places to eat all you want for "one low price!"

God created our bodies and He provides the food for us to eat so that we can stay healthy and strong. But eating more than you need, or the wrong kind of food has serious, sometimes very serious consequences. If your activity and exercise level does not at least match the calories of the food you ingest extra weight is added to your body every day. It may come on slowly, but finally becomes a terrible burden.

What about "spiritual food?" When we consume the Word of God it is truly an "all you can eat" buffet. The physical man cannot handle too much food. The physical body just gets fat and burdened down. When the spiritual man eats from God's Word he gets stronger with every bite. I have never heard a man of God say that he needs to take in less spiritual food. The Devil will tell you that you are "going too far" with Jesus. He will try to get you to cut back on your intake of the Word of God. He will have a thousand "good" reasons why you are becoming a fanatic and should at least slow down on your consumption of the things of God!

If you want to gain weight all you have to do is eat more and more often. The pounds will begin to appear every day. If you want to become a spiritual heavy weight the process is the same. All you need to do is consume more of God's Word and do it more often. Your spiritual body mass will increase everyday!

The delightful truth is that no one can eat too much of the Word of God! Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Safe at His Side!

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God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord’s followers are suffering just as you are. But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That’s why he had Christ Jesus choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. God will be in control forever! Amen.

1 Peter 5:7-11

How many times a day do you need to be encouraged to trust God? Is it just once? Perhaps twice a day will suffice? Truthfully, every time I take a breath is an appropriate time to place my trust in God once again. Yesterday's faith will not do. My struggle against sin and victories over the will of the flesh in the past mean nothing today. Unless I am trusting God right now, then I am not trusting Him at all. The faith of yesterday's testimony is wonderful, but yesterday's faith cannot help me meet today's temptations!

Never forget that the Devil knows who you are and crafts the temptations in your life to lure you away from your faith in Jesus. That is why it is so easy to criticize another follower of Jesus who yields to temptation. His temptation may not be attractive to me at all, but to him it is almost irresistible.

When I rejoice in the victory I had yesterday I become very weak in today's battle. God is the one who gave me the victory yesterday and will give me a victory today in the struggles, sufferings, and temptations of life.

I remember when I was a very small child getting lost from my mother in the grocery store. One minute I was safe with her next to me and then only a few seconds later I could not find her and I began to panic. Trouble begins in the life of a child when he is comfortable without his mother.

Trouble begins in the life of a follower of Jesus when he becomes comfortable without Jesus at his side.

So try this. When you breathe in thank Jesus for the breath He is giving you, and when you breathe out thank Him for the one that is soon to come. Open your mind and thoughts to Jesus and never again have private thoughts. Discuss every temptation with Jesus.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fishing for Men!

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As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake. Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.  Jesus walked on and soon saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat, mending their nets. At once Jesus asked them to come with him. They left their father in the boat with the hired workers and went with him.

Mark 1:16-20

Four of the twelve disciples of Jesus were fishermen. Jesus even told them that He was calling them to "fish for men." That means a good fisherman who turns his heart to Jesus will see some things that other followers take longer to learn or maybe never come to see.

Fishing for men takes patience. I have never met a good fisherman who is impatient. A good fisherman can spend the day without even one bite and go home without regret. One such man told me that the joy is in the fishing and catching a fish is simply a bonus!

Fishing for men takes persistence. A good fisherman goes fishing whenever he can. Fishing can clearly become an addiction.

No matter what a good fisherman is doing, fishing is not far from his mind.

There is one basic difference between a man who fishes for fish and man who fishes for men. When you fish for men you never throw anyone back. Men who are caught for Jesus do not go back to swim in the cesspool of this world. Once you have been caught by God you are set free to swim forever in the crystal clear water of life!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ocean of God!

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Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does?

“Has anyone known the thoughts of the Lord
or given him advice?

Has anyone loaned something to the Lord
that must be repaid?”

Everything comes from the Lord. All things were made because of him and will return to him. Praise the Lord forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

I stand on the shore of a vast ocean. The sands beneath my feet are beyond numbering. I am totally immersed in the sensations of the warm sun, the roar of the waves and the sight of water that goes on forever. The salt water smell convinces my brain that this is not some kind of virtual reality. When the warm water rushes over my feet and then retreats I curl my toes to hold on and keep from being pulled toward the depths.

I can stand on the shore for years and still know nothing of the vast expanse of that ocean.

I also stand on the shore of an infinite and Almighty God! I'm not sure when I first stepped on to the sands of that beach. I know I was a small child when I began pondering the Greatness of God. For more than sixty years now I have felt the warmth of the Son and the ocean breeze of the Holy Spirit, but also the storms of life that rage. Yes, there are storms on the sea of faith. And don't forget the tsunamis. They are the giant waves that come without warning and either wipe you away or lift you to higher ground.

Even a man who is known for his great faith can honestly say "I know so little of God as I stand here on earth and believe." But one day soon, Jesus will come and take me from the shore to the depths of God to stand in His presence!

Then I will see God! Hallelujah!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Man Who Fears God!

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Look and be amazed at what’s happening
among the nations!
Even if you were told,
you would never believe
what’s taking place now.

I am sending the Babylonians. They are fierce and cruel—
marching across the land,
conquering cities and towns.

How fearsome and frightening. Their only laws and rules
are the ones they make up.

Their cavalry troops are faster than leopards,
more ferocious than wolves
hunting at sunset,
and swifter than hungry eagles
suddenly swooping down.

Habakkuk 1:5-8

The latest headline about the military prowess of the United States describes a weapon that can strike anywhere on earth in about an hour. The concept is really quite mind boggling. The country that has enough of these weapons will control the entire earth and every country on it! If the leaders or leader of that country are righteous they can control evil and stop the spread of terror. If the hands that can launch such a weapon are stained with unrighteous and evil intent there is no limit to the destruction of goodness on the earth.

As a country like the U.S. shapes the future of its government by electing new leaders for the next few years there is only one thing to consider. Are you voting for a man or woman who fears God and avoids all forms of wickedness and evil? Intelligence is irrelevant. Better to have a leader with a minimum I.Q. who fears God than to have the smartest man on earth who does not!

God can give wisdom to an ignorant man as well as a genius. All the collective brilliance of the most educated minds on earth does not come close to the simplest thought of God.

How does this impact me? I am not the ruler of a country, but I am the leader of my own heart. Today I can move ahead with my own human wisdom or I can stop and ask God what to do and how to lead my life!

Success in this life is simple. Fear God and keep His commandments. As the author of Ecclesiastes said, that is the whole duty of man!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Greatest Story!

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Long ago in many ways and at many times God’s prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. But now at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son. God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven.

Hebrews 1:1-3

Why do we tell Fairy Tales and other children's stories about things that are not true and do not exist? We fill children's minds with Giants and talking animals, and don't forget the genie in a bottle.

Christians also tell their children about the Son of God who came to earth as a baby and lived here for more than 30 years. He then died on a cross and was raised to life so that those who believe on Him could go to Heaven instead of Hell. It is truly the most amazing story that children ever hear.

As children grow they learn that there are no fairies, no trolls, no genies in a bottle. They discover that all those stories are simply "make-believe."

Now, I am not saying that we should not tell our children "make-believe" stories. But I am saying this: When you tell a child the story of Jesus make sure that it is not just another of the fairy tales.

When it comes to Jesus many Christians still just "make-believe" instead of believe! They pretend it is true about Jesus saving them and taking them to Heaven to live with Him forever. They have heard the story, but they have never seen Jesus working in their heart and life. Until they see Jesus they have what might be called "play-like" Christianity!

The truth is that there is no genie in a bottle, but there is Jesus in a heart. Jesus doesn't just give you three wishes, He gives you the desires of your heart as you come to desire Him above everything else in life.

Jesus was born as a baby and became like us, so that we could become like Him. It is the Greatest Story every told!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

God and Government!

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When justice rules a nation, everyone is glad;
when injustice rules,
everyone groans.

An honest ruler makes the nation strong;
a ruler who takes bribes
will bring it to ruin.

Without guidance from God law and order disappear,
but God blesses everyone
who obeys his Law.

Proverbs 29:2,4 &18

For almost 50 years the leaders and citizens of the United States have been actively trying to separate God from Government. It is much more serious than simply trying to separate Church and State. When you remove God from Government every moral certainty becomes irrelevant. Right and wrong become arbitrary standards based on the collective opinions of the leaders. When God is taken away from the body that rules over the ordinary affairs of men, human demands replace grace and mercy, and people suffer from a taste of Hell itself. Hell is a place where God is not! To remove God from any place creates a sample of Hell on earth.

To include God in the affairs of men and of government is to do exactly the opposite. Heaven is a place where God is! When we invite God into our Government the results are amazing! Right and wrong are absolutes based on what God has said. There is no debate about morality and the expectations of Government simply mirror those of God found in His Word. Prosperity and Peace will flood that nation and everyone on earth will be blessed in the wake of her dealings!

That was the American Dream. Not wealth for those who worked hard, or even equality of opportunity. The Dream was having God at the center of our Government. The sad future of America without God is certain, but your future need not be sad at all!

All you must do is let God into your Heart and let Jesus rule there today. When God governs your life Hell itself cannot steal your Peace and Joy! Though all the world reject Him, let your heart be the Ark of Noah to bring Hope to the next generation!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Write on My Heart!

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“But now I tell the people of Israel
this is my new agreement:
‘The time will come
when I, the Lord,
will write my laws
on their minds and hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be
my people.”

“Not one of them will have to teach another
to know me, their Lord.’
“All of them will know me,
no matter who they are.”

Hebrews 8:10-11

Animals do what God has created them to do. Birds fly and fish swim and every other creature of God quickly learns to function in their God given place in the world.

People do not do what God created them to do. It is called "sin" and it has infected the entire human race. No one blames the animal kingdom for the problems that confront the world. The mess we are in was caused by human beings who are disobedient to God. We are the cause of wars, pollution, abuse, murder, hatred and every other wicked thing you can imagine.

But there will come a time when God will write His laws on the hearts and minds of men. At that point these verses clearly say that "all of them will know Me, no matter who they are."

"Lord, I ask you to let that time come for me today. Take my heart and mind and on them write Your laws. Let me know You like an Eagle learning to fly! Fill my mind with thoughts that come straight from Heaven. Let me see the world around me as You see it, feel the way Your heart feels about sin in the world, weep when You weep and laugh when You laugh!”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Before Jesus!

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Words of wisdom are like the stick a farmer uses to make animals move. These sayings come from God, our only shepherd, and they are like nails that fasten things together.

My child, I warn you to stay away from any teachings except these. There is no end to books, and too much study will wear you out.

Everything you were taught can be put into a few words: Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about. God will judge everything we do, even what is done in secret, whether good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:11-14

Why did God decide that Jesus would be reared and trained as a carpenter? Nothing about the life of Jesus Christ was an accident, so God must have had some purpose in placing Jesus in the home of the carpenter, Joseph. A carpenter shapes trees that are cut down and sacrificed from the forest to be formed into useful and lasting creations. Separate pieces of wood are shaped and formed so that when they are fastened together they become a chair, or table, or other piece of furniture.

The things that Joseph taught Jesus to do with wood are the same that the Lord Jesus did and still does with lives.

Jesus finds us living in the world like a tree in the forest. Like the tree, until we die to this world He cannot make us into the beautiful creation that only the Mind of God can plan! Visit an Ethan Allen furniture store and look at the beautiful furniture. Imagine the trees standing tall in the forest that had to die so the carpenter could make them in to these glorious creations!

The path to becoming a re-creation of Jesus is always painful. First, you must be cut down and die to this world. Then you are left to season and dry after being sliced into boards. The parts that are not perfect are throne into the fire. Then the Master's Hand nails you to other pieces to become exactly what He wants!

If you are still standing in the forest and you hear Jesus coming with His saw, take heart. Jesus comes to your life to change you into something of great and lasting value. Like the tree in the forest the journey with Jesus begins when you fall down before Him!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Free Stuff Box

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The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Everyone who hears this should say, “Come!” If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free! 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! I pray that the Lord Jesus will be kind to all of you.

Revelation 22:17-21

I almost never look in the "free stuff" box at a yard sale. I figure if they are giving it away it can't be worth anything. But even as beauty is in the eye of the beholder one man may consider a thing to be worth nothing and another man see it as a treasure of incomparable value. So it is a good idea to look in the "free stuff" box at a yard sale. That may just be where you will find a great prize.

Did you know that God has a "free stuff" box and offers you the opportunity to take something from it? Most people look at the sign on God's box and turn away thinking there could be nothing of real value in it. But in God's "free stuff" box is the most valuable thing in all eternity. Salvation is free to you, but Jesus paid for it with His life!

The greatest lie of Satan is this: "Salvation for free is too good to be true. You must earn it!" In response to that lie all the "Salvation by works" theologies have been carefully crafted. The heresy of earning your own salvation is simple. If you can earn your own salvation then Jesus did not need to pay for it and His sacrifice becomes meaningless. Jesus did not just "lay His life on the line," Jesus stretched out on the road and was run over by the bus!

By the way, if you have never taken Salvation out of God's "free stuff" box, here is the deal. It is free, but there is a "catch."  When you receive the Gift from God your whole life will become obsessed with Jesus. You will fall madly in love with Him and be able to think of only Him for the rest of your life!  But you can be sure, the trip with Jesus is Glorious!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not a Game!

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“If you obey the Lord, he will watch over you
and answer your prayers.

But God despises evil people, and he will wipe them all
from the earth,
till they are forgotten.

When his people pray for help, he listens and rescues them
from their troubles.

The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged
and have given up hope.

The Lord’s people may suffer a lot,
but he will always
bring them safely through.”

Psalm 34:15-19

When God put the rainbow in the sky it was a promise never to destroy the earth again by a flood. It was not a promise never to destroy the earth again. The rainbow was not a sign of God's repentance. He was not sorry that He removed the evil people from the earth and the Bible clearly says that evil and righteousness will not always co-exist.

Now, people who delight themselves in evil have to endure those "pesky" people who believe in Jesus and are determined to follow the way of righteousness. And people who love the Lord live among people who ridicule them for their faith.

But there will come a day, and it may be very soon when evil people will not be bothered by good people and those who seek the Lord will not live in a fallen world! If you do not follow Jesus now I would ask you to imagine a world where there is no "milk of human kindness" in anyone. No good deeds and all motives were only evil continually. Every desire would be to make someone else miserable.

If you love the Lord, imagine a world where every motive was totally pure and every righteous act that could be done was paramount in the minds of all the people. Imagine that no one was depressed, no one acting out of anything but love and perfect peace ruling in everyone's heart. If you love the Lord, let your prayer be today, "Lord take all of me, let me hold nothing back from You!"

If you do not love the Lord, you can start loving Him today. Good and Evil is not a game we play where we pick a side and in the End everybody wins. Stop playing games with Eternity and choose to follow Jesus. If you don't, I can assure you that you will regret it forever!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flight to Heaven!

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“When the Spirit is given to us from heaven, deserts will become orchards thick as fertile forests. Honesty and justice will prosper there, and justice will produce lasting peace and security.

You, the Lord’s people, will live in peace,
calm and secure, even if hailstones flatten forests and cities.

You will have God’s blessing, as you plant your crops
beside streams, while your donkeys and cattle roam freely about.”

Isaiah 32:15-20

If the Holy Spirit is living in your heart you will live in peace, calm and secure. That is true no matter what is happening around you.

When you receive the Holy Spirit you are like a man resting peacefully in an airplane at 30,000 feet going 500 miles an hour. If you are resting against a window the danger and terror are only inches away from your head, but you can sleep like a baby because you are safe and secure and you can trust the pilot. The Holy Spirit protects your heart like that airplane. All around you see the dangers of this life, but none of them can touch your heart!

Just last night I was almost home when a van pulled out in front of my car and I had to swerve quickly to keep from having what would have been a very serious wreck. It was so close that I yelled loudly because I was sure we would collide. No one was hurt and no car was scratched, but I temporarily lost my peace and calm.

Satan cannot make the Holy Spirit leave my life, but he continually tries to shake the peace and calmness that comes from trusting God. Is there turbulence on the ride to Heaven? Of course there is. A seat belt is a wonderful idea, but you can be sure that a safe landing at Heaven's gate is certain and no one will accidentally fall out of the plane!

On the flight to Heaven my job is to keep buckled up with the Word of God and enjoy the view!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Think About Jesus!

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The Lord has made you drowsy; he put you into a deep sleep and covered your head. Now his message is like a sealed letter to you. Some of you say, “We can’t read it, because it’s sealed.”

Others say, “We can’t read it, because we don’t know how to read.”

The Lord has said: “These people praise me with their words, but they never really think about me. They worship me by repeating rules made up by humans.

Isaiah 29:10-13

When you travel abroad to a country that doesn't speak your native tongue it is humbling and can be humiliating. You hear the words but have no idea what they mean, you are plunged into the mindset of a small child listening to a scientist expound on nuclear physics. Add the drowsiness of jet-lag to the mix and it is a wonder you even stay awake to hear the words that for you have no meaning.

Did you know that the Lord Himself can make you drowsy and even put you into a deep sleep? When you praise Him with words, but never really think about Him, His message for you becomes a sealed letter which you cannot read.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the final stages of a cold when I tried to beat the lingering symptoms with a cold pill that I thought was a "Daytime" formula. It was not and I could not stay awake. I actually came home early from work because I was not alert enough to effectively do my job.

If you are spiritually awake, you can see a world that is about to fall apart and is either in serious birth pangs or may soon pass away. If you are not spiritually awake you are trying to find a better politician to fix the problems of this world, or you have decided to ignore the problems altogether and just focus on your video games and movies!

Turn your heart to Jesus. He will wake you up and show you the real Hope of the World! While everyone else is either sleeping or in despair you will be getting ready to meet the King of all Creation!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Faith Without Works!

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You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

James 2:20-24

If you want to know what a man or woman believes watch his or her actions instead of just listening to the spoken words. A hypocrite is a man who pretends to believe one thing, but his deeds tell another story.

During my growing up years our church focused on what doctrines to believe and things (sins) not to do! But little was said about how to act according to my faith in Jesus. Bible verses were "mottos to live by" instead of part of my Spiritual To Do List.

You see, that's where the Christian life becomes a testimony worthy of hearing. When your faith is confirmed by what you do it becomes powerful. The man who speaks loudly against abortion is proclaiming a good message. The man who also adopts the children who would have otherwise been aborted brings the discussion to the highest level!

Here is today's assignment, should you choose to accept it. What do you believe for which there is honestly no deed or action in your life that confirms it to yourself and to the world around you?

I can tell myself all day long that I have no fear of flying but until I get on an airplane and put my "money where my mouth is" even I will never know for sure.

“Lord, show me the things that I say I believe, but have done nothing to show You or the world around me that I really do believe! Help me like the apostle Peter, at Your call to Step Out of the Boat!”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Three Pack Sinner!

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You know that Christ came to take away sins. He isn’t sinful, and people who stay one in their hearts with him won’t keep on sinning. If they do keep on sinning, they don’t know Christ, and they have never seen him.
Children, don’t be fooled. Anyone who does right is good, just like Christ himself. Anyone who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil. He has sinned from the beginning, but the Son of God came to destroy all that he has done. God’s children cannot keep on being sinful. His life-giving power lives in them and makes them his children, so that they cannot keep on sinning.

1 John 3:5-9

Have you heard the stop smoking ads? The addiction to nicotine is strong and it is not an easy thing to quit. Apparently, the most popular quit smoking plan today is a pill that gradually takes away your desire to smoke. According to the ads there are some pretty serious side effects for some people, but they may be worth the risk to get away from smoking.

How do you stop sinning? I know you say "we all sin." But I'm not talking about being a "second hand smoke" sinner. How do you stop being a "three pack a day sinner?" Sin is addictive, just like nicotine. When you sin once, there is something within you that wants to do it again, and again, until it is all you think about. Just like nicotine sin makes you think that you can't live without doing it. Sin is a vicious cycle that finally ends in death, eternal death!

To stop sinning, you need something or someone to take away the desire. Like an alcoholic looking for the next drink, people who are addicted to sin spend their time searching for the next sin fix. When the desire is gone saying no to sin is not that hard.

The answer to sin is Jesus, and I'm not just talking about the Cross where He died for our sins. Staying one with Jesus in your heart is the answer to the temptation of this day.

Again, John 3:9 says "God's children cannot keep on being sinful. His life-giving power lives in them and makes them his children, so that they cannot keep on sinning."

Think about that the next time you reach for a "Sin."

Monday, November 7, 2011

White Horse Principle!

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I looked and saw that heaven was open, and a white horse was there. Its rider was called Faithful and True, and he is always fair when he judges or goes to war.

He had eyes like flames of fire, and he was wearing a lot of crowns. His name was written on him, but he was the only one who knew what the name meant.
The rider wore a robe that was covered with blood, and he was known as “The Word of God.”

Revelation 19:11-13

The bad guy in a cowboy movie never rides a white horse. White horses are reserved for the cowboy who rides in to rescue the community from the evil villain who wants to take all their farms. I never really thought about the fact that the "white horse principle" came from Revelation 19.

I think there is no doubt that the rider on the white horse is Jesus Christ. His Name was written on Him and He was the only one who knows what that name means.

I cannot speculate what the Name of Jesus means. If Jesus is the only one who really knows then I will have to wait until He tells me. But I can say this: We are only touching the hem of the garment of who Jesus is and what this whole humanity story is all about. Jesus is Creator, Savior, Lord, King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus is the Great Physician. All we can say about Jesus gives only a dim picture of His Eternal significance.

Jesus is like the most beautiful Christmas present ever wrapped and carefully placed under the tree with your name written on the card. You can only imagine what it might be and how wonderful it is. Then on Christmas morning you open it and see the Glory of that Present.

Every thought and imagination about the Glory of Jesus Christ cannot come close to the truth about Him. But soon, oh very soon, we will all see who Jesus is and what His Name truly means!

Like children waiting for Christmas morning we wait and watch for that Glorious Morning when Jesus comes back!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

War on Christians!

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The heavens should rejoice, together with everyone
who lives there.
But pity the earth
and the sea,
because the devil
was thrown down
to the earth.
He knows his time is short,
and he is very angry.”
When the dragon realized that it had been thrown down to the earth, it tried to make trouble for the woman who had given birth to a son.

But the woman was given two wings like those of a huge eagle, so that she could fly into the desert. There she would escape from the snake and be taken care of for a time, two times, and half a time.
The snake then spewed out water like a river to sweep the woman away. But the earth helped her and swallowed the water that had come from the dragon’s mouth. This made the dragon terribly angry with the woman. So it started a war against the rest of her children. They are the people who obey God and are faithful to what Jesus did and taught.

Revelation 12:12-17

If there is only a little time left before the Coming of Jesus, then believers can rejoice, but also must be sobered by a very difficult truth. Satan has gone to War against followers of Jesus.

Of course Satan has always been opposed to Christians and attempts to derail their faith at every possible opportunity, but this is different. At the very end of time, just before the return of Jesus the opposition by Satan will become a declared war.

Are we in those Last Days? Many of God's people believe that we are indeed living in that time right now. If that is the case, then look around at other believers and at your own life and see if the attacks from Satan have intensified. My very subjective view of the matter is that they definitely have increased. I have never seen so many believers with so much trouble and even direct Satanic attacks. There seems to be major trouble on every front for followers of Jesus.

So how must we live our lives as Christians if we are in those final days? I think it was Sir Winston Churchill who said, "Never, never, never give up!" Hold on tightly to Jesus and keep saying "No" to Satan. The Lord will soon be here and the victory will soon be won!

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Golden Bowl of Prayer!

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Then I looked and saw a Lamb standing in the center of the throne that was surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb looked as if it had once been killed. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent out to all the earth.
The Lamb went over and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. After he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders knelt down before him. Each of them had a harp and a gold bowl full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

Revelation 5:6-8

When I send an important letter I always pay a little extra to get "delivery confirmation." That way I receive an email or can look on a web site and know for certain that it was delivered. Sometimes I can even see the signature of the recipient scanned in to the system.

When you pray, how do you know that God actually heard your petition? Of course, you know by faith that God hears your prayers, but how are they delivered to Him in Heaven? These verses in Revelation 5 give a stunning picture of your prayers arriving at their destination. Your prayers are incense in Heaven and they arrive in a golden bowl delivered by one of the four living creatures or one of the twenty four elders. When you bow your head and pray you become a part of the glorious throne room scene in Heaven! When incense is present in a room it cannot go un-noticed!

So when you pray what difference does all this make? Actually, it is profoundly important. Praying is not about changing things on earth, but it is rather about supporting and establishing the aroma of the throne room of God! When you realize that truth, even answers to your prayers become almost irrelevant.

Here is the scene. You are standing before the throne of God Almighty and everything gets quiet while all of Heaven looks straight at you and waits for you to pray!

Now lets see, what was that thing I thought was so important and was going to pray about? The things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of Heaven!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time of Testing

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You obeyed my message and endured. So I will protect you from the time of testing that everyone in all the world must go through.

I am coming soon. So hold firmly to what you have, and no one will take away the crown that you will be given as your reward.

Revelation 3:10-11

The Bible clearly says that before Jesus returns there will be a worldwide "time of testing." The exact timing and specifics of that "testing" may be debated, but the offer of being protected from it is not in doubt. Jesus said that obeying His message and enduring will result in our being protected from that time of trouble.

So how do you get ready for the difficult days ahead? Is it wise to make preparations for shortages of food and water? Of course it is, but there is a preparation that is much more important and effective. Prepare for those days by being obedient to Jesus and enduring in that obedience.

If I could choose between being the richest man in the world when the trouble hits, or being the poorest, but obedient to Jesus Word, I would choose to be the poorest. That man is the one who is promised protection from the storm. The other man will ultimately run out of supplies.

Search the scriptures today for a Word from Jesus that you can obey. Then let tomorrow come, you will be ready!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Small Stuff!

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“But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life.”

Philippians 3:7-11

When a young man finally meets the "girl of his dreams" everything else begins to become totally unimportant. She is the focus of his every thought and desire. It is an amazing thing to watch him, but it is even more amazing to be him.

When you finally meet Jesus Christ, instead of just hearing about Him, it is very much the same. Just as Paul said, "Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to Him."

You may know everything about Jesus without ever meeting Him. Let me assure you it is not the same. Knowing Him and knowing about Him define the difference between relationship and religion.

Jesus wants you to know Him, not just know about Him.

What I'm about to suggest may sound silly, but I think it is really important. When you love someone, every word you speak and hear is significant. Spend some time talking with Jesus about ordinary things in your life. Tell Jesus what you think about everything. Speak with Him about the weather, the traffic, how tired you are, and what you would like for supper. Then you will find it easy to speak with Him about the big stuff in your life as well.

"Jesus, what did you say? Oh yes, I think that's one of the most beautiful sunsets You've ever made!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where is Jesus Going?

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Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus answered, “You can’t go with me now, but later on you will.”  Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I go with you now? I would die for you!”  “Would you really die for me?” Jesus asked. “I tell you for certain that before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t even know me.”

John 13:36-38

I have often asked the Lord, "Where do You want me to go?" I have only rarely asked the Lord, "Where are You going?" There is a huge difference.

When I ask God where He wants me to go I am setting the stage to possibly go to a place without Him! It is not wrong to ask Jesus that question and sometimes like the disciples He will send me off alone into a storm. But I have decided like Ruth with Naomi to declare to the Lord that I choose to go with Him! Where Jesus goes, I will go. His people will be my people and the only way I will know that I am in the right place is if Jesus is there with me!

Going with Jesus is not more comfortable and is certainly not safer. Going with Jesus will ultimately lead you to the Cross.

Instead of asking the Lord today,"Where do You want me to go and what do You want me to do?" ask "Where are You going and what are You doing today?" Then as you walk with Jesus through the day, He will let you put your hand to the plow.

When I was a little boy, my father would sometimes let me sit in his lap in the car and hold on to the steering wheel. It was before the days of seatbelts and yes I know it was totally unsafe, but it gave me such a feeling of power to be driving with my father. Jesus lets me sit in His lap and hold the steering wheel of life. When I don't turn far enough He nudges me on and when I turn too far Jesus pulls me back!

Oh yes, there is also room for you in the lap of Jesus!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Saint or Sinner?

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Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.

Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the Lord's wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.

Then my enemy will see it
and will be covered with shame,
she who said to me,
"Where is the Lord your God?"
My eyes will see her downfall;
even now she will be trampled underfoot
like mire in the streets.

Micah 7:8-10

Are you a sinner or a saint? The truth is you can be a sinner without being a saint, but you can't be a saint without being a sinner as well. Does that mean as a Christian you accept sin in your life and embrace it as an inevitable part of your existence. Oh no, not at all. The goal of being like Jesus is completely and totally without sin.

But shutting the door to one sin by your own human power simply opens wide the door to another sin, the sin of pride. It would be like a man who decided to commit suicide by holding his breath. If he held his breath long enough he would simply pass out and then start breathing again. You cannot cure sin in your life.

Jesus is the only remedy for sin. Unless you let Jesus deal with your sin, it will not be taken away. Unless you walk the path laid out by the Holy Spirit you will find yourself stumbling into sin over and over again.

But when temptation comes, and it will, just like it did to Jesus when He went into the desert and was tempted by the Devil. The best response to temptation is to quote scripture like Jesus did or to run away like Joseph. The worst response is to try to stand against temptation by your own human power and strength. If you do you will be doomed to fall into sin.

Even then my hope is in Jesus. He pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light and I will see His righteousness.

"Jesus may Your Blood make me righteous and Your Spirit make my path straight! Amen."