Thursday, December 29, 2011

Release the Dove!

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Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.

Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.
Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:4-8

When do you worry? The answer to that is simple. You worry about something when you are uncertain of the eventual outcome. To worry about a situation means you have no assurance of where it will lead or how it will end. When you drop a rock from the top of a building you do not worry about whether or not it will hit the ground. When you release a dove from the same roof you can easily worry about where the dove will go.

So why does God not want His children to worry. As a child of God, when you worry about anything or everything you proclaim to everyone around you that you are not trusting God. That is the sin of worry.

Without Jesus in your life you would never let go of the Dove of Peace because you would have no assurance that it would ever come back to your life. With Jesus you can release the Dove of Peace and know that Jesus can control every flap of it's wings. And you can trust that it will come back at just the right time.

That's why a Christian doesn't need to fret and worry over becoming rich. He already is rich because of Jesus.

When you worry you light up the billboard of your life which says, "Jesus, today I am not going to trust You." Those billboards are all over town and sad but true you will see the faces of many followers of Jesus on them.

Today, take down all the signs that tell the world you don't trust Jesus. Trust Him with all your heart and let worry be for those who don't know the Creator of all the Universe!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Who Are You God?

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“Rip the heavens apart! Come down, Lord; make the mountains tremble.

Be a spark that starts a fire causing water to boil.  Then your enemies will know who you are; all nations will tremble because you are nearby.

Your fearsome deeds have completely amazed us; even the mountains shake when you come down.

You are the only God ever seen or heard of who works miracles for his followers.”

Isaiah 64:1-4

When I was a little boy I believed that my father was the best man who had ever lived. To me he was the smartest, strongest, most reliable, most respectable, etc. etc. etc!

A father is a human example of what God is like. A good father gives his children lots of insight into the nature of God Almighty. That's why Satan fights so hard to take fathers away from their children. An absent father can't show his children what God is like. And if you have never known your human father it is quite easy to reject any relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Why did God create little children with the almost inevitable perspective of thinking more highly of their father than they should? I think it is simply good practice for how you should see your Heavenly Father when you meet Him. It is impossible to imagine some great thing about God that is not true. Even more than you can think is true about God. There is no being in all of eternal history that even comes close to the Greatness of God. God is not the pinnacle of existence, God created existence. God not only knows every answer, He gave men the ability to ask the questions.

God is a bottomless ocean of truth. The deeper you go, the more you see and know that there is no limit to the truth of God.

If you lived with God for an eternity, every day you would see something new and majestically glorious about Him. He is the Wonder of Wonders! When God described Himself to Moses He called Himself "I AM!" Those words "I am" are the first two words of an infinite sentence describing the Almighty!

"Lord God, today please show me one more thing about who You are! Amen!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Love is What You Do!

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“We belong to God, and everyone who knows God will listen to us. But the people who don’t know God won’t listen to us. That is how we can tell the Spirit that speaks the truth from the one that tells lies.
My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him. God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.”

1 John 4:6-10

If there is one word in the English language that is overused and rarely understood it is the word LOVE! A little child, like a trained parrot says "I love you" to his mother, but knows nothing of what love is all about. The word "love" is used to describe candy, ice cream, swimming, movies, birthday parties and Christmas gifts. Love is not and has never been our desire for a thing or a certain pleasure. It is not the desire that is love, but it is rather our willingness to give ourselves up for it. So it is true that when you give yourself to the sordid pleasures of this world you are loving the world and things in the world. But this kind of love will end in death!

When a couple enters in to marriage, their love is defined not by what they receive from the other, but what by what they give of themselves to the other person. Love is not measured by how you feel. It is only measured by what you do. Love is easy to say and hard to do!

How does someone love God? Learning to speak and sing the Words of love toward God does not mean that you love Him. Saying "I love you Jesus" can come from the lips of a man or woman who has no real love for Jesus at all. Loving God means that we no longer give ourselves over to the pleasures of this world and it means that we daily give ourselves to Christ.

Look today for an evidence in your own life that demonstrates that you love Jesus Christ. What are you today going to do for Him that is not for your pleasure or personal fulfillment, but for His?

Remember love is not what you say, love is what you do!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ready to Rejoice!

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“God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.

You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while.

Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.”

1 Peter 1:4-7

If you are still alive on the day that Jesus returns, what will you be doing? Of course, you can't answer that question because you don't know when He will come, and no one does. But it will be just as in the days of Sodom when men and women were going about their normal business and then "The End Came!" There was no warning for anyone except Lot and his family. Lot was warned to take his family and leave Sodom so that they would escape the destruction that was soon to come.

Here is a challenge. Live one day as if Jesus were coming before the day ends. Let everything you set your hand to or your mind be an activity or thought of which you would not be ashamed if Jesus returned at that moment! There are many thoughts and attitudes that you would reject because of how embarrassed you would be if Jesus returned while you were mired in such thinking. You would avoid every thought except those that were pure and holy. Your every action would be helpful to others, not hurtful.

Now for the greater challenge, but the one that Jesus wants each of His followers to accept. Live everyday for the rest of your life as if Jesus were returning before that day ends. Don't go back and take another bite of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Make no plans for and avoid every opportunity for sin in your life. Determine in your heart that Jesus will be Lord of every minute of every day that you have left in your life.

Then when Jesus returns you will have no shame and you will be ready to rejoice!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Finish Carpenter!

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Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen.
He is the first-born Son,
superior to all creation.

Everything was created by him, everything in heaven
and on earth,
everything seen and unseen,
including all forces
and powers,
and all rulers
and authorities.
All things were created
by God’s Son,
and everything was made
for him.

God’s Son was before all else, and by him everything
is held together.

He is the head of his body, which is the church.
He is the very beginning,
the first to be raised
from death,
so that he would be
above all others.

God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son.

And God was pleased for him to make peace
by sacrificing his blood
on the cross,
so that all beings in heaven
and on earth
would be brought back to God.

Colossians 1:15-20

The value of anything increases when it is hand made and custom made. That means, whatever it is, it is a "one of a kind" creation. When a bride to be goes to a seamstress instead of a bridal shop for her wedding dress, she can be certain that it will be like no other dress.

Whether it is a seamstress, a wood carver, an artist, or a builder of fine homes, you can see the nature and character of the craftsman by looking at the creation.

When you think about Jesus Christ there are many images that come to mind, baby in a manger, miracle worker, dying on a Cross, returning King, but we often ignore the fact that Jesus is the Creator Himself! Everything was created by Jesus and for Jesus. The Master Craftsman put His hand to creating the cosmos and everything in it. Each galaxy, star and planet was personally designed and build by Jesus Christ. But when it came to the Earth Jesus did not leave it empty. Just look around you and see what Jesus did as a "Finish Carpenter."

Even snowflakes declare the Glory of Jesus because He makes each one different from the others. Snowflakes that look alike are not the same just as identical twins are unique at the most basic level.

Like everything else in the universe you were handcrafted by Jesus Christ. He created you for His own purposes and when you were lost because of sin, Jesus came and redeemed His own creation.

Human beings were created with a most amazing characteristic. Free will means that you can choose to let Jesus put the finishing touches on your life and make you into the most valuable in all creation. He will not force you, and He will not finish your life unless you allow Him to do so. Don't wait. It is time to let Jesus complete your life and make you ready for Eternity!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

God’s Gift List!

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“Everything will soon come to an end. So be serious and be sensible enough to pray.

Most important of all, you must sincerely love each other, because love wipes away many sins.

Welcome people into your home and don’t grumble about it.  Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. If you have the gift of speaking, preach God’s message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies. Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:7-11

Did you know that you are on God's Gift List? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, God has given you a gift to be used in the service of others. That is really an incredible thought.

When we give a gift to someone we love, it is easy to give them something that they don't need and maybe don't want. But when God gives a gift to one of His children it is just what they need and it is the perfect tool for using in service to other people.

When you pray and ask God to give you something, is that something simply a blessing for you, or do you ask Him to give you something that will enable you to bless others? Those are His best gifts.

When it comes to the gifts that God has given us it is easy for us to simply ignore them, leave them wrapped up in pretty paper and never even open them. Of course most of us open the gifts from God, see what they are and then leave them on the shelf or in the closet. You are not a farmer because you someone gives you a tractor, and you are not a servant of others because God has given you a special gift to use in helping other people.

If you have never opened the gift that God has given you, then stop everything else and take off the ribbon and pretty paper and see what is your Gift from God! If you know what the Gift is but have stored it away for safe keeping, then go get it, dust it off and put it to work in the service of others!

If you look and find that you have no Gift from God, then stop looking for the Gift and turn your heart to the Great Giver! Jesus Christ wants to give you everything you need to live this life here on earth and also for Eternity! When you turn your heart to Jesus you will find that Jesus Himself is the Greatest Gift of all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ultimate White Noise!

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“When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. There with the lampstands was someone who seemed to be the Son of Man. He was wearing a robe that reached down to his feet, and a gold cloth was wrapped around his chest. His head and his hair were white as wool or snow, and his eyes looked like flames of fire. His feet were glowing like bronze being heated in a furnace, and his voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall.”

Revelation 1:12-15

If you want to hear the roar of a waterfall I would recommend Niagara Falls either in New York or across the border in Canada. If you get close enough to the falls the sound is totally overwhelming. You can talk to someone standing next to you, but you can't do that without deliberate effort.

The voice of Jesus sounds like the roar of a waterfall. The roar of a waterfall is not like the roar of a lion. It is not threatening and it does not bring fear. Instead the roar of a waterfall may be loud, but it is peaceful.

I have a constant ringing in my ears. One of the best ways for me to go to sleep is to listen to white noise, which of course sounds like a waterfall. White noise covers the annoying noise from everywhere else.

The voice of Jesus sounds like a waterfall and is the ultimate White Noise! When you are listening to Jesus and you focus on His voice all of the threatening sounds of this world and even Satan himself are covered by the beauty of the sound of the voice of Jesus.

A little baby quickly learns his mother's voice and is soothed by the sound of it. Learn the Voice of Jesus and let His voice bring peace to your troubled soul!

"Lord, let me hear Your voice today. May the roar of Your voice bring me peace. Cover the voices of the world and of the Enemy with the beautiful sound of Your Words! Let the waterfall of Your Words wash over my soul and put me at rest! Amen!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

His Grace is Still Amazing!

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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

I don't fly very much but a good friend of mine flies many times a year. I had the blessing of flying with him on a very long journey once and discovered that being with my friend opened all kinds of doors of opportunity at airports around the world. When he said "he's with me" I was ushered in to lots of world class comforts on our trip.

The words "he's with me" are the very ones that Jesus speaks to God about my life. The discussion is not about how badly I have messed up my life. There is no mention of my sin. Jesus simply tells God that I am with Him and the door of Heaven opens to this poor wretch like me!

When I pray the Holy Spirit in me helps me pray as I should and Jesus stands next to God as my advocate.

There was a song many years ago that said, "Jesus is my lawyer in Heaven." Jesus though is a very different lawyer. He doesn't convince the Judge that you didn't do the crime. Jesus confesses the guilt of His client, but reminds the Judge that He has already suffered the penalty for the crime!

Imagine that you go in to your bank to make a payment on your very large loan and the teller says this: "Your debt is paid in full. You need not make any more payments on it." How shocked would you be?

That is what Jesus says when you come to Him and make Him Lord of your life. When you turn your heart over to Jesus He says, "Your debt, created by your sin is paid in full and you need not make any more payments on it!"

That's why hundreds of years ago a slave trader who met Jesus Christ said that His Grace was Amazing. I once was lost but now I'm found was blind, but now I see and His Grace is still Amazing!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are You Still Wearing Your Crown?

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Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come! Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.

Revelation 4:4-11

The highest place of honor imaginable would be to be one of the twenty-four elders, sitting on thrones around the throne of God and wearing white robes. They have crowns of gold on their heads. Who are these elders? Where did they come from? Perhaps they have always been there and didn't come from anywhere else. Do they have names? If we go to heaven will we meet them someday? The answers to those questions and many more are still waiting for us in Heaven.

But this I know. These most honored in all the cosmos threw their crowns down at the feet of the One who sits on the Throne! They took the greatest honor that anyone could ever have and gave it to the Lord.

These Glorious Beings should be the perfect example for all men. When you receive honor or glory for anything and from anyone, it is time to cast your crown at the feet of Jesus. And don't forget when the elders cast their crowns the Bible says they first fell down. It doesn't say they "got down." It says they "fell down." When you fall you lose control. These elders lost control of themselves and gave their crowns to God.

When Jesus controls your life and you cast all your honor and glory at His feet you become like one of the elders in Revelation 4.

Try this! Go through the memorabilia stored in your attic and see if their are any honors that you have not yet cast at the feet of Jesus. Each of us wants to keep just one small crown of self glorification to wear occasionally. Don't do it. Take off that crown too and fall down at the feet of Jesus!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Specialness of Jesus!

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At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God’s Spirit came to him and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord.

When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple.  Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God,

“Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me.

With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people,

Luke 2:25-30

The Baby Jesus must have looked like every other baby. Of all the people that saw Him that day in the temple only Simeon and a prophetess named Anna saw the specialness of Jesus. Everyone else saw Jesus as an ordinary baby.

That same thing happened for the rest of the life of Jesus as well. Those who had hearts turned toward God saw Jesus as someone who was not at all like everyone else!

But those whose hearts were closed to God saw Jesus as a good man, maybe even a great man, but certainly not the Savior of the world.

There is another way to see Jesus. That is the way King Herod saw the Baby. Herod saw Jesus as a threat and tried to destroy Him while Jesus was still a child.

There are those today who still declare war on Jesus and His followers. These are the people who want to remove any vestige of the influence of Jesus in our lives and who want to put the followers of Jesus on a cross as well.

Remember God sent Jesus because He loved the world and it was love that held Jesus on the Cross. Jesus defeated His enemies with the weapon of love and that is how you can defeat those who set themselves against you! When you love a brother you share the wonder of heaven on earth, but when you love an enemy you take away his ability to steal your joy!

Remember Jesus is not just a Baby on Christmas. The wonder of Jesus still fills the earth through those who love Him! Jesus wants you to join with us in loving Him!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jesus Moments!

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“Christ did not have to offer himself many times. He wasn’t like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal.

If he had offered himself every year, he would have suffered many times since the creation of the world. But instead, near the end of time he offered himself once and for all, so that he could be a sacrifice that does away with sin.   We die only once, and then we are judged.

So Christ died only once to take away the sins of many people. But when he comes again, it will not be to take away sin. He will come to save everyone who is waiting for him.”

Hebrews 9:25-28

If Jesus had healed one more person, or one less person while He walked on this earth His mission would not have been changed. When Jesus died on the Cross and then rose to life again He accomplished the purpose for which He came to earth. I am not minimizing the importance of making water into wine or healing the sick and raising the dead, but those displays of God's power were not the central purpose of the incarnation. Jesus was born to die, and to die on the Cross to do away with sin!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, ask yourself this question. What is the purpose for which God created me? Why was I born and how can I fulfill that purpose that God has for my life?

Of course, God created you to be His child and to live with Him forever. This life is where and how you prepare for eternity. But occasionally as a Christian I see God's specific will for a moment in time. He gives me a word to speak, or a thought to think, or an act of kindness to perform. For me those are "Jesus moments." If I were Jesus I am doing exactly what Jesus would have done as He was led along by His Father!

My goal in this life is for my Jesus moments to become Jesus hours and then Jesus days and finally a Jesus life! A little boy may look a lot like his father, but a grown man can remind everyone of his father all of the time.

"Lord, show me Your plans for my walk with You today. May every step I take, every word I speak and every thought I think be pleasing to You and a blessing to those around me!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Broken Glass!

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“God has turned my life sour.

He made me eat gravel and rubbed me in the dirt.

I cannot find peace or remember happiness.

I tell myself, “I am finished! I can’t count on the Lord to do anything for me.”

Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering
makes me miserable.

That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed.

Then I remember something that fills me with hope.

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 3:15-25

Troubles for men have been going on for thousands of years. These words of the Prophet Jeremiah were written about 2,500 years ago.

Just yesterday I heard a contemporary sufferer say, "Life is like walking on broken glass to your own grave." Those words would have fit in perfectly in the book of Lamentations.

So life goes on, but suffering goes on as well. Life is also a maze with no escape from the broken glass. The march to your grave is without hope until the Trinity of God steps into your life and puts shoes on your feet and guides you through the maze of this life! When you depend on God, He puts His permanent mark on your heart and orders your steps to display His beauty to everyone around you.

If you have wanted God to just walk up to you and say, "Hello, I am God and it is nice to meet you," then remember the many times that He has done just that and you didn't recognize Him. God doesn't come to you with claims of His reality. You would never believe Him if He did. God comes to you with every breath you take and every sunrise you see. God comes every time you feel love.

The next time God comes to you, just reach out to Him and grab His hand. With your hand in the Hand of God, never let go!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Never Say Amen!

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I, the Lord, also promise you a terrible shortage,
but not of food and water.
You will hunger and thirst
to hear my message.

You will search everywhere— from north to south,
from east to west.
You will go all over the earth,
seeking a message
from me, the Lord. But you won’t find one.

Your beautiful young women and your young men
will faint from thirst.

Amos 8:11-13

When the love letters stop flowing between a young couple who are separated by some practical necessity of life or maybe even war, you know that trouble is not far away. A loving relationship demands continual communication. Likewise a loving relationship between a man and his God is nurtured by prayer and Words from God. When we cease to pray we are like the young wife who gives her husband "the silent treatment." She just doesn't share anything with him and the immediate impact on their relationship is very uncomfortable.

These verses in Amos talk about a time when God stops talking to us. Amos compares it to a time of famine without food or water. The Word of God sustains our lives and without it we will soon be unable to continue our existence here on this earth. There is a point at which a long fast becomes the first stage of starvation. Fasting is a good thing, starvation is not!

There are times when we are justifiably criticized for talking too much. But I have never met a person who prayed too much. In fact, God's Word tells us to "pray without ceasing." I suppose that would mean that we would never say "Amen!" Listen for God's Word in the midst of your prayers to Him.

Seek the Lord when His Word floods the land and when there is a famine of the Word of God. Let your heart be set on knowing God and never, never, never stop praying!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hateful Neighbors!

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The Lord God said: Someday I will gather the people of Israel from the nations where they are now scattered, and every nation will see that I am holy. The Israelites will once again live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob.

They will be safe and will build houses and plant vineyards. They will no longer be in danger, because I will punish their hateful neighbors. Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.

Ezekiel 28:25-26

About 600 years before Jesus was born the prophet Ezekiel spoke of a time when the people of Israel would be gathered from around the world and brought back to the land of Israel. I was two years old when that very thing happened. The year was 1948 and Israel became a nation once again!

The last part of Ezekiel's prophecy says that Israel's hateful neighbor's will be punished which will remove the danger. That part has not happened yet. So every God fearing person waits for God Himself to remove the threat from Israel's neighbors. Then Israel will know that God is their Lord! What they do with that knowledge is yet to be seen.

How has God protected you in your life? Of course, no one can fully answer that question because no one knows how God works in the life of any man. But you can ask God to show you how He is working for your protection. Every time I see God working for my best interests I am encouraged to trust Him more.

"Lord God, show me your protection today. Let me see the angels sent out to work on my behalf and let me know that You take care of me as Your child. Then even though the storms may rage about me and my hateful neighbors threaten, I will rest peacefully in Your love! Amen."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Red Rope!

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Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, and one of the windows in her house faced outside the wall. She gave the spies a rope, showed them the window, and said, “Use this rope to let yourselves down to the ground outside the wall.

Then hide in the hills. The men who are looking for you won’t be able to find you there. They’ll give up and come back after a few days, and you can be on your way.”

The spies said: You made us promise to let you and your family live. We will keep our promise, but you can’t tell anyone why we were here. You must tie this red rope on your window when we attack, and your father and mother, your brothers, and everyone else in your family must be here with you. We’ll take the blame if anyone who stays in this house gets hurt. But anyone who leaves your house will be killed, and it won’t be our fault.

“I’ll do exactly what you said,” Rahab promised. Then she sent them on their way and tied the red rope to the window.

Joshua 2:15-21

First there was the rainbow, then the blood on the door post as the Children of Israel prepared to leave Egypt and then the Red Rope in Rahab's window.

Rahab had received the promise that everyone in her house would be saved from death when the city of Jericho was destroyed. There were two things she had to do. First she had to keep quiet about the coming attack and secondly she had to hang a Red Rope in her window. Just like the blood on the doorpost the Red Rope let those who were sent to destroy know that this house was to be spared. Rahab could have waited until the attack was imminent to hang the rope in the window, but she didn't. As soon as the spies left her house she hung the Red Rope in her window.

Do you have a Red Rope hanging from your window? Is there a visible sign that you have heard the promise of God for your life?

Maybe it would be a good idea for followers of Jesus to hang a Red Rope from their windows today as a reminder of how we are going to escape the destruction that is sure to come on this world.

The spies escaped from Jericho using a rope from Rahab's window and we will escape from this life using a rope stained with the Red Blood of Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dress Code for Heaven!

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Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:14-16

Is your life so bad that you are, for Jesus the only "hopeless case?" Or is your life "almost perfect in every way" and surely you don't need the forgiveness that Jesus offers to everyone who would believe in Him?

"All Dogs" may go to Heaven, but all people do not. Without the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus one tiny spot of sin will keep you out of Heaven forever! And no one is completely clean without the sacrifice of Jesus. It doesn't matter how bad you have been or how good you have lived your life. Without the Blood of Jesus your eternal dwelling place will begin with an "H" but it will not be Heaven!

So forget about saying that you are too wicked to be saved or too good to need it. The power of Jesus is greater than your sin.

Some restaurants used to have dress codes. If you were not in formal attire you would not be allowed to enter. There is still a dress code for Heaven. If you are not bathed in the cleansing Blood of Jesus and dressed in His righteousness you cannot enter. There are no exceptions. No one will enter Heaven by any other means.

The time is short. Get cleaned up, dressed and ready to go. Jesus is ready and will soon return for those who are clean and wearing His righteousness!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blast Off!

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My friends, we want you to understand how it will be for those followers who have already died. Then you won’t grieve over them and be like people who don’t have any hope. We believe that Jesus died and was raised to life. We also believe that when God brings Jesus back again, he will bring with him all who had faith in Jesus before they died.

Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won’t go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died.
With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever.

Encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Are you encouraged when you hear about the return of Jesus Christ? Does the thought of the shout of the chief angel and the blast of God's trumpet bring chill bumps to your skin or bathe your whole being in terror? Are you at peace with your Creator or are you still trying to hide from Him like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden?

The return of Jesus Christ is not a fairy tale like Old St. Nick or the Easter Bunny. Jesus is not a fun fictional character. Jesus is the awesomely real Son of God who came to this earth, returned to Heaven and will come again!

Everyone who has or ever had faith in Jesus will be there when He returns. Those who have already died will be with Jesus when He comes back! Then those who love Jesus will be taken up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the sky! All of those who followed Jesus will be with Him forever! It will be the blast off of Eternal Bliss with Jesus. There has never been and will never be a ride like this one.

One of Satan's greatest lies is that sin is fun. That is like saying "You can have the time of your life in a garbage dump. Eat, play, live and enjoy life romping through the trash." It is all a lie, but the invitation to follow Jesus and live in peace with Him throughout Eternity is all the truth!

Don't wait, that Day will soon be here!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lost and Found!

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Jesus also told them another story:
Once a man had two sons.

The younger son said to his father, “Give me my share of the property.” So the father divided his property between his two sons.
Not long after that, the younger son packed up everything he owned and left for a foreign country, where he wasted all his money in wild living.

Finally, he came to his senses and said, “My father’s workers have plenty to eat, and here I am, starving to death! I will go to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you.

I am no longer good enough to be called your son. Treat me like one of your workers.’ ”

The younger son got up and started back to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son and hugged and kissed him.

The son said, “Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am no longer good enough to be called your son.”
But his father said to the servants, “Hurry and bring the best clothes and put them on him. Give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. Get the best calf and prepare it, so we can eat and celebrate.

This son of mine was dead, but has now come back to life. He was lost and has now been found.” And they began to celebrate.

Luke 15:11-13 and 17-24

The "Lost and found" department in a business, school, airport or otherwise populated establishment should have a new name. It should be called the "Lost and yet to be found" department. When you look in the lost and found what you see is a lot of stuff that we all know is lost, but it is not yet found. When the owner comes and identifies the lost item as his or hers, then it can be said to be "lost and found."

Millions of people in this world are sitting quietly in the "lost and found!" They know they are lost, but have yet to be found. People in the "lost and found" of this world are not like things in the "lost and found." Things have no choice in the matter. When the owner finds a lost coin it is reunited with its owner. People who are lost do have a choice. Jesus stands at the counter of the "lost and found" department and waits for you to choose to be found. He will not reclaim you unless you will it so. He will not impose His will on yours. But Jesus will stand for years, patiently and lovingly waiting for one loving glance from you, ready to bring you completely to His heart.

This life is a love story and Jesus is asking you and me to fall deeply in love with Him. After years of being religious, you look up and there is Jesus wanting you to embrace Him with your whole heart.

Here are the words that will change everything: "JESUS I AM READY TO BE FOUND."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weapon of Love!

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You will soon hear about wars and threats of wars, but don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end. Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. People will starve to death, and in some places there will be earthquakes.

But this is just the beginning of troubles. You will be arrested, punished, and even killed. Because of me, you will be hated by people of all nations. Many will give up and will betray and hate each other. Many false prophets will come and fool a lot of people. Evil will spread and cause many people to stop loving others.  But if you keep on being faithful right to the end, you will be saved.

Matthew 24:6-13

The first victim when evil "rears its ugly head" in any relationship is love. When a man gives himself over to evil his ability to love others is greatly diminished and ultimately destroyed. Evil and Love cannot live together in your heart peacefully. Either Love will leave and your heart will begin to beat with evil thoughts followed by actions, or Evil will be driven out by Love.

When Jesus told His followers that they must become like little children I believe He was pointing to a profound truth. Little children have not yet stepped into the cesspool of evil and they have not learned to hate! I remember as a very small boy thinking that "I love everybody!"

Love is a choice and you can choose to love even your enemies. The greatest personal evidence that you are a follower of Jesus is when you look down from your cross and pray for those who put you there, "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing!" Then your love becomes a weapon of mass destruction. Your love will massively destroy evil! Then your own heart will begin to feel the joy that Jesus did on the Cross of Calvary.

When you love me and I know that you love me, then I can listen to anything you say that is prompted by that love. When you don't love me and I know that you don't love me, I cannot hear what you say to me, even if it is obviously true.

So if you are having trouble telling people about Jesus Christ, here is the secret. Plow the ground with love before you plant the seed of the Gospel. When you truly love a man, his heart will open to the things you have to say. Planting a seed on unplowed ground will produce little if anything of a harvest.

Satan is not afraid of those who hate men and women who are lost. When you hate evil men you pose no threat to their status with Hell. But when you love those who don't love you, you are literally "armed and dangerous."

If you want to do battle for Jesus today, throw out all the hate from your heart and make sure that your weapon of love is clean and ready to fire!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It May Be Today!

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From the throne a voice said, “If you worship and fear our God, give praise to him, no matter who you are.”

Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd that sounded like a roaring flood and loud thunder all mixed together. They were saying, “Praise the Lord! Our Lord God All-Powerful now rules as king.

So we will be glad and happy and give him praise. The wedding day of the Lamb is here, and his bride is ready.

Revelation 19:5-7

What does a bride have to do to get ready for the wedding? The list can be very long or it can be relatively short, but there is always a list of "Things to do" before the wedding day. There are parties, showers, gifts, reception plans and of course the dress. I suppose the dress is at the top of the preparation list. If everything else is perfect and the dress is not right it would certainly be a disappointment if not an outright embarrassment.

If you are a Christian, do you have list of things to do in preparation for the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb?" Christians are not just invited to attend the wedding of Jesus and His Bride, they are His Bride! Just saying those words really takes my breath away. What God has planned for those who give themselves to Jesus is beyond amazing. It is truly incomprehensible!

The Gospel is not about sinners avoiding Hell. The message of the Gospel is that sinners can be cleaned by the Blood of Jesus and dressed in His righteousness to stand by His side like a Groom does with his Bride!

The wedding day of Christ and His Bride may come any day now, and without warning. You must be ready for Him to come and take you to the Wedding even today. There are plenty of signs that the Day of the Lord will be soon, very soon. But if there weren't any signs of His coming we must be ready to be ushered into His presence. That day will come when we leave this life through death or when Jesus comes to take His whole Bride to Heaven for the Wedding.

The word for today is: BE READY TO GO WHEN JESUS COMES! It may be today!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trust and Obey!

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“I know everything you have done. And I have placed before you an open door that no one can close. You were not very strong, but you obeyed my message and did not deny that you are my followers.

Now you will see what I will do with those people who belong to Satan’s group. They claim to be God’s people, but they are liars. I will make them come and kneel down at your feet. Then they will know that I love you.

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.”

Revelation 3:8-10

It starts when a little boy learns to make a fist and hold his arm up so you can see his muscles. Pride in your own strength is a central flaw in fallen man. All through life itself we compete with other men to find out who is the strongest, best and brightest. Every athletic contest is based on the desire for glory. Try telling the baseball players in the World Series that it is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

As a follower of Jesus Christ the victory comes not from your own strength. In fact, the victors are not stronger than the losers. Those that win are more obedient!

There is an old church song that says, "Trust and Obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and Obey." Do you have faith in Jesus and do you do what He tells you to do? If you have trust in Jesus and obey Him when you hear His voice there is nothing else for which you need to strive.

If you understand perfectly every doctrine of scripture but don't trust Him and obey, you will miss the mark! If you know little of the depths of theology but you trust Jesus and obey His voice, you will hear the words "Well Done!"

"Lord show me one way that I am not trusting You. And show me one thing I need to do to obey You more perfectly. And Lord give me the strength to Trust and Obey You today!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Love Not a Word!

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“We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other. If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God.

Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.”

1 John 3:16-18

Love is not just a word. Love is an act performed for the good of another person. The true meaning of two people being in love is that they both live their lives for the good of the other person. It is more than a "mutual admiration society," it is rather a mutually beneficial lifestyle. If I love you, I fill my life with actions that benefit you. If you love me, you do the same. And since it is more blessed to give than to receive we are both blessed beyond measure.

Love is not a feeling. When you feel love for someone and do not do loving things for that person, there is no evidence of love and your feeling would be judged to be something other than love.

Jesus loves you! That means that Jesus does things for you every day as an expression of His love. Some are ordinary things, but some are extraordinary. The most visible act of love by Jesus of course was the Cross where He literally died for you and for me. But that was not the end of His loving actions. Today, Jesus wants to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. He wants to provide for you in a way that no one else could!

Yes I do know that Jesus loves me because the Bible tells me so, but there is much more to it than that. I know that Jesus loves me because Jesus brings me flowers and makes my coffee in the morning and does a thousand other things that make me know that He loves me!

If you know Jesus then look today for the little acts of love that He does for you! You will find that there are lots of them. Thank you Jesus!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Ship of God’s Will!

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“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:15-17

There are two ships set to sail today and you must get on one of them. The larger ship promises a wonderful trip. There will be plenty of food, fun and entertainment. Every desire you could ever have is touched by something on this ship. This ship is called "The World" and the only problem is that it will end in disaster just like the Titanic. While everything seems just fine, tragedy will come and take everyone to their final destruction.

The other ship is called "The Will of God." It is not as large as "The World" and there is no "all you can eat buffet." Although there is lots of joy and there is peace, fun and entertainment are not promised on this cruise. In fact, the trip will include stormy seas and many times when you think the ship will surely sink. But it does not go down! The end of the ride will not take you back to where you started, but you will safely arrive in Heaven!

"Oh, I'll just stay here at the dock and not get on either ship. Perhaps that would be better." Well the truth is you have no choice. Flood waters are rising and you must get on one ship or the other if you are to survive at all.

Here's where the story gets exciting. If you are already sailing on "The World" there is a rescue boat ready to take you to "The Will of God." The rescue boat is called "The Cross" and Jesus made sure that there is room for everyone in "The Cross."

So if you are in "The World" and want to be in "The Will of God," "The Cross" is ready to take you there and is boarding now!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blown Away!

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“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Peter 1:20-21

I am still fascinated when I see a hot air balloon hundreds of feet in the air moving along slowly toward its final resting place for the day. The balloon is totally at the mercy of the breeze. If the wind stops so does the balloon. If the wind moves more rapidly, so does the balloon. If the wind changes direction the balloon changes course as well. There is no way to steer a balloon to go in a direction other than the one the wind is going.

A totally committed follower of Jesus Christ is carried along by the Holy Spirit like a balloon is carried along by the wind. When you submit your life to Jesus, His Spirit sets the direction and pace for your life. You make no moves unless the Spirit moves you. You go only as fast as the Spirit of God is going.

A hot air balloon could be connected to a vehicle on the ground by a long rope or tether and move around against the wind. But the rope would soon get tangled in a wire or tree and the ride would be over, maybe tragically so.

If you are trying to tie yourself to the world below and still be carried along by the Holy Spirit you will find that you will go nowhere and the end will not be pleasant. Let go of whatever is holding you to the world and let the Holy Spirit carry you along to the place where God is leading! I suppose it is a pun, but when you find out where God is taking you in this life you will indeed be "Blown Away" for Jesus!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Love Covered Sins!

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“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:7-8

God is love and Sin is a direct attack on and contradiction of God. Every sin denies God because God in the flesh never, ever sinned! So when we love each other God rules in the relationship and sin is not simply ignored, it is banished!

When we love each other many sins are covered by that love, even as the love of Jesus covered the sin of all men. Someone said that it was love that held Jesus on the Cross and that is true.

There are lots of foods that can be covered in chocolate. Raisins, pretzels, peanuts and even strawberries are delicious with a coating of chocolate. The love of Jesus doesn't just hide my sin, He covers it. The love of Jesus removes all the venom from my sin and transforms it into something that has no power to condemn.

As the end of all things quickly approaches let us love each other deeply. Then we will do for and to each other what Jesus did for us all.

Never take forgiveness for granted. Remember, the Bible clearly says that there is a sin for which there is no forgiveness. That sin strikes at the root of the relationship and even love cannot cover it.

God planned to send Jesus to die on the Cross from the very beginning. Spend some time today planning how to show your love to someone else. As you love and pray for another you will find the venom of their sin losing it's sting. It is just another way you can be like Jesus!

Friday, December 2, 2011

No Room for Junk!

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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

Almost 40 years ago I paid more than one hundred dollars for an L.E.D. display calculator that today you could purchase at a dollar store for no more than $2.00! I thought it was amazing. I could see it in the dark. It would add, subtract, multiply and divide. The battery life wasn't great but when you needed to do a little math it was wonderful. It was so great that someone stole it when they broke into my house.

If I still had that calculator today it would be considered a worthless piece of junk or simply a children's toy.

Before a man comes to know Jesus there are many things in his life that he thinks are very valuable. Money, fame, position, power and education are a few of the jewels in the crown of those who don't know Jesus. We work hard every day to fill our resumes and bank accounts with things that make us more honored and revered. But once a man meets Jesus Christ all those crowns are thrown down at the feet of Jesus and replaced by a crown of thorns and suffering like the one Jesus wore.

In some "high end" hotel rooms there are small safes where you can put your valuables while you stay at the hotel.

Pretend that today is the day to inventory the valuables in your life. Pull them out and search the Word of God to see if the thing that you treasure is really worthless! Make room in your heart for the real treasure that Jesus has for you everyday and throw out the junk!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Small Temptations!

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Jesus is the high priest we need. He is holy and innocent and faultless, and not at all like us sinners. Jesus is honored above all beings in heaven, and he is better than any other high priest. Jesus doesn’t need to offer sacrifices each day for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. He offered a sacrifice once for all, when he gave himself.

The Law appoints priests who have weaknesses. But God’s promise, which came later than the Law, appoints his Son. And he is the perfect high priest forever.

Hebrews 7:26-28

The kid who thinks he is perfect is really an annoyance to other children and even adults. Everyone knows he is not perfect and usually it becomes a game to catch the "self righteous - know it all" in some sin.

What would it have been like to know Jesus as a teenage? Jesus was perfect. In all His years on earth Jesus never committed one sin. That is really mind boggling. Of all the temptations that came to Jesus, He said "no" to everyone of them. Surely, most people who knew Jesus as a boy thought that He too was simply deceiving everyone and in His private thoughts there was sin just like the rest of us.

But Jesus was not "self" righteous. Jesus was righteous! Jesus was not a "know it all." Jesus indeed knew it all!

So you want to be like Jesus. Here is the secret and the difficulty. Being like Jesus means that you say "no" to a temptation when it comes. Frankly, the little temptations are tougher. I have thus far in my life said "no" to every temptation to commit murder, but I have given in to the temptation to hate someone. I may have never robbed a bank, but I sometimes struggle to be completely honest about the small things.

When the disciples fell asleep the night before the crucifixion Jesus asked Peter if he couldn't stay awake just one hour. Here is my goal for today. I desire to stay awake with Jesus for one hour!

"Lord help me to watch with You as the world is turning upside down in preparation for Your return. Help me to win the victory over all temptation, even and maybe especially the "small" ones. I want to live this day as You, Jesus would live it, so I can say about this day like You said about all of Yours, IT IS FINISHED!"