Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Suffer Together!

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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 12:15-17

Many Christians ignore the common heritage that they have with Jews. Don't forget Jesus was a Jew. It was the Jews who first heard the message of the Gospel. God has specially blessed and disciplined the Jewish nation all the way down to this day. Don't be confused, the only way to be saved is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. That is true for people who are born to devout Christian parents as well. Unless you accept Jesus you will be lost!

But the Jewish nation has had and still has a special place in the course of history. It does not make sense that the Jews are back in Israel and that they are surrounded by those who want more than anything else to drive them into the sea! The intensity of hatred for the Jews is really quite telling.

Remember that nations are not saved or lost, only men and women individually receive the benefit of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. But nations do play a role in the divinely orchestrated history of this world. And don't forget Satan wants to destroy Jews and Christians.

So if you find yourself sharing a prison cell with a Jew, count it a privilege and don't forget to tell him that Jesus is the Messiah!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Godly Rich Man!

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

This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

If you want to really be politically correct at this time in history, you will speak badly about rich people. It is quite popular and of course it is not hard to find a rich person who deserves all the criticism you can give him.

But the Bible does not say that being rich is a sin. It is harder for rich people to live their lives without trusting in their riches. And loving money is the root of all evil, but being rich is not evil.

Here is the reason, God Himself is rich! God is richer than anyone has ever or could ever be. So you can be rich beyond anyone's imagination and still be like God! If you want to know how to be a godly rich man, just look at how God handles His wealth. God blesses us from His riches with everything we need to enjoy life!

You can live a godly life if you are poor, but you can also live a godly life as a rich man. The instructions for the godly rich are very clear. Do as many good deeds as you can and help everyone. Also be generous and share what you have!

Instead of pursuing money, go after God.  There are godly men who have little money, but all godly men are rich!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vicarious Faith!

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Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave.

But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.

James 1:22-25

Someone coined a phrase for what these verses are talking about. It is called "obedience based Bible Study." Every time you go to God's Word and look at the Scriptures ask yourself how you can be obedient to this Word! Then do it!

I love to watch an action filled movie. I can pretend that I am doing all those exciting and dangerous things and vicariously experience them all. But all I am is a spectator in the stands. It is really how our system of entertainment works. We sit in the audience and watch others perform great feats. All the while we are no stronger for it.

If you are not obedient to God's Word when you read it, you are nothing more than a member of the audience, being entertained by the Word of God and those who do live it! If you are obedient to the Word of God then each step you take makes you more and more like Jesus.

In the “Super Bowl of Life” there is no value in being in the stands. There is no section in Heaven for "Fans of Jesus!" It is only those who are changed and become like Jesus who will live in Heaven with Him!

So today when you read the Bible, ask yourself this question: How can I obey that verse? Keep asking that question until God shows you the answer.  Obey it and then go on to the next verse!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wise Become Foolish!


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As God says in the Scriptures, “I will destroy the wisdom
of all who claim
to be wise.
I will confuse those
who think they know
so much.”

What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn’t God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish? God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him. Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. Our message is God’s power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen.

I Corinthians 1:19-24

Sometimes God Himself is the author of confusion. That is true when He confuses men who are wise and makes them act foolishly. Basically, God strips men of wisdom without them ever knowing that it is happening. The classic example of God interfering with the wisdom of men is the story of the Tower of Babel.

If you focus your heart on Jesus Christ and seek His wisdom through the Word of God you will begin to see the foolishness of the world around you. What else need be said when you once again hear the now famous comment about a more than 2000 page bill in the United States Congress, "We won't know what is in this bill until we pass it!" And they passed it and are continuing to discover the things that we all wish were not in it!

How then do foolish people become wise once again? It is not by argument and education. It is not by voting out foolishness. It is not even by reducing the debt!

Wisdom returns to a man when he turns his heart back to God. And wisdom will return to a nation when many men, women, and children turn their hearts back to God. Unless that happens that nation or any nation will join the list of formerly great nations of the world.

The return to greatness begins when I repent and start to walk in the power and wisdom of God!  Remember, there is always the first drop of rain in a flood.  Lord, let me be that drop!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Be Truly Amazed!

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When Jesus and his disciples were near the town of Caesarea Philippi, he asked them, “What do people say about the Son of Man?”

The disciples answered, “Some people say you are John the Baptist or maybe Elijah or Jeremiah or some other prophet.”

Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus told him: Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! You didn’t discover this on your own. It was shown to you by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 16:13-17

In the 1950's there was a huge television game show scandal because correct answers were given to some contestants before the shows began. Perhaps the most memorable name is Charles Van Doren. He eventually admitted the deceit in a congressional hearing and was embarrassed and shamed.

But there is no embarrassment, no shame and nothing morally wrong when God Himself is the one who whispers in your ear the answers to life's questions. When Peter spoke up and declared that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, it was an answer straight from God. Even Peter did not know that at the time.

When you realize that the words you are speaking are not coming from you and they so perfectly address the situation at hand and are totally consistent with the Words of the Bible, it is time to thank God for giving you the Word from His mind!

I suppose if we could see all the times that God reached out and helped us in our daily lives we would be truly amazed. Well, go ahead and be truly amazed at the love and grace that God shows to you every day! Be truly amazed that God has the answer to every question in life and is also willing to share those answers with you!  Be truly amazed and then you will discover that His Grace is not the only thing about God that is Amazing!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Think Like God!

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From then on, Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, “I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life.”

Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. He said, “God would never let this happen to you, Lord!”

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Satan, get away from me! You’re in my way because you think like everyone else and not like God.”

Matthew 16:21-23

When a man first encounters the will of God for his life his reaction is predictable.  God's will and a man's humanity stand in serious contradiction to each other. 

The first point of conflict is about who will be God in the living of that life.  After that is resolved there is the inconvenient truth about suffering.  And don't forget the fact that "cash on hand" is not necessary to embark on walking in the will of God.

So if you think you have seen God's will for your life and are not seriously disturbed by it, keep looking.  The most frequent counterfeit of God's will is a man who has lots of natural ability and engages in a ministry that takes advantage of his human strength.  I'm not saying God can't lead a man in that path, but the will of God usually leads in a way in which natural ability is of no consequence.

When Jesus told the disciples about His coming death, Peter boldly told Jesus that God would not let such a thing happen.  Jesus rebuked Peter, called Peter Satan and told him that he was not thinking like God!

So when you ask to see God's will for your life prepare not to like it at first.  But just wait patiently, because you will come to see that in the End the will of God for your life is Heavenly!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jesus Said No!

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Jesus left and went to the territory near the cities of Tyre and Sidon.  Suddenly a Canaanite woman from there came out shouting, “Lord and Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is full of demons.”

Jesus did not say a word. But the woman kept following along and shouting, so his disciples came up and asked him to send her away.

Jesus said, “I was sent only to the people of Israel! They are like a flock of lost sheep.”

The woman came closer. Then she knelt down and begged, “Please help me, Lord!”

Jesus replied, “It isn’t right to take food away from children and feed it to dogs.”

“Lord, that’s true,” the woman said, “but even dogs get the crumbs that fall from their owner’s table.”

Jesus answered, “Dear woman, you really do have a lot of faith, and you will be given what you want.” At that moment her daughter was healed.

Matthew 15:21-28

How does this story apply to my faith today?  The Canaanite woman asked Jesus for something that He said was not right to do. Jesus said "No" two times, but she kept coming back with words of trust in His power to help.

I suppose this point could be debated, but the woman asked Jesus for something that was not according to His will and she got it. Her faith in Jesus trumped her theological correctness.

We spend so much time trying to make sure our theology is correct and then trust Jesus within the bounds of that truth. In a sense we want to understand Jesus first and then trust Him later. Some of us never get around to trusting Jesus at all, we just keep on striving for a better understanding.

So here is the lesson of the Canaanite woman's faith. Trust Jesus beyond your understanding. Let your love for Jesus push you outside of the box and into the realm of totally abandoned faith.  Jesus will meet you there!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love For Hate!

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We don’t know everything, and our prophecies
are not complete.

But what is perfect will someday appear,
and what isn’t perfect
will then disappear.

When we were children, we thought and reasoned
as children do.
But when we grew up,
we quit our childish ways.

Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture
in a mirror.
Later we will see him
face to face.
We don’t know everything,
but then we will,
just as God completely
understands us.

For now there are faith, hope, and love.
But of these three,
the greatest is love.

1 Corinthians 13:9-13

The Bible also says that God is love!  So whenever a man or woman "falls in love" he or she is literally touching the essence of God Himself.  That is also why Satan works so desperately to insert the other "L" word - (LUST) for Love!  When men and women are consumed with lust they completely miss the meaning of love. 

Don't forget that love is not limited to a man and woman.  Love also extends to children, parents, brothers and sisters and even dear friends.  Real love can flow freely in all our human relationships.  Each relationship has boundaries of love that allow us to fully express and receive love appropriately.

The greatest desire of Satan may be to simply destroy our love for others and their love for us, so that we may not see God in it! 

When a man lays down his life for the ones he loves he is graphically illustrating the love of Jesus on the Cross.  When a mother loves her children and nurtures and trains them to walk in the right way she is depicting the work of the Holy Spirit among the children of God.  And when a man becomes a loving father, he is showing the world around him what God is to His children.

But the most amazing love in all the world is when a man, out of obedience to Jesus Christ, loves his enemies!  That is the power that will shake and change the entire world for God.

Lord, show me today how to return love for hate!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Sin of Jonah!

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We worship you, Lord, and we should always pray
whenever we find out
that we have sinned.  Then we won’t be swept away
by a raging flood.

You are my hiding place! You protect me from trouble,
and you put songs in my heart
because you have saved me.

You said to me, “I will point out the road
that you should follow.
I will be your teacher
and watch over you.

Psalm 32:6-8

Sin is not just something you do. We think of sin as lying, stealing, cheating, murdering, and any one of many other acts of evil. But it is also a sin when we refuse to listen to God's direction and walk another way.

Jonah was directed by God to go to Nineveh and preach. Instead Jonah sinned as he ran away from God's leading. The conviction of his need to repent came as he sat in the belly of a large fish!

As you become like Jesus Christ and walk in His steps, you of course must avoid every sin. But when you have mastered all the negatives and you don't lie, steal, cheat or murder you still have the sin of Jonah to avoid. When God tells you to go one way and you run as fast as you can in another direction. Jonah was not running to a wicked city so he could freely sin. Jonah was simply running away from God's clear call on his life because he was afraid!

"But I haven't heard God telling me which way to go today." 

Have you listened?

Lord, speak to me again and may Your words ring in my ears so that I cannot ignore the way You want me to walk.  Help me Lord take every step of this day according to Your will for my life.  And thank You Lord for the warning of Jonah and the Great Fish!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Just Do It!

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Jesus told us that God is light and doesn’t have any darkness in him. Now we are telling you.

If we say that we share in life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth. But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away. If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn’t in our hearts.

1 John 1:5-8

The Bible is like a recipe book. In it you find the instructions for living a gourmet life both now and forever. Without God's Word we would be saddled with futile attempts to put life together as it was meant to be lived.

Even as the importance and value of a recipe book is only seen when you prepare the dishes and serve them, the importance and value of the Word of God is only seen in a life that is lived according to the Book!

Obedience to the Word of God is more important than the knowledge of the Word. You can know every scripture by heart and still not be obedient to it. But when you know and obey even one verse of the Bible your life will take a step in the right direction.

Introducing men to the Word of God is wonderful and we must do it, but we must never ignore letting them taste and see what that Word does in an obedient life. When you read the Bible today ask the Lord to show you what you can do to obey those Words of Scripture.  Then just do it!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Breath of God!

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The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing.

Genesis 2:7

Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

John 20:22

But don’t be fooled! People will rebel against God. Then before the Lord returns, the wicked one who is doomed to be destroyed will appear. He will brag and oppose everything that is holy or sacred. He will even sit in God’s temple and claim to be God.

Don’t you remember that I told you this while I was still with you?

You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come. His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won’t appear until that someone is out of the way.

Then he will appear, but the Lord Jesus will kill him simply by breathing on him. He will be completely destroyed by the Lord’s glorious return.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8

The breath of God is both life giving and will be the weapon used on "the wicked one" when the Lord returns.

God breathed on Adam and Adam started breathing.  Every breath you take today is directly linked to that first breath of life!  Your life came not from Satan, but from God himself. Every baby formed in his mother's womb is a unique creation of God.  Every baby has in God's mind a plan and purpose in the scheme of God's will.  Life is important not because baby's are cute, but because they are the handiwork of God.  When we judge a baby's worthiness to live we are pointing an accusing finger at God! 

The wicked one will be destroyed by the breath of God.  So the breath of God can bring life or it can bring death.

After His resurrection Jesus breathed on the disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit.  So the breath of God brought life to every man, but the next breath will bring either death to the "wicked one" or the Holy Spirit to those who follow Jesus. 

The bottom line is this.  If your heart is not right with God, don't ask for Him to breathe on you!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Can’t Imagine!

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The Lord said: It isn’t too late.
You can still return to me
with all your heart.

Start crying and mourning!
Go without eating.

Don’t rip your clothes to show your sorrow.
Instead, turn back to me
with broken hearts.

I am merciful, kind, and caring.
I don’t easily lose my temper,
and I don’t like to punish.

I am the Lord your God. Perhaps I will change my mind
and treat you with mercy.

Then you will be blessed
with enough grain and wine
for offering sacrifices to me.

Joel 2:12-14

There has never been a man or woman who turns to the Lord with all their heart only to hear Him say, "I'm sorry, but it is too late!"  We see so many people who are living in direct rebellion to God and His Word and think that there is no hope of repentance.  We can't imagine the most wicked turning their hearts to Jesus.  But God can do what we can't imagine.
As long as their is life, there is hope!   The thief on the cross next to Jesus had no hope when the nails were driven into his hands, but he cried out to Jesus and that same day was with Him in Paradise!
Satan has a message for the man who is ready to repent and turn to Jesus.  The Evil One says "wait until the last minute, then turn to Jesus just before you die!"  If that temptation is enticing, it is because you are still in love with the world, and you long to stay in it as long as possible.
"Lord show me clearly that the world in which I live is a sewer and there is nothing here worth holding on to for one second longer.  Give me the courage to turn my heart to you right now and let go of everything in this world that pulls my heart away from You.  Then Lord, show me today things that I can't imagine."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

God Knows My Steps!

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I am the Lord God. I created the heavens
like an open tent above.
I made the earth and everything
that grows on it.
I am the source of life
for all who live on this earth,
so listen to what I say.

I chose you to bring justice, and I am here at your side.
I selected and sent you to bring light
and my promise of hope
to the nations.

You will give sight to the blind;
you will set prisoners free
from dark dungeons.

My name is the Lord! I won’t let idols or humans
share my glory and praise.

Everything has happened just as I said it would;
now I will announce
what will happen next.

Isaiah 42:5-9


The Word of God makes perfect sense of the past and perfectly predicts the future. The "All-Knowing" quality of God is really difficult to grasp from our human vantage point.

God knows whether there will be peace or war. He knows every earthquake that rattles the earth before the first shake. God knows an all inclusive EVERYTHING! In the chaos of today's world God knows what will happen next. He knows who will win an election and He knows whether or not the economy of the world will continue or collapse.

God also knows my heart. He knows if I am being truthful even to myself.  There is nothing that has ever been or will ever be that goes beyond the knowledge of God Almighty!  So if you want to know what is going to happen next in the world or in your life, ask God and listen for His answer! 

"Lord, I spend so much of my time wondering and speculating about things that You know perfectly well.  Forgive me for depending on the wisdom of men and my own understanding rather than depending on You and Your Word!  Please Lord, don't drown me in knowledge that is too great for me to know, but give me a glimpse of this day that I may praise and honor You for knowing my steps before I take them."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Life of Resurrection!

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Some time later, I felt the Lord’s power take control of me, and his Spirit carried me to a valley full of bones. The Lord showed me all around, and everywhere I looked I saw bones that were dried out.

He said, “Ezekiel, son of man, can these bones come back to life?” I replied, “Lord God, only you can answer that.”

He then told me to say: Dry bones, listen to what the Lord is saying to you, “I, the Lord God, will put breath in you, and once again you will live.”

Ezekiel 37:1-5

There are no doctors who can do what Jesus does every day. Raising the dead is not taught in medical school and no one has a specialty in that field. Once you are dead, all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot cause you to live again, but Jesus can.

After you have been officially declared to be dead, then the preparations are made for your funeral.

Here comes the exciting news. After you have been declared to be spiritually dead, then you can be buried with Christ and with Him rise to walk a new life!

But I'm not dead you may say. Oh yes you are! You see we all died when Adam and Eve sinned and rebelled against God. We are not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we are sinners. Sin and death is part of the nature we inherited from our first parents.

So many people spend their entire lives trying to stay alive in this world and fan a spark into a flame.  It will not work.  The only way for an acorn to become a giant oak is for it to die and be buried in the ground.  Only then can the new life of resurrection sprout  the first two leaves of what will be a mighty oak.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Final Preparations!

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And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light.

Nations will walk by the light of that city, and kings will bring their riches there. Its gates are always open during the day, and night never comes. The glorious treasures of nations will be brought into the city.

But nothing unworthy will be allowed to enter. No one who is dirty-minded or who tells lies will be there. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will be in the city.

Revelation 21:23-27

How clean is your mind and how truthful are your words?  We live in a world that is dedicated to the proposition of using every innuendo possible to make you have a dirty thought.  And truth itself is such a rarity today that every word is suspect.

It is absolutely true that we are saved by faith in Jesus and not by our own works, but look at the contradiction.  A man who is saved from this world and all of it's evil and yet still holds on to dirty thoughts and lying.  When the sky lights up with the return of Jesus are you going to need to repent of your inappropriate thoughts and lying words before you go with Him? 

So what can I do today to get ready for the return of Jesus?  Reject every thought that comes to your mind that is not pure and holy and righteous.  Think only on those things that are beautiful!  And consider every word that you utter, that they may all be words of truth.  Let there be no hint of a lie on your lips. 

"Lord help me make the final preparations for entrance into that City where there will be no one who is dirty-minded or who tells lies.  May Your Holiness and Truth engulf me today as I stand and search the skies for Your appearance!"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Paid in Full!

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But Jesus will never die, and so he will be a priest forever!

He is forever able to save the people he leads to God, because he always lives to speak to God for them.

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.

Hebrews 7:24-27

I remember the excitement years ago when I first learned that I can become like Jesus!  It still is an amazing truth that wakes me with hope for the day.  But I must celebrate even more that Jesus is not and has never been like me!  Jesus suffered for the sins of mankind, but Jesus never knew sin, regret and repentance.  Jesus does not know what it feels like to be unfaithful to God. 

Jesus does not show us what it is like for a sinner to repent, but He shows us what it is like for a Savior to pay for the sins that I have committed.  Jesus didn't come just to reveal to us why we are going to Hell.  He came to show us how to avoid that horrible fate. 

Jesus can relate to my temptation.  He does understand suffering and pain.  He knows sorrow and grief, but sin is another matter.  Jesus came to take me away from sin and to take the consequences of sin away from me!  His one sacrifice on the Cross paid the price for every sin that has ever or will ever be committed.  The Good News of Jesus is that He is giving you the choice of accepting or rejecting that payment. 

If you believe in Jesus, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, are united with Him and walk in His ways you will be changed into His likeness and live with Jesus forever, and the price He paid on the Cross will be credited to your account!  Your sin account will be marked PAID IN FULL!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

No Dentists in Heaven!

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Do all you can to go in by the narrow door! A lot of people will try to get in, but will not be able to.

Once the owner of the house gets up and locks the door, you will be left standing outside. You will knock on the door and say, “Sir, open the door for us!” But the owner will answer, “I don’t know a thing about you!”

Then you will start saying, “We dined with you, and you taught in our streets.”

But he will say, “I really don’t know who you are! Get away from me, you evil people!”  Then when you have been thrown outside, you will weep and grit your teeth because you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom. People will come from all directions and sit down to feast in God’s kingdom. There the ones who are now least important will be the most important, and those who are now most important will be least important.

Luke 13:24-30

For the past five days I have been suffering tooth pain. I tried to wait for the antibiotic to heal the problem so I wouldn't have to pull the tooth, but that was a futile and excruciating decision. I don't use the word "Hell" lightly, but to describe my pain as hurting like Hell seemed very appropriate. The pain was all consuming, only dulled by pain killers and kept me from focusing on or accomplishing anything else. Then I remembered these verses that say people in Hell will gnash their teeth. So my description of hurting like Hell may be more accurate than I might know.

The dentist pulled the tooth and within hours the pain began to go away.

Here is an exciting truth. According to Revelation 21:4 there will be no pain in Heaven! It is accurate to say then that all pain hurts like Hell, because in Heaven there will be no pain!

Think of all the pain and suffering you have had in your life and then consider this: If you could go to a place where there would be no more pain would you go? Just imagine, no more back aches, tooth aches or head aches. You will never have to ask someone how they feel, because everyone will always feel great!

Sometimes people in terrible pain are tempted to take their own lives to stop the pain. The only way to stop the pain forever is not to take you life, but rather to give your life to Jesus. Jesus has promised then to come and take you to Heaven where there is no pain!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jesus Loves the Lost!

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Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life.

God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!

No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son.

The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light.

John 3:15-19

It is such a joy when a man or woman who is lost turns around and comes to Jesus, trusts Him with all their heart, gladly confesses their faith in the Son and is buried with Jesus in baptism! There is joy in Heaven when that which was lost is found.

Does God love you more before or after you accept Jesus? The answer to that question is simple. The love of God cannot be measured. God loves you as much before you repent and turn to Jesus as He does after you are saved. God gives air to breathe to the righteous and the wicked.

God loves and Jesus died for His enemies. And that includes every despicably evil person on the face of the earth. A mother's love for a child on death row is like God's love for the lost. Is her heart broken? Oh, yes! Did the sin kill her love for the sinner? No it did not.

Don't bring people to Jesus so Jesus can start loving them. Bring men and women to Jesus so they can start loving Him.

"Lord help me to love the world as You love the world. May those who do not yet know You feel your love flow through me. As the old song said, 'Lord speak to me that I may speak, in living echoes' of Your Word."

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Nation Like Edom?

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The Lord said to Edom: I will make you the weakest
and most despised nation.

You live in a mountain fortress, because your pride
makes you feel safe from attack, but you are mistaken.

I will still bring you down, even if you fly higher than an eagle
or nest among the stars.  I, the Lord, have spoken!

If thieves break in at night, they steal only what they want. And people who harvest grapes
always leave some unpicked. But, Edom, you are doomed!

Everything you treasure most will be taken from you.

Your allies can’t be trusted. They will force you out of your own country.
Your best friends will trick and trap you, even before you know it.

Edom, when this happens, I, the Lord, will destroy all your marvelous wisdom.

Warriors from the city of Teman will be terrified, and you descendants of Esau  will be wiped out.

You were cruel to your relatives, the descendants of Jacob.  Now you will be destroyed,  disgraced forever.

Obadiah 1:2-10

Edom was a nation with a strong defense and national pride that made them feel safe, rich and wise. They were the descendants of Esau, but because they were cruel to the descendants of Jacob God pronounced their doom.

Does it matter how a nation, any nation treats Israel? For many years, Israel was not a nation in the land given to them by God, but now they are once again. Has God forgotten His promises to the Jews? Were the Israelites just a good Bible story and a spiritual symbol for the Church? Is that all there is to their story?

History is littered with nations that chose to abandon or mistreat Israel. It appears that the United States is in the process of joining them in that decision. As God so decides help will come to Israel. But even as God destroyed the "marvelous wisdom" of Edom because they were cruel to Israel, the fate of the United States is in the Hand of God.

May God have mercy if we refuse to help the blood relatives of Jesus Christ!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another God?

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Jehu called together the people in Samaria and said:  King Ahab sometimes worshiped Baal, but I will be completely faithful to Baal. I’m going to offer a huge sacrifice to him. So invite his prophets and priests, and be sure everyone who worships him is there. Anyone who doesn’t come will be killed. But this was a trick—Jehu was really planning to kill the worshipers of Baal. He said, “Announce a day of worship for Baal!” After the day had been announced, Jehu sent an invitation to everyone in Israel. All the worshipers of Baal came, and the temple was filled from one end to the other.

As soon as Jehu finished offering the sacrifice, he told the guards and soldiers, “Come in and kill them! Don’t let anyone escape.” They slaughtered everyone in the crowd and threw the bodies outside. Then they went back into the temple and carried out the image of Baal. They burned it and broke it into pieces, then they completely destroyed Baal’s temple. And since that time, it’s been nothing but a public toilet.

That’s how Jehu stopped the worship of Baal in Israel.

2 Kings 10:18-21 and 25-28

A violent death came to the worshipers of Baal through the deceit of King Jehu. This is one of those cases where the purpose of God was accomplished through the deception of man like the midwives in Egypt who lied to Pharaoh.

The rather non politically correct point of this story and of the Bible's entire message is that God is not a supporter of "Freedom of Religion." He does give you the right to choose, but He does not remove the consequences of the choice. If you choose to worship any god other than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you will be eternally separated from Him. There is only one Heaven and only one Way to get there.

The most common lie in all the world is this: "I'm not religious!" Yes you are. Every man, woman and child bows down at some altar and worships. Jesus is not asking you to become religious. He is asking you to give up your religion and to "religiously" follow Him.

Everyone has a god. Your god is the thing that dominates your life. For some it is pleasure. For some it is money or fame. But if you are alive, you bow before something or someone and you live your life to satisfy that entity.

“Lord, open my eyes that I may see if there is some god before whom I am bowing other than You, the Lord of Heaven and earth! And then Lord grant me the courage to forsake that idol and be wholly devoted to You! Amen."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Word in My Heart!

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Moses said:  People of Israel, after you capture the land the Lord your God is giving you, and after you settle on it, you will say, “We want a king, just like the nations around us.”

Go ahead and appoint a king, but make sure that he is an Israelite and that he is the one the Lord has chosen.

The king should not have many horses, especially those from Egypt. The Lord has said never to go back there again.

And the king must not have a lot of wives—they might tempt him to be unfaithful to the Lord. Finally, the king must not try to get huge amounts of silver and gold.

The official copy of God’s laws will be kept by the priests of the Levi tribe. So, as soon as anyone becomes king, he must go to the priests and write out a copy of these laws while they watch. Each day the king must read and obey these laws, so that he will learn to worship the Lord with fear and trembling and not think that he’s better than everyone else. If the king completely obeys the Lord’s commands, he and his descendants will rule Israel for many years.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20

I once met a lady who was writing her own handwritten copy of the Bible.  It seems like a rather daunting task, but she decided to do it based on this scripture in Deuteronomy 17.
I have never written even an entire book of the Bible by hand, but I have found that when I write a chapter by hand, not on the computer, I see things that are easy to overlook otherwise.

If you want to study a chapter of the Bible, you might want to try writing it by hand first before you go to the commentaries for other insight.

But the real question for all of us is this:  How do we write the Word of God on our hearts and minds?  Until the Bible is written on your heart it is only available when you remember to bring the book.  But when scripture is inscribed on your heart and mind you can read it anywhere and at anytime.  The answer is simple.  Read the Bible early and often.  Memorize the Word and obey the Word so that you act out in your life everything it says.

Having the best book in the world on skiing does not make you great on the slopes.  And having a wonderful library of Bibles and commentaries does not make you a Christian.  It is only when the finger of God writes His Word on the tablet of your heart that you are changed into the likeness of Jesus. 

“Lord take my heart and mind today and write Your Word and Your Will on them both.”

Friday, February 3, 2012

No Earthly Good!

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God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you.

Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.

Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.   Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.

Colossians 3:12-17

I know a man for whom sports is the beginning and end of everything. He must spend all of his spare time and much of the rest of his time watching and reading about sports. Interestingly, he is not an athlete himself. But his knowledge of sports both amateur and professional as well as international is amazing.

Your life itself is controlled by your thoughts. You will be changed by what you think about. If you could measure the thoughts of a great professional golfer, it is almost certain that most of his thoughts center around the game of golf. A great artist thinks about his craft and a great football quarterback is continually considering how to play the game better.

If a young man wants to win the heart of a young woman, he must start by thinking of her all of the time. That is how he can seize the opportunity when it arises.

How often do you think of Jesus? Is Heaven on your mind every day? Does the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts or do you let other things control your mind?

"Lord I want to give my mind over to You today more than ever before. May your peace control my mind so that every thought will be focused on You, Your will and Eternity in Heaven. Lord let me truly be so Heavenly minded that I am of no earthly good!"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Offense of the Cross

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As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people. Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right, and they are so greedy that they do all kinds of indecent things.

But that isn’t what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learned about him. You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy.

Ephesians 4:17-24

Years ago there was a song with lyrics that caused some soul searching.  "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"  Of course, that is a problem for every follower of Jesus.  We are tempted to live like the world, and we are tempted to tamper with the message of Jesus so the world will not be offended by the Cross! 

It is easy to be convicted of our own sin when we live like the world.  When our words, deeds and even thoughts join in with the sin around us the Holy Spirit brings conviction and draws us to repentance. 

But when we try to remove the offense of the Cross it becomes like a "zero" calorie food which also has no nutritional content.  When the Cross does not address the issues of your life with convicting power it is of no value indeed!

Our job is not to remove the offenses in Scripture to make the message more palatable.  We must simply proclaim the message, offensive parts and all, and let the Holy Spirit work on the hearts and minds of those who hear.

"Lord, may I provide the world around me with evidence that I belong to You today as I walk in Your will and repent of the ways I have walked with the world.  And may the offensive message of the Cross bring the Glorious Peace of knowing Jesus to men and women everywhere!  Amen"  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Promises of God!

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But the Scriptures say that sin controls everyone, so that God’s promises will be for anyone who has faith in Jesus Christ.

The Law controlled us and kept us under its power until the time came when we would have faith. In fact, the Law was our teacher. It was supposed to teach us until we had faith and were acceptable to God.

But once a person has learned to have faith, there is no more need to have the Law as a teacher.

All of you are God’s children because of your faith in Christ Jesus. And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes. Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.

So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham’s family,  and you will be given what God has promised.

Galatians 3:22-29

When I was a boy, a friend of mine promised to give me something and he never did.  I'm really amazed that I can even remember the incident which happened more than fifty years ago.  But I did believe him at the time and I was delighted and really looked forward to it.  But the gift never came!  I suppose that was my first introduction to "don't believe it if it's too good to be true!"

There are lots of people who say the promises of God are like the promise I believed as a boy.  They smugly say, "The gifts never come."  They believe that God, if He exists at all is just the judge, jury and executioner who pays us back for unrighteous living. 
But they are wrong!  The promises of God are always kept.  God never speaks a word that is not in every way the Truth!  Faith is believing the promises of God before they are fulfilled.

What promises of God have you seen already fulfilled in your life?   And what promises are yet to be received?

My job is not to judge the promises but rather to know the Lord so well that His voice is unmistakable.  The question is not "What is the promise?"   The question is: "Did God say it?"  The only judgment we must make is whether or not the promise was spoken by God. 

Even that is not hard.  The promises of God are written for you to read in the Bible!