Monday, April 30, 2012

Chasing After the Wind!

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Jesus said to his disciples:

If you love me, you will do as I command.  Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you.

The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don't see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you.

I won't leave you like orphans. I will come back to you. In a little while the people of this world won't be able to see me, but you will see me. And because I live, you will live.  Then you will know that I am one with the Father. You will know that you are one with me, and I am one with you.

If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like.

John 14:15-21

Jesus and the Holy Spirit are invisible to the people of this world but not to Christians. We wonder why some men make fun of us for following Jesus. But they cannot see Him and to them we look like we are chasing after the wind!

Then, and this is sad, sometimes men will decide to follow Jesus but they never see Him. So they pretend to see Jesus and just chase after the wind themselves. They see others who do see Jesus and try to copy them in their Christian walk. But they have never seen the Lord for themselves.

The same is true for the Holy Spirit. The world cannot see Him and cannot know Him. Only those who are disciples of Jesus can see and know the Holy Spirit.

So if you are struggling with your Christian life I would ask you this: Do you see Jesus and do you see and know the Holy Spirit? If you do not, then perhaps you are simply pretending to be a follower of Jesus.

Give up the pretense and seriously commit to live each moment of this day according to His will and the leading of the Holy Spirit. When you pretend to be a believer you will also have to pretend to see Jesus!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

How to Save a Nation!

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Do you rulers in Jerusalem
and in the city of Samaria
feel safe and at ease?
Everyone bows down to you,
and you think you are better
than any other nation.
But you are in for trouble!

Look what happened
to the cities of Calneh,
powerful Hamath,
and Gath in Philistia.
Are you greater than any
of those kingdoms?

You are cruel, and you forget
the coming day of judgment.

You rich people lounge around
on beds with ivory posts,
while dining on the meat
of your lambs and calves.

You sing foolish songs
to the music of harps,
and you make up new tunes,
just as David used to do.

You drink all the wine you want
and wear expensive perfume,
but you don't care about
the ruin of your nation.

Amos 6:1-6

Do you care about the ruin of your nation? Some think that good laws will bring a nation back from the brink of destruction, but they will not. Remember, laws are simply a reflection of the hearts of the people. Laws are an attempt to prohibit people from doing things that would be bad for the country and its other citizens. If the hearts of the men and women in the country were right before God there would be no need for those laws. No one would do those bad things.

How do you bring a nation back from it's certain demise? The answer is to change the hearts of the people instead of the laws. Until that happens all you have is a contest of voting blocks. One wants the laws to force everyone to live as if they were followers of Jesus Christ. The other wants no laws relating to personal actions at all. But without a sweeping revival across your nation, neither voting block will get what they want. What they will get is a totalitarian government that will control actions not by law, but by force. Self government without self control always ends badly.

Do you want to save your nation? If you do then tell everyone you know about the love of Jesus and what He has done for you and will do for your life if you give yourself to Him! Jesus is the answer to every question and His love burning brightly in the hearts of men will save any nation.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is Jesus in Your Boat?

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One day, Jesus and his disciples got into a boat, and he said, “Let's cross the lake.” They started out, and while they were sailing across, he went to sleep.

Suddenly a storm struck the lake, and the boat started sinking. They were in danger.

So they went to Jesus and woke him up, “Master, Master! We are about to drown!”

Jesus got up and ordered the wind and waves to stop. They obeyed, and everything was calm.

Then Jesus asked the disciples, “Don't you have any faith?”
But they were frightened and amazed. They said to each other, “Who is this? He can give orders to the wind and the waves, and they obey him!”

Luke 8:22-25

As you sail on the Sea of Life there will be storms that suddenly appear and threaten to destroy you and those you love.

The way to prepare for the storms is not to set your course so that you can certainly avoid all of them. The way to prepare is to make sure that Jesus is in your boat! If Jesus is in your boat you have nothing to fear even if He is asleep!

Don't spend your time studying the weather reports and charting a safe course for your life. Spend your time studying the Word of God and listening to the Holy Spirit direct your steps!

The disciples woke up Jesus and declared that they were all about to drown. But Jesus seems to have said that they could have addressed issue of the storm by faith!

So when a storm strikes your life first check to make sure Jesus is in your boat and then speak to the storm with the faith that God has given you!

If Jesus is with you either the storm will calm and the danger will pass or you will be taken to Heaven to live with Him forever. There is no bad ending to that story!

Check your life today and make sure there is room for Jesus in your boat!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Great Physician!

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Once again, Jesus went to the shore of Lake Galilee. A large crowd gathered around him, and he taught them.

As he walked along, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus. Levi was sitting at the place for paying taxes, and Jesus said to him, “Come with me!” So he got up and went with Jesus.

Later, Jesus and his disciples were having dinner at Levi's house.  Many tax collectors and other sinners had become followers of Jesus, and they were also guests at the dinner.

Some of the teachers of the Law of Moses were Pharisees, and they saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors. So they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus heard them and answered, “Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn't come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners.”

Mark 2:13-17

The tax collectors and other sinners who were eating with Jesus at Levi's house had become followers of Jesus. But when Jesus was accused of eating with tax collectors and sinners He did not say "Oh no you are quite wrong, these are former tax collectors and sinners because they have become my followers!"

The first thing these folks did was to become a Christ follower. The changes that needed to come in their lives would then be woven in by the power of fellowship with Jesus and later the indwelling Holy Spirit.

If you try to clean yourself up so you can become a follower of Jesus you will never come to the point of being "clean enough." Jesus wants you to come to Him and begin to follow in His steps just as you are right now. Change nothing. Come to Jesus and let Him change everything!

Ask Jesus to move your heart to a different place in every way that it needs to be changed.

And when you find someone who has made a wreck of their life and has no hope, invite them to turn their heart to Jesus before they do anything else!

Let the Great Physician do the healing!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lawyer in Heaven!

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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.

Hebrews 7:24-25

The best way to get a good job is to have someone you know well recommend you for a position.  With the recommendation comes a character assessment that you cannot provide with a simple resume.  When a trusted and qualified person speaks on your behalf the steps to a new job are often easy.

Jesus speaks to God for you.  Years ago Gary S. Paxton wrote a song entitled, “Jesus is My Lawyer in Heaven.” Jesus is your defense attorney and he has never lost a case.  When Jesus pleads for your acquittal the evidence He presents is indisputable.  No other lawyer has ever admitted that his client is guilty, but tells the court that the price for the crime has already been paid!  I can imagine Jesus holding up His hands and showing God the scars. 

Are you still trying to claim that you are innocent before God?  You are not.  The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.  Are you still trying to be good enough to go to Heaven?  Sorry about that one too!  You are like “Humpty Dumpty” who fell off of the wall and you cannot put yourself back together again.  Only God can do that because of the Cross of Christ.

Remember Jesus loves you and wants you to be with Him forever.  Jesus wants you to victoriously finish this life here on earth.  No matter how “messed up” your life is right now, Jesus wants to be your lawyer before the throne of God and an eternally glorious outcome is guaranteed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Offensive Christianity!

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On another Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, and a man with a paralyzed right hand was there.

Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses kept watching Jesus to see if he would heal the man. They did this because they wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong.

Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. And the man stood up.

Then Jesus asked, “On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it?”

After he had looked around at everyone, he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his bad hand became completely well.

The teachers and the Pharisees were furious and started saying to one another, “What can we do about Jesus?”

Luke 6:6-11

If you live your life like Jesus there will be people who watch you hoping they can accuse you of doing something wrong.  

When Jesus healed the man with the paralyzed hand He knew that the teachers and Pharisees would become angry with Him, but He did it anyway.

The reason they were upset is that Jesus healed the man on a Sabbath day, on which no Jew was supposed to work.  

When God calls you to display His power in the world you will often be aware that there are those who will be upset by it.  Satan wants you to live your Christian life so that no one in the world will be offended.  That simply means that you will not be salt or light for anyone else.

Every day the world is screaming that you should not declare your faith or anything about your faith because it is offensive to the world.  

Remember, if you are not upsetting the world then your light is indeed hidden under a bushel.  It is like a sporting contest.  To win the game you must be "offensive!"

"Lord, as I walk with You today give me something to do for you that will upset Satan!  Amen."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Purify My Language!

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The [Lord] said:
Just wait for the day
when I accuse you nations.
I have decided on a day,
when I will bring together
every nation and kingdom
and punish them all
in my fiery anger.
I will become furious
and destroy the earth.

I will purify each language
and make those languages
acceptable for praising me.
Then, with hearts united,
everyone will serve
only me, the [Lord].

From across the rivers
of Ethiopia,
my scattered people,
my true worshipers,
will bring offerings to me.

When that time comes,
you won't rebel against me
and be put to shame.
I'll do away with those
who are proud and arrogant.
Never will any of them
strut around
on my holy mountain.

But I, the [Lord], won't destroy
any of your people
who are truly humble
and turn to me for safety.

Zephaniah 3:8-12

I knew a man who says he was very accomplished at using "bad language" although I never heard him do it. His testimony is that when he turned his heart to Jesus and was buried with Him his language was purified and he stopped cursing!

It is easy for us to forget that even as there is power in God's Word, there is power in the words that we speak as well. Every friendship is built on the words that are spoken by both people. Of course what you say must be confirmed by what you do, but the words we speak to each other are essential for the relationship to last.

When one person in that relationship begins to speak badly of the other or be ashamed to admit that they are friends then that communion begins to crumble and fall apart.

Has your speech been purified by the Lord? Is every word you utter appropriate for His ears? And when you are with those who don't know Him do you hide your love for Jesus?

"Lord deepen my love for You and give me the courage to let that love be seen by everyone I encounter today. In every conversation I have show me how to lift You up by confessing my love for You. Purify my language so that it will be acceptable for praising You! Amen."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sins of Babylon!

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I saw another angel come from heaven. This one had great power, and the earth was bright because of his glory.

The angel shouted,
“Fallen! Powerful Babylon
has fallen
and is now the home
of demons.
It is the den
of every filthy spirit
and of all unclean birds,
and every dirty
and hated animal.

Babylon's evil and immoral wine
has made all nations drunk.
Every king on earth
has slept with her,
and every merchant on earth
is rich because of
her evil desires.”

Then I heard another voice
from heaven shout,
“My people, you must escape
from Babylon.
Don't take part in her sins
and share her punishment.

Her sins are piled
as high as heaven.
God has remembered the evil
she has done.

Revelation 18:1-5

The definition of sin is not established by a vote of the majority! Right and wrong are not determined by a poll. Neither do they come from the cultural norm of your nation.

Good and evil are whatever God says they are and no one else! When God tells us that we must not take part in the sins of "Babylon" how can we be obedient to that instruction?

Let your standard of morality come from the Bible and not from the law of your land. Search the scriptures to know the heart and mind of God. His Word must be in your heart if it is going to control your life. Listen to and learn the stories of the Bible. Don't let the law of the land be the standard for your conduct. Let the Holy Spirit lead you according to the Word of God. That means that sometimes you cannot do something that is "perfectly legal" in you country. It also means that sometimes you must do something that is illegal as you are directed by His Spirit.

Spend time in God's Word everyday so that you can discern and not take part in the "Sins of Babylon."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Controlled by the Spirit!

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After this, I looked and saw a door that opened into heaven. Then the voice that had spoken to me at first and that sounded like a trumpet said, “Come up here! I will show you what must happen next.”  Right then the Spirit took control of me, and there in heaven I saw a throne and someone sitting on it.

The one who was sitting there sparkled like precious stones of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow that looked like an emerald surrounded the throne.

Twenty-four other thrones were in a circle around that throne. And on each of these thrones there was an elder dressed in white clothes and wearing a gold crown. Flashes of lightning and roars of thunder came out from the throne in the center of the circle. Seven torches, which are the seven spirits of God, were burning in front of the throne.

Revelation 4:1-5

John saw the open door in Heaven and he heard the voice telling him to "come up here." Right then the Spirit took control of John and he could see what was going on in Heaven.

When you see an "open door" of opportunity for the Lord it is time to listen for His voice. Seeing an opportunity does not mean that the Lord wants you to seize it. When you see an open door it is time to listen for the voice of God. "Lord is this the way you are leading me? Is this the path you want me to walk?"

You will find that answer when you let the Spirit take control of your life and you walk the way that He leads.

You see the open door, hear the voice of God calling you to that way and finally you are led by the Holy Spirit to walk in it! So many see an open door and begin to run in that way without ever listening for the voice of God. And even after hearing God's voice some begin to move in that calling without letting the Holy Spirit take control of their lives.

Like John when you let the Spirit take control of your life you can see what is going on in Heaven. The descriptions in the Bible of Heaven will become alive with the excitement and urgency of what will happen when Jesus returns. Let go of everything else that controls your life and let the Holy Spirit take full command. You will see the Glory of God and hear the sounds of Heaven's throne room and walk in a path that leads you closer to Jesus every day! Amen.

Saturday, April 21, 2012



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I have sinned and done wrong
since the day I was born.

But you want complete honesty,
so teach me true wisdom.

Wash me with hyssop until I am clean
and whiter than snow.

Let me be happy and joyful!
You crushed my bones,
now let them celebrate.

Turn your eyes from my sin
and cover my guilt.

Create pure thoughts in me
and make me faithful again.

Don't chase me away from you
or take your Holy Spirit
away from me.

Make me as happy as you did
when you saved me;
make me want to obey!

I will teach sinners your Law,
and they will return to you.

Keep me from any deadly sin.
Only you can save me!
Then I will shout and sing
about your power to save.

Help me to speak,
and I will praise you, Lord.

Offerings and sacrifices
are not what you want.

The way to please you
is to be truly sorry
deep in our hearts.
This is the kind of sacrifice
you won't refuse.

Psalm 51:5-17

A man after God's own heart was tempted and then he sinned. King David is perhaps the best example in the Bible of someone with whom we can identify in our repentance from sin and restoration to fellowship with God.

David's part was to confess to God that he had sinned. God's part was to wash David, make him happy, create pure thoughts in the King, make him want to obey, and to help him speak so David could praise the Lord again.

Restoration to fellowship with God is based on confession and repentance but God re-establishes the relationship.

Don't take pride like a recovering alcoholic in how many days you have gone without sinning against God. Remember pride itself may be the sin that ruins your record.

Instead take pride in Jesus Christ who has already paid the price for every sin that has or will ever be committed.

"Jesus I confess to you that my sin separates me from fellowship with you, and I do not want that. Restore me Lord right now to the joy I had when I first knew your forgiveness! Amen"

Friday, April 20, 2012

What is Worry?

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I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing?

Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth much more than birds?

Can worry make you live longer?  Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes.  But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them.

God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. God will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?

Don't worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?”  Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows you need all of these.

Matthew 6:25-32

Worry is what you do when you lie awake in bed at night and cannot sleep. Sleeping is an act of trust. When you are asleep you are not in control of the things around you and you are very vulnerable to any threat. Worrying will keep you awake and rob you of the peaceful sleep your body so desperately needs.

I still remember hearing the voices of my parents while I was going to sleep as a small child. It was such a comfort to know that they were awake and that I was safe and could put away all my worries and go to sleep.

In this world filled with trouble of all kinds there are plenty of reasons to worry, if you do not trust God. When it is time for you to rest in God and be refreshed Satan will try to "keep you awake" with worry. You will go over and over in your mind what you could have done differently and you will think about the bad things that may happen.

"Lord, let me hear Your voice so that I may not worry as I rest in You. It really doesn't matter what I hear You saying, as long as I am hearing Words that come from Your mouth. So Lord, every time I am tempted to worry I will listen for Your voice and then rest in You! Amen"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Lost Are Found!

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God blesses those people
whose hearts are pure.
They will see him!

Matthew 5:8

A few months ago I safely put away a small electronic remote control so that I would not lose it. Then, of course I forgot where I put it. A few weeks ago I began the search for it and came up with nothing. I looked and looked and even cleaned up my office in the pursuit. But it seems it had vanished.

The day before yesterday I asked my wife to pray with me, that God would show me where I had put it. I went immediately to my office and within a minute I saw the lost remote clipped to the edge of a bookshelf. I had searched the bookshelf lots of times and had looked diligently only inches from where it was all the time in plain view. My eyes were blinded to it until I prayed and God opened my eyes and let me see the thing that was lost.

Matthew 5:8 clearly says that without a pure heart you cannot see God.  If you cannot see God, you cannot recognize that He is there all the time and involved in every minute of your day.

"Lord purify my heart that I may see You and Lord let me see the ones around me who are lost so that I can bring them the Good News of what You have already done for them!  With you Lord, the blind can see and the lost are found!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When Something Bad Happens

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The fourth angel emptied his bowl on the sun, and it began to scorch people like fire.

Everyone was scorched by its great heat, and all of them cursed the name of God who had power over these terrible troubles. But no one turned to God and praised him.

Revelation 16:8-9

What do you do when something bad happens in your life? Do you get angry with God for letting such a terrible thing come your way? "What did I ever do to deserve this?" "Why me God?" Many people spend the rest of their lives spiritually crippled by one difficult and painful thing that crossed their path.

How does God want you to respond to the troubles that He allows to come your way? God desires that when you are attacked, you stumble, or you fall that you turn to Him and praise Him! Many turn to God in anger when tragedy strikes, but few turn to Him with praise in times of trouble.

We are to be like little children. When a child realizes that he is in trouble, he runs to his father and jumps into the father's arms for protection. So when you know you are safely cradled in God's arms, you can praise Him! Whatever the suffering that has come to you, when you rest in God you can praise Him.

Praise God in the darkness. Praise God in the light. Praise God when you suffer and praise God when you rejoice. Praise God in everything and at all times. Make it your goal in life to praise God with the last breath you take, so that you will enter God's throne room with praise on your lips and the love of Jesus in your heart!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What’s in the Box?

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God the Father decided to choose you as his people, and his Spirit has made you holy. You have obeyed Jesus Christ and are sprinkled with his blood. I pray that God will be kind to you and will keep on giving you peace!


Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.

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 1:2-7

The excitement of Christmas gift giving is trying to figure out what is in the box that sits under the tree with your name on it. You can eliminate many things that might be in the box because it is too small to hold them. And of course the weight of the box tells you lots about what it could be. But you never really know until Christmas morning and you open the box containing your special gift.

The anticipation of Heaven is much the same. God has something stored up for you in Heaven that will never decay, be ruined or disappear. On the day you open that gift you will be glad.

Children love to think about and look forward to Christmas morning. And followers of Jesus love to think about and look forward to that Eternal Morning in Heaven.

In verse seven of 1 Peter chapter one we really are told what is in the box. It says that "you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns." Let that truth "go to your head." And remember your Head is Jesus!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Read Without Hearing!

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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.

Amos 8:11-12

The words are not in the Bible but many times I heard sermons that declared that "the age of miracles has ceased." I struggled with that "truth" for years until I realized that there was no age of miracles and if there was one it certainly has not ceased. God still intervenes in the affairs of men whenever He chooses to do so and every such intervention is miraculous.

I also believed that God would never withhold His message from anyone who wanted to hear it. But these verses in the Book of Amos say otherwise. Sometimes God will not let you find His Word for your life. You may search and search and still not find it. You even are tempted to believe that the "age of God speaking directly to the hearts of men" has ceased.

What do you do if you seek God's message for you and can't find it? You want to know what God wants you to do but the well is dry and you find nothing. The answer is simply this: Repent of whatever sin you are holding in your heart. It probably is the sin that so "easily besets" you. Then instead of seeking a message from God, seek God Himself! Ask God to let you sit in His presence. Quietly come before Him and enjoy the slightest touch of His hand.

Wait quietly before God until you hear His message for you. When you do, it will come!

You see, you can read God's Word without hearing God's Word. When you open the Bible looking for a message from God make sure your heart is ready to receive and believe God's Word for you!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Too Late to Repent!

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I can't stand the pain!
My heart pounds,
as I twist and turn in agony.
I hear the signal trumpet
and the battle cry of the enemy,
and I cannot be silent.

I see the enemy defeating us
time after time,
leaving everything in ruins.
Even my own home
is destroyed in a moment.

How long will I see enemy flags
and hear their trumpets?

I heard the [Lord] say,
“My people ignore me.
They are foolish children
who do not understand
that they will be punished.
All they know is how to sin.”

After this, I looked around.
The earth was barren,
with no form of life.
The sun, moon, and stars
had disappeared.

The mountains were shaking;

no people could be seen,
and all the birds
had flown away.

Farmland had become a desert,
and towns were in ruins.
The [Lord]'s fierce anger
had done all of this.

Jeremiah 4:19-26

There is extreme shock and an unspoken shout of "Oh God no!" when tragedy strikes. One minute before everything is like it has always been and then nothing is ever the same again.

It may be the death of a loved one, the sudden and unexpected loss of a job or a tornado that blows away everything you own.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Ohio on June 15, 1992 and all was well, but by nine o'clock that night our sixteen year old daughter, Leah had died. Without warning everything changed and almost twenty years later it is hard to tell you about it. She had been driving for less than a year when apparently a small pot hole sent the car out of control and into a tree. She died later that day in surgery.

The United States of America and much of the rest of the world is like a car going out of control. We ignore the limits God has placed on men and laugh at the signs of coming judgment. We bravely declare that God would not do anything to hurt us. Our highest official has declared that we are not a Christian nation and we still snuff out the lives of thousands and thousands of children before they are born.

The moment of reckoning will come and we will be held accountable for our sins! Let your voice be heard warning everyone to stop sinning against God before it is too late to repent!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Like a Mighty Oak!

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The Spirit of the [Lord] God
has taken control of me!
The [Lord] has chosen and sent me
to tell the oppressed
the good news,
to heal the brokenhearted,
and to announce freedom
for prisoners and captives.

This is the year
when the [Lord] God
will show kindness to us
and punish our enemies.
The [Lord] has sent me
to comfort those who mourn,

especially in Jerusalem.
He sent me to give them flowers
in place of their sorrow,
olive oil in place of tears,
and joyous praise
in place of broken hearts.
They will be called
“Trees of Justice,”
planted by the [Lord]
to honor his name.

Isaiah 61:1-3

About 45 years ago I found an acorn under an oak tree in a town called Beersheba Springs, Tennessee. I remember that acorn because I planted it in a small pot of dirt and waited for it to begin to grow. When the acorn became a tiny oak tree in the pot, I took that little tree and brought it more than 400 miles from where I found it and planted it about a quarter of a mile from where I am sitting right now. When you look at that tree and the others around it, you would never know the path it took in coming to live in this place.

Jesus said these verses in Isaiah 61 apply to Him.  Jesus came to let men and women exchange their sorrow for flowers, tears for olive oil and their broken hearts for joyous praise.  He then says that they will be called "Trees of Justice" planted by the Lord to honor His name!

Like that little acorn, Jesus found you and lovingly nurtured your life until you began to sprout and grow.  In a very real sense, you did not find Jesus, Jesus found you.  All you did to become the person you are today was to let Jesus do His work in and on your heart.

Not far from my almost 50 year old oak tree stands an oak that must be more than 200 years old.  No one alive today has any idea how that tree began it's life on that spot, but it still stands and brings cooling shade every hot summer day.

Are you a "Tree of Justice" planted by the Lord to honor His name?  If you are then let everything you do, think, and say be something that will honor the Lord.  Stand firmly in His love and then one day you will become a Mighty Oak in God's Garden!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Look for the White Horse!

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

He had eyes like flames of fire, and he was wearing a lot of crowns. His name was written on him, but he was the only one who knew what the name meant.

The rider wore a robe that was covered with blood, and he was known as “The Word of God.”  He was followed by armies from heaven that rode on white horses and were dressed in pure white linen. 

From his mouth a sharp sword went out to attack the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod and will show the fierce anger of God All-Powerful by trampling the grapes in the pit where wine is made.

On the part of the robe that covered his thigh was written, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Revelation 19:11-16

It makes me feel quite old to tell you this, but I remember traveling across the United States with my family before the days of the Interstate Highway and at a time when there were still lots of useful horses on farms in America. As a way to occupy our time my mother would tell my brother and I to look for and count white horses.

At that time there were enough horses on farms that we could look for white ones instead of just looking for horses. If I were to play the game today I suppose we would look for John Deer tractors.

I wonder when men first discovered that God created horses with the amazing ability to give a man the freedom to go fast and leap over fences.

When she was a little girl, my wife had a horse named Duke. She never specifically told me, but I'm sure that if Heaven meets up to her expectations she will have a horse to ride and I would not be surprised if it is Duke!

When I was a boy we would look for a white horse when we traveled. Now that I am an old man I realize that the greatest journey I will ever make is ahead of me. And on that trip it will be the same as when I was a boy. When I go to Heaven I will certainly look for the White Horse with Jesus on his back!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

God Knows What He is Doing!

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When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of everyone who had been killed for speaking God's message and telling about their faith.

They shouted, “Master, you are holy and faithful! How long will it be before you judge and punish the people of this earth who killed us?”

Then each of those who had been killed was given a white robe and told to rest for a little while. They had to wait until the complete number of the Lord's other servants and followers would be killed.

When I saw the Lamb open the sixth seal, I looked and saw a great earthquake. The sun turned as dark as sackcloth, and the moon became red as blood. The stars in the sky fell to earth, just like figs shaken loose by a windstorm.

Then the sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all mountains and islands were moved from their places.

The kings of the earth, its famous people, and its military leaders hid in caves or behind rocks on the mountains. They hid there together with the rich and the powerful and with all the slaves and free people. Then they shouted to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us! Hide us from the one who sits on the throne and from the anger of the Lamb. That terrible day has come! God and the Lamb will show their anger, and who can face it?”

Revelation 6:9-17

When I see a cloudy sky I am reminded that Jesus will come with the clouds. Whenever I hear of a great earthquake I am also reminded that such an earthquake will be the beginning of the end!

But instead of looking forward to the will of God being done of this earth, even many Christians are hoping God delays the end of all things at least until we have lived out our lives here on earth.

What "on earth" are you waiting for? Are you waiting for things to get better. Are you hoping for human solutions to all the turmoil around the globe? Are you hoping that "freedom" instead of slavery can be restored and men can once again pursue their dreams in peace.

Do you believe that if we can just defeat terrorism in all of it's forms and spread democracy around the world then we can all go back to living in peace?

The problem with such hope is that it leaves out the God Factor. We are not free to decide how things in the world should go. God has mapped out a course for human history and all humanity will conform itself to His plan. He will use the righteous and the unrighteous to accomplish His purposes for planet earth and it's inhabitants.

My job is not to change the future, but to do the will of God. There is not one prophecy in the Bible that I can change by human will.

"Lord help me to trust You completely in the storms of this life and obey your every Word. And put my hope totally in You and not in the world! Amen."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do You Have a Lamp Stand?

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This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Ephesus:

I am the one who holds the seven stars in my right hand, and I walk among the seven gold lampstands. Listen to what I say.

I know everything you have done, including your hard work and how you have endured. I know you won't put up with anyone who is evil. When some people pretended to be apostles, you tested them and found out they were liars.

You have endured and gone through hard times because of me, yet you have not given up.

But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don't have as much love as you used to.  Think about where you have fallen from, and then turn back and do as you did at first. If you don't turn back, I will come and take away your lampstand.

Revelation 2:1-5

If you work hard and endure. If you won't put up with anyone who is evil. If you root out false apostles and prove them to be liars and endure and go through hard times because of Jesus and have not given up, but then you let your love fade, you are in danger of having your "lamp-stand" taken away.

Have you noticed that unloving people who do all the right things are not good witnesses for Jesus? A lamp stand puts the light up high enough that many people can see it. Without a lamp stand the light shines for only a few to see.

Jesus wants the world to notice His followers who are filled with His love. As a follower of Jesus, if you are not shining forth with the love of Christ, He may take away your lamp stand.

Is your light on a lamp stand? Can the love of Christ be seen by men and women far and wide through you? If the answer is "no," then it is time to work on your love. When you combine the light of the Gospel of Jesus with His love flowing through you, Jesus sets you on a lamp stand for many to see.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, when you love those who don't love you, Jesus lifts you up for all the world to see His glory shining through you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don’t Change the Story!

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Here is my warning for everyone who hears the prophecies in this book: 

If you add anything to them, God will make you suffer all the terrible troubles written in this book.

If you take anything away from these prophecies, God will not let you have part in the life-giving tree and in the holy city described in this book.

Revelation 22:18-19

As stories are told from person to person and generation to generation they have a tendency to change. When human beings repeat something they hear, it is quite easy to add a detail that was not in the original story. Over time, stories evolve into quite altered accounts of something that started as a total truth.

That is one reason why we have the Bible in written form. We must tell the stories of the Bible, but we must not change them. God even warns that there will be trouble for those who add to or take away from the Bible.

So here is a good thing to do. Take the story of your own life and compare it with the stories in the Bible. Is your understanding of Jesus based on popular children's songs or does it come from the Scripture? Is your walk with Jesus like the ones described in the Bible? Does your expectation of the Second Coming of Jesus come from the Bible or somewhere else?

It is critical that I continually filter my own life and understanding of God through the Written Word. When I do that, then the changes to the story that come from those who are not careful to say only what the Bible says can be corrected.

When we do that and God looks at our lives, we will hear Him say "Now that's what I've been talking about, or Well Done, good and faithful servant!"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jesus Paid the Price in Full!

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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.

Colossians 3:12-15

Recently I spent most of a day with a friend who is Amish. At one point our conversation turned to how many evil things are going on in the world today. So I asked him how the Amish handle a situation where one Amish man sins against another. Who settles the dispute? He got quiet for a few seconds and then said, "That is where forgiveness comes in."

These verses in Colossians include the phrase "forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you!"

Jesus didn't wait until we asked for forgiveness and then pay the price for it. Jesus paid for our forgiveness before anyone ever asked!

This is a stumbling block for many people today. They assume that God forgives them when they ask for it. No not at all. God forgave them when Jesus died on the Cross. That is when the price was paid for the sins of the entire world. Then why does anyone go to Hell? Men and women who do not come to Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Savior do not receive the blessing of salvation that is fully funded and waiting for them to come and get it!

When the most heinous sinner turns his heart to Jesus there is nothing else that needs to be done on his behalf by God. It was all done on the Cross!

So here is another way you can be like Jesus. Make a list of all those who have offended you in any way, and forgive them. Forgive them all! Unless those you have forgiven come and are reconciled to you they will not be blessed by what you have done, but you can still forgive "anyone who does you wrong."

So here is the bottom line. Hell will be filled with men and women who have chosen to be there. Their decision not to be reconciled with God through the Blood of Jesus Christ is what will send them to Hell.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Death of Dying!

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Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. She was still weeping, when she stooped down  and saw two angels inside. They were dressed in white and were sitting where Jesus' body had been. One was at the head and the other was at the foot.

The angels asked Mary, “Why are you crying?”

She answered, “They have taken away my Lord's body! I don't know where they have put him.”

As soon as Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know who he was.

Jesus asked her, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener and said, “Sir, if you have taken his body away, please tell me, so I can go and get him.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to him, “Rabboni.” The Aramaic word “Rabboni” means “Teacher.”

Jesus told her, “Don't hold on to me! I have not yet gone to the Father. But tell my disciples I am going to the one who is my Father and my God, as well as your Father and your God.”

John 20:11-17

From all the accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus you can see that the Resurrection made a big difference. It was clearly Jesus that they saw, but He was different. Jesus appeared to them, but apparently didn't stay with them for very long at a time. They were in a room with the doors closed and suddenly Jesus was there too. Some did not even recognize the Lord when they saw Him.

But none of the disciples were in despair after seeing the resurrected Jesus. Some were stunned, but hope came back and grew beyond anyone's imagination. Even death itself could not stop Jesus and He had told His disciples to take up their crosses and follow Him!

After you have been crucified with Christ, the life you live is a resurrection powered existence. Yes, your body will be changed the day you leave this earth to go to Heaven, but you are changed now into the image of Jesus. After you have been raised with Christ, who can harm you? After you have been raised with Christ, what need do you have that He cannot fulfill?

You will be tempted to despair if all you remember and focus on is Jesus as He died, hanging on the Cross. But if you remember and focus on Jesus after the Resurrection you will be filled with hope! Jesus conquered death and dying and promised that if you follow Him, you will do the same!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Let It Be Me!

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So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”  and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.

John 19:32-41

The day before the Resurrection and the day after the Crucifixion was indeed a day of despair. There is no record of anyone, including the disciples of Jesus being filled with hope as they waited for Jesus to come forth from the grave. They did not expect it and even when they saw the empty tomb, the first response was to believe that someone had stolen His body!

That day was a Passover and should have been a time of celebration and hope. Jesus had told His disciples what would happen, but apparently none of them remembered His words and hoped for the resurrection.

Today is also a dark day on earth. There are wars and rumors of wars. There are famines and earthquakes. There are terrible storms and the fear of great waves washing over the land. There is the almost certain prospect of a terrible economic earthquake. Unless God Himself intervenes in the affairs of men there truly is no hope for the world to move on to better times.

But there is the greatest hope. Just as Jesus promised He came back from the dead and rose from the grave. And just as Jesus promised He will come back to this earth and gather His people to be with Him forever!

"Lord, if there is only one person expecting Your return today, let that person be me! Fill me with the hope of Your return and the courage to proclaim Your name to everyone I encounter this day. Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Don’t Worry–Trust God!


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Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. Life is more than food or clothing. Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. Can worry make you live longer?

If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else?
Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers.

God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith!

Luke 12:22-28

When my son became a sailor, the United States Navy took over the management of his life for four years. He did not have to worry about his food, or what to wear, or where to sleep at night. All he had to do was to be careful to be obedient to the commands that were given to him from above. When he obeyed there was nothing else to worry about.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ is the same. When you sign up to follow Jesus you give Him the management of your life forever! You do not have to worry about what to eat , or what to wear, or where to lay your head at night. All you must do is to be obedient to every command that comes down from above!

Sometimes men or women in the military are "absent without leave," AWOL. When they do that they must start worrying again about what to eat, what to wear and where to sleep at night. Sometimes followers of Jesus do the same. When a Christian quits being obedient, he is also AWOL and suffers the consequences.

If you have ceased being obedient to the commands of Jesus and are absent without leave, now is the time to come back to God, turn yourself in and be restored to your proper place in the service of Jesus Christ!

Here is a huge difference in service in the military and service to Jesus. When an AWOL military soldier turns himself in there is usually serious punishment. When an AWOL Christian comes back to active duty there is a great celebration like when the prodigal son returned home.

Don't Worry - Trust God!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Citizen of Heaven!

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

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

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

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

“Rain and snow fall from the sky.
But they don't return
without watering the earth
that produces seeds to plant
and grain to eat.

That's how it is with my words.
They don't return to me
without doing everything
I send them to do.”

Isaiah 55:6-11

When you go to another country to live, you must learn the language and culture of that country. Words have meanings, but actions do as well. It may take a long time, but the goal is to learn to think and act like a citizen of that new country. It is only from the perspective of living in one culture that you can objectively evaluate the culture from which you came.

The thoughts and ways of God are not like ours. They are higher, much higher than ours. When you begin to think and act like God you can look back at this world and see it for what it is. But from the perspective of this earth we cannot even grasp much of what God is like and what it will be like to live in Heaven with Jesus.

But on earth is where we begin the process of changing into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Our job here is to learn the thoughts and ways of God. After a long life of following Jesus here we really have only just begun the process of becoming like Him. A miraculous transformation of our hearts and minds enables us to act and think like citizens of Heaven.

"Lord Jesus teach me today one more way of acting like a Citizen of Heaven. Show me one of the ways of Heaven that those of us here on earth do not know. And Lord, give me the courage today to act like I belong to the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

God’s Kamikaze!

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“Our people defeated Satan
because of the blood
of the Lamb
and the message of God.
They were willing
to give up their lives.

“The heavens should rejoice,
together with everyone
who lives there.
But pity the earth
and the sea,
because the devil
was thrown down
to the earth.
He knows his time is short,
and he is very angry.”

Revelation 12:11-12

When you give up your life for Jesus you lose nothing. The secret weapon that we have in the struggle against the devil is that we cannot lose even if we die in the battle.

The most dangerous enemy is one that is willing to die in the war. In World War II they were called Kamikazes, today we call them suicide bombers. When men and women are willing to give up their lives in the war, it is very difficult if not impossible to stop them.

In your own struggle against Satan where is safety on your list of priorities? Are you willing to do anything for Jesus as long as it is safe? Do you have limits on your obedience to God? Or have you signed up to be God's Kamikaze? The Japanese word "Kamikaze" can be translated "Divine Wind."

If you are God's Kamikaze, the wind of the Holy Spirit blows you into every encounter of the day and accomplishes His purpose even if you lose your life here on this earth in the process.

A most quoted thought about the war with Satan is this: I have read the end of the Book and we win! So we win with Jesus even if we die in the battle. A profound truth is this: All of the soldiers in God's army are called to die to this world before they ever enter fray! We die before the battle starts and then no one, even Satan can harm us!

Monday, April 2, 2012

God’s Sacred Highway!

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A good road will be there,
and it will be named
“God's Sacred Highway.”
It will be for God's people;
no one unfit to worship God
will walk on that road.
And no fools can travel
on that highway.

No lions or other wild animals
will come near that road;
only those the [Lord] has saved
will travel there.

The people the [Lord] has rescued
will come back singing
as they enter Zion.
Happiness will be a crown
everyone will always wear.
They will celebrate and shout
because all sorrows and worries
will be gone far away.

Isaiah 35:8-10

It is very discouraging to discover that you are on the wrong road! The trip has been going well and then one wrong turn and pretty soon you are lost, don't know where you are or really where the road you are on will take you.

If the sun is up it is sometimes easy to figure out that you are going east instead of west. But in the darkness it might take a long time before you know you are going the wrong way.

The parallel is not perfect, but in some ways the Bible is God's GPS. The Word of God can tell us where we are, which way we are going and how fast we are traveling in that direction. When I get off track in my car the GPS frequently tells me to make a u-turn and go in the opposite direction. That is what the Bible says as well.

If you are not on God's Sacred Highway and are lost, not knowing where you are or where you are going, stop, pray and open up the Bible while asking for directions! Jesus has promised that if you seek Him, you will find Him!

I especially like the part about happiness, singing and celebrating because all sorrows and worries will be gone away while traveling that road! If you are not there now, turn your heart and life over to Jesus and get on God's Sacred Highway!