Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sovereign in My Heart!

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The [Lord] is going to take away your job!

He will give your official robes and your authority to his servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah.
Eliakim will be like a father to the people of Jerusalem and to the royal family of Judah.   The [Lord] will put him in charge of the key that belongs to King David's family. No one will be able to unlock what he locks, and no one will be able to lock what he unlocks.

The [Lord] will make him as firm in his position as a tent peg hammered in the ground, and Eliakim will bring honor to his family.

His children and relatives will be supported by him, like pans hanging from a peg on the wall.  That peg is fastened firmly now, but someday it will be shaken loose and fall down. Then everything that was hanging on it will be destroyed. This is what the [Lord] All-Powerful has promised.

Isaiah 22:19-25

There is no Biblical justification to support the idea that God does not touch the hand of history and move events to suit His will. Story after story in Scripture show how God Himself was the ultimate force behind the events.

We also have free will, but God freely enters in to the mix of what is happening today as He orchestrates the outcome according to His choice! The Sovereignty of God and the free will of man are two pieces of the same puzzle. Romans 8:28 gives a hint at how that works.

We would rather analyze and even debate about the Sovereignty of God in the world than open the door and let God be the Sovereign of our hearts. When Jesus becomes the Lord of your life, you are inviting Him to exercise Sovereignty over everything in it.

Jesus rejected His will for the will of God as he struggled in the garden on the night before He was crucified. That is my best example of how to make Him the Lord in my life. I come before Him and let Him know what I want, but then I yield my will to His and submit myself to the Cross that I must bear. That will finally bring the greatest joy!

"Lord, give me the strength to embrace the path You have decided that I should travel. Let me see Your hand moving on my heart as I take the steps for today's walk with You! Amen!"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Can Only Imagine!

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I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea.

Then I saw New Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband.

I heard a loud voice shout from the throne:
God's home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people.

He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.

Then the one sitting on the throne said:
I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted.

Revelation 21:1-5

It is always comforting to read the list of the things that will not be in Heaven. Listen to it again. There will be no more death, suffering, crying or pain. Imagine life without any of these. It brings me a sigh of relief just to think about it. Thank God that day will come when these will no longer plague our lives!

They will go, but what will remain? There are things that we experience here that we will also experience there because the Bible does not say that they will be taken away. Certainly the fruit of the Spirit will be there. There will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness in Heaven.

When I was a child I got the impression that the only activity in Heaven would be praising God. I imagined that we would stand around and sing forever. Now I really like to sing, but isn't there more than that in Heaven? I believe that the Spirit's fruit must be there and that there will be opportunities in our lives there to experience love, feel joy, be at peace, exercise patience, see goodness and recognize faithfulness. Would I be foolish to suggest that life in Heaven will be even more intricate than the mosaic of life we live here?

If you were to be awarded with a vacation trip to a beautiful south seas island, as you waited to go you would do everything you could do to imagine what it will be like when you get there.

"Lord, I want to go to Heaven and live with Jesus forever. And I want not only to think about the things that will not be there, but to ponder the things that will. Help me to hold in my heart the glory of that day when I arrive in Your presence and begin the life I can now only imagine! Amen."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Free to be a Slave!


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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.”

I then saw an angel standing on the sun, and he shouted to all the birds flying in the sky, “Come and join in God's great feast!

You can eat the flesh of kings, rulers, leaders, horses, riders, free people, slaves, important people, and everyone else.”

Revelation 19:11-18

When it comes to the judgment of God is does not matter who you are or whether or not you are a slave or free.

We have put freedom on a pole and lifted it high as a goal for all men. And of course it is wonderful to be free to live and have the ability to choose the course of your life. It is the rare individual who would choose slavery over freedom. Wars have been fought to free slaves from their captivity.

But if you want to be a follower of Jesus the only way to do that is to give up your freedom to live as you choose and become the slave of Jesus. It is the part of the Gospel that lovers of freedom find most offensive. Doesn't Jesus want me to be happy? Doesn't Jesus want me to be free? Of course Jesus wants you to be happy and to be free from the slavery of sin and it's consequence of death. But the only way you can be happy and free from sin is to be the slave of Jesus.

When you are Christ's slave your arms move where His would move, your thoughts go where His go, your words are the Words of Christ, and His love flows through you to everyone you meet. As a slave of Jesus you are free to be the Hand of God on this earth. It is a freedom far beyond any other and a slavery filled with eternal joy and peace!

"Lord, I have lived too long seeking freedom outside of Jesus. Let me have the freedom of being Your slave forever. Amen."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Consider Yourself Warned!

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Ezekiel, son of man, warn your people by saying:
Someday, I, the [Lord], may send an enemy to invade a country. And suppose its people choose someone to stand watch  and to sound a warning signal when the enemy is seen coming.

If any of these people hear the signal and ignore it, they will be killed in battle. But it will be their own fault, because they could have escaped if they had paid attention.

But suppose the person watching fails to sound the warning signal. The enemy will attack and kill some of the sinful people in that country, and I, the [Lord], will hold that person responsible for their death.

Ezekiel, I have appointed you to stand watch for the people of Israel. So listen to what I say, then warn them for me. When I tell wicked people they will die because of their sins, you must warn them to turn from their sinful ways. But if you refuse to warn them, you are responsible for their death.

Ezekiel 33:2-8

My mother would warn me in the winter that if I didn't wear a coat when I went outside I might "catch my death of a cold." It was an "old wives tale" that was not based on scientific evidence. There is no known link between being cold and getting a cold. Colds are caused by viruses not by the weather.

Throughout history God has warned men and women that death is caused by sin. In fact, death is the ultimate consequence of sin. But in our Satan inspired arrogance we have decided that the link between sin and death is just another "old wives tale." We legislate to make sin a legal thing to do. We spend vast amounts of money on scientific research to find a cure for illnesses that result from sin.

The final impact of sin on your life will not be felt here on earth, no matter how sinful you have been here. And even if men develop the perfect vaccine against the consequences of sin in the here and now, it will not work in eternity.

There is only one way to avoid the death that comes from sin. That way is the Way of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus paid the price for all of your sins when He suffered and died.

If you understand what Jesus did for you, consider yourself warned!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gospel in Eight Words!

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The Word that gives life was from the beginning, and this is the one our message is about. Our ears have heard, our eyes have seen, and our hands have touched this Word.

The one who gives life appeared! We saw it happen, and we are witnesses to what we have seen. Now we are telling you about this eternal life that was with the Father and appeared to us. We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so you may share in this life with us. And we share in it with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:1-3

If you have seen some of the old American western movies you know that a man's picture might appear on a wanted poster. Sometimes it would say "Wanted: Dead or Alive." Those are the two states of a human being. He is either dead or he is alive. There is nothing in between.

The normal state of man is to be born alive and then live until you die. You begin alive and end up dead. That's the way your physical body goes through this life.

But spiritually it is quite different, in fact it is just the opposite. Spiritually, we begin this life as dead men. The life that we should have had was surrendered by Adam and Eve when they disobeyed the direct command of God and sin brought death.

But Jesus came to earth to bring back the life that was lost that day in the Garden of Eden. Jesus waged a war on death and won! When Jesus died on the Cross death itself was defeated and mankind was no longer doomed to die without hope.

Jesus delivered to every man, woman and child the incredible choice of rejecting sin and death and choosing Life in Him. And most amazing of all He also gave men the power to be successful in that choice through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The simple story is this: your picture is on God's wanted poster. Only this poster says: "Wanted Dead and I Will Make You Alive!"

That is the Gospel in eight words!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Identity Theft in Heaven!

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Light shows up everything,  just as the Scriptures say,
“Wake up from your sleep
and rise from death.
Then Christ will shine on you.”

Act like people with good sense and not like fools. These are evil times, so make every minute count. Don't be stupid. Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do. Don't destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life. When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart.

Always use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to thank God the Father for everything.

Ephesians 5:14-20

When you pray do you pray in Jesus Name? It seems like nothing but a formula tacked on at the end of a prayer. But those three words are totally awesome in their importance.

In most cultures when a woman marries a man she takes his name for her own. As she becomes one with him, his name is hers to use for the rest of her life. I think it is still true in the United States that a woman cannot be required to testify against her husband in a court of law.

In the same way a woman can use her husband's name, a follower of Jesus can use His name in coming to God in prayer! No one can grasp the depth of that ocean. When a Christian asks God for something it is the same as if Christ Himself were making the request. That truth puts your prayers at the top of God's most important things to do.

It is called identity theft if you use someone's name without their permission, and it is a crime. If you approach the throne of God in the name of Jesus and have no right to do so, it is likewise a very serious matter.

First, you must accept Jesus on His terms and let the Bible itself establish the fact that you have the right to use the name of Jesus when you come to God!

God is not fooled, there are no identity thieves in Heaven!

Friday, May 25, 2012

You are a Miracle!

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I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.
I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.
Ephesians 3:19-21
When it comes to the love of Christ there is a depth of knowledge and understanding that is beyond our human ability. Christ's love cannot be measured. There is nothing big enough to use as a standard for the measurement. In fact the Love of Jesus is the standard for all love. The sacrifice of Jesus was not a one time event on the Cross. Jesus left Heaven and lived among us, died for and will forever dwell with His people.
There are ways here on this earth to learn more about the Love of Jesus. Adopting a child is one very good way to experience something of the Love of Christ. An adopted child does not deserve and did not earn his or her place in your family. The child comes totally based on your love extended beyond the boundaries of natural family.
And then the miracle occurs as that child takes on the characteristics of his parents and becomes a permanent part of the family.
You see every Christian is a miracle. It is the power of God at work in you that changes you into the image of Jesus. That change can happen no other way. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can transform you from the wretch that you are into the likeness of the Redeemer who loves you!
Praise His Name today!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Choose to Love Jesus!

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Everyone on this earth
will remember you, [Lord].
People all over the world
will turn and worship you,

because you are in control,
the ruler of all nations.

All who are rich
and have more than enough
will bow down to you, Lord.
Even those who are dying
and almost in the grave
will come and bow down.

In the future, everyone
will worship and learn
about you, our Lord.

Psalm 22:27-30

There will come a day when no one will smugly proclaim that God does not exist. The ability to question the reality of God is a gift from God so that we can love Him of our own free will. So don't be frustrated by atheists. God willingly allows men not to believe in Him.

What an amazing love God has for men. He hides Himself so that we may freely choose to love Him. Then when we do turn our hearts to Jesus He sends the Holy Spirit to fill us and lead us on the path.

Some believe that we really have no choice, and that God has determined in advance who will follow Him. A fundamental problem with that view is that it violates the nature of love and the fact that God made man in His own image. It is the choice of man that makes Him much like God. The redemptive love of Jesus was a choice that God made. The eternal companionship of the saved with the Son was a choice of the Father.

God has chosen you to be His child, but you must also choose Him to be your Father. When you do God will no longer be hidden from you. When you love Jesus He will be hidden in you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

See His Glory!

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When we told you about the power and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling clever stories someone had made up. But with our own eyes we saw his true greatness. God, our great and wonderful Father, truly honored him by saying, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.”

We were there with Jesus on the holy mountain and heard this voice speak from heaven.

All of this makes us even more certain that what the prophets said is true. So you should pay close attention to their message, as you would to a lamp shining in some dark place. You must keep on paying attention until daylight comes and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:16-19

Many of the days with Jesus were apparently ordinary days for Peter and the other disciples. They heard Jesus teach and they even saw miracles, but the day Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain and was transfigured before them was different.

It was a high mark in Peter's memory because it confirmed what the Prophets had said as well. You see Peter also saw Moses and Elijah there with Jesus. It was indeed an amazing experience and one that Peter never forgot.

Every follower of Jesus has one or more of those "Jesus is Real" moments. It is when the reality of Heaven and the truth of God's Word overwhelms you. It puts everything else in its proper place.

I'm sure that as the years passed on toward the day Peter would leave this world to go and be with Jesus he must have thought about that day on the mountain often. It was the day when he heard God's voice, saw Jesus radiate with glory and stood in the presence of Moses and Elijah.

Each of us has a day when we became certain that Jesus is real. It helps me in my walk with Jesus today to remember that day.

"Lord, as the days draw closer to either Your return to this earth, or my departure from it help me to remember the times that I have seen Your Glory. It is that same Glory that I will see again on the day that You come or the day that I go! Amen."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Dead Sea Lives!

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The man took me back to the temple, where I saw a stream flowing from under the entrance. It began in the south part of the temple, where it ran past the altar and continued east through the courtyard.

We walked out of the temple area through the north gate and went around to the east gate. I saw the small stream of water flowing east from the south side of the gate.

The man walked east, then took out his measuring stick and measured 500 meters downstream. He told me to wade through the stream there, and the water came up to my ankles. Then he measured another 500 meters downstream, and told me to wade through it there. The water came up to my knees. Another 500 meters downstream the water came up to my waist. Another 500 meters downstream, the stream had become a river that could be crossed only by swimming.

The man said, “Ezekiel, son of man, pay attention to what you've seen.”

We walked to the riverbank,  where I saw dozens of trees on each side.

The man said: This water flows eastward to the Jordan River valley and empties into the Dead Sea, where it turns the salt water into fresh water.  Wherever this water flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish, because it will bring life and fresh water to the Dead Sea.

Ezekiel 47:1-9

The Dead Sea is the lowest spot on earth that is still above ground. It is reported to be 1388 feet below sea level. And unless it is flooded with fresh water, which happens rarely, nothing lives in the Dead Sea.

The stream of water that flows from the Throne of God will bring life, even to the Dead Sea. Does this prophecy in Ezekiel have a literal fulfillment or is it talking about the water of life that resurrects men from spiritual death and the prospect of Hell?

The living water that comes from the throne of God brings life to everything it touches.  Nothing can remain dead after it is bathed in that water.  Just as getting into a pool of water sometimes brought healing, the water of life resurrects every dead thing on which it flows.

"Lord, may your water flow into every part of my heart and life so that nothing in me will be dead, but everything will be alive in You.  May the fresh water of Your Spirit flood my life that men may see the life You give to all who call on the Name of Jesus"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dragons on Your Church!

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Because of what Jesus said, many of his disciples turned their backs on him and stopped following him.  Jesus then asked his twelve disciples if they also were going to leave him.  Simon Peter answered, “Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life.
John 6:66-68
The story is told that when Norwegians began building church buildings they put dragon heads on the corners just in case Christianity was not able to ward off the evil spirits. From today's perspective it seems like a very foolish thing.
But don't be too quick to criticize. Do you have a support system to back up Jesus in case He fails to take care of you? Do you have a large insurance policy because you believe God will not take care of your family if you were to die? Have you stored up lots of financial resources for your retirement?
Are you confident that if you lived the rest of your life without God in it you would still have plenty of this world's goods to take care of your needs? Or are you so dependent on God that you have no back up plan and no dragons on the corners of your church.
I think we are all tempted to put dragons on the corners of our lives to protect us from whatever God is not able to do.
So here is today's challenge. Check out the corners of your life and see if you have set up anything to take care of you if God fails! If you have a backup system for God, take it down. God will not fail you if you trust completely in Him. You do not need dragons on the corners of your church or on the corners of your life!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Choose God Today!

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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. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!
18 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.
John 3:16-18

Some people make it way too hard. The ability to become a follower of Jesus Christ is based totally on the love of God. Only those people who are loved by God can come to Jesus and be saved from death and Hell.
Try as you may, you cannot find a man or woman that God does not love! There is no one on earth for whom the power of the Cross cannot apply. 

Some people play a theological game trying to remove the free will of man from the mix. Doing that only does violence to the Sovereignty of God. God is glorified by those who choose to follow Jesus and give their hearts to God. It is the free choice that is so significant. Without the free choice there would be no honor brought to God.

So once again today you can freely choose to love Jesus Christ and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you have never chosen God why not do it for the first time today. Choosing God is a decision you will never regret! .

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Knowing When to Stay

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About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.  At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Acts 16:25-30

If you have been wrongly imprisoned and then there is an earthquake at midnight and all your chains fall off as well, would you not assume that God was releasing you and you should go free? Remember when Peter was in prison and the angel released him and he walked away?

The answer to the question of whether you walk away when your prison doors have been opened is fundamental to walking with Jesus. Christians have opportunities every day that are not the direction the Holy Spirit wants us to walk. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it, even if doing that thing would right a wrong that has been done to you.

The purpose of the earthquake was not to let Paul and Silas out of prison, but to wake the jailer and bring him to the point of accepting Jesus himself and becoming a follower as well.

 If Paul and Silas had simply walked away the jailer would have killed himself. Now the story even gets more amazing. The other prisoners who could have run away did not. The only hint we have about why is that they were listening to Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God. The story does not say that the other prisoners became believers in Christ, but you can only imagine the conversations that went on between the jailer and the other prisoners after Paul and Silas were released.

The bottom line for me is this: When the doors of my prison are opened I must always listen for the direction of the Holy Spirit before I simply walk away. His purpose may be the salvation of the jailer instead of providing a way for me to escape from my persecution!

“Lord, I need your wisdom today to know when to take a step and in what direction to take it. Even when the doors of my prison are opened help me to listen for your direction about whether or not I should leave. Amen!”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

God's Word Written on Your Heart!

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At that time the Lord said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden ark. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the ark.” So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. The Lord wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me. Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the Lord commanded me, and they are there now.”
Deuteronomy 10:1-5

God wants to write on the tablet of your heart. And then He wants you to safely store your heart in an ark that will protect it from the flood of unrighteousness that is destroying the world.

Like the hard drive in a computer there is only so much room on your heart. If you fill up your heart with the things of this world and your own pleasures there will be little room for God’s finger to write His will on your life. We play so many games that take up room on the hard drive of our heart that simply take time away from being with God.

Go through your heart today like you would a computer hard drive and delete everything that is not essential to your walk with Jesus. Now take the room you have made and make it available to God for Him to permanently inscribe His Word on your heart!

“Lord, write on the tablet of my heart today. Help me to joyfully receive Your Word and even the pain of Your permanent mark on me. And Lord, show me today how to make room for more of Your Word on my heart. Amen.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

God's Teleprompter

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And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.  Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Ephesians 6:18-20

The President of the United States has been criticized for using and needing to use a teleprompter when he speaks.  And of course that judgment is fair enough since a man holding that office should know enough and be capable enough to speak without all his words being written for him by someone else.  There have been a few memorable times when the current President has spoken his own words and has caused a fire storm of controversy.  So it is a good thing when the President can speak without a teleprompter and comfortably articulate truth without turmoil.

But what about you as a follower of Jesus Christ?   The apostle Paul prayed that when he spoke God would give him the right words.   The Holy Spirit is in reality God’s teleprompter.  He is fully able to give us the proper words to speak in any situation.  If your heart is willing to let God’s Spirit direct your speech then words will come that will even amaze you because they are so very appropriate to the current situation.
Christians also get in trouble when they try to speak without the teleprompter.   When you use your words instead of God’s Word the result is almost always truth with turmoil.  But when you rely on the Words that come from God the storms are calmed by His awesome selection. 

“Lord, my pride wants to choose the words that I speak and take the credit when they succeed.  Forgive me for seeking the glory that belongs only to You.  Lord, like the ventriloquist’s dummy let my mouth move but all the Words come straight from You.  Amen!”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Love a Terrorist!

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Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.  He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.  As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.  Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting  Me?”

Acts 9:1-4

He was a terrorist on the way to Jihad.   Members of his cell were with him on the road to Syria to at least kidnap some infidels if not kill them.  Then without warning Jesus appeared to Saul in a great light and the direction of Saul’s life changed forever. 

This story is being repeated today all over the world.  Those who are determined to destroy followers of Jesus are themselves becoming “Jesus followers” after having a dream or seeing a vision that gives them a clear call on their lives.  You can read some of these stories in a book called “Miraculous Movements” by Jerry Trousdale.  The names have been changed to protect the redeemed, but the stories are real.

Saul’s name was changed after he saw Jesus on the road and he became known as Paul who would be used by God to write much of the New Testament.  God is doing again what He did before.
So the next time you hear about a terrorist or see one on the television don’t forget that this man may be only one dream or vision away from becoming your brother in Christ.  And, oh yes it is alright to go ahead and love him now.  God does!   

Saturday, May 12, 2012

He's Doing It Again

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My friends, I want you to know that no one made up the message I preach.
 It wasn't given or taught to me by some mere human. My message came directly from Jesus Christ when he appeared to me. You know how I used to live as a Jew. I was cruel to God's church and even tried to destroy it.  I was a much better Jew than anyone else my own age, and I obeyed every law our ancestors had given us.  But even before I was born, God had chosen me by his gift of undeserved grace and had decided  to show me his Son, so I would announce his message to the Gentiles. I didn't talk this over with anyone.
I didn't say a word, not even to the men in Jerusalem who were apostles before I was.  Instead, I went at once to Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.
Galatians 1:11-17
Saul, the persecutor of the Church became a follower when Jesus Himself appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus. I have always assumed that this was a one time exception to the rule that Jesus sent men out to make disciples and teach them to obey Him. Apparently it was not the only time it happened, because it is happening again today.
Today there are those who are so hostile to the church and the message of Jesus that anyone who would come to preach it will be killed. That is no problem for God. Just like Saul whose name was changed to Paul those who would kill Christians are having Jesus appear to them in dreams and visions.
It is hard to kill a dream! And so the power of the Good News of Jesus is not stopped by those who oppose it. Like the power of a flood if you stand in its way you will be overcome by it.
The exciting part for you and me is that we can ride the waves of the work of spreading His message to the entire world. Ask Jesus to let you be a part of what He is doing in the world today. It will truly be the ride of your life!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Recycled Forever!

 The day of the Lord's return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are. Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live.  You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon. On that day the heavens will be destroyed by fire, and everything else will melt in the heat.

2 Peter 3:10-12

I have some bad news for everyone who wants to "Save the earth." All of the green and recycling efforts multiplied by a million will not save the earth. The earth is doomed and headed for destruction. When it will happen is information that is not available right now, but without a doubt it will happen. 

It reminds me of a one hundred year old man who had his life saved by the rescue squad. That is wonderful, of course, but it is only a matter of time and maybe a short time until they will not be able to save him from death.

2012 may not be the year, but the earth will end and the heavens will burn up. God has said it and there is nothing anyone can do about it. God has appointed the day for the end of the earth and it will come on that day! It does not depend on how much energy you use or how careful you are with the environment. All of the "Green" efforts of men will not move that date.

Certainly, it is a good thing to clean up the air and the water and be good stewards of the earth. It makes for a nicer place to live, but none of those things will change the date of the earth's final demise.  
But you can change the eternal outcome of your life! 

Like the earth itself, every man steeped in sin is headed for destruction. But because of Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross you can choose instead to live with Jesus in Heaven. Now here is the Good News! When Jesus recycles your life and makes you new again YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wait and See!

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The man took me back to the outer courtyard, near the east gate of the temple area. I saw that the doors to this gate were closed.

The [Lord] said:

I, the [Lord] God of Israel, came through this gate, so it must remain closed forever! No one must ever use it.

Ezekiel 44:1-2

The glory of the Lord returned to the Temple through the east gate. After that God said the east gate must remain closed forever. I have known this fact for years, but I have never really pondered it's significance.

The Bible says that Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit. After the Spirit of God comes into your heart you must close the door to everyone else. Jesus does not want to share your heart with the world. The Lord is jealous for your heart and the affections of it. He wants you to be exclusively committed to Him and not "involved" with anyone else.

Marriage between a man and a woman was designed by God to be a perfect picture of Christ and His bride. Every woman was created to relate to her husband like the Church should be with the Lord. And every man was born with the natural characteristics that enable him to be to his wife what Christ is to the Church.

That's why Satan wants so desperately to redefine marriage. When a man, any man redefines marriage he effectively rips up the picture so beautifully drawn by God. The sin is not toward men, but God. He will have to answer to God for trying to change what God has designed!

How will God respond? I suppose we can all just wait and see!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

See and Think About Jesus!

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We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God's throne!

So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won't get discouraged and give up.

Hebrews 12:2-3

The things you look at and think about will control your life. That is certainly true when it comes to lustful and evil things, but it is also true when you look at and think about Jesus. When Jesus is the first thing on your mind every morning and the last thing you think about before you go to bed at night you won't get discouraged and give up!

As the hopelessness of this world becomes clearer all Christians are tempted to give up and give in to discouragement. You may be living in the worst of all situations right now and see no way for things to get better. Well, the way out of your despair is to look at and think about Jesus. You can literally see Jesus in everything around you. Jesus created everything your eyes can focus on right now. If you see a bird it was His design. If you feel the rain it came from Jesus.

Finally, you can think about Jesus even if the night is so dark that seeing Him is a struggle. You can think about the Cross, think about His Resurrection, think about His birth, think about His miracles and think about His love for you!

Seeing and thinking about Jesus will keep you going when everything else fails. And when life itself seems to be drawing to a close for whatever reason it is time to look up because you are about to see Jesus face to face! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Real Jesus!

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Jesus became so well-known that Herod the ruler heard about him. Some people thought he was John the Baptist, who had come back to life with the power to work miracles. Others thought he was Elijah or some other prophet who had lived long ago.

But when Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “This must be John! I had his head cut off, and now he has come back to life.”

Mark 6:14-16

If you are not yet a believer in Jesus you may be like Herod. He knew Jesus had something to do with his own sin, but he couldn't quite figure out what it was.

Herod thought Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life to haunt him.

Where do you get your understanding of who Jesus is? Popular culture in most every country has some kind of view of Jesus that wants to shape and form your perspective of Christ. But there is only one place to go for the truth about Jesus. That place is the Bible.

One common view of Jesus is that He was a total pacifist. It says "Jesus never laid a finger on anyone!" I suppose that is correct, he used a whip to drive the money changers out of the temple. How does that fit in to my view of "being like Jesus?"

Here is the point. Search the scriptures daily to make sure you are seeing Jesus like He really is and not like you want Him to be. Then you will be walking with the Lord rather than a misunderstanding. The more you see of the "Real Jesus Christ" the more you will be amazed!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Get Ready for the Party!

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You have not come to a place like Mount Sinai that can be seen and touched. There is no flaming fire or dark cloud or storm or trumpet sound. The people of Israel heard a voice speak. But they begged it to stop, because they could not obey its commands. They were even told to kill any animal that touched the mountain.

The sight was so frightening that Moses said he shook with fear.

You have now come to Mount Zion and to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the living God, where thousands and thousands of angels have come to celebrate.  Here you will find all of God's dearest children, whose names are written in heaven. And you will find God himself, who judges everyone. Here also are the spirits of those good people who have been made perfect.

And Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God's new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel.

Hebrews 12:18-24

When the Children of Israel were liberated from slavery in Egypt they came to the fearful sight of Mount Sinai. But when Christians are set free from the bonds of this life they will come to Mount Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem. The heavenly Jerusalem is not fearful at all.

Thousands and thousands of angels go there to celebrate. Frankly, I have thought about angels praising God, but I have not considered a celebrating angel. How do angels celebrate? Do they dance and sing? Do they jump and shout for joy? I have never seen a celebrating angel, but when the final victory is won there will be a celebration with multitudes of angels, God's dearest children, God himself and the spirits of "good people who have been made perfect" will also be there.

And last, but not least, Jesus will be there. He is the reason for the celebration. Jesus won the victory! Jesus paid the price. If Jesus had not done what He did on the cross there would be no celebration at all.

So as you suffer and struggle on this earth during these very difficult days don't forget that what you are doing here is getting ready for the party in Heaven! It is a surprise party because no one on earth knows when it will start, but all signs point to a "soon coming King." Remember, when Jesus comes again the party will begin!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Live Your Testimony!

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We always thank God that you believed the message we preached. It came from him, and it isn't something made up by humans. You accepted it as God's message, and now he is working in you.

My friends, you did just like God's churches in Judea and like the other followers of Christ Jesus there. And so, you were mistreated by your own people, in the same way they were mistreated by their people.

Those evil people killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and they even chased us away. God doesn't like what they do and neither does anyone else.

They keep us from speaking his message to the Gentiles and from leading them to be saved. They have always gone too far with their sins. Now God has finally become angry and will punish them.

I Thessalonians 2:13-16

Many years ago I heard a man speak seven words that I believe are at the core of the Christian walk. He said "after you believe, the rest is easy."

The source of most Christian struggles is unbelief. If you believe what God has said in the Bible then the "I am with you always" passage puts fear to rest and makes the future secure.

If you know what is in the Bible and believe it as a Christian there is nothing, even death itself that can harm you! The peace that passes understanding will guard your heart and mind.

If you truly believe you will act on that belief. If you believe that the building you are in right now is on fire, you will act on that belief. You will not sit around and hope something will work out. You will immediately either get out of the building or find the fire and put it out! Belief is always followed by action. If you want to see what a man believes, don't ask him, just watch what he does. His actions will tell you what he believes.

This is truly the most powerful witness. It is better to live your testimony that to give your testimony. When your life tells others what you believe God will be glorified by every step you take in life!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day One in Heaven!

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The Law has shown me that something in me keeps me from doing what I know is right. With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God.  But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do.  What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die?

Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me.

So with my mind I serve the Law of God, although my selfish desires make me serve the law of sin.

Romans 7:21-25

The Bible says that there will be wars and rumors of wars before the second coming of Jesus. Most of those wars, you can read about in the newspaper or watch on cable news. But there is one war that doesn't get much publicity. It is the war that is going on in your heart.

In your mind you want to follow Jesus and be totally committed to listening to every directive from the Holy Spirit. But at every turn you are drawn away from God and tempted not to be obedient to His commands.

Perhaps the most difficult part about your struggle with sin is that you look around at other Christians and they don't appear to be having any struggles and temptations at all! Don't forget that the Apostle Paul confessed that the war was going on in his heart in Romans 7.

Frankly, if you say there is no war in your heart, you are not telling the truth. The truth is that there is a war, but Jesus Christ was sent to rescue me!

The first day you spend without any struggle and temptation will be day one in Heaven. On that day the war in your heart will be over! Praise God!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I See the Light!

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King Agrippa, one day I was on my way to Damascus with the authority and permission of the chief priests.  About noon I saw a light brighter than the sun. It flashed from heaven on me and on everyone traveling with me.

We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic,  “Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me? It's foolish to fight against me!”

“Who are you?” I asked.

Then the Lord answered, “I am Jesus! I am the one you are so cruel to.

Now stand up. I have appeared to you, because I have chosen you to be my servant. You are to tell others what you have learned about me and what I will show you later.”
The Lord also said, “I will protect you from the Jews and from the Gentiles that I am sending you to.

I want you to open their eyes, so they will turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then their sins will be forgiven, and by faith in me they will become part of God's holy people.”

King Agrippa, I obeyed this vision from heaven.

Acts 26:12-19

When Paul "saw the light" he heard the voice of Jesus.  Seeing the light is the same as seeing the truth.  Paul had been persecuting and even killing those who followed Jesus until Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus.

The immediate reaction to Paul's seeing that light that was brighter than the sun was that he became blind.  After he turned his heart to Jesus Paul's vision was healed.  

The same is true for you and me.  When Jesus shows Himself to us we become blind to the things of this world.  No one can gaze on both the world and the Lord at the same time.   

Remember if you want to see Jesus you will become blind to this world.   And if you want to see this world you will not see Jesus!

The choice is yours.  You can gaze upon the glory of this world or you can look at the eternal Glory of Jesus Christ forever!  It really is no contest.  Choose the Lord!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Like Paint on a Wall!

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Those prophets refuse to be honest. They tell my people there will be peace, even though there's no peace to be found. They are like workers who think they can fix a shaky wall by covering it with paint.  But when I send rainstorms, hailstones, and strong winds, the wall will surely collapse.

People will then ask the workers why the paint didn't hold it up.

That wall is the city of Jerusalem. And I, the Lord God, am so angry that I will send strong winds, rainstorms, and hailstones to destroy it.

The lying prophets have tried to cover-up the evil in Jerusalem, but I will tear down the city, all the way to its foundations. And when it collapses, those prophets will be killed, and everyone will know that I have done these things.

The city of Jerusalem and its lying prophets will feel my fierce anger. Then I will announce that the city has fallen and that the lying prophets are dead, because they promised my people peace, when there was no peace. I, the Lord God, have spoken.

Ezekiel 13:10-16

Are you trying to fix your life by covering up your sin? That will not work any better than painting a wooden fence that is rotten. The paint will not make rotten wood strong again.

When you hide your sin you may look as good as new on the outside, but inside you are weak and unable to withstand the storms of life.

Don't judge a message from God by the messenger who delivers it. Really articulate and polished speakers can deliver destructive lies. Also, halting and stumbling presentations can be nothing but the pure truth of God.

The way a man talks and how he sounds has nothing to do with the veracity of his message. You can trust Satan to have the greatest lies presented in the most impressive ways.

When a man claims that a message is from God don't judge the message by the man who delivers it. He may be, otherwise the best of men, but still be speaking that which is not true. He may also be a reprobate and be speaking words that are nothing but truth.

Use the Word to judge the words delivered by men to see if they are from God! God will not contradict the Bible.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One Proverb a Day!

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We humans make plans,
but the Lord
has the final word.

We may think we know
what is right,
but the Lord is the judge
of our motives.

Share your plans with the Lord,
and you will succeed.

The Lord has a reason
for everything he does,
and he lets evil people live
only to be punished.

The Lord doesn't like
anyone who is conceited—
you can be sure
they will be punished.

If we truly love God,
our sins will be forgiven;
if we show him respect,
we will keep away from sin.

When we please the Lord,
even our enemies
make friends with us.

It's better to be honest
and poor
than to be dishonest
and rich.

We make our own plans,
but the Lord decides
where we will go.

Proverbs 16:1-9

When you listen to and pay attention to the wisdom of Solomon, you too can become wise. There are 31 proverbs and 31 days in most months. If you read one proverb every day, you will drink in it's wisdom twelve times a year.

I once heard a man make fun of someone who had memorized the entire Book of Proverbs. As he ridiculed him he said "That man can't speak two sentences without quoting a verse from Proverbs."

It was meant to be a criticism, but I realized it was a great compliment and testimony to the power of God's Word.

When you safely store God's Word in your heart and mind, it will become a significant part of your vocabulary.

And if you know the Book of Proverbs you will have at your disposal Godly wisdom for every situation in life. Read a Proverb every day this month and become wiser in the process!