Sunday, September 30, 2012

No Sin to Love a Sinner!

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My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows we have been given new life. We are now God's children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him. God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.

Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts

1 John 4:7-12.

As a father of six children I can tell you how they can give me joy. I am happy when they succeed or are blessed in some way. I am grateful when they remember their parents in special ways. But my greatest joy comes when I see them loving each other! It is almost like my hatred of snakes. I can't tell you exactly why I hate snakes, but I really do. I can't tell you why it brings me so much joy when my children love each other, but it really does.

One of God's highest priorities is the same. He so wants to see us loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is why Satan so wants to divide us over "doctrinal issues." God the Father suffers when He sees His own children at war with each other.

So how do we change from being at war with brothers with whom we have differences of understanding of God and His Word, to loving them and thus bringing joy to God?

The answer is this: Love is not limited to those with whom we agree on everything. You can be a loving brother or sister even when you have stark differences. You can even love someone who is not a brother, but wants you to believe he is one. It is no sin to love a sinner as if he were not.

If you are worried that you will become like this "false follower" and be led away from the truth, then consider this: No one but Jesus must be the object of your faith and you must be led by no one except the Holy Spirit. Let the Bible be the compass for your walk and no one else. Even the most righteous among you can lead you away from Jesus without you even knowing it. Love every man and be led only by the Lord!

"Lord, help me to keep my eyes focused clearly on You. May I love all of my brothers and sisters with the Love that comes from You. Amen."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Think About God!

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As long as I live,
I will pray to you.

I will sing joyful praises
and be filled with excitement
like a guest at a banquet.

I think about you, God,
before I go to sleep,
and my thoughts turn to you
during the night.

You have helped me,
and I sing happy songs
in the shadow of your wings.

I stay close to you,
and your powerful arm
supports me.

Psalm 63:4-8

When do you think about God? Do you only consider God when you are in need of something that is beyond your own ability to provide? Is God your insurance policy? Is He the "big brother" or "rich uncle" in your life? Is God "Plan B" so that if all else fails you can always turn back to Him?

Or is God the one you think about as you close your eyes to go to sleep at night? Do you ponder that while you sleep God is wide awake and watching over you? Do you ask God to let your dreams be thoughts that will draw you closer to Him?

And when you are awake are you standing in the shadow of His wings singing happy songs? Are you supported by the powerful arm of God? Are you staying close to Him?

All those things are the best preparations for the storms that are coming on the world. Jesus is the shelter in the time of storm.

"Lord, fill my mind with thoughts of You when I am awake and when I am asleep. Hold me tightly in Your arms and keep me close to You always! Amen."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Choose His Pleasure!

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Michael, the chief of the angels, is the protector of your people, and he will come at a time of terrible suffering, the worst in all of history. And your people who have their names written in The Book will be protected.  Many of those who lie dead in the ground will rise from death. Some of them will be given eternal life, and others will receive nothing but eternal shame and disgrace.

Everyone who has been wise will shine as bright as the sky above, and everyone who has led others to please God will shine forever like the stars.

Daniel 12:1-3

When is the last time you encouraged someone to please God? Somehow we have morphed the Gospel into a message that focuses on my sins being forgiven and my eternal pleasure as I avoid the fires of Hell and live in Heavenly bliss forever. We forget the reality that my eternal satisfaction comes when I bring pleasure to the Eternal Creator of everything there is! We are the only part of God's Creation that has been given the privilege of choosing to please Him.

If you cannot remember the last time you did something that brought a smile to the face of God, then do something today that will make Him happy and will please Him.

Even as Jesus said, "It is better to give than to receive." Giving God praise and glory and living my life to please Him is better than the reward I will receive later. That is how we can touch the pinnacle of peace and joy here on this earth. When a man or woman gives Jesus everything they touch the amazing essence of the joy of Jesus!

"Lord, show me how to please You today. May my every thought, word and action meet with Your approval today and forever! Amen."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Final Sunrise!

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You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don't go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don't quarrel or be jealous. Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won't try to satisfy your selfish desires.

Romans 13:11-14

I like to get up before sun comes up in the morning. It is a very special time of day for me. Everyone else is sleeping so no one calls and no one comes to the door just before sunrise. If you want to be alone with the Lord, or spend time reading His Word or praying I think that before the sun comes up is the very best time of day to do it.

When Jesus comes again it will be the beginning of an Eternal New Day and the final sunrise! Many followers of Jesus believe that He is standing at the door and will soon be here and the new day will begin!

Rather than fretting about the things of this darkness that will go away when He comes it is time to be alone with Jesus and pray and read His Word. Draw close to Him in the final hours while others are still sleeping soundly. Then as you look to the East you will see the first ray of light that signals that dawning of Eternity.

"Lord, even if it will be many years before You return, I want to live today as if this is the Day! Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Returning Fire!

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Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards.  Learn to be patient, so you will please God and be given what he has promised.

As the Scriptures say,
“God is coming soon!
It won't be very long.

The people God accepts
will live because
of their faith.
But he isn't pleased
with anyone
who turns back.”

We are not like those people who turn back and get destroyed. We will keep on having faith until we are saved.

Hebrews 10:35-39

When someone who is trustworthy and reliable suddenly makes a decision that is against everything you would expect from that person, you can be sure that they have been encouraged by Satan to do so! Like a mob boss, Satan threatens harm to those who follow Jesus and calls them back into his service.

Have you heard the voice of Satan telling you to turn back to your old life of sin and to give up your faith in God? It is a message that he delivers with regularity to those who love the Lord. He can give you many reasons why the road to Heaven will be miserable and the road to Hell will be a great ride! Never forget that Satan lies like the perfect politician who speaks the words you want to hear, but has no conscience about not telling the truth.

So here is the goal! Develop the heart of a martyr and determine to never turn back to the world no matter what the threat. The Enemy may threaten you or even those who you love, but stand firm and trust that God will protect and send angels to aid. In fact, you can be sure that threats from Satan are firm and certain evidence that you are walking with Jesus in the right way! Now here is one reason to memorize Bible verses. When Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan to turn away from His walk with the Father he responded with scripture. Answering Satan with Scripture is like returning the fire with a much bigger gun!

"Lord, help me today to recognize the threats of Satan today and help me to take aim with Your Word in my response! Amen."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Not a Spectator Sport!

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I saw another angel. This one was flying across the sky and had the eternal good news to announce to the people of every race, tribe, language, and nation on earth.

The angel shouted, “Worship and honor God! The time has come for him to judge everyone. Kneel down before the one who created heaven and earth, the oceans, and every stream.”

A second angel followed and said, “The great city of Babylon has fallen! This is the city that made all nations drunk and immoral. Now God is angry, and Babylon has fallen.”

Finally, a third angel came and shouted:
Here is what will happen if you worship the beast and the idol and have the mark of the beast on your hand or forehead.

You will have to drink the wine that God gives to everyone who makes him angry. You will feel his mighty anger, and you will be tortured with fire and burning sulfur, while the holy angels and the Lamb look on.

Revelation 14:6-10

We all love spectator sports. We can be close to the action without breaking a sweat. We can watch what is going on without being inconvenienced by the conflict.

The "End of all things" is not a spectator sport. We look for the signs of the End and find it really exciting each time we see a new piece of the puzzle.

Many Christians believe that those who follow Christ will be taken out of the world before the trouble starts. I sincerely hope and pray that they are right.

I believe it is time for Christians to get out of the stands and on to the field. We are not just fans in the game of life, we are all on the team! It is time that we completed the job of telling the whole world about Jesus as we fall down and worship the "One who created heaven and earth, the oceans, and every stream."

To be perfectly honest, there is no way to be a spectator to the work of God in this world. Either you are on His team and working with Him, or you are working with the Enemy. You may think you are just looking on and watching the action, but all spectators are really working against Jesus by standing on the sidelines.

"Lord show me how to get involved with Your work in the world today. Let me move as You direct, speak the words You instruct and walk the path You mark out for me. And Lord Jesus, please do come soon! Amen."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

True Love

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God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us.  If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment.

A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows we have not really learned to love. We love because God loved us first. But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!”

1 John 4:16b-21

Satan wants you to misunderstand the word "love." That is why in the English language we use the word "love" about many trivial things. When you say you "love" chocolate you are really saying that you want to consume it for your own pleasure without any regard for the chocolate! That is not love at all. The word that more appropriately fits that situation is "lust".

But when you truly love, the object of your love is another person or even God Himself. When you love, you are saying that you desire to be consumed for the pleasure of the one you love!

Jesus is the most powerful example of love in all of human history. The depth of His love for me is a profound mystery. How could Jesus love me enough to die for me before I was ever born?

When we love each other we are touching the very essence of God! When I love another human being I give myself for the good of that person. And when I love God I give myself for His good and glory! And what do I get out of it? Heaven? Yes, but true love is not focused on what it gets in return.

"Lord, plunge me into the vast ocean of loving You. Let me spend everything You have given me on Your pleasure, not mine. And may Your Holy Spirit be comfortable in my heart. Amen."

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Storm is Coming!

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When the Son of Man appears, things will be just as they were when Noah lived.  People were eating, drinking, and getting married right up to the day the flood came and Noah went into the big boat.

They didn't know anything was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. This is how it will be when the Son of Man appears.

Two men will be in the same field, but only one will be taken. The other will be left. Two women will be together grinding grain, but only one will be taken. The other will be left. So be on your guard! You don't know when your Lord will come. Homeowners never know when a thief is coming, and they are always on guard to keep one from breaking in.

Always be ready! You don't know when the Son of Man will come.

Matthew 24:37-44

When God told Noah to build the Ark and Noah obeyed the people must have thought that Noah was crazy. Of course there was water deep enough to float the Ark, but that water was far away from where Noah built it. Either the boat had to be taken to the water or the water had to be taken to the Ark. The water finally came and the world knew that Noah was the only one on earth prepared to weather the storm.

When you like Noah hear the Word of the Lord, you will be tempted to think you are crazy. But when you obey the Word of God the world around you will think you have lost your mind.

If you want to know how you are doing with God, take the world's sanity test. If you pass the world's test, then you are in trouble with the Lord. If you are walking each day with Jesus you will be very "out of step" with the world.

Noah lived the first part of his life looking toward the salvation that God had planned for Noah and his family. Every day Noah shaped and fastened the wood of the Ark so that he would be ready when the time came for the boat to float!

When I see a rainbow I am of course reminded that God promised not to destroy the earth again by means of a flood. But I am, and should be warned that God will bring destruction on this evil and corrupt world. A day of judgment is coming, and may be coming soon! The Good News is that Jesus Himself today is the Ark and if we are in Him we are safe from the storm that may soon be here!

Thank You Jesus! Amen.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mark Me Lord!

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All people were forced to put a mark on their right hand or forehead. Whether they were powerful or weak, rich or poor, free people or slaves, they all had to have this mark, or else they could not buy or sell anything. This mark stood for the name of the beast and for the number of its name.

You need wisdom to understand the number of the beast! But if you are smart enough, you can figure this out. Its number is 666, and it stands for a person.

Revelation 13:16-18

Has anyone figured out the significance of the number 666 and the person for whom it stands? For more than 50 years I have wondered and yes prayed for the wisdom to know what that number means. But God has answered that prayer with resounding silence. It is a mystery and one that is not easily solved. Thus far I don't know the answer or anyone who does know it.

My job is to make sure that I do not receive the mark on my right hand or forehead. The best way to do that is to avoid any and all "marks" that are placed or implanted on my hand or on my forehead. The threat will be that I will not be able to buy or sell without it. That means I will have to have the ability to live without being a part of the official economy. It sounds to me that to avoid the "Mark" I will need to be somewhat of a self-sufficient survivalist.

If the weather man predicted a blizzard or hurricane for your area you would make preparations to weather the storm. From many people, in many places predictions of an economic storm are pouring in. If terrible times do come to the earth, it will be very tempting to receive a mark on your hand or on your head so you can continue to eat.

"Lord, put Your mark on my hand and on my forehead. Put your mark everywhere on me. Help me to trust You for whatever I need each day and for everything I need for as long as I live on this earth. Amen."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Word Unleashed!

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In the right hand of the one sitting on the throne I saw a scroll that had writing on the inside and on the outside. And it was sealed in seven places.  I saw a mighty angel ask with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”

No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look inside it.  I cried hard because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look inside it.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop crying and look! The one who is called both the ‘Lion from the Tribe of Judah’ and ‘King David's Great Descendant’ has won the victory. He will open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:1-5

In many communities there are leash laws for dogs. If you have a dog in one of those places you cannot let the dog run free without being restrained by a leash.

There are also "leash laws" for the Word of God in some countries. The enemies of God recognize that His Word is more dangerous than an unleashed Pit Bull dog. Unless it is restrained, the Word of God will take over in the lives of men and women and bring about fundamental change.

Jesus Himself is the One who unseals the Bible in the hearts of men. When you believe in and trust Jesus Christ, the Bible becomes a living Book that romps around in your heart like a calf released from the stall!

Every time you immerse yourself in the Word of God the Holy Spirit says "look at this" and "here I will show you what that means!" You sit at the feet of the Holy Spirit like a little child drinking in the words of a master teacher. The things He reveals are utterly amazing.

"Lord, I know what the Bible says, but I need You to unseal and unleash it in my heart. Let me bask in understanding that goes beyond my imagination. Amen."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Heart in His Hand!

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King Darius sent this message:
Governor Tattenai of Western Province and Shethar Bozenai, you and your advisors must stay away from the temple.

Let the Jewish governor and leaders rebuild it where it stood before. And stop slowing them down! Starting at once, I am ordering you to help the leaders by paying their expenses from the tax money collected in Western Province.  And don't fail to let the priests in Jerusalem have whatever they need each day so they can offer sacrifices to the God of heaven. Give them young bulls, rams, sheep, as well as wheat, salt, wine, and olive oil.

I want them to be able to offer pleasing sacrifices to God and to pray for me and my family. If any of you don't obey this order, a wooden beam will be taken from your house and sharpened on one end. Then it will be driven through your body, t and your house will be torn down and turned into a garbage dump.

I ask the God who is worshiped in Jerusalem to destroy any king or nation who tries either to change what I have said or to tear down his temple. I, Darius, give these orders, and I expect them to be followed carefully.

Ezra 6:6-12

King Darius was used by God to accomplish His purpose of rebuilding the temple even though Darius was not a believer. Although mankind was given free will and therefore can choose to accept or reject the purpose of God, it is quite common for a king to be influenced to make the will of God a reality!

God's will can be accomplished by Godly leaders, but it can also be done by ungodly rascals. When you pray for God's will in the world, don't forget that it is not dependent on how righteous the leader of your nation is.

Proverbs 21:1 says "The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord."

So if you are concerned about a wicked ruler, take heart. God has the heart of even that wicked man in His hand and He will see to it that His purposes are fulfilled even through an evil ruler.

"Lord, I thank You again for giving me the courage to be at peace even when our leaders are not righteous. May Your will be done in everything. Amen."

Monday, September 17, 2012

They Saw God!

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Moses and Aaron, together with Nadab and Abihu and the 70 leaders, went up the mountain and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something that looked like a pavement made out of sapphire, and it was as bright as the sky.

Even though these leaders of Israel saw God, he did not punish them. So they ate and drank.

Exodus 24:9-11

Moses, Aaron and 72 other men went up on the mountain and saw God! I frankly, don't ever remember hearing a sermon or even a class discussion of these verses. I think the most interesting part of this description is that the blue color of the pavement under God's feet is specifically mentioned.

I know I have read these verses before, but it must have been hurriedly as I saw the story of Moses on the mountain coming up in the next paragraph.

For whatever reason I ignored this story about God standing on blue pavement.

I think we all often see God and don't recognize Him. He is right there in front of us and we look past Him and ignore His presence. The heavens declare His Glory and everywhere in nature we see His handiwork. When we look at the blue sky above we see what may be the pavement beneath His feet.

"Lord, open my eyes that I may see You today. Help me not to ignore Your Glorious presence in this world. Let me see You in places where I have never seen You before. And may You Lord be Glorified Forever! Amen."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Angels on Assignment

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Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord's followers should.

Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it.

Remember the Lord's people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don't forget those who are suffering, but imagine you are there with them.

Hebrews 13:1-3

When you welcome a stranger into your home it is a pretty risky business. You have no idea whether that stranger is someone with evil intent or the opposite. These verses clearly indicate that anyone you encounter in this life could also be an angel on assignment. That is an awesome thought.

As I look back over my life, there are a few instances when I think I may have encountered an angel who appeared to be human being. You can probably say the same for your life. The Bible clearly says that angels are sent out to minister to those who are being saved. (Hebrews 1:14)

When angels minister to you, you indeed are blessed, but when you minister to angels like Abraham did in Genesis 18, God is blessed!

Today when you encounter a person you have never met before, consider the possibility that you may be in an encounter with an angel on a mission from God. If you treat everyone you meet as if they were an angel then you won't miss the opportunity to bless God when it does arise!

But don't get so focused on angels that you forget those in jail and the suffering. It is all a part of your walk with Jesus on this earth.

"Lord, help me to treat every new person I meet as if they were one of Your angels. May I be a blessing to those who bless others in the Name of Jesus, even angels! Amen."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jesus Sells Gold!

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This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:
I am the one called Amen!  I am the faithful and true witness and the source of God's creation. Listen to what I say.

I know everything you have done, and you are not cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other.  But since you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.

You claim to be rich and successful and to have everything you need. But you don't know how bad off you really are. You are pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

Buy your gold from me. It has been refined in a fire, and it will make you rich. Buy white clothes from me. Wear them and you can cover up your shameful nakedness. Buy medicine for your eyes, so you will be able to see.

I correct and punish everyone I love. So make up your minds to turn away from your sins.

Revelation 3:14-19

When the value of any currency goes down the price of gold in that currency goes up. In today's world there are many people buying gold in order to protect and grow their wealth.

Jesus says we should buy our gold from Him. Then He makes an amazing statement. He says that the gold we get from Him has been refined in a fire and it will make us rich. This is the only trustworthy "get rich quick" offer. Satan tempts men and women with riches, but they all burn up in the fire. The riches we get from Jesus are purified in fire and we become eternally wealthy!

The next time you are enticed by stuff in this world remember what will happen to it when the fire comes. Then think about the gold you can get from Jesus. It is purified when the fire comes and owning that gold will make you a rich man forever!

"Lord, I offer You everything I have for just a piece of Your gold. Even one nugget of Your gold makes me richer than all the world together. Come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen."

Friday, September 14, 2012

No One Can Open It!

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This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:
I am the one who is holy and true, and I have the keys that belonged to David.  When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it. Listen to what I say.

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

Revelation 3:7-8

When Jesus opens a door no one can close it and when Jesus closes a door no one can open it. So many followers of Jesus stand in front of a closed door hoping the Lord will change His mind and open a door that He has shut. Others stand before an open door hoping the Lord will shut that door so they will not have to walk through it!

Are you standing in front of an open door that Jesus has opened for you trying to get the courage to step into a new place? Or are you standing in front of a door that He has shut dreaming about what it would be like if He let you walk in that way?

The doors that Jesus opens cannot be shut - and the doors that Jesus closes cannot be opened. So if a door closes in your face that you thought Jesus had opened, according to this scripture it was not a door opened by God!

Don't stand there trying to re-open a door that God has closed. You won't be able to do it, if it was shut by Jesus!

If a door is open before you and you are not sure that it is an open door of God, then pull on it and see if you can shut that door. If you can close it, then it was not one of the doors that "no man can close."

But when you are sure it is a door that was opened by Jesus, it is time to step across the threshold of that door and enter the next place God wants you to be!

"Lord, help me to know the way You want me to go and the door You want me to walk through. And thank You Lord for directing my steps by opening and shutting the doors in my life! Amen."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Inches Above Hell!

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God has already begun judging his own people. And if his judgment begins with us, imagine how terrible it will be for those who refuse to obey his message. The Scriptures say,

“If good people barely escape,
what will happen to sinners
and to others
who don't respect God?”

1 Peter 4:17-18

Do you know what God expects of you? Have you heard His call on your life and said "no" to Him?

At the Democratic Convention in the United States in Charlotte, N.C. they tried to re-insert God back into the platform statement that they crafted. Three times they called for a voice vote and three times the crowd yelled "No" to God. It was chilling, but the moderator declared falsely that the vote had gone the other way and God was put back.

What will ultimately happen to sinners and those who don't respect God? The answer is simple, but simply awful. Those who say no to God being the Lord of their lives are walking only a few inches above the fires of Hell! Then death will pull that temporary platform out from under their feet and they will be ushered into an eternity without God, separated from every good thing.

If you think you have a good reason to reject God in your life, you don't! If you want to argue with God about His Word, forget about it! Run away from your rebellion and caste yourself down at the feet of Jesus calling on His Name and proclaiming Him Lord and Savior!

If you want to hold on to your stubborn heart you will have an eternity of suffering to regret it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Free to Love!


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My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. All the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself.

Galatians 5:13-14

Freedom is a very big deal. It is the essence of what God wants for us and what Jesus purchased on the Cross. Christians are free from sin and death and the burden of being controlled by the world. Followers of Jesus are free to love others as much as they love themselves!

But if you use your God given freedom as an excuse to "do anything you want," your freedom becomes a highway that leads straight back into slavery.

Here is the exciting news about the Freedom that followers of Jesus have. His Freedom comes to all who are His disciples even if they are in prison or bound in chains. The Freedom you have in Christ does not wait for you to be released from your cell. No matter where you are or how confining the circumstance, Jesus makes you free to love beyond the walls of your place of containment.

The Apostle Paul was in prison more than once, but was always free in Christ. That freedom is still there waiting for you today!

"Lord, let me see Your Freedom today in my life. And let me use that Freedom to love others. Thank You Lord for setting Your children free in this world of sin and death. Amen."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little is Big!

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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.”

Acts 26:12-18

One amazing fact about the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ is that no man has ever turned to Jesus in faith and was rejected because his sins were too great! The most evil and disgusting person who ever lived can be forgiven and changed into the image of Christ Himself when he believes!

However it is also true that no sinner has sins that are so small that he does not need the sacrifice of Jesus to be converted. The fundamental truth is that no matter how big or small your sins, you need Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to wash you clean before God.

You cannot avoid Hell by successfully changing yourself from a big sinner into a small sinner. Since the first man and woman rebelled against God all men are born with a nature that is attracted to sin. You can give in to every temptation or fight mightily against them all, but you will still be by nature a sinner and you will sin.

The Good News is that when you give your heart to Jesus Christ, confess His Name and die to this world, you come out of the grave just like Jesus did on the third day. You become a new man or woman and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live even as Jesus did on this earth! By faith in Jesus you become part of God's Holy people!

"Thank You Lord that because of my faith in Jesus Christ I am part of Your Holy people. And Lord, thank You for the Blood of Jesus that paid the price for all of my sin. Amen."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pray about Everything!

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

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

Philippians 4:4-8

If you "pray about everything" what is left that you don't need to pray about?

Years ago I remember being critical of someone who would pray about trivial matters. They would ask God to provide a parking place when they arrived at their destination. And of course they would pray that stop lights would remain green so they would not have to slow down. At the time it seem like bothering God about something a human being could handle without Him. But you see that is just the thing that God does not want us practiced at doing.

Frankly, I have changed my perspective on prayer. If you pray about a thousand little things each day, it will be much easier to pray about the two or three big things that also need prayer!

The kind of prayer that God desires is prayer "without ceasing." Your day becomes a running conversation with God. It is literally as if He were at your side all day at work or at home. He is sitting next to you as you drive your car. And when you are about to speak a word you first ask Him what He thinks about your choice of words.

Worry and fear are the first two casualties of a life of continual prayer. You may even begin to sense the presence of the angels sent to serve you on your walk with Jesus.

"Lord, confirm Your presence in my life today with the answers to "little" prayers about unimportant stuff! Speak to me today about everything! Amen."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pass it On!


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All who call out to the Lord will be saved.
How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?

Romans 10:13-14

I was working on a sink on the morning of September 11, 2001 when my wife called and told me she had just heard about an airplane hitting one of the World Trade Towers in New York. I got to a television quickly and was able to see the second plane hit on live television. It didn't take long until the news had spread around the world.

When important things happen, news travels fast and it is not simply because we have radio, television and the internet. Even without the electronic media, if one man tells two people the news and those two people do the same, it only takes 30 levels of those repetitions for almost everyone on earth to hear! It surely did not take long before most of the people on earth heard of the 911 attacks.

So why does the Good News about Jesus travel so slowly around the earth? Why are so many people still ignorant about the story of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is who the Bible says He is and did what the Bible says He did then the news about Jesus is far more significant than a thousand 911's!

The Gospel travels slowly today because followers of Jesus are timid and shy and for whatever reason believe that they should not be bold in proclaiming the news about Jesus, who He is and what He did.

If you don't want to "offend" someone by telling them about Jesus, how offended do you think they will be when you stand next to them on the Day of Judgment and they ask you why you didn't tell them?

"Lord, forgive me for being so quiet about the news that everyone needs so desperately to hear. Help me to forget about how people will feel about me if I call them to repentance and faith. Give me an opportunity today to pass the news about Jesus on to someone else! Amen."

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Let it Burn!

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I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire!  I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides.

Luke 12:49-51

When I need to burn a bunch of sticks or even make a fire to cook on in my yard I am required to call the fire department and let them know. That way if someone sees the smoke and reports a fire in my yard they will know not to respond. I suppose that is a good idea, but it is a lot of trouble. They also insist that I call them when the fire is out.

Everyone knows that if the land is parched from lack of rain that even one small spark can ignite a fire that will burn out of control over thousands of acres.

Jesus said He came to set fire to the earth. Jesus did not come to oversee a controlled burn. Jesus wants the fire that He sets to burn out of control all over the earth.

The problem I have is this: When Jesus lets one of the sparks of His fire fall into my heart and it begins to burn with His love I find some way to put out the fire! Later it flames up again and I do the same. Over and over again Jesus keeps fanning His spark in my heart and I find some way to quench the Spirit in my heart.

"Lord, I confess to You that I have continually put out the fire that you lit in my heart. Lord, give me the courage to let that fire ignite again and burn brightly, and then burn out of control. May no one but You be able to direct the fire of God in my heart! May the breeze of the Holy Spirit keep that fire alive and growing today! Amen."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hiding Place!

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

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

Don't be stupid
like horses and mules
that must be led with ropes
to make them obey.”

All kinds of troubles
will strike the wicked,
but your kindness shields those
who trust you, [Lord].

Psalm 32:7-10

If you live in an area where tornadoes are common wisdom would dictate that you find a place to hide from the storm when it comes. It is important that you know where to hide before the tornado comes, because when it does you may have only a few seconds to find a place of safety.

The storms in life itself are very often like a tornado. They may come without warning and in seconds destroy everything you hold dear. A tornado in your life can blow away everything and leave you with only the clothes on your back.

The bad news is that if you live on this earth you will experience storms that will literally shake your world. But the Good News is: Jesus is the place to hide in a storm! An old song says, "Safe in the arms of Jesus. Safe on His gentle breast!"

When you have a "safe room" you can run to it when the storm comes. But if you rest in the arms of Jesus you are already there when the turmoil explodes.

"Lord, I choose to leave my safe room in this world and rest in the safety of Your arms. While others are running from place to place trying to find where to go in the storms of this life I am resting in Your love! And Lord, how marvelous it is that in the rest and peace of Your arms there is room for everyone! Amen."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Rope of Hope!

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God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed. We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place. Jesus has gone there ahead of us, and he is our high priest forever, just like Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:18-20

The rope tied to the anchor of hope is wrapped around those who trust in Jesus Christ and call Him Lord!

The wind may blow and the waves crash against your life but hope is a "firm and steady anchor for your soul."

When two friends are separated on this earth the communications between them often include the words "I wish you were here." That's the way it is between a disciple of Christ and Jesus. We all wish He was here and He longs for us to be there! Truthfully, Jesus said "I am with you always" and so He is here today living in your heart! The Bible also says that we are "seated with Christ in heaven." So in a sense we are already there as well.

Human hope might simply be a vague desire that something may happen in the future. Heavenly hope is the solid assurance that what God has said is as good as done! To hope in Christ Jesus is like jumping off of a cliff and hoping you reach the bottom! When you hope in Jesus you can have no doubt that Jesus will fulfill every promise!

"Lord, help me today to cling on to the Hope I have in You. Wrap that rope around me so that no storm in this life can disturb the peace that goes beyond understanding. Amen."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Your Unknown God!

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So Paul stood up in front of the council and said:

People of Athens, I see that you are very religious. As I was going through your city and looking at the things you worship, I found an altar with the words, “To an Unknown God.” You worship this God, but you don't really know him. So I want to tell you about him.  This God made the world and everything in it. He is Lord of heaven and earth, and he doesn't live in temples built by human hands.  He doesn't need help from anyone. He gives life, breath, and everything else to all people.

From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be.

God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him. He isn't far from any of us, and he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. “We are his children,” just as some of your poets have said.

Acts 17:22-28

Do you worship an unknown God? Is God someone you "know" or "know about?" There are many people who know about God, but there are few who know Him. The people of Athens were at least very honest in that they recognized that there was a God that they did not know. They even worshiped this unknown God.

Do you worship an unknown God? Do you know much about God even though you have not been alone with Him long enough to get to know Him?

When you read the Bible do you hear His voice? When you come to a crossroads in life, do you sense the Holy Spirit nudging you in the direction you should go? When you pray do you know that the Almighty, Creator, God is bending His ear in your direction? Do you see His footsteps in the sand all around you? Have you found the Bible verse that He wrote specifically with you and your needs in mind? Can you feel God's presence as much in the storm or in the desert as you do in the plentiful calm?

Let knowing God and bringing Him praise be the goal of your life and more specifically the goal of this day. Open your eyes and watch God work all around you and even through you. Notice how He responds to other people. Make sure your prayer time is a two way conversation and you let God do most of the talking!

"Lord, in so many ways You are an "Unknown God" to me! I ask You Lord today to lead me to know you more! May You be the Hand that moves me and the Friend who comforts. May You be the One that I live for and reason to die! Hold me close enough that I can feel Your heartbeat strong against my breast! Amen!"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Special Name for You!

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Jesus decided to ask some of his disciples to go up on a mountain with him, and they went. Then he chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so they could be with him. He also wanted to send them out to preach and to force out demons. Simon was one of the twelve, and Jesus named him Peter. There were also James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them Boanerges, which means “Thunderbolts.”  Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. The others were Simon, known as the Eager One,  and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.

Mark 3:13-19

When my children were small I had nicknames for them all. If I were to tell you what the names were you would think me silly and my children would be embarrassed and upset at their father. A nickname is a term of endearment and is often used between a man and woman who are "in love."

Jesus had nicknames for at least some of His disciples. Peter's real name was Simon and Jesus called James and John "Sons of Thunder."

When you are quiet and alone with Jesus does He have a special name just for you? Is there a word that when you hear it you think of Jesus and it reminds you of being alone with Him?

Or has it been a long time since you were with the Lord in a secret place? Maybe you have never been alone with Jesus. The secret place is where you will hear His special name for you!

"Lord, teach me how to be alone with You and help me to listen to every Word You say with the sole desire of being obedient to it. And Lord, call me anything You like, but call me! Amen."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Murphy’s Law!

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Fig trees may no longer bloom,
or vineyards produce grapes;
olive trees may be fruitless,
and harvest time a failure;
sheep pens may be empty,
and cattle stalls vacant—

but I will still celebrate
because the [Lord] God
is my Savior.

The [Lord] gives me strength.
He makes my feet as sure
as those of a deer,
and he helps me stand
on the mountains.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

In western culture today it is called "Murphy's Law." There are a number of ways to state it, but the simplest is this: "If anything can go wrong, it will!"

Things break, plans do not succeed, other people disappoint and crops fail. It is all a part of living in this fallen world. If you are still looking for "Utopia" here on this earth, let us all know when you find it!

Truthfully, the perfect "thing" you are searching for is God Himself. The satisfaction and contentment that comes from knowing God draws you quickly away from all the problems in your life! Knowing God and having Him live in your heart is the ultimate success. That success is not something for which you must strive and dedicate yourself for years to achieve. Knowing God begins when you hear about and accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life! It is quite simple and yet amazingly profound. Hear the good news about Jesus and call out to Him. You die to this world, even as He did and are buried with Jesus. Then like Jesus, you rise to walk a new life!

Are your problems and the failures of this world still there when you come out of the grave? Yes they are, but they no longer have mastery over you. You have stepped into a destiny that is called "eternal life." None of the problems on this earth can go there with you!

Then comes the daily walk with Jesus. Every minute of every day is filled with the excitement of close fellowship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father. You will begin to see and expect the power of God to address the issues in your life. He will be the answer to every problem.

Jesus will come back and bring everything to a grand conclusion here on this earth. But until He does, He is waiting for you to turn your heart to Him and embrace the life that will thrust you into Heaven where there will be no Murphy's Law and nothing will ever go wrong! Amen