Thursday, November 29, 2012

Focus of His Love!

But I will sing about

your strength, my God,

and I will celebrate

because of your love.

You are my fortress,

my place of protection

in times of trouble.

I will sing your praises!

You are my mighty fortress,

and you love me.

Psalm 59:16-17

Two little boys may be caught in a heated argument about whose father is stronger and which one is the better father.  Although he may not argue about it any more it is natural for a grown man to believe that his father was the "best father in the world."  It is good and right to believe that about your father because the REAL FATHER  of every man is God and deserves praise far beyond our ability to give it.

When you love someone the focus of your life is never far from that person.  When you love God, you are constantly seeking to please Him more than anything else.  But here is the shocking and mind bending truth.  God loves you!  You heard me right.  The Creator of all that there is, including you, loves you!

The focus of God's existence is never far from you.  Jesus desires to be with you forever and has done everything needed to make that possible.  

"Lord, I am stunned by the fact that You love me.  Your love is better than anything else in this world, or in the next.  To be loved by You is awesome and amazing and the beginning of a journey through Eternity that I cannot begin to fathom.  Thank You Jesus!  Amen."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Next Divine Appointment!

The LORD All-Powerful

will destroy the power of death

and wipe away all tears.

No longer will his people

be insulted everywhere.

The LORD has spoken!

At that time, people will say,

“The LORD has saved us!

Let's celebrate.

We waited and hoped—

now our God is here.”

Isaiah 25:8-9

When that Day finally comes and the saved stand before the Throne of God will you have any regrets about how you lived this life? How could you be saved and still regret something you did here on earth? Doesn't the blood of Jesus cover all my sins? Yes of course it does, but consider this: I wonder about the opportunities that God arranged for me to share the love of Christ and the message of His Good News that I simply ignored. Certainly God can send someone else if I don't respond to the Spirit's leading, but what glorious things did I miss seeing because I was too tired, or too busy with this life?

Don't be satisfied with the assurance that when you die you will go to Heaven. Live this life looking each moment for the next divine appointment. Be ready to be God's instrument and messenger and look for His power and purpose in every situation of your day!

Nothing is more exciting than clearly seeing the Hand of God working in an otherwise ordinary encounter. Be ready and be willing to be used in God's plan for the day.

"Lord, send me today into the Battle for the Eternal destiny of men and women here on earth. Give me the courage and willingness to engage the Enemy as a true Soldier of Christ! Thank you Jesus. Amen."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Come Quickly!

I have a lot of enemies, LORD.

Many fight against me and say,

“God won't rescue you!”

But you are my shield,

and you give me victory

and great honor.

I pray to you, and you answer

from your sacred hill.

I sleep and wake up refreshed

because you, LORD,

protect me.

Ten thousand enemies attack

from every side,

but I am not afraid.

Come and save me, LORD God!

Break my enemies' jaws

and shatter their teeth,

because you protect

and bless your people.

Psalm 3:1-8

Do you need to be rescued from your enemies? Do you even have enemies?

Many Christians believe that we should live our lives so that no one would consider themselves an enemy. They think we should lure men and women to Jesus with the promise of wonderful and pleasant things and avoid any reference to the difficulties of a Christian life and especially the inevitable suffering!

The truth is this: Jesus told every follower of His to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all men. Some when they hear will also become His followers and others will become His enemies and yours!

But when you are faithful to Jesus the end of the story is this: Jesus will come and rescue you from your enemies.

I think the worst part of being stranded on a desert island would be the uncertainty of knowing whether or not anyone would ever come and rescue you. You could wish and hope, but you would never know for sure that help would someday arrive. Christians know that Jesus will come and rescue them from this desert island called "life on earth." No matter how bad it gets here all followers of Jesus can rest assured that the turmoil of this life will end and they will be ushered in to a glorious eternity with Jesus Christ.

"Lord Jesus, I thank you for the promise you made to come back and take Your followers to be with You forever. Come quickly, Lord! Amen."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Same Breath!

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But don't be fooled! People will rebel against God. Then before the Lord returns, the wicked one who is doomed to be destroyed will appear. He will brag and oppose everything holy or sacred. He will even sit in God's temple and claim to be God. Don't you remember I told you this while I was still with you?

You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come. His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won't appear until this someone is out of the way.  Then he will appear, but the Lord Jesus will kill him simply by breathing on him. He will be completely destroyed by the Lord's glorious return.

II Thessalonians 2:3-8

God breathed on a lump of clay that had been formed into a body and Adam came to life. When Jesus returns He will breathe on the "wicked one" and he will die. The same breath can bring life or death.

When you inhale your body takes in the air that is rich in life sustaining oxygen. When you exhale the air that comes out is rich in carbon dioxide which cannot sustain life.

If you are the object of God's love, His breath brings life. If you are an enemy of God, His breath will destroy you.

Don't forget that believing in Jesus is not the same as trusting Him. Satan believes that Jesus exists and he knows for sure who Jesus is. That kind of belief will save no one. It is only those who trust, obey and depend on Jesus who will live with Him forever.

Do you believe in Jesus? If you said "yes" that is good, but it is of no value unless you also trust, obey and depend on Him for everything. Jesus must be more than the Lord of all. He must be the Lord of your life! Only then will His breath bring you life and not destruction!

"Lord, I declare today that I trust You! Help me to depend on You for everything and to obey Your voice in everything I do. Amen!"

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why Jesus Came!

When Christ came into the world, he said to God, “Sacrifices and offerings are not what you want, but you have given me my body.

No, you are not pleased with animal sacrifices and offerings for sin.”

Then Christ said, “And so, my God, I have come to do what you want, as the Scriptures say.”

Hebrews 10:5-7

God's plan for Jesus on this earth was carefully crafted by God Himself and predicted by the Old Testament prophets. Every day and in every situation of that day Jesus made choices that were consistent with the Will of God!

Jesus came to earth to do what God wanted done! He had no other purpose.

When you come to God and pray do you ask that He bend His Will so it will fit snugly into your own plans? Is your prayer focused on gathering and experiencing as many blessings as possible? Do you occasionally stumble across the Will of God for your life and find it inconvenient and even troublesome? If you answer yes to those questions you are simply being more honest than most.

The truly liberated Christian is the one who comes to Jesus and makes no claim on his own life, peace and security, and pleasure. You see, you were created to do what God wants. That is your purpose in life and that is the only thing that will truly make you happy.

"Lord, I confess that I am clinging to my own blessings and comfort instead of trusting You completely for everything. Take my heart today and help me to do only what You want done in Jesus Name. Amen."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shore of Eternity!

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

Jesus is the only one who is able to open the scroll and release the Word in the lives of men and women. When you try to be a Christian without an active, living, personal, and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ all you have is a rule book and a life of frustrating attempts to follow those rules.

But if you try to have a relationship with Jesus without the Word of God you will find yourself deceived at almost every turn. False teachers will fill your ears with new and exciting doctrines that sound wonderful to the human spirit.

The powerful and victorious Christian life happens when Jesus unseals the Word of God in your life. You read a verse of Scripture and suddenly it becomes alive and the power of God floods your soul. You find yourself standing on the shore of Eternity with Jesus beginning to explain it all!

Then you are distracted by the cares of this life and the lure of pleasures here on earth. You remember that moment with Jesus but begin to believe that it was just for that moment and not for every day. And you are lulled back to sleep while Jesus calls you back to Him.

"Lord, wake me up again to the reality of walking with You and experiencing the power of Your Word today in my life. And may tomorrow be the same, and forever, Amen!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The First Cup!

When the time came for Jesus and the apostles to eat, he said to them, “I have very much wanted to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer. I tell you I will not eat another Passover meal until it is finally eaten in God's kingdom.”

Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he told the apostles, “Take this wine and share it with each other. I tell you that I will not drink any more wine until God's kingdom comes.”

Jesus took some bread in his hands and gave thanks for it. He broke the bread and handed it to his apostles. Then he said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this as a way of remembering me!”

After the meal he took another cup of wine in his hands. Then he said, “This is my blood. It is poured out for you, and with it God makes his new agreement.

Luke 22:14-20

Have you noticed that in this account of the night before Jesus died on the Cross there are two cups of wine mentioned, not just one. The first cup mentioned is to be shared while the second cup is His blood!

The symbolism of the Lord's Supper is amazing. Read about the Passover meal itself and you will learn even more about what happened that night before the crucifixion.

Followers of Jesus share a cup that touches every part of our lives. We share in the blessing of knowing Jesus and hearing His voice as we walk through life. We share a cup of suffering as we feel the push back of the world. We share a cup of pain as we are crucified with Christ.

The next time you approach "The Lord's Table" to participate in Communion also remember the first cup of Luke 22.

"Lord Jesus, I say "Yes" to Your proposal that I become part of Your Bride. May my heart be totally focused on You, Jesus, now and forever. Amen!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Jonah Role!

Look and be amazed

at what's happening

among the nations!

Even if you were told,

you would never believe

what's taking place now.

Habakkuk 1:5

It is indeed amazing to look at what is happening in the world today. There is turmoil among the nations and movement toward a massive re-alignment of allies and enemies. Israel is being threatened in some way by almost every other nation. A great shaking of the world as we know it seems to be at the door.

Many Christians have simply stopped watching and listening to what is happening. They cover their eyes and put their fingers in their ears hoping it will just all go away. It will not!

Regardless of how it goes over the next few days, weeks, months and even years followers of Jesus have a crucial "Jonah" role to play in the "End Times."

Jonah told Nineveh to repent or they would be destroyed! To even Jonah's amazement Nineveh did repent and God did not destroy them at that time.

As you see the world spinning out of control, lift your voice and call men everywhere to repent and turn to Jesus! It is the only thing you can do that will make an eternal difference in these last days!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pray for God’s Will!

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I love you, LORD God,

and you make me strong.

You are my mighty rock,

my fortress, my protector,

the rock where I am safe,

my shield, my powerful weapon,

and my place of shelter.

I praise you, LORD!

I prayed, and you rescued me

from my enemies.

Death had wrapped

its ropes around me,

and I was almost swallowed

by its flooding waters.

Ropes from the world

of the dead

had coiled around me,

and death had set a trap

in my path.

I was in terrible trouble

when I called out to you,

but from your temple

you heard me

and answered my prayer.

Psalm 18:1-6

When was the last time you were in terrible trouble? The problem had no obvious solution and you began to panic! You went to your trusted advisers and they could offer you no feasible way to solve the dilemma. You had prayed for wisdom and nothing changed. You didn't need wisdom, you needed a miracle to change the circumstances and you needed it soon!

And then you cast yourself on the mercy of God and prayed for Him to intervene in whatever way He saw would be best. And when the answer came it was even better than you had hoped.

Often we pray for God to do a specific thing, but the greater prayer is for God to do His will in our lives!

"Lord, do for me according to Your will, not mine. Bless me or afflict me as You see fit and as Your love for me dictates. And may Jesus be glorified! Amen!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next View!

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After this, I looked and saw a door that opened into heaven. Then the voice that had spoken to me at first and that sounded like a trumpet said, “Come up here! I will show you what must happen next.”  Right then the Spirit took control of me, and there in heaven I saw a throne and someone sitting on it.The one who was sitting there sparkled like precious stones of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow that looked like an emerald surrounded the throne.

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

Around the throne in the center were four living creatures covered front and back with eyes. The first creature was like a lion, the second one was like a bull, the third one had the face of a human, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.  Each of the four living creatures had six wings, and their bodies were covered with eyes. Day and night they never stopped singing,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord,

the all-powerful God,

who was and is

and is coming!”

The living creatures kept praising, honoring, and thanking the one who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever. At the same time the 24 elders knelt down before the one sitting on the throne. And as they worshiped the one who lives forever, they placed their crowns in front of the throne and said,

“Our Lord and God,

you are worthy

to receive glory,

honor, and power.

You created all things,

and by your decision they are

and were created.”

Revelation 4

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In the Tomb With Jesus!

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Don't you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death?  When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.

If we shared in Jesus' death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him.

Romans 6:3-5

What is Christian baptism?  For centuries believers have agreed and disagreed, discussed and even argued over this simple command.  The command is simple but the reality of this act of obedience is beyond our ability to grasp.  

Unless I have missed something, the Bible does not say that baptism is symbolic.  These verses say that when we were baptized we were buried with Christ.  How can that be?  I certainly don't know but I know what the Bible says and I have chosen to believe it.

When I choose to be baptized in response to the command of Jesus, I am stepping in to the tomb with Jesus!  I choose death with Christ over life with the world.  Then comes the Resurrection and I am there when it happens.  

"Lord, show me more of what You have done for me.  And hold me close as the Day approaches when we will be together forever!  Amen."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Keep Watching the Clouds!

Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him in private. They asked, “When will these things happen? What will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

Jesus answered:

Watch out and don't let anyone fool you!  Many will come and claim to be me. They will use my name and fool many people.

When you hear about wars and threats of wars, don't be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn't the end. Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. There will be earthquakes in many places, and people will starve to death. But this is just the beginning of troubles.

Be on your guard! You will be taken to courts and beaten with whips in their synagogues. And because of me, you will have to stand before rulers and kings to tell about your faith.  But before the end comes, the good news must be preached to all nations.

Mark 13:3-10

When I write one of these blogs and post it on the internet, it is instantly available to every nation on earth that has internet access. And that number is quite large and growing all the time.

Is it any wonder that Satan wants to use the internet for evil purposes? This international digital communications network makes the Gospel of Jesus available almost everywhere and it is instantaneous. In the last 24 hours even this blog has been viewed in five different countries around the world. If you Google "Gospel of Jesus Christ" you will get over 41,000,000 hits!

The bottom line is that we do not need to wait for something else to happen before the End could come!

If you believe that you don't need to be ready for the return of the Lord today then wake up! Instead of spending your time trying to figure out why Jesus will not return for a while yet, use what time you have left spreading the Gospel and getting ready to hear the call!

And as you wait, keep watching the clouds! Amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

“All Aboard!”

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 12:22-24

When you ride the train you will often hear the "next stop" announced over the speakers in the ceiling of the train car. These three verses would be an appropriate announcement before the train stops at the gate of Heaven!

Do you really want to go to Heaven, or is it just a better alternative than Hell? Many people believe that everyone will go to Heaven and that Hell does not exist. They want to believe that life goes on after they die, but they don't have any idea what it will be like.

Heaven is where Christians will be with Jesus forever! It is where they will find out what it means to be the "Bride of Christ."

The beginning of Heaven on earth is when you give your heart to Jesus.

"Lord Jesus, I want to be with You where You are. I want to hear Your voice and see Your face. I want to rest in Your arms and live in the peace that cannot be understood. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen."

Friday, November 9, 2012

His Home My Heart

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.

Revelation 21:1-4

Yes, of course Heaven is the place where we go to live with God. But God will also make His home among His people! While we live on this earth we are not yet in Heaven, but God makes His home in our hearts before we leave this earth!

"Christ in you the hope of glory!" We are filled with the Holy Spirit and can listen to His directions for our lives.

The secret to peace on earth is in our hearts if we believe in Jesus. Our peace comes from knowing that God is with us and is in us. That one truth changes everything about how we see the world around us. There are no problems too difficult, no mountains too high, no storms too fierce. When you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ the answer to everything is inside you!

This secret relationship is not imaginary and it is the power behind the victorious Christian life.

"Lord, wake me up to the truth that You are indeed in my heart. Forgive me for ignoring You. Speak to me Your Words today! Amen."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Expect His Help!

Even though the LORD had commanded the Israelites not to worship idols, they did it anyway.  So the LORD made sure that every prophet warned Israel and Judah with these words: “I, the LORD, command you to stop doing sinful things and start obeying my laws and teachings! I gave them to your ancestors, and I told my servants the prophets to repeat them to you.”

But the Israelites would not listen; they were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to worship the LORD their God.  They ignored the LORD's warnings and commands, and they rejected the solemn agreement he had made with their ancestors. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. The LORD had told the Israelites not to do the things that the foreign nations around them were doing, but Israel became just like them.

2 Kings 17:12-15

Sons become like their fathers and daughters become like their mothers. When you spend lots of time with someone you acquire characteristics and mannerisms of the other person. People, like sponges soak up the culture in which they live.

When a man or woman spends lots of time with Jesus listening to the Holy Spirit and pondering the Majesty of God he or she is changed. Let the Words of Jesus become the words you say when you are presented with similar situations. Expect to see the power of God intervene when you pray for His help. Every day wash yourself in His Holy Word because the world regularly splatters you with filth from the Evil One!

"Lord, help me to be like Jesus and not like the world around me. Give me the courage to confess my sin and be made Holy and Righteous by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Amen."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Revenge or Revival?

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Then Joshua told the people:

Worship the LORD, obey him, and always be faithful. Get rid of the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. But if you don't want to worship the LORD, then choose here and now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you're living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you'll worship their gods. I won't. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!

Joshua 24:14-15

When a nation clearly chooses not to follow God, but to go the way of the flesh and the way of self indulgence rather than restraint it is a sad day, but not one without hope.

When the culture and the elected leaders of a country draw the people to God it is a good thing, but not a permanent one. When I am righteous because everyone else around me is righteous I am just a leaf in the wind. But when I am touched by the Holy Spirit of God and filled to become like Jesus then I am reformed in a total transformation process! That is what we all need!

Remember, an election really only reveals the character of a nation, but a Revival changes it forever!

"Lord, pour Your Revival Fire on this land and may it burn all the chaff of our rebellion and foolishness. Amen"

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Storm of God’s Anger

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You disgraceful nation, gather around, before it's too late.

The LORD has set a time when his fierce anger will strike like a storm and sweep you away.

If you humbly obey the LORD, then come and worship him. If you do right and are humble, perhaps you will be safe on that day when the LORD turns loose his anger.

Zephaniah 2:1-3

The anger of God is like a storm. Hurricane Sandy seemed at first to be no real threat to the United States. It was late in the hurricane season and it was heading north where usually hurricanes lose their strength as they move into colder water and air. Sandy defied the odds and struck New York City and New Jersey with fierce winds and rain. The aftermath of that storm will be felt for years.

The "Storm of God's Anger" seems to be no threat to men who have lived their entire lives in opposition to Him. Why would He now show His anger when He has tolerated their sin for so long? God will show His anger at the very time He has set for judgment. When that time comes, no one who opposes God will stand. He will sweep them all away.

The choice that we have is this: We can be sheltered in the arms of Jesus or standing on the shore of rebellion to God when the storm hits. If you choose Jesus you will never regret it, but if you choose the world instead of God you will regret it for eternity. Be quick in deciding. Who knows how long before the storm will come?