Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jesus Understands!

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Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin!   So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved grace, and we will find help.

Hebrews 4:15-16

Understanding comes with suffering. When you experience a great tragedy you can come along side others who have gone through the same thing and bring comfort.

When my daughter died, more than twenty years ago, it gave my wife and I the ability to mourn with those who mourn because of the death of a child. Every "recovery" group has the element of mutual and shared suffering. You look around at others and know that they know what you are going through.

It is really hard to grasp that Jesus was "tempted in every way that we are." For something to qualify as a "temptation" I have to feel the pull toward doing that thing. I am not "tempted" to eat when I am not hungry. Jesus, in His flesh was drawn toward sin. He understands how I feel when I am tempted. Symbolically Jesus stands once again in the Garden of Eden and refuses to eat of the fruit, even though He was tempted to do so!
So when you turn your heart to Jesus and confess your most heinous sin, Jesus responds with "I was tempted to do that too!"

"Lord Jesus, I pour out my heart to You and let Your light shine on all my sin. I want to hear Your words of understanding and forgiveness. There is no weakness that You do not understand and no sin I can confess to You that You do not have the power to forgive! Praise Your name forever. Amen."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Voice of God

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All you angels in heaven,

honor the glory and power

of the Lord!


Honor the wonderful name

of the Lord,

and worship the Lord

most holy and glorious.


The voice of the Lord

echoes over the oceans.

The glorious Lord God

thunders above the roar

of the raging sea,

and his voice is mighty

and marvelous.


The voice of the Lord

destroys the cedar trees;

the Lord shatters cedars

on Mount Lebanon.


God makes Mount Lebanon

skip like a calf

and Mount Hermon

jump like a wild ox.


The voice of the Lord

makes lightning flash

and the desert tremble.

And because of the Lord,

the desert near Kadesh

shivers and shakes.


The voice of the Lord

makes deer give birth

before their time.

Forests are stripped of leaves,

and the temple is filled

with shouts of praise.


The Lord rules on his throne,

king of the flood forever.


Pray that our Lord

will make us strong

and give us peace.

Psalm 29

A big, burly man with a tiny high pitched voice seems really odd. Also a very small man with a large booming voice is not to be expected. But what kind of voice does God have? Is the voice of God loud and blustery, or is it simply strong and majestic? Is God's voice like thunder or is it a "still, small" voice that speaks to your heart?

Is hearing the voice of God a "once in a lifetime" occurrence or is it a regular part of your day? Does God say the same things to everybody, or does He have a personal word for you? Does God only speak to you about significant and earth shaking matters or does He notice the bird that flew into your window and was stunned for a few minutes?

Sometimes the voice of God may be a thought that seems to come to your mind from nowhere. His voice may be frightening and upsetting, or it may be sweet and comforting.
The voice of The Lord is everywhere in all of His creation. It was God's voice that proclaimed our very existence and it was so!

"Dear Lord, I have talked so much and listened so little to Your voice. Help me to hear Your voice when it is very loud and when it is soft and quiet. Thank you Lord that I can read Your Word and hear Your voice, and one day, maybe soon I will also see Your face! Amen."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eternal Promise

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The Lord is our God, bringing justice everywhere on earth.

He will never forget his agreement or his promises, not in thousands of years.

God made an eternal promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when he said, “I'll give you the land of Canaan.”

Psalm 105:7-11

For human beings, growing older and being forgetful seem to go hand in hand. Not a day goes by that I don't forget something. I work at forgetting only the non essential things.
God in some ways is the same. Because of Jesus God forgets my sin, but He never forgets His promises! I'm sure you have heard someone say, "I can forgive, but I will never forget." That is not the kind of forgiveness offered by God. When I come to Jesus my sin is covered by His blood and is remembered no more!

But the promises of God do not change and are not forgotten. God promised the land of Canaan to the Jewish people, and thousands of years later they are still there. They have been exiled before, but they always come back, and no one has been able to destroy them all. It is not because the Jews are wonderful, it is because God promised that it would be so!

No nation has ever been able to bring harm against the Jewish people without God allowing it to serve His purposes. Of all the evidences of God in this world, one of the most obvious is the very existence of the nation of Israel.

"Lord, Your promises are forever and cannot go unfulfilled. Help me watch for how You are doing the things You said You would do in this world. And Lord, may Your promise to come back and get us, come soon! Amen."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Silence in Heaven!

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When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Revelation 8:1

When there is silence in Heaven the Word of God becomes quiet as well!  The sound of Heaven's praise which continues to echo through Eternity suddenly stops, and everything waits for God's next move!

Do you put your ear to Heaven's door and hear nothing coming from the other side?  You may have heard the sounds of Heaven for years and rejoice every morning that God speaks to you unceasingly, and then it stops, there is silence in Heaven!

Heaven's half hour of silence to me seems to go on forever.  If a day is a thousand years to God, then a half hour can be more than twenty years!  Will we ever hear the glorious praise coming from the Throne of God again?  Will His Word vibrate through the earth changing hearts and minds and speaking health to the sick and life to the dying?  

Heaven's silence is the time for you to turn up your faith and trust in Jesus!  Remember the language of love goes far beyond words!  Even when Jesus is silent He has not left you.  When you hear no praise coming from Heaven, you can know that the trumpet blasts are soon to begin.

"Lord Jesus, I praise You even though I hear no sound from Heaven.  I love You Lord.  I love You beyond my sense of Your presence.  Help me to sit quietly and enjoy the silence of Heaven as we wait for the Trumpet to sound.  Thank You Jesus.  Amen."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

All My Sin

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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.  Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty.  All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Revelation 21:1-7

Death, suffering, crying and pain are all temporary. They are going away. When Jesus comes and we go to live with Him forever none of those earthly traumas will accompany us to Glory!

Even though we know that God works good in us through all of these while we are here, they will be no more forever! My latest encounter with these "earth only difficulties" is suffering. When one that you love dearly is going through a mighty trial there can be physical pain in your own body as you long for some way to take away their pain.

When Jesus looked down at the desperate plight of man, He was moved by His love to address the issue of sin. So Jesus not only became our advocate with the Father, He also paid the price for every sin ever committed, including the first sin of Adam and Eve! He started there but also included the sin that you committed this morning!

There is indeed nothing more amazing than the love of Jesus. I can rest in His arms and know all is well. It doesn't matter where I am. I can be on the pinnacle or in the deepest pit. Jesus' love is there and covers me with His peace. His hand is resting on my head as I bow humbly before my Lord and Savior.

"Lord Jesus, I know that Your sacrifice was enough for every sin of every man or woman who ever lived and that Lord includes my sin. Help me today to say "no" to every temptation to sin! Today Lord let me walk in Your steps and rejoice that we will be together forever! Come soon, Lord Jesus. Amen."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

When You Come Back to Jesus!

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When you come back to Jesus
He won't ask you where you've been.

He doesn't need to know the path
You've traveled, or your sin.

When you come back to Jesus
He takes it all away

He gives you Peace and Joy and Love
And a special place to stay

Close by His heart while leaning on His breast.
It's like you never left at all, and then you find the rest

A sweet retreat from all that's wrong
The comfort in His arms
You soon forget the world that pulled you often with it's charms.

So now it's you and Jesus, for no one else will do.
You wake to hear His voice again and feel His touch anew.

When you come back to Jesus you'll hear Him call your name.
He'll welcome you into His heart and wash away your pain.

Oh, do come back to Jesus. Don't make Him wait today.
Please do come back to Jesus for then you'll hear Him say:

"I love you and I forgive!"

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Light of the World!

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

If we say we share in life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth.  But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away.  If we say we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn't in our hearts. 9But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.

If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and his message isn't in our hearts.

I John 1:5-10

Years ago when I lived in Indonesia I learned the meaning of darkness. Only a few miles from our home there were no street lights, security lights or blinking signs. And when the sky was covered with a blanket of clouds you could feel the darkness. With your eyes wide open there was nothing that gave you even a hint of what was going on around you or even where you were. In that darkness when you held your hand in front of your face you could see nothing at all!

When you live in spiritual darkness you cannot see what is going on around you. You don't even know where you are or which way to go. Then, you hear a Word or see a small glimmer of light on the horizon. When you are in total darkness even a little light is very impressive and draws you to it.

If you are in the darkness and then you see a light, go toward the light. The way out of the darkness is to go to the light. It is there you will find Jesus. And when you step into the light you will begin to see not only the light itself, but all the things around you. When you are in the light you can even look into the mirror of God's Word and see yourself. That is how you know how to repent. You can't see what needs to be changed in your life if you are in the dark.

"Jesus, I thank You that You have called me from darkness into Light! I once was blind, but now I see. Help me never to blink my spiritual eyes and return even for a second to the darkness I was in before You found me and brought Your light! Praise You Jesus for You are the Light of the World! Amen."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Learn to Obey by Suffering!

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God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers.  Jesus is God's own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God.  Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:7-9

It really is hard to understand that Jesus learned what it means to obey God by suffering, which it says made Him perfect.

Is there another way that we can learn what it means to obey God? We would like to think that we can learn what it means to obey God by studying the Scriptures. If we can memorize enough Bible verses then surely that will keep us from having to walk in the way of suffering! If not that then giving of our goods and doing good deeds for others would suffice?

Never forget that Jesus Himself prayed the night before He went to the Cross that He be spared the need to suffer! It is not a sign of spiritual weakness that you do not want to suffer. It simply means that you are truly human. Jesus was God in the flesh, but His flesh was human in every way just as we are. 

Obedience to Jesus is learned by suffering because obeying Him is doing that which you would not otherwise do. Obeying God contradicts every fleshly desire even to the point of submitting to death on a Cross!  Obeying Jesus means that we have chosen to do something that we would otherwise not have done.  In that we suffer and in that we learn to obey our Lord!

"Lord, I want to obey You, but I don't want to suffer to learn obedience. By Your Grace and Power may I give up my own desires today and learn more of what it means to obey You as I submit to and even embrace suffering.  Thank You Jesus for Your suffering. Amen."

Friday, January 18, 2013

For Sale!

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A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments.”

“Which ones?” the man asked.

Jesus answered, “Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others.  Respect your father and mother. And love others as much as you love yourself.”  The young man said, “I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do?”

Jesus replied, “If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower.”  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was very rich.

Matthew 19:16-22

Jesus asked the rich young man to go through a two stage process of obedience in getting ready to follow Him. He first told him to sell "everything you own" and secondly to give the money to the poor. Why did Jesus not simply tell the man to give away everything he owned and then follow Him? The Bible does not say, but could it be that Jesus wanted the young man to know exactly how much he was giving up to follow Jesus? The price of following Jesus was not generic, it was specific. And Jesus wanted the man to account for every penny he was giving up for Him.

The sad part of this story is that the man decided not to follow Jesus, so he did not sell what he had.

When you ask Jesus what you must do to be His follower what is the demand He makes on your life? Does Jesus tell everyone who comes to Him to sell everything? No He does not, but there is one common imperative that Jesus makes. Jesus requires that you abandon any love that would compete with Him! For the rich young man that love was money. For some it might be career, or education, or status in life. For some it might be reputation or even dreams of greatness. Whatever it is that would come between you and Jesus must be sold and the proceeds given to the poor before you can follow Him!

"Lord Jesus, show me clearly today if there is something standing in the way of my love for You. Help me to put a "For Sale" sign on everything that needs to go in my life! Thank you Jesus. Amen."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

His Saving Power Never Ends!

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Look closely at the sky!  Stare at the earth.  The sky will vanish like smoke;  the earth will wear out like clothes.

Everyone on this earth will die like flies.  But my victory will last; my saving power never ends.

If you want to do right and obey my teaching with all your heart, then pay close attention.

Don't be discouraged when others insult you  and say hurtful things.

They will be eaten away like a moth-eaten coat. But my victory will last; my saving power will never end.

Isaiah 51:6-8

We have come to the point that almost everything on this earth is disposable. When something breaks you throw it away and buy another one. There are very few if any television repair shops in today's world. When your TV stops working, you throw it away.

Jesus did not come to set up a world of disposable people. When your life is broken Jesus repairs it with His own blood. Jesus puts the pieces back together so you are better than you were when you were new.

Satan says there is no hope for you. He says that no one can fix your life once it is broken. Satan is wrong and is the Father of Lies. Not only can you be made like new by the power of Jesus, but you can be refurbished with His power flowing through your veins!

You may have been hoping just to put your life back together like it was before, but Jesus never stops there. He will update your heart and mind and fill your life with His own Spirit.

Take the smoldering wick of your life to Jesus and watch Him blow it into a roaring flame!
Look out world, Jesus has repaired another life! Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Mystery of God!

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People of Israel,

your God is a mystery,

though he alone can save.

Anyone who makes idols

will be confused

and terribly disgraced.

But Israel, I, the Lord,

will always keep you safe

and free from shame.

Isaiah 45:15-17

There are great unanswered questions in this world. God Himself and His very existence is the greatest mystery. When a man or woman tries to grasp the existence of God and make perfect sense of it, sometimes in frustration they will simply declare that He doesn't exist at all rather than deal with the profound mystery of God!

Idolatry is the easiest place to go when you give up on God. An idol will not surprise you and will not confound you. An idol pretends to be anything you say it is. An idol is a god in your own mind, so you can define it in a way that does not conflict with your own personal peace and pleasure.

Idols can evolve or be replaced by another one. There is no God but Jehovah! So when you turn your heart to anyone or anything else you have made an idol of that person or thing!

If you keep your heart from idolatry will you then understand the fullness of God? Oh no, you will not! The mystery of God envelops this world and may be part of the Glory of Eternity. We do not know if seeing the Father on His throne will take away all the mystery. It may not. Seeing Him may open many other doors of even greater mystery about our Loving Father! But the goal of life is not to understand God, but rather to love Him and know that He loves me too! Then everything will be wonderful forever. Amen!

Monday, January 14, 2013

God Uses the Ungodly!

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I am King Cyrus of Persia.

The Lord God of heaven, who is also the God of Israel, has made me the ruler of all nations on earth. And he has chosen me to build a temple for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. The Lord God will watch over and encourage any of his people who want to go back to Jerusalem and help build the temple.

Ezra 1:2-3

Does God only work through Godly people? The answer to that is certainly "No!" God does His work and uses people who are righteous or people who are unrighteous. God uses the forces of nature, and He uses a talking donkey when He needs to!

It is easy to believe that my life can only be used by God when I am living according to His Word and submitted to Him in my heart. God used Pharaoh, Herod, Pilate, and Cyrus King of Persia. Never forget that God used Judas to accomplish His purpose of letting Jesus go to the Cross for all of us!

Take no pride in how God has used you in His service. He will use you whether or not you are living in submission to Him. You have the choice however to be used as was King David, who was a man after God's own heart, or you can be used as Judas was used in his rebellion and sin!

"Lord, I know that Your purposes in this world will be accomplished, and that no rebellion of mankind or even my own rebellion will change that. But Lord, I want to be used as a man after Your heart and not as one who rebels against You. Show me today Lord the steps to take. And may my heart be given totally to You. Amen."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Message and Messenger!

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My dear friends, I want you to know that what has happened to me has helped to spread the good news.  The Roman guards and all the others know I am here in jail because I serve Christ. Now most of the Lord's followers have become brave and are fearlessly telling the message.

Some are preaching about Christ because they are jealous and envious of us. Others are preaching because they want to help. They love Christ and know I am here to defend the good news about him.  But the ones who are jealous of us are not sincere. They just want to cause trouble for me while I am in jail.  But that doesn't matter. All that matters is that people are telling about Christ, whether they are sincere or not. This is what makes me glad.

I will keep on being glad,  because I know that your prayers and the help that comes from the Spirit of Christ Jesus will keep me safe.

Philippians 1:12-19

The heart of the preacher is important for his sake. When a man preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but he himself is a hypocrite and fraud, the message of Jesus is still powerful and can change the lives of those who respond to it, even though for the preacher himself it has no power! The lesson is simple but profound. Don't discredit the Gospel because the preacher is insincere and don't accept a message simply because the man himself is a good and honest man.

You can handle the Word of God accurately and proclaim the truth when your life is not consistent with that Word. And you can live a life pleasing to God with the one exception of not being careful in proclaiming only the Truth of the Bible.

I sat with my grandson yesterday and watched a video about the history of the earth. The narrator proclaimed with great confidence the age of the universe and how many billion years ago life came into being. I explained to my grandson that this man is saying things that he doesn't know are true, but he proclaims them as if they are.

Don't judge the truth by the presentation. No matter how slick or professional it may be the content may not be true at all! And a halting and not very impressive declaration may be totally true! Judge the message of the Gospel by the Bible itself. That is the only way to know whether or not you are hearing the truth.

"Lord, give me the wisdom to search the Scriptures every day to know whether or not the things I am hearing are true. And Lord, let me follow You and You alone and bow down to no one else here on this earth. Amen!"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Never be the Same!

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I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people.  So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers.   I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God.   My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and you will understand the hope given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all God's people.

I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used  when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven.

Ephesians 1:15-20

Do you feel powerless and weak? As a follower of Jesus Christ are you just hanging on to the hope that is yours?

What about the "great and mighty power" that God has for those who follow Jesus? Do you know what that power is and how it works in your life? How can the power that raised Christ from death and let Him sit at the right side of God be there for you?

The simple answer is utterly profound. You have been crucified with Christ and you have been raised to a new life just like Jesus was raised from the grave. Your life as a Christian is totally transformed from the life you lived before you believed in Jesus.

The positive changes that make you a child of God came from Jesus not from your own effort. The transformation was done to you, not by you! You are who you are because of God's power at work in your life.

Surrender your life to Jesus and let God's power bring you to the new life of knowing Him and walking by the power of the Holy Spirit! Truly, you will never be the same again. Amen!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Shout of the Angel!

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My friends, we want you to understand how it will be for those followers who have already died. Then you won't grieve over them and be like people who don't have any hope. We believe Jesus died and was raised to life. We also believe that when God brings Jesus back again, he will bring with him all who had faith in Jesus before they died.  Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won't go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died.

With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God's trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life.  Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever.  Encourage each other with these words.

I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Jesus wants us to encourage each other as we wait for Him to return. Things on this earth will may go from bad to worse, but when Jesus returns everything will be alright forever!

Remember that Satan may take away your family, your wealth, and even your health, but he cannot take away your hope in Jesus!

Ultimately you may die for your faith in Jesus, but dying for Jesus will do you no harm at all! Do not fear dying for Jesus rather fear giving up your faith in Jesus in order to save your life here on this earth! If you do that you will lose both.

Hold on to Jesus like a man lost at sea holds on the raft on which he floats. Hold on to Jesus like your life depends on it, because it does. Will Jesus come soon? Yes He will! One day, without warning there will be a shout from the chief angel and a trumpet blast. Then you will see Jesus! Could that happen today? Yes it could.

"Lord, if I die and go to be with You I know that I will come back with You on that day. And if I am still alive when You return I know that I will meet You in the sky! And Lord, I know that it could be today! Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Love Defined!

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God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. God stays one with everyone who openly says Jesus is the Son of God. This is how we stay one with God and are sure God loves us.

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 4:14-21

Love is a word that is poorly defined at best in this fallen world. We use the word Love to describe the strength of our positive feelings about someone or even some thing. We have even given the word a strong sexual connotation. The reason we have such difficulty with the word "Love" is that Love is the essence of God Himself.

When a man or woman truly loves, the very nature of God is swirling around every loving thought or action. That is why Satan attacks marriage in such a direct assault. A happy, loving marriage is indeed the appetizer for Heaven! What we taste here with such ecstasy will be a full course meal forever!

The choice is yours. You can rummage through the garbage dump of life looking for something that is barely edible or you can sit down with Jesus for the most amazing menu of eternal delights!

"Lord I want to know the Love of God in my life. Help me to know You better by loving those people around me. Today Lord, show me how. Amen."

Monday, January 7, 2013

To Be Like Jesus!

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You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God's right side. Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.  You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God. Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory.

Don't be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.  God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.  And this is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way. But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.  And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits.

Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better. It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Colossians 3:1-11

Man was created in the image of God. Then came the fall of man and that image was marred beyond human repair. There is no way on earth that you can restore your life to the perfect condition of Adam and Eve before the fall in the Garden of Eden. The ultimate goal of your salvation is not just to remove sin and its effects from your life, but to ultimately restore you to the perfect condition before the fall of man.

The Bible is not a rule book for the lost. You can obey every rule in Scripture and still be lost eternally! The description of moral purity as displayed in the life of Jesus is not what you do to become like Jesus, it is rather what you do because He has changed you into His image! You can act like a bird all day long, but unless you are indeed a bird you will not be able to flap your wings and fly. You can act like Jesus and impress everyone around you, but unless Jesus has changed your very nature into the image of Christ you will only look like Him, but you will not be like Him.

"Lord, I tremble when I ask You to change my very heart so that I may be like You and not just look like You. May my obedience come from the fact that I have become like You and not because i am trying to become like You! Show me the steps that we will take together today! Amen."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Puzzle of Life!

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The next day, when the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet Him. They kept shouting: “Hosanna! He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One — the King of Israel! ”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written: Fear no more, Daughter Zion. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.

His disciples did not understand these things at first. However, when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

John 12:12-16

It is sometimes very hard to reconcile what you read in the Word of God and what you see happening in the world around you. Some people even collect all of the wonderful promises and assurances in the Bible and read them over and over again, day after day. Then when life circumstances seem to contradict all those Words of Scripture they enter a dark valley of despair!

Life is like a giant jigsaw puzzle with thousands of small pieces that all fit together perfectly. But only with God's help and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is a man able finally to see the complete picture. Some people ponder for years one piece of the puzzle that seems to make no sense at all. It will not be clear until all the other pieces are in place.

Rest assured that every piece of your puzzle does fit perfectly in the picture of your life. The truly amazing thing is that your freedom to chose to do the right thing or the wrong thing is firmly in place while God is still in control of the entire picture!

"Lord, thank You for helping me to trust You when nothing in life seems to make sense! You are the only One who sees everything in my life for exactly the piece that it is. Thank you Jesus, Amen!"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Whole Truth!

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I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand.  The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn't speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen.  The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you.  Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you.

John 16:12-15

When you sit down and speak with a little child about life and what he or she should know in order to live it well, you come to understand a little of the frustration God Himself experiences in speaking to us about Eternity!

The simplest things for God are far to difficult for the wisest man to understand. And so the Holy Spirit guides us into the full truth. It is a little like building a tall building. You must start at the bottom and go up from there. When you build a building you cannot skip a floor. Each new level is built on the one that comes before it. The next level of your life with Jesus must be built on the current one.

I like to ponder the top floor. I enjoy thinking about what it will be like when I soar above the world with Jesus and can see from the pinnacle of my life the things of Eternity. But Jesus wants me to focus on today and the challenge of loving today's enemy or doing the good work that He has set before me.

When you climb a set of steps you cannot navigate the final step until you have taken all the others.

"Lord I know that there is so much You could tell me that right now I would not understand. But one day I will understand as the Holy Spirit guides me into all the truth! Hold my hand Lord and lead me on. Let me see new realities every day. Show me the truth for today that I have never seen before. Thank You Jesus. Amen!"

Friday, January 4, 2013

Perfect Storm, Perfect Lord!

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Our ancestors sinned,

but they are dead,

and we are left to pay

for their sins.

Slaves are now our rulers,

and there is no one

to set us free.

Lamentations 5:7-8

There are sins that one generation passes on to the next. There are also blessings that come from those who walked before you. We cannot change the inheritance we have received from those who went before us, but we can change what we leave for those who come after.

Even children who are adopted into a new family and have no contact with their birth parents bring with them a legacy of physical, mental and emotional strengths and weaknesses.

You cannot change the inheritance given to you by your fore fathers, but you do have power over the inheritance you leave to those who come after. If the story of your life is one of failure in the things that really matter that legacy will live on long past your days here on this earth. But if your story is one of turning to Jesus in spite of all the problems, difficulties and even failures you will be remembered as an inspiration to many who will come after. The message of your life will proclaim the hope that God can change a man or woman and restore that which was lost.

If you could choose between being rich and leaving your children vast amounts of wealth or you could leave them with the hope that the Perfect Lord can calm even the Perfect Storm in the life of someone who turns to Jesus, which would you choose?

There are no "happily ever after" stories that involve large sums of money. The only happily ever after story is the story of a man or woman who lets Jesus take control! Everyone who comes to Jesus and gives Him control of his or her life will be blessed forever! And those who come after will be blessed as well.

"Lord, I choose You and not the world. I choose to let You direct my steps and show me the way to go every minute of every day. May I leave a legacy for those who come after me that points them to Jesus as the answer to every problem and source of every good gift. And Lord, I ask you this in His name, Amen!"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Right to Spend as You Wish!

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As Jesus was telling what the kingdom of heaven would be like, he said:

Early one morning a man went out to hire some workers for his vineyard.  After he had agreed to pay them the usual amount for a day's work, he sent them off to his vineyard.

About nine that morning, the man saw some other people standing in the market with nothing to do. He promised to pay them what was fair, if they would work in his vineyard. So they went.

At noon and again about three in the afternoon he returned to the market. And each time he made the same agreement with others who were loafing around with nothing to do.

Finally, about five in the afternoon the man went back and found some others standing there. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”

“Because no one has hired us,” they answered. Then he told them to go work in his vineyard.

That evening the owner of the vineyard told the man in charge of the workers to call them in and give them their money. He also told the man to begin with the ones who were hired last.  When the workers arrived, the ones who had been hired at five in the afternoon were given a full day's pay.

The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard.  They said, “The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!”

The owner answered one of them, “Friend, I didn't cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on.  Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you?  Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?”

Matthew 20:1-15

Why would Jesus tell a story about workers getting money that they did not earn? Those who worked only one hour were paid for a full day's work. If there had been a union in the first century, there would have been a big protest and maybe even a strike because the employees were not being treated all the same.

Well, you see fairness and justice are all about Satan and his minions. When someone goes to Hell they get exactly what they deserve and justice is served!

God gives men and women something that they did not earn and do not deserve!
Isn't it interesting that governments that ban God from their halls of justice usually want everyone to be treated equally? They make no room for mercy and grace, and are offended when anything that might have originated from the heart of God is introduced into the process of overseeing the people.

The most telling statement Jesus made in this story is this: "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?" God says yes and Satan says no! Think about it! Amen!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Never Too Young!

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Some people brought their children to Jesus, so he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples told the people to stop bothering him.  But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don't try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God's kingdom.”  After Jesus had placed his hands on the children, he left.

Matthew 19:13-15

When you were a little child did someone bring you to Jesus? Have you ever questioned the conversion of a child because they were "too young" to make a serious commitment to the Lord?

Is a child too young to love his mother? Is it required that you come to know the corruption of this world before your love for God is real? We have glorified the experience of the man or woman deeply caught in sin who turns to Jesus and ignored the one who turns to Christ as a little child and remains a faithful follower all the days of his life.

Don't forget that every man has sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God and even a child who turns to Jesus must be cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb. But there is much self inflicted pain and suffering that can be avoided by coming to Jesus early in your life and walking with Him every day.

"Lord, help me to remember what it was like to be a child. I want to hold on to the simple faith I had as a child. Place Your hands on me like You did on the children who were brought to You in the story in Matthew 19. I not only want to be like a child, I want to be Your child, in Your presence and feel Your hands touching me today! Amen."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Last Man Saved!

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You bless everyone

who lives in your house,

and they sing your praises.


You bless all who depend

on you for their strength

and all who deeply desire

to visit your temple.


When they reach Dry Valley,

springs start flowing,

and the autumn rain fills it

with pools of water.


Your people grow stronger,

and you, the God of gods,

will be seen in Zion.


Lord God All-Powerful,

the God of Jacob,

please answer my prayer!


You are the shield

that protects your people,

and I am your chosen one.

Won't you smile on me?


One day in your temple

is better than a thousand

anywhere else.

I would rather serve

in your house,

than live in the homes

of the wicked.

Psalm 84:4-10

If Cain's brother Abel was the first one to go to Heaven who will be the last? There will be a moment in time when the final human being will turn his or her heart to Jesus and let God have His way with them. Then it will be complete.

When the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg there were many lost souls, but there were some who were saved. According to one report the last man rescued was Col. Archibald Gracie, who actually went down with the ship, but was later plucked from the icy water.

Are you hoping to be the last man saved just before Jesus returns? Do you know that without Jesus there is no hope for eternity? Your plan, if you can call it a plan, is to turn to Jesus and repent at just the last second before it is too late!

If you intend to be the "last man saved" how do you know that He will not return while you are sound asleep?

Give up trying to manipulate God and turn your heart to Him right now! Don't wait another day, or hour, minute or even another second.

"Lord, I confess to You that I have been wanting to repent of my sin just before You return so I can enjoy 'the pleasures of sin for a season.' How foolish of me Lord. Right now I give You everything in my life. I give You my heart, and I turn away from the world and all the sin that has enticed me for so long. Make me clean like Jesus and give me the peace that cannot be understood in this turmoil filled world. Lord, I want to spent not just one day in Your house, but every day, forever! In Jesus Name. Amen!"