Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pretending to Trust

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But the Lord has filled me

with power and his Spirit.

I have been given the courage

to speak about justice

and to tell you people of Israel

that you have sinned.

So listen to my message,

you rulers of Israel!

You hate justice

and twist the truth.

You make cruelty and murder

a way of life in Jerusalem.

You leaders accept bribes

for dishonest decisions.

You priests and prophets

teach and preach,

but only for money.

Then you say,

“The Lord is on our side.

No harm will come to us.”

Micah 3:8-11

There have been ships that everyone believed could not sink and there are countries that claim the blessings and protection of God while refusing to repent and turn to Him!

If yours is a "Christian nation," but still holds on to customs that are forbidden in Scripture then you are sure to find out how God deals with those who claim His blessings without following His Word! If revival comes to your land it will begin with conviction of sin and brokenness. Revival is not simply a new excitement about the things of God.

Revival starts with the crushing recognition of your own unworthiness and how lost you would be without Jesus. And so you repent as fast as you can and run to Jesus as the only place of rest and security.

You can say "In God We Trust" and even print that phrase on your money without really trusting in God. Other men may hear your words, but God knows your heart. If you are pretending to follow Jesus, God knows that. It is time to repent and turn your whole heart over to the love of God!

"Dear Lord, I confess that we have claimed Your blessings, but ignored Your Word. Show us clearly the sins that we are clinging to so we can repent. Help us then Lord to turn and cling to You forever. Amen."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wisdom from God!

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It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;

to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

Proverbs 25:2

God hides things from men. The Holy Spirit reveals things to men and women who have given their hearts to Jesus Christ.

Every question that God asks is "rhetorical." God knows the answer to every question before He asks it. God knows many questions that have never been asked and He knows the answers to those questions as well.

The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon knew much more than the average human being, but he also knew much less than God. Even if you knew everything that human beings know, you would not even approach the wisdom and knowledge of God. The Bible even says that our wisdom is only foolishness to God.

Satan has taken over much of our human systems of higher education because that is where he says once again "you can be wise like God." Even for many Christians God has become a secondary source of wisdom and knowledge. They strive to know how to live this life from the wisdom and knowledge of man and only turn to God in emergencies.

Prayer should be the first place you go when you need wisdom and knowledge. When there is a question for which you have no answer ask God to show you what He knows about the matter. Satan says you can be like God by rebelling against Him. Jesus says you can like God by becoming His disciple and being filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

"Lord Jesus I confess to You that I have turned so often to the world for wisdom and knowledge instead of coming to You for what I need. So Jesus I ask that You give me the wisdom and knowledge that I need for today. Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tell Me the Story!

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When your people worshiped,

you know I told them,

“Our Lord always helps!”

When all your people met,

I did not keep silent.

I said, “Our Lord is kind.

He is faithful and caring,

and he saves us.”

You, Lord, never fail

to have pity on me;

your love and faithfulness

always keep me secure.

Psalm 40:9-11

When you worship with the people of God do you tell them about the love of God in your life? Where would you be today without God? You have a story about God's love that no one else can tell. When you tell that story to others you are encouraging the saved to come closer to Jesus and the lost to turn their hearts toward the Lord.

When I was seven years old I remember looking up at the sky and suddenly realizing that God desired that I live my life for Him. I didn't know what that would mean, but from that day on I let my heart go toward Jesus. That was almost sixty years ago, and of course there have been stumbles along the way, but Jesus has been the direction of my life ever since that day. I can truthfully say that every major decision in my life since then has been made with the "what would Jesus want me to do" element.

Look back at your life whether it has been sixty years or six and see how God has shown His love to you. Things don't "just happen" in a life that is called by God. Even if you ignored it at the time, when did you first hear the Lord calling you to follow Him? How long has Jesus been trying to get your attention and wanting you to leave everything else and follow Him?

If you have already given your heart to Jesus, then rehearse your story so you can encourage other believers and call sinners to turn to Jesus after hearing how God loves you.

My strength comes from Jesus. My life comes from Him. My sins are wiped away because of Him and my future is secure because He will come and take me to Heaven.

Remember, if you have everything else in the world but don't have Jesus, you have nothing. And if you have nothing in this world, but you do have Jesus, you have everything!

"Jesus, You are all I need in this world. Living with You in my heart and Your Holy Spirit guiding my steps I can only be at peace and filled with joy no matter what happens to me or around me. Give me another opportunity  to tell my story about You today. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Breath of God!

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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.

2 Corinthians 2:3-8

The Breath of God brought life to the lump of clay that became Adam and the Breath of Jesus will bring death to the "wicked one who is doomed to be destroyed."

When the Breath of God blows on your life what will it do? Will it be a refreshing breeze that cools and sustains you in your walk with Jesus, or will it carry the Word of condemnation directed at those who run away from the Lord?

When the Lord speaks a Word it is carried by His breath. Every time you hear the Word of God you are touching His Breath. I believe that may be why the spoken Word brings faith to the hearer.

We were made in God's image. God breathes and so we breathe. Not only did man's life come from the Breath of God, but unless we keep on breathing we will live only a few minutes. We need to breathe more than we need to eat or drink. When you stand close to God you are continually breathing the "air" that comes from Him. So as we inhale God's breath our life is strengthened.

On this earth if you breathe the wrong air you will get sick or even die. So may even the air that you breathe come from God Himself. Then you will live forever!

"Lord, may Your breath deliver Your Word to my heart. And Lord, may I constantly inhale the air that comes from You as I like Adam receive life from Your breath. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What Time Is It?

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Then the 24 elders, who were seated on thrones in God's presence, knelt down and worshiped him. They said,

“Lord God All-Powerful,

you are and you were,

and we thank you.

You used your great power

and started ruling.


When the nations got angry,

you became angry too!

Now the time has come

for the dead

to be judged.

It is time for you to reward

your servants the prophets

and all your people

who honor your name,

no matter who they are.

It is time to destroy everyone

who has destroyed

the earth.”

Revelation 11:16-18

"What time is it?" It is a simple question, but one with profound and eternal implications.

When you learn to tell time as a child you gain the ability to order your life in a way that is appropriate and profitable. A man who can "tell time" knows when to work, eat and sleep.

Even though there is no time in eternity, while we live on this earth time is very important. There will be a time for the "dead to be judged." There will be a time for God to "reward His servants the prophets and all His people who honor His name." And there will be a time to "destroy everyone who has destroyed the earth."

How do you tell what time it is on God's clock? How can you know what He will do and when He will do it? Knowing the timing of God's Events is not a game. We are not given puzzle pieces and a game board to try and put it all together. Knowing God's timing is the result of a relationship with Him. If you want to know what God will do and when He will do it, spend time with Him in His Word every day. Let the Bible speak specifically to your heart and listen for God's explanation of what you read. Then you will be ready every day for whatever God decides it is time to do.

"Lord Jesus, I know that today is on Your calendar. I know that You have plans for this day as You move in power to bring this world to be ready for Your return. Help me to be ready for Your timing in my life! Amen."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fly With Jesus!

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God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.  And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires.   God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit.   But don't be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.

Galatians 5:22-26

It looked like an airplane. It had wings and a tail and all the "stuff" needed to fly, but it never took to the air. My brother built the model plane and he built it well, but it was too heavy, too heavy to fly.

When you build your own life without the help of God you will be weighted down with all sorts of problems. On the outside you may look like a man or woman of God and perhaps no one would know unless you are put in a situation where you need to "fly."

When you give your life to Jesus, He strips away all the "extra" stuff that would keep you from soaring with Him to the heavens! If your life is "to heavy" to fly with Jesus then joyfully let Him strip you of the excess baggage that keeps you from getting off of the ground.

"Lord Jesus I want to fly with You today! Help me to let go of everything that keeps me on the ground and go to the heights with You. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Webster is Not God!

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Suppose a married woman makes a promise to the Lord.  If her husband hears about the promise and says nothing, she must do what she said.  But if he hears about the promise and does object, she no longer has to keep it. The Lord will forgive her, because her husband would not allow her to keep the promise.  Her husband has the final say about any promises she makes to the Lord.

Numbers 30:10-13

Did God intend for marriage to be an equal partnership between a man and a woman? Without referring to His Word we have decided how to define marriage. Many object when the definition of marriage is extended to include "same sex" couples, but what about the rights and responsibilities of a "man and a woman" who are married? Are they the same for both husband and wife?

According to this scripture in Numbers a husband can "veto" even a promise his wife makes to God! And God will recognize the husband's feelings about the matter and not hold the wife responsible for keeping her promise. So in this way even God Himself will not come between a man and his wife! But when a man makes a promise to God, the Bible does not say that his wife's objection can nullify his promise.

We must all be careful not to re-define the things of God. Marriage is what God says it is, and nothing else. The Church is what God says it is and nothing more. A government is not pleasing to God just because it is the one in power.

Search the scriptures daily to see what God thinks about the things around you. Noah Webster's dictionary is not the place to discover how God defines a word. Let your definitions be crafted from His Word rather than manipulating God's Word to align itself with your definitions.

"Lord, I confess to You that I am not defining the world around me as You want me to. Show me how You define marriage, being a citizen of my nation, and a follower of Jesus Christ. Show me clearly where I am not seeing the world around me as You see it Lord. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vocabulary of Heaven!

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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.

John 16:12-14

Have you thought about the fact that there are things that Jesus would like to tell you, but right now it would be more than you could understand? Understanding anything comes only when you understand the individual words that are spoken and their meanings and then are able to let their relationships in the sentence reveal the idea or concept that is new. It really is quite simple and profound at the same time.

If you don't know the definition of the words "cat" and "dog" you cannot understand the sentence "The dog chased the cat." So without your basic and elementary knowledge of words and their meanings you cannot understand the important and complicated concepts needed as an adult.

Why can I not understand the things that Jesus wants to tell me? It may be because I have not spent enough time learning the basics of the Christian life. Perhaps I have not practiced a daily yielding to the Holy Spirit in every choice with which I am confronted. Maybe I have spent my time memorizing Scripture instead of putting it into practice! I know that I must love my enemies but perhaps I have not yet actually loved them.

If you want to know more of what Jesus would like to tell you, then spend time expanding your Spiritual Vocabulary. Walk over and over today in the simple concepts. Learn the meanings of all the words, so that when Jesus puts them together you will be able to understand.

"Lord, help me to learn all the Words of Heaven so that my heart is ready to understand everything You say! I desire to know the "full truth" and You, Lord are the only way I can learn it. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Law and the Lord

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They all went to the king and said:

“Your Majesty, we hope you live forever!  All of your officials, leaders, advisors, and governors agree that you should make a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next 30 days. Everyone who disobeys this law must be thrown into a pit of lions.  Order this to be written and then sign it, so it cannot be changed, just as no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed.”

So King Darius made the law and had it written down.

Daniel heard about the law, but when he returned home, he went upstairs and prayed in front of the window that faced Jerusalem. In the same way that he had always done, he knelt down in prayer three times a day, giving thanks to God.

Daniel 6:6-10

When the Law and The Lord contradict each other which one do you choose? Do you follow Jesus as long as it is pleasing to the Law of your land as well?

Are you trying to balance faithfulness to God and being an obedient citizen?
Have you told yourself that you can always ask forgiveness for disobeying God? The State doesn't respond to a request for forgiveness! So you may have decided to obey the Law of your land and ask God to forgive you for not obeying Him.

Where does that philosophy lead? It leads to continual disobedience of the commands of God and a life that is not seeing the power of God flow through you. Ultimately you come to see that you have put the State on the throne of your heart and God must sit somewhere else.

"Lord Jesus, today I declare once again that I will obey your commands even when the law of my nation tells me it is not legal for me to be obedient to You. I want to glorify You even as Your servant Daniel did and I will trust You to shut the mouths of the lions! Thank you Jesus. Amen."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Distracted by Heaven!

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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

Disasters, tragedies and difficulties in your own life seem to be multiplying on every side. Men search for peace and there is no peace. Perhaps more than once you have been tempted to turn back from your walk with Jesus. The road is hard, very hard and in spite of the comfort He gives you there is much pain and sorrow every day.

Even though you know that Jesus is coming soon, it is hard to be patient and wait for His return.

Now is the time to let the promises of God distract you from the problems of this world. Think about Heaven and imagine what it will be like when you are ushered into the Throne Room of God. Think about the first time you see Jesus face to face and He embraces you like a father does a child who is found! Think about the real peace of Heaven and the joy that will flood your heart and never go away. Think about an eternity without sin and its consequences.

Like a school child on the last day of school who can't keep his mind on his studies and longingly looks out of the window at the beautiful flowers and trees, let your mind turn longingly to heaven and pay no attention to the world and the lessons it tries to teach you.

"Lord Jesus, soon oh very soon You will return and take Your children to Heaven. Help me today to keep my eyes off of this world and firmly fixed on the next world with You! Lord, I choose not to turn back as I wait for You. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dying for Jesus!

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Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered. When you become fruitful disciples of mine, my Father will be honored. I have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you. If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.

I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am.  Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you.  The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. And you are my friends, if you obey me.

John 15:7-14

Soldiers who have been in combat know much about what it means to die for your friends. The life long loyalties of combat comrades are amazing and worthy of honor.

Jesus says the greatest way to show love for your friends is to die for them. Jesus says also that I am His friend, and thank The Lord He died for me! But what about how I show love for Jesus? He died for me, but what can I do for Him?

Dying for Jesus is for some and after they have died we call them martyrs. But we forget that physically dying is not the most sacrificial death. You can make one decision and declaration of your faith in Jesus and lose your head by a sword, but when you die to this world for Jesus it takes many decisions every day. Dying for Jesus is how we show our love for Him even as He showed His love for us on the Cross.

"Lord Jesus, thank You for showing Your love for me by dying on the Cross. May Your Spirit empower me to die to this world many times today, and to do it for You. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Race!

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I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me.You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity ⌊to show it⌋.  I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.   I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret ⌊of being content⌋ — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.   I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:10-13

Those of us who live in and were born in the United States were taught to be independent and self reliant. We count it virtuous if a man works hard and takes care of his own as he "carries his own load!" We are even tempted to pity someone who must depend on others for food, clothing and a place to live.

Now don't misunderstand, it is a good thing to work hard and take care of yourself and others. But we may then be tempted to believe that we don't need to depend on anyone, even God Himself! Now that is foolish.

There is a now 70 year old man who for more than 30 years has been pushing his disabled son in races, even marathons. The son, Rick Hoyt says that when he is racing he forgets about his disability. My Father, God has pushed me in the race of life for more 60 years. When He does I also forget about my disability.

If you are trying to compete in this life with your own strength, you will never even finish the race, much less win the prize. It is only when you let God push, pull, or carry you through the race of this life that your victory is assured.

"Dear Lord, may You be the power for this day as I run the course set out before me. Thank You Jesus. Amen."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yes He Can!

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Then the angel told Mary, “Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you,  and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.  He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not even married!”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son.  Nothing is impossible for God!”

Mary said, “I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her.

Luke 1:30-38

If you made a list of all the "impossible" things that you can imagine, you might want to title that list "God's Possibilities!"  No matter what it is, there can be nothing on your list that is impossible for God.  "God can't do that" is not part of the vocabulary of Heaven.  The Bible even says that He can do more than we might ask or even think!  If you can think it, God can do it.  

So here I am pondering the Almighty Power of God and in my lif I am confronted with a situation that is "impossible!" Instead of panic I must praise His name for He can address all my impossibilities!

In recent years there has been a political chant that excited the crowds as they yelled "Yes We Can."  It made them all feel powerful and in control, when the opposite was the truth.  But with God we can all proclaim with great and complete certainty, "Yes He Can!"  YES HE CAN, YES HE CAN!

That's what the angel told Mary when she questioned whether she could have a baby without a husband.  

So just make your list of impossible things to include those impossible things that have crossed your path and hindered your life.  Take that list to God in prayer and confess that He can do the impossible in your life.  Will God fix all those things?  Maybe not, but you must know and believe with all your heart that God can!  Then you rest in His arms and trust that an all powerful God is in control!  The peace in your heart will be great!

"Lord, I confess again that You can do everything, including the impossible.  So today I praise You not only for what You do, but also for what You can do!  Yes Lord You can.  Amen!"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

With All My Heart!

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The Lord said:

It isn't too late.

You can still return to me

with all your heart.

Start crying and mourning!

Go without eating.

Don't rip your clothes

to show your sorrow.

Instead, turn back to me

with broken hearts.

I am merciful, kind, and caring.

I don't easily lose my temper,

and I don't like to punish.

I am the Lord your God.

Perhaps I will change my mind

and treat you with mercy.

Then you will be blessed

with enough grain and wine

for offering sacrifices to me.

Joel 2:12-14

What is the difference in returning to the Lord and returning to the Lord "with all your heart?"  When you come back to God "with all your heart" you have taken everything else off of the throne of your life.  Idols do not go away by themselves.  They are not alive and will not remove themselves from their place in your heart.  Idols must be cast out of your heart so you can return to the Lord with all of it!

When you return to God with all your heart you leave none of your heart with any other god!  You bring it all to God.  Sin is fundamentally a matter of the heart.  In order to sin you must rip a piece of your heart away from God and dedicate it to something else.  So when you do come back to God it is always with a "broken heart" in need of healing and repair.

When you come back to Jesus with your broken heart, the Great Physician does the most amazing heart surgery ever imagined.  Jesus heals your heart and restores you to your place in His heart!

"Lord Jesus, so many times I have given part of my heart to something other than You.  I come back now to You with all my heart.  Heal and restore my heart and help me to never wander away again.  Thank You Jesus.  Amen."

Monday, April 8, 2013

When God Shows Up!

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But Moses answered, “Don't be afraid! Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today. These Egyptians will never bother you again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won't have to do a thing.”

The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you keep calling out to me for help? Tell the Israelites to move forward. Then hold your walking stick over the sea. The water will open up and make a road where they can walk through on dry ground. I will make the Egyptians so stubborn that they will go after you. Then I will be praised because of what happens to the king and his chariots and cavalry. The Egyptians will know for sure that I am the Lord.”
All this time God's angel had gone ahead of Israel's army, but now he moved behind them. A large cloud had also gone ahead of them, but now it moved between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The cloud gave light to the Israelites, but made it dark for the Egyptians, and during the night they could not come any closer.

Moses stretched his arm over the sea, and the Lord sent a strong east wind that blew all night until there was dry land where the water had been. The sea opened up, and the Israelites walked through on dry land with a wall of water on each side.

Exodus 14:13-22

The cloud gave light to the Israelites but made it dark for the Egyptians! I really can't imagine what it would have been like to walk across the Red Sea on dry ground. The situation was desperate and impossible. There was no way for the Children of Israel to escape the army of Egypt. By all measures they were doomed until God intervened. When God parted the waters of the Red Sea, that miracle brought deliverance to the His people and death to the Egyptians!

The light of the cloud showed the way for God's people to escape from Egypt and it provided darkness for the Egyptian army so that they foolishly walked into the watery grave waiting for them.

Here is the lesson. Just because you see the power of God working around you, it doesn't mean that for you it will be a blessing. Whether or not the power of God brings deliverance or death is determined by who you are. If you have rejected Jesus and decided that your life will be better lived without God, then be very wary of demonstrations of God's power. You may be like one of Pharaoh's army seeing the dry land appear in the Red Sea.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and are being led by Him in the light of the cloud, then rejoice because His power will provide the way for you to escape the bondage and slavery of this world!

"Lord, I call out to You and thank You that Your power will provide the way for me to go today. I see the Red Sea before me and I hear Pharaoh's army behind me. And so I march toward the Red Sea and watch for the dry ground to appear! Thank you Jesus. Amen!"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Extreme Follower of Jesus!

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Some years later God decided to test Abraham, so he spoke to him.

Abraham answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

The Lord said, “Go get Isaac, your only son, the one you dearly love! Take him to the land of Moriah, and I will show you a mountain where you must sacrifice him to me on the fires of an altar.”  So Abraham got up early the next morning and chopped wood for the fire. He put a saddle on his donkey and set out with Isaac and two servants for the place where God had told him to go.

Three days later Abraham looked off in the distance and saw the place.  He told his servants, “Stay here with the donkey, while my son and I go over there to worship. We will come back.”

Abraham put the wood on Isaac's shoulder, but he carried the hot coals and the knife. As the two of them walked along,  Isaac said, “Father, we have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

“My son,” Abraham answered, “God will provide the lamb.”

The two of them walked on, and  when they reached the place that God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and placed the wood on it. Next, he tied up his son and put him on the wood.   He then took the knife and got ready to kill his son.

Genesis 22:1-10

There is a recent report of a U.S. Army educational class about "religious extremists" that listed evangelical Christians and Catholics along side known terrorist groups that are affiliated with Islam. Most of us in the Western world would be offended by that, but perhaps it is a compliment!

Terrorist groups are known for doing extreme things and even giving up their own lives for the cause in which they believe.

If God asked you to do something would you do it? Before you answer that question pretend that your name is Abraham and God has just asked you to sacrifice your son Isaac. Abraham walked for three days on the way to obey God's "outrageous" request. There are hints that Abraham didn't think God was going to require that he go through with killing his own son, but no one believes that Abraham would not have done it.

Terrorists today trace their faith back to Abraham through his other son Ishmael. So their extremism in "following" what they believe to be the will of God is not surprising.

But what about you? Have you said to God, "I will do anything You ask me to do as long as it doesn't make me look like a religious extremist." Have you told God "I will take up 'my cross' and follow You as long as it is not a literal cross on which I must die!"

"Lord, I know that You will never ask me to do anything sinful. Help me to know Your voice so well that when I hear it I will respond immediately like Your servant Abraham. Lord, I want to be known as an 'extreme' follower of Jesus! And it is in His Name I ask this. Amen."

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Proposal

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Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd that sounded like a roaring flood and loud thunder all mixed together. They were saying,

“Praise the Lord!

Our Lord God All-Powerful

now rules as king.

So we will be glad and happy

and give him praise.

The wedding day of the Lamb

is here,

and his bride is ready.

She will be given

a wedding dress

made of pure

and shining linen.

This linen stands for

the good things

God's people have done.”

Then the angel told me, “Put this in writing. God will bless everyone who is invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The angel also said, “These things God has said are true.”

Revelation 19:6-9

If you are the bride or the groom a wedding is never uneventful or ordinary. For the bride and groom that day changes everything in their lives. I remember the first time I introduced Linda as "my wife." It was like lightning struck and the thunder rolled. I now had a wife and everything in my life revolved around that truth. It was then that we both began learning the mystery of two becoming one!

We may think a lot about Heaven and going there when we leave this earth. But what will it mean to be the "Bride of Christ?" Really it is difficult to even think about what that may mean. I think being the "Bride of Christ" quickly gets into the realm of "too wonderful" to even try to explain.

But you can be sure that your wildest imaginations of how wonderful it will be will not even begin to approach the eternal joy, peace and fulfillment of that relationship.

The Proposal that Jesus has made to you and to me is that we give up the world and its sin and death and be united with Him in Eternal Glory! Any man or woman who clearly sees what Jesus is offering would be a fool not to accept it.

"Lord Jesus, I say yes to Your proposal that I be with You forever, and look longingly to that day when I will sit with You at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. May You always be glorified and praised. Amen!"

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Trust and Obey

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My children, I am writing this so you won't sin. But if you do sin, Jesus Christ always does the right thing, and he will speak to the Father for us. Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world's people.

When we obey God, we are sure we know him. But if we claim to know him and don't obey him, we are lying and the truth isn't in our hearts.  We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know we belong to him.  If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ.

I John 2:1-6

The year was 1887 when a man named John Sammis wrote the Christian Hymn "Trust and Obey." The story is that a young man stood up and testified after a Dwight L. Moody preaching service and said that he didn't know much about Christian doctrine, but one thing he was going to do and that was to TRUST AND OBEY! A man jotted those three words down on a piece of paper and later gave it to John Sammis who wrote the words to the song.

Trusting God brings peace to your heart, but obeying God is the blessed business of life. Obedience waters the rose of trust and keeps it alive! Without obedience your trust will quickly morph into simple belief and then belief will fade and ultimately die.

Obedience is the proof to our hearts that we do know God. When I love my enemies it is witness to my own heart that I do know Jesus and am His child. Without Jesus I could not love those who are my enemies.

When I obey God I am walking in true love. Loving God is bound up in obedience.

"Lord Jesus, show me today one step of obedience that I have not seen or have refused to take. And Lord, may I have the courage and determination to obey You and take that step today. Help me to walk with You today in the light of Your Word as I Trust and Obey. Amen."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Delivered by God!

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I sought the Lord, and he answered me;

he delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant;

their faces are never covered with shame.

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;

he saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,

and he delivers them.

Psalm 34:4-7

On August 19, 1972 I read these verses to my wife as she was in the hard part of labor pains before our first child was born.

We knew it was time for the baby to be born, but the labor pains were not all that great yet. I filled out the papers at the hospital while they took Linda up to the baby department. When I got off of the elevator I heard the screaming, and I felt sorry for "that poor woman" until they showed me to the door and I realized that those sounds of desperation and pain came from Linda!

In all of my first 25 years, that was the most distressing moment of my life. I don't know if I had the Bible with me or if I picked up a Gideon edition in the room, but Psalm 34 is what I read. I especially remember reading verse six over and over again. "This poor man called, and The Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles."

In a little while my desperation turned to joy as we welcomed Lori into this world.

I know you have a special story of God's Word speaking to you in a time like that. I just want to remind you that it is good to remember how God spoke and delivered you when you needed Him the most.

Remember what God did when He parted the waters of your Red Sea as you continue on your journey to the Promised Land!

"Lord, I thank You again that You were there when I needed You the most. And I thank You Lord that You will be there when I need you today. Amen."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Be Very Afraid!

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The great day of the Lord
is coming soon, very soon.
On that terrible day,
fearsome shouts of warriors
will be heard everywhere.
It will be a time of anger—
of trouble and torment,
of disaster and destruction,
of darkness and despair,
of storm clouds and shadows,
of trumpet calls
and battle cries
against fortified cities
and mighty fortresses.
The Lord warns everyone
who has sinned against him,
“I'll strike you blind!
Then your blood and your insides
will gush out like vomit.
Not even your silver or gold
can save you on that day
when I, the Lord, am angry.
My anger will flare up
like a furious fire
scorching the earth
and everyone on it.”

Zephaniah 1:14-18

When God gets angry you don't want to be someone whose sins are in His sights! In case you missed it the first time God said: "I'll strike you blind and your insides will gush out like vomit." What a graphic and disgusting description of God's reaction to those who sin against Him!

And oh, by the way this is not about something that has already happened. The whole earth was destroyed by a flood but it has not yet been scorched by fire.

Those who reject the salvation provided by Jesus Christ and choose to stand with their sin before God will feel the eternal tragedy of being lost!

For years I have been taught that the "Fear of God" is awesome respect. And of course it is, but for those who reject Jesus the "Fear of God" will go beyond any fear on earth. Be afraid, very afraid to live this life and leave this world without Jesus.

"Dear Lord, help me see the tragedy of those who have rejected You. Give me an urgent heart to bring them the good news of Jesus. And Jesus, guard my heart today from the temptations that would try to drag me away from You. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen."