Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Greatest Day of All!

I will praise you, LORD,
for showing great kindness
when I was like a city
under attack.
I was terrified and thought,
“They've chased me
far away from you!”
But you answered my prayer
when I shouted for help.
All who belong to the LORD,
show how you love him.
The LORD protects the faithful,
but he severely punishes
everyone who is proud.
All who trust the LORD,
be cheerful and strong.

Psalm 31:21-24

Do you ever feel like you are far away from God? Things had been good and you felt His presence, but then the problems came like a giant wave. And it seems you have been washed out to sea and God is nowhere to be found. Don't just pray quietly in your heart, but rather shout to God for help! Loudly say "Oh God!" and then proceed to tell Him the awful trouble that has come upon you!

Cry out to the Creator who made you and listen for His response. If your problem is an "Only God can fix this" difficulty then know for certain that God will rescue you from the tribulation or He will rescue you by it, but you will be rescued.

Never forget that trusting Jesus will never end, but at some point you will be transported to your Heavenly Home. That day may see like a tragedy to those left here, but for you it will be the greatest day of all! Thank you Jesus! Amen.

(Appeared first on November 19, 2012)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Let Go of the Blanket

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But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless.  Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life.

Philippians 3:7-11

An inexpensive piece of cloth becomes a treasured possession when it is fashioned into a baby blanket. I once saw a young child carrying a tiny piece of cloth had had been cut in half several times by a loving parent trying to wean the child from needing the blanket. As every child grows there comes a point when he doesn't need that blanket for comfort.

As a Christian what have you been holding on to instead of Jesus? It may be your savings, or your house, or your job or retirement plan. Those things are not evil, but if you are trusting in them instead of trusting in Jesus then your Loving Father in Heaven may cut them in half or take them away altogether!

"Lord Jesus help me to find comfort and rest in You and nothing and no one else! Show me something today that I can quit holding on to in this world. Thank You Jesus. Amen!"

(First appeared November 10, 2012)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hard Times!

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You can be certain that in the last days there will be some very hard times. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud, stuck-up, rude, and disobedient to their parents. They will also be ungrateful, godless, heartless, and hateful. Their words will be cruel, and they will have no self-control or pity. These people will hate everything good. They will be sneaky, reckless, and puffed up with pride. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. Even though they will make a show of being religious, their religion won't be real. Don't have anything to do with such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Many people believe that we are in the very last days before the return of Jesus Christ.

Along with everything mentioned in these verses much of the world has developed in to a culture of lies.  It is no surprise that the "father of lies" would lead his followers to do the same.  Truth has become the forbidden fruit and lying is the norm.
Jesus said that He is the Way the Truth and the Life.  Without Jesus there is no way for the world to succeed and there is no truth and no life!  

We may indeed be in the last few days before the return of Jesus. Even though there are many signs of His return no one knows the day or the hour, so we do not know how long it will be.  What must we do to impact the world around us for Jesus?

Telling them to repent usually has no effect.  Instead, you repent of any sin in your life and show them what it means to live as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Be an authentic believer and trust Jesus when everything goes wrong!  Let Christ be in you control your every thought and action and pray that a revival of unbelievable proportions will begin in your heart today!

And finally, Keep Watching the Sky!  Amen. 

(First appeared 11/16/2012)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Smile of God!

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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 84:8-10

When someone smiles it is usually a good thing. Smiles can communicate approval, happiness, joy, peace as well as lots of other wonderful emotions. When a person looks at you and smiles good things usually follow.
When a young man asks a young woman to marry him he looks for the smile. If he sees a smile the answer is usually "Yes." When you bring good news you can almost always expect a smile in response. When you add a smile to almost any human communication the depth of understanding and satisfaction are greatly increased.

Have you ever seen God smile when He looks your way? God's smile makes His communication to you into a personal, warm, and wonderful experience. God is smiling when His answer to your prayer is detailed and satisfying. God is smiling when you praise Him with all your heart. God is smiling because He loves you.

Some have been critical of those who pray to God about "small things." How we miss the point of God's heart and power when we think He is not concerned about things that might seem insignificant. When I stumble upon a nest of birds with baby birds still in the nest, it almost always makes me smile. I think it makes God smile as well.

As you read the Bible and as you go through your day look for the smile of God. When you consider a course of action always ask yourself this question: "If I do this will it make God smile?"
Then fill your day with lots of things that will make God smile. The smile of God is a beautiful thing to see!

(This appeared first on July 31, 2012)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Christ in You!

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, 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.

God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient.

Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.

Colossians 3:10-14

When you choose to follow Jesus you become a vessel in which Jesus lives. The Holy Spirit fills your heart, and your thoughts and actions are influenced by God Himself!

It is a mysterious combination of a human being and a man possessed by God. That is why you so often recognize the war that is raging between Flesh and Spirit. The Spirit of God gently prompts you to live your life here on earth exactly as Jesus did. The Flesh screams that you must obey it's desires. Then you choose to listen to the Flesh or the Spirit. That choice makes all the difference.

Before you were a Christian your own desires ruled without challenge. But then you heard about Jesus and came to Him in faith, trusting Him to do for you what He has done for so many others. That's when you began to sense the Spirit of God quietly pointing out the way that you should go!

And as you go remember that "Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together." Amen!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guilty as Charged?

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Darius divided his kingdom into 120 states and placed a governor in charge of each one.  In order to make sure that his government was run properly, Darius put three other officials in charge of the governors. One of these officials was Daniel.  And he did his work so much better than the other governors and officials that the king decided to let him govern the whole kingdom.

The other men tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel did his work for the king. But they could not accuse him of anything wrong, because he was honest and faithful and did everything he was supposed to do. Finally, they said to one another, “We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel, unless it has to do with his religion.”
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. 8Order 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.

The men who had spoken to the king watched Daniel and saw him praying to his God for help.

Daniel 6:1-11

If someone watched you all day today would they find enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?  Why didn't Daniel simply pray with his window closed so that no one could see him?  That would have been such a simple accommodation to the new law.  He could keep on praying while no one knew he was breaking the law in private.

In the United States there is a well known myth that the founders of our nation wanted us to separate our government from our faith.  It is not a law but almost everyone is afraid even to pray in a public place for fear of the government.
If Daniel lived today in the U.S. where do you think he would be praying?  He defied the threat of a pit of lions and ultimately suffered that fate, although God rescued him.  We are afraid to defy a possible law suit by an annoying anti God group.  When we get to Heaven I'm afraid United States Christians may be required to attend a seminar on resisting government pressure led by Daniel himself .  How embarrassing would that be?

"Lord, I pray for the courage to stand up or rather kneel down like Daniel did and leave the consequences up to You. May those who want to convict me of belonging to You find plenty of evidence today!  Amen."

(This blog originally appeared October 12, 2012)

Monday, July 22, 2013

True Love of Jesus!

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Don't love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father. The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live forever.

I John 2:15-17

There is the problem. When we love the world we cannot love God. Almost shockingly this verse does not say that we should not love the world more than we love God. It says if we love the world we cannot love God! Even a little love of the world is deadly to your love of God.

Sin is the same. If you murder a thousand people you are a murderer. If you murder one person, you are still a murderer. A little love of the world is all it takes to put a halt to your love for God.

So what is it like to love God and not the world? It is something like when a young man truly loves a young woman. He can think of thoughts that are not of her, but not for very long. His mind comes rushing back to her every chance it gets. He is captured by her grace and beauty and his greatest goal in life becomes bringing her pleasure and giving her the things that she desires! When "true love" is the infection in a young man's heart his focus is on what he can give, not on what he can receive!

When you love Jesus it is the same. Jesus becomes the obsession of your heart. You can think of thoughts that are not of Him, but not for very long. Your mind goes rushing back to Jesus every chance it gets. You are captured by His grace and beauty and your greatest goal is bringing pleasure to Jesus!

Your own joy and peace are by-products of pursuing the service of Jesus Christ. It is indeed all about Jesus.
"Lord, forgive me for spending so much of my time and effort thinking about how You will bless me. Bless me if You will, but let me bless You! Put in my mind today to do something that will bring You joy! May I be an instrument of fulfilling Your desires! May You be blessed today, and everyday! Amen."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

God In Control

Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes.  God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.  But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are.   But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That's why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm.   God will be in control forever! Amen.

I Peter 5:6-11

Trusting the pilot does not make the flight less bumpy! When you don't trust the one flying the plane even the slightest jar is very unnerving.

Life itself is like that. When you have complete trust in the one who is in control you can sleep peacefully even though a storm is raging. Without that trust in God every day is another worry that something else will go wrong.

When you trust in Christ the whole world may fall apart in front of your eyes, but under your feet will be an eternal foundation that never moves. If today the worst thing you can imagine happens right before you, remember that you are standing on the promises of God.

When Jesus is the pilot, the ride may be rough, but the plane will never go down. Amen.

(Originally appeared November 6, 2012)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summoned by God!

I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.
From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.

Isaiah 46:10-11

Have you been summoned by God? A summons is much more potent than simply a request or even a call. When you are summoned to court you have no choice but to come or to suffer the consequences. It is not an optional appeal.

According to these verses God summons men to fulfill His purposes in the world. God is the one who is working. Men are simply tools in His carpenter’s bag.

In the annals of Christian history there is a line of men and women who quit obviously were used by God to fulfill His purposes for that time and place. They are now remembered for the great strides forward that occurred as they walked in faith. You know the names but what you don’t know is how they themselves perceived their own relationship with God and their usefulness to His kingdom. In a sense these men and women were like mountain climbers who are remembered for “conquering” Mt. Everest. No mountain climber sees himself as great and powerful. Climbers cling to the mountain and move to the heights very slowly. Mountain climbers are humbled by the greatness of the mountain.

I dare say that if you were able to speak today with any “great saint” who has already finished the course you would hear him or her speak of the Majesty of God and Jesus Christ and completely ignore their own accomplishments.

For me the challenge is to cling to the Mountain of God and go to the heights as He gives me the strength. I must not seek accomplishments or to fulfill my purpose in life. I listen for the summons of God and walk in that purpose whether it is glorious or the most mundane of activities!

It is not my job to look for God’s purposes and then volunteer to work on their fulfillment. My task is to know His voice and answer Him when He calls. The job may be glorious or ghastly, but if it is His summons and His purpose then I am doing the thing for which He created me!

(This originally appeared December 31, 2009)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Is God Smiling?

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Here is the great mystery of our religion:
Christ came as a human.
The Spirit proved
that he pleased God,
and he was seen by angels.
Christ was preached
to the nations.
People in this world
put their faith in him,
and he was taken up to glory.

1 Timothy 3:16

Is God pleased with your life? Does the Creator of all the universe, which by the way includes you, approve of the things that you do? Are your works acceptable to God?

You say, wait a minute, we are not saved by works, so the things that I do are not part of my salvation! That is all true, but why should that make you quit trying to please God in everything you do?

How ungrateful a child would be who says,"I am my father's son and one day I will receive the inheritance, so why should I do anything to try and please him?" But, that is how many Christians live in this world. We are "sure" of our salvation and rest in the fact that we cannot "lose" it. Then we live however we please and pray only when things get really rough. What a sad, although saved life that turns out to be.

Why not spend every minute of every day with the goal of pleasing God as number one on your list? Jesus lived His life with "pleasing His Father" as the motive behind every action. Like a little child being watched by his father while he plays who keeps looking over his shoulder to make sure his father is happy with what he is doing, we must constantly look to God to see if He approves of how we live.

Often people say, "We must seek God's face." But the question is: When you come face to face with God Almighty is He smiling because of how you live?

"Lord, my goal for today is to please You in everything I do. May my actions, words and even thoughts be pleasing in Your sight, now and forever! Amen."

(Thiis was originally posted on September 22, 2012) 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What You Don’t Know!

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On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

She ran to Simon Peter and to Jesus' favorite disciple and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb! We don't know where they have put him.” Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  They ran side by side, until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first.

He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in.
When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth.  He also saw the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus' face. It was rolled up and in a place by itself. The disciple who got there first then went into the tomb, and when he saw it, he believed. At that time Peter and the other disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life.

John 20:1-8

After three years of being daily with Jesus, Peter and John did not know that the Bible said that Jesus would rise to life.  It seems to me that not knowing about the resurrection was a glaring omission in their understanding of what was going on. But they quickly got “up to speed” when they went in the empty tomb. 

The experience of Peter and John should give me great humility when it comes to thinking that I understand what God is doing today.  Every time I read the Bible I need to ask God to show me things that I have never seen before.  And I assure you they are there.  We know a little of what God is doing in this world and we know a little of why God made us in the first place.

Being a child of God like being a six year old child with a father who is a world class scientist with several doctorates.  We know God’s voice and we know His love for us, but to know His mind is beyond our human capability. 

“Lord, teach me something today that I have never known before, but which You have known from the beginning.  Amen.”

(This was written, recorded and originally posted on March 7, 2012)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Part Time Christian

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I praise you, God!

Don't keep silent.

Destructive and deceitful lies

are told about me,

and hateful things are said

for no reason.

I had pity and prayed

for my enemies,

but their words to me

were harsh and cruel.

For being friendly and kind,

they paid me back

with meanness and hatred.

My enemies said,

“Find some worthless fools

to accuse him of a crime.

Try him and find him guilty!

Consider his prayers a lie.

Cut his life short

and let someone else

have his job.

Psalm 109:1-8

If you expect to "win the world" for Jesus by being nice to them and having pity on them you will certainly be disappointed. The life changing power of Jesus Christ is not just proclaimed by "nice" people. I once heard a man talk about the new gospel that we have created. It is the "Gospel of Nice." It proclaims that if a man is "nice" then he must be telling the truth.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not "nice!" It is convicting your of sin. When you truly hear the Gospel you quickly come to know how lost you are. The mirror of God's Word displays your sins and imperfections and makes you disturbingly aware of how inadequate your own power is to deal with your problems. Hearing the Gospel of Christ is the most upsetting thing a man or woman can ever hear. You come to believe that unless you turn your whole heart to Jesus you will be lost in Hell forever! That is not a pleasant realization!

The Good News of Jesus Christ is overwhelming. Jesus calls no one to be a part time Christian. Jesus is only looking for 24-7 disciples! He wants you to follow Him every hour of every day. Jesus does not want to slightly modify your life. Jesus wants to radically change your every thought, motive and action. Jesus wants you to be a "fanatic follower."

Some Christians are like a man who wants to be a sky diver, but refuses to jump out of the plane. He may know all about sky diving, but until he casts himself out of the safety of the plane he can never call himself a "Sky Diver." Are you clinging to the plane and refusing to trust God and let go of the things of this world and trust Jesus?

"Lord Jesus, show me today how I am holding on to this world and not trusting You. I want to be a 24-7 radical believer. Lord, show me how today. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Good News for Death Row!

But I will never brag about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned.

Galatians 6:14

It is not the fact that Jesus came to this earth and lived as a man that saves us. None of the miracles or the marvelous teaching of Jesus provided one second of eternity with Him in Heaven. It was what Jesus did on the Cross that made all the difference. Without the Cross Jesus would have been simply a Heavenly visitor, spying out the land and bringing a report back to the Father.

When Jesus came to this earth it was like a man visiting a prison's death row and then offering himself to be executed in the place of all the condemned. Every man is justly and rightly on death row waiting for his time to transition from this life to Hell and eternal death.

Imagine that the Governor of your state gave you the right to pardon prisoners on death row.
How would you deliver the message? Would you worry about whether or not those who are condemned would like you? Would you try to "fit in" with those on death row so it would be easier for them to accept the offer? Would you start a "Ministry," raise money and gather a board of directors to help you more effectively deliver the pardons?

I think none of those things would even cross your mind. You would hurry to the prison and joyfully declare that no one on death row needs to die!

If a man has not turned his heart to Jesus Christ, he is on death row and when he leaves this earth he will die for eternity. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, God wants you to deliver the message of pardon to those who are lost!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trust in Tribulation!

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Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

Philippians 4:4-7

Do you pray about everything or just about the "really big" problems? Prayer is often the thing we come to after spending lots of quality time worrying! Trusting God as you leave your problems at His feet is not compatible with worry.

Tell me something that God cannot do. Now tell me which one of your worries is too big for God to resolve. If the God that you worship and trust is indeed the Almighty and is the Creator of all there is, then how foolish for you to worry about anything!

But what about all the trouble that seems to be coming on the world? It is going to be really bad!
If you trust God, on the night after the first day of the Tribulation you can sleep like a baby, knowing that you are safe in His arms!

"Lord Jesus, I want to trust You every minute of this day. Help me be at peace no matter what happens today. Come quickly Jesus. Amen!"

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Look for the Baby!

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At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for him to save the people of Israel. God's Spirit came to him and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord.
When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple.  Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God,
“Lord, I am your servant,
and now I can die in peace,
because you have kept
your promise to me.
With my own eyes I have seen
what you have done
to save your people,
and foreign nations
will also see this.
Your mighty power is a light
for all nations,
and it will bring honor
to your people Israel.”

Luke 2:25-32

Some traditions of Christianity have made much of Simeon and the speculations of who he was are many, but the Bible tells us very little. It only says Simeon was a good man and he loved God and that God's Spirit had come to him and told him that he would see Jesus before he died.

One difference between God and an idol is that God not only listens to our concerns, but God also speaks to us! Idols never speak to us!

Simeon was not living in a time when miracles were common. The Old Testament prophets were long dead but Simeon was visited by the Spirit of God.

Do you think this was the only time Simeon heard from God or was his life a continual conversation with God about many things? We don't know for sure, but we do know that today we can walk with God, talk to God, and listen to Him as He tells us many things!

"Jesus, forgive me for pretending that You have nothing to say to me! Like You did with Simeon let me hear You tell me about the future and may I hear Your directions about where I should go today and what I should do! I don't want to miss seeing the Baby Jesus at the temple! Amen!"

Friday, July 12, 2013

Too Old!

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Even when Sarah was too old to have children, she had faith that God would do what he had promised, and she had a son.  Her husband Abraham was almost dead, but he became the ancestor of many people. In fact, there are as many of them as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the seashore.

Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. When people talk this way, it is clear they are looking for a place to call their own. If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. This is why God wasn't ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.

Hebrews 11:11-16

Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children. I am beginning to use that phrase more and more. When the body gets closer to the end of a normal life span lots of things begin to slow down or sometimes cease to function at all.

God loves to show His power when we reach the "I can't do that anymore" stage of life. That is when the working of God in your life is especially evident to everyone around you.

Miracles are not for the purpose of bringing glory to Christians. When God works in miraculous ways it brings Him praise and glory! If God did something through you that you could do by you own power and strength who would know if it was you or God working?

"Lord, use me today to accomplish that which is clearly impossible for me to do without You in my life. Give me an Isaac in my old age so everyone, including me will see Your mighty power. Amen!"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Constant Companion

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Only God gives inward peace,
and I depend on him.

God alone is the mighty rock
that keeps me safe,
and he is the fortress
where I feel secure.

God saves me and honors me.
He is that mighty rock
where I find safety.

Trust God, my friends,
and always tell him
each one of your concerns.
God is our place of safety.

Psalm 62:5-8

Are you a secret admirer of God? You know Jesus exists and you really think He is wonderful and to be used as an example of how to live your life, but you have never let Him become your constant companion in life.

Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. Even the idea of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) misses the mark. The question is not what would Jesus do if He were here, it is rather what will you let Jesus do through you since He is here!

Jesus wants to be your permanent companion, not just someone to be admired from afar. Jesus wants to work with you, rest with you, play with you and literally be with you always. That is what He promised and that is what He desires.

Great sin is terrible and must be avoided, but just as harmful is ignoring Jesus in the quiet moments of your life. The best way to avoid sin is to walk hand in hand with Jesus and lean upon Him every step that you take. Talk to Jesus all the time and allow yourself to become obsessed with the Son of God!

"Jesus, I have wandered from You in my heart as I live even moments without thinking of You and being aware of Your presence. Help me Lord today to be comforted, strengthened, and made wise by Your presence in my life and may I not forget You even one minute of this day! Amen."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Made in His Image!

The Pharisees got together and planned how they could trick Jesus into saying something wrong. They sent some of their followers and some of Herod's followers to say to him, “Teacher, we know that you are honest. You teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. Tell us what you think! Should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not?”
Jesus knew their evil thoughts and said, “Why are you trying to test me? You show-offs! Let me see one of the coins used for paying taxes.” They brought him a silver coin, and he asked, “Whose picture and name are on it?”
“The Emperor's,” they answered.
Then Jesus told them, “Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.”

Matthew 22:15-21

The Pharisees were trying to get Jesus to take a side on the always hot topic of taxes. But the answer Jesus gave brought them back to their responsibility to God not the Emperor.

The coin they brought to Jesus had the Emperor's image on it. So Jesus told them that if the image of the Emperor is on the coin then give it to the Emperor. Every baby born on this earth was created in the image of God Himself. So every man belongs to God.

The essence of the free will of man is this: As a man or woman created in the image of God will you choose to give yourself to God so He can complete the picture of Christ in you? Your life is a canvas that you present to the greatest artist in all of eternity. When God puts His brush to your life it is transformed from a rough outline of God's image into a detailed and perfect picture of Christ!

When people speak of giving to God they often are referring to money. God has all the money He could ever need already, but what He wants from you is your heart.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Bird Without Wings!

Every seven years you must announce, “The Lord says loans do not need to be paid back.” Then if you have loaned money to another Israelite, you can no longer ask for payment.
This law applies only to loans you have made to other Israelites. Foreigners will still have to pay back what you have loaned them.
No one in Israel should ever be poor. The Lord your God is giving you this land, and he has promised to make you very successful, if you obey his laws and teachings that I'm giving you today. You will lend money to many nations, but you won't have to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they won't rule you.
Deuteronomy 15:1-6
These verses reveal some shocking truths about God's view of debt. The first is this: Every seven years the debt an Israelite owed to another Israelite was to be cancelled! That means that one citizen could not put another fellow citizen into long term financial slavery.
It doesn't say this exclusively, but it appears that the purpose of lending to another was because they had a need that could not be taken care of by what they earned.
Israel, as a nation blessed by God, was not to borrow from other nations and consequently be enslaved by them. They were free however to lend to many nations which would spread their Godly influence far and wide!
The United States has included "In God We Trust" on it's money, but has become the financial slave of other nations which would not make such a claim.
If you as a follower of Jesus want your whole heart to belong to Him then work to be released from the debt that you owe anyone else! Do not become a slave because of your desire for more than you can afford! Like a bird who cuts off his wings so he can swim with the fish, you will give up much more than you will gain!
May all that you owe, be owed to Jesus Christ. Amen!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Faith and Stuff!

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My dear friends, pay attention. God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. God has also promised them a share in his kingdom that he will give to everyone who loves him.
James 2:5
It does seem strange that faith is a gift from God. As a child I was taught that faith was a measure of how much I believe. I cannot find that definition in the Bible. According to the Bible faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the assurance of things not seen.
The truth of James 2:5 is seated in the fact that possessions war against faith. When you have many possessions you think you have little need of the Lord. When you have few possessions trusting Jesus becomes a larger part of your life.
So why do we spend our lives trying to amass the stuff that is poison to our faith?
Have you prayed for the Lord to increase your faith, and then the stock market takes a dive?
The flesh tells us in no uncertain terms that if we can lay up enough stuff on this earth we will have no need to depend on anyone for anything, including God! But faith declares that we have no need of anything or anyone except God! Faith sees the things that you have as gifts from God who is unlimited in His ability to supply the things that we can use as human beings.
Pray for faith and let God provide the things you need.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Are You Afraid?

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God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble.

And so, we won't be afraid! Let the earth tremble and the mountains tumble into the deepest sea.

Let the ocean roar and foam, and its raging waves shake the mountains.

A river and its streams bring joy to the city, which is the sacred home of God Most High.

God is in that city, and it won't be shaken. He will help it at dawn.

Nations rage! Kingdoms fall! But at the voice of God the earth itself melts.

The Lord All-Powerful is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come! See the fearsome things the Lord has done on earth.

God brings wars to an end all over the world. He breaks the arrows, shatters the spears, and burns the shields.

Our God says, “Calm down, and learn that I am God! All nations on earth will honor me.”

The Lord All-Powerful is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46

Are you afraid because of what you see happening in the world today? If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, then you should be filled with fear because world peace will not come from the hearts of corrupt politicians. World peace will only come from the Heart of Jesus Christ and it will come only on His terms.

But if you are a "Jesus Follower" you can take heart and be calm in your spirit. Terrible times will come, but you will go through those troubles resting on the Everlasting Arms and securely held in the palm of His hand!

"Thank You Jesus for the promise of Your Peace today. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stay Alert and Keep Praying!

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So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit.

Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people.

Ephesians 6:13-18

When men go to war even the winning army suffers loses and is battered and bruised from the conflict.In your struggle against the Evil One it will be the same. The battle against evil is not a computer game where none of the suffering is real and you can pause it for a good lunch or a nap.

Spiritual warfare can start your day and keep you awake at night. The attacks seem to intensify when you are trying to focus your attention on Jesus and find out what God wants you to do. Satan will carefully explain why you need to hate those who hate you. He will encourage you to return evil for evil.

The sword that you have to use as an offensive weapon is the Word of God. And the power of loving your enemies swings it against those who hate you.

Finally, don't stop praying by the power of the Spirit. Prayer is not something you do instead of fighting. Prayer is what you do while you engage in the battle.

"Lord Jesus, help me to stand with You, empowered by Your love and swinging the Sword of the Spirit as the battle rages today. Show me how to pray today and give me peace in the midst of the trouble and strife of today's conflict. Thank you Jesus. Amen."