Friday, September 13, 2013

When the King Lies!

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Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star.
He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I also want to go and worship him.”

The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

They were thrilled and excited to see the star. When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him.

Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.

Matthew 2:7-12

When the king lies what can a wise man do? The fact that the king lied to these men is usually obscured by the majesty of the story of the birth of Jesus. But the wise men stood before King Herod and were told by the king himself that he wanted to also worship Jesus, when he really wanted only to kill him.

When a king, national leader or even a politician lies to you what should you do? Sadly in many countries a lying politician has become the expected norm. Leaders lie to get the approval of the people so they can get their co-operation or vote or both. How do you discern the truth when the king lies?

In the story about the birth of Jesus the wise men were warned in a dream not to go back and talk to Herod. Today, when you hear words from the king that may be lies the answer is this: Depend completely on God and trust Him to reveal to you whether the king has uttered truth or falsehood. Then just like the wise men you will know which way to go next.

Most of us today listen to the words of men a lot and the Words of God only a little. The really wise man will reverse that. The wise man will listen to the Words of God constantly, and the words of man little or not at all! When you do that your wisdom will increase and your foolishness will go away.

"Lord, help me today to listen to You all the time, and to the words of men none of the time, that I might be like the wise men and come to know when the king is lying! Amen."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hold on to Jesus!

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I, the [Lord], have put a curse
on those who turn from me
and trust in human strength.

They will dry up like a bush
in salty desert soil,
where nothing can grow.

But I will bless those
who trust me, the [Lord].

They will be like trees
growing beside a stream—
trees with roots that reach
down to the water,
and with leaves
that are always green.
They bear fruit every year
and are never worried
by a lack of rain.

Jeremiah 17:5-8

When things are bad and appear to be getting worse trusting God is not an intellectual exercise to be discussed and debated among fellow Christians. It is not a good topic for a Sunday School class with lots of "hand outs" and maybe even a good video. Trusting God becomes the minute by minute source of your very life!

Droughts are not that bad if you can find some water to drink, but droughts are followed by famines. Food does not grow without water.

If you are hoping only in this life on earth, that hope will soon fade and turn to despair. But if you are hoping in Jesus Christ and depending on Him for the real food and real water that will keep you alive forever, then you will not be disappointed. If you are trusting in the Lord when all the streams dry up and there is nothing to eat, then let your heart be at peace. When the last chord is broken that holds you to this earth you will be ushered in to the presence of God and the Glory of Heaven!

If you are holding on to Jesus you can safely let go of this earth. Make sure you are resting in the arms of Jesus and then when terrible trouble comes you will have nothing to fear.

Don't forget you will not take any of the trouble of this life to heaven. It all stays behind and will trouble you never again. Amen

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thrive in the Desert!

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I, the Lord, have put a curse
on those who turn from me
and trust in human strength.
They will dry up like a bush
in salty desert soil,
where nothing can grow.
But I will bless those
who trust me, the Lord.
They will be like trees
growing beside a stream—
trees with roots that reach
down to the water,
and with leaves
that are always green.
They bear fruit every year
and are never worried
by a lack of rain.

Jeremiah 17:5-8

When the drought comes and everything green turns brown there is always an exception to the parching of the earth.  A tree that is growing beside a stream or river will not feel the effects of the drought if it's roots go deep down into the water of the river.

That's how it is with many Christians. They are living on the surface water and are able to thrive when there is plenty of rain. But when the drought hits and hits hard the surface water all dries up.

If you depend totally on the rain for your spiritual life, there will come a day when the drought will take away your strength. It is only those who let their roots grow deep into the ground so they can drink from the River of Life even when there is no rain above that will thrive in the desert.

Jesus offers you a secret source of strength and life that will never dry up and will keep you fresh and green even in the most devastating drought. Spend lots of time with Jesus letting your roots grow deep into His heart. Ponder the wonders of drinking deeply of the Water of Life that comes from the Lord.

"Lord Jesus I want today to grow deeper into your heart so that all of my strength comes from You and not from this world or even my own life. Help me today to trust You more than ever before and rejoice in You and You alone! Amen."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Suffering Together!

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Dear friends, don't be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire. Be glad for the chance to suffer as Christ suffered. It will prepare you for even greater happiness when he makes his glorious return.

Count it a blessing when you suffer for being a Christian. This shows that God's glorious Spirit is with you. But you deserve to suffer if you are a murderer, a thief, a crook, or a busybody. Don't be ashamed to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God that you belong to him.

1 Peter 4:12-16

How does suffering prepare you for "greater happiness" when Christ returns? Our suffering here is like the suffering that Jesus Himself experienced. Christians suffer, not because they have done something wrong, but because they have done something right. We suffer because we give our hearts and minds to Jesus, and so we become like Him which includes suffering.

Even as human beings there is as bond of fellowship that develops when we suffer together or have the same kind of suffering as someone else. There are many support groups that are based on the common experience of suffering. The bond of suffering together can form life long relationships.

When you suffer as Christ suffered, the same thing is true. Jesus Himself will be your support group and you will long to see Him face to face because you know what it was like for Jesus here on this earth! Common affliction draws people together and it draws men to Jesus!

Here is a most amazing truth! If you suffer like Jesus did here on this earth and walk in the way He has appointed for you, you will begin to look like Jesus yourself. When you get to heaven, Jesus will be the one who looks like you, or perhaps I should say, you will look like Him. It is what happens when you suffer together!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me suffer on this earth as You suffered. May I today feel the pain and count it as joy because of You! What a glorious day it will be when either You come or I go, and I will see You face to face. Amen."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Clean Me Lord!

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My enemies, don't be glad because of my troubles!

I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the Lord is my light. I have sinned against the Lord.

And so I must endure his anger, until he comes to my defense. But I know that I will see him making things right for me and leading me to the light.

You, my enemies, said “The Lord God is helpless.” Now each of you will be disgraced and put to shame. I will see you trampled like mud in the street.

Micah 7:6-10

A nation that sins against God must endure His anger. God does not ignore sin. The first thing you will see when you seek the face of God is your own sin. When you are walking by the light of the world it is hard, maybe impossible to see your sin! But when you start to walk by the light that comes from Heaven you can clearly see that the filth of this world is clinging to every part of your life.

Then many new born Christians try to clean themselves by using the soap of self control and human discipline. You may be able to get the surface of your heart clean that way but deep inside you will still be polluted and corrupt.

The only way to clean your heart on the inside is to turn yourself in to Jesus and let Him by the power of the Holy Spirit clean you from the inside out!

Then even your enemies will know that the Lord Is not helpless and that He has worked a miracle in your life! It is the most powerful testimony of all.

"Lord, I confess to you that I have no power to clean up the mess that I have made of my life. So I turn to You with nothing to offer except the sin I have committed and this weak heart that is corrupt to the core. I am so weak Lord that it is truly hard for me to believe that even You can clean and restore my life! Take me now Lord Jesus. Amen!"

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Conscience and the Cross!

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Christ died once for our sins.  An innocent person died for those who are guilty.  Christ did this  to bring you to God,  when his body  was put to death  and his spirit  was made alive.

Christ then preached to the spirits that were being kept in prison.  They had disobeyed God while Noah was building the boat, but God had been patient with them. Eight people went into that boat and were brought safely through the flood.

Those flood waters were like baptism that now saves you. But baptism is more than just washing your body. It means turning to God with a clear conscience, because Jesus Christ was raised from death. Christ is now in heaven, where he sits at the right side of God. All angels, authorities, and powers are under his control.

I Peter 3:18-22

How do you get a clear conscience? There are those who sincerely believe that they have never done anything wrong, and so their consciences are clear. Oh they may have committed a little sin or two and asked God to forgive them, but they feel no guilt and believe that they stand right before God. The only problem is that their clear consciences are not based on the Blood of Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross!

The human heart is wicked and totally lost without Jesus Christ. The filthy rags of human righteousness are useless in covering the sinfulness of a man's heart.

Anything that makes you feel justified and good about yourself other than the Cross of Christ is a deception and a lie! What can wash away my sin? "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!"

If you live a "good and moral" life in order to please God and secure for yourself a place in Heaven, you will be most surprised and eternally disappointed. You will find out that real righteousness in your life comes because of the blood of Jesus and not because of your human self discipline.

When you live in the reality of His deliverance you will appear to be the most self disciplined of all, but in truth you will be the most yielded to His moment by moment will for your life! Never forget that the Cross is the source of your clear conscience!

"Lord Jesus, I am so tempted to trust in myself, or others and the ways of this world. Let my walk with You demonstrate to everyone that I am daily under Your control! May You be praised forever. Amen!"

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Asphalt Standard!

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You were rescued from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever. You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb. Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days.

And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That’s why you have put your faith and hope in God.

1 Peter 1:18-21

How "well to do" was Jesus? Did Jesus have money or was He a poor man? To me it seems bazaar that anyone would even entertain the thought of whether or not Jesus had access to money. But those who value greatly silver and gold often look for evidence of Jesus' financial standing. The fact that the soldiers gambled for his clothes means they were not worthless rags. And some remind us of the gold, frankincense and myrrh that the wise men brought to Joseph and Mary at His birth.

Really it is silly to even think about material things and the access Jesus had to them. Remember, Jesus created all things and He had and has access to it all. Jesus can say the word and the world economy will soar or He can with one thought bring it all down.

Jesus had access to everything including innumerable angels who could have rescued Him from the Cross, but we would have been left to perish for eternity.

The Gold Standard here on earth would be the Asphalt Standard in Heaven. Gold is used in Heaven for paving the streets.

If you are a follower of Jesus, don't measure your wealth by how much asphalt you have!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

“Weapon of Mass Construction”

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“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children. God then accepted the people he had already decided to choose, and he has shared his glory with them.”

Romans 8:28-30

There is a "weapon of mass construction" that is banned by Satan and his minions. That weapon restores relationships, builds bridges between broken lives and establishes an eternal relationship between you and God Himself. The weapon is love! Love is an irresistible force that races through the hearts of men and leaves peace in it's wake.

Jesus told us to love our enemies. That means to aim and fire the most potent weapon of all directly at your enemies. They cannot withstand the impact of love. When you love your enemies, enemies become "loved ones."

So, when you love God is it any wonder that God responds with "everything working together for good in your life?" God is not your enemy, but loving God is the most powerful and amazing thing you can do with Him. Here is the scene, God, who is love, creates a human being who then loves Him back. It may be the only way that God can feel for Himself what He gives to all of us!

When you love God, He is blessed beyond our imagination.

So here is what you do with the weapon of mass construction. You destroy your enemies by loving them and you bless God by loving Him.

I know it's a lot to do in one day, but I know you can do it today and every day for the rest of your life!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Branded by God!

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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.

It doesn't matter if you are circumcised or not. All that matters is that you are a new person.

If you follow this rule, you will belong to God's true people. God will treat you with undeserved kindness and will bless you with peace.

On my own body are scars that prove I belong to Christ Jesus. So I don't want anyone to bother me anymore.

Galatians 6:14-17

The apostle Paul had literal scars on his body because he was a follower of Jesus. Jesus has scars on His hands, feet and side that prove He died on the Cross.

Beginning centuries ago men who raised cattle put a scar on them with a hot metal branding iron so they could be identified as the owner. The cattle could run freely around the open range and then be separated at the time of the "round up."

Have you been marked and branded by God? When God looks at your heart and your life how will He know that "this one belongs to Me?"

I have never heard a cow comment on it, but being branded cannot be a pleasant experience. When branded a cow is caught, immobilized and then burned with a hot iron. When God put His brand on you the same is true. When you turn your heart to Jesus, He catches you, immobilizes you, and then burns His hot iron into every part of your life. That process confirms that you belong to Jesus!

The hot irons of sickness, suffering and pain burn His ownership into our lives. Even as you feel the pain of God's branding iron touching your life again, rejoice that every scar will make it even more apparent that you belong to Jesus!

"Lord, if there is some part of my life that does not have your brand burned into it then I present that part of me to receive your mark! Let there be no question in anyone's mind when they look at me that I belong to You! Amen."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An Orange Juice Can!

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Everyone in this world
should worship and honor
the [Lord]!

As soon as he spoke
the world was created;
at his command,
the earth was formed.

The [Lord] destroys the plans
and spoils the schemes
of the nations.

But what the [Lord] has planned
will stand forever.
His thoughts never change.

The [Lord] blesses each nation
that worships only him.
He blesses his chosen ones.

The [Lord] looks at the world
from his throne in heaven,
and he watches us all.

The [Lord] gave us each a mind,
and nothing we do
can be hidden from him.

Psalm 33:8-15

The extreme foolishness of thinking that we can hide from God is mind boggling. But that is the way our broken relationship with God began when Adam and Eve tried to hide from God. It did not work then and it does not work today.

God knows everything you think and can see everything you do. He knows your sin before you confess it and He sees everything you do even in total darkness.

God also blesses a nation that worships only Him. Freedom of religion, at least in the United States originally meant that we were free to worship God according to our own understanding of the Bible. It did not honor and support those who wanted to worship "An Orange Juice Can." There is nothing in the Bible that says we will be blessed for letting our people worship false gods. That would be like a man blessing his wife for being intimate with other men. It would make no sense.

When we encourage other men to worship idols and false Gods we do not receive the blessings of God for it.

The truly happy and blessed wife is the one who is completely faithful to her husband. And that is the way it is with the Bride of Christ. When Christians are faithful in every way to Jesus the blessings will flow like a river. When they are not the trouble will come in waves and will wash over the land like a flood!

If you think that droughts, storms, floods, earthquakes and all kinds of political and military turmoil in the world have nothing to do with God's response to man's unfaithfulness to Him then you have not read the history of mankind as recorded in the Bible.

The simple warning is this: Wake up and repent, before it is too late! Amen.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Claim of Faithfulness

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Ezekiel, son of man, the people with you in Babylonia talk about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say, “Let's ask Ezekiel what the Lord has said today.”  So they all come and listen to you, but they refuse to do what you tell them. They claim to be faithful, but they are forever trying to cheat others out of their money.  They treat you as though you were merely singing love songs or playing music. They listen, but don't do anything you say.

Ezekiel 33:30-32

Do you really want to know what God thinks about what is going on in the world today? Is your doctrine and theology correct according to the Word? Do you seek knowledge of God to know what He is doing in the world?

All of those things are wonderful, but they mean nothing if you refuse to do the things He tells you to do.

Knowledge and understanding are not the best evidence of a right relationship with God. A right relationship is best seen in repentance and obedience. If a man refuses to turn from evil and to do the things that God tells him to do you can be sure that man is not walking with Jesus.

Sometimes we are more concerned with right theology than with righteous living and being obedient. If you turn your heart to Jesus, listen to His voice and do His will understanding theology and doctrine will not be hard.

Set your heart and mind today on being obedient to every Word of God you hear, then your faithfulness will be true and not just a claim.

"Lord I confess that I have heard Your voice and refused to obey it. I choose to repent of that sin and do Your will today! Thank You Lord! Amen."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It Won’t Be Long!

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Don't forget all the hard times you went through when you first received the light. 

Sometimes you were abused and mistreated in public, and at other times you shared in the sufferings of others. You were kind to people in jail. And you gladly let your possessions be taken away, because you knew you had something better, something that would last forever.

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."

Hebrews 10:32-37

The hardest part of the race often comes just before you reach the finish line! You have run well and if you keep going you will finish well, but even as you see the end of the race just ahead your energy wanes and you sense that you are in danger of dropping out!

The best advice for a runner is to focus on the finish line and just keep going no matter what happens or how you feel.

If we are nearing the end of the race as Christians you will be tempted to give up and drop out even at this late hour. Don't do it. Focus on the finish line and keep going no matter what happens or how you feel. This may indeed be the hardest part of the race. You may feel exhausted from all you have already been through, but don't quit, the prize is just ahead!

"Lord, I am tired and weary of life itself but I know that soon You will come or I will go! So Lord help me to stand strong one more day as I wait for You. And then Lord help me to stand strong tomorrow if You don't come today! Thank You Jesus. Amen!"