Thursday, October 31, 2013

His Best, My Worst!

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Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does?

“Has anyone known
the thoughts of the Lord
or given him advice?

Has anyone loaned
something to the Lord
that must be repaid?”

Everything comes from the Lord. All things were made because of him and will return to him. Praise the Lord forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

The wealth, wisdom and knowledge of God are all beyond our comprehension. The wealthiest man who ever lived has less than God's pocket change. The wisest man who ever lived can't begin to understand the most basic mysteries of God. And the man with the most knowledge hasn't even scratched the surface of God's information storehouse.

Made in God's image, man continually tries to be not only like God, but equal to Him. Even the most reprobate man who ever lived is like God because he too was made in God's image. But no man, even the most righteous comes close to being equal to God. That is where possibility ends and Almighty Awesomeness begins!

Being angry with God is like the man who runs out of his house to scream obscenities at a storm. His arms may flail, and his feet may stomp the ground, but storm doesn't even notice and is not affected by his rage.
But humbling yourself before the Lord will catch His eye and He will listen to your concern because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Will He then calm the storm? Not always, in fact sometimes the storm will grow even more violent because that is what the wisdom of God has determined to be the best. It is when God's best seems to be our worst that we are truly tested.

"Lord, I not only don't understand Your wisdom and will, I really don't like them much of the time. But Lord, have mercy on this poor man. Your best seems to be my worst. Be patient with me and change me so I can see everything in my life the way You see it. Amen."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ocean of Troubles!

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My people will go through
an ocean of troubles,
but I will overcome the waves
and dry up the deepest part
of the Nile.
Assyria's great pride
will be put down,
and the power of Egypt
will disappear.

I'll strengthen my people
because of who I am,
and they will follow me.
I, the [Lord], have spoken!

Zechariah 10:11-12

Do you ever feel like you are going through an "Ocean of Troubles?" One problem follows another like waves on the sea. When you are at the peak of one of the waves you can see a little of what is going on around you, but then down you go again.

You have called out to the Lord and committed your life to Jesus, but that seems to have only made the trouble worse, not better. The storms of life are still raging and the sea is and its waves are even rougher.

So here is the secret. Sometimes when you call out to Jesus, He calms the waves in the storms of your life, but every time you call on Him Jesus calms your heart! You can have "Peace, Perfect Peace in this dark world of sin. The Blood of Jesus whispers peace within." Those are words of an old Christian hymn written in 1875.

When Jesus brings peace to your heart it really makes no difference how terrible the storm that rages outside. A man can be at peace with all the world at war and a man can be in complete turmoil with all the world around him at peace. It is better to have Jesus calm your heart than for Him to calm the storm.

"Lord, calm my heart in the storms of this life and let me know Your peace, perfect peace in this dark world of sin. Amen."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hide or Seek!

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God's word is alive and powerful! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.

Hebrews 4:12-13

I suppose most of us played the game of "Hide and Seek" when we were children. One person tried to hide from everyone else while all the others looked for the one who was hiding. There was no "winner" in the game of "Hide and Seek." Eventually, everyone who tries to hide from others in the game is found.

The game we play with God is like that, but it is also different. All men, starting with Adam and Eve have tried to hide from God. After sin entered into the human experience we all try to find a place to conceal ourselves from God.

God wants every man, woman and child to quit hiding from Him and start seeking! If you are seeking God you will find Him, but if you are hiding from God you cannot seek Him. In the children's game you are either a "Hider" or a "Seeker." You cannot be both at the same time. That is also true in life. If you are hiding from God you cannot seek Him and if you are seeking God, you cannot hide from Him.

Everyday I am tempted to hide from God. As I walk in the light, Satan whispers in my ear, "There is a good place you can hide for while from God." He tries to convince me that it would be a good thing to take a rest and stop or at least pause my pursuit.
Remember that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that if I seek Him I will find Him! I must not today stop seeking and start hiding.

"Lord Jesus, I am so tempted every day to "step into the bushes" and try to hide from You. Help me today to seek You and not hide for even a moment! May I find You Jesus, again today! Amen."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Revival of One!

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Without guidance from God law and order disappear, but God blesses everyone who obeys his Law.

Proverbs 29:18 

A nation without guidance from God is like a giant airplane with no pilot. It may look impressive, have powerful engines and even be the wonder of all the world, but when God is removed it is doomed to crash. The reason is simple: "Without guidance from God law and order disappear."

When law and order are replaced by chaos the end of the story is never a pretty one!  When a nation calls on and honors God and seeks His guidance blessings begin to flow like great rivers! But when any people decide that God must either share His place in their national life with other gods, or must be removed all together, then the rule of law and the peace that comes from an ordered society disappear!

The solution to the problem of national turmoil, no matter where in the world you are is for the people of your land to turn their hearts to Jesus Christ! When men and women turn their hearts to Jesus things around them change. Revivals are never commanded from above.

Revivals begin when a man or woman opens his eyes and sees God, and God pours out His blessings! That firm assurance of the reality of God makes every breath and every heart beat an opportunity to fall down and worship! I cannot declare that a revival will cover the earth, but I can seek God with all my heart, repent of my sins and trust Him for a revival in my heart! A revival of one may not change the world, but it will change me. I will be filled with Peace and Joy and my steps will be ordered of the Lord. I will not be shaken by the chaos that is churning all around, but I will stand firm and secure as I rest in His arms!

"Lord Jesus, send revival to this world, but until the world is ready to receive it, send revival today to my heart! I fall down Jesus at Your feet and wait for Your sweet voice to speak Words for today. Amen."

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Is it Jesus at the Door?

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When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his royal throne

The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, “My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”

Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink?  When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?”

The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”

Then the king will say to those on his left, “Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels!  I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink.

I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me.”

Matthew 25:31-43

This is a very disturbing passage of Scripture. When the day of judgment comes and you stand before Jesus on the throne the discussion will be about how you helped or did not help those in need.

There is no mention of your doctrinal theology about anything. Did you have the correct understanding of the End Times, or Free Will and the Sovereignty of God? What about the church you attended? Surely that will make a big difference on Judgment Day? It is not mentioned.

According to these verses the discussion will center around food, water, shelter, clothes, medical care, and concern for those in jail.

If Jesus comes to your door today and He is in need of food or water or clothes, or maybe He is sick, how will you respond? I'm sure you would take care of the needs of Jesus.

But remember this: When Jesus comes to your door today He will be in someone else's body. He will look like a friend, or a beggar and prepare to be shocked, but when Jesus comes to your door in need He may look like a prostitute!

Practice the "very spiritual" art of seeing Jesus in everyone who crosses your path. If the person does not look like or even live like Jesus, they were still created in the image of God and this encounter may be discussed before the throne on the Day of Judgment!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

When I Don’t Feel Him!

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After Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made Job twice as rich as he had been before. Then Job gave a feast for his brothers and sisters and for his old friends. They expressed their sorrow for the suffering the Lord had brought on him, and they each gave Job some silver and a gold ring.

The Lord now blessed Job more than ever; he gave him 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 pair of oxen, and 1,000 donkeys.

In addition to seven sons, Job had three daughters, whose names were Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren Happuch.  They were the most beautiful women in that part of the world, and Job gave them shares of his property, along with their brothers.

Job lived for another 140 years—long enough to see his great-grandchildren have children of their own—and when he finally died, he was very old.

Job 42:10-17

When you read the entire book of Job you see some very challenging truths. All of Job's suffering happened because God was happy with Job not the opposite. None of Job's suffering was punishment for his sins.

Also the very solid sounding wisdom of Job's friends was not from God. Job's friends assumed that Job had sinned and that God was punishing him for those sins.

God did not even reveal to Job the reason for his suffering.

When the greatest pain comes to your heart never assume that you can understand it. God may let you know, but He may not as well. Hold on to the promise of Jesus that He will be with you always and believe it even when you don't feel it!

"Lord, today my pain is greater than my pleasure and my sorrow is bigger than my joy. But You are here with me even though I can't see You, or even feel Your presence. Thank You Jesus that Your Promise is greater than my ability to sense that You are with me. Amen."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Truth Telling!

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

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

1 John 1:5-10

Why do we teach our children that it is a bad thing to lie? Well, fundamentally lying is the first step we take in acting like Satan and not like God. When we lie, darkness moves in and begins to take control of our lives. When we tell the truth, light dispels the darkness!

If we live in the light, then we share in life with each other. So if you are having a "relationship problem" with someone, at the core is a lack of truth. In this "modern" world lying has become a lifestyle. We expect lies from car salesmen, politicians and even radio and TV journalists. And of course many people simply live in the darkness of lying about almost everything, all of the time! It is no surprise that the result is chaos.

If you have decided to become a "truth teller" where do you start? The best place is to tell God the truth. Pour out your heart before God and confess all the things that you thought you were hiding from Him. Let God hear about your frustration and disappointment. If there is anger or bitterness in your heart tell God about that as well. Stand completely uncovered before God and let Him pour down on you the healing oil of His love and mercy!

Make sure that you bring all the truth of your life to God and let go of all the lies and deception. It is then that you will begin to smell the sweet aroma of the "Peace that Passes Understanding." When you know that God knows everything and that the Blood of Jesus has paid the price for all your sins, you can rest like a baby in his mother's arms.

"Lord Jesus, I am so tired of hiding from You. It seemed like a game at first, but then it became an addiction. So Lord, I renounce the lies and deceit and pour out my heart to You. May I sense Your peace again in every part of my being. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everything is a Miracle!

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Lead your people, Lord! Come and be our shepherd. Grasslands surround us, but we live in a forest.  So lead us to Bashan and Gilead,  and let us find pasture  as we did long ago.

I, the Lord, will work miracles just as I did when I led you out of Egypt.  Nations will see this and be ashamed because of their helpless armies.  They will be in shock, unable to speak or hear, because of their fear of me, your Lord and God.

Then they will come trembling, crawling out of their fortresses like insects or snakes, lapping up the dust.

Micah 7:14-17

When God shows up and reveals Himself to men the normal reaction is one of great fear! Most people believe that the natural world is independent from and not influenced by the power of God. We foolishly tell ourselves that the power of God can only be seen when He miraculously intervenes in the affairs of men. And even when we see one of those "miracles" we look often for a natural explanation of the miraculous event! The thing that we miss is that there is no difference between the natural and the miraculous. It is God's power working in both!

When Jesus came into my life I began to see the power of God in everything. Every breath I take is supported by God's touch on my body. Every sound I hear, sunset I see, bite of fruit I take, and even the ability to enjoy those things is a direct evidence of the miraculous power of God! The Bible says that God is Love. So even the most wicked and sinful man who has ever lived, if he loves someone, even his own mother, he is touching the very essence of God!

When you let Jesus take over control of your life, then everything becomes a "miracle." You begin to see no difference in the miracle of life itself and a miracle that steps beyond what we call "natural."

"Lord Jesus, everything You do is miraculous. Even allowing me to talk with You through prayer is beyond anyone's imagination. Help me to blur the lines even further between the natural and the miraculous so that I will see You and Your power in everything! Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Urgency of Repentance!

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Zion, how can I comfort you? How great is your pain? Lovely city of Jerusalem, how can I heal your wounds, gaping as wide as the sea?

Your prophets deceived you with false visions and lying messages— they should have warned you to leave your sins and be saved from disaster.

Those who pass by shake their heads and sneer as they make fun and shout, “What a lovely city you were, the happiest on earth, but look at you now!”

Zion, your enemies curse you and snarl like wild animals, while shouting,  “This is the day we've waited for!  At last, we've got you!”

Lamentations 2:13-16

When a "man of God" does not warn you to "leave your sins and be saved from disaster" you can know for certain that you are hearing lies that do not come from God.

Here is the difficult part. These "lies" may be true, but what you need to hear is something else. A starving man is not blessed by hearing a lecture on what a proper diet should be.

Too often we are hearing from the pulpit accurate and even helpful words of Scripture, but the urgent need to repent and turn back to God is ignored! If you had a serious and bleeding wound and poison ivy, the doctor who treated the poison ivy first would certainly be engaging in malpractice.

Recognize the desperate condition of an unrepentant heart and sound the alarm for all those to hear who are clinging on to their sin instead of holding on to Jesus.

Pay attention to your own heart and put repentance at the top of your "To Do" list.

"Lord Jesus, show me today how I need to repent. Lord, the one thing that You never did, but I must do is to repent. You never sinned and so You never needed to repent. But Lord, my heart is continually tempted by the world around me to turn away from You for just one fleeting thought. Even of that Lord, I choose to repent and turn back to You. And may Your Name be praised forever! Amen."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nothing Else Matters!

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My friends, even though we have a lot of trouble and suffering, your faith makes us feel better about you. Your strong faith in the Lord is like a breath of new life. How can we possibly thank God enough for all the happiness you have brought us?  Day and night we sincerely pray that we will see you again and help you to have an even stronger faith.

I Thessalonians 3:7-10

What do you want most for those you love? If you have children, do you want them to have a prosperous life with many material blessings and few troubles? Do you want them to be happy and have joy and peace? Or is there something more important that you desire for your loved ones?

Many years ago I came to the conclusion that if my children had faith in Jesus and were walking with Him, I could not be happier. Everything else in this life is truly of no significance at all when it is compared to knowing Jesus! If you know Jesus and trust in Him then you have reason to be totally at peace and filled with joy. If you have all the things the world can offer, but don't know Jesus what does it matter anyway.

Even as I am discouraged when I hear of a man or woman whose faith is not strong, I am greatly encouraged when the stories come of those who stand firm in their faith. When you trust God in difficult times, you are speaking loudly about the Power and Glory of God to all who are watching. When you don't trust God in hard things, the message is also very clear.

When it comes time for someone to stand up and speak about your life to those who have come to pay their "last respects," if they say "he trusted God and lived by faith in Him," then your life was a total success. If that cannot be said, it is sad to know the things you missed.

Determine from this day until the day you leave this world to trust God and live by faith in Him. Let that be your highest goal, and receive the joy that only comes from complete submission to the Savior.

"Lord Jesus, there is only one thing that matters in this life and that one thing is You! May I cling to You today like never before as we all wait for Your return. And Jesus, do come soon! To You be the glory forever. Amen."

(Originally published on August 9, 2013)

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Clothes for Jesus

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Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. She was still weeping, when she stooped down and saw two angels inside. They were dressed in white and were sitting where Jesus' body had been. One was at the head and the other was at the foot. The angels asked Mary, “Why are you crying?

She answered, “They have taken away my Lord's body! I don't know where they have put him.”

As soon as Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know who he was.  Jesus asked her, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener and said, “Sir, if you have taken his body away, please tell me, so I can go and get him.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to him, “Rabboni.” The Aramaic word “Rabboni” means “Teacher.”

Jesus told her, “Don't hold on to me! I have not yet gone to the Father. But tell my disciples I am going to the one who is my Father and my God, as well as your Father and your God.”

John 20:11-17

When Jesus was crucified the soldiers gambled for His clothes. On the resurrection morning the grave clothes were left in the tomb. So where did Jesus get the clothes He was wearing when He met Mary in the garden and she thought that Jesus may have been the gardener?

The Bible does not give us the answer to that question specifically, but we know that God provided the clothes that Jesus needed when He came out of the tomb!

In the book of Genesis we read the story of the First Adam and how God made clothes for Adam and Eve. So here is the story of the Second Adam and God clothed Him as well.
The lesson for me is simple and yet profound. When I am "born again" and when I rise to walk after coming out of the watery "grave" of Baptism, God gives me new clothes! My "new clothes" are amazing to say the least! God covers my "shame" with the Righteousness of Christ!

When Joseph was exalted from the prison to second in command in Egypt, I cannot imagine that he brought any of his prison clothes to the palace!

A temptation for many Christians is to continue to wear the clothes from your old life. The righteousness of Jesus is a whole new wardrobe and you don't need to hold on to your old clothes. Clean out your closet and dress only in the Righteousness of Jesus.

"Lord Jesus, thank You for covering me with Your righteousness. Thank you for giving me the clothes that make me look like You to those who see me each day! And may You be praised forever. Amen!"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Nearness of God!

Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this.  God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross.  But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power.  What David said are really the words of Jesus,

“I always see the Lord near me, and I will not be afraid with him at my right side.

Because of this, my heart will be glad, my words will be joyful, and I will live in hope.

The Lord won't leave me in the grave. I am his holy one, and he won't let my body decay.

He has shown me the path to life, and he makes me glad by being near me.”

Acts 2:22-28

When a little child is standing near his father, there is no fear. A child trusts his father, probably more than he should. I always saw my father as being more capable than he really was. My father was my "great protector" and was to be trusted completely.

Jesus believed the same thing about His Father. Jesus was not afraid because God was at His right side. Jesus had a glad heart and His words were joyful as He lived in hope because God was near Him. Jesus trusted God to even protect Him from the effects of death and the grave. Jesus says that His Father showed Him the path to life and made Him glad!

As a little boy or girl, you may have trusted your father far beyond his actual ability to protect you, but as a follower of Jesus Christ you cannot trust God to do more than He is able to accomplish! Little boys like to brag about what their fathers can do, and it is perfectly fine for you to boast about the greatness of your Almighty Father.

The Bible even says that you cannot dream up something that He cannot do. One way to build your faith is to ask God to do something that can't be done! Then when you see Him do it, you will know even more that your Heavenly Father is able to take care of every need you will ever have!

"Lord Jesus, show me how to trust the Father even as You did. Help me to feel His presence near by my side as I walk through this day. And may He show me the path of life. Amen."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blessing of Obedience

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God blesses those people
who want to obey him
more than to eat or drink.
They will be given
what they want!

Matthew 5:6

When your heart, mind and hands are determined to obey God He will give you what you want! And what then will He give you? It is quite simple. If you want to obey God He will give you the daily opportunity to do it.

But the nature we inherited from Adam sets itself against obedience. It wants to find a path to the blessings without obedience, while the Spirit guides the follower of Jesus into the blessings of obedience!
When you say "no" to God even in the smallest matter you are replaying the tragedy of Eden with all its heartache and suffering. But when you say "yes" to God's smallest whim you declare the Glory of God to the entire universe!

The most amazing thing about obeying God is this: Everything God asks you to do, He could do Himself. He could even transform your heart so that you had no choice, no option of disobedience. So God wants something accomplished in this world and He looks at His child and says "You do it!" I get to set my hand to do the will of Almighty God! The awesomeness of that thought is almost heart stopping.

As a child of God, I am employed in the family business of rescuing those who do not know Jesus. So I am not only made in God's image as a human being, but I am also allowed to do what He wants done in the world!

"Lord, bless me today with opportunities to obey You. May my hands and feet and every word that I speak be dedicated to the purpose of doing Your will. Thank You Jesus. Amen."

Friday, October 18, 2013

Look for Jesus on the Shore!

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Jesus later appeared to his disciples along the shore of Lake Tiberias. Simon Peter, Thomas the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, and the brothers James and John, were there, together with two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I'm going fishing!”

The others said, “We will go with you.” They went out in their boat. But they didn't catch a thing that night.

Early the next morning Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize who he was. Jesus shouted, “Friends, have you caught anything?”

“No!” they answered.

So he told them, “Let your net down on the right side of your boat, and you will catch some fish.”

They did, and the net was so full of fish that they could not drag it up into the boat.

John 21:1-6

Peter, James and John were all commercial fishermen before Jesus called them to follow Him. These men had made a living fishing in these waters. If anyone knew how, where and when to fish it would have been them. I don't suppose anyone would fish all night without an expectation of success. But there was no success. They caught nothing!

Then comes Jesus to the event! Jesus told them to put their net down on the other side of the boat and right away it was full of fish. John recognized Jesus first, but Peter jumped in the water and swam to shore!

When you are failing, even at what you know the best, look for Jesus on the shore! When you are disappointed at the outcome of your best efforts, look for Jesus on the shore! When all your expectations are destroyed by the cruel realities of life, look for Jesus on the shore. Not only look for Jesus, but listen for His advice. Jesus will tell you where to put down your nets.

When Peter and the others put down their nets on the other side of the boat the fish filled the nets to overflowing. But the important thing about that morning was not the nets full of fish. The truly exciting part of that day was the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ! When Jesus shows up in your life, everything else pales in comparison!

"Lord Jesus, I have worked hard at fishing for men, but the net is empty. Show me today where to put down the net. Teach me to fish for the men and women who you have also called to follow you! Praise Your name forever. Amen."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dead Stick Blooms

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The Lord told Moses:

Call together the twelve tribes of Israel and tell the leader of each tribe to write his name on the walking stick he carries as a symbol of his authority. Make sure Aaron's name is written on the one from the Levi tribe, then collect all the sticks.

Place these sticks in the tent in front of the sacred chest where I appear to you.   I will then choose a man to be my priest, and his stick will sprout. After that happens, I won't have to listen to any more complaints about you.

Numbers 17:1-5

God showed His approval of Aaron as God's appointed priest by causing his dead walking stick to bloom and produce fruit. This miracle caused everyone to see that Aaron was God's chosen leader.

When God today works through you it often is the same. Something in your life that is dead comes to life and blooms and even bears fruit! Every tree that lives is empowered by God to have that life in it, but we call it a miracle when a dead tree comes back to life!

Sometimes in our lack of faith we try to hide the things in our life that are dead. We don't want anyone to know that there is anything in our lives that is weak and powerless. Instead of hiding that thing that is dead in your life, write your name on it and present it to God. When you do that you give God an opportunity to show His power to those who otherwise would judge you.

If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ then your entire life is like that dead stick that Aaron had. The power of God is able to raise you from the death of not knowing Jesus Christ. You will live, blossom and bear fruit that shows everyone around that God is indeed the Almighty! Let your testimony be a dead walking stick that comes to life!

"Lord Jesus, I present to you everything in my life that is dead. May You receive the glory of causing my walking stick to bloom! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Final Words!

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The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

Everyone who hears this should say, “Come!”

If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It's free!

Here is my warning for everyone who hears the prophecies in this book:

If you add anything to them, God will make you suffer all the terrible troubles written in this book. If you take anything away from these prophecies, God will not let you have part in the life-giving tree and in the holy city described in this book.

The one who has spoken these things says, “I am coming soon!”

So, Lord Jesus, please come soon!

I pray that the Lord Jesus will be kind to all of you.

Revelation 22:17-21

With those Words the Bible ends:  God's invitation to come and drink of the life giving water which is free, and then the warning not to ignore or add to what is written in the Bible.

When it comes to the Words of Scripture I am tempted to say things like, "I know what it says, but what it really means is this," and "that part of the Bible was only for 'first century' Christians. It no longer applies to us!"

According to these last few Words of the Book of Revelation, adding to or taking away from the Bible will have eternal consequences for anyone who does it!

It is this warning that causes some to be criticized for "taking the Bible too literally." God did not simply give us a bunch of "principles to live by." He gave us the Bible which tells the story of Jesus and gives us the history of God's dealing with men from the Creation until now.

The Bible is a Holy Book, but even the Bible is not to be worshipped. It is God who is to be worshipped and Jesus Christ His Son!

"Lord help me to never add to or take away anything from the Bible. May Your Word come alive in me every day. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Fierce Anger of God!

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You disgraceful nation, gather around, before it's too late. The Lord has set a time when his fierce anger will strike like a storm and sweep you away.

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

Zephaniah 2:1-3

It is not very pleasant to think about the "fierce anger" of God. In fact, modern theology has pretty much eliminated the idea of God getting angry from our way of thinking. Didn't the sacrifice of Jesus satisfy the anger of God so that now everything is peace and love?

Jesus died for people not for countries. God did not make a way for all the people of - and you name the country - to be saved! Your salvation is individual, not because you are the citizen of even a Godly nation! There is nothing in the Bible that would give any nation a pass when it comes to the judgment of God on this earth.

Godly nations are blessed and ungodly nations do not prosper unless in prospering they fulfill a purpose of God. Those who are in the most jeopardy are nations that once honored God, but now have turned away. It is foolish to believe that the nation in which you live is simply ignored by God.

The reason for you to encourage your nation to turn back to and honor God is not for your own sake or your own blessing. You should encourage your fellow citizens to honor God because it is the right thing to do!

"Lord Jesus, You are to be praised and honored for who You are and for what You did. On the day you turn loose Your anger may my nation be one that is honoring You. Amen."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wake Me Lord!

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The Lord God gives me

the right words

to encourage the weary.

Each morning he awakens me

eager to learn his teaching;

he made me willing to listen

and not rebel or run away.

I let them beat my back

and pull out my beard.

I didn't turn aside

when they insulted me

and spit in my face.

But the Lord God keeps me

from being disgraced.

So I refuse to give up,

because I know

God will never let me down.

Isaiah 50:4-7

How do you wake up in the morning? I suppose most people use an alarm clock to jar them from sleep when there is just enough time to get ready for work and rush off for the day.

Isaiah says that God woke him up in the morning. And that when he woke up Isaiah was eager to learn God's teaching.

Have you ever asked God to wake you up in the morning? When God arouses you from sleep it is usually because He has something He wants to teach you. Instead of fretting that you can't get back to sleep, get up and go to the place where God usually speaks to your heart. Then ask Him to instruct you in the way that He would have you to go!

Because Isaiah listened to God in the morning he was able to say, even in the worst of times, "I refuse to give up, because I know God will never let me down."

"Dear Jesus, I know You will never let me down. Wake me each morning from my sleep so I can hear Your voice. And Lord, search my heart and if you find me sleeping when I need to be awake, then Lord wake me up and do it now! Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Everyone Will Bow Down!

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“I invite the whole world

to turn to me and be saved.

I alone am God!

No others are real.

I have made a solemn promise,

one that won't be broken:

Everyone will bow down

and worship me.

They will admit that I alone

can bring about justice.

Everyone who is angry with me

will be terribly ashamed

and will turn to me.”

Isaiah 45:22-24

When all is said and done, everyone who is alive at that time or has ever lived will bow down and worship God! Some will bow down with great joy and some will bow down with great shame! But everyone will know that God Almighty is the only God and that Jesus Christ is indeed the Savior of mankind!

If you are now a follower of Jesus Christ then you have bowed before the Father many times and certainly continue to bow before Him. If you don't know Jesus now then you will see clearly who He is and you will bow before Him before you enter Hell! No one will go to Hell wondering how they ended up in that place.

Forget about whether or not the Christians you know are hypocrites. All that matters in your life is that you fall down and worship God now before it is too late!

There will come a moment in history when everything here on this earth will come to a sudden and abrupt conclusion. Then you will fall down and worship Him, but it will be too late.

"Lord Jesus give me the courage today to call men to repent and turn their hearts to You. And Lord, help me to bow before You now so that I will already be on my knees when You come! And may You be praised forever! Amen.

Friday, October 11, 2013

God Will Be There!


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Be silent and listen,

every island in the sea.

Have courage and come near,

every one of you nations.

Let's settle this matter!

Who appointed this ruler

from the east?

Who puts nations and kings

in his power?

His sword and his arrows

turn them to dust

blown by the wind.

He goes after them so quickly

that his feet

barely touch the ground—

he doesn't even get hurt.

Who makes these things happen?

Who controls human events?

I do! I am the Lord.

I was there at the beginning;

I will be there at the end.

Isaiah 41:1-4

I cannot count the times that an "unnerving" and sometimes even heated discussion about politics or world events comes to a peaceful conclusion with the words "Remember that God is in control!"

These four verses in Isaiah 41 give us the basis for making that statement. The involvement of God in human events is certain. Even the godless nations are being orchestrated by God to accomplish His purposes!

It is so easy to forget this essential truth about the power of God in the world. When I see evil men in control of godless nations and the suffering that they impose on the rest of mankind I am tempted to believe that God is not in control.

Then I remember Isaiah 41:4.
"Who makes these things happen? Who controls human events? I do! I am The Lord. I was there at the beginning; I will be there at the end."

"Lord Jesus remind me again today that You not only were there at the beginning, but You will be there when it all comes to an end. And I thank You Lord that You are indeed in control of human events! Amen."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ready to be a Martyr?

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The beast was allowed to brag and claim to be God, and for 42 months it was allowed to rule. The beast cursed God, and it cursed the name of God. It even cursed the place where God lives, as well as everyone who lives in heaven with God.  It was allowed to fight against God's people and defeat them. It was also given authority over the people of every tribe, nation, language, and race.  The beast was worshiped by everyone whose name wasn't written before the time of creation in the book of the Lamb who was killed.
If you have ears,
then listen!
If you are doomed
to be captured,
you will be captured.
If you are doomed
to be killed by a sword,
you will be killed
by a sword.
This means God's people must learn to endure and be faithful!
Revelation 13:5-10
This is one of those "I think I will skip on to something more positive" passages. The scene described in the Book of Revelation includes a time when the Beast will defeat God's people! I thought in the End "We Win?" Well yes that is true, but winning the war does not mean that you win every battle. There will be a time when this "beast" will kill some of God's people and that time will be one during which we will have to learn to endure and be faithful. And as I'm sure you know there are Christians today dying for their faith in many parts of the world!
God does have a wonderful plan for your life, but that plan may include martyrdom. The list of memorable saints includes many that met the end of their lives by sword. I have thought for years that Christian parents must not only teach their children how to live a Christian life, but how to die a martyr's death! Unless you are ready and willing to die for Jesus it is really not possible to live totally for Him. Living for Jesus means that you are ready because of the Spirit's leading to walk into the arms of death itself if that is where He calls you to go!
I have a grandson who, when he is told to do something, wants to think about it for a while before responding. That kind of "tentative obedience" will never work if you are about to be martyred. When the Spirit says walk, you go that way without hesitation.
"Lord, I confess to You that I want to obey You unless it is dangerous or it hurts too much to walk the way You want me to go. Father I repent today of living with the purpose of holding on to this life no matter what. Help me Lord to be ready to die for You today, so I can truly live for You today as well. In Jesus Name, Amen!"
(Originally published March 1, 2013)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rest in the Arms of Jesus!

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Don't you know?

Haven't you heard?

The Lord is the eternal God,

Creator of the earth.

He never gets weary or tired;

his wisdom cannot be measured.

The Lord gives strength

to those who are weary.

Even young people get tired,

then stumble and fall.

But those who trust the Lord

will find new strength.

They will be strong like eagles

soaring upward on wings;

they will walk and run

without getting tired.

Isaiah 40:28-31

If I work at accomplishing the things that need to be done in my life, every day I get tired. Being tired is a part of the human condition, it is not like God! God does not get tired, but we do. But God understands getting tired because Jesus walked in the flesh on this earth and He experienced what it is like to be tired.

God gives strength to those who are weary! Each day when you rest and sleep your physical strength is renewed and restored. And each day when you rest in the arms of Jesus your Spiritual strength is renewed as well!

Sometimes I get tired and weary in the middle of the day and I find a place to take a nap for a few minutes. Usually, that is just what I need to regain my strength and keep working. Sometimes I also get spiritually tired in the middle of the day and need to take a "Spiritual Nap" as I rest in His arms. I just settle back and let the beautiful thoughts of my Lord put me to sleep. And then I awake renewed and ready for whatever will come next.

"Lord Jesus help me to rest in Your arms today as I receive the strength that can only come from You. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Whole Truth!

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God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is,


There is only one God,

and Christ Jesus

is the only one

who can bring us

to God.

Jesus was truly human,

and he gave himself

to rescue all of us.

1Timothy 2:4-5

There it is. The WHOLE TRUTH in only one verse is an amazing claim. When you are a witness in court, at least in the United States you must affirm that you are telling the truth, THE WHOLE TRUTH, and nothing but the truth!

Of course every Word in the Bible is truth, but the Bible itself claims that 1 Timothy 2:5 can be called THE WHOLE TRUTH. Let me read it again.

"There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human and he gave himself to rescue all of us."

Those 31 words touch every part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope that you have in Him. So if you are looking for a useful verse to memorize and recall when you tell others about Jesus I would highly recommend 1 Timothy 2:5. When you grasp those words you will have THE WHOLE TRUTH in 31 words!

"Lord Jesus, give me opportunity today to share these 31 words with someone who does not know THE WHOLE TRUTH about You and what You did for all of us! Thank You Jesus for giving Yourself so You can bring us to God. Amen!”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Become a Bible Story!

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Your strong faith in the Lord is like a breath of new life. How can we possibly thank God enough for all the happiness you have brought us? Day and night we sincerely pray that we will see you again and help you to have an even stronger faith.

I Thessalonians 3:8-10

It is such an encouragement to hear the stories of men and women around the world whose faith is strong and growing! The Biblical accounts of the lives of those who came to believe in Jesus are in some ways the "prototypes" of faith! They believed and saw in their lives the power of God move in mighty ways.

One lie of Satan is that our faith cannot be like that today. So we look to Bible stories about faith, but do not expect the same things to happen to us. We live our lives trying to imitate Bible characters, believing that we do not have the internal power to live like them. We accept that our lives are different somehow from theirs and that what was available to them is not available to us!

I just want you to know that Satan's lie has been exposed. A dear friend of mine has written a book called "Miraculous Movements - How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus." Jerry Trousdale details the true stories of men and women who are experiencing the same things that you can read about in the Book of Acts!

Jerry and I have been friends for sixty years and I was privileged to spend three weeks traveling with him as he collected the stories. I listened to story after story and saw the joy on their faces as they told of God's great power in revealing Jesus to their hearts.

So here is my encouragement and commitment. I want to encourage you to seek to have a life of faith equal to any you read about in the Bible. And I have committed my life to Jesus to do the same thing! Instead of simply being amazed at how God is moving in others around me, I want to be amazed at how God is moving in me!

"Lord Jesus, may my faith in You grow today, so that I will know that the power working in me is from You and You alone! May my story be worthy of encouraging others to believe in You as well. And may You be glorified forever! Amen."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Just Like Joe Palooka!


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The Scriptures say, “God commanded light to shine in the dark.” Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ.

We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don't know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.

2 Corinthians 4:6-9

One Christmas my brother and I got a "Joe Palooka" punching bag. It stood about four feet tall, was plastic, filled with air and had sand in the bottom and had a picture of the cartoon boxer Joe Palooka printed on it. Whenever you knocked it over, which was quite easy, it would stand back up again and just dare you to hit it again! Because of the sand in the base of the toy it would not stay down when you knocked it over!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and are filled with the Holy Spirit, then you are a lot like that Joe Palooka punching bag! In times of trouble Satan and those who serve him give it their best shot to take you out of the match. But because of the Holy Spirit in your life, you bounce right back up and are ready to take another one!

My Joe Palooka punching bag never started the fight, but it would never give up. You could not keep it down. That is also the way it is with Christians. No where in the Bible does it say that we are to go to war with unbelievers. But it does say that Satan goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to destroy. If you follow Jesus you will be hit and hit hard. You will be knocked down, but that is when the power of God in you will be seen by everyone around as you bounce back up and stand tall for Him!

"Lord Jesus, I so often feel like a punching bag for Satan and the world around me. I am attacked on all sides, but because of Your Spirit in me I can bounce back up every time! Help me today to trust even as I am being hit that I will bounce back up and stand tall because of You. Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Does Your Hope Show?

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Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life.

Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope.  Give a kind and respectful answer and keep your conscience clear. This way you will make people ashamed for saying bad things about your good conduct as a follower of Christ.

1 Peter 3:15-16

When I began to attend elementary school, now 61 years ago I had lots of new things to learn and to be careful about.

Now this may sound silly in today's world, but it was very important that no one ever saw my underwear. I was very careful to keep my shirt tucked in so that not even the edge of the elastic band was visible. As I remember it, someone seeing my underwear would be extremely embarrassing!

Some Christians treat the hope that is in them like their underwear. They want no one to see it! And if someone does catch a glimpse of their hope they are embarrassed.

Your hope is very personal, and it does provide the foundation for everything else in your life, but you have no reason to keep other people from seeing it. Let your hope be seen in everything you do and say. Don't try to keep the hope that is in you from the eyes of other people. When they see your hope they will ask you about it, and you can tell them about Jesus Christ!

"Lord Jesus, give me the courage to let my hope of Heaven and in You be seen by everyone around me today. Give me an opportunity to speak to someone about You and the hope that is in me today! Amen."

Friday, October 4, 2013

Only What He Saw God Do!

Jesus told the people:

I tell you for certain the Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing, and he does exactly what he sees the Father do. The Father loves the Son and has shown him everything he does. The Father will show him even greater things, and you will be amazed. Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants to.

John 5:19-21

I have read these verses before, but I don't think I have ever pondered, for very long what it means for Jesus to say that He only did what He saw God do! Every action Jesus took, every Word He spoke, and I'm sure that even every intent of His heart came straight from what He saw in His Father!

Jesus was so intimately related to God that He cried out on the Cross because the Father had turned away from Him. Jesus had a dependency on the Father that if it were a human relationship the "experts" would have deemed it unhealthy.

If you are as dependent on Jesus as He was on His Father you will also be judged by these same experts to be a fanatic follower. If you only do the things that you see Jesus do and you only speak the words that you hear Jesus speak then your heart will be seeing the world as Jesus saw it and your life will make sense to God!

"Lord Jesus, I want to depend on You just like You did on the Father! Show me what You have done and what You are doing today so that I might always do Your deeds and speak Your Words! Thank You Jesus! Amen."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

You are God’s Light Bulb


The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do.

John 3:19-21

As a follower of Jesus Christ are you doing things for God or is God doing things through you? There is a big difference.

When you do things for God you want His approval and you want the reward that might come from pleasing Him. But when God does things through you He is using you as His vessel to accomplish His will on this earth! You are then the light of the world but God Himself is the electricity in your light bulb!

Thomas Edison did not invent electricity. Edison simply created a way of allowing the world to see the light that electric power makes. Christians have no power of their own to show the world the way to Heaven. The light of the world is Jesus Christ, but you are the light bulb through which His power is displayed!

When a light bulb is disconnected from the source of power it is perhaps the most useless of all items! The same is true for a follower of Jesus. When you are disconnected from Jesus Christ you have no way to be the light of the world!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to stay plugged in to You so that I may shine in the darkness of this world with the light that only comes from You. And may You be praised forever! Amen."