Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tortured by God!

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A second angel followed and said, “The great city of Babylon has fallen! This is the city that made all nations drunk and immoral. Now God is angry, and Babylon has fallen.”  Finally, a third angel came and shouted:Here is what will happen if you worship the beast and the idol and have the mark of the beast on your hand or forehead.  You will have to drink the wine that God gives to everyone who makes him angry. You will feel his mighty anger, and you will be tortured with fire and burning sulfur, while the holy angels and the Lamb look on.   If you worship the beast and the idol and accept the mark of its name, you will be tortured day and night. The smoke from your torture will go up forever and ever, and you will never be able to rest.

Revelation 14:8-11

I guess I am a little confused. These verses clearly say that God Almighty tortures people who make Him angry! If you listen to the voices of today, anyone who tortures someone is evil, and must be opposed. We get upset about "water boarding" but God will use fire and burning sulfur to torture people who worship the beast. Apparently God is not a supporter of "freedom of religion!"

Now before you panic and reject the very thought of God being so harsh, don't forget that God not only is a God of Love and Mercy, but He is also a God of Righteousness and Justice. The Door to God's Love and Mercy and away from His Justice because of unrighteousness is Jesus Christ! Don't diminish the work of Jesus by assuming that God would not punish those who reject Jesus and choose the way of Satan.

If you jump from an airplane wearing a parachute you can land safely on the earth below. If you jump from that same plane with a hiker's backpack, you will surely die!

Never forget that with Jesus you will arrive safely in Heaven at the end of this perilous life, but without the Lord you will surely die and be tortured in the fires of Hell forever!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to hold on to you like a falling man would hold on to his parachute. Lord, bring me safely to the end of this life and through the doors of Heaven to be with You forever. Praise Your Holy Name. Amen."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ready for the Restoration!

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And when our Lord comes with all his people, I pray he will make your hearts pure and innocent in the sight of God the Father.

1 Thessalonians 3:13

By eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve came to know "Good and Evil."  The problem with knowing Good and Evil is that you become acquainted with an option to God!  You see you can only identify something as "Good" if you know that it might not be Good and would then be Evil.  God knew that there was Good and Evil, but Adam and Eve did not.  Adam and Eve knew only God and God was and is Good.

After the FALL Adam and Eve were destined to die both physically and spiritually.  Such has been the case for every man and woman born since.  Jesus came to fix that problem.  Our new bodies will live forever as Adam and Eve would have done, had they not sinned.  And our "hearts become blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus." 

You know the frailty of your own human body, and you know the wickedness of your own heart.  The mission of Jesus was to restore you to the perfect condition of Adam and Eve before he FALL of man.  In that RESTORED REALITY OF HEAVEN you will have a blameless heart and a new body that will live forever!

My son-in-law supports his family by restoring old trucks.  He takes a truck that is old, worn, and "past it's prime" and turns it into a thing of beauty far better than even when it was new.  Kerry can't make a truck last forever, but Jesus does that with your life.  He makes you even better than you were the day you were  born and gives you a new life that will last forever!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for making me ready for Eternity.  I know that I need a blameless heart and a body that will last forever, and those are just the things that You have promised.  May You be praised forever.  Amen."

Friday, December 26, 2014

Obedience is Essential to Love!

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

When we obey God, we are sure that we know him.  But if we claim to know him and don’t obey him, we are lying and the truth isn’t in our hearts.  We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him.

1 John 2:1-5

I sometimes hear Christians discuss "how to be saved" with the emphasis on what is the "bare minimum" that is required of you for you to know that you are indeed on the path toward heaven.  They call that list the "things that are essential" to your salvation.  Then they also have a list of things that are good but not "essential."

When the "Rich young Ruler" tried to have that discussion with Jesus, the Lord confounded this sincere and moral young man with "one more thing" that he needed to do.  Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give the money to the poor and then come and follow Jesus.  Jesus confronted the young man with the fact that the assurance of "eternal life" would cost him everything that he had here on this earth.

Which of the commands of the Lord are optional?  These verses say that if we don't obey Him we don't love Him!  Can you not love Jesus and still be saved?  Can you ignore any of the things He has spoken to your heart and still rest assured that you are "right with God?"

I would challenge you and myself to consider not the question of how "little" can I do, but rather how "much" can I do for the Lord Jesus?  Let my goal be not the minimum, but rather the maximum in being obedient to Him. 

"Lord Jesus, open my ears today to hear something else that you desire for me to do.  I want to be obedient today to even the "smallest" desire that You have!  Give me another opportunity to show You that my Love for You, Lord is real!  And may You Jesus be praised forever.  Amen."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Repentance and Good Deeds!

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But the foundation God has laid is solid. On it is written, “The Lord knows who his people are. So everyone who worships the Lord must turn away from evil.”

In a large house some dishes are made of gold or silver, while others are made of wood or clay. Some of these are special, and others are not.  This is also how it is with people. The ones who stop doing evil and make themselves pure will become special. Their lives will be holy and pleasing to their Master, and they will be able to do all kinds of good deeds.

2 Timothy 2:19-21

What happens when you repent?  When you decide to stop doing evil things and actually follow through on that commitment you are enabled by God to do all kinds of good things!  If you don't repent then your own sin hinders you from doing the good that you desire!

If you were thirsty and went to get a glass to hold some water, what would you do if all the glasses were dirty?  Well obviously you would look for a clean glass, and if you could not find one you would wash a glass before you would use it for a drink of water. 

As a follower of Jesus, if you don't repent of the evil  things that you do, then you will be like a man trying to get people to drink water out of a filthy glass. You will have little success and will wonder why no one seems interested in the Gospel. 

But if you repent and let the Lord clean your life, then most folks won't notice your life at all.  They will taste and see the Water of Life that only comes from Jesus! 

Here is the problem: Many people try to do good deeds instead of repenting!  Good works without repenting of your sins are like a cup of crystal clear spring water in a filthy glass!  Don't be surprised if no one wants to drink it!

"Lord Jesus, give me the strength and determination to repent of my sins so that I may be able by Your power to do the things that bring Glory to Your Name and many sons and daughters to Your Throne!  May You be praised forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Freedom in Prison!

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We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.  There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.  Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us.  As the Scriptures say,“When he went up to the highest place, he led away many prisoners and gave gifts to people.”

Ephesians 4:5-8

I heard a prisoner say, "I am in prison, but I am free!"  I always thought such a statement was just a "brave recognition" of freedom in Christ even though earthly, physical freedom had been taken away.  But I was wrong!

Every man and woman alive today or who has ever been alive is a prisoner!  We are either a prisoner of Satan, sin, and this world system, or we are a prisoner of Christ! If you are a prisoner of Jesus Christ then you are free indeed.  Truthfully, a prison may be a wonderful place to be! 

When you are a prisoner of Satan you are battered by every evil the devil can throw at you.  You are not only his prisoner, but because of your sin nature you become his slave as well.  You do the bidding of the evil one even though you may be repulsed by the very things that you do.

But when you are a prisoner of Christ you are free to walk in the righteousness of Jesus and to be immersed in the Love of God, even as you share that Love with others!  All the while as a prisoner of Christ the world cannot snatch you away from Him or really harm you at all!  Oh yes, you will suffer and be harassed by Satan, but he cannot touch your eternal relationship with Jesus!

"Free will" is this: You have the freedom to choose your prison!  You will either choose the prison of this world and ultimately experience eternal death or you will choose the prison of Jesus Christ and ultimately live with Him forever in Heaven! 

"Lord Jesus, I choose to be Your prisoner and live forever in the Freedom of Heaven!  Lord, lock me in to Your heart and never let me go!  May You Jesus be praised forever.  Amen."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tsunami of Satan!

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From out of a storm, the Lord said to Job:

Why do you talk so much when you know so little?  Now get ready to face me!  Can you answer the questions I ask?

How did I lay the foundation for the earth? Were you there?
Doubtless you know who decided its length and width.

What supports the foundation? Who placed the cornerstone,
while morning stars sang, and angels rejoiced?

When the ocean was born, I set its boundaries and wrapped it in blankets of thickest fog.

Then I built a wall around it, locked the gates,  and said,
“Your powerful waves stop here!  They can go no farther.”

Job 38:1-11

Gentle ocean waves crashing against the shore is one of the most peaceful and relaxing sounds on earth. If you are blessed to live near enough to the ocean to hear the waves when you sleep you know how true that is.
But ocean waves pushed by a storm can bring fear to the heart of anyone who is too near the shore. And a single tsunami wave is terrifying to consider!

There are other things in this life that are like ocean waves. The ebb and flow of life itself in a moral culture is a peaceful reality and provides the fertile ground for seeds of truth. But when the storms of evil begin to batter the shore of any land, hearts become unsettled. And when the Tsunami of Satan threatens to wash away a whole way of life, terror grips the people!

God told Job that God Himself controls the waves of the ocean! The waves of evil that are battering your life are also limited by the power of God! And the tsunami of sin that threatens to wash away everything must obey the command of God as well.

Never forget that the battle between Good and Evil was won on the Cross! Satan does not win! Evil will not prevail over Good!

"Lord Jesus, may the wave of Your righteousness wash over my life and continue to cleanse me from everything that does not come from Your Holy Spirit! And Lord, help me to remember that You can tell the powerful waves where to stop! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

God’s Nature in Me!

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We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness.  God made great and marvelous promises, so his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.

2 Peter 1:3-4

As a human being it is sometimes very easy to get our "needs" and "wants" confused.  We often do not want what we need and we do want many things that are not needed, and in fact may be harmful.  What we "need" if we desire to follow Jesus Christ is for His nature to become part of us! 

The infusion of the "nature of God" into your life is quite miraculous.  There is no way for that to happen by your own power or effort.  When the nature of God becomes part of your life then you can escape your evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.  You will be amazed when you find yourself capable of loving your enemies. You will see in your own life abilities that you never had before.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself without a conscious effort on your part. 

When the nature of God becomes part of you, your heart will long for Heaven more than for earth.  The greatest comforts earth can afford will pale in comparison to what you know, in your heart, waits for you in Heaven! 

When the nature of God becomes part of your life, you will see the end of this life as the most marvelous day of your life!  Come Lord Jesus!

"Lord, I am still living in this body of flesh and I still feel the pull of the world on it.  But I also feel Your nature becoming part of me!  May You take more control of my life every day, until that Day when I see You face to face and I am completely Yours forever!  Amen."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Peace WITH or IN this World?

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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.

Psalm 62:5-7

If a country is not "at peace", then of course you would say that the country is "at war".

Deep inside your heart, is there peace or war?  Is your mind, heart and soul enjoying the calm of knowing that your life is in the Hand of God, or are you filled with turmoil and uncertainty?  I suppose if "War is Hell" then "Peace is Heaven!" 

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then your peace is peace "in" this world, not peace "with" the world!  There is a huge difference.

When you are at peace with the world, then you are always ready to compromise the truth of God for a lie of Satan. 

When you are at peace in this world, your calm heart does not depend on anything which happens here on earth.  Your peace comes not from things on earth, but things in Heaven.  

When you are at peace in this world you can proclaim that "All is Well" even when the storms of life are raging all around.  Let your peace come from Jesus and not from the circumstances of your life here on earth.

"Lord Jesus, give me the peace that can only come from knowing You.  Give me the calm assurance that all is well because of You, Jesus and nothing else! May Your Holy Name be praised forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Humor of Heaven!

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Moses used to set up a tent far from camp. He called it the “meeting tent,” and whoever needed some message from the Lord would go there.  Each time Moses went out to this tent, everyone would stand at the entrance to their own tents and watch him enter.  Then they would bow down because a thick cloud would come down in front of the tent, and the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, just like a friend. Afterwards, Moses would return to camp, but his young assistant Joshua would stay at the tent.

Exodus 33:7-11

What do friends talk about?  Moses talked to God like he would talk to a friend.  Communication between friends is characterized by the whole spectrum of topics. 

You can certainly speak with a friend about important matters, but you can also, and I often do speak to a friend about the mundane things of this world.  When I speak with a friend a little humor often comes in to the conversation.  And sometimes a friend will chastise me and I take no offense. 

Are there things in your life that you don't discuss with God?  Do you speak with God as the Mighty Ruler of Heaven and Earth, but not as you would a dear friend?  Remember God created even the smallest plant or insect.  He designed every living thing on earth and even the things that are not living. If you were an artist would you not be interested if someone commented on one of your "creations"?

Now here is something that I struggle with.  God created man with the ability to laugh.  I believe God has a sense of humor.  In fact, I think He is the Author of humor!  Monkeys are not the only animals that make me laugh!  Who can resist the infectious laugh of a baby?  If God is your friend He will not only cry with you, but God will laugh! 

Even as it is better if someone cries with you when you are sad, it is also better not to laugh alone! 

"Jesus, thank You Lord for sharing my sorrow, pain and suffering.  But Lord I want to be Your friend and share everything that being Your friend means, so I also want to laugh with You.  Show me something today that You think is "funny."  Touch my heart with the Humor of Heaven!  And may You be praised forever!  Amen."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Shake the Box in Heaven!

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Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.  God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.

You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do.   On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while.   Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.

1 Peter 1:3-7

"Did you bring me a prize?" Those were the words I would hear from my children when they were little and I returned home after being gone for a few days. Of course, they were most of all glad to see their father, but they were also excited about small gifts I would bring.

Did you know that God has something stored up for you in heaven? Unlike things that are stored on this earth, it will never decay or be ruined or disappear. Just like a Christmas package under the tree, the things that God has for us in Heaven are wrapped and cannot be seen until that Glorious Day!

It is exciting to anticipate the "unknown blessing" in the box under the tree with your name on it! But it is even more exciting to think about the unknown blessing stored for you in heaven! Let yourself ponder the promises of Heaven, even if they are still wrapped in the veil of Eternity!

The problems and sufferings on this earth are still yours to experience, but nothing here below can stop you from thinking about the Glories of Heaven! "Shake the box" in Heaven and imagine what it will be like!

"Lord Jesus, I do wish You were already here, but until You come help me to think about what You have prepared for me there! Give me the heart of a child waiting to open a special gift! And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Heartbreak of God!

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I am Hosea son of Beeri. When Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah, and when Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel, the Lord spoke this message to me.  The Lord said, “Hosea, Israel has betrayed me like an unfaithful wife. Marry such a woman and have children by her.”  So I married Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and we had a son.

Hosea 1:1-3

The story of the prophet Hosea is certainly a tragic one. And yet Hosea was walking into the heartbreak of marrying a woman who would not be faithful to him because God told him to do it! I thought God only wants a "wonderful life" for all of His children? Why would the path that He lays out for you include suffering and heartbreak?

God said that Hosea's trouble with his unfaithful wife was like God's experience with unfaithful Israel! God not only wanted Hosea to preach His message as a prophet, but He also wanted Hosea's life to show them the relationship between God and unfaithful Israel. In the process Hosea came to understand the Heartbreak of God!

When you sin, others are hurt by it. Even if you don't physically harm someone else by sinning, sin always damages relationships! That's what happened in the Garden of Eden. But when you sin, the one who hurts the most is God Himself! Every pain you feel because of a wayward child is one way you come to know the Heart of God! All our suffering teaches us about God Himself.

The other side of that same coin is this: Every time you experience the sweetness of love, you are touching the essence of God! All the wonderfulness of "being in love" lets your heart know a little of what God is like!

The roller coaster of life on this earth teaches us about the Heart of God. Knowing what God thinks about a matter is certainly important, but knowing how God feels about it is an even deeper level of relationship. Set your mind today so that your life and everything you do will bring God joy and not pain!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and suffering for me. Help me today to bring You no more pain by the way I live! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Killer in the Kingdom!

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Saul kept on threatening to kill the Lord's followers. He even went to the high priest and asked for letters to the leaders of the synagogues in Damascus. He did this because he wanted to arrest and take to Jerusalem any man or woman who had accepted the Lord's Way.  When Saul had almost reached Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you so cruel to me?”  “Who are you?” Saul asked.“I am Jesus,” the Lord answered. “I am the one you are so cruel to.  Now get up and go into the city, where you will be told what to do.”

Acts 9:1-6

Saul was seeking to please God and do the things that were right in the eyes of the Lord. But Saul tried to please the Lord by killing those who "were" pleasing God. His heart was right, but his actions were all wrong!

Saul reminds me today of those who want to kill Christians in order to please God. You know who they are and you know that like Saul they are very serious about what they believe, even though they are wrong!

The answer for Saul was to see a vision and hear the voice of the Lord on the road to Damascus. Then Saul came to know that opposing Jesus did not please God. The problem was that anyone who would come to Saul to tell him about Jesus would be the target of Saul's rage. So God met Saul on the road and turned Saul's life around!

Then the one who was the most feared by followers of Jesus because he wanted to kill them became the Apostle Paul and carried the message of Christ to everyone he met!

Could it be that those who today want to kill followers of Jesus also will have a vision of Jesus on the road they are traveling? If so, it may certainly be that those we fear the most may become God's instruments for the next world wide revival!

So when you meet or even hear of someone who wants to kill you because you follow Jesus, remember that God can change their heart into another Apostle Paul! Remember that when you pray for your enemies!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for meeting Saul on the road to Damascus. I pray Jesus that You will meet more of Your enemies even today, so that they too can join with all Your children in praising Your Holy Name! Amen."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You are God's Night Light!

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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.

1 John 1:5-9

If God is light, then it makes perfect sense that children would be afraid of the dark. I think most of my grandchildren prefer to have a "night light" plugged in somewhere in the room when they stay at our house. A night light is a tiny, low wattage bulb that provides just enough light to see the shapes and forms of objects in the room. When a child wakes at night and there is a night light burning in the room, he knows that the "monster" which he fears is not there also.

Let your life be a "night light" in the darkness of this world. Your life will bring comfort to others as your light shines in the world.

There is however a big difference in a night light and your life. Your light in the darkness clearly reveals that the "monster" that you fear is indeed there. And he wants to destroy you! Pretending that Satan is not there will not make him go away. Telling yourself that you don't need to worry will not lessen the threat! But living in the light, with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your heart will protect you from the Evil One.

When I see a night light I see something that children, perhaps don't see. When I see a night light, I know that the power is still connected to the house and is available for everything else!

Compared to God Himself your "night light" is this world is not very bright. But when all around you is darkness, even your little light shows the world that God is still connected to your life and is available for everyone else!

"Lord Jesus, let Your light shine through me to all the world around me, and may those who see my life know that You are alive and calling them to turn their hearts to You as well. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Can You be an Angry Christian?

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After this, I looked at the sky and saw something else that was strange and important. Seven angels were bringing the last seven terrible troubles. When these are ended, God will no longer be angry.

Revelation 15:1

The Love of God is amazing and overwhelming. There is no love like God's love! But the anger of God is to be feared!

Years ago I was a radio talk show host. I would display outrage and anger about injustices and even evil things going on in our world. There were some who told me that if I was really a Christian then I would not be angry. They believed that Christians should sit peacefully and passively by while evil rages around them and never be outraged or angry.

The problem with that is that we are also told to be like Jesus. Jesus overturned the tables in the temple and even used a whip to drive out the money changers! If that were today, He would have been charged with a crime! The Bible tells me to be angry and sin not. It does not tell me not to be angry.

If you want to be like Jesus, you will not sin, but you will also, if you are like Jesus be angry! The goal of an "angry Christian" is to avoid sin, not to avoid breaking a law or rule of men. If you must break a law to be like Jesus, then break it, but you will never have to sin in order to be like the Lord!

"Lord Jesus, I do want to be like You. Show me when to be angry and when not to be angry. But Lord, when I am angry help me not to sin! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ordinary or Extraordinary?

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When Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest by the name of Zechariah from the priestly group of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was from the family of Aaron.  Both of them were good people and pleased the Lord God by obeying all that he had commanded. But they did not have children. Elizabeth could not have any, and both Zechariah and Elizabeth were already old.

One day Zechariah's group of priests were on duty, and he was serving God as a priest.  According to the custom of the priests, he had been chosen to go into the Lord's temple that day and to burn incense, while the people stood outside praying.

All at once an angel from the Lord appeared to Zechariah at the right side of the altar.  Zechariah was confused and afraid when he saw the angel.  But the angel told him:

Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John.  His birth will make you very happy, and many people will be glad.   Your son will be a great servant of the Lord. He must never drink wine or beer, and the power of the Holy Spirit will be with him from the time he is born.

John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God.

Luke 1:5-16

The First Coming of the Lord Jesus was preceded by many people turning back to God because of the preaching of John the Baptist. John prepared the way for the Lord as he called men and women to repent. The hearts of many in Israel were ready to hear the message Jesus preached because of the work of John.

John and Jesus were cousins. In fact, while their mother's were pregnant Mary stayed with Elizabeth and her husband for three months. It is inconceivable that John and Jesus did not know about each other as they grew up, or even played together at some point. The Bible does not say but John must have found it to be amazing that the Son of Mary was the Messiah! We know that even just before he died, John wondered if that were really true.

I have a life-long friend who has been closer than a brother for most of my life. I have never known a time when his heart was turned away from Jesus. I really should not be specific about what I'm about to say, but I am amazed at how God is using him to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus by helping to turn the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people to the Lord. I think I know a little about how Jesus and John both must have felt when they realized that the little boys they knew were now a great man of God and the Messiah Himself!

Never forget that someone who you think is an "ordinary" man or woman may be specially called by God to accomplish great things for Him! And every child you meet in this life is called by God to fulfill a special purpose, for which he or she was created!

"Lord Jesus help me to recognize that You indeed have a special purpose for everyone You create. And help me to find that purpose for my life, this day! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Show and Tell!

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Christ Jesus our Lord treated me with undeserved grace and has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all!   But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:14-16

There is an elementary school activity that makes a very important spiritual point.  It is called "Show and Tell."  A child brings something to school (it can be any common item from home) and then stands up in front of the class and shows them the item while telling about it. 

God wants His children to do "Show and Tell."  What we show the world around us is how we live our lives as followers of Jesus, and then we tell them about it!  If you only tell the world about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian many will conclude that it is just another "fairy tale."  If you only show them how to follow Christ the world may come to the conclusion that you should get the glory for how you live!

When it comes to your Christian life, "Show" should come before "Tell."  How you live your life is the evidence that what you say about Jesus is indeed true.  If your life contradicts your message, you will be seen as just another religious hypocrite. 

What the world wants to know is this: Is Jesus Christ really who He claims to be and can a man live a life which is truly empowered by the Holy Spirit?  That question can only be answered when you Show and Tell those around you about Jesus Christ! 

"Lord Jesus help me today to show other men what it means to live with Your Holy Spirit in me and in control of my life.  And Lord give me the courage to tell them all about You as well.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Grace of God!

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Then the one sitting on the throne said:

I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted.  Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty.  All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

But I will tell you what will happen to cowards and to everyone who is unfaithful or dirty-minded or who murders or is sexually immoral or uses witchcraft or worships idols or tells lies. They will be thrown into that lake of fire and burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Revelation 21:5-8

There you have the most uplifting and encouraging statement in all the Bible followed by the most frightening and dire warning! These four verses clearly lay out the prospect of Heaven or Hell for every human being on planet earth! You will either live with Jesus forever and be called one of the "people of God," or you will burn in the "lake of fire."

Let the prospect of Heaven fill your heart and mind while your stubborn flesh is sternly warned by the possibility of Hell! Now don't jump in your mind to the concept of "eternal security" if you are doing that so you can justify living as a coward, being unfaithful, dirty minded, sexually immoral or telling lies! The Grace of God is not an invitation to sin. God's Grace is the safety net that keeps you from falling into the pit of Hell.

Let your desire for God control your every minute of every day! But stay constantly alert for the temptations that will surely come. The sobering possibility of being thrown into the lake of fire and burning sulfur should always keep you running hard after God!

"Lord Jesus, all Your words are true and can be trusted, even the words that spell doom for those who are not Your followers. Lord, give me opportunity today to tell someone about Your "life-giving fountain" and to give Your warning about the Lake of Fire to someone who needs to turn their heart to You. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tell Me Where to Go!

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The Lord's angel said to Philip, “Go south along the desert road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.”  So Philip left.

An important Ethiopian official happened to be going along that road in his chariot. He was the chief treasurer for Candace, the Queen of Ethiopia. The official had gone to Jerusalem to worship and was now on his way home. He was sitting in his chariot, reading the book of the prophet Isaiah.

The Spirit told Philip to catch up with the chariot.  Philip ran up close and heard the man reading aloud from the book of Isaiah. Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The official answered, “How can I understand unless someone helps me?” He then invited Philip to come up and sit beside him.

The man was reading the passage that said, “He was led like a sheep on its way to be killed. He was silent as a lamb whose wool is being cut off, and he did not say a word.

He was treated like a nobody and did not receive a fair trial. How can he have children, if his life is snatched away?”

The official said to Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or about someone else?”   So Philip began at this place in the Scriptures and explained the good news about Jesus.

Acts 8:26-35

The Ethiopian official thought he was on the road back to Ethiopia, but in reality he was on the road that led to Jesus Christ! This man was seeking God and he traveled in a chariot all the way from Ethiopia to Israel in order to worship God. The journey would take many days at best.

An angel told Philip where to go, but did not tell him what to do until he got there!

I usually pray, "Lord tell me where to go and what to do!" But sometimes, the Lord just tells me where to go and I find out what to do when I get there. That keeps faith alive and well in your walk with Jesus.

When Phillip obeyed the Lord and went to the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza, then the Spirit told him to run along side the chariot. Philip was about to see the Holy Spirit invade the life of the Ethiopian official, who then took the story of Jesus Christ back to a land where it still flourishes today!

The lesson for me is this: When God tells me to go to a place, I need not ask why! I need simply to obey when I hear the voice of the Lord. We have been deceived to think that in order to accomplish great things for the Lord we need lots of planning, education and money. God can use certainly those things but what He needs most of all is those who will obey Him without question! God knew that the heart of the Ethiopian official was ready to receive Jesus, and so He sent Philip to meet him on his journey! What an exciting adventure Philip was on as he walked with Jesus!

"Lord Jesus, tell me where to go today, and I trust that You will show me what to do when I get there! May You, Jesus be praised forever. Amen."

Friday, November 28, 2014

He Knows What I Think!

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Every word we speak was taught to us by God’s Spirit, not by human wisdom. And this same Spirit helps us teach spiritual things to spiritual people.  That’s why only someone who has God’s Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn’t have God’s Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish.

People who are guided by the Spirit can make all kinds of judgments, but they cannot be judged by others.  The Scriptures ask,

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

But we understand what Christ is thinking.

1 Corinthians 2:13-16

Perhaps the greatest blessing that comes from having the Holy Spirit dwell in you is that you can then understand what Christ is thinking.  The "mind of Christ" is certainly a mystery to anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit. 

Knowing how someone else thinks is the key to solving crimes as well as having a lasting and happy marriage.  Knowing the mind of Christ unlocks the mysteries of Eternity and changes the way you see everything here on earth! 

When you see sin and suffering in the world around you, knowing what Jesus thinks about those terrible things can restore your peace and enable you to keep on walking with Him!  The Holy Spirit in you, enables you to know what Jesus thinks, and since Jesus was fully human while He walked on this earth, He knows what you think as well!  When two people know each other's mind, the relationship can be long and fruitful.  When one of those two is the Lord Jesus Christ, the relationship can go on forever!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me know what You think about everything in life!  And thank You Lord that You came here to earth so that You could not only die for me, but so that You could know my mind as well.  Praise Your Holy Name forever! Amen."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Obedience Before Understanding!

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As God says in the Scriptures,  “I will destroy the wisdom of all who claim to be wise.   I will confuse those who think they know so much.”

What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn't God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish?   God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him.

Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach.

1 Corinthians 1:19-21

More than forty years ago I was first exposed to the concept of how the Gospel of Jesus Christ impacts different cultures. For me, at the time it was an "earth shaking" revelation that each culture will adjust itself to the truths of God's Word, but each one will remain distinct and unique even after being impacted by and remaining true to the Gospel!

That truth is crucial when you proclaim the message of Jesus to cultures other than your own. Otherwise you unwittingly export your own culture along with the Gospel.
But the Wisdom of God goes far beyond even that wisdom about different cultures.

Over the years I have seen men and women violate this bit of human wisdom about the Gospel and cultures and still have their efforts mightily blessed by God. Here is the "bottom line of following Jesus." Use the wisdom God has given you AND do everything He tells you to do even when it doesn't seem wise! That is what Abraham had to do when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac! And that is what you will have to do as a follower of Jesus, navigating through this life.Remember that obedience to the Word of God often comes before understanding!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for giving me the wisdom to walk through this world as Your follower. But help me Lord to never put even wisdom itself before being obedient to You. May You be praised now and forever. Amen."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Follow the Whisper from Jesus!

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Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples. He went to the chief priests and asked, “How much will you give me if I help you arrest Jesus?” They paid Judas 30 silver coins,  and from then on he started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus.

Matthew 24:14-16

What have you been offered to betray Jesus?  Of course, there was only one Judas Iscariot, but Satan is still quite willing to reward any follower of Jesus if he or she will betray the Lord.  How can you betray Jesus today?  It is quite simple and probably quite familiar.  Jesus shows you the way that you should go, and then there comes a profitable opportunity for you to go another way.  

With Judas it was 30 pieces of silver that "tipped the scales" and made him feel "ok" about betraying the Lord.  Some believe that Judas did not expect his betrayal to send Jesus to the Cross, and that may indeed be the case.  But when you go your own way instead of the way the Lord wants you to go, the consequences may be far worse than you expect as well.

When Jesus impresses your heart with the fact that you should speak to a stranger, you have no idea where that brief conversation will lead in the life of that "stranger" or others who know him or her.  When you sow a seed for Jesus in one heart, the new life that may come from that one seed might be so great that no one could imagine how many will turn to Jesus because of that one encounter!

And when you decide not to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your daily walk, the impact on others, even years from now might be tragically significant.

Of course, you must not dwell on what may or may not happen in the future, but never take a whisper from the Lord lightly!  When the Holy Spirit pulls on the reigns of your heart, go that way without delay.  Let Him be in total control and know for certain that He has a Godly purpose for every Word!

And when Satan offers you 30 pieces of silver, RUN!

"Lord Jesus, help me never to betray you by accepting Satan's alternative for a direction You are showing me in life.  Give me the courage to follow every leading from You today and every day.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Greatest Freedom of All!

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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.

Matthew 25:31-34

Before the world was created, God prepared a Kingdom for those who would follow Jesus Christ! I believe that the eternal purpose of the creation of the human race was to provide God with citizens for that Kingdom. God is the King and we are His subjects! The ideas of "self-government" and "democracy" will not be part of that Kingdom. When you are living under the constant care and infinite love of God why would you want to choose your own way, instead of His?

When doing the Will of God becomes the very air that you breathe, and every step that you take is measured by whether or not God is pleased with it, then the greatest freedom in all of Eternity is being His slave!

When you belong completely to Jesus Christ you are free to explore Eternity with the very one who created it! Your job here on earth becomes simply the casting off of everything that wars against His claim on your life and heart!

"Lord Jesus, my Sweet Lord, today I want You to take more of my life and heart. Control every part of me, until there is nothing left for anyone else. May I know today even more of the Greatest Freedom of being Your slave. And may You be praised and glorified forever and ever. Amen."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Are You With Jesus Where He Is?


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Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created.  Good Father, the people of this world don't know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me.   I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them.

John 17:24-26

Do you want to be with Jesus where He is or do you want Jesus to be with you where you are? There is a huge difference!

When Jesus is with you where you are, you will see His power touch those in your circle of friends. And that is certainly a good thing. When Jesus is with you, His wisdom and power will open doors and solve problems in your life in remarkable, and yes even miraculous ways! For most Christians it seems to be enough to know that Jesus is "with you always." He is with you and it is wonderful!

But when you are with Jesus where He is, you see Him reach out and touch the Universe around Him with His Power and Glory! When you are with Jesus where He is, you find yourself in places you have never been before, and perhaps no one has ever been. When you are with Jesus where He is, your spirit is bathed in the Glory of God and immersed in the Promise of Eternity! What an utterly remarkable reality that Jesus wants me to be with Him where He is!

"Lord Jesus, I do want You to be with me as I walk through this day here on planet earth. But I also Lord want to be with You where You are! I want to see beyond the door of Heaven and walk with You on the streets of gold! Give me the patience to wait for that Day when I am with You always, and never let me stop longing to see it come! May You, Jesus be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thirsty for God?

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

Revelation 21:6-7

Are you "thirsty for God" or do you want to be thirsty for God? In some parts of the world being thirsty for God is not something you even notice. When you have even the smallest desire for God you can satisfy it without anyone interfering.

But there are places, and you may be there yourself, where pursuing God is not encouraged or even officially allowed! If you run after God in those countries you must be careful because there are those who are ready to persecute you or even kill you for your faith in Jesus Christ.

When you are denied water your thirst grows even greater and when men attempt to deny you access to Jesus Christ your thirst for Him blossoms and grows! That is part of the reason that you will find greater faith in places where Christians are persecuted for their faith. With persecution comes greater thirst!

Never forget that Jesus will satisfy your thirst for Him! How much do you long for and thirst for Jesus Christ? The more you want Jesus, the more you will have of Him! Never be afraid of venturing out into the dry desert of this life, because Jesus will satisfy your thirst! He is an unending supply of life giving water!

"Lord Jesus, my life is empty without You, and my thirst for You grows every day. Satisfy me with Your life giving water, today and tomorrow and every day for Eternity. Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are You a Friend of the Author’s Son?

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I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. Earth and heaven tried to run away, but there was no place for them to go. I also saw all the dead people standing in front of that throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been. Several books were opened, and then the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done.

The sea gave up the dead people who were in it, and death and its kingdom also gave up their dead. Then everyone was judged by what they had done. Afterwards, death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  Anyone whose name wasn't written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

I only remember one time seeing my name in a book. While I was growing up the father of a good friend wrote an autobiography and he mentioned my name as a friend of his oldest son. That was pretty exciting at the time, but I suppose I haven't even thought about that in many years.

When the "Day of Judgment" arrives whether or not your name is mentioned in a book will make all the difference between Heaven and Hell. If your name is found in the Book of Life, you will spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. If your name is not there you will spend eternity in Hell, separated from God.

So how do you get your name in the Book of Life? Is it because you live a really good life? Is it because you were rich and successful in business? Is it just blind luck? No it is none of those.

Your name will appear in the Book of Life if you are a friend of the author's Son, Jesus! If you don't know Jesus and call Him your friend, then your name will not be in the Book of Life. It may be exciting to see your name in a book written by someone here on earth, but nothing will ever compare to seeing your name in the Book of Life!

"Lord Jesus, my place in Heaven is reserved only because of You and what You did for me on the Cross! Thank You for making it possible for my name to appear in the Book of Life! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Miracles of Satan!


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An evil spirit that looked like a frog came out of the mouth of the dragon. One also came out of the mouth of the beast, and another out of the mouth of the false prophet.


These evil spirits had the power to work miracles. They went to every king on earth, to bring them together for a war against God All-Powerful. But that will be the day of God’s great victory.

Revelation 16:13-14

Evil spirits are not a joke! The evil spirits described in these verses had the power to work miracles. Satan's power does go beyond the natural world.

For many years I thought miracles were always good? But when miracles come from those who are at war with God they certainly are not good. Why would the enemies of God want to do miracles? When Satan displays his super natural power many people bow down and honor him.

It is also important to notice that these evil spirits in verse 13 came out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. Contrast that with what comes out of the mouth of God. God spoke the world into existence. Every Word that comes out of the mouth of God is powerful and the cosmos itself lines up with the Spoken Word of God!

So the final conflict on Planet Earth is a War of Words! Those evil spirits which come from the mouths of the Dragon, the beast and the false prophet will do battle with the Word of God! The fact that God will win does not mean that the battle will not be fierce!

Remember, if you see a verifiable miracle you may or may not be witnessing the power of God. The Bible clearly says that some evil spirits have the power to do miracles. Let only the miracles that come from the mouth of God build your faith!

"Lord Jesus, help me to know the difference between a miracle that comes from an evil spirit and a miracle that comes from You. Thank You Lord that You have already won the victory on the Cross. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Off With Your Head!

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I now saw another beast. This one came out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon.  It worked for the beast whose fatal wound had been healed. And it used all its authority to force the earth and its people to worship that beast. It worked mighty miracles, and while people watched, it even made fire come down from the sky.

This second beast fooled people on earth by working miracles for the first one. Then it talked them into making an idol in the form of the beast that did not die after being wounded by a sword.  It was allowed to put breath into the idol, so it could speak. Everyone who refused to worship the idol of the beast was put to death.

Revelation 13:11-15

The penalty is death for anyone who refuses to worship the idol of the beast! That sounds frighteningly contemporary! "If you don't worship like we want you to, then off with your head!"

My job as a Christian is not to "read the tea leaves" of the signs of the End, but rather to be ready to stand firm for Jesus if I am called upon to lose my head for Him!

You see, it really doesn't matter where we are on the prophetic time line when you are given the ultimatum to deny the Lord or lose your head. If it is moments before the return of Jesus or many decades before His return your response and responsibility remain the same.

And whether or not we are in the "End Times" there are those now who would like to cut off your head if you refuse to "convert" and deny Jesus! That can quickly make these the "End Times" for me, whether or not they are for anyone else!

A man who formerly believed that I should lose my head, heard the call of Jesus on his life and when I asked him, he told me that my response should be to love those who want to kill me and to pray for them!

So here is the challenge for me and for you. Make sure that anyone who is about to cut off your head, is someone you love!

"Lord Jesus, I don't know when You will return, but I know that I must never deny You even if I lose my head for refusing to renounce my love for You. Help me to love everyone that You love and died to save! Amen."