Friday, October 31, 2014

Eyes and Ears

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Ezekiel, son of man, you are living among rebellious people. They have eyes, but refuse to see; they have ears, but refuse to listen.

Ezekiel 12:2

If God had created light, but had not created eyes what difference would the light have made?  When God spoke, if the Words had fallen on the deaf ears of the cosmos, no one would have heard what He said!  But God did not create light without eyes and sounds without ears. 

In the English language it is common to acknowledge that you understand something by saying "I SEE" or even "I HEAR YOU."

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the essence of your walk with Him is a daily "seeing what God has done and is doing," and "hearing what God has said and is saying."  The eyes and ears of your heart are constantly focused on the Lord.  Like a well trained and faithful buggy horse you are waiting for just the slightest tug on the reins of your heart to make a course correction in your life.  And you listen for every Word that comes from the mouth of your Master to prompt your next step! 

Remember, you can shut out the world around you by closing your eyes and covering your ears with your hands, and you can "shut out" the Lord as well.  When you close the eyes of your heart and cover your spiritual ears you might as well be blind and deaf!

Repent of your rebellion against God and let your eyes see Him and your ears hear His Word today!

"Lord Jesus, may the Light that comes from You and the Sounds that come from Your mouth guide my path today and forever.  Amen."

Monday, October 27, 2014

What ON EARTH Does that Mean?

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If the dead are not going to be raised to life, what will people do who are being baptized for them? Why are they being baptized for those dead people?

1 Corinthians 15:29

When you read the Bible, there will be times when what you have just read makes no sense at all. This verse about baptism for the dead is probably one of them. I have skipped over that verse for years and when I do mention it to someone I usually just say that I'm not sure what it means. (By the way there are some good discussions of 1 Corinthians 15:29 on the internet. Just Google it.)

Not just with this verse, but when we read any verse in the Bible we must ask the question "What on earth does that mean?" The Word of God originated in Heaven, but we are the ones who must obey it here on earth. The best and perhaps only way to truly understand the Bible is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then when you want to know what the Bible is talking about you can simple ask the Author of the Words what they mean!

We have wrongly thought that if you know the Words of Scripture you will know the Lord. Actually that is exactly backwards. When you know the Lord you will understand the Bible, not the other way around. Knowing Jesus is not a matter of knowledge, but rather a yielded heart.

Certainly, it is good to know the Bible and as a follower of Jesus Christ you will seek to know every Word that has come from His mouth. But yielding your heart to Him can happen before you even know how to read the Bible. It can also happen the very first time you hear about Jesus.

By the way, I did learn a little about "Baptism for the dead." It may be that Paul was pointing out that a pagan religion near Corinth even baptized people on behalf of the dead in order to insure a better after life. That would certainly make more sense to the Corinthians who were familiar with that practice than it would to me some 2000 years later. But, this is still one of those verses that we will fully understand from the perspective of Heaven!

First, give your heart to Jesus and then immerse yourself in His Word! That will make all the difference in how you understand the Bible.

"Lord Jesus, help me today to be more yielded to You and Your Will than I have ever been before. Enlighten my heart and mind with every Word of Scripture. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

God’s Will and My Will!

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God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers.

Hebrews 5:7

This verse reveals an amazing truth!  Jesus prayed with loud crying and tears for God to save Him from death.  And it says that God listened to His prayers, but God did not save Jesus from the Cross! 

When you pray desperately for something and you do not get what you ask for, could it be that your life is reflecting the life of Jesus Himself?  Jesus knew the terrible suffering He was about to experience and as a human being He was very upset!  And even though God "listened to" Jesus' prayers His Father did not rescue Him from the Cross.

The reason this happened was because Jesus also prayed that God's Will be done and not His own. 

Do you want God's Will for your life, or do you want your own will?  There is always a difference.  God's Will always puts your ultimate good and that of others in first place.  My will usually puts my personal peace and prosperity ahead of everything else.  Jesus struggled with the tension between God's Will and His human will right up until the night before He died.  It is the very earthly war between flesh and Spirit.  Since the time of Adam and Eve this fleshly body has been at odds with God. 

Choose God's Will for your life and know that God listens to your prayers even when His Will and answer is not what your humanness wants!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing God's Will over Your own on the night before You went to the Cross.  Help me Jesus today to do the same thing!  And may You be praised forever!  Amen."

Friday, October 24, 2014

“Wherever I Am”

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I have honored my followers in the same way you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one.  I am one with them, and you are one with me, so they may become completely one. Then this world's people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.

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 17:22-26

Real love is certainly present when you are more concerned about the desires of the object of your love than you are about your own. What you want takes second place to the longings of your loved one. That is the "secret" of a long and lasting marriage.

These verses in John 17 reveal the desires of the heart of Jesus! Jesus wants you to be with Him wherever He is! So when you truly begin to love Jesus you will seek to be with Him because that is what He wants, not because you want to avoid Hell and enjoy the pleasantries of Heaven. And when you are with Jesus, you will see His glory!

At that point your "relationship" with the Son of God begins to dominate everything in your life. He is what you think about and talk about more than anything else. For you,Jesus is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. If there is a moment when you don't feel His presence, you drop whatever you are doing and seek Him again. Your day becomes nothing more than being with Jesus or seeking to be with Him!

And because Jesus loves you, He seeks to fulfill the desires of your heart. The power of you and Jesus loving each other and seeking to be with each other is beyond anyone's imagination!

"Lord Jesus, I want to be with You today, and I want You to be with me! And may I praise Your Holy Name forever and ever! Amen."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Your Wants and His Will!

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I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things I am doing. You will do even greater things, now that I am going back to the Father.   Ask me, and I will do whatever you ask. This way the Son will bring honor to the Father.   I will do whatever you ask me to do.

John 14:12-14

If you are a follower of Jesus and don't feel at least a little bewildered by these words you must not have heard what He said! He said, "I will do whatever you ask me to do." And He also said that if we have faith we will do the same things He did. But what about the miracles? Does this mean that every Christian will "heal the sick and raise the dead?"

Here is the simple answer to that profound question. The work that Jesus did was to walk daily in the will of God! Whatever God wanted for today is what Jesus did. If that meant walking on water or raising Lazarus from the dead, that is what Jesus did. If walking in the will of God meant working with His earthly father as a carpenter then that is what Jesus did.

But what about the part where Jesus said I will do whatever you ask me to do? What "on earth" does that mean? It means that if you are walking in the will of God like Jesus did, and there is something that you need in that walk, just ask Jesus and He will do it! It doesn't matter what it is. It may be healing the sick, raising the dead or walking on water. But it also could mean that you simply need a time to "get away" and be alone with God like Jesus often did.

So if you are being led by the Holy Spirit and walking in the light of His Word as you respond each moment to His will for your life, you can ask for "anything you want" and He will do it! At that point your wants and His will, will be one and the same! That is the powerful, victorious life you were promised!

"Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I will only want the things that are Your will for my life! And I thank You in advance for Your great and mighty power which I will see all around me today! Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What is Jesus Like?

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If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like.

John 14:21

What is Jesus like? How would you describe Him? And how do you know what Jesus is like? Are you just repeating something someone else told you or do you from personal experience?

Of course, the Bible tells us the story of Jesus and every follower of Jesus will want to know and meditate on every Word of Scripture. But how has Jesus shown you what He is like?

Remember that prayer is a conversation, not a presentation. When you "spend time" with Jesus you not only pour out your heart to Him, but Jesus shows you what He is like! It is an intimacy that cannot and perhaps should not be described and "shared" with others.

The pathway to knowing Jesus is not to understand what it means to know Him, but rather to simply love Him and obey His Word! Then you will experience the love of the Father and Jesus Himself will show you what He is like! Every moment of your day will be one of discovering how Jesus wants you to respond, act, speak and even think. With the Holy Spirit in your heart, Jesus is your constant companion.

"Lord Jesus, I want today to love You more and be more obedient to every Word that comes from You. Show me more of what You, Jesus are like. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not My Will, But Yours!

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God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers. Jesus is God's own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God.  Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:7-9

I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for Jesus to live in a human body. When Jesus took on the form of a human being He allowed Himself to be limited. Jesus was thirsty and hungry like every other human. Jesus needed to get away from the crowd and spend time with God. When His friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept! There is nothing that you experience or suffer that Jesus does not understand completely.

These verses even say that Jesus "learned" what it really means to obey God. Does that mean that before Jesus learned what it means to obey, that He was disobedient? Of course not! Jesus did not disobey God, but suffering somehow focused His grasp of obedience as a human being.

There are many books written about suffering and what it means for you as a follower of Jesus, but if you are like Jesus, suffering helps you "learn what it really means to obey God!"

If there is pain in your life right now, or if it comes unexpectedly today, recognize that suffering and being obedient to the will of God are closely linked. If you decide once again today that you want to obey God, you can know for sure that suffering will be a part of your life of obedience.

"Lord Jesus, help me today to see the sufferings in my life, the same way that You saw Yours. And give me Lord, the courage to say, even as You did "NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Leader and Lord!

Wisdom brings strength,
and knowledge gives power.
Battles are won
by listening to advice
and making a lot of plans.
Wisdom is too much for fools!
Their advice is no good.
Proverbs 24:5-7

A foolish leader does not listen to the advice of wisdom. He may “hear” the words and the advice of men and women who understand and know how to deal with a situation, but the foolish leader would rather go on letting his own opinion dictate his decisions! The hole he digs with his shovel of conceit gets deeper and deeper as his people begin to consider his opinions to be worthless.

If you live in a country with a foolish leader, it doesn't take the people long to see that their leader is not wise! And your leader's lack of wisdom will be the source of much national suffering.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then your Leader and Lord has the Wisdom of the Ages and Eternity itself at His disposal. If you rely on Jesus and His Word for the wisdom you need in life, then your life will display greater wisdom than Solomon himself!

The Word of God lets the man who knows nothing move through life as if he knew everything! It is like when a child is obedient to the words of his parents, he benefits himself with the wisdom of many times his own years of living. So it is with God's Word. When you order your steps according to the Word of God, then the Wisdom of God is evident in everything you do.

Turn your heart to Jesus! Walk according to Word of God, not the foolish words of your Commander in Chief! You will never regret having Jesus as your Lord!

"Lord Jesus, thank You that Your wisdom can guide the steps of my life, until the day that I leave this world. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, October 19, 2014




No matter how much you know

or what plans you make,

you can't defeat the Lord.

Even if your army has horses

ready for battle,

the Lord will always win.

Proverbs 21:30-31 (CEV)

When it comes to winning in this world, knowledge and planning are very important. If you want to finish first in the contests of life, what you know and how well you plan can make all the difference.

But if you declare war against God Himself, you will not win, no matter how smart you are or how well you plan!

Much of the trouble, even followers of Jesus experience comes from their sifting through the Bible to find out which parts of God's will they are willing to obey. They quietly ignore the rest. They are like the man who embraces all the laws of "nature" except the law of gravity, and he continues to wonder why he breaks his bones so often!

Often someone might ask you: "What is your favorite verse?" Truthfully, your favorite verse is not important. That is the one you readily embrace. Your "least" favorite verse, the one you really don't like is more important to your walk with the Lord!

Instead of searching the Scriptures to find those parts with which you agree, look diligently through the Word of God for verses that may have prompted your "War with God!" Those are the ones that will make a huge difference in your life, when you finally embrace them in your heart!

"Lord Jesus, show me today how I may be fighting against Your will. And give me the strength to submit my will to Yours in EVERYTHING! And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Umbrella of Free Will!

Rainbow 101

We make our own decisions,

but the Lord alone

determines what happens.

Proverbs 16:33

There they are: Free Will and the Sovereignty of God! How can the two co-exist? The answer to that question is profound and yet profoundly simple.

The free will of man exists because of God's Sovereign choice. Without God having declared it so, there would be no free will at all.

In the rain storm of life, God has chosen to give you an umbrella under which you may move freely and at your own discretion. But the limits of your "free will" are fixed and determined by God Himself.

When men attempt to move outside of the limits of free will and take upon themselves those decisions that are God's alone, calamities turn up on every hand!

God has given you the freedom to marry, and to choose which man or woman of the opposite sex will be your partner in life. But as they did in Sodom, we are insisting that we have the "right" to move the boundary God set up for marriage. When we do we are outside the "umbrella" of free will and will be pummeled by the storms of life as a direct result of trying to change God's design.

It would also be like the man who decides that he will live this life without eating food or drinking water. You have the right to decide what you eat and drink, but it is outside of the umbrella to eat and drink nothing. Your "free will" will come to a tragic end if you choose not to eat or drink.

So live freely under the Sovereignty of God. Enjoy life as you move about under His umbrella of Free Will.

"Lord Jesus, may I never forget that Your Sovereign Will is the source of my "Free Will" and that I am truly free only in You! And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ebola is Like Sin!

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You were rescued from the useless way of life you learned from your ancestors. But you know you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don't last forever.  You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb.

1 Peter 1:18-19

Dr. Kent Brantly was the first of the American Ebola patients. He was flown back to the United States from Liberia to Atlanta to receive treatment for the deadly illness. In what seemed almost a miracle, Dr. Brantly has recovered then began doing an amazing thing. He is now sharing his blood with other Ebola patients! Thus far everyone who was able to receive the blood of Dr. Brantly recovered from the Ebola virus!

It is really a modern day parable. You see, Jesus was exposed to the sin of this world and He took that deadly disease into His own body and suffered and died to pay the price for us all. Then Jesus conquered death when He rose from the grave, never to die again! On the Cross, Jesus provided the cure for sin for anyone who will share in His Blood! When the Blood of Jesus becomes a part of your life, your sins are washed away and you like Jesus experience resurrection from the grave! The Blood of Jesus heals you from the SICKNESS OF SIN!

Dr. Brantly is like Jesus in that his blood can save those who are infected with a deadly virus, even as does the Blood of Jesus for those infected with sin!

With Ebola, perhaps you can quarantine yourself and keep from being exposed to the virus, but with sin it is not possible. Everyone is infected with sin and your only hope is the Blood of Jesus!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for using Dr. Brantly to show us once again what Your Blood does for everyone who comes to You. Lord fill my heart with Your love and my veins with Your Blood. And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Your Response is Not My Job!

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The Lord said, “Ezekiel, son of man, I want you to stand up and listen.”  After he said this, his Spirit took control of me and lifted me to my feet. Then the Lord said:

Ezekiel, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They are just like their ancestors who rebelled against me and refused to stop. They are stubborn and hardheaded. But I, the Lord God, have chosen you to tell them what I say. Those rebels may not even listen, but at least they will know that a prophet has come to them.

Don't be afraid of them or of anything they say. You may think you're in the middle of a thorn patch or a bunch of scorpions. But be brave and preach my message to them, whether they choose to listen or not.

Ezekiel 2:1-7

My job is to see that all men have heard the message that comes from God. The numbers of those who turn their hearts to Jesus is not my responsibility. I cannot take credit if many thousands of people turn to Him, and I cannot be blamed if they all refuse the Good News of Jesus.

Satan whispers in my ear, "Don't tell that man about Jesus, because he won't respond anyway!" And so I refuse to proclaim the message of Jesus to those who "probably" will reject Him.

Some preach a message that focuses on the mercy and love of God and leave out the part about repenting of your sins! Others proclaim a message that ignores the Cross and the cross that followers of Jesus must bear as well. It is all an attempt to increase the numbers of those who "respond" to the Gospel. But the truth is that those who "come to Christ" based on a watered down and non life changing Gospel will not remain when times get hard!

So, tell everyone the message of Jesus. And tell the whole message of the Gospel. Proclaim the parts that are sweet and wonderful and the parts about suffering and pain that all followers of Jesus will experience. Once you have planted that seed, then move on to plant the same seed in another heart! Just like seeds in the ground God will make them grow.

"Lord Jesus, help me to clearly proclaim Your Gospel to everyone around me. Give me the courage to tell others the whole life changing message. And, may You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Final Word!


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We humans make plans,

but the Lord

has the final word.


We may think we know

what is right,

but the Lord is the judge

of our motives.


Share your plans with the Lord,

and you will succeed.


The Lord has a reason

for everything he does,

and he lets evil people live

only to be punished.

Proverbs 16:1-4


Did you know that the Lord is involved in your life even if you are not a follower of Jesus? Your plans succeed only if the Lord, Himself allows it. And the Lord judges your heart and motives. He knows your heart better than even you know it yourself.

In a day when evil people rule the world it is very important that Christians remember that the Lord has a reason for everything He does! When you cry out to God and ask Him why He allows sin to flourish around you, you can know for certain that He has a very good reason!

The epic struggle between GOOD AND EVIL is not a "fair fight." Good will win! That is certain. Satan's fate is sealed along with all those who follow him. So as you watch spiritual warfare play out right before your eyes remember that the battle belongs to the Lord and He will win!

If you want to be wise, then share your plans with the Lord and let Him direct your steps each day because the Lord has the final Word in whether or not our plans succeed.

"Lord Jesus, I bring You my plans for this day and ask that You have the final Word in them. As I present my plans to You I pray that Your will will become my will, today and forever! Amen."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Are You Headed for Hell?

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I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.

But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body.

Philippians 3:18-21

As a human being you have the freedom to live as an enemy of the Cross of Christ. God does not force you to be a Jesus Follower. But that does not mean that there are no consequences for not following Jesus? Paul clearly warns that being an enemy of the Cross means that you are headed for Hell, and he had tears in his eyes when he spoke that warning.

We are continually tempted to ignore the tragedy of Hell and tell people of the love of Jesus in hopes they will decide to turn their hearts to Him. Imagine that there is a "lake of fire" outside of your town and there are only two roads leading out. One road ends in that lake of fire and the other goes to Heaven. If many people were on the road that "dead ends" in that lake where they would perish, what would you do? Would you put on an advertising campaign which talked about how wonderful the other road is, or would you also warn them about the "lake of fire?"

The love of God is real and is the most amazing thing in all the world, but the fires of Hell are real as well and are the final destination of all those who live as enemies of Christ! Jesus Himself clearly said that no one could come to the Father except by Him. Simply stated all those who refuse to follow Jesus are going to Hell! That truth is not "politically correct" and it upsets all those who want to judge men on the basis of "human kindness." They decide that a person must being going to Heaven if he is a "good person." Sadly, that is not the basis of citizenship in Heaven.

Here is the troubling truth! If you are a kind, sweet and loving person and your only enemy is the Cross of Christ you will go to Hell when you die! How you live does not determine your Eternal Destiny! Heaven is for those who follow Jesus and Hell is for those who don't! It is that simple and it is that tragic!

Forget all the human arguments about who will go to Heaven and who won't. Jesus is the way to Heaven and there is no other way!

"Lord Jesus! I may have many enemies in this world, but I pray that Your Cross is not one of them. And Lord, give me to courage to warn others that not following Jesus will end in the fires of Hell! And may You, Lord Jesus, be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gold Medals Wear Out!

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You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win!   Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.  I don't run without a goal. And I don't box by beating my fists in the air.  I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won't lose out after telling the good news to others.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

A few years ago a friend of mine founded an organization to honor aging Gold Medal Olympic athletes.  He could tell you the story much better than I can, but as they aged, these once "heroes and champions" had only the faded glory of the prize and were known to just a few! 

After they won the "prize" many of them even had their pictures on boxes of breakfast cereal. The honor was amazing, but as the days turned into years and the years into decades the aging athletes were only remembered by other older people.  My friend's organization focused on the noble cause of bringing back some respect for these heroes of yesterday!

Like an Olympic athlete, those who follow Jesus work hard to "win the prize."  Empowered by the Holy Spirit and motivated by our love for Jesus Christ we lift the weights of this life and run the race we find before us each day!  Unlike the Olympic Games we don't win because we are the fastest, but rather because we are the faithful.  Being better than others is not the goal.  Being exactly what Jesus wants us to be is the goal!  And when we do that every day the prize is ours forever!

So as you begin this day of your life, remember that you are indeed a "world class" follower of Jesus.  He will show you what to do and where to walk, this day.  And He will give you the power to do it!

"Lord Jesus, I thank You that the glory that comes from being Your follower will not fade as I get older, but will last and last, forever.  And as I fall at Your feet, I give whatever crown I have received to You for You deserve all the praise and glory, forever!  Amen."