Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Are You Joined to Jesus?

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I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me.If you don't stay joined to me, you will be thrown away. You will be like dry branches that are gathered up and burned in a fire.Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered.When you become fruitful disciples of mine, my Father will be honored.

John 15:5-8
Have you ever heard of "fantastic" answers to prayer, that really seem totally miraculous, if they are true accounts of what happened?  There is certainly the temptation to exaggerate the truth about how God has answered prayer. If we can claim miraculous answers to prayer then perhaps we will be more highly esteemed by others who follow Jesus. A man named Watchman Nee wrote a book many years ago called "The Normal Christian Life."  The book talked about how being joined to Jesus produces a life that is filled with evidences of God's power working through us!    What is "Normal" for a man filled with the Holy Spirit is completely "miraculous" for those who are not indwelt by Him!If you are joined to Jesus, you will see Him all around you all day.  If you are joined to Jesus every answer to your prayers will be a miracle!  If you are joined to Jesus, you cannot pray for something that God cannot accomplish!  And when you pray a prayer that appears to go unanswered you must remember that sometimes a loving Father says "Not now" or even "No" if it is better for you that He not give you what you want!"Lord Jesus, help me to stay joined to You today!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

God Always Speaks the Truth!

Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd that sounded like a roaring flood and loud thunder all mixed together. They were saying,“Praise the Lord!Our Lord God All-Powerful now rules as king.So we will be glad and happy and give him praise.The wedding day of the Lamb is here,and his bride is ready.She will be given a wedding dress made of pure and shining linen.This linen stands for the good things God's people have done.”Then the angel told me, “Put this in writing. God will bless everyone who is invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The angel also said, “These things God has said are true.”

Revelation 19:6-9

When a man or woman becomes masterful at telling lies, confusion reigns supreme in their communication with others.  So that when someone who lies tells you that they are sorry and are repenting of the deception, you have no way of knowing if that itself is just another lie! 

Satan is the father of lies and those who lie are on the road to becoming his faithful servant and eternal companion in Hell!
In Heaven every Word you hear will be true!  There will be no "false advertising" and no deception of any kind.  

We all go through life with the daily task of trying to discern what is true and what is a lie. It is indeed comforting to know that every Word you hear from God is true!  God always speaks the truth and you can "bet your life" on it!

Make it your aim today to always speak the truth, and in that you will be like God, who never lies!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to be a man of truth.  May every word that I utter be completely and totally true, with no deception at all.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen." 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Never Too Small For God!

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One day the prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we meet with you is too small.Why don't we build a new meeting place near the Jordan River? Each of us could get some wood, then we could build it.”“That's a good idea,” Elisha replied, “get started.”“Aren't you going with us?” one of the prophets asked.“Yes, I'll go,” Elisha answered, and he left with them.They went to the Jordan River and began chopping down trees.While one of the prophets was working, his ax head fell off and dropped into the water. “Oh!” he shouted. “Sir, I borrowed this ax.”“Where did it fall in?” Elisha asked. The prophet pointed to the place, and Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. The ax head floated to the top of the water.“Now get it,” Elisha told him. And the prophet reached in and grabbed it.2 Kings 6:1-7
Every time I read this story I ask myself why God would include a story about a floating ax head in the Bible.  What great spiritual lesson can we glean from this expression of the power of God?

The power of God in your life as a follower of Jesus Christ is not just for the "big, important" things!  God is certainly willing that His power be seen even in the small things in your life.  I believe there is nothing too small to pray about.  If something concerns you it is not inappropriate in the least to bring the matter to God in prayer!  

The best way to be ready to trust God in the big things of life, is to trust Him every day in the little things.  If you talk to God about the "little" stuff of life, then it will be a natural response to call on Him when the serious problems arrive!  

"Lord Jesus, help me today to invite You into even the small problems that confront me this day.  When I lose my ax head in the water today, send Your power to make it float!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Seeing and Hearing Without Paying Attention!

You people are deaf and blind,but the Lord commands you to listen and to see.  No one is as blind or deaf as his messenger, his chosen servant, who sees and hears so much,but pays no attention.

Isaiah 42:18-20

When a bridge is out, you will almost always see the signs warning you of the danger!  Sometimes there will be a concrete barrier that will keep you from running off of the road and into a river.  But more often than not there will just be the warning signs, and it is up to you to pay attention to the signs and stop before you find yourself in danger and distress!

It is not uncommon today to hear a follower of Jesus talk about the signs of the End Times.  There is plenty going on in the world today that warns us of troubling  things to come.   The bridge to a brighter future in this world has washed out and the Word of God is warning everyone to turn around before they plunge into the river of Eternal Death!

The question I must ask myself is this: How am I living my life differently because of the signs I see of coming trouble and perhaps the return of Jesus on the near horizon?  If I see and hear but pay no attention, how am I better off than those who don't see at all?

"Lord Jesus, show me today how to be obedient to every Word that comes from You!  And may You, Lord Jesus be praised forever.  Amen."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

God Declared Innocence!

The men then told the king, “That Jew named Daniel, who was brought here as a captive, refuses to obey you or the law that you ordered to be written. And he still prays to his god three times a day.”  The king was really upset to hear about this, and for the rest of the day he tried to think how he could save Daniel.  
At daybreak the king got up and ran to the pit. He was anxious and shouted, “Daniel, you were faithful and served your God. Was he able to save you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “Your Majesty, I hope you live forever!   My God knew that I was innocent, and he sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you.” 
Daniel 6:13-14 and 19-22

What happens when the world decides you are guilty of wrong doing, but God declares that you are innocent?  This is the case when man's law and God's law collide!  The rule of man always disappears in the face of the will of God.  Daniel refused to obey a law that said that he could not pray to God, even for a time and God sent an angel to rescue him from the hungry lions.

Even today, there are laws that must be disobeyed by followers of Jesus Christ!  God says that we are to "pray without ceasing," but some nations have told their people that it is illegal or unconstitutional to pray in certain places and at certain times!  If we obey those mandates and "cease" praying are we not disobeying the God who created us?

If you are confused about whether or not you must disobey a law of man, then you need to spend more time in God's Word, listening to the Holy Spirit!  We must make it our daily goal to KNOW THE WILL OF GOD IN EVERY SITUATION!  When you know what God wants it is simple to know whether or not you must disobey the commands of men!

The law said that Daniel was guilty, but God declared Daniel innocent and sent an angel to rescue him from the mouths of lions!

"Lord Jesus help me to seek to know You and Your Word more today, so that I will know for certain if I can follow You and obey the laws of men!  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Monday, June 15, 2015

No Nameless Stars!

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No Nameless Stars!

Don't you know?Haven't you heard?  Hasn't it been clear since the time of creation?  God is the one who rules the whole earth, and we that live here are merely insects.  He spread out the heavens like a curtain or an open tent.God brings down rulers and turns them into nothing.They are like flowers freshly sprung up and starting to grow.  But when God blows on them,they wilt and are carried off like straw in a storm.  The holy God asks,“Who compares with me? Is anyone my equal?” Look at the evening sky!  Who created the stars?  Who gave them each a name?  Who leads them like an army?  The Lord is so powerful that none of the stars are ever missing.

Isaiah 40:21-26

When I see all the evil in the world today, I am tempted to believe that Satan is the one who is ruling the world!  He is not!

The Evil one did not create the world and all the beings that live in it.  He did not set up the "laws of nature" that keep the earth in it's place and insure that green plants are able to grow year after year and provide food for all of mankind.  The devil is not the author of life and cannot give "good and perfect" gifts to those who follow him, and he did not name the stars!

The next time you look at the evening sky and see the stars consider this: Every little point of light in the heavens not only was created by God, but has a name that He gave it!

A number of years ago someone offered to name the stars as a way to make money!  If you would send them money, they would publish your name as the name of a star!  It sounds like a good idea, except for the fact that the stars are already named, everyone of them!

God paid attention to every detail of Creation!  He even named the stars!  And the same God who named the stars, knows your name and mine!  He knows when I am happy and when I am sad.  God knows the desires of my heart and He knows my weaknesses. There is nothing about me that is unknown to God!

 "Lord Jesus, I once again give You the heart that You gave me and that You know better than even I know myself!  And I praise You Lord because when I look up at the evening sky there are no nameless stars!  You call them all by name, and You call me by name as well.  May You Lord Jesus be praised forever.  Amen."

Friday, June 12, 2015

All I Want!

All I Want!
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Your advice has been my guide,and later you will welcome me in glory.In heaven I have only you,and on this earth you are all I want.My body and mind may fail,but you are my strength and my choice forever.

Psalm 73:24-26

Aladdin's three wishes have prompted the imagination of many story tellers over the years.

If you could have anything you wanted on this earth what would it be? Would you want fame and fortune, or perhaps you would simply desire to live a happy and peaceful life? 

Would you want a beautiful or handsome spouse? What about success and respect in your field of work? 

The writer of Psalm 73 says that God is all he wanted on this earth! Consider this: If God is the only thing you truly want on this earth, then your wishes will come true! Jesus promised that He will be with you always, even to the end of the world! No one, not even Satan himself can take Jesus away from you! So if all you want is Jesus, then you will have everything you want!

Yesterday, a dear friend left this earth after living only 63 years! She now knows why it makes total sense to want only Jesus on this earth! Every blessing we have on earth is a gift from the giver of life itself! Although Kathy is absent from the body, she is now and forever will be present with the Lord! 

So the challenge for me is this: How much do I want Jesus and how much do I want the things of this world? May I every day let go of some of my desire for the things of this world and grab hold of Jesus. May I grow to the point of wanting only Jesus here on this earth and then forever!

"Lord Jesus, I want to want You more than anything else! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Calvary Coming?

Calvary Coming?

Two criminals were led out to be put to death with Jesus.When the soldiers came to the place called “The Skull,” they nailed Jesus to a cross. They also nailed the two criminals to crosses, one on each side of Jesus.Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people! They don't know what they're doing.”While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, “He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God's chosen Messiah!”
Luke 23:32-35

Apparently the headline writer at Fox News got confused about the difference between "Cavalry" and "Calvary." 

The headline read, "CALVARY COMING? Pentagon wants to send 400 more US troops to Iraq." 
Of course Calvary is the place where Jesus died. It means "the skull." Cavalry is part of a military force composed of troops that serve on horseback.

Most of the people in this world today are confused about "Calvary." They don't know who Jesus is and they certainly don't know what He did on the "Cross of Calvary."

In the United States our political leaders are being criticized again for wanting to vote on a bill that they have not read! How can they make a responsible decision when they don't know what the bill says? But lots of people, and maybe even you have decided to vote "no" on Jesus without ever knowing who He really is and why He came to this world. 

You may be confused about many things in this world, but do not be confused about Jesus! Find out who He is and read about why He came in the Bible! 

"Lord Jesus, I want to know who You are and why You came. But most of all Lord help me to know You and to know what You did on Calvary! May You be praised forever! Amen."

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dire Warning!

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The earth is polluted because its people disobeyed the laws of God, breaking their agreement that was to last forever.The earth is under a curse; its people are dying out because of their sins. Grapevines have dried up: wine is almost gone—mournful sounds are heard instead of joyful shouts.

Isaiah 24:5-7
The predictions are ominous and they are everywhere! There are serious and very educated men who are saying that an economic and even social collapse of the world's systems is certain and may be imminent. 

In the wake of the doom and gloom predictions are those who can tell you how to prepare and even "prosper" in bad times. In fact, "Bad Times" is big business!

So how do you prepare for the worst? You can store food, water, silver and gold and even learn how to "live off of the land" by hunting and fishing. But there is something much more important than all of these.

If God has decided to protect you from harm during difficult times, you will be protected. And if God has decided that you should suffer, all of your preparations will not shield you from the trouble that is heading your way!

So above all else you must prepare for the difficulties to come by turning your heart to God! If God is your protector then know that He can multiply your five loaves and two fish, heal your worst diseases, send tax money to you in the mouth of a fish, and do all sorts of daily miracles to keep you strong in the storms to come!

"Lord Jesus, I call once again to You and ask You to be my protector and shield in the perilous times that seem to be so close! And I praise Your Name forever! Amen."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Continual Repentance!

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One third of all people were killed by the three terrible troubles caused by the fire, the smoke, and the sulfur.The horses had powerful mouths, and their tails were like poisonous snakes that bite and hurt.The people who lived through these terrible troubles did not turn away from the idols they had made, and they did not stop worshiping demons. They kept on worshiping idols that were made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood. Not one of these idols could see, hear, or walk.No one stopped murdering or practicing witchcraft or being immoral or stealing.

Revelation 9:18-21

When a little child touches a hot stove he quickly learns not to do that again. It is the suffering of being burned that teaches him not to put his hand on the burner. But what little children learn naturally, an adult living without Jesus in his life finds hard, if not impossible to do. 

Sin brings suffering and pain. It doesn't take a genius to understand the correlation between sin and the pain that comes after it. But a stubborn, prideful man will persist in sinning as he thinks that maybe it won't be the same every time he steps outside the boundaries that God has set up in life!

So when I see the judgement of God falling on lives all around me, what should my response, or maybe even reaction be? Instead of finding satisfaction in the fact that others are "getting what they deserve," I must fall down at the feet of Jesus and repent of every sin that might still be clinging to my heart! 

"Lord Jesus, give me a heart of continual repentance so that I might turn away from everything in life that does not lead me to You! May You, Lord be the beginning and end of every day including that day that is sure to come when I leave this world to begin an Eternity with You. And may You be praised forever. Amen."