Sunday, January 31, 2016

Evangelism Happens!

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Six days before Passover Jesus went back to Bethany, where he had raised Lazarus from death.  A meal had been prepared for Jesus. Martha was doing the serving, and Lazarus himself was there. Mary took a very expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus' feet. She wiped them with her hair, and the sweet smell of the perfume filled the house. A disciple named Judas Iscariot was there. He was the one who was going to betray Jesus, and he asked,  “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?”  Judas did not really care about the poor. He asked this because he carried the moneybag and sometimes would steal from it. Jesus replied, “Leave her alone! She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial.  You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me.” A lot of people came when they heard that Jesus was there. They also wanted to see Lazarus, because Jesus had raised him from death.  So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus.  He was the reason that many of the Jewish leaders were turning from them and putting their faith in Jesus.

John 12:1-11

Why did Mary "waist" an expensive bottle of perfume by pouring it on Jesus' feet? What would you give to the person who raised your brother from the dead? Of course Judas was there to question the wisdom of what Mary did.

And why did the chief priests want to kill Lazarus? It was because the resurrection of Lazarus caused many Jewish leaders to turn from them and put their faith in Jesus!

So remember that it is a wonderful thing to pour out the precious thing in your life at the feet of Jesus. And remember as well that when you come out of the grave and walk in your new life, others will turn to Jesus as well. The most effective evangelism campaign happens when you give everything you have to Jesus and let Him bring you out of the grave to walk with Him, alive again forever!

"Lord Jesus, help me today Lord to give You all of my precious treasures and to walk with You so that others will turn their hearts to You as well. And may You, Jesus be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Only What God Has Approved!

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Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king’s chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace.  God had made the official friendly and kind to Daniel.  But the man still told him, “The king has decided what you must eat and drink. And I am afraid he will kill me, if you eat something else and end up looking worse than the other young men.The king’s official had put a guard in charge of Daniel and his three friends. So Daniel said to the guard,  “For the next ten days, let us have only vegetables and water at mealtime.  When the ten days are up, compare how we look with the other young men, and decide what to do with us.”  The guard agreed to do what Daniel had asked.  Ten days later, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better than the young men who had been served food from the royal palace.  After this, the guard let them eat vegetables instead of the rich food and wine.  God made the four young men smart and wise. They read a lot of books and became well educated. Daniel could also tell the meaning of dreams and visions.  At the end of the three-year period set by King Nebuchadnezzar, his chief palace official brought all the young men to him.   The king interviewed them and discovered that none of the others were as outstanding as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they were given positions in the royal court.

Daniel 1:8-19

Have you made up your mind like Daniel to do only what God has approved in your life? Daniel and his friends were greatly rewarded for that decision.

It was the classic controversy between what the king says and what God says. When you make the decision to do only what God approves the "king" is anyone and everyone who disagrees with God!

That is why is it so very important that you fill your heart and mind with the Word of God. Only then will you see clearly what path you should take at each crossroads in your day.

Daniel and his friends were rewarded for their faithfulness to God's will, and you will be as well. But never forget that there may be a lion's den or a furnace of fire that you will encounter on your way through life to Eternity with Jesus!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to only do those things that are approved by my Father in Heaven. And may You Lord Jesus be praised forever. Amen.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Faith and Knowledge


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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

Why is it that many if not most of the institutions of higher education are breeding grounds for plans to defeat the Lord? Of course, there are Colleges and Universities that honor God, but they are not the biggest and most powerful or the most plentiful.

The history of colleges and universities in the United States shows that faith in God was active and strong when some of the most prominent of them were born. But the evidence of that faith is seen today only on plaques or carved into stones to decorate the campus.

The truth is that the more you know the greater the temptation to set your heart against the Lord. When you know little you must trust God greatly, but when you know much your heart wants to depend on that knowledge instead of the God who created you!

Does that mean that you should avoid education so that your faith can be strong? Absolutely not! Knowledge with pride can lead to your destruction, but a humble man who has great knowledge can honor God with what he knows!

Knowledge is like gold. With knowledge you can do great good, or you can do great evil. Whatever God has given you must be dedicated to His Glory and Honor. If He has given you much or little, may it all be poured out at His feet as He is praised forever!

"Thank You Jesus for all You have given me. May I today give it all back to You. Praise Your Holy Name. Amen."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Count Your Many Blessings!

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down.  Jesus' disciples gathered around him,  and he taught them: God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom  of heaven!  God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort! God blesses those people who are humble. The earth will belong to them! God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want! God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy! God blesses those people whose hearts are pure. They will see him! God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children! God blesses those people who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to the kingdom of heaven.  God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me.  Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.

Matthew 5:1-12

These verses are from the Sermon on the Mount and are often called the Beatitudes. They are actions of men that God responds to with blessings from above. Books have been written about each one of them. 

But I simply want to remind you and myself that God blesses men!  You cannot go through a single day without the blessings of God!  Every breath you take is from God.  Every sip of water is a blessing from your Creator! 

When someone sneezes often they will hear a quick "Bless You" in response.  Calling for God's blessings on other people is not uncommon.  Even the word "Goodbye" originated as a contraction of "God be with ye" in 14th century English.

God blesses the righteous and those who are evil.  It is His power that sustains the life of everyone on earth.  There is an old song which encourages you to "count your many blessings."  As you go through this day be aware of and immediately thank God every time you recognize a blessing from above!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for being the source of each and every blessing.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Glorious Life!

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This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Smyrna:
I am the first and the last. I died, but now I am alive! Listen to what I say.  I know how much you suffer and how poor you are, but you are rich. I also know the cruel things being said about you by people who claim to be Jews. But they are not really Jews. They are a group that belongs to Satan.  Don’t worry about what you will suffer. The devil will throw some of you into jail, and you will be tested and made to suffer for ten days. But if you are faithful until you die, I will reward you with a glorious life. If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. Whoever wins the victory will not be hurt by the second death.

Revelation 2:8-11
Have you lived a life full of suffering? Suffering does not just come from a lack of physical needs like food, clothing and shelter. Suffering also comes from pain and sorrow. Perhaps the worst pain you can experience comes from disappointment and sorrow. The father of the prodigal son and Job may have suffered very much the same, even though Job had serious physical suffering.

These verses in Revelation 2 tell us not to worry about what we will yet suffer in this life. Even though that suffering may be greater than anything we have experienced thus far, Jesus says that our reward will be a Glorious Life!

I know people who can say that they have had a wonderful life, but I don't think I know anyone who can say that their life on this earth has been glorious! Sin, sorrow, and suffering have touched us all on this earth. But when we are done with this life, we are promised, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, that our life will be glorious!

Each night when you put your head down on your pillow you can rest easy knowing that you are one day closer to a Glorious Life that will go on forever!

"Lord Jesus, thank You that this life of pain and suffering will soon end, and I will then live a Glorious Life with You forever. Amen."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to Keep on Growing!

Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

As a follower of Jesus Christ, how do you keep on growing even when you have been a Christian for many years?

You can continue to grow and in fact you must because there is no limit to how mature you can be as a disciple of Christ. When you spend time with Jesus you will grow and learn more and more even if you have been with Him for years. Knowing Jesus is a well of limitless relationship.

If you are alive, whether you are 21 or 101 you have another opportunity today to grow in Christ. So, specifically what can I do today that will help me to grow as a believer?

Well, growth of a physical body as well as a spiritual person comes from nutrition and exercise. Make sure that you take in plenty of spiritual food today and then you must exercise your faith as you walk through the day! Consume the Word of God as you would your most favorite food as you fellowship with Jesus. Then, let your faith play a role in every decision you make, every step you take and every thought you think.

When you do those things you will continue to grow!

"Lord Jesus, I want to grow to be more like You today. Thank You Lord for making that possible by what You did on the Cross. May You be praised forever. Amen."
(Scriptures come from the Contemporary English Version unless otherwise noted.)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Heart of Heaven!

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From then on, Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, “I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life.” Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. He said, “God would never let this happen to you, Lord!”
Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Satan, get away from me! You’re in my way because you think like everyone else and not like God.”
Matthew 16:21-23

Can you imagine how you would feel if Jesus called you "Satan?" That is what happened to Peter, and I believe it can still happen today.

Peter was using "human logic" to respond to the Word of God. Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen, as it had been ordained by God. Then Peter, thinking like the world around him, boldly contradicted the will of God.

How many times have you declared, "God would never let that happen" when you are confronted with the Heart of Heaven?

When you do that you are thinking like Satan and the world around you and not like God!

When your heart and Heaven's Heart are one, you will begin to see the joy of doing the Will of God even when it means embracing the Cross!

"Lord Jesus, help me to think like God today and not like everyone else! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

From Today to Eternity!


Samuel served the Lord by helping Eli the priest, who was by that time almost blind. In those days, the Lord hardly ever spoke directly to people, and he did not appear to them in dreams very often. But one night, Eli was asleep in his room, and Samuel was sleeping on a mat near the sacred chest in the Lord’s house. They had not been asleep very long  when the Lord called out Samuel’s name.
“Here I am!” Samuel answered.  Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”
“I didn’t call you,” Eli answered. “Go back to bed.”
Samuel went back.
Again the Lord called out Samuel’s name. Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “What do you want?”
Eli told him, “Son, I didn’t call you. Go back to sleep.”
The Lord had not spoken to Samuel before, and Samuel did not recognize the voice. When the Lord called out his name for the third time, Samuel went to Eli again and said, “Here I am. What do you want?”
Eli finally realized that it was the Lord who was speaking to Samuel.  So he said, “Go back and lie down! If someone speaks to you again, answer, ‘I’m listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?’”
Once again Samuel went back and lay down.
The Lord then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, “Samuel! Samuel!”
“I’m listening,” Samuel answered. “What do you want me to do?”
1Samuel 3:1-10 
Samuel heard the voice of the Lord and thought it was someone else. The Lord spoke four times to Samuel before the boy finally recognized that it was God and asked Him what He wanted. When God speaks to your heart do you ask Him what He wants you to do, or do you refuse to recognize that the voice speaking to your heart is God? 
Like Samuel, until you recognize that it is God speaking you will not be able to hear what He is saying! Does God only tell you things that are of monumental significance and are "earth shattering?" Or does God sometimes want to speak to you about the most ordinary things? 
God is not limited in what He can say to your heart and mind. God can give you insight into a verse of Scripture and He can open your understanding about the beauty of a common flower. Whenever you hear the voice of the Lord, be like Samuel and say: "I'm listening what do you want me to do?"  Then your life will become an exciting journey from today to eternity! 
"Lord Jesus, give me ears to hear Your voice and the strength to obey Your every wish. May You, be praised forever. Amen."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ultimate Extreme Makeover!

I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize.  My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead.   I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.  All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed. My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you.  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 3:12-21

There was a television show beginning in 2002 called Extreme Makeover. In this now cancelled and rather controversial program a person submitted to a rigid diet and exercise requirements along with plastic surgery to make them "beautiful."

The program was cancelled according to Wikipedia because "It was believed by critics that the show implies that idealized beauty can only be found through the aid of cosmetic surgeons, placing ‘beauty’ as a relatively unachievable goal for most people."

As a Christian the Bible says that you are waiting for the Ultimate Extreme Makeover. Jesus will make your poor earthly body to be like His glorious body. The change will be amazing and Eternal!

"Thank You Lord Jesus that You are the one who changes me into Your image! All I can do is submit my life and heart to You. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

No Expiration Date!

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The Lord said:
The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah.  It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement.  Here is the new agreement that I, the Lord, will make with the people of Israel:  “I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  “No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”   I am the Lord All-Powerful.  I command the sun to give light each day, the moon and stars to shine at night, and ocean waves to roar. I will never forget to give those commands,  and I will never let Israel stop being a nation.  I, the Lord, have spoken.

Jeremiah 31:31-36

You can be sure that God is still concerned with the nation of Israel. Some people believe that after the death and resurrection of Jesus, God is no longer concerned with Israel. That is an idea that came from the imaginations of men, not the Word of God!

The fact that Israel still exists as a nation in the 21st Century is testimony to the fact that Jeremiah 31:36 is true.

Even though these words are old, they are still true. Don't judge the Word of God by how new or old it is. The Word spoken by God on the Day of Creation is as true as the Word He uttered this morning!

Often you will see on the food you purchase at a grocery store an "expiration date." If the food is out of date it will be stale and sometimes not even safe to eat.

The Spiritual Food of God's Word has no expiration date. The Words of God spoken to Adam and Eve at the time of Creation are as fresh and true as they were then. So when you read the Old Words of God pay careful attention, even as you do the Words of Jesus. Every Word spoken by God is Powerful and True and never expires!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to believe and embrace every Word that comes from the mouth of God no matter how long ago it was spoken!  And may You, Jesus be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Truth is Born by God's Word!

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I offer you my heart, Lord God, and I trust you.   Don’t make me ashamed or let enemies defeat me.  Don’t disappoint any of your worshipers, but disappoint all deceitful liars.  Show me your paths and teach me to follow; guide me by your truth and instruct me. You keep me safe, and I always trust you.

Psalm 25:1-5

Trusting anyone means that you fully believe that they will do what they have promised.  If someone has proven themselves to be a person who tells lies then trusting that person would be foolish and even reckless.

God can be trusted.  His Word is more certain than anything in the entire universe and beyond.  When God says a thing you can bet your life that it will be as He has said.

You see, not only does God's Word reveal the truth about everything, but His Word Creates the truth! 

When God declares that something is, then everything in the Cosmos conforms itself to God's Word and a Truth is Born!  The very definition of the Word of God is TRUTH!

"Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to believe and trust every Word that comes from God.  And may You Jesus be praised forever.  Amen."

Monday, January 18, 2016

Whose Enemy Will You Be?

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I am telling you this to keep you from being afraid.  You will be chased out of the Jewish meeting places. And the time will come when people will kill you and think they are doing God a favor.  They will do these things because they don’t know either the Father or me.  I am saying this to you now, so that when the time comes, you will remember what I have said. I was with you at the first, and so I didn’t tell you these things.  But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going.  You are very sad from hearing all of this.  But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.  The Spirit will come and show the people of this world the truth about sin and God’s justice and the judgment.  The Spirit will show them that they are wrong about sin, because they didn’t have faith in me.  They are wrong about God’s justice, because I am going to the Father, and you won’t see me again.  And they are wrong about the judgment, because God has already judged the ruler of this world. 
John 16:1-11

Jesus doesn't want you to be afraid even though there are people even today who want to kill you while thinking they are doing God's will! You see the Gospel of Jesus Christ is diametrically opposed to the wisdom of this world. And those who live by that wisdom will judge followers of Jesus to be people without good common sense, if not completely insane!

God created this world, but from the day that Adam and Eve yielded to the temptation to eat of the forbidden fruit Satan has been ruling over the lives of the great majority of men and women.

If you are striving to present Jesus to the world as someone they should be drawn to while they are still loyal citizens of the Devil's kingdom, you will fail. The blood of Jesus is the greatest threat to the kingdom of Satan. And frankly, if you are not an enemy of this world then you are an enemy of Christ! That is your choice and what you decide will make an eternal difference!

"Lord Jesus, I choose You to be my Lord and not the World in which I live. Give me the courage to not be afraid of those who can only kill my body, but have no power over where I spend Eternity. And may You, Lord Jesus be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Imagine That The End Has Come!

The angel showed me a river that was crystal clear, and its waters gave life. The river came from the throne where God and the Lamb were seated.  Then it flowed down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river are trees that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations.  God’s curse will no longer be on the people of that city. He and the Lamb will be seated there on their thrones, and its people will worship God  and will see him face to face. God’s name will be written on the foreheads of the people.  Never again will night appear, and no one who lives there will ever need a lamp or the sun. The Lord God will be their light, and they will rule forever.
Revelation 22:1-5

Just for a moment imagine that the End has come and you have been ushered into Heaven. You see for the first time the River that is crystal clear and has life giving waters. And there on it's banks you see the trees that produce life giving fruit.

There is no curse there. No one is worried about being threatened or in danger. There is no prospect of war and darkness will not come to that place.

You have peace in your heart like you have never experienced or even imagined before. Life has conquered death and you are safe forever.

You realize that even though you had thought about Heaven many times during your life on earth, the reality of Heaven is many, many times greater than you ever dreamed!

"Lord Jesus, as things on this earth get worse and worse, keep my heart and mind with You in Heaven, where I will see You face to face and soon! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, January 16, 2016

They Refuse to Love the Truth!

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When our Lord Jesus returns, we will be gathered up to meet him. So I ask you, my friends,  not to be easily upset or disturbed by people who claim that the Lord has already come. They may say that they heard this directly from the Holy Spirit, or from someone else, or even that they read it in one of our letters.  But don’t be fooled! People will rebel against God. Then before the Lord returns, the wicked one who is doomed to be destroyed will appear.  He will brag and oppose everything that is holy or sacred. He will even sit in God’s temple and claim to be God.  Don’t you remember that I told you this while I was still with you?
You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come.  His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won’t appear until that someone is out of the way.  Then he will appear, but the Lord Jesus will kill him simply by breathing on him. He will be completely destroyed by the Lord’s glorious return.
When the wicked one appears, Satan will pretend to work all kinds of miracles, wonders, and signs.  Lost people will be fooled by his evil deeds. They could be saved, but they will refuse to love the truth and accept it.  So God will make sure that they are fooled into believing a lie.  All of them will be punished, because they would rather do evil than believe the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

I believe that one of the most significant signs of the imminent return of Jesus to the earth is that people "would rather do evil than believe the truth."

We have jumped into the bottomless pit of "my truth" and "your truth." Men are rejecting "truth" as a foundation of life and cutting themselves loose to be tossed about on the sea of despair.

Indeed there is only one truth and that truth is Jesus Christ. He is the Way the Truth and the Life! When anyone rejects Truth on this earth, they are rejecting Jesus. When someone sets their heart to find the Truth, that path will end at the feet of Jesus.

"Lord Jesus, I confess again that You are the Truth, and that when You return to this earth all lies will crumble in Your very presence. Lord Jesus, may You be praised forever. Amen."

Friday, January 15, 2016

Love is Born of Love

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Jesus said to his disciples:
If you love me, you will do as I command.  Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you.  The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don’t see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you.  I won’t leave you like orphans. I will come back to you.  In a little while the people of this world won’t be able to see me, but you will see me. And because I live, you will live.  Then you will know that I am one with the Father. You will know that you are one with me, and I am one with you.  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 14:15-21 

Our relationship with God, that is possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ overflows with love!

The love of God is demonstrated by the love of Jesus and then we are given the amazing opportunity of loving Him in response to His love for us! Our love for others reflects God's love for us. We are called to demonstrate to the world around us what God is like and what Jesus is like. 

We love God because He loves us. That is the only "because" that is possible when it comes to love. Love is born of love. God created the heart of a man to be like His as the man pursues the "love of his life." God also created the heart of a woman to respond to love for her like mankind responds to the love of God! When you know for certain that God loves you, it makes all the difference in your life! 

"Lord Jesus, I know that You love me enough to hang on the Cross and die so that I might be with You forever. Thank You for another day of loving You. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Completely Distracted by Heaven

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You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side.  Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.  You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God.  Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory.  Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.

Colossians 3:1-5 

How do you think about the things that are in Heaven, when you have never seen them? And how do you keep from thinking about things on this earth when your eyes take them in every hour you are awake? 

Truthfully, we do that very thing all the time. We get distracted from what is in front of our face while we think about other things. 

Usually, it is not a good thing to think about something other than your immediate surroundings, but it happens all the time. Students are miles away from their classroom in their thoughts. A preacher delivers a sermon while the thoughts of some in the congregation are focused on other things. 

But Jesus wants us to do that very thing when it comes to the world around us. The world is staring you in the face, but you can let your mind go to Heaven and think about the things that are there.

Years ago I discovered that a great way to fall asleep is to think about Heaven! Just imagine that you are standing before the Throne of God and you fall down at the feet of Jesus! If you belong to Him, sweet sleep will come. 

"Lord Jesus help me today to be distracted by Heaven from the things of this world. Let me think about praising You as I stand before Your Throne forever! Amen."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Escape Evil Desires and Find Perfect Peace!

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I pray that God will be kind to you and will let you live in perfect peace! May you keep learning more and more about God and our Lord Jesus.  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 that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. God made great and marvelous promises, so that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.  Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love. If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful.

1 Peter 1:2-8
How do you escape evil desires and live in perfect peace in this world that is filled with evil and certainly not at peace?  Everywhere you look there is unrighteousness.  Where there used to be truth, now lies are the norm.  Honesty has been replaced by deceit and a trustworthy man is hard to find.  

Men are crying "Peace, Peace" but there is no peace!  The world is simmering and seems to be very close to breaking into a full boil of war!  

There is a way to escape evil desires and live in perfect peace and that way is Jesus Christ.  When you turn your heart to Jesus, His nature becomes part of you.  And when the nature of Jesus is in your heart you are able to escape evil desires!  Then, living at peace in a world of war is the result of spending time with Jesus and knowing more and more about Him every day!  When Jesus becomes your constant companion during the day and every night the storms of life do not upset your peace!

"Lord Jesus, thank You my Lord that with You in my heart I can escape evil desires and find perfect peace today and every day until You return!  And may You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen."    

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Greatest Joy of Jesus!

Like a branch that sprouts from a stump, someone from David’s family will someday be king.  The Spirit of the Lord will be with him to give him understanding, wisdom, and insight.  He will be powerful, and he will know and honor the Lord.  His greatest joy will be to obey the Lord. This king won’t judge by appearances or listen to rumors.  The poor and the needy will be treated with fairness and with justice. His word will be law everywhere in the land, and criminals will be put to death. Honesty and fairness will be his royal robes.

Isaiah 11:1-5 

These Words in the Old Testament speak of Jesus Christ! Prophetic descriptions of Jesus are as good as eye witness accounts of His life. When the Holy Spirit tells someone what to write about Jesus you can be sure that it is a perfect description, in every way! 
Jesus had the Spirit of the Lord with Him who gave Him understanding, wisdom and insight. Jesus was powerful and He knew and honored God. And the greatest joy of Jesus was to obey God! What brings joy to your heart? 
There are many joys in this life. There is the joy of friends and family, the joy of giving and being a blessing to others, the joy of "a job well done" and a thousand other things. 
Jesus must have enjoyed many things during His life on this earth, but one thing was His greatest joy! The GREATEST JOY OF JESUS was obeying God! So if you want to be like Jesus, and you want to experience the greatest joy on earth, then set your heart to be obedient to God! Everyday look for ways to be responsive to His Word so that you can touch and experience the GREATEST JOY OF JESUS!
"Thank You Lord for letting me know the joy of being obedient to God. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Don't Refuse to Honor God!

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Daniel answered:  Your Majesty, I will read the writing and tell you what it means. But you may keep your gifts or give them to someone else.  Sir, the Most High God made your father a great and powerful man and brought him much honor and glory.  God did such great things for him that people of all nations and races shook with fear. Your father had the power of life or death over everyone, and he could honor or ruin anyone he chose.  But when he became proud and stubborn, his glorious kingdom was taken from him.  His mind became like that of an animal, and he was forced to stay away from people and live with wild donkeys. Your father ate grass like an ox, and he slept outside where his body was soaked with dew. He was forced to do this until he learned that the Most High God rules all kingdoms on earth and chooses their kings. King Belshazzar, you knew all of this, but you still refused to honor the Lord who rules from heaven.

Daniel 5:17-22

King Belshazzar knew about Nebuchadnezzar's very difficult experience of living like an animal for a long time and yet he refused to honor and recognize God! Belshazzar offended God by using the gold cups from the temple to drink in honor of false gods and then Belshazzar died!

Is God still offended when someone uses vessels crafted for His use for unholy purposes?

Hebrews 10:31 says "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God!"

Remember we are not to avenge ourselves, but God says that vengeance is His, He will repay!

It is Eternally true that God is a loving, merciful and forgiving God, but if you insist on standing against Him like Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar you will regret it forever!

"Lord Jesus, help me to always honor and respect You, my Lord and my God. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Life is Like a Puzzle!

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven!  Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people.  God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children.  God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God.  Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding,  and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways.  Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth.
Ephesians 1:3-10

God has plans for Heaven and for earth, including you!

Life is like a puzzle with thousands of pieces. When all the pieces are put on the table in their proper place you can see a beautiful picture that originated in the mind of God! When the puzzle is separated into piles of unjoined pieces, it mostly makes no sense at all.
Jesus is like the picture on the front of the puzzle box.  The life of Jesus will show you what your life should be like.  And Jesus will also put your life together so that you will look like Him, if you will but turn your heart to Him.
Let Jesus put the pieces of your life together to be what God planned for it to be in the first place.

"Lord Jesus, I have let Satan tear my life apart so that nothing makes sense. But I know that you can put it all back together so that I can see exactly what you had in mind when I was created. May You, Lord Jesus be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Believers Who Stink!

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Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus' disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.
Nicodemus also came with about seventy-five pounds of spices made from myrrh and aloes. This was the same Nicodemus who had visited Jesus one night.  The two men wrapped the body in a linen cloth, together with the spices, which was how the Jewish people buried their dead.  In the place where Jesus had been nailed to a cross, there was a garden with a tomb that had never been used.  The tomb was nearby, and since it was the time to prepare for the Sabbath, they were in a hurry to put Jesus' body there.

 John 19:38-42 

Once Jesus had died on the Cross Joseph and Nicodemus were in a hurry to put His body in the tomb. The Sabbath was upon them and putting a body in the grave quickly is what you do when the body is not embalmed. If you don't do that and seal the tomb it will become very unpleasant in just a few days. 

Romans 6:4 says that "When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ." We are tempted to seek an understanding of the process of being buried with Christ rather than simply doing it. 

Baptism is not an action that must be studied and accurately understood, it is rather a command that must be obeyed! 

Here is the silliness of arguing about baptism. It is like a couple of men discussing whether or not to bury a friend who has died. Even if they do decide to bury the man they keep talking so long that the body begins to stink! 

So here is the bottom line! If someone is indeed dead to the world around them, then be about burying them with Christ! Un-buried believers will start to stink if you don't bury them with Jesus! 

"Lord Jesus, help me be about obeying You more than understanding everything You have told me to do. Thank You Lord for giving me understanding about many things, but thank You more for letting me know how to obey Your every Word. May You be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Glory Yet to Come!

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One day, Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and Moses decided to lead them across the desert to Sinai, the holy mountain.  There an angel of the Lord appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up.  “This is strange!” he said to himself. “I’ll go over and see why the bush isn’t burning up.” 

When the Lord saw Moses coming near the bush, he called him by name, and Moses answered, “Here I am.”

God replied, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals—the ground where you are standing is holy.  I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”  Moses was afraid to look at God, and so he hid his face.The Lord said:  I have seen how my people are suffering as slaves in Egypt, and I have heard them beg for my help because of the way they are being mistreated. I feel sorry for them,  and I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians.

I will bring my people out of Egypt into a country where there is good land, rich with milk and honey. I will give them the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.  My people have begged for my help, and I have seen how cruel the Egyptians are to them.   Now go to the king! I am sending you to lead my people out of his country.
But Moses said, “Who am I to go to the king and lead your people out of Egypt?”

God replied, “I will be with you. And you will know that I am the one who sent you, when you worship me on this mountain after you have led my people out of Egypt.”

Exodus 3:1-12

Moses was a man whose heart was right for being used by God. This son of slaves grew up in the palace of Pharaoh himself. But in his heart was a desire to see the Children of Israel delivered from oppression. When he acted on that desire and killed an Egyptian, Moses ran away and lived as a shepherd for forty years. Then came the burning bush on Mount Sinai.

The next time Moses would come back to Mount Sinai he was shepherding a flock of at least hundreds of thousands if not several million people. This time there was no burning bush, but rather fire on the mountain and the Ten Commandments written by God on tables of stone.

If you are standing in front of a burning bush in your life and hearing God call you to Himself and His service, don't forget that the Glory Yet to Come is so much greater than what you know today!

We may see God's power in the flames of a bush, but the things that lie just ahead are so much greater.

"Lord Jesus I am amazed at Your power in the world around me, but I know that I can't even imagine how great You are and the unfathomable things still to come. Prepare my heart and mind to see, Lord Jesus, the Glory Yet to Come! Amen."

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Honor to the Father!

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Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need.”  Jesus replied:  Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don’t you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father?   Don’t you believe that I am one with the Father and that the Father is one with me? What I say isn’t said on my own. The Father who lives in me does these things. Have faith in me when I say that the Father is one with me and that I am one with the Father. Or else have faith in me simply because of the things I do.   I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things that 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 14:8-14
What did Jesus mean when He told Philip that He would do whatever Philip ask Him?  Jesus wasn't just talking to Philip. He was talking also to those who have faith in Jesus.

Then the Lord said that those who have faith in Him would do the same things He was doing and in fact would do greater things!

So I would ask you and ask myself: What have you asked Jesus to do for you? It would be something that you could not accomplish without His divine help. And of course it would be something that would bring honor to the Father!

When is the last time you prayed for something with the purpose of bringing honor to God? Those are the prayers that Jesus says will certainly be answered! God will not refuse to bring honor to Himself through your faith!

Ask Jesus to do something that will cause everyone who sees or even hears about it to recognize that it was God working, not man! Then your prayers will release the Power of God in the world around you!

"Lord Jesus, show me today how to pray so that the Father may be honored! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Crooks in Power!

A ruler who listens to lies will have corrupt officials.  The poor and all who abuse them must each depend on God for light.  Kings who are fair to the poor will rule forever.   Correct your children,  and they will be wise; children out of control disgrace their mothers. Crime increases when crooks are in power, but law-abiding citizens will see them fall.  If you correct your children,  they will bring you peace and happiness. Without guidance from God law and order disappear, but God blesses everyone  who obeys his Law.

Proverbs 29:12-18

This chapter has an interesting mixture of comments about governments, leaders and children.

The statement: "Crime increases when crooks are in power" perhaps should spark a debate in all the "free" nations of this world. The reason is, laws do not stop crime, leaders do! A culture with a criminal mentality in it's leadership will encourage everyone to participate at some level in lawlessness.  Whereas, a nation with a God fearing man or woman of character and integrity at the helm of the ship of state will see crime decrease!

These verses also say that "without guidance from God law and order disappear!" In the United States we have systematically attempted to remove the guidance of God from our nation, and law and order have run away!

Respect for God and a healthy fear of the Almighty are essential to a free society that is stable and at peace with itself!

"Lord, in my country, we have tried to remove You from the Wheelhouse of the our Ship of State. And Lord we are discovering that without You as the Pilot of our ship we are doomed to destruction. Save us Lord from our own foolishness! I do pray that it is not too late for us to turn back to You.  Amen."

Friday, January 1, 2016

Jesus Makes Everything New!

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We are ruled by Christ’s love for us. We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died.   And Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us. We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.

2 Corinthians 5:14-18
Today is the first day of 2016! Yesterday may have been a day of looking back at the year that was closing, but today is a day of looking forward to the future.

Someone has wisely said that "Today is the first day of the rest of your life!" The enemy of righteousness wants everyone to sit in despair as they look back at all their failures and sins. If you do that you will surely be paralyzed by the past and unable to move forward toward the future.

But Jesus came so that the past can be forgotten as we live in the truth that "everything is new!"

So on this first day of the "New" Year let Jesus make you a "New" man so that you can live your "New" Life through Him.

"Lord Jesus, everything is New because of You! And Jesus that includes my Life! Thank You for making me a New Man by Your sacrifice on the Cross. May You be praised forever! Amen."