Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Unseen Miracles!

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Everything God created is good. And if you give thanks, you may eat anything.  What God has said and your prayer will make it fit to eat.

1 Timothy 4: 4 - 5

How does God respond to your prayer?  If you are asking Him for something that you believe you need in your life, then God will either give it to you or He will not.  But if you are simply thanking God for something He has already given you, how does the Almighty respond?  These verses in 1 Timothy tell us an amazing truth.  When you thank God for your food before you eat, God responds by making your food fit to eat!  

It is one of those “Unseen Miracles” that God does every day on behalf of His children!  God’s care for you as a follower of Jesus is an active part of the world around you.  How many times a day does the Holy Spirit guide you in a direction that may seem meaningless, but causes you to avoid a head on collision with some disaster?  

Thank the Lord for all the blessings you see in your life, but thank Him also for the many unseen miracles that He performs in making food fit to eat and thousands of other blessings that fly totally under your radar!

“Lord Jesus, I praise You today for all the things You have done and still do for me that I cannot see and cannot know!  But I know that You love me and constantly care for me and all your other children!  Praise Your Holy Name forever!  Amen.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

God is Not Tolerant!

The LORD made the heavens and everything in them by his word.  He scooped up the ocean and stored the water.  Everyone in this world should worship and honor the LORD!  As soon as he spoke the world was created; at his command, the earth was formed.  The LORD destroys the plans and spoils the schemes of the nations.  But what the LORD has planned will stand forever. His thoughts never change.  The LORD blesses each nation that worships only him. He blesses his chosen ones.  The LORD looks at the world  from his throne in heaven, and he watches us all.

Psalm 33: 6 - 14

The blessings of God come to a nation that worships Him and not to the nation that tolerates many gods and promotes them equally!  Originally, freedom of religion in the United States was not about being able to choose your own idol!  There is only One God and if you stand against Him there will be serious and eternal consequences!  But those consequences are for God Himself to pass out.  As a follower of Jesus, my job is to love the lost and call them to repentance!  

What if a husband who loves his wife were to say to her, “I love you so much that I am going to give you the freedom to be intimate with anyone you want?”  I have never heard such a statement, but there are many who assume that God says that same thing to all men!  They imagine that the Word of God says that you can worship whoever or whatever you like and you will still be rewarded with Heaven at the end of this earthly journey!  

It simply is not so!  Idolatry and following other gods has never been acceptable to God and is still an abomination!  Search your heart and mind and see if you are falling down and worshipping anyone or anything other than Almighty God!  If you are, then don’t wait to repent!  The storm is coming and there is no place to hide except in the arms of Jesus!  Only there will you be safe.

“Lord Jesus, make my heart intolerant to those things that offend You.  May Your peace and joy fill my heart now and forever.  Amen.”

Friday, September 23, 2016

Don't Worship Anyone But God!

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From the throne a voice said, "If you worship and fear our God, give praise to him, no matter who you are."  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 that God has said are true."  I knelt at the feet of the angel and began to worship him. But the angel said, "Don't do that! I am a servant, just like you and everyone else who tells about Jesus. Don't worship anyone but God. Everyone who tells about Jesus does it by the power of the Spirit."

(CEV: Revelation 19: 5 - 10)

Have you ever been tempted to "worship" the messenger instead of God who is the author of the message?  In some cultures the role of a Pastor is highly honored and perhaps rightfully so, but there is a danger in honoring the messenger.  I think there is a fine line between honoring someone and worshipping that same person.  Certainly, it is appropriate to give honor to someone who is worthy of that honor, but it is never appropriate to let that honor evolve into worship!  Worship is for God:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  When you worship, you present your whole body, soul, mind and spirit as a willing servant to the one you worship.  

Honoring someone simply recognizes the laudable place they have in your life!  But when you move from honoring a man into worshipping a human being it is a serious betrayal of Jesus.  There is also the possibility of only honoring Jesus and the Father and not truly worshipping them!  

Remember, if you worship a man, it is now time to repent because worship is only for God.    And if you only honor Jesus Christ, it is time to move from honoring Him to worshipping Jesus as your Lord and Savior! 

"Lord Jesus, keep me today from worshipping anyone except You, and show me how to move beyond simply honoring You into a place of worshipping You Jesus with all my heart.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen." 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Joy of Obedience!

Please, LORD, hear my prayer and give me the understanding that comes from your word. Listen to my concerns and keep me safe, just as you have promised.  If you will teach me your laws, I will praise you and sing about your promise, because all of your teachings are what they ought to be.  Be ready to protect me because I have chosen to obey your laws.  I am waiting for you to save me, LORD. Your Law makes me happy. 

Psalm 119: 169 - 174

These verses are from the longest chapter in the Bible.  And if you read all 176 verses you will see that it is all about obeying the law of the Lord!  Over and over again it talks about how wonderful it is to be obedient to everything that God has said!  

Indeed we are not saved by keeping the law but many have missed the joy of obedience because they were warned about legalism!  A legalist might be described as one who trusts in his own obedience to establish the fact that he merits salvation.  

Truthfully, the follower of Jesus, who is not a “legalist” is likely to be even more obedient because he will be ready to obey even the slightest utterance from the Heart of God.  The legalist will want lots of confirmation that the Word he hears is really a command of God!

But when you trust in the Grace of God and the Blood of Jesus for  your salvation you will be like a race horse at the starting gate anxiously waiting for another opportunity to be obedient!  You will run after the Wisdom of God’s Word and thrill at the opportunity to let the Law of God order your life!

“Lord Jesus, show me again today something I can do to be obedient to Your Word.  Let me experience the Joy of letting Your desires rule my life!  And may You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Concerns of Jesus!

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God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life. Then on the day when Christ returns, I can take pride in you. I can also know that my work and efforts were not useless. Your faith in the Lord and your service are like a sacrifice offered to him. And my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice. If this happens, I will be glad and rejoice with you. In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me.  I want to be encouraged by news about you. So I hope the Lord Jesus will soon let me send Timothy to you. I don't have anyone else who cares about you as much as he does. The others think only about what interests them and not about what concerns Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2: 13 - 22

When you pray do you tell God what you want or do you ask Jesus what He wants for you to do with your life?  Life is like a maze through which every man and woman must walk!  We cannot see beyond the next turn in the road.  But Jesus who sits high above can see the whole picture and knows the best thing for us to do at every moment!

Remember though, that your happiness, peace and security here on earth are rarely, if ever the goal that Jesus has for your life.  Jesus knows the end of your story will, as He has promised bring you safely to Heaven in the end.  So, in truth it doesn’t matter how difficult the road you travel in this life.  Even if you were to lose your life in the service of fulling the desires of Jesus, you will be eternally blessed for it!  

So today, as you pray, ask Jesus to show you what His purpose for this day is and how you can be part of fulfilling that purpose!

“Lord Jesus, I want to be about what concerns You today!  Every moment of this day show me how I can be used to accomplish Your goals.  And may You, Jesus be praised for ever.  Amen.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

As It Was Before!

If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will let everyone who wins the victory eat from the life-giving tree in God's wonderful garden.

Revelation 2: 7

When God first made man He put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It was a garden without weeds and there were no thorns or poison ivy!  The beauty of the Garden of Eden is really beyond our ability to comprehend.  Adam and Eve were able to live in that garden and eat from any tree in the Garden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

The Tree of Life was also in that Garden, but they were not forbidden to eat from that tree until after they sinned.  So you could ask the question: How long had Adam and Eve been living in the Garden of Eden before the Snake tempted Eve and they both ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?  The Bible doesn’t answer that question, but we might assume that they had been consuming fruit from the Tree of Life until God threw them out of the Garden of Eden so that they could no longer eat of it!  

Adam and Eve were created to live forever and not die, and were on that path when Sin stopped their progress through Eternity!  Perhaps death came to Adam and Eve because they could no longer eat from the Tree of Life.  And of course, all men now die as we have no access to the Garden of God where that tree still lives!

But the victory that will come to all who follow Jesus is this: They will be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life in the Garden of God and live forever!  It will be again as it was before!  

“Lord Jesus, thank You for providing a way for all who come to You to live forever with You in Heaven where we will eat from the Tree that brings life in God’s Garden!  Praise Your Name forever.  Amen.”

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bomb Blast in New York City!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water.  God said, "I command light to shine!" And light started shining.  God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness and named the light "Day" and the darkness "Night." Evening came and then morning--that was the first day.

Genesis 1: 1 - 5

Only a couple of hours after a bomb blast in New York City the mayor of New York held a news conference and was quick to declare that there is no evidence that it is terror related.  He repeated the assertion several times and then made an amazing statement.  After a bomb explodes and injures 29 people in New York City the major says, and I quote, “It was an intentional act.”  Well, obviously, what else could it have been?

Now imagine that he had said, “The explosion was spontaneous and no one was responsible. It was a bomb, but no one created it.”  That would have been a foolish and ignorant assertion!

But the world itself with all it’s complexities and the universe we see and the universe we can’t see have been declared to be an “unintentional act” of no one and not the Creation of Almighty God!  Scientists study “cause and effect” in everything we see around us and then declare that there is no “cause” for life itself!  

A bomb explodes and everyone knows that somebody did it.  But the amazing and living world around us is declared to be a cosmic accident!  What we used to say was this: “If you believe that the world came into existence by accident, then I have some swamp land in southern Florida I would like to sell you.”  In other words, “You would believe any lie!”

A more personal version of the lie of Satan is this: “It really doesn’t matter if you seek to know the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just live according to your own conscience and you will be fine when you die!”  That is a lie that is straight from the pit of Hell!  Everything for all of Eternity, as far as you are concerned hinges on whether or not you accept Jesus as the Lord of your life.  If Jesus is truly your Lord then everything will be wonderful forever even if a terrorist bomb explodes under your feet!

“Lord Jesus, show me again today that You are indeed my Lord and my Savior.  And may You Jesus be praised now and forever.  Amen.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Who Will You Meet in Heaven?

You have now come to Mount Zion and to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the living God, where thousands and thousands of angels have come to celebrate.  Here you will find all of God's dearest children, whose names are written in heaven. And you will find God himself, who judges everyone. Here also are the spirits of those good people who have been made perfect.  And Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God's new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel.

 Hebrews 12: 22 - 24

When you get to Heaven, who will you meet?  I think these verses are pretty clear in telling us that in Heaven you will find lots of angels, “God’s dearest children,” God Himself, the “spirits of those good people who have been made perfect,” and Jesus!  You may wonder why these verses mention “God’s dearest children” and the “spirits of those who have been made perfect.”  I know the best answer to that question will come from the lips of Jesus when we meet Him in Heaven.  But these words strongly suggest that we will be able to communicate with God’s dearest children!

In your mind, make a list of questions you would ask Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, the Ethiopian eunuch, the thief on the cross next to Jesus, and Mary the mother of Jesus!  Of course, the list can be much longer than that, but as you read the stories of those who are the redeemed think about questions you might ask when you meet them in Heaven.   

Also, did you ever ask your father a question that you were too young to really understand the answer?  There are lots of those questions here on earth for those who love God and when we meet Him face to face in Heaven there will be lots of answers!

The necessary truth for this day and every day from now on is this: Spend time thinking about Heaven!  Ponder what it will be like and let your heart soar above the earth to the Day when you will open your eyes on Eternity!  And remember this: It is a wonderful thing to long for the joys of Heaven!  

“Lord Jesus, thank You for being with me here on this earth.  But I thank You even more that You have promised that I can be with You forever in Heaven.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.”

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness!

We have a great high priest who is in charge of God's house.  So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water.

Hebrews 10: 21 - 22

There is an old saying, that for many years I thought came from men’s imagination, but here I find it in these verses in Hebrews 10.  The saying was “Cleanliness is next to Godliness!”  I thought it was just a way of convincing small children how important it is to stay clean!  But there it is in the Bible.  “Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water.”

I quickly searched a number of Bible translations to see if  “bodies washed with clean water” was translated differently.  It was not.  Some have said that it is referring to the ceremonial washing of the Priest, and others say it is talking about baptism.  Of course, those things may be true, but it is also clearly saying that along with a pure heart and a clear conscience we should keep our bodies clean!  

Most people understand the need to keep their bodies clean, but we must not forget the very serious need for a pure heart and a conscience that is free from evil as well.  When someone never washes his body the odor becomes offensive to everyone they encounter.  When your heart is not pure and your conscience is not clear your “spiritual odor” is offensive to God!  Don’t neglect washing your body, but also pay close attention to the condition of your heart and your conscience!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that I need a pure heart and a clear conscience as well as a clean body!  May You Jesus, be praised forever.  Amen.”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

When Peace Controls Your Heart!

Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.  Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.  Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.

Colossians 3: 15 - 17

How can you let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts?  Well, first you must recognize that losing your peace begins in your mind.  When you are not at peace it is because your thoughts are running into the ditches of doubt and despair.  But real and lasting PEACE comes from believing and knowing for certain that nothing can really harm you or separate you from the love of Christ!  

The temptation that will come at you over and over every day is the temptation to doubt that Jesus will watch over you and care for you as He said He would!  Your thoughts will encourage you to take care of yourself and deal with every situation by the power of your own flesh and human wisdom!  If you do that, then trusting Christ becomes “Plan B” in your life.  

But when you let the Peace of Christ control your thoughts, your heart will be at rest and you will see the world around you bathed in the possibility of what it could be when all men yield to the love of Christ!  It is how God sees them as well!

“Lord Jesus, control my thoughts today and fill me with Your Peace.  May Your Name be praised forever.  Amen.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Louder than Words

The LORD told me to stand by the gate of the temple and to tell the people who were going in that the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said: Pay attention, people of Judah! Change your ways and start living right, then I will let you keep on living in your own country.  Don't fool yourselves! My temple is here in Jerusalem, but that doesn't mean I will protect you.  I will keep you safe only if you change your ways. Be fair and honest with each other.  Stop taking advantage of foreigners, orphans, and widows. Don't kill innocent people. And stop worshiping other gods.

Jeremiah 7: 1 - 6

God will not bless a nation for simply claiming to trust in Him.  The old saying “Actions Speak Louder than Words” is certainly true in every way!  These verses make me think of my own country.  We are certainly guilty of not being fair and honest with each other.  We take advantage of foreigners by allowing them to cross our border illegally and then using them for cheap labor and fraudulent votes in some cases, all the while blaming them for many of our problems.  We also take advantage of orphans and widows by giving them a small subsidy which keeps them locked in poverty and afraid to attempt to escape it’s chains as we vote to limit their opportunities to break free!  And we kill innocent people by the droves even before they are born!

Don’t look for a leader who only speaks the right words!  Words mean nothing unless they are accompanied by right Actions!  The place to start is in your own life.  If what you do is pleasing to God, what you say will be easy.  But if you speak the right words and then live the wrong way you will be called a hypocrite!  

“Lord Jesus, help me to know what to speak this day, but more importantly lead me to the actions that bring Glory to You and to the Father!  May You be Praised forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rescued and Renewed

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Daniel wrote: I looked around and saw two other people--one on this side of the river and one on the other side. The angel who had spoken to me was dressed in linen and was standing upstream from them. So one of the two beside the river asked him, "How long before these amazing things happen?”  The angel then raised both hands toward heaven and said, "In the name of the God who lives forever, I solemnly promise that it will be a time, two times, and half a time. Everything will be over, when the suffering of God's holy people comes to an end.” I heard what the angel said, but I didn't understand. So I asked, "Sir, how will it all end?" The angel in my vision then replied:  Daniel, go about your business, because the meaning of this message will remain secret until the end of time.  Many people will have their hearts and lives made pure and clean, but those who are evil will keep on being evil and never understand. Only the wise will understand.

Daniel 12: 5 - 10

Daniel was an amazing character in the Old Testament.  He was captured and forced to serve a foreign king, but he stilled served the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and remained faithful in everything he did.  God revealed great things to Daniel over the rest of his life.  In this final chapter of the Book of Daniel an angel answers his question about how it will all end.   The angel said,  “Many people will have their hearts and lives made pure and clean, but those who are evil will keep on being evil and never understand. Only the wise will understand.”

As a follower of Jesus, a pure and clean heart and life is something that is done to you, not by you!  Your life is like a rusty and ruined automobile that is rescued from the junk yard and restored and renewed by the careful hand of it’s new owner!  All the car does is to submit to the process.  The hand of the owner is the one who does the work.  

Jesus followers become pure and clean by the power of the One who rescued them from the “junk yard” of life!  Don’t spend your life seeking to make something good out of your heart.  Instead use all your time seeking Jesus who will transform you into the person that God created you to be!  

“Lord Jesus, I submit my life to You again today so You can restore and remake me into Your image!  May Your Name be praised forever.  Amen.”

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hell is for Satan!

At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be set free.  He will fool the countries of Gog and Magog, which are at the far ends of the earth, and their people will follow him into battle. They will have as many followers as there are grains of sand along the beach, and they will march all the way across the earth. They will surround the camp of God's people and the city that his people love. But fire will come down from heaven and destroy the whole army.  Then the devil who fooled them will be thrown into the lake of fire and burning sulfur. He will be there with the beast and the false prophet, and they will be in pain day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 20: 7 - 10

I believe that people are more often confused about Hell than they are about Heaven.  Hell is not a place that was prepared by God for people who live a “bad” life on earth.  According to the Gospel of Matthew Hell was “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels!”  Satan, the beast and the false prophet will suffer day and night forever and ever!  If you choose to follow Jesus you will be with Him forever in Heaven, and if you choose to be a disciple of the Devil you will be with him forever in Hell!  

Jesus died on the Cross so that you would have a choice!  Because of His sacrifice you can accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, be filled with the Holy Spirit and live for Eternity with Him!  But if you refuse to turn your heart to Jesus and follow Satan you will suffer with Him forever in Hell!  

And remember this: Jesus is preparing a special place for you in Heaven if you are his disciple!  It will be wonderful beyond your fondest dreams.  

Hell is for Satan, not for you.  

“Thank You Jesus for making a way for me to be with You forever in Heaven.  May this day be one of continually seeking to be closer to You.  Praise Your Name forever.  Amen.”