Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fiery Final Chapter!

The day of the Lord's return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are.  Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live.  You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon. On that day the heavens will be destroyed by fire, and everything else will melt in the heat.

2 Peter 3: 10 - 12

Fire came to Gatlinburg, Tennessee!  Gatlinburg is a resort town at the entrance to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  Almost 50 years ago my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Gatlinburg, but now it has been devastated by fire.  At this point no one knows for sure what caused the terribly destructive blaze.  Was it a lightning strike, or an arsonist, or perhaps a careless camper?  The origin of the fire may never be known, but the results of the blaze will last for a very long time.

Fire is coming to the heavens and will melt the earth and everything on it.  There are many shades of theology about the End Times, but very few have figured in these verses in 2 Peter.  According to the Bible there will be a fiery final chapter to the earth and everything on it!  

Our purpose as human beings is not to stop the End of the World from coming, but it is rather to turn our hearts toward Jesus, so that we will be ready for the fire when it comes!  Then we will see the New Heavens and the New Earth!

“Lord Jesus, help me to be ready for the day when I hear the loud noise and the heavens are destroyed by fire.  Thank You Jesus that everyone who loves You will not be harmed when it comes.  May You be praised forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Angel Who Helped Jesus!

Jesus walked on a little way before he knelt down and prayed,  "Father, if you will, please don't make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want."  Then an angel from heaven came to help him.  Jesus was in great pain and prayed so sincerely that his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood.

Luke 22: 41 - 44

The night before Jesus suffered and died on the Cross, an angel came from heaven to help Him.  The Bible doesn’t say how the angel ministered to Jesus, and it doesn’t even tell us the name of the angel.  Sometimes in the Bible we are told the name of an angel.  

I suppose though that Jesus knew the angel.  Jesus was God in the flesh and God created all of the angels, so Jesus must have known the angel who came.  Perhaps the angel did nothing except be there with Jesus as He was in great pain.  Sometimes the best way to help someone who is suffering is to quietly be with them at that difficult time.  

Remember, you can take great comfort in the fact that Jesus promised to be with you, if you are His disciple, even to the end of the world!  You will suffer and it will not be easy, but you will have the Savior Himself by your side as you walk through your time of trouble!

“Lord Jesus, I hope some day to meet the angel who helped You that night as You prayed.  Thank You Lord that You have promised to be with me in my time of suffering. And may You, Jesus, be praised forever.  Amen.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Jesus is the Morning Star

I am Jesus! And I am the one who sent my angel to tell all of you these things for the churches. I am David's Great Descendant, and I am also the bright morning star.

Revelation 22:16

The Morning Star lets you know that the day will soon dawn!   It is the bright light in the sky just before the sun comes up!   The promise that Jesus will come again lets us know that a new day is coming!  

After Jesus comes again, everything will change!  Everything will be made new!   

Today the world is a sad and dangerous place.  There are wars and rumors of wars.  There are earthquakes and tsunamis.  Terrorism and unrest touch the fabric of many nations!  But the day is coming soon when Jesus will put an end to all that trouble!  The Morning Star will bring in a New Day of peace and prosperity for all those who seek Him and do His will!

“Lord Jesus, when I look at the world around me, it is a terrifying sight, but when I look at You I see the promise of Eternity!  Come quickly Lord Jesus.  And may You be praised forever.  Amen.”

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Begin to Think Right!

But the angel told him: Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John.  His birth will make you very happy, and many people will be glad.  Your son will be a great servant of the Lord. He must never drink wine or beer, and the power of the Holy Spirit will be with him from the time he is born.  John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God.  He will go ahead of the Lord with the same power and spirit that Elijah had. And because of John, parents will be more thoughtful of their children. And people who now disobey God will begin to think as they ought to. That is how John will get people ready for the Lord.

Luke 1: 13 - 17

When Jesus came as the Son of Mary, God prepared the way for His arrival by sending John the Baptist.  The purpose and calling of John’s life was decided before he was born.  It was his mission to prepare people for the coming of Jesus!  

The saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ today also prepares men and women for the return of Jesus!  Jesus will come whether or not you are ready for Him!  For those who are ready, it will be the greatest day of their life!  If you are not ready for His return, the sound of the trumpet will usher you into an Eternity of Suffering!  

If you are now living your life in disobedience to God, you must begin to think as you ought to before it is too late!  Humble yourself before the Mighty Hand of God!  God did not create you to be firewood for Hell!  Repent and be ready for Jesus to return!

“Lord Jesus, help me today to think as I should about everything, and turn my heart once again toward You.  May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

Do You Worship an Unknown God?

More than anything else the people of Athens and the foreigners living there loved to hear and to talk about anything new.  So Paul stood up in front of the council and said: People of Athens, I see that you are very religious.  As I was going through your city and looking at the things you worship, I found an altar with the words, "To an Unknown God." You worship this God, but you don't really know him. So I want to tell you about him.

Acts 17: 21 - 23

The people of Athens were very religious!  They even had an altar “To an Unknown God.”  So Paul told them about this God that they worshipped, even though they did not know Him.

Do you worship an Unknown God?  You may know lots about Him, but do you really know Him?  You may have built an altar to Him in your life and even spend one day a week honoring Him, by worshipping Him, but do you really know Him?  Do you know what God enjoys?  Do you know what He has planned for your life?  Are you able to recognize His voice above the noise of a busy day?  Do you pray about “nothing,” just to spend a few moments with Him?  Is God always on your mind?

Remember, you can be an active member of a church and still not know Jesus Christ.  You can sing the songs, and listen to the sermons without Jesus becoming the Friend that He wants to be in your life!   

Of course, it is a good thing to fellowship and worship with other believers, but the important thing is what is going on in your heart!  When your heart is turned completely to Jesus, you will not be worshipping an Unknown God!

“Lord Jesus, help me to know You better today than I have ever known You before.  And may You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Not Just a Change in Destination!

The Lord has given us this command, "I have placed you here as a light for the Gentiles. You are to take the saving power of God to people everywhere on earth."  This message made the Gentiles glad, and they praised what they had heard about the Lord. Everyone who had been chosen for eternal life then put their faith in the Lord. The message about the Lord spread all over that region.

Acts 13: 47 - 49

The God who made us all, provided a way for every man and woman on earth to be forgiven for their sins and receive the promise of living with Jesus in Heaven forever!  The language you speak makes no difference.  Your home country is irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter how bad you have been or how confused you are about the Truth of God!  

When you hear about Jesus and decide in your heart to pursue a relationship with the Savior, your mind begins to clear and you see everything differently!  Instead of the Bible being a strange book of old sayings, it morphs into a Word from Heaven for this moment!  The more you trust God, the more you cease to respond to difficult situations and simply allow the Holy Spirit to chart the appropriate path!  You lose the desire to react in ways that now are clearly wrong.  

Being “Saved” is not just a change of Eternal destinations.  It is rather a change of who you are in every fiber of your being!  You become like Jesus, not because you are imitating Him, but because your very nature is being changed into the same nature as that of Jesus Himself!  

“Lord Jesus, thank You for paying the price for my sins, so that I can by Your power become like You!  May You, Jesus be praised now and forever.  Amen.” 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Radical Saul Becomes Radical Paul!

Saul kept on threatening to kill the Lord's followers. He even went to the high priest and asked for letters to the Jewish leaders in Damascus. He did this because he wanted to arrest and take to Jerusalem any man or woman who had accepted the Lord's Way.  When Saul had almost reached Damascus, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him.

Acts 9: 1 - 3

Have you ever been guilty of deciding that an unredeemed, man or woman of the world would make a “wonderful Christian” because they are so nice and they are smart and talented as well?  Most of us would never have thought that Saul who became the Apostle Paul would have been such a prominent follower of Jesus.  The Apostle Paul is perhaps the best example of a man who was a real enemy of Christ who had set about to kill believers, before the Lord Himself turned Paul around on the road to Damascus.

You know the rest of that story.  The story of Christian conversion is not leading people who are “naturally nice” to be that way, while sitting in the pews of a church.  Coming to Christ is a radical, life changing and eternal decision that transforms even the worst sinner into a useful tool of the Holy Spirit as he brings others to know Jesus!

You see, it is not for us to decide who should hear the message of Jesus.  Our job is to seek to  deliver the Gospel to everyone we encounter throughout the day and let the Holy Spirit work in their hearts.  Judging which person would be the “best believer” is something God never asked us to do.  

“Lord Jesus, I thank you for the example of the Apostle Paul, who in our eyes was the worst of sinners, but who was used by You to spread Your Word to the whole world!  May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Road to the Remedy!

You women of Samaria are fat cows! You mistreat and abuse the poor and needy, then you say to your husbands, "Bring us more drinks!"  I, the LORD God, have sworn by my own name that your time is coming. Not one of you will be left-- you will be taken away by sharp hooks.  You will be dragged through holes in your city walls, and you will be thrown toward Harmon. I, the LORD, have spoken!

Amos 4: 1 - 3

God is not politically correct!  In these verses, He is calling the women of Samaria “Fat Cows!”  Such language would not be acceptable in our “civilized world” today.  How dare God use such language in referring to women, any women!

I will say it again: GOD IS NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT!    When the truth comes into conflict with the world as we see it, or perhaps want it to be, we declare that speaking that truth is unacceptable.  

We claim that we have the right not to be offended by the words of others.  That sounds proper until it is the truth itself that offends!  When the truth of God offends my life, I have one of two options.  I can proclaim that I am the victim and declare that I am being persecuted by God, or I can recognize that I am a sinner and need to repent before God Himself!  When I do that, the truth becomes the road to the remedy for my despair, which is the Cross of Jesus Christ!

So, when you read the Bible and find Words that offend, take heart!  It is your opportunity to remove a roadblock to your relationship with Jesus!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for Your willingness to speak truth to my heart, even if it offends!  May You Jesus, be praised forever.  Amen.”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fully Functioning Fellowship!

I have honored my followers in the same way that you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one.   I am one with them, and you are one with me, so that they may become completely one. Then this world's people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.   Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created.

John 17: 22 - 25

The “oneness” of followers of Jesus is necessary if the people of this world are going to believe that Jesus was sent from God!  The best way for Satan to mute the message of the Gospel is to divide those who believe it!  If those who proclaim the love of God for all mankind do not share love for each other, then the truth of God’s love becomes suspect. 

A fully functioning fellowship of believers that walk in love for each other is a living display of what God is all about!  The world sees it and wants to know if they too could experience that kind of love in community with others!

Then the doctrines of Scripture cease to be points of argument.  The living relationships with each other and with Jesus are the enticement to the world.  

Such a congregation of believers will draw men and women out of the world and into fellowship with Jesus Himself!  The truths in Scripture will confirm that what you are seeing is not counterfeit.  Always check what you see by what you read in the Bible!  But never forget that the Word of God is talking about a living reality and not some kind of a pretend religion!

“Lord Jesus, help me today to be one with those who also loves and follows You.  Help us to love each other so that  many others will come to know You as well!  Praise Your Name forever.  Amen.”  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Start With the Wall!

During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was king, I served him his wine, as I had done before. But this was the first time I had ever looked depressed.  So the king said, "Why do you look so sad? You're not sick. Something must be bothering you." Even though I was frightened,  I answered, "Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! I feel sad because the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and its gates have been burned down."  The king asked, "What do you want me to do?" I prayed to the God who rules from heaven.  Then I told the king, "Sir, if it's all right with you, please send me back to Judah, so that I can rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried."

Nehemiah 2: 1 - 5

The entire Book of Nehemiah is filled with amazingly up to date truths about rebuilding a nation that was once a God fearing land, but had fallen into great disrepair.  

If you live in the United States, you might be amazed that the first thing Nehemiah did was to repair the wall around the city of Jerusalem.  And while they were rebuilding the wall, the opposition was fierce.  The rest of the city could not be restored until the secure wall was in place!

The principles for rebuilding Jerusalem are also true for rebuilding your life, if you have walked away from God.  The first thing to do after you turn your heart back to Jesus is to rebuild the wall around your life.  There are things that have easy access to your heart that must be blocked by a wall of Righteousness!  And you can be sure that there will be strong opposition to the building of that wall!

Look at the wall around your heart today and if you see a piece of the wall that is missing, then fill up the hole today!  Guard your heart and mind from everything that would draw you away from Jesus!  Remember, every flood starts with the first drop of rain!  Protect your heart from everything that Satan would use to draw you away from God!

“Lord Jesus, I need You to show me today any holes in the wall around my heart!  Give me the strength and courage to rebuild that wall today.  And may You Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Source of Truth!

The LORD is a mighty tower where his people can run for safety-- the rich think their money is a wall of protection.  Pride leads to destruction; humility leads to honor.  It's stupid and embarrassing to give an answer before you listen.  Being cheerful helps when we are sick, but nothing helps when we give up.  Everyone with good sense wants to learn.

Proverbs 18: 10 - 15

If you want to be wise, you will go often to the book of Proverbs for advice!  If you are depending on your money, you can lose it all on a bad day on Wall Street!  

Pride can lead to your own destruction and what good advice it is to listen before you answer.  If you do not you may show how stupid you are and be embarrassed. 

When it comes to what you think about God, it is wise to listen to what God says and learn from Him before you decide.   

I once heard a man ask his pastor, “What do we believe about . . . . .”  If you believe something simply because another man told you to believe it, how can you know that it is true?  If you believe something because God said it, you can know for certain that what you believe is the TRUTH!

“Lord Jesus, help me to want to learn from You instead of learning from those in the world around me.  May You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.” 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

One Small Sin!

If you hire poor people to work for you, don't hold back their pay, whether they are Israelites or foreigners who live in your town.  Pay them their wages at the end of each day, because they live in poverty and need the money to survive. If you don't pay them on time, they will complain about you to the LORD, and he will punish you.

Deuteronomy 24: 14 - 15

If you read through the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament I think you will be shocked at how many things are declared worthy of the death penalty.  It does not declare that not paying poor people who work for you on time is a capital crime, but it says the Lord will punish those who do it!

Clearly evil is like the ivy vine that my wife planted years ago in our lower yard.  It was not long before the vine had taken over the whole yard.  Just one sprig of ivy will spread like a wildfire.  When you tolerate sin in your country, or in your own life it will spread like an out of control cancer, and it will bring death!

Read the whole book of Deuteronomy and see if you are not sobered about sin in your life and in your country.  God has not changed.  His great love for His children has not changed His righteous judgement against sin!  

If you look at your own heart and see a single piece of sin growing there, pluck it out, and do it quickly!  Sin will not stop until it has taken over your whole heart!

“Lord Jesus, help me to be warned about allowing even one small sin to stay in my heart and life!  Give me the courage to turn from it today.  And may You, Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Be One of the Few!

Be alert and think straight. Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears.  Behave like obedient children. Don't let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be.  Always live as God's holy people should, because God is the one who chose you, and he is holy.  That's why the Scriptures say, "I am the holy God, and you must be holy too."

1 Peter 1: 13 - 16

It is certainly a good thing to think about how kind God will be to you when Jesus returns!  Your loyalty to Jesus will not go unrewarded.

As President Elect Donald Trump is picking the men and women to serve in the highest positions of the government of the United States, the headline news story is that he rewards loyalty.  Those who have been the most loyal to him will receive the best positions!

You can be sure that your loyalty to Jesus Christ will not go unrewarded when He returns on that Glorious Day!  With the new American President that loyalty was displayed best when almost everyone turned away from him.  There were only a few who never wavered, and they will be rewarded for that loyalty.

When Jesus returns there may be only a few who never denied Him when the battle began to rage!  Make it your goal, for the rest of your life to be one of those few!  You will never regret it!

“Lord Jesus, give me the courage to stand up for You when no one else will!  Thank You Jesus for everything, and may You be praised forever.  Amen.”

Monday, November 14, 2016

Blessing and Trusting

People of Judah, your sins cannot be erased. They are written on your hearts like words chiseled in stone or carved on the corners of your altars.  One generation after another has set up pagan altars and worshiped the goddess Asherah everywhere in your country-- on hills and mountains, and under large trees.  So I'll take everything you own, including your altars, and give it all to your enemies.  You will lose the land that I gave you, and I will make you slaves in a foreign country, because you have made my anger blaze up like a fire that won't stop burning.  I, the LORD, have put a curse on those who turn from me and trust in human strength.  They will dry up like a bush in salty desert soil, where nothing can grow.  But I will bless those who trust me.

Jeremiah 17: 1 - 7

Sin is a terrible thing!  God does not simply erase your sins and pretend that they never happened!  The price of every sin must be paid and that price is the Blood of Jesus Christ.  Every sin you and I have ever committed added to the suffering of Jesus on the Cross!  Jesus personally felt the consequence of each and every sin in my life!  

After you have decided to follow Jesus, the doorway to more sin in your life is to trust in human strength!  When you trust in your own wisdom instead of asking for the wisdom of God in every situation you are asking for the opposition of God to frustrate your walk!  

The blessings of God and trusting in Him go hand in hand!  If you are not being blessed by God, maybe it is because you are not trusting Him!  Without dependence on God, the blessings of the Almighty seem to go away!  

But when you trust God, every blessing that comes from His hand washes over your heart!

“Lord Jesus, help me today to trust You in everything, that I might be blessed by You in every way!  Praise Your Holy Name forever!  Amen.”  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Unchanged Hearts!

The LORD says: Don't brag about your wisdom or strength or wealth.  If you feel you must brag, then have enough sense to brag about worshiping me, the LORD. What I like best is showing kindness, justice, and mercy to everyone on earth.  Someday I will punish the nations of Egypt, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, and the tribes of the desert. The men of these nations are circumcised, but they don't worship me. And it's the same with you people of Judah. Your bodies are circumcised, but your hearts are unchanged.

Jeremiah 9: 23 - 26

What you are on the outside and what you are in your heart may be totally opposite!  These verses in Jeremiah clearly say that the people of Judah looked like followers of the Lord on the outside, but on the inside they were still people of the world around them!

It is better to look like you belong to the world, but inside your heart is changed, than to look like you are a follower of Jesus and have a heart that is still committed to the world!  There is no value in being an unredeemed person who looks like a disciple of Christ!  

Let Jesus change your heart first and the way you look to others will change as well!  Real conversion always starts on the inside!

“Lord Jesus, help me to always have a heart that is totally turned to you.  And may You Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Jesus is Knocking!

Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together. Everyone who wins the victory will sit with me on my throne, just as I won the victory and sat with my Father on his throne.  If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

Revelation 3: 20 - 22

What happens when you open the door of your heart to Jesus?  The Lord Jesus is not only standing at your door and knocking on it, but He is also calling your name!  When you hear His voice and open the door Jesus comes in with food to share with you!  And it is food unlike any other food you have ever tasted!

The food Jesus brings to your heart strengthens every cell in your body and fills your spirit with energy from above!  It is the same food Jesus talked about when His disciples told Him to eat something and He replied by saying, “I have food that you don’t know anything about.”

With the strength you get from eating with Jesus you will be able to “Win the Victory,” and then sit with Jesus on His throne!  The idea of sitting with Jesus on His throne leaves me speechless!

“Lord Jesus, I know it all begins when I open the door of my heart to You.  So I open the door to my heart today!  Please come in Jesus that I may win the victory because of what You have done.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.” 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trump and the End of the World!

From John to the seven churches in Asia. I pray that you will be blessed with kindness and peace from God, who is and was and is coming. May you receive kindness and peace from the seven spirits before the throne of God.  May kindness and peace be yours from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. Jesus was the first to conquer death, and he is the ruler of all earthly kings. Christ loves us, and by his blood he set us free from our sins.  He lets us rule as kings and serve God his Father as priests. To him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds. Everyone will see him, even the ones who stuck a sword through him. All people on earth will weep because of him. Yes, it will happen! Amen.

Revelation 1: 4 - 7

When the votes were counted and it became apparent that Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States the reaction was strong.  Those who had supported him were joyful, but those who had opposed the soon to be President began to weep and panic.  For them the world had come to an end and Donald Trump was the worst possible way for it to end!

When Jesus returns it will be the same for those who are His enemies!  They now live their lives in total defiance of everything God desires and declare that God’s Word does not apply today!  But when that final trumpet sounds they will quickly know that Jesus has won and they have lost!   It will indeed be the end of the world!

When Donald Trump was elected President almost all the pollsters predicted the election would go the other way, but they were wrong!  When Jesus returns all those who are now predicting that it will not happen will find out that they are wrong as well!  A presidential election may not matter much in the overall scheme of things, but the return of Jesus matters to all of us!  If you are on the wrong side when Jesus comes, you will regret it and weep, not just now, but forever!

“Lord Jesus, give me the courage to warn those who oppose You that they may turn their hearts to You before that great day of Your return!  Praise Your Holy Name forever!  Amen.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Don't Run Away from God!

One day the LORD told Jonah, the son of Amittai, to go to the great city of Nineveh and say to the people, "The LORD has seen your terrible sins. You are doomed!"  Instead, Jonah ran from the LORD. He went to the seaport of Joppa and bought a ticket on a ship that was going to Spain. Then he got on the ship and sailed away to escape.  But the LORD made a strong wind blow, and such a bad storm came up that the ship was about to be broken to pieces.

Jonah 1: 1 - 4

The city of Nineveh is in today's news as well.  It was located inside the limits of Mosul, Iraq.  

Before God sent the great fish to swallow Jonah, He sent the storm!  

When God gives you a direction for your life and you run away from Him, you can expect a storm!  When Jonah ran away from God, the Almighty did whatever it took to bring Jonah to his senses.  That included letting Jonah be swallowed by a great fish and then be vomited up on the shore!  

Going to Nineveh was no small task.  It was more than 500 miles from where Jonah got on the boat, and it was in the opposite direction from where the boat was going!

One lesson we learn from the life of Jonah is this:  The storm in your life may not be an attack of Satan.  Rather, it may be brought on by God Himself to get you turned around and headed back in the right direction.  And even if you find yourself in the “belly of a whale” don’t give up while calling on the Name of the Lord to save you!  The most important lesson from the life of Jonah is this: When God tells you to do a thing, set your heart, mind and yes, your feet to do it, no matter what it is!  Just do it!

“Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom and courage to be obedient to the leading of Your Spirit today no matter what it is You tell me to do!  May You Jesus be praised forever.  Amen.”