Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Come Close to God!

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When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God.  But even if we don't feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.  Dear friends, if we feel at ease in the presence of God, we will have the courage to come near him.

1 John 3: 19 - 21

God is awesome, powerful and truly amazing!  It does take great courage to come near to God.  When you step into the presence of God Almighty, you can know for sure that He knows everything about you.  God knows your strengths and yes, He knows your weaknesses, all of them!

Even the person who is the dearest to you in all this world does not know all of your thoughts, but God does!  So how can you have the courage to come close to the One who knows everything about you?  These verses from 1 John 3 tell us that loving others helps us to feel at ease in the presence of God.

God is Love, and when we walk in love for other people, we are comfortable being close to God.  

So, if your goal for this day is to come close to God, the only way to do that is to focus your life on acting out of love for other members of the human race!  It will certainly change you, both now and forever!

“Thank You Jesus for showing me how to love others so that I might come close to You.  Praise Your Holy Name.  Amen.”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Your Life Should be All About Jesus!

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.

Colossians 3: 1 - 4)

The other day I was reading about upcoming funerals in our local newspaper.  Obituaries tell us lots about those who have recently died.  It made me sad, not because people have died.  We all do that.  But I was sad to read about the things that were more important than anything else in the lives of people who have completed their time here.

Bowling leagues, sports teams, fishing, hunting and a host of other things on this earth may be the most important of all for many people.  And don’t forget flower gardens, shopping, and even cooking.

Occasionally, you see an obituary that talks about Jesus Christ being the center of the departed person’s life!  That should be my goal in living.  

Live your life so that when you die the description of your life will focus on Jesus and little else!  

The story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is all about you!  So the story of your life should be all about Jesus!

“Lord Jesus, if I live to complete this day, may it be a day about You most of all!  Lead me to only do those things today that will bring You Glory.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Greatest Thing!

What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others.  What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others.

1 Corinthians 13: 1 - 3

I am always impressed by a man or woman who can speak even two languages.  But I simply can’t image anyone speaking all languages!  And what about someone who could understand all secrets and literally know everything?  

Then there is a person of great faith, whose faith moves mountains.  What an awesome thing that would be!  And finally the person who sacrifices everything he has and even gives up his life.  

The truth of these verses is that the greatest achievements in this life are nothing without love!  But here is the most amazing thing about this chapter in 1 Corinthians, if you love anyone, you have already done the greatest thing in the world!  And yes, even a child can do that!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me, and for letting me love You and everyone I know!  May Your Name be Praised forever.  Amen.”

Monday, March 27, 2017

The God of Power!

Our LORD, you are the one who gives me strength and protects me like a fortress when I am in trouble. People will come to you from distant nations and say, "Our ancestors worshiped false and useless gods, worthless idols made by human hands." Then the LORD replied, "That's why I will teach them about my power, and they will know that I am the true God."

Jeremiah 16: 19 - 22

God is not just the God of Theology and doctrine.  God is not simply the God of better ideas.  God is the God of Power!  “Coming to Christ” is more than acknowledging that what you have heard about Him is true.  When you come to know Jesus Christ, you encounter His Power!  

Some say the “Age of Miracles” has ceased.  Perhaps without knowing it they have removed answered prayer from the life of a Christian.  What is the answer to prayer, but the miraculous intervention of God in the affairs of men?

If you are living the Christian life without seeing the Power of God all around you and working through you, then you need to look again at the authenticity of your faith! 

These verses in Jeremiah tell us plainly that seeing the Power of God will let you know that He is the True God!  So today, as you read His Word also look for His Power working around you and through you!  Then you will know for certain that He is truly God Almighty!

“Lord Jesus, let me today see, not only Your Word, but Your Power as well!  Let me see that You still are daily involved in the affairs of men!  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.” 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Trouble From God!

After this, I noticed something else in heaven. The sacred tent used for a temple was open.  And the seven angels who were bringing the terrible troubles were coming out of it. They were dressed in robes of pure white linen and wore belts made of pure gold.  One of the four living creatures gave each of the seven angels a bowl made of gold. These bowls were filled with the anger of God who lives forever and ever.  The temple quickly filled with smoke from the glory and power of God. No one could enter it until the seven angels had finished pouring out the seven last troubles.

Revelation 15: 5 - 9

There is a very large misunderstanding about the nature of God that is shared by many people who only know about God, but don’t know Him!  

The confusion is this: Many believe that God only “pours out” wonderful, sweet and pleasant things on people and that anything that is not like that is from the Devil.  These verses in the Book of Revelation tell us about the anger of God resulting in seven last troubles!  

The Bible also tells us that God will discipline the children that He loves.  So when trouble comes to your life, it may seem like God is punishing you, when He is only discipling your heart.  And don’t forget Job who suffered terribly because God was pleased with Job’s life!

So when trouble comes, and it will, turn your heart toward Jesus and hold on to Him as tight as you can!  Ask God to show you if there is something for which you need to repent. And if you need to repent, then repent, but if not, trust God with all your heart and wait for the refreshing that will come from Him!

“Lord Jesus, make my heart today like Yours!  Whatever You choose for me today, whether it be peace and quiet or pain and suffering I thank You and praise You for it!  Bless Your Holy Name, Amen!”

Monday, March 20, 2017

God's Image On My Heart!

Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy.

Ephesians 4: 23 - 24

When you set your heart on following Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit changes you so that you will be like God!  That is the way God created Adam and Eve in the first place.  They were made in His image, but sin and the fall of man corrupted the image and made it ugly and repulsive.

I recently met a man who makes a wonderful living as a portrait artist.  He is able with canvas and paint to preserve the likeness of someone with great accuracy and beauty.  Really, that is what the Holy Spirit does with your life.  You are the canvas and the Spirit of God paints a portrait of God Himself on your heart!  So when someone looks at your heart they will see Jesus!  

Don’t look in the mirror and see what you are now.  The Blood of Jesus will wash your heart clean and make it as white as snow!  Then the Holy Spirit will change the way you look to everyone who sees you.   

Let God paint His portrait on your heart!  Then everything you do as you are being led and guided by the Holy Spirit will give Glory to the One who Created us all!

“Thank You Jesus for choosing me to follow You and for letting me choose You!  May I reflect Your  Glory every day and in every way!  Amen.”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

God We Trust!

The LORD said: I gave this land to my people Israel, but enemies around it have attacked and robbed it. So I will uproot them from their own countries just as I will uproot Judah from its land.  But later, I will have pity on these nations and bring them back to their own lands. They once taught my people to worship Baal. But if they admit I am the only true God, and if they let my people teach them how to worship me, these nations will also become my people. However, if they don't listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and completely destroy them. I, the LORD, have spoken.

Jeremiah 12: 14 - 17

A nation that opposes God and even fights against Israel can change and become a nation that is blessed by God.  Perhaps the most significant statement ever made by the United States Government is the four simple words: IN GOD WE TRUST! 

The phrase first appeared in the fourth stanza of the Star Spangled Banner, which, of course you never hear anyone sing!  It began appearing on coins in 1864 and on paper money in 1957 after it became the official motto of the United States.  

At this point in history, anyone who opposes our declaration of dependence on God must fund the effort with money that shouts our trust in God!  Perhaps the push to move the United States to a “cashless society” is to eliminate the passing of notes and coins that declare trust in God!  

So, today, if you are an American, when you pay in cash for anything, don’t miss the opportunity to point out that the money you are giving the cashier says that our country trusts in God!  

“Lord Jesus, may we all trust You, just as it says on the United States money!  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Fabric of Your Heart!

Everyone on this earth will remember you, LORD. People all over the world will turn and worship you, because you are in control, the ruler of all nations.  All who are rich and have more than enough will bow down to you, Lord. Even those who are dying and almost in the grave will come and bow down.  In the future, everyone will worship and learn about you, our Lord.  People not yet born will be told, "The Lord has saved us!"

Psalm 22: 27 - 32

In the End there will be no Atheists!  People who don’t believe in God now will certainly believe and will fall down in worship!  Everyone in Hell will know for certain that God exists!  

With an entire Cosmos of stunning evidences of the existence of God, those who call themselves Atheists are really “non-obeyers” rather than non-believers!  Woven into the fabric of your heart is the knowledge that God is, but because of sin you are overwhelmed with the desire to be disobedient to the One who made you! 

The things that God tells you to do are the very things that you fundamentally reject!  And the things that God tells you not to do are the things that you find yourself doing, every day!  

The resolution of your confusion is to repent of your sins, turn your heart to Jesus and be obedient to every Word that comes from God!  It is the only answer that will work now, and forever!

“Lord Jesus, I choose to trust and obey You today and forever.  Praise Your Holy Name.  Amen.”   

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Jesus or Your Sin?

This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.   It began just as God had said in the book written by Isaiah the prophet, "I am sending my messenger to get the way ready for you.   In the desert someone is shouting, 'Get the road ready for the Lord! Make a straight path for him.' "   So John the Baptist showed up in the desert and told everyone, "Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven."   From all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

Mark 1: 1 - 5

John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord.  That was his ministry and he did it well.  But what about men and women today?  Do our hearts need to be prepared for the Lord to take control of us?  The answer to that question is this:  Yes of course our hearts need to prepare for the Lord!  And that preparation is repentance!

Until you decide that you don’t want to be controlled by sin, your heart will not turn to Jesus!  You see, sin is your master until you repent and Jesus said that you can’t be controlled by two masters!  John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by preaching repentance!  And you can prepare the way for Jesus to have full control of your heart by turning away from and repenting of your sins!

You can’t bask in the love of Jesus and enjoy fellowship with the Holy Spirit while still clinging to the sins that pull you away from Him!  You have a choice: Jesus or your sin!  Which will it be?  If you choose sin you will have a miserable life with momentary flashes of pleasure followed by pain!  If you choose Jesus you will have a wonderful life with occasional times of suffering and pain, but even they will be accompanied by joy and peace that will last forever!  

Choose today to repent of all the sin in your life and hold on to Jesus with every fiber of your being!  By turning from your sin you will prepare the way for Jesus to control you fully and bless you completely!  

“Lord Jesus, I want You more than I want the pleasure of my sin.  Take control of my life and help me to repent of everything that would pull me away from You.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Remember Levi!

I am telling you this, so I can continue to keep my agreement with your ancestor Levi.  I blessed him with a full life, as I had promised, and he kept his part of the agreement by honoring me and respecting my name.  He taught the truth and never told lies, and he led a lot of people to turn from sin, because he obeyed me and lived right.

Malachi 2: 4 - 6

Somehow, I have never really stopped to think about Levi and what it says about him in these verses from Malachi 2.  Of course, the priests were all from the tribe of Levi.  But Levi was a man of character and he lived a full life because he honored and respected the Name of the Lord!   

Levi proclaimed the truth and never told lies and many people turned away from sin because Levi lived an obedient life before the Lord!  

I would suggest that you might want to add Levi to your list of Bible characters who are good role models!  

May it be said of you that you teach the truth and never tell lies.  And may many people turn from sin because you obey the Lord!

“Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of Levi.  May his light shine brightly even today for those who follow You.  Praise Your Name forever.  Amen.”

Monday, March 6, 2017

You Can't Change!

Can you ever change and do what's right? Can people change the color of their skin, or can a leopard remove its spots? If so, then maybe you can change and learn to do right.

Jeremiah 13: 23

These words seem to be rather discouraging.  They are saying that a leopard can’t remove its spots and a man can’t change his skin color, and in the same way a man who is doing what is wrong can’t change and do what is right!  How could this be?

Does that mean that it is hopeless for you to change your ways and begin doing what is right?  Actually, it means exactly that!  You see, you can’t change, but you can be changed!  And that change is by the power of God, not by your own strength.  

That is really the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus not only died to pay for your sins, but He sent the Holy Spirit to fill your heart and show you how to live every moment of your life as Jesus did.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, living in you, you will be changed into the image of Jesus Himself.  You will be Crucified with Christ, buried with Him and rise to walk in a new life!  

So, instead of spending your time trying methods of “self improvement,” give your body, soul, and spirit to Jesus and let Him transform you into His own image!  

“Lord Jesus, I confess that I cannot change myself into a man of righteousness, but I can be changed by Your sacrifice on the Cross!  Change me Lord, today.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Transfer of Wealth!

My little group of disciples, don't be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom.  Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves moneybags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it.  Your heart will always be where your treasure is.

Luke 12: 32 - 34

What is the “Kingdom” that God wants to give to the disciples of Jesus?  We have made the concept of the Kingdom of God too complicated.  In simple terms, a kingdom is a realm where there is a King and there are those who listen to and obey the King!  

When you become a follower of Jesus Christ, God Himself becomes your King and you live your life in obedience to His commands.  It is that simple.  God is the King and you obey Him!

The reason that you want to deposit your treasure in Heaven rather than here on earth is this:  If you are to be a faithful and obedient servant of God you must make sure that your heart is where He is in Heaven and not on this earth!  If your heart is on this earth, then you will find it hard to be completely obedient to God.  

The Kingdom of God is where you will find peace and rest and eternal joy!  

“Lord Jesus, I want my treasure and my heart to be in Heaven where my Father is there with You.  Help me today to transfer more of my treasure from earth to Heaven.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Blessed More Than Mary!

While Jesus was still talking, a woman in the crowd spoke up, "The woman who gave birth to you and nursed you is blessed!"  Jesus replied, "That's true, but the people who are really blessed are the ones who hear and obey God's message!"

Luke 11: 27 - 28

Mary, the mother of Jesus was certainly a blessed lady!  Millions of people around the world hold her in the highest esteem.  These verses in Luke seem to be saying that it is even a greater blessing to hear God’s message and obey it, than to be the mother of Jesus!  

When the world around her looked at Mary’s blessing, it didn’t look like a blessing at all!  Mary appeared to be a woman who was making the best of a bad situation since she became pregnant before marrying Joseph.  

But Mary knew that the Baby she was carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit!  The blessings, after you hear and obey the Word of God may not look like blessings at all to the world around you.  They may think you are a person who sees things that are not there and believes things that are not true!  But like Mary, you know for certain that you are blessed by God! 

Like the old hymn says, “There is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and Obey.”

“Lord Jesus, Mary was indeed blessed by being Your mother, but I am blessed as well by being Your obedient disciple.  Help me to walkB in obedience to Your every desire for me today.  Praise Your Name forever.  Amen.”

Friday, March 3, 2017

Touch Me Again!

One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, and a woman was there who had been crippled by an evil spirit for eighteen years. She was completely bent over and could not straighten up.  When Jesus saw the woman, he called her over and said, "You are now well."   He placed his hands on her, and right away she stood up straight and praised God.   The man in charge of the meeting place was angry because Jesus had healed someone on the Sabbath. So he said to the people, "Each week has six days when we can work. Come and be healed on one of those days, but not on the Sabbath."  The Lord replied, "Are you trying to fool someone? Won't any one of you untie your ox or donkey and lead it out to drink on a Sabbath?  This woman belongs to the family of Abraham, but Satan has kept her bound for eighteen years. Isn't it right to set her free on the Sabbath?"  Jesus' words made his enemies ashamed. But everyone else in the crowd was happy about the wonderful things he was doing. 

Luke 13: 10 - 17

Jesus said the woman in this story belonged to the family of God, but was crippled by Satan for many years.  

We live in a world today where the Devil tries to bind up or even cripple those who follow Jesus.  Every time you refuse to trust Jesus and doubt the Word that He has spoken, you are allowing Satan to bind you and keep you from walking in the freedom that Jesus gives to those who follow Him!

The only way to be free from the chains of doubt and fear is to come to Jesus and let Him touch you again!  With the Hands of Jesus placed on your head and His arms wrapped around you, you will be restored to spiritual health and wholeness!

“Lord Jesus, touch me today again with the healing power that can only come from You, my Lord and my God!  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”