Friday, May 26, 2017

The Memory of Cool Water!

As a deer gets thirsty for streams of water, I truly am thirsty for you, my God.  In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God. When will I see your face?  Day and night my tears are my only food, as everyone keeps asking, "Where is your God?"   Sorrow floods my heart, when I remember leading the worshipers to your house. I can still hear them shout their joyful praises.

Psalm 42: 1 - 4

I remember a time when a Sunday morning worship service was “electric” with anticipation!  We would come together, not just to hear a sermon or to sing songs of praise and worship, but to hear from God!  Regularly, God would speak to my heart and life while we were gathered together.  The Holy Spirit was moving among those who assembled!  The “order of worship” was regularly interrupted by the testimony of a brother or sister who “felt led” to bring us a short word!  It was the leader’s responsibility to lovingly judge the things that were said as to whether or not they were from God.  

Many of the songs we sang were new, and were even composed by someone in the fellowship!  I even remember one time when there was a line of people waiting to tearfully confess their sins to the congregation.  

“Sorrow floods my heart,” when I remember those days.  It was a time when God showed His face and overwhelmed us with His love!  But then came our “cooling off” to the things of the Spirit, and like the writer of Psalm 42 we have become “thirsty for God!”  It is the memory of drinking cool, refreshing water that makes your thirst even greater!  

“Lord Jesus, we are thirsty for You today.  Overwhelm us with Your love and bring revival to our hearts!  Lead us to a time when the whole world will see Your Glory and praise Your Holy Name!  Hallelujah! Amen.” 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Do Your Thoughts Please God?

Your love is faithful, LORD, and even the clouds in the sky can depend on you.  Your decisions are always fair. They are firm like mountains, deep like the sea, and all people and animals are under your care.  Your love is a treasure, and everyone finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.  You give your guests a feast in your house, and you serve a tasty drink that flows like a river.  The life-giving fountain belongs to you, and your light gives light to each of us. Our LORD, keep showing love to everyone who knows you, and use your power to save all whose thoughts please you.

Psalm 36: 5 - 10

Do your thoughts please the Lord?  Most people believe that pleasing God is the result of what you believe, do and say.  And, of course belief, actions and words are crucial in your walk with Jesus, but what about your thoughts?  

Thoughts are your “Secret Place” where you can ponder words that you would never say.  In your thoughts you can consider actions that you know would not be pleasing to God.  

Here is the lie that Satan tells us about our thoughts.  He says: “God doesn’t know what you are thinking. So go ahead and think whatever you want.  And as long as you don’t say it or do it, God won’t care!”

Like Satan’s other words, those words are a lie!  There is no Secret Place from God!  Your thoughts might as well be shouted from the roof top as far as God is concerned.  He knows every one of them.  One good definition of a hypocrite is someone whose thoughts don’t match his words and actions! 

There are two who know your thoughts, you and God!  Determine that your thoughts today will please God in every way!

“Lord Jesus, help me today to run away from every thought that would not please You and hold tight to every thought that makes You happy!  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.”

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Be Completely Holy!

Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.  Don't turn away God's Spirit or ignore prophecies.  Put everything to the test. Accept what is good and don't have anything to do with evil.  I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns.

1 Thessalonians 5: 18 - 23

As a follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is always available to guide you in the way that you should go.  But when you begin to walk in the ways of the world around you, the Holy Spirit is turned away from your heart!  He does not leave you, but your heart becomes deaf to His voice!  You cannot listen to the world and the Lord at the same time.  God’s voice will turn down the volume of the world’s appeal, but listening to the world will also make it hard or virtually impossible to hear the Word of God directed to your heart.  

Having anything, at all to do with evil in your life will deaden your spiritual senses toward the Holy Spirit.  God wants your life to be “completely Holy.”  He wants “your spirit, soul, and body (to) be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns.”

So, your job for this day is to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit, but at the same time have nothing to do with evil.  Satan is continually presenting you with evil thoughts which he wants you to ponder, think about and even consider.  Say no to them all, because God wants you to be completely Holy!

“Lord Jesus, fill my heart and my mind with nothing but glorious, Holy and true thoughts from Your Spirit.  May I have have nothing to do with evil.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Flood of Saved Souls!

But the chief priests and the leaders convinced the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be set free and for Jesus to be killed.  Pilate asked the crowd again, "Which of these two men do you want me to set free?" "Barabbas!" they replied.  Pilate asked them, "What am I to do with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?" They all yelled, "Nail him to a cross!"  Pilate answered, "But what crime has he done?" "Nail him to a cross!" they yelled even louder.  Pilate saw that there was nothing he could do and that the people were starting to riot. So he took some water and washed his hands in front of them and said, "I won't have anything to do with killing this man. You are the ones doing it!"  Everyone answered, "We and our own families will take the blame for his death!"  Pilate set Barabbas free. Then he ordered his soldiers to beat Jesus with a whip and nail him to a cross.

Matthew 27: 20 - 26

Jesus went to the Cross and Barabbas was set free!  

Barabbas was the first person to be set free because Jesus took the punishment instead of him.  The Bible does not tell us, but I hope Barabbas came to know Jesus as His Lord and Savior.  That would mean that Barabbas was like the first drop of rain in the flood of Saved Souls that  covers the earth!

If you are part of that flood then you can rejoice every day that Jesus took the punishment that you deserved because of your sins!  If you are not yet “saved” then turn your life over to Jesus, including your heart and confess your sins and then proclaim to all that Jesus is your Lord and Savior!   

“Lord Jesus, thank You for taking my place on the Cross!  You are the only hope for all men!  You died that we might live.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.”  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It is All His Plan!

Then the king will say to those on his right, "My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created.  When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me."  Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink?  When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"  The king will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me."

Matthew 25: 34 - 40

When Jesus sees one of His children reach out to and minister to one of His other children He is blessed!  Could the Lord minister to us, relieve all our pain and cure all our illnesses without the help of anyone else at all?   Well, of course He could.  Then why does He desire that we bless His other children by serving their needs?  

It is all part of His plan to make us into the image of Jesus Himself!  When we suffer we begin to understand the suffering of Jesus!  When you trust God, like Jesus you will see His miraculous power applied to situations you encounter each day.  When you learn about the life of Jesus on this earth you will come to understand the life that He expects you to live this side of Heaven! 

If your life, as a follower of Jesus is filled only with blessings and never with suffer and pain, you should seek His face and make sure you are walking according to His will!  The image of Jesus on this earth is not one of an easy life and the praise of men.  

So we learn here below how to suffer like Jesus did and how to minister to others who are suffering!  It is all a part of preparing to live with Jesus in Heaven forever!

“Lord Jesus, teach me more today about what it means to be like You!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

First Thoughts of Evil!

In the Scriptures it says, "I spoke because I had faith." We have that same kind of faith. So we speak because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life. And just as God raised Jesus, he will also raise us to life. Then he will bring us into his presence together with you.  All of this has been done for you, so that more and more people will know how kind God is and will praise and honor him.  We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day.  These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing.  Things that are seen don't last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That's why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.

2 Corinthians 4: 13 - 18

The fundamental spiritual conflict in this life is a battle for the control of your mind.  

If Satan can persuade you to spend your time letting your thoughts focus on the ungodliness of this world, then he will eventually have your actions and ultimately your allegiance!  

But if you only allow your thoughts to dwell on righteousness, holiness, and the eternal things that are not seen, your actions and your heart will soon follow in devotion to Jesus Christ!  

If you swat down the annoying gnats of the first thoughts of evil, you will not be overcome by a swarm of unrighteousness that attempts to control your life!

“Lord Jesus give me the strength to reject the temptation to think about things on this earth and not things in Heaven.  And may You, Jesus be praised now and forever.  Amen.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Seeking a Message from God!

I, the LORD, also promise you a terrible shortage, but not of food and water. You will hunger and thirst to hear my message.  You will search everywhere-- from north to south, from east to west. You will go all over the earth, seeking a message from me, the LORD. But you won't find one.

Amos 8: 11 - 12

When you are truly hungry and thirsty, satisfying those needs becomes the focus of your life!  And if you go long enough without food and water you will die!  

When you fast and abstain from food on purpose, you choose to deny your desire to eat in order to focus on things that are more important in your life!  

Are you searching for and seeking a message from God?  Hearing from God is food and drink for your spiritual life.  A Word from God for your life will sustain you in times of trouble.  Knowing that God is aware of your difficulties and understands how you feel, brings refreshment like cool water and energy like a nourishing meal.  

Instead of just trying to understand more about God, seek to hear His voice and the message that He has for you today!  

“Lord Jesus, let my ears hear Your voice and my heart receive Your Word for me today!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever!  Amen.”

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Useful Tool in the Carpenter's Workshop!

This is the LORD's message for his rebellious people: "You follow your own plans instead of mine; you make treaties without asking me, and you keep on sinning.  You trust Egypt for protection. So you refuse my advice and send messengers to Egypt to beg their king for help.  You will be disappointed, completely disgraced for trusting Egypt.

Isaiah 30: 1 - 3

As you make your plans for the day, the week, or for your life are you seeking input from God?  You may say that you make plans and then search the Scriptures to make sure that your plans do not contradict something God has said.  That is a good thing, but that is certainly not the best thing!

God wants you to seek Him as you are deciding what to do in life!  Ask God what He wants you to do today, and even in this next minute!  

The Bible is a Love Story, not a Rule Book!  It tells the stories of those who disobeyed God as well as those who lovingly sought to hear His voice every minute of every day!  Certainly, we must obey the Words of the Bible as we hear the Holy Spirit guide us, but obedience to Scripture without faith in Jesus Christ is powerless to save!

May the final step in the planning of this day be to ask God what He wants you to do, and then simply do it!  When you live this day in response to God’s Will and direction, you become a useful tool in the Carpenter’s Workshop!

“Lord Jesus, show me Your Will for my life, this week, today and yes, even for this moment!  May I please You in every way!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen.”

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Glorious First Step!

You surely know that the Lord's return will be as a thief coming at night.  People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won't escape.  My dear friends, you don't live in darkness, and so that day won't surprise you like a thief.  You belong to the light and live in the day. We don't live in the night or belong to the dark.  Others may sleep, but we should stay awake and be alert.  People sleep during the night, and some even get drunk.  But we belong to the day. So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armor. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet.

1 Thessalonians 5: 2 - 8

Do you think you are safe and secure in this world?  Does your house have a lock on the door to keep strangers from coming in and stealing your things?  Do you have access to a doctor who can give you good medical care if you get sick?  And do you have money or land enough, or children to take care of your needs in old age? You may have all those things and even more, but your life like all the descendents  of Adam will come to a day when you will die and pass from this world.  What will happen then?  Are you ready for that day?  

There is only one way to be prepared for leaving this world, and that way is to have faith in and a relationship with Jesus Christ.  When you know Jesus and trust Him in everything, your departure from this world will be the glorious first step in a joy filled Eternity.

So as you live this day, make sure that you look for Jesus at every turn.  Think of Jesus with everything that runs through your mind.  When you speak, always mention the Lord!  Let His name be first on your lips and last on your mind!  Then when that day comes, you will indeed be ready to go.

“Lord Jesus, may You be praised now, here on this earth and in heaven forever and ever! Amen.”

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Ever After!

If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment.  A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love.  We love because God loved us first.  But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see?  The commandment that God has given us is: "Love God and love each other!"

1 John 4: 17 - 21

When a man and woman love each other and are united in that love as husband and wife, there is no stronger mutual bond on earth!  They each sacrifice many things for the good of the other.  And from that relationship comes new life, which has happened since the beginning of time and will until the return of Jesus Christ!

It is an earthly picture of a Heavenly truth!  Love empowers ordinary men to do Super Human things!  And when a man or woman loves God and His Son Jesus Christ, the floodgates of Heaven are opened to pour out the love of God on earth.  That life changing Love is what the Gospel is all about!  When the Love of God touches a lost man or woman, there begins a process of Eternal Transformation into a Bride for Jesus.  

No greater love story has or could ever be told!  The God who is LOVE gave His Son to die for us so that we might live in LOVE with Him forever!  It is the only real “Happily Ever After” story!

“Lord Jesus, I do love You and I want to love You more today than ever before.  May Your love flow through me to all those I meet today!   Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.” 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Walking on the Road to Heaven!

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.  We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us.  We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things.  Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer.

Hebrews 10: 21 - 25

Why is it a good idea to have a “habit” of meeting together with other Christians for worship?  Well, you see a habit is something you do whether or not you feel like doing it.  Some may argue that worshiping God when you don’t “feel” like it, is meaningless.  But the truth is that choosing to gather with other believers when you don’t feel like doing it is when you need it most!

Certainly, you can worship God while you are alone in a field, but you cannot encourage other Christians in their walk with the Lord while you are not walking with them!  

When I gather with other believers I am encouraged by those who sing with gusto even if they have not been blessed with great musical talent.  I am encouraged by those who seem to forget that anyone is watching and raise their hands in praise to God.  

And frankly, just seeing the faces of those whose lives were headed down the road to Hell when Jesus appeared to them and called them back to life in Him, makes my faith swell with hope!

So when you gather with other believers for worship this week focus on how you can be an encouragement for others in their walk with Jesus!  When you do that Jesus Himself will bless you!

“Lord Jesus, I know that the Day of Your return is closer than ever before.  Help me today to call others to faith in You and to encourage those who are already walking on the Road to Heaven!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen.”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Unbroken Chain of Faithfulness!

Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven.  The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone.  The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west.  The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb's twelve apostles.

Revelation 21: 10 - 14

The names of the Apostles and the names of the 12 tribes of Israel will be written on the gates and foundations of New Jerusalem.  I suppose that means that in Heaven you might say something like, “Let’s meet over by the Benjamin gate.” Or you might hear someone say, “I live near the Matthew foundation stone.”  That says to me that Earth will not be some kind of “distant past” that is only barely remembered for Eternity!  Who we are here and what happened here on Earth will matter a great deal in Heaven!

The Apostles will have their names on the foundation stones of Heaven and the sons of Jacob will have their names on the gates, so where will your name be in Heaven?

Of course, you cannot answer that question, but you can know this:  What you do here does make a difference forever!  As a follower of Jesus Christ, here on this earth, you can be sure that your walk with Jesus here will make an impact for an eternity!  The proclamation of the Gospel here on earth is like an unbroken chain of faithfulness by which all who are saved will be blessed forever!  

Be a link in that chain of faithfully living your life for Jesus.  Then, perhaps one day Jesus will show you where your name is written in Heaven!

“Thank You Jesus for letting me be part of what You are doing on this earth today, and Lord, for giving me the hope of living with You forever.  Praise Your Holy Name!  Amen.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

You Have Everything!

Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ.  All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life.  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.

Philippians 3: 8 - 14

Nothing is as wonderful, here on this earth as knowing Jesus Christ my Lord!  There are many wonderful and amazing things on this earth.  There are glorious mountains and grand valleys.  And don’t forget the spectacular oceans and seas.  As I am writing these words, I am listening to a recording of the sound of waves on the shore of the ocean.  It calms my mind to hear the  gentle touch it makes on the beach!

But the most amazing and wonderful of all the things in the world is the God given ability for a man or woman to know Jesus Christ!   If you have everything in the world, but don’t know Jesus, then you really have nothing.  If you have nothing in this world, but you do know Jesus, then you indeed have everything!

Let go of things that pull you away from Jesus, and hold tightly to those things that keep you close to Him!  Let nothing separate you from the Love of Christ!

“Lord Jesus, I want to know You better today than ever before.  Let me see again how amazing and wonderful it is just to know You, my Lord.  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen.”

Monday, May 1, 2017

Display of God's Power!

Lead your people, LORD! Come and be our shepherd. Grasslands surround us, but we live in a forest. So lead us to Bashan and Gilead, and let us find pasture as we did long ago.  I, the LORD, will work miracles just as I did when I led you out of Egypt.  Nations will see this and be ashamed because of their helpless armies. They will be in shock, unable to speak or hear, because of their fear of me, your LORD and God. Then they will come trembling, crawling out of their fortresses like insects or snakes, lapping up the dust.  Our God, no one is like you. We are all that is left of your chosen people, and you freely forgive our sin and guilt. You don't stay angry forever; you're glad to have pity and pleased to be merciful. You will trample on our sins and throw them in the sea.  You will keep your word and be faithful to Jacob and to Abraham, as you promised our ancestors many years ago.

Micah 7: 14 - 20

As the Children of Israel were being led out of Egypt God did many mighty miracles that disrupted the whole society!  Moses did not present an “intellectual argument” to Pharaoh.  Instead, he confronted the Egyptian leader with the Power of God!  

There is no debate about whether or not God exists!  To debate about the reality of God would be like arguing about whether or not men can talk!  The proofs of God are all around every man and in fact are in our own bodies!  You prove God’s truth by the fact that you can breathe and think!  If God did not exist there would be no one to discuss the matter!

In your attempt to proclaim the reality of Jesus Christ to the world around you, let Him provide the proof by displaying His power!  

“Lord Jesus, display Your mighty Power again to those who have refused to turn their hearts to You.  And may You, Jesus be praised now and forever.  Amen.”