Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sacrifice of Praise!

On this earth we don't have a city that lasts forever, but we are waiting for such a city.  Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus.  But don't forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God.

Hebrews 13: 14 - 16

Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross!  That sacrifice paid the price for all the sin that has ever, or will ever be committed on this earth!  There is no more sacrifice needed for the forgiveness of our sins. 

But we still have the opportunity to please God by sacrificing!  These verses in Hebrews 13 mention two ways that we can sacrifice.  

The first sacrifice that we can make is a “Sacrifice of Praise.”  When you praise God so that other men may see and hear you, you are sacrificing your own pride and self esteem!  It is a humbling experience to lift your hands and your voice to God and declare His praises!

Another way to sacrifice today is to share what you have with others who are in need!  The Bible specifically says that giving to those in need pleases God! 

So don’t believe it if someone tells you that there are no sacrifices today!  Sacrificing is very much a part of being like Jesus!  Praising Him and helping others are sacrifices today that do please God!

“Lord Jesus, You sacrificed Your life on the Cross for me.  Give me the strength to be like You and sacrifice by praising You and helping others.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.”

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ultimate and Extreme Freedom!

Respect and obey the LORD! This is the beginning of wisdom. To have understanding, you must know the Holy God.  I am Wisdom. If you follow me, you will live a long time.  Good sense is good for you, but if you brag, you hurt yourself.  Stupidity is reckless, senseless, and foolish.  She sits in front of her house and on the highest hills in the town.  She shouts to everyone who passes by, "If you are stupid, come on inside!" And to every fool she says, "Stolen water tastes best, and the food you eat in secret tastes best of all."  None who listen to Stupidity understand that her guests are as good as dead.

Proverbs 9: 10 - 18

Suffering as a follower of Jesus is not the same as suffering because you are reckless, senseless, and foolish! Much of the trouble in the world today is the result of men and women disrespecting God and choosing not to obey Him!  

When you choose not to be obedient to the Word of God you are like a man who ignores gravity and steps off of the side of a building!  His injuries or even death are not the result of punishment from God, but rather the inevitable outcome of his foolishness.  

God did not proclaim His Word to restrain us and limit our joy in life.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  God's wisdom shows us the path to the greatest joy and peace on earth, and how to live a life that is fulfilling in every way!  There is ultimate and extreme freedom in walking each moment of your life according to the Word of the Living God!  Of course, you will experience suffering in life as all believers do, but that suffering will not be the result of your own foolishness!

"Lord Jesus, may Your Wisdom rule my life today and live in my heart in everything that I think and do!  Show me the joy and peace of walking according to Your Wisdom today!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."

Friday, September 22, 2017

Trust God When You are Afraid!

Have pity, God Most High! My enemies chase me all day.  Many of them are pursuing and attacking me, but even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you. I praise your promises! I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me.  Enemies spend the whole day finding fault with me; all they think about is how to do me harm. They attack from ambush, watching my every step and hoping to kill me.  They won't get away with these crimes, God, because when you get angry, you destroy people.  You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them.  When I pray, LORD God, my enemies will retreat, because I know for certain that you are with me.  I praise your promises!  I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me.  I will keep my promises to you, my God, and bring you gifts.  You protected me from death and kept me from stumbling, so that I would please you and follow the light that leads to life.

Psalm 56: 1 - 14

If you are a man or woman of God, you will be attacked by those who do not fear Him!  Aligning yourself with God will put you squarely on Satan's target list!  

King David, who was a “man after God’s own heart,” declared that even when he was afraid, he kept on trusting God!  

Human emotion will flow through your heart every day.  You will be happy and joyful, sad and grieving, and sometimes even fearful, but you must keep on trusting God through it all!  Surprisingly it can often be harder to trust and depend on God during good times than during the difficult ones!  

“Lord Jesus, help me to trust You and depend on You no matter how my heart feels, even when I am afraid!  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.”

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Yell Fire Today

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The LORD said: Ezekiel, I am sending you to your own people.  They are Israelites, not some strangers who speak a foreign language you can't understand. If I were to send you to foreign nations, they would listen to you.  But the people of Israel will refuse to listen, because they have refused to listen to me. All of them are stubborn and hardheaded,  so I will make you as stubborn as they are.  You will be so determined to speak my message that nothing will stop you. I will make you hard like a diamond, and you'll have no reason to be afraid of those arrogant rebels.   Listen carefully to everything I say and then think about it.  Then go to the people who were brought here to Babylonia with you and tell them you have a message from me, the LORD God. Do this, whether they listen to you or not.

Ezekiel 3: 4 - 11

When a man yells "fire" in a burning theatre he is not concerned about what people think of him for delivering the message!  How foolish for someone to say: "I have never heard anyone yell 'fire' more eloquently."  And who would think to say: "That man is not properly dressed, or well educated enough to yell 'fire' in this theatre."

Delivering the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the same, it has nothing to do with the eloquence or education of the messenger.  A poor man who can't even read or write can tell others about Jesus the same as a rich man who has a doctorate degree. 

The Gospel is really quite simple.  God created man in His own image, but the man and woman sinned and fell away from God.  Jesus Christ came to earth, paid the price for man's sin on the Cross  and called all men to come back to God by believing on Him and obeying His Word!  Being Saved is a matter of "Trusting and Obeying" Jesus.

The world is on fire and there is only one exit from the certain death promised in Hell.  That exit is Jesus Christ!  If you know the message and have a mouth, then speak or yell fire, today!  

"Lord Jesus, You had the courage to come to this earth and die for my sins.  May I have the courage to tell those around me that You are the only way to get out of this world alive!  Praise Your Holy Name forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pray Before Praise After!

Moses said to Israel:
After you eat and are full, give praise to the Lord your God for the good land he gave you.  Make sure that you never forget the Lord or disobey his laws and teachings that I am giving you today. If you always obey them,  you will have plenty to eat, and you will build good houses to live in.  You will get more and more cattle, sheep, silver, gold, and other possessions.  But when all this happens, don’t be proud! Don’t forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and that it was the Lord who set you free.  Remember how he led you in that huge and frightening desert where poisonous snakes and scorpions live. There was no water, but the Lord split open a rock, and water poured out so you could drink.  He also gave you manna, a kind of food your ancestors had never even heard about. The Lord was testing you to make you trust him, so that later on he could be good to you.  When you become successful, don’t say, “I’m rich, and I’ve earned it all myself.”   Instead, remember that the Lord your God gives you the strength to make a living. That’s how he keeps the promise he made to your ancestors.  But I’m warning you—if you forget the Lord your God and worship other gods, the Lord will destroy you, just as he destroyed the nations you fought.
Deuteronomy 8:10-20
When God blesses a nation, along with those blessings comes a serious warning!  If that nation begins to take the credit for the blessings of God, then God has said He will turn away from them. Then comes trouble and even the destruction of that land!
Take time to consider the blessings that God has poured into your life.  Of course, first of all would be the people that love you and are loved by you in return.  Then there would be your abilities to work and do good deeds for others.  And of course, there are the physical blessings like a place to live, food to eat and air to breathe!
Verse 10 of Deuteronomy 8 encourages a very interesting, and perhaps almost never implemented practice.  It says: "After you eat and are full, give praise to the Lord your God for the good land he gave you."
For many, it is a common tradition to thank God for the food before you eat it, but do you Praise God after you have eaten and are full?  The next time you are able to eat enough food to make you full, spend some moments in Praise to God who made you able to be hungry and provided the food for you to eat!  
After you have enjoyed and been satisfied by the blessings of God be sure to Praise Him instead of taking credit for the blessings He has given you!
"Lord Jesus, You are the source of everything that is good and all my blessings come from You and You alone!  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Monday, September 18, 2017

No Meaningless Moments!

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Your Law requires two witnesses to prove that something is true.  I am one of my witnesses, and the Father who sent me is the other one.  "Where is your Father?" they asked. "You don't know me or my Father!" Jesus answered. "If you knew me, you would know my Father."  Jesus said this while he was still teaching in the place where the temple treasures were stored. But no one arrested him, because his time had not yet come.

John 8: 17 - 20

The timing of things that happened to Jesus came from God, not from men!  During the life of Jesus there were no co-incidences, no accidental meetings, no events that occurred at the wrong time or wrong place.  The Will of God ruled over the life of Jesus and He orchestrated everything about His life so that it all happened as God planned!

The Bible clearly says that those who follow Jesus should live as He did.  I believe that living like Jesus means that for us as well there are no co-incidences, accidental meetings or things that happen at the wrong time or the wrong place.  Nothing comes into your life that God did not already know about!  

Your job is to, like Jesus stay in continual communication with the Father so that you will know how to respond to each and every situation of life!  As a follower of Jesus there are no meaningless moments of life.  Every minute of every day has been planned by the Father for you to live and give Glory to Him!

"Lord Jesus, I thank You, Lord that You are in control of everything that comes into my life.  Everything that happens to me must first pass through Your hand!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

First Step on the Road to Faith!

Faith that doesn't lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!  Suppose someone disagrees and says, "It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds." I would answer, "Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them."  You surely believe there is only one God. That's fine. Even demons believe this, and it makes them shake with fear.  Does some stupid person want proof that faith without deeds is useless?  Well, our ancestor Abraham pleased God by putting his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him.  Now you see how Abraham's faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did.  This is what the Scriptures mean by saying, "Abraham had faith in God, and God was pleased with him." That's how Abraham became God's friend.  You can now see that we please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.

1 Peter 1: 17 - 24

It is always exciting to find out that someone we meet is also a “Believer” in Jesus Christ.  But remember that there are those who believe in God and even tremble at His power, but are unwilling to submit themselves in obedience to His will for their lives! 

Believing is only the first step on the road to a living Faith!  If you study hard and believe all the correct doctrines of Scripture but do not obey God's Word your faith is, according to these verses "alone and dead." 

Sometimes you will be asked: How much time do you spend reading God's Word each day?  The answer to that question will reveal much about your relationship to Jesus.  But an equally important question is this: How much time do you spend obeying the things that you found in God's Word today?  Obedience is the testimony that shows all those around you that your faith is alive!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to be an obedient believer and not one whose faith is dead!  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."


Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Great Mystery!

Here is the great mystery of our religion: Christ came as a human. The Spirit proved that he pleased God, and he was seen by angels. Christ was preached to the nations. People in this world put their faith in him, and he was taken up to glory.

1 Timothy 3: 16 - 17

The amazing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God became a man!  How could that be?  How could the Almighty Creator of Heaven, Earth and everything else that is, transform Himself into the body of a human being and live among us for more than 30 years?

How He did it is really unknowable, but why Jesus became a man is clear and truly astounding.  Jesus came to earth so that we could go to Heaven because He loves us!  It is only because He came here that we can go there!

The closest we can come to understanding the love of Jesus is perhaps when we become a parent.  The little baby given to you lets you know something of how much Jesus loves you!  A parent would do anything for their child, and Jesus would do anything for you, in fact He did!  

“Lord Jesus, I know that You became like me so that I can become like You!  Help me Jesus to be more like You today, than ever before.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.” 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

With Jesus When He Comes!

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We believe that Jesus died and was raised to life. We also believe that when God brings Jesus back again, he will bring with him all who had faith in Jesus before they died.   Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won't go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died.   With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God's trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life.   Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4: 14-17

Do you hope to still be alive when Jesus returns?  I still remember when I first learned that some people will not die, but will be alive when the Lord comes back to earth.  I was a child, but I thought that it would be nice to never die and just go to Heaven with Jesus when He comes.  The fear of death is a strong motivator in this life.

So I would ask this question: Do you want to be alive when Jesus returns, because you love Him and want to see Him face to face, or do you fear death and  believe that if you are still alive when He returns you won't have to die?  

The truth is that even if you leave this life before Jesus returns you will not miss the Second Coming of Jesus.  According to these verses in 1 Thessalonians you will either see Him coming from here on earth or, because of your faith, Jesus will bring you with Him when He comes!

As a follower of Jesus, don't let the fear of death rule your heart and mind.  For those who believe, physical death is no more permanent than a few hours of sleep at night.  He will bring you with Him when He returns!

"Lord Jesus, help me to be ready for the Day of Your return.  Thank You, Jesus for the promise of Eternal Life with You in Heaven.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen." 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Today's Tower of Babel

At first everyone spoke the same language, but after some of them moved from the east11.2 from the east: Or “to the east.” and settled in Babylonia,11.2 Babylonia: See the note at 10.6-20.  they said: Let's build a city with a tower that reaches to the sky! We'll use hard bricks and tar instead of stone and mortar. We'll become famous, and we won't be scattered all over the world. But when the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower, he said: These people are working together because they all speak the same language. This is just the beginning. Soon they will be able to do anything they want. Let's go down and confuse them! We'll make them speak different languages, and they won't be able to understand each other.  So the people had to stop building the city, because the Lord confused their language and scattered them all over the earth. That's how the city of Babel got its name.

11.8,9 Babel: In Hebrew “Babel” sounds like “confused.” Genesis 11:1-9

The people who built the tower of Babel wanted to reach the sky with their construction project.  But when the Lord saw what they were doing, He was not pleased with the effort.  In fact, God intervened and confused the people by making them speak different languages so they could not work together.

It is the same today!  Most people believe that the whole world working together would be a good thing, and that reaching the stars with our technology would be pleasing to God.  Generally, great technological advances cause us to be prideful and draw us away from dependence on God.  

God wants us to depend on Him and not on our technology and creativity!  Ask yourself daily the question: Am I depending on my God or my computer?  If you are trusting in and depending on your computer and not on God don't be amazed when your computer crashes for no apparent reason!  

"Lord Jesus, like the people in the city of Babel I want to reach the sky, but I want to reach it in Your arms and not in my own strength.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Disaster Is Near!

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The Lord God said:

Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Israel that I am saying: Israel will soon come to an end! Your whole country is about to be destroyed as punishment for your disgusting sins. I, the Lord, am so angry that I will show no pity. I will punish you for the evil you’ve done, and you will know that I am the Lord There’s never been anything like the coming disaster.   And when it comes, your life will be over.  You people of Israel are doomed! Soon there will be panic on the mountaintops instead of celebration.   I will let loose my anger and punish you for the evil things you’ve done. You’ll get what you deserve.  Your sins are so terrible, that you’ll get no mercy from me. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have punished you.
 Disaster is near! Injustice and arrogance are everywhere, and violent criminals run free. None of you will survive the disaster, and everything you own and value will be shattered.   The time is coming when everyone will be ruined. Buying and selling will stop,   and people who sell property will never get it back, because all of you must be punished for your sins. And I won’t change my mind!
Ezekiel 7:1-13

God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Now is the time to REPENT!

"Lord Jesus, Your heart must be heavy because of the sins of even those who call upon Your Name!  We fall before You now and choose to Repent before it is too late!  Amen."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Tell Someone Today!

From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ . To all of God's people who belong to Christ Jesus at Philippi and to all of your church officials and officers.  I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!  Every time I think of you, I thank my God.  And whenever I mention you in my prayers, it makes me happy.  This is because you have taken part with me in spreading the good news from the first day you heard about it.

Philippians 1: 1 - 5

How long should you be a believer before you start telling other people about Jesus? Well, according to these verses the believers in Philippi began to share the Gospel on the very day they heard it themselves!  

The Good News is not a complicated set of doctrines.  It is simply this: Jesus died on the Cross as the penalty for your sins and your part of the process is to believe it and receive it!

Of course, you can spend a lifetime learning more and more about the truth of God and His amazing attributes.  But the saving message of Jesus Christ can be stated in a few words and believed in a moment as you begin a life of obedience to every desire of God!

In fact, the spread of the News about Jesus is most rapid when ordinary people come to faith and then share it with others!  When "missionary work" is confined to a few well trained professionals the growth is usually very slow, if at all!

Every person you encounter during this day is an opportunity either to fellowship in the fact that you both are believers in Jesus, or share with them the Good News of what Jesus did on the Cross!  

"Lord Jesus, help me today to be bold and not afraid to tell others about Your wonderful love for all mankind!  Praise Your Holy Name, Now and Forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Free to Choose!

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Slaves, you must obey your earthly masters. Show them great respect and be as loyal to them as you are to Christ.   Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching. You are slaves of Christ, so with your whole heart you must do what God wants you to do.   Gladly serve your masters, as though they were the Lord himself, and not simply people.   You know that you will be rewarded for any good things you do, whether you are slaves or free.   Slave owners, you must treat your slaves with this same respect. Don't threaten them. They have the same Master in heaven that you do, and he doesn't have any favorites.   Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong.

Ephesians 6: 5 - 10

Comparing your life as a follower of Jesus to the life of a slave may be difficult to accept in today's world.  We are taught today that all slavery is evil and should be banished from the earth!  And today  no one would expect a slave to be loyal to his master and gladly serve him!  

I believe that these verses are not telling us that slavery on this earth is a good thing, but rather they are using slavery to explain the depth of the relationship that Jesus has with men and women.  Slaves are usually purchased on the auction block, and Jesus purchased you and me with His own blood!

Slaves are free to do everything their master wants them to do, and we are free to do everything Jesus desires!  Jesus not only gives us the freedom to do His will, but He also empowers us to be able to accomplish it!

Here is the difference between an earthly slave master and Jesus.  Jesus loves me and tells me so!  Jesus wants much more than my simple obedience to His will.  Jesus wants me to love Him!  When that happens I discover that I am a slave to the One who loves me most and even died for me!  

The truth is simply this: You will either be a slave to your own passions and desires, and yes Satan himself and die, or you will be a slave to Jesus and live!  You are free to choose whose slave you will be!

"Lord Jesus, I choose to let You be my Lord and Master!  Take my life and let it be fully controlled by Your love for me.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Monday, September 4, 2017

Let the Spirit Change You!

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.  We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth.

Ephesians 4: 23 - 25

Some people believe that when you become a follower of Jesus, you must change your way of thinking and your way of living.  The amazing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: You do not have to change your life at all!  Instead, you have to give the Spirit of God permission to make the changes that need to be made to your mind and body!  He will change you into the person God wants you to be.  All you must do is to yield yourself to Him and He will make whatever changes need to be made!

Then you can praise God for the ways that He has made you new, instead of bragging about how you have become a better person!  If God is the one who changes your life, then He is the one who deserves the Glory!  So you have no reason to be proud or brag about your new life.  You only have reason to praise God for it!  

“Thank You Jesus for changing me and making me into the person You want me to be!  Help me today to be more yielded to Your Will for every day and every hour and minute of every day!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen.”

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Next Step on the Road to Somewhere!

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One day the prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we meet with you is too small.  Why don’t we build a new meeting place near the Jordan River? Each of us could get some wood, then we could build it.”  “That’s a good idea,” Elisha replied,”get started.” “Aren’t you going with us?” one of the prophets asked. “Yes, I’ll go,” Elisha answered, and he left with them. They went to the Jordan River and began chopping down trees.  While one of the prophets was working, his ax head fell off and dropped into the water. “Oh!” he shouted. “Sir, I borrowed this ax.”  “Where did it fall in?” Elisha asked. The prophet pointed to the place, and Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. The ax head floated to the top of the water.  “Now get it,” Elisha told him. And the prophet reached in and grabbed it.

2 Kings 6:1-7

This is a story about the power of God reaching out to a man with a simple, and some would say unimportant problem in his life.  He borrowed an ax to work on a new meeting place for the prophets, and the head of the ax flew off, into the water while the man was chopping down a tree next to the Jordan River.  Then God caused the ax head to float so he could get it back!

I know a man who would quite regularly declare that we should not bother God by praying about "small things."  His way of thinking was that we should take care of little problems and only pray about the big issues in life!

The problem with his view of things is this: No one knows how important a small decision or issue might be.  On the day a young man meets for the first time the woman who will be his wife, there are probably a number of small decisions that put him in the right place at the right time to be introduced to his future marriage partner!  

When the ax head came off in the story from 2 Kings 6, the man had no idea that what was happening would be the basis of a story to be read until the end of time in the Bible!

Every time you put one foot in front of the other, you are taking the next step on the road to somewhere!  If the somewhere of your road is a place God is calling you to be, then know that you cannot get there without taking the next small step on the road!

"Lord Jesus, I want to know where You are taking my life, but more importantly I need You to show me the next step I should take on the way.   Praise Your Holy Name now and forever! Amen."