Monday, May 28, 2018

I Could Never Do Enough

Click here to listen to blog.

God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is.  He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. God washed us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning.  God sent Jesus Christ our Savior to give us his Spirit.  Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and gave us the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3: 4 - 7

I haven't heard the question for years, but I used to hear someone ask: "Have you done your good deed for the day?"  It was a simple question, but with a profound meaning.

Doing good things for others was an expected part of growing as a child and becoming a responsible adult.  But when a child believes that his parents love him because he does good things he takes on a burden that no one can bear!  

Jesus loves you, not because you do good deeds and are obedient to Him.  Rather you do good things and are obedient to Him, because He loves you!  If you believe that Jesus loves you because you do good things and are obedient, then you will listen to the lie that says Jesus doesn't love you because you have been disobedient or failed to do a good deed. 

Remember, as a follower of Jesus Christ your "good deeds" are directed by and empowered by the Holy Spirit!  They earn you no credit at all!  Your good works are the result of your loving relationship with a faithful Savior who has brought you from a life of darkness into the Light of His Love!

"Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me because of what You have done and not because I have earned it! I could never do enough to deserve even one small drop of Your love for me!  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Love is No Accident!

Click here to listen to blog

Dear friend, I am not writing to tell you and your children to do something you have not done before. I am writing to tell you to love each other, which is the first thing you were told to do.  Love means that we do what God tells us. And from the beginning, he told you to love him.

2 John 1: 5 - 6

For those who follow Jesus Christ, love is not an option and it is not an accident.  Love is a command!  Yesterday I stumbled and fell while trying to step over something in my yard.  It was an accident, and it was not good.  There was a small cut on my leg and a lot of sore muscles to remember the "fall."

In our western culture we often talk about "falling in love" as if it were an accident and something that you cannot control.  Love is neither of those things.  

Love happens when you spend time with someone and share the depths of your heart with them.  When you know and are known by another, love is the natural result!  

That is true with two people and it is true with a man or woman and God!  When you seek to know God and allow Him to know everything about you, your love will grow more every day.  Spending time in an honest and open exchange of ideas and feelings will result in "falling in love" with the Creator!  Eventually, that love will grow to the point that it overshadows everything else in your life!

So obedience to the command to "Love God" is simply a matter of investing lots of time in knowing Him and being known by Him!  

Remember, love is no accident.  Love is something that you do or don't do on purpose! If you want to love God more, measure your time with Him in hours, not minutes every day!  Ask Jesus lots of questions and listen carefully for the answers. 

"Lord Jesus, I know that love is not an accident.  And so Lord I choose to love You more than anyone or anything else.  May my time with You today be another step on the road to an Eternity with You.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Make Obedience a Holy Obsession

Click here to listen to blog

When we obey God, we are sure that we know him.  But if we claim to know him and don't obey him, we are lying and the truth isn't in our hearts.  We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him. 

1 John 2: 3 - 5

When you lie about knowing God, you will be exposed in your deceit by your lack of obedience! But when you obey God, those who don't love Him may accuse you of being a "Legalist" and depending on your own good works for your salvation!  

I am not saying that there are no "Legalists" but imagine a child who is accused of being "too obedient" to his parents, and trying to earn his inheritance by keeping the family rules!  That of course is ridiculous. 

If you believe in Almighty God who created everything that there is, I think it is also ridiculous to think that you can deserve Eternal Life by keeping rules here on earth.  The fact that you need salvation in the first place means that you have not been obedient.  So how will obedience today make up for disobedience yesterday? It is only the Blood of Jesus that pays for your sins!

If you love Jesus, don't be worried about being called a "Legalist."  Obey the Lord at every fork in your road.  Make obedience a Holy Obsession in your life because and only because you love Him!

"Lord Jesus, I do love You!  May every step I take today be a step of Obedience to Your will!  Praise Your Precious Name, now and forever.  Amen."   

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Happy Without Seeing Jesus!

Click here to listen to blog

You have never seen Jesus, and you don't see him now. But still you love him and have faith in him, and no words can tell how glad and happy you are to be saved. That's why you have faith.  Some prophets told how kind God would be to you, and they searched hard to find out more about the way you would be saved.  The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen.

1 Peter 1:8-11

The man who wrote these words, guided by the Holy Spirit had seen Jesus.  In fact, Peter had walked with Jesus for three years and had seen Him day in and day out for all that time.   But Peter knew that those who would follow Jesus for the years yet to come would not "see" Him on this earth.

Sometimes we sincerely sing, "I want to see Jesus."  But "seeing Jesus" does not guarantee that we will have faith, or even necessarily cause the faith that we have to grow!  Judas saw Jesus just as the other disciples did and yet he betrayed the Lord.  

Now, I do want to see Jesus, but even without seeing Him here, "no words can tell how glad and happy" I am to be saved.  Seeing Jesus is not the answer to your need for a closer walk with Him and a happy life.  Trusting and obeying Jesus is the way to walk closer to Him every day and to be filled with His love!  

"Lord Jesus, I do want to see You, and I know that one day I will stand and fall down before You on Your throne.  But today I want to trust and obey You in every way!  May You fill my heart with the joy and peace that comes from loving You.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gates of Heaven!

Click here to listen to blog

Then I was told: I am coming soon! And when I come, I will reward everyone for what they have done.  I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  God will bless all who have washed their robes. They will each have the right to eat fruit from the tree that gives life, and they can enter the gates of the city.

Revelation 22: 12-14

There are lots of jokes about entering the gates of Heaven.  Most of them center on someone, usually St. Peter,  asking the question "Why should I let you in?"  Of course, there is no mention in the Bible of St. Peter being the gate keeper of Heaven, but it is true that there will be a specific reason why you are allowed to "enter the gates" of Heaven.  

The reason that you will be allowed to pass through the gates of Heaven is that you have "washed your robes" in the Blood of Jesus!  That is the one and only reason that you will be qualified to enter the City.  You will not be able to enter because of all the good things you have done, even though you will be rewarded for those things if you enter Heaven.  But, you will only be allowed in Heaven because of the Blood of Jesus.  

Don't forget that as a follower of Jesus Christ, you will do the good things you do by His power working in you.  It is all for His glory and not for yours!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for being the reason that I can enter the gates of Heaven and be with You forever.  May Your Holy Name be praised now and always!  Amen."

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Repaid by God!

Click here to listen to blog

Caring for the poor is lending to the LORD, and you will be well repaid.

Proverbs 19:17

The Book of Proverbs is a very practical "How to Live Today" guide.  If you read it regularly, you will find advice that is applicable in every situation of life.

This verse from Proverbs 19 really opens the door to a stunning truth.  When you care for a poor person you are lending to the Lord.  If you are the one who lends, then the Lord is the One who borrows!  I thought that God didn't need to borrow anything, and of course that is true.  But God chooses to be indebted to you when you care for the poor!

Don't forget that caring for the poor is not simply giving them money or some physical thing.  Caring for the poor would also include acts of kindness and developing a personal relationship or friendship with those who are poor.  

I once knew a very rich man who told me that his friends were much more important than his money. Caring for a poor person is more often than not about relationship and not always about money.  If your poverty is a lack of friends, you are poorer than the man who has no money!

I believe that God can and does repay those who care for the poor with physical blessings, but also, and I think more importantly, they are repaid with a closer relationship with God.  It is better to have a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ than to be a billionaire!

"Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom to know how to care for those who are poor.  Open my eyes to the needs of those that I can bless.  But Lord, if You choose to bless me for caring for the poor then bless me with a closer walk with You.  That Jesus, I know is the greatest blessing of all.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Monday, May 14, 2018

Faith Has No Backup Plan!

Click here to listen to blog

God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.  God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!  No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son.  The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light.  People who do evil hate the light and won't come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done.  But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do.

John 3: 16 -21

What is the difference between faith and belief?  Everyone who refuses to fly in an airplane believes that airplanes exist.  You can believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ without having any faith at all!

Very often in today's world men and women believe in God but have no faith in Him.  Of course, everyone who has faith in God also believes in Him.  But the real question is this: How is it that you have faith in God?  For what do you trust Him and Him alone in your life?  What in your life would not be there except for Jesus?  Do you trust God for your health, or do you trust that the doctors will step in and save you if God fails?  Do you trust God for your food, or do you trust the grocery store for being there and hope that God blesses them to be able to supply your food?

The Bible says that "faith is the evidence of things not seen."  In a sense faith is trusting in God for thing for which you can see no alternative!  There is no "back up plan" to trusting in God.  God is not simply the best insurance plan.  Satan is the author of all the alternatives to trusting in God.

Certainly, that does not say that God doesn't use doctors, grocery stores, and our jobs to funnel His resources to our lives.  He does that every day.  But if you believe in fulfilling your needs through some other way than trust in God alone, you are making Him very sad.

Remember "every good and perfect gift" comes from God and Him alone.  Thank Him for every blessing no matter what the human source.  It all comes from Him!

"Thank You Jesus for being the source of supplying my every need.  Help me not only to believe in You but to trust You for everything.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

On Board With Jesus

Click here to listen to blog

The LORD gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.  So always trust the LORD because he is forever our mighty rock.

Isaiah 26: 3 - 4

When there is no storm in your life and the waters are smooth, it is not hard to be peaceful and calm. But when trouble comes, and it will, you can be upset down to the very core of your being.

Imagine a boat that would not rock back and forth with the waves, no matter how rough the sea!  You could stand on the deck and feel the wind and see the waves, but the floor beneath your feet would be as solid as dry land.

If other boats passed close enough to yours, they could see your smiling face and notice that the waves did not knock you off of your feet!  Then, they would shout and want to know how your boat could be so steady in the storm!  The answer to that question is JESUS!  The true answer is always JESUS!

That my friend is what we call Evangelism!  And it will always be successful in bringing others on board with Jesus.

"Thank You Jesus that being with You in the storms of life gives human beings PERFECT PEACE.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen." 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Prison of Sin

Click here to listen to blog

I will praise the LORD God with a song and a thankful heart.  This will please the LORD better than offering an ox or a full-grown bull.  When those in need see this, they will be happy, and the LORD's worshipers will be encouraged.  The LORD will listen when the homeless cry out, and he will never forget his people in prison.  Heaven and earth will praise our God, and so will the oceans and everything in them.

Psalm 69: 30 - 34

There are many stories about men and women who found God while in prison.  And of course, don't forget the experiences of people like the Apostle Paul who were incarcerated because of their faith in Jesus Christ!  

The prison experience for those who are put there because of a crime against society is indeed like life itself.  

Sin is not just a "one time" event.  It is rather the door to the prison of being addicted to that sin!  I never met a man whose goal in life was to spend even a small part of that life in prison.  

Every man who has not given his heart to Jesus is a prisoner of sin.  All the inmates in that prison of sin are not there for the same "crime" but they have all lost their freedom!

The Lord not only remembers those who are in physical prisons, but also, and I think maybe especially, those who are in the Prison of Sin!  Jesus came to set you free from the Prison of Sin, and He can and will do it by the Power of His Blood!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for remembering those who are in the Prison of Sin.  And thank You, Jesus that You can open the doors to that prison and set us all free!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Always a Way to Go!

In the future your children will ask what this ceremony means. Explain it to them by saying, "The LORD used his mighty power to rescue us from slavery in Egypt.  The king stubbornly refused to set us free, so the LORD killed the first-born male of every animal and the first-born son of every Egyptian family. This is why we sacrifice to the LORD every first-born male of every animal and save every first-born son."  This ceremony will serve the same purpose as a sign on your hand or on your forehead to tell how the LORD's mighty power rescued us from Egypt.  After the king had finally let the people go, the LORD did not lead them through Philistine territory, though that was the shortest way. God had said, "If they are attacked, they may decide to return to Egypt."  So he led them around through the desert and toward the Red Sea. The Israelites left Egypt, prepared for battle.  Moses had them take along the bones of Joseph, whose dying words had been, "God will come to your rescue, and when he does, be sure to take along my bones."  The people of Israel left Succoth and camped at Etham at the border of Egypt near the desert.  During the day the LORD went ahead of his people in a thick cloud, and during the night he went ahead of them in a flaming fire. That way the LORD could lead them at all times, whether day or night.

Exodus 13: 14-22

The Lord had a way of leading the Children of Israel during the day with a thick cloud and at night with a flaming fire.  It didn’t matter how bright the sun was during the day or how dark the night.  The cloud of God’s leading kept them from being blinded by the bright lights around them or the sun bearing down on them during the day.  And the darkness could not hide the “flaming fire” at night.

The important message for us today is this: God will provide a way to guide your walk with Him no matter how bright the lights are shinning around you during the day or how dark the night.  

Don’t take a step without setting your compass on the cloud or the flame of fire!  When you do that, you will not be confused and mislead by the world around you. When you fix your heart and mind on Jesus, every step you take will bring you closer to the Heart of Jesus!  Remember, there is always a way that God wants you to go!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for the Cloud and for the Fire.  Thank You for showing me the way to go every day and every night.   May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen.”