Sunday, June 23, 2019

Faith, Obedience and the Place of Rest




Who were those people that heard God's voice and rebelled? Weren't they the same ones that came out of Egypt with Moses? Who were the people that made God angry for forty years? Weren't they the ones that sinned and died in the desert? And who did God say would never enter his place of rest? Weren't they the ones that disobeyed him? We see that those people did not enter the place of rest because they did not have faith.

Hebrews 3:16-19

How does not having faith in God keep you from resting well at night? When you put your head on the pillow for the night, you must trust something or someone if you are to sleep well. If you are wealthy, you will probably buy an expensive security system to warn you if there is any trouble headed your way.  
Once I met a man who was a Registered Nurse and made more than 100,000 dollars a year sitting in the room next to a billionaire as he slept, just in case he had any trouble during the night!
Trusting in God keeps you calm when trouble comes during the day and enables you to sleep peacefully at night. Faith assures you that the Hand of God Himself must permit any trouble that would come your way!
Not trusting God is the first step as you walk through the doorway of disobedience! Without faith and obedience you will not find the “Place of Rest” here on earth or in Heaven!
Listen to God, not so you can “understand” Him or His Word. Hear God so you can obey Him! Obey God and enter His place of rest!
“Lord Jesus, thank You, Lord that we can trust You even while living here on earth and can obey Your every desire! May Your Holy and Precious Name be praised now and forever, Amen!”

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Temple of the Holy Spirit



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Let all the world be silent--the Lord is present in his holy temple.

Habakkuk 2:20

It must have been an awesome experience to be in Jerusalem when God was in His temple!  
Once I visited Washington D.C. and toured the White House where the President of the United States lives, but the President was not in the White House that day. I stood at the door of the Oval Office and saw the desk of the President, but he was not there. I do know that my visit would have been much more meaningful if the President had been home that day!
The Bible says that you as a follower of Jesus Christ are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives in you! His presence is a powerful reminder and expression of the Power of God in the world. When you have God’s Spirit living in your heart, there is nothing you need that He cannot accomplish. The is no wisdom that is not available from Him as you walk in His will!
There is no miraculous application of His Power that is beyond His ability to accomplish!
Even though God was present in Jerusalem in His Temple people would turn to worship idols and ignore God and His Word!
As a follower of Jesus Christ, remember that the Holy Spirit wants to live in your heart and be in control of your life! He also wants to empower you to do the work of God in the world around you! There is an old hymn that says “Let Him Have His Way With You!” When you do that you will be walking with Jesus every day!
“Lord Jesus, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit and letting me be the Temple where He lives. May Your Holy and Righteous Name be praised now and forever, Amen.”

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hiding From or Running To God



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From east to west, the powerful LORD God has been calling together everyone on earth. God shines brightly from Zion, the most beautiful city. Our God approaches, but not silently; a flaming fire comes first, and a storm surrounds him. God comes to judge his people. He shouts to the heavens and to the earth, "Call my followers together! They offered me a sacrifice, and we made an agreement." The heavens announce, "God is the judge, and he is always honest." My people, I am God! Israel, I am your God. Listen to my charges against you. Although you offer sacrifices and always bring gifts, I won't accept your offerings of bulls and goats. Every animal in the forest belongs to me, and so do the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds in the mountains, and every wild creature is in my care. If I were hungry, I wouldn't tell you, because I own the world and everything in it.

Psalm 50:1-12

Who owns the world? It is not Satan! God declares in Psalm 50 that He owns the world and everything in it! Satan created nothing. He is not the author of anything good.

The world system is under the control of Satan and he wants to control your life as well. The Devil can do many things, but he cannot keep you from turning your heart to Jesus Christ! Satan has no power to stop you from responding to the call of Christ. When Adam and Eve sinned and turned away from God, God called out to Adam and asked the first man “where are you.” Of course, Adam was hiding from God when he heard the Call of God!

In the presence of God, there are only two human activities. The first is "hiding from God" and the second is "running after God!" You will do one or the other. If you are not seeking God, then you will be seeking to hide from Him!

If you choose to pursue God and run to the Heavenly Father, you must first come out of your hiding place and call His Holy Name!

“Lord Jesus, help me today to stay out of the hiding place that I so often seek to keep me away from You. May Your Name be praised now and forever, Amen.”

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Parable of the Beach Walker




God was kind and let me become an expert builder. I laid a foundation on which others have built. But we must each be careful how we build, because Christ is the only foundation. Whatever we build on that foundation will be tested by fire on the day of judgment. Then everyone will find out if we have used gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw.
1 Corinthians 3:10-12

There once was a man who would get up early every morning and walk the beach on the shore of a vast ocean! After making that walk for many days, he looked down and saw a glimmer of sparkling light from something partially hidden in the sand. When he reached down and grabbed the colored rock that was reflecting the morning sun he found a precious jewel of great worth and beauty!
He kept looking and looking, but never found another one that day.
But the next day was a different matter. As he walked and enjoyed the cool ocean breeze and the first hint of the warmth from the sun, he looked down and there was another gem, just waiting for him in the sand! As the days went on the man gathered a large collection of extremely valuable jewels. Actually, their worth was beyond measure.
The man never sold the jewels, but he did give some of them away to those who took the time to inquire! Some said the man was very foolish because he could have sold the jewels and become very wealthy. Others said the early morning beach walker was deceiving them and that his story about how he found them must have been a lie.
But the man with many sparkling jewels paid no attention. Why would he want to exchange the precious things that he found for money or even food? He always had enough money to buy food and pay for his place to stay, so he chose to keep the gems and yes give them away when he could.
Of course, I am talking about you and your time walking the beach on God’s vast Ocean of Truth. If you are only looking for “precious gems” to sell and make yourself rich, you will fail. But if you are looking to spend time with God and listen to His voice in the crashing waves and feel His touch in the soft ocean breeze, you will sometimes see the sparkling light in the sand below your feet!
“Lord Jesus, when I walk with You, I find precious stones of truth that are beyond compare. Show me more today of Your riches scattered in the path before my eyes! Praise Your Holy Name now and forever, Amen!”

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Stampede of the Ants




The good news is spreading all over the world with great success. It has spread in that same way among you, ever since the first day you learned the truth about God's wonderful kindness from our good friend Epaphras. He works together with us for Christ and is a faithful worker for you. He is also the one who told us about the love that God's Spirit has given you.

Colossians 1:6-8

What is the “truth about God’s wonderful kindness?” And how does the “good news” spread all over the world?
Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ is more than a plan, a system, or a “purposeful dissemination” of the message to the farthest points on earth. “Mission work” is what happens when a follower of Jesus moves from one place to another.
It is a little like a colony of ants. I have watched some very tiny ants discover a crumb of cookie on my desk and not only enjoy the morsel themselves, but soon, yes very soon my whole desk will be swarming with ants! The ant who discovers the small piece of cookie hurries back and tells the rest of the ants what he has found. Then there is almost a stampede to the food!
We might call that a “revival” when it comes to the Gospel!
In today’s computer age, we call it “going viral.” If one person tells two others about Jesus and they do the same, it would only take 33 generations of that process to reach every person on the face of the earth with the Gospel. That could happen in a very short period of time!
But if even 1000 missionaries were the only means of spreading the message of Jesus, it would take them a very long time and maybe even never get done!
Remember, as a follower of Jesus Christ you are part of a chain of those who tell others about Him. If you only tell two others about Jesus in your whole life, that may be enough to saturate the earth with the Gospel!
Of course, if you love Jesus you won’t stop at telling only two. You will become overwhelmed with the joy of spreading the Good News of God’s great kindness and love!
“Lord Jesus, I pray that all men may see and hear the Wonderful News of What You did for all mankind! May your love Jesus be spread all over the world today! May You be praised now and forever, Amen!”

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Salvation is not a Theological Imponderable




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"First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them.  Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God.  This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior.  God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is: There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us."

1 Timothy 2:1-5

God is the ultimate intelligence in all of Eternity!  He is capable of everything there is and even more.  His understanding is complete and beyond our ability to even think about.
  
There are some teachers who try to make the promises of God to be beyond the simple understanding of a human being.  They say that only those who have been previously selected by God can be saved.  And they tell you that if you have not been selected you cannot respond to the Good News of Jesus Christ and be saved.

If God has limited the reach of the Blood of Jesus, then God desires for us something that He has made to be impossible.

Don't be fooled by any teaching that limits the scope and power of the Cross and Blood of Jesus Christ!  Salvation is not a theological imponderable for the intellectual elite to discuss and dissect!  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a simple message for simple people to believe and receive the Joy of the Lord as they journey on the Road to Eternity! 

"Lord Jesus, may I believe and receive Your every Word and trust that You want everyone to be saved!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever, Amen!" 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Christians Are Not Actors




I thank Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given me the strength for my work because he knew that he could trust me. I used to say terrible and insulting things about him, and I was cruel. But he had mercy on me because I didn't know what I was doing, and I had not yet put my faith in him. Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life. I pray that honor and glory will always be given to the only God, who lives forever and is the invisible and eternal King! Amen.

1 Timothy 1:12-17

The Apostle Paul is the best example of how God uses your terrible past to make your life a powerful proclamation of His great love and mercy!

Jesus is not looking for “good people,” who join His team and make Him look good to everyone else! Jesus is looking for the worst among us, so He can change them into the very best they can be! The Bible even says that our righteousness is like filthy rags. On your own, you “fall short of the Glory of God!”

If you study the Bible and read about Jesus so you can learn to “act like Jesus,” then your life is only an “act” and you are an actor! But if you give everything you have and are to Jesus and turn away from your sins, He will transform your heart and let you “be like Jesus.” The difference is dramatic. When you “are like Jesus” instead of just “acting like Jesus” everyone will know that you truly met the Lord and are becoming more like Him every day!

If you consider yourself “too bad” to become a Christian remember this: You cannot be too bad to give your heart to Jesus, but you can consider yourself too good to need His Blood as a sacrifice for your sins!

“Lord Jesus, use my terrible sin to show every being in all the Cosmos how great, wonderful, loving and merciful You are, were and ever will be! Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever, Amen!”

Saturday, June 8, 2019

A LIGHT FOR THE NATIONS!




Now the LORD says to me, "It isn't enough for you to be merely my servant. You must do more than lead back survivors from the tribes of Israel. I have placed you here as a light for other nations; you must take my saving power to everyone on earth."

Isaiah 49:6

The first practical electric light became a reality 140 years ago. Thomas Edison invented a light bulb that could last as long as 1200 hours without burning out. Then he worked on the problem of how to get electric power to the bulbs that would ultimately cover the earth!

Thomas Edison was a great inventor, but what he did was merely a copy of the Light Distribution that God invented long before Edison came on the scene! Bringing light to a dark world is what Jesus came to do! He is the light of life. Without Jesus everyone is in darkness!

And when you turn your heart to Jesus, you become “a light for other nations” and you can take the Saving Power of Jesus to “everyone on earth.”

When you tell someone about Jesus, they not only hear the message, but they also see the light! When you accept Jesus Christ into your heart, the Power of God brings light to your life and helps you see everything in life differently.

“Lord Jesus, without You I was blind and in darkness! But Jesus You are the light of the world and You are willing to shine through me on everyone I meet today! May the Glory of Your light be seen by all men everywhere! Praise Your Holy Name now and forever, Amen!”


Friday, June 7, 2019

Old and Gray and Safe





"You survivors in Israel, listen to me, the LORD. Since the day you were born, I have carried you along. I will still be the same when you are old and gray, and I will take care of you. I created you. I will carry you and always keep you safe."
Isaiah 46:3-4
What has God done for you? We are often encouraged to consider what we can do for God, but perhaps we should stop long enough to think about what He has done for us!
God created a planet which was not too hot or too cold. He put oxygen on it so we could breathe, and water to drink, along with fruits and vegetables and other food to eat. He made animals to help us work the land and for companionship. God gave us families so we could enjoy loving relationships and learn more about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Without God’s constant provision for life itself we would not be able to live even an hour on this earth!
God has also given us a purpose for living this life. My purpose is to yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit with every action I take every day!
On the day that you were born, God cared for you and protected you from harm. And on your last day on this earth He will do the same! Some people believe that a new born baby is not important and is unworthy of protection by law. Often they believe the same thing about those who are old.
If you believe God has forgotten you, take a long slow breath and thank Him for it!
“Lord Jesus You have not only created me, but You have given me everything I need for life here on earth, and forever with You in Heaven. May Your Holy and Righteous Name be praised now and forever, Amen!”

Thursday, June 6, 2019

I Met the Serpent in My Garden




"I invite the whole world to turn to me and be saved. I alone am God! No others are real. I have made a solemn promise, one that won't be broken: Everyone will bow down and worship me. They will admit that I alone can bring about justice. Everyone who is angry with me will be terribly ashamed and will turn to me.

Isaiah 45:22-24

Hell is not the enemy camp of Satan! There will not always be a war of Good vs Evil that rages across the cosmos. Hell will be a place where men and women who rejected Jesus, and although ultimately bowed the knee to Almighty God and worshipped Him, will spend Eternity, separated from God.

The power of Satan will come to a complete end. No longer will he speak enticing words, seeking to turn men’s hearts away from God. The war between Good and Evil will be over.

It is indeed hard to imagine what it will be like to live with only pure thoughts and no temptation to sin. I suppose the closest we can get to understanding that is remembering what it was like to be a very small child. I do remember thinking “everyone was nice” and I couldn’t imagine that anyone had evil motives in what they did. But then I met the serpent in my garden and joined the rest of humanity in stepping into the “knowledge of good and evil.” In today’s world that tree grows everywhere and even little children are eating the fruit as they join lost humanity on the road to Eternal destruction!

Remember, if you spend Eternity in Hell you will certainly know why and you will regret that you rejected Jesus Christ! But if you still have even one breath left, you can turn to Jesus and give your heart to Him! Then you simply ask Him to tell you what to do every minute of every day for the rest of your life here on earth.

“Lord Jesus, I want to worship You today and never stop as long as there is forever! May Your Holy and Righteous Name be praised throughout Eternity, Amen.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Blessing of Forgetting

I wipe away your sins because of who I am. And so, I will forget the wrongs you have done.

Isaiah 43:25
          

In a few days I will be 73 years old!  In some ways that doesn’t seem possible.  It took a long time, but I have become the person I pitied when I was young.  I thought it must be a bad thing to be old and grey and be weaker and even quite forgetful.
            
But now that I am old and grey, weaker and forgetful, I have come to realize something of the beauty of being old!
            
I may have forgotten lots of facts, but my mind is awash in remembered feelings!  I remember the love of my mother and her tenderness when I was a child.  I remember how I felt about my father who still impresses me in my memory.  And I remember my early childhood feelings about God.  “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food” may have been a memorized prayer, but I was reminded every meal about the goodness and greatness of God!
            
When you wake up one morning, look in the mirror and discover that you are old, don’t fret.  God will help you remember what you need to remember and, praise His Name, He will help you forget the things that need to be forgotten!
           
The Bible says that God remembers our sin “no more.” So as we grow more and more like Him we will forget our sin as well.
          
"Lord, You have blessed me with a wonderful forgetfulness of my sins, and also with the blessing of always remembering Your amazing and everlasting love.  May Your Name be Praised now and forever, Amen."

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Third Word of I AM



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I'll strengthen my people because of who I am, and they will follow me.  I, the Lord, have spoken!

Zachariah 10:12

What God does is always because of who He is!  God told Moses that He is the "I AM."  "I AM" is an incomplete sentence!  There is a third Word that comes after the first two.  As a follower of Jesus, your life is one of discovering what that Word is, or perhaps more accurately Words!

God is truth, light, love, peace, and the list goes on to infinity! The Nature of God is bigger than Eternity itself and He fills that forever with the fragrant essence of who He is!

 If you have a question, God is the answer.  If you are in need God is the provision to erase and fulfill that need.  If your heart is tempted to hate, God is the love that will overwhelm and cast out all hate!  If you are ignorant, God is all the knowledge that you lack!

Sorrow, sadness, grief and pain are all swallowed up in the Glory of God Himself and His Son, Jesus!  His Spirit blossoms in your heart and then produces the fruit that nourishes all who are willing to take and eat!

Men were drawn away from God by the Devil who encouraged them to disobey Him and eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!  But now the Spirit of God draws all men back to Him through the Blood of Jesus, as they taste the Fruit of the Spirit and give their hearts to Jesus!

"Lord Jesus show me more today who you are!  Fill my heart with wonder and praise for Your Holy and Righteous Name, now and forever, Amen!"

Friday, May 31, 2019

Rescued by Jesus




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Stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord! Can someone who is good get along with someone who is evil? Are light and darkness the same?  Is Christ a friend of Satan? Can people who follow the Lord have anything in common with those who don't?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15

The Bible says that followers of Jesus must be "in the world, but not of the world."  But how can we even preach the message of the Gospel if we "stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord?" Well, we don't stay away!  But we also don't forget who we are!

Some followers of Jesus struggle with the truth that disciples of Christ do not have anything in common with those who don't know Jesus!  Jesus' followers no longer belong to this world.  They have been "born again" and are on their way to Heaven to be with Jesus forever!  

But if people in the world don't "like" Christians, then how are they ever going to be won over to Jesus? Men don't accept help from a rescuer because they like him.  And no one truly comes to Jesus to be saved from Eternal Death because they "like" Him or His followers!  Men turn to Jesus because He is the only way to be saved!

If you were a lifeguard on the beach and you knew the tsunami was soon coming, what would you do?  Of course, you would not spend your time winning the confidence of those who were in harm's way!  You would deliver the message of warning to as many as possible and as fast as you could!

I do not know, and neither do you know if today is your last day on planet earth!  But I must live this day, as if it is indeed that very day!  Today may be the Day that Jesus will come, or today may be the day when I will go!  But wisdom says that I should live this day as if it were the last day I had to live here!  One day that will certainly be true!

"Lord Jesus, help me to live today with Your soon coming in the front of my mind!  And Jesus do come quickly.  May Your Holy and Righteous Name be praised now and forever,  Amen."

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Tragedy Becomes Triumph




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Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever.  While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home.  We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked.  These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don't do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die.  God is the one who makes all of this possible. He has given us his Spirit to make us certain that he will do it.  So always be cheerful! As long as we are in these bodies, we are away from the Lord.  But we live by faith, not by what we see.  We should be cheerful, because we would rather leave these bodies and be at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:1-8


There is a very old and certainly not true story about a rabbit who after being captured by a fox begged to be thrown into a patch of thorn bushes instead of being killed by the fox.  The fox agreed, thinking it would certainly be a fate worse than death!  The end of the story reveals that the rabbit was "born and bred" in the "brier patch" of thorns! All the fox did was to send the rabbit home!

As a follower of Jesus, the Devil wants to kill you!  Then, he must think that you would be taken out of service as a disciple of Jesus.  

But remember this: As a Christian, when you die you are simply going Home to Heaven!  Even death cannot defeat you.  

As a Believer in Jesus, this world is indeed not your home.  You will be here for a just a short while and then you will transition to your home in Heaven and be there forever!

You can live here with reckless abandon for Jesus because most of your life lies on the other side of leaving this earth!

"Lord Jesus thank You that what the world sees as the tragedy of death, You have transformed into the Triumph of Eternity!  May Your Holy and Righteous Name be praised now and forever,  Amen." 





Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Run to the Darkness




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The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like.  We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants.  The Scriptures say, "God commanded light to shine in the dark." Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6

The world is a very dark place.  Satan has seen to it that light is extinguished wherever he can put it out!  

Not being able to see has only two possible causes.  The first reason a man cannot see is if he is blind. A blind man cannot see no matter how bright the light is around him.   The second reason is darkness itself!  A sighted man in the dark is the same as a blind man in the light.  

Those who don't believe in Jesus Christ have minds that have been blinded by the Devil!  But when you come to Jesus, He gives sight to your blinded mind!  Then you can see the Light that has come into the world!

If you are a follower of Jesus and you think you see no light at all, remember this: "God is shinning in our hearts!"  The light of God shinning in your heart is like a head lamp on a car.  Even though it is dark, very dark around you God shows you the way for every step you take because of the light of Christ and His Holy Spirit in your heart!

As a follower of Jesus don't look for the light and run to it!  Look for the darkness and run to the darkness, because when you get there the light of God shinning through you will dispel that darkness.  The light of Jesus Christ in your heart will destroy Darkness and bring His light to a lost and dying world!

"Lord Jesus I once was blind, but now I see! Shine Your light today, so that I may see every step You want me to take and bring Your Light to others who are lost in Darkness!  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."





Monday, May 27, 2019

What About the Seven?




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Jesus told them this story: A prince once went to a foreign country to be crowned king and then to return.  But before leaving, he called in ten servants and gave each of them some money. He told them, "Use this to earn more money until I get back."  But the people of his country hated him, and they sent messengers to the foreign country to say, "We don't want this man to be our king."  After the prince had been made king, he returned and called in his servants. He asked them how much they had earned with the money they had been given.  The first servant came and said, "Sir, with the money you gave me I have earned ten times as much."  "That's fine, my good servant!" the king said. "Since you have shown that you can be trusted with a small amount, you will be given ten cities to rule."  The second one came and said, "Sir, with the money you gave me, I have earned five times as much."  The king said, "You will be given five cities."  Another servant came and said, "Sir, here is your money. I kept it safe in a handkerchief.

Luke 19:12-20

The prince in this story gave money to 10 servants, but the story tells us what happened to only 3 of the 10!  One increased his money 1000 percent.  Another made five times as much as he was given.  And one did nothing with what he was given.

But what about the other 7?  I wonder what they did with their money and what response the "now," king gave them after he returned?  

When God gives you something it is up to you to "do business" with what He has given you.  Quite obviously, the seven servants did something with what God gave them.  If not, why were they not included in the judgment upon the servant who indeed did nothing with the money?

God is not pleased when you do nothing with what He gives you.  But the Bible does not say that God loves you more if you do more for Him.  This story does say that if you do more with what God has given you, He will reward you with more responsibility!  

Don't hide what God has given you just to keep it safe.  Invest His gift to you in the lives of others and proclaim and show every day that Jesus is the Lord of your life!  

This story about the 10 servants is telling you to do something with God's gift to you.  When you do, God will give you more with which to bless others and declare His Glory!

"Lord Jesus, show me today how to use what You have given me to be a blessing to You and others.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever, Amen."   

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Full-time Fellowship With Jesus!




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As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake.  Jesus said to them, "Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish."  Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.  Jesus walked on and soon saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat, mending their nets.  At once Jesus asked them to come with him. They left their father in the boat with the hired workers and went with him.

Mark 1:16-20

When you decide to follow Jesus there will always be something or someone you will leave behind.  James and John left their father Zebedee in the boat with hired workers and what must have been the family fishing business.

There certainly was more to the stories of these men who left everything to follow Jesus.  Perhaps in Heaven we can listen to them fill in the blanks of what the Bible doesn't say about it.  But it does say that they left their father, Zebedee and the business to follow Jesus.

If you are a follower of Jesus, what have you left behind in order to follow Him?  Everyone leaves something behind when they choose Jesus.

What you leave is what you would be doing with the time you now spend with Jesus as His disciple.  If you spend very little time in fellowship with Jesus, then perhaps you have left little to follow Him.  If you spend much time in the loving embrace of the Son of God, then you have left much to be with Him.

The reality of your relationship with Jesus can be judged by what you don't do in order to be with Him.  

Before my wife and I were married my mother complained that I spent so very much time with my soon to be bride. I was in the process of leaving my mother and father and being joined to my wife for the next 50 plus years, and I was overjoyed at the prospect of a life with her!

When you decide to follow Jesus Christ, you will leave many things behind!  You will leave the world and it's promise of prosperity and earthly peace.  You will leave "success" in exchange for doing the will of Jesus no matter how the results of that effort might be judged.

Look at what you left behind to be with Jesus.  Joyfully consider what else you might walk away from in order to spend more time with Him!  Remember, that Heaven will be Full-time Fellowship with Jesus!

"Lord Jesus, show me something today that I can abandon so I can spend that time with You.  And may Your Holy and Righteous Name be Praised now and forever, Amen!"

  




Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Road to Powerful Prayer





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If you are a husband, you should be thoughtful of your wife. Treat her with  honor, because she isn't as strong as you are, and she shares with you in the gift of life.  Then nothing will stand in the way of your prayers.

1 Peter 3:7

Did you know that if you want to become a mighty man of prayer and you have a wife, there is no way to do it without honoring and being thoughtful of your wife!

Eve was God's gift to Adam and your wife is God's gift to you!  It may not sound politically correct, but God created Eve to be a helper and blessing to Adam. 

If you have a wife, God has given you a great gift!  God created your wife to give you what you need, including many things you need but may not really want! If you love and honor your wife God will bless you for it.  Perhaps the greatest blessing for a husband is that when he takes care of and honors the woman that God has given him to walk beside during this life, that man will have nothing stand in the way of his prayers!

Show me a man whose prayer life is powerful and I will show you a man who loves and takes good care of his wife!  

Don't forget that caring for your wife is the road to an intimate relationship with God in prayer! Seek to take care of and honor your wife and you will be blessed with a powerful life of prayer!

"Lord Jesus, help me to honor and care for my wife so that my prayers will not be hindered.  Praise Your Holy and Righteous Name, now and forever.  Amen."   

Monday, May 20, 2019

Many People to Forgive




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God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So  be gentle, kind, humble, meek and patient.  Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you.  Love is more important than anything else.  It is what ties everything completely together.  Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace.  So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts.  And be grateful.

Colossians 3:12-15

The goal of every Christian should be, that he or she will become more like Jesus every day.  So don't be surprised when Holy Spirit leads you into situations where you are mistreated and wronged just like Jesus!

As a Christ follower, you will have many people to forgive.  And the wrongs against you may be very serious, but every time you forgive someone who sins against you, you are taking another step toward being "like Christ."

It may indeed be that is why sin is allowed to continue on planet earth in the days before the return of Jesus.  Our course of instruction in how to be like Jesus must include: "Forgiveness when you are wronged!"

In your quest to be like Jesus don't forget the "Take up your cross and follow me" study!  It is all designed to continue to make you into the image of Jesus Himself!

"Thank You Jesus for allowing me to experience being wronged like You were.  And thank You for giving me the opportunity to forgive those who sinned against me.  Praise Your Holy and Righteous Name, now and forever.  Amen."  

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sorrow Without Fear




I think I ought to send my dear friend Epaphroditus back to you. He is a follower and a worker and a soldier of the Lord, just as I am.  You sent him to look after me, but now he is eager to see you.  He is worried, because you heard he was sick.  In fact, he was very sick and almost died.  But God was kind to him, and also to me, and He kept me from being burdened down with sorrow.

Philippians 2:25-27

The Philippian Christians sent Epaphroditus to be with Paul while he was in prison.  But while Epaphroditus was there he got sick and almost died.  

Paul admitted that if his friend had died, he would have been burdened down with sorrow.  
If the "great" Apostle Paul considered the death of someone close to him to be a sorrowful burden, I should not assume it would be any different today.

As followers of Jesus we should not grieve as those who "have no hope."  But death is a separation that cuts off communication with someone we love until the day we cross over to be with Jesus forever.

According to Paul, sorrow is a burden.  We must bear each other's burdens, especially sorrow as we wait for His coming or our going!  

When someone you love dies, the pain in your heart is not a part time problem.  When you wake you are immediately reminded of the absence of your loved one.  And all through the day and night you can feel the pain and sorrow!

Jesus doesn't always take away the grief and pain, but He does remove the fear of death and the prospect of what comes after!  Life without grief and pain is not a promise of God, but life without fear is!  The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for assuring all your followers that even during a time of pain and grief, because of Jesus we have nothing to fear!  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever, Amen!"  

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Possessed by the Holy Spirit




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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

As a follower of Jesus Christ, you are Possessed by the Holy Spirit! That term is usually used to refer to someone who is controlled by Evil!  But in a real sense Christians are "Possessed" by the Holy Spirit.  We allow God's Spirit to live in our hearts and control our thinking and actions.  When someone is possessed by Evil, the life they live is terrifying to those around them, and even for themselves.

But when you are "Possessed" by the Holy Spirit your way of thinking changes and you are made into a new person.  God created you in His own image, and when the Holy Spirit comes into your heart you become more than an image.  You become a person with a mind like Christ and you have the Heart of God!  Even you will see the amazing difference in your life!

"Lord Jesus, change my heart and mind so I can think and feel like You.  May the Holy Spirit possess every part of me so my life will be a reflection of You, every day.  Praise Your Holy and Righteous Name, now and forever, Amen."


Friday, May 17, 2019

Honored By God




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God chose you, and we keep praying that God will make you worthy of being his people. We pray for God's power to help you do all the good things that you hope to do and that your faith makes you want to do.  Then, because God and our Lord Jesus Christ are so kind, you will bring honor to the name of our Lord Jesus, and he will bring honor to you.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

The Bible says that when you bring honor to God, He will bring honor to you.  There are of course at least two ways to honor God.  The first is what you say to others about Him.  When you tell people about how wonderful, majestic and great God is, you certainly bring honor to Him!  One other way to honor God is to be obedient to Him.  When you do what God tells you to do, those who know that the reason for the life you live is to please God, will also honor Him!

But when you honor God, He will honor you! How does God honor those who follow Jesus?  

God honors you by allowing you to receive the Holy Spirit in your heart!  God honors you by letting you put your hand to the plow that He is pushing through the hardened ground of humanity! God honors you with Peace that no one can understand.

Will other men know that you are honored by God?  Some will know and others will not be able to see or hear the honor God gives you.  But you will know and you will bless His Holy Name!  

When you are honored by God it is not like being honored by men.  Men will honor you with praise and maybe a trophy.  God will honor you by allowing you to walk with Jesus and work with Him by the Power of the Holy Spirit living in your heart!

"Lord Jesus, I seek to honor You because You deserve all praise and glory, and I am honored to serve and praise You now and forever.  Amen."

Thursday, May 16, 2019

God's Great White




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I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. Earth and heaven tried to run away, but there was no place for them to go.  I also saw all the dead people standing in front of that throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been. Several books were opened, and then the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done.  The sea gave up the dead people who were in it, and death and its kingdom also gave up their dead. Then everyone was judged by what they had done.  Afterwards, death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  Anyone whose name wasn't written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

If you go to Hell, you will absolutely know why! Every man and woman who has ever lived will stand before the "Great White Throne" and listen as their lives are judged by what "the books" say they have done!  

It will be a total failure for everyone who stands there and is judged by his own deeds!  

But there will also be at the Great White Throne a group of men and women who had faith in Jesus Christ and gave their hearts completely to Him!  They will be judged by what is written in "The Book of Life." If your name is written in the Book of Life, you will be judged by what Jesus did, not by what you did on this earth!

That is the Good News of the Bible.  You made the debt with your sin, and Jesus paid the debt for your sin!  

"Lord Jesus, thank You for the Book of Life and thank You for putting the names of those who have faith in You in it.  May Your Name be praised now and forever, Amen."



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Even My Heart




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God did not turn his back on his chosen people. Don't you remember reading in the Scriptures how Elijah complained to God about the people of Israel?  He said, "Lord, they killed your prophets and destroyed your altars. I am the only one left, and now they want to kill me."  But the Lord told Elijah, "I still have seven thousand followers who have not worshiped Baal."

Romans 11:2-4

Elijah looked around at the people of Israel and saw no one who followed God!  He was really discouraged.  

But when God looked at that same group of people, He saw 7000 who were still faithful!  The Bible says that God looks at a man’s heart. We do not have the ability to do that.  

We can ask God to show us what He sees in a man’s heart.  How many times have you discovered that a man you thought you knew well was not pure in his heart?  

The truth is that we not only deceive each other about the condition of our hearts, but we also deceive  ourselves!  

Ask the Lord to let you see other men as He sees them.  But even more importantly, ask Him to let you see your own heart as He sees it!  

God is the only one who can really see what is going on in a man’s heart.  Jesus is the only one, through His Blood on the Cross, who can make your heart new and clean forever!  

“Lord Jesus, I can’t trust what I see, but I can trust everything You see to be completely and totally true!  Lord, let me see hearts as You see them, even my heart Lord.  May Your Holy and Righteous Name be praised now and forever.  Amen.”  

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tour of the Heart of God




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In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us.  I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love--not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Romans 8:37-39

When a young man "falls in love" with a young woman, the relationship is not about, and does not require physical intimacy. Love is all about caring for someone else more than you care for yourself!  

The foundation of that love is the willingness to give your life for the one you love.  For a man it is all about what he can do to fulfill the needs of the woman he loves.

He desires to supply her every need and all of her wants, if he possibly can!  That kind of love can endure all kinds of difficulties, stresses and pressures of life.  

Jesus loves you, and that is a fact.  Jesus loves you like a young man loves a young woman and is willing to do anything and everything for her.  Jesus was willing to die for you, and He did it!

It has been rightfully said that Christianity is not about a religion, but rather about a relationship.  

When a man loves his wife as God intends, he gets a tour of the Heart of God!  When a woman respects her God fearing husband, as is the will of God, she gets to see a picture of what it means to be loved by God Himself!

"Lord Jesus, open my heart and mind to the perfect love that You have for me!  You have made me in Your image, but I want also to live like and even feel like You as I walk through this world.  Praise Your Holy and Righteous name, now and forever.  Amen!"



Sunday, May 12, 2019

Work With God




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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.  God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.  You have a special place in my heart. So it is only natural for me to feel the way I do. All of you have helped in the work that God has given me, as I defend the good news and tell about it here in jail.  God himself knows how much I want to see you. He knows that I care for you in the same way that Christ Jesus does.  I pray that your love will keep on growing and that you will fully know and understand how to make the right choices. Then you will still be pure and innocent when Christ returns. And until that day,  Jesus Christ will keep you busy doing good deeds that bring glory and praise to God.

Philippians 1:3-11

Followers of Jesus Christ don't work for God, they work with God!  There is a big difference.  When you work for someone, anyone, you are told what to do and expected to complete each assigned task!

That is not the way it is when you are a Christian.  God begins the "work" in you, and He also gives you His Holy Spirit to empower you to be able to accomplish it!  He also keeps working with you to the very end!

In the moments before the return of Jesus to Planet Earth, His followers will be putting their hands to the plow of proclaiming His Message and encouraging others to give their hearts to Jesus!

In a basketball game, when the buzzer sounds the game is over.  When you hear the sound of the Trumpet as Jesus arrives then you can stop the work He has called you to do with His help!

"Lord Jesus, even if Your return is today, show me what You will help me do with You in the hours that are left.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever. Amen."

Saturday, May 11, 2019

MAKE BELIEVE CHRISTIANS




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You can be certain that in the last days there will be some very hard times.  People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud, stuck-up, rude, and disobedient to their parents. They will also be ungrateful, godless, heartless, and hateful. Their words will be cruel, and they will have no self-control or pity. These people will hate everything that is good.  They will be sneaky, reckless, and puffed up with pride. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure.  Even though they will make a show of being religious, their religion won't be real. Don't have anything to do with such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

One reason "times" are hard is the people who live during them!  The last days before the return of Jesus will be populated by many people who will hate everything that is good and will love pleasure instead of loving God!  They will want everyone to think they are followers of the Lord, but truthfully they won't be Christians at all.

These verses do not say that we should reach out to these people and minister to them.  Rather they say that we should avoid such people and have nothing to do with them!  

Satan would like for you to spend all your time "ministering" to make believe Christians rather than spreading the Gospel to everyone on earth who has not heard the message!

Don't be side tracked from spreading the message of Jesus by those who make a show of being religious, but their religion is not real.

"Lord Jesus, every day is the "last day" for someone.  Help me to tell your message to someone today and not be distracted by those who only pretend to know You.  May Your Holy Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Promised Life




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From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. God himself chose me to be an apostle, and he gave me the promised life that Jesus Christ makes possible.

2 Timothy 1:1

What is the "Promised Life" that Jesus makes possible?  How is it different from the ordinary life of the ordinary human being? 

The promised life, of course is Eternal Life but Jesus promises us a life here that is quite different from the one we would live without knowing Him!

When you live your life without Jesus, the promise of Heaven is not there. Without Jesus you don't know that everything will work together for good. Without Jesus your life will not be guided by the Holy Spirit who lives in your heart!

Even with Jesus in your heart you will have troubles, and life will not be easy, but Jesus will enable you to face every difficulty, and even death itself with Peace that no one can understand.  Usually, even you will not understand.  But you will rest in that peace and be calm in the storms of life!

Decide today to turn your heart completely to Jesus and trust Him to provide you with the ability to live the "Promised Life" in peace.

"Lord Jesus, I know that everything that I can do for You is because of everything You did for me!  You are the source of everything Good and Right in my life.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever. Amen."