Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Before Your Next Breath




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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.

Philippians 1:3-6

After you hear about Jesus, how long should you wait to tell someone else about the Good News of Jesus Christ?  The Philippian christians began telling other people about Jesus on the very day they heard it themselves!

God began the "good work" of encouraging them to tell others about the Lord!  That "good work" won't be finished until the Day that Jesus returns!  So if today is the Day and Jesus will return this afternoon, there are still people who need to hear the Gospel this morning!  It may indeed be that there will be those who come to Christ and then before their next breath the trumpet will sound! 

So instead of looking to the sky to catch the first glimpse of the Second Coming, look around you to catch the attention of someone who is not yet ready to hear the Trumpet Sound!  Fishing for men does not stop until Jesus touches down on that amazing day!

"Lord Jesus, show me someone today who needs to hear about Your Love and give me the courage to speak Your Words to their heart.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Hate List



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You were far from God. But Christ offered his life's blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God. Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace.  On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body.

Ephesians 2:13-16

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, He wants you to love your enemies.  That is an amazing thing to think about.  By definition, enemies are not loved by each other.  "Hate" is the word that the world uses for enemies, not "Love."

So we take the first step in the loving, two way relationship that will happen when our enemies also turn to Christ!  If you want to be like Jesus then you will love those who are still your enemies, just like Jesus did.  The Good News of Jesus Christ is that all men and women are loved by God, loved by Jesus and loved by those who walk through this life, filled with the Holy Spirit.  

If you want to examine your own faith and determine whether or not you are a "real" Christian, you must look at your love for those who hate you.  The Bible also says that people will know that you are a Christ follower by your love!

Some people use and recommend having a "prayer list."  It is a list of the names of people for whom you are praying.  But I am afraid too many followers of Jesus also have a "Hate List." It may not be very long, but it too often does exist.

The truth is that if you are like Jesus your "Prayer List" will included everyone on earth and your "Hate List" will have no names on it! If you have a "Hate List" begin today to move all those names to your prayer list of people you love!  

"Lord Jesus, thank You for making peace on earth. Help me today to love and not hate every person on this earth.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."


Saturday, March 16, 2019

This Morning's Testimony




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I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God.


Ephesians 1:17

When you meet someone, only once you usually don't proclaim to others that you know them.  I have met a few people who were well known in the world, but my one time encounter did not give me the right to say, "I know him!"

I have met a man who was the president of a country, a movie star, a rather famous singer, and many other people who were well known for the lives they lived.  But none of those meetings gave me the right to say that I know those people.

"Knowing" someone means much more than a one time meeting.  Knowing God means much more than meeting Him once!  When someone gives their "testimony" about when they met Jesus many years ago, it does not mean that they really know Him!  Knowing Jesus is not a one time meeting.  Knowing Jesus is an ongoing relationship that lasts until you leave this world and beyond!

If you know Jesus, your every day is involved with Him.  He is on your mind when you wake in the morning.  You think about Him as you walk through your day, and He is the last thing you ponder as you lay down to sleep at night.  

Of course, meeting Jesus the first time is important and you will remember it, but being with Jesus every day is what your life is all about!  When you "give your testimony" and tell about the first time you met Jesus, be sure and include the story about your meeting with Him this morning!

"Lord Jesus, help me today to know more about what it means to know You and the Father.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."


Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Great Eraser



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The Scriptures say, "God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith in him."  Money paid to workers isn't a gift. It is something they earn by working.  But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him.  In the Scriptures David talks about the blessings that come to people who are acceptable to God, even though they don't do anything to deserve these blessings. David says, "God blesses people whose sins are forgiven and whose evil deeds are forgotten.  The Lord blesses people whose sins are erased from his book."

Romans 4:3-8

I don't remember how old I was, but there was a time in my early education when my teachers told me that I could write with a pen instead of a pencil!  The problem with pen and ink, of course is that you cannot erase it!  Of course not being able to erase something you have written is a good thing if your writing is praise worthy!

When a man or woman sins that sin is written in God's Book! Yes, your sin is written in permanent ink that no man can erase!  After you sin, it doesn't matter how many good things you do, you cannot erase even one act of rebellion against God!  

Even if you change and never sin again, that sin is still in your history, story and memory as long as you live!  The Good News of Jesus Christ is that, on the Cross Jesus erased your sin!  It is not simply forgiven, it is erased from God's Book!  

Because of Jesus, your sin is not "history."  Your sin is forever erased!  With Jesus there is no record of your sin in God's Book!  Jesus is "THE GREAT ERASER."

"Lord Jesus, because of You and Your sacrifice there is no record of my sin!  May You be praised now and forever.  Amen."   

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Jesus Paid the Full Price




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God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.  Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.  For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’  “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:32-38

It is important for every believer to recognize that we are not saved by our own works, but by the Blood of Jesus.  So why didn't Peter answer the question on Pentecost about what they should do by saying that they should do nothing?  If Peter was a preacher in our day, would he not have said, "Jesus did it all, you must do nothing?"

It certainly is true that Jesus did it all.  But it is not true that you must do nothing.  Nothing you do can provide even a tiny part of the price of your salvation, but without repentance and baptism there is no Biblical promise of forgiveness of sins!  

The illustration is certainly not perfect, but if you have a lottery ticket with all the winning numbers, but you never turn that ticket in to collect your prize you will not receive it.  

If you try to "be saved" without doing what the Bible tells you to do, should you be surprised if Jesus says "I never knew you" on the Day of Judgment.

Please understand that I am not trying to enter the "debate" about these things.  Whatever you believe about them is between you and the Lord.  But remember that He is the one who inspired the writers of the Bible to speak about them.

"Lord Jesus, I do want to be obedient to You in everything.  Thank You for paying the full price for my salvation! May Your Holy and righteous Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."


Monday, March 11, 2019

All You Can Eat Fish Dinner!




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When Jesus saw the large crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, "Where will we get enough food to feed all these people?"  He said this to test Philip, since he already knew what he was going to do.  Philip answered, "Don't you know that it would take almost a year's wages just to buy only a little bread for each of these people?"  Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the disciples. He spoke up and said, "There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?"  The ground was covered with grass, and Jesus told his disciples to have everyone sit down. About five thousand men were in the crowd.  Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.  The people ate all they wanted, and Jesus told his disciples to gather up the leftovers, so that nothing would be wasted.

John 6:5-12

There is a Chinese Restaurant not far from my house which has an "all you can eat" buffet.  You pay one price and you can eat until you have had all you want.

Jesus provided the most famous "all you can eat" meal.  Five thousand people ate until they were full  because the five loaves of bread and two fish passed through the hands of Jesus and were blessed by Him!

This same miracle happens every day as two fish produce hundreds of offspring who do the same.  A hand full of barley seed can sprout and after only a few more times of planting the seed that comes there will be plenty to make enough barley bread to feed five thousand men or more.  Don't believe the lie that there are too many people in the world for God to feed!

These verses clearly tell us  that God can take what you have and provide what you need as it passes through the hands of Jesus.  If you want to be blessed, or be a blessing to others give your "two fish and five loaves" to Jesus and let Him pass out the blessings!

"Lord Jesus, take my fish and loaves and use them to feed those who are hungry for You!  And may Your Holy Name be praised now and forever. Amen."





Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Eyes of the Poor


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If you mistreat the poor, you insult your Creator; if you are kind to them, you show him respect.

Proverbs 14:31


Have you ever wondered why there are so many poor people in the world?  With the riches of Eternity at His disposal God could distribute enough wealth to the poor of this world to wipe out every bit of poverty.

Some people blame God for withholding riches from the poor, just as some blame God for not healing all the sick people in this world!  

So does poverty serve a purpose in the world, and if so what is it?  According to Proverbs 14:31 when poor people are treated well God is honored, not insulted.  And when you are kind to the poor God is shown respect.  

If you have prayed "Lord, I want to see Your face," then look at the face of a beggar and know that God is seeing you through the eyes of the poor!  Remember, Jesus Himself said that He did not have a place to lay His head!  (Luke 9:58)

"Lord Jesus, may I see Your face today and honor You when I do!  Help me know how to be kind to the poor in this world.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."



Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Ultimate Obligation!





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The Lord wants you to obey all human authorities, especially the Emperor, who rules over everyone.  You must also obey governors, because they are sent by the Emperor to punish criminals and to praise good citizens.  God wants you to silence stupid and ignorant people by doing right.  You are free, but still you are God's servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong.  Respect everyone and show special love for God's people. Honor God and respect the Emperor.

1 Peter 2:13-17

When Daniel disobeyed the King and continued to pray to God even though the King had commanded him not to do it, was he not contradicting what the Holy Spirit said in these verses?

When disobedience to the Emperor is based on obedience to God, there is no question that it is the right thing to do.  But disobedience to the Emperor based on political party, economic philosophy, or simply the fact that you don't like the leader is clearly wrong!  

Jesus followers in the New Testament time continued to proclaim the Gospel even though the leaders had ordered them not to do it!  In fact, if no one opposes what you are doing for Jesus, you need to re-examine your efforts.  Satan will oppose what the Holy Spirit is leading you to accomplish!

There are plenty of "Orders from the Emperor" that need to be disobeyed today!  Governments today often tell people when and where they can or cannot pray!  They are told not to meet for worship and they are told not to tell other people about Jesus.

Even though there are lots of examples of God's people disobeying the "Emperor" we are not told to speak evil of or dishonor him!  God used Pharaoh to accomplish His purposes and He will use your leaders to do the same!  

"Thank You Jesus that obeying Your Word is the Ultimate Obligation that I have as a human being.  May Your Name be praised now and forever.  Amen."



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Legacy of Abel




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Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.  It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.  Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God's command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.  Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him.

Hebrews 11:1-4

A very wise man once told me that leaving a large estate of property and money is not the best thing you can leave for your children.   

The best thing to pass on to your children and to those who knew you well is an example of faith and obedience to God.  

God was pleased with Abel and his sacrifice.  Abel trusted God and had faith in Him.  That pleased God.  Abel was obedient and sacrificed the thing that God wanted.  

Faith and Obedience are both desired by God.  If you have faith in God but do not obey Him, God will not be pleased.  If you do not trust the Lord but attempt to be obedient to His commands, He will not be happy.

An old song said it well.  "Trust and Obey, for their is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and Obey."

May it be said of you that God is pleased with both your Faith and your Sacrifice.  Abel left a legacy for all of us that is more valuable than all the gold and silver in the world!  

"Lord Jesus, may I leave those who come after me an example of faith in You and obedience to Your every command.  Praise Your Holy Name, now and forever.  Amen."

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Living in a War Zone




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Don't forget all the hard times you went through when you first received the light.  Sometimes you were abused and mistreated in public, and at other times you shared in the sufferings of others.  You were kind to people in jail. And you gladly let your possessions be taken away, because you knew you had something better, something that would last forever.  Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards.  Learn to be patient, so that you will please God and be given what he has promised.  As the Scriptures say, "God is coming soon! It won't be very long.

Hebrews 10:32-37

There are many people around the world who are living in a "War Zone."  You may be one of those whose life is consumed with the need to stay safe and avoid the dangers of the conflict that is raging all around you.  The war, the sounds of war and the need to avoid becoming a casualty of that war take most of your time during the day and night!

Every follower of Jesus Christ is living in a War Zone!  It is the war between Good and Evil, Righteousness and Unrighteousness, Jesus and Satan!  The final outcome of that War was decided on the Cross of Calvary, but the battle rages until the final return of Jesus to harvest His people!

If you consider yourself to be a Christian and see no evidence of the war in or even around your life, then that may be a serious warning sign that something is very wrong!  

Perhaps, instead of being a soldier in God's Army, you are just a child playing war games with your friends.  All of the troops in the Army of Jesus Christ engage the Enemy in the deadly conflict.  We are all called to be "front line" soldiers!

If won't be very long until Jesus returns and the war will be over!  Be ready for His return and engage the Enemy today!  

"Lord Jesus, thank You for winning the War by Your sacrifice on the Cross.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

Monday, March 4, 2019

Vacation with God




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The promise to enter the place of rest is still good, and we must take care that none of you miss out.  We have heard the message, just as they did. But they failed to believe what they heard, and the message did not do them any good. Only people who have faith will enter the place of rest. It is just as the Scriptures say, "God became angry and told the people, 'You will never enter my place of rest!' " God said this, even though everything has been ready from the time of creation.  In fact, somewhere the Scriptures say that by the seventh day, God had finished his work, and so he rested.  We also read that he later said, "You people will never enter my place of rest!"  This means that the promise to enter is still good, because those who first heard about it disobeyed and did not enter  Much later God told David to make the promise again, just as I have already said, "If you hear his voice today, don't be stubborn!"  If Joshua had really given the people rest, there would not be any need for God to talk about another day of rest.  But God has promised us a Sabbath when we will rest, even though it has not yet come.  On that day God's people will rest from their work, just as God rested from his work.

Hebrews 4:1-10

After a hard day at work, most people have a special place they can rest, relax and enjoy their own "place of rest."  

God has a "place of rest."  And God has promised that those who have faith in Him will enter His Place of Rest!  It is amazing that God lets His people work with Him, and I think it is even more amazing that He allows His people to rest with Him!  God's place of rest is where His people will be with Him forever.

Some people on this earth are blessed with the opportunity to go on vacation!  They get away from their normal responsibilities and rest for a time!  In God's place of rest, those who have faith in Jesus Christ will be on an Eternal Vacation!  Absent from your schedule will be the frustrations,  oppositions, worries, inabilities, and every other negative thing that bothers you here on earth! 

The most amazing vacations on this earth are the ones when you were a small child and your parents took you on vacation.  Your job was to go along and enjoy the ride!  Your father took care of everything!  He made sure you had something to eat and a place to sleep each night.  In my family it was my mother who would tell us all about the sights we were seeing along the way.  It was a wonderful time that you hoped would never end.

Your Vacation with God is the same.  He will take care of everything, provide everything, and tell us all about the sights on the way. And the best part is that your Vacation with God will never end!

"Lord Jesus, I do look forward to being in Your Place of Rest.  Thank You for the wonderful, eternal promise of being on 'Vacation with God.'  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."

 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

You Didn't Build That




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My friends, God has chosen you to be his holy people. So think about Jesus, the one we call our apostle and high priest!  Jesus was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in serving all of God's people.  But Jesus deserves more honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house deserves more honor than the house.  Of course, every house is built by someone, and God is really the one who built everything.

Hebrews 3:1-4

President Obama made the words "You didn't build that" well known and certainly controversial.  I think he was trying to say that everyone has help from someone else in making accomplishments in this life.  And, of course, that is true.

These Words from Hebrews 3 are very humbling.  They say, "God is really the one who built everything."  When I was a little boy and my mother was teaching me about God she told me that God made everything.  I remember asking her if God made the telephone.  She explained that a man made the telephone, but God gave the man the ability and intelligence to put it together!

What good thing have you done in this life that you would have been able to accomplish without God?  If you can play beautiful music on a piano, remember that it is God who gave you ten fingers with which to play!  If you can run faster than anyone else on earth, don't forget that God formed your legs while you were still in your mother's womb.  If you can sing like no other man or woman, never forget that God Himself crafted your vocal cords and gave you ears that can direct you to sing exactly the right note!

The pride and arrogance of a "self made man" are a real temptation for those whose accomplishments are many.  God is the One who made you, and He has a purpose for your life in this world.  

If His purpose for you today is to deliver a cup of cold water to a thirsty human being, then there is no greater thing you could do!  When you lift up your hands to praise God, offer up those hands to work for Him today!  When you do that you will begin to see the miraculous power of God working all around you and even through you!

"Praise Your Holy and Righteous Name, now and forever.  Amen."








Friday, March 1, 2019

Good Times Will End




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You are cruel, and you forget the coming day of judgment.  You rich people lounge around on beds with ivory posts, while dining on the meat of your lambs and calves.  You sing foolish songs to the music of harps, and you make up new tunes, just as David used to do.  You drink all the wine you want and wear expensive perfume, but you don't care about the ruin of your nation.  So you will be the first to be dragged off as captives; your good times will end.

Amos 6:3-7

The decade of the 1920's was called, even at the time, the Roaring Twenties.  It was a time of prosperity around the world.  No one knew that the stock market crash of 1929 was on it's way and that the "Good Times" would come to a sobering end!  The Great Depression was the "hangover" after the intoxication of the Roaring Twenties!

These verses from Amos 6 warn of  "good times" based on wealth and prosperity coming to an end while no one cares about the ruin of the nation.  Amos gave that warning to the nation of Israel  years  before Jesus was born. 

The fruit of economic success can be wiped out in one day!  No one can avoid the Day of Judgement by becoming wealthy!  

For those who reject Jesus Christ, your "Good Times" will end.  Earthly riches will all be destroyed, but Heavenly wealth will last forever! Before deciding how rich you are, check your account in Heaven!

"Lord Jesus, thank you for providing all I need in this world and the next.  Praise Your Holy Name now and forever.  Amen."